Explore Raw’s Stephanie Jeffs: A raw food diet transformed me
If the thought of raw food sends you running for the nearest burger restaurant, just remember it’s so much more than a plate of salad or vegetables.
‘And there are no greasy pans when raw meals are involved,’ says Stephanie Jeffs, 43, founder of Explore Raw. A former City worker who used to weigh 142kg (22st 5lb), Jeffs left her job and her bulk behind when she started her company.
She credits eating a raw plant-based diet for turning her health around and ‘curing’ her polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Symptoms include rapid weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, an irregular and heavy menstrual cycle, miscarriages and difficulty losing weight.
‘Suffering with chronic disease was hellish: when my disease – and lack of general health – was at its peak, so was my weight,’ says Jeffs. ‘I dined out a lot with clients so ate unhealthily most nights and would drink lots of calorie-loaded alcohol.
‘But now I’m obsessed with managing my health with my diet and my passion is to support others on their path towards clean eating.’
Jeffs claims the benefits of eating a raw diet are limitless. ‘Clearer skin, better digestion, more energy, weight loss, better sleep, more positivity, clarity of thought and fewer food cravings, to name a few,’ she says.
She claims this is because raw foods contain more vitamins, minerals and fibre than cooked ones. ‘The heating process breaks down the nutrients in foods,’ explains Jeffs. ‘Raw food is living food, rich in enzymes and filled with good bacteria. Enzymes act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body.
‘And the enzymes in raw food help start the process of digestion and reduce the body’s need to produce digestive enzymes.’
Jeffs believes a diet composed exclusively of cooked food will put a strain on the pancreas as it’s constantly producing enzymes that should be in foods naturally. ‘This is why eating raw is based on the belief that the most healthy foods for the body are never cooked over 40-46C,’ she says.
When she changed her diet, Jeffs says her PCOS symptoms slowed and eventually her cycle settled and her weight balanced. ‘I now show no signs of polycystic ovaries,’ she says. ‘I have allowed my body to heal. I have lost more than nine stone (57kg), my skin is glowing and I look and feel much younger.’
Raw Amour is available as an e-book now and in print later this year. E-book, £5.99. www.exploreraw.com