Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free Seminar on Raw Food at Karyn's Raw

A couple of months ago I had an amazing raw vegan meal at Karyn's Raw in Chicago (read my post) and it inspired to look more closely at the "raw diet." Karyn Calabrese is a 65-year-old raw foodist that owns three vegan restaurants in Chicago and hosts raw food events like cooking classes and detox programs. My friend, Alison, and I decided to go to a free introduction seminar at Karyn's Raw on Halsted. Here's what I thought!

Like I said, Karyn Calabrese is 65 and looks (and feels) amazing. The video above is pretty recent and includes a lot of what she talked about during the seminar. Karyn has been raw, plant-based for about 44 years and claims that she hasn't been sick once the entire time. She has no pain, lots of energy, and always feels good. More than just looking great, what really struck me about Karyn was just her energy and vitality. She is 65 and nowhere near retiring or slowing down and it seemed like she had more energy than I do at 25! During the seminar she talked about why being raw vegan is good for optimal health and then also promoted some of her programs and products.

I've been eating mainly plant-based for 3 years now and I've definitely seen a change in myself. I sleep better, have more energy, and generally just feel better than I did when I ate meat and dairy. I can definitely attest to Karyn's claims about feeling better and healthier on a plant-based diet. Karyn explained that consuming dairy is probably the worst thing you can do for your health, which is what I've been trying to explain to people for the past 3 years! We are the only mammals that consume milk in adulthood and of another mammal...it doesn't make sense! It's not natural! Karyn also said that cheese, in particular, is actually addictive, which I didn't know. People always say, "I could be vegan but I couldn't give up cheese." It turns out, when the human body digests casein, it produces casomorphins, which have an opiate-like effect on humans. Cheese, compared to other dairy products, has a much higher concentration of casein, thus making it more addictive. I used to think that cheese would be the hardest thing to give up in my plant-based diet but I actually don't miss it at all. In fact, it kind of grosses me out and the few times I have eaten it in the past couple of years, it hasn't tasted good to me either.

While much of what Karyn said during the seminar about why plant-based is good wasn't new to me, I did learn that coffee is extremely acidic and thus promotes an environment in your body that is favorable to cancer and other diseases. I have gone through various phases of drinking and not drinking coffee. Now days, I drink it about once or twice a week, and it's normally on a day I don't work out in the morning. We just got a Keurig and I love the taste of coffee so giving it up completely may be a challenge. Has anyone tried maca root coffee?

I've definitely seen the healthful effects of my plant-based diet but I still feel like I am not reaching my body's full potential. I do still get sick occasionally (sinus infections) and I feel like I don't have all the energy I should have even after a good 8-hour sleep. I think that this is because I put poisons in my body, like coffee and alcohol, and don't eat enough raw vegetables. Cooking vegetables is believed to leache enzymes and vitamins that are critical for proper digestion. Plus, you end up eating a lot less processed and refined grains and sugars on a raw food diet. According the the Paleo Diet, all grains and legumes are believed to cause inflammation in the body. I think that we should eat what we were meant to eat, which is raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts with the occasional animal snack (read my post).

Towards the end of the seminar, Karyn talked about her 4-week detox program that involves raw eating and cleansing the digestive system. It's a little pricey at $250 but then it's half-price for returning students and $50 off if you sign up early. It involves class once a week and I think the price includes the necessary supplements. I'm planning to do the class in March if any Chi-town people want to join me!

I don't know if I'm going to ever going to eat completely raw or give up coffee and alcohol, but I do want to eat more raw foods so I can really optimize my health. I don't want to get sinus infections anymore and I want to reduce my risk of cancer and other diseases as much as possible. I want to have more energy now and live a long, healthy, and active life. I know that eating right is the way to accomplish that.


  1. Hi Lenka, thanks for the great review on Karyn's detox. I was wondering if you could recall how much money you spent on all of the supplements. I've don't a juice fast and eat primarily vegan, so I know what to prepare for there, but not for all of the enema tools and supplements needed.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Laura! The detox class itself is $200 (be sure to sign up early). I spent about $150 on the supplements each week. Karyn outlines the "necessary" ones and the "extra" ones but I would say that you should spend what you can afford because there are a lot of supplements and I don't think you need to do every single one to get the benefits of the cleanse, especially your first time. Karyn does say "do what you can" in regards to the whole cleansing process. You will have a lot of supplements left over to keep using after the cleanse. Some of them you can get cheaper online but they might not be as high quality as Karyn's. The enema bucket is actually only about $10 and I keep re-using it. I think it's worth a try if you have a minimum of about $400 to spend. You can also just buy her book and learn everything about the cleanse from that. Let me know if you decide to try it!


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