|Book Review: The Raw Life by Paul
As you might
imagine, I have read more than my fair share of books on raw foodsim over the past few
years, but not since David Wolfe's "Sunfood Diet Success System" and Cheryl
Stoycoff's "Raw Kids" has a book really left me wanting more. Whether you are
new to this lifestyle or a mid- to long- term raw fooder this book will definitely have
something for you, if not many things.
When I first heard about the
concept behind "The Raw Life", I was intrigued. Essentially the book uses the
analogy of boxing and working your way towards the ultimate title of Raw Champion by
beating various opponents such as "Dairy Man", "Grain Man" and
ultimately "Cooked Food Man." Yikes! Not for the faint-hearted - so I hope
you've got a good head start...
As with all books which I
come to love I am always keen to put a person to the print, so it was a nice turnaround to
meet the author, Paul Nison, before the book was actually written. We met last autumn in
London while he was visiting from New York, and by talking to him and spending some
time with him, I knew that this guy was really walking his talk. Even back then I
couldn't wait for his book. Almost a year later and a draft copy of "The Raw
Life" is finally here in my gloved paws for reviewing purposes and I am delighted to
say that it was definitely worth waiting for - it's a real belter!
Yes, this is one of those
books I would love to have had when I first started out. I would have pored over it for
hours and read it again and again - there is just so much in it and it definitely grows
with you, so no two reads will ever be the same. Therefore this book has a great
shelf-life and won't be collecting much dust - that's a great feat in itself.
What did it for me
personally, however, is the way "The Raw Life" takes the subject of raw food
eating and makes the whole thing fun and fascinating at the same time. The early chapters
are liberally sprinkled with amusing cartoon characters of all the baddies to beat (the
cooked fat out of - oops, my little excitable addition!) and this really brings the book
to life. But it's not just all fun and games - not by a long shot - it also delivers
in a big way on the more serious side of things too, and pulls many years of personal
research all into one exciting arena. Great work, Paul.
"The Raw Life" is a
very impressive 350 pages long (paperback) which ensures a good solid read, but it never
gets boring. There are many reasons for this, but what especially springs to mind is the
way its pace varies from chapter to chapter and keeps the reader on their toes. There are
also lots of great quotes and snippets to keep you in there and inspired at all times.
The book begins by
introducing each of the 10 main opponents. Of course, you don't have to fight them all if
you've already beaten some (or all) of them prior to reading the book, but each one is
definitely worth reading more about just so you know exactly who you conquered and
to clarify how far you've come.
Next you get to meet your
all-important support team. There are also 10 supporters, each one equally valid and
waiting to assist you, such as "Language Man", "Willpower Man" and
"Fasting Man". I loved this whole section. This is going to help a lot of
Once you have beaten your
first set of opponents and become the champion, you're a winner alright, but what happens
next? Well you retain your title by eating an all-raw diet of course, and in chapter 4
Paul gives some great advice and pointers on "What Can You Eat and When Can You Eat
It?". In this chapter many different areas are discussed relating to the way we eat
our food, and the importance of remembering it is not just what we eat but the way that we
eat it. There are also 20 well-chosen recipes which are very simple to prepare and sound
dee-licious. Great stuff. Another winning round from Paul Nison the Durian King (his
official raw title).
Chapter 5 outlines Paul's
personal diet, the way of eating he has come to after years of study, experimentation and
of course, evolving. He raises some excellent points and this chapter will be very
useful to many who want to know the specifics of a real raw fooder and not simply to be
told "just eat raw food".
But don't bathe too long in
Paul's glory because the fight is not over yet! Oh no! Chapter 6 brings with it some new
opponents - "Detoxification Man" is the first, "Underweight Man" the
second, "Overeating Man" the third, and finally a new kid on the block -
"Frozen Food Man"! Yes, it could be tough. But you're up for the challenge,
Having successfully kept your
title for some time, the next stage is to move beyond the raw food diet itself and to
become more natural in other areas of your life too - hence the title "The Raw
Life". As many soon come to realise, this raw food thing is about so much more than
what you put into your mouth - it's a whole new way of being. Accordingly, in this
rapid-fire round, television, make-up, toiletries, perfumes, sunglasses, eyeglasses,
contact lenses, hospitals and supplements all take a good hammering and Paul shows
absolutely no mercy here. In typical Nison style he deals with each and every one of them
like a true champ and they're all out for the count after only a paragraph or two. He's a
mean man alright. Thank goodness we don't have to fight him too is all I can say.
Next comes some bigger
issues. It's the section "Mentally Raw" that I particularly love. Paul says:
"The biggest change in my life since becoming natural has been something that I was
not even looking for. Before I thought life was explained by science, and that was that. I
now believe 100% that there is more. I know many people who have been eating natural foods
for a very long time and they all feel the same way. Someone told me that when you become
truly natural, this is a normal process. It is as if your mind had spent the whole
unnatural life inside a dirty house, with the windows so dirty that it could not see much.
That house is your body. It could only see what was brought inside the house. Then one day
you clean your body. This house was like a glasshouse, but you never noticed it because of
the dirt. Now that it is clean, the light of the sun shines through and you can see out of
the windows everywhere. Those windows are your mind and once it is clean you will see the
truth about everything." From my own experience I can only agree with him on that
Chapter 8 is really something
very special, and a chapter I know all readers will relish - 27 pages of in-depth
interviews with 9 long-term raw fooders such as Morris Krok, Dr Douglas Graham, Brian
Clement and Roe Gallo. This is a phenomenal chapter which had me well and truly hooked. As
with other sections of the book there are also photos of real people living, quite
literally, real lives! Fantastic. Yes, I admit it, this round floored me good and
proper... but I'll be back!
The final chapter consists of
a very informative Q&A section. Subjects covered include: social issues, eating for
climate, children, water, juicing, fasting, colonics and even libido! This section will be
very useful to many, especially those relatively new to the raw life and are just
beginning to experiment more deeply.
The book concludes with a
final message from the author, a comprehensive raw dictionary, recommended reading and a
useful addresses section. As with all good things - alas - finally they do come to an end.
Never mind though, I'll just start all over again!
Not surprisingly then, from
Karen's Corner "The Raw Life" definitely gets a big thumbs up (which is just as
well because these boxing gloves don't give me much room for manoeuvre here-!). As you
will find if you rise to the challenge, this book is very much one of a kind and I really
do think every raw fooder should have one, even if it's just for the interviews chapter
alone. This chapter is, in my opinion, worth a hundred times the price of the book and
will probably pull you back for a re-read again and again. Yep, I am mightily impressed,
Paul. "The Raw Life" is a real knockout.
Review by Karen Knowler,
fresh network, UK