raw food

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10 Common Foods That Smell Worse Than Durian

Published April 28, 2020 by Maryanne

DurianAlmighty Durian — The King of All Fruit! 

I’ve been a serious durian eater for almost 20 years. I first heard of durian when I was a raw foodist back in the day. I learned that the durian has more vitamins than any other fruit. And that it was absolutely delicious, but had a strange smell.

The first time I tried it, it was durian “ice cream” at a raw food restaurant in NYC. Since it was frozen, it had no smell. I even asked my guest, “Does it smell?” No, it didn’t. A short time after that, I got a real durian, in China Town. That’s when I realized it did have a bit of an odd smell, but it didn’t stop me from waiting for the fruit to defrost and dig in!

Durian is the most delicious thing you can imagine! It has the consistency of custard, and tastes like a cross between hazelnut, vanilla, banana, with a tinge of onion. Weird, but it works! Durian is absolutely addicting. Because of the vitamin content, you’ll be high for hours after eating one (or some of it, as there is truly a lot of fruit pudding in each pod!)

After I first broke my durian cherry, I was so hooked I was hoofing it to China Town once a week, carrying three with me on the bus home. Yes, it’s true, I had a three-per-week durian habit. Friends said I was like a crack addict when it came to durians. I loved them so much, I had one tattooed on my inner calf. And to this day, only one stranger approached me and asked, “Is that a durian?” No one else knows what it is. But it works when I’m in an Asian market, because the workers do not understand what I want until I show them my tattoo. Then they laugh and direct me to the fish area where everything is on ice.

It’s rare to meet a fellow durian lover. I’ve tried recruiting people, but the best comment I’ve heard was from my mother, “I like it, but I don’t love it.” People are mainly turned off by the smell. The durian has been compared to paint cleaner, a gas leak, and even garbage. Yeah, it’s true. Sometimes I’ll pass garbage in NYC and start dreaming about durian.

Okay, I get it, I won’t eat durian around anyone. But why do people get so bent out of shape with the mere mention of a durian? First thing out of their mouths, “It smells.” How original! (Note sarcasm!)

So, since people are so quick to judge my durian, let me put it out there that there are foods that stink worse–and YOU eat them! Yes, it’s true, and here they are in no particular order….

  1. Cold Cuts (aka lunch meat). There’s not much that makes me gag more than lunch meat. It has a nasty stench that makes you think it was slivered off the animal right then and there. This is what I’d imagine a dead person to smell like before embalming.
  2. Cheese. If it’s so accepted for stinky cheese to be good, then lay off my durians!
  3. Chinese Food. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chinese food–the dishes that are more on the plain side, like brown rice, moo shu, or vegetable lo mein. But what is that horrific sauce that is orange? The smell is so strong it knocks me over.
  4. Vinegar. First of all, I LOVE vinegar. When it’s on a salad, you barely notice that it stinks. But when people use it in their hair, or if a bottle breaks — hold your nose! Vinegar smells like dirty feet.
  5. Hot Dogs. If you think hot dogs smell good, you are thinking of the onions and sauerkraut toppings. A regular hot dog boiling is similar to what I described above for cold cuts. Blech!
  6. Tomato Juice. I was once seated at a lecture next to a woman who was drinking tomato juice. Now that was an unforgettable foul smell.
  7. Fish. This is one 90 percent will agree with.
  8. Alcohol. This is why I don’t like to dine out. If there’s a bar, you can smell stale alcohol and it ruins your appetite. It’s as if it’s stuck in the wood; even in the fanciest of restaurants, that diseased smell exists.
  9. Coffee with milk and sugar that is sitting around. Don’t get me wrong on this one, fresh-brewed hot, black, coffee is one of the greatest smells. But, cold coffee with milk and sugar, just hanging around for over an hour, has a smell that can make you gag.
  10. Cigarettes. Okay, this isn’t a food, but the way some people are addicted, it might as well be one of the food groups to them. And they are the worst stench of all! There is nothing sexy about cigarettes. When I see someone in the street smoking, I will cross the street just to avoid them. If I’m exposed to your cigarette smoke, I should be allowed to kill you. (That’s a joke).

What foods do you find most offensive? Share in the comment section below!  

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

Retro Raw Food Interview – 2009

Published August 3, 2016 by Maryanne


Maryanne, 2009, age 46

From 2003 to 2010, I was eating a very high raw diet. I was interviewed by Jenni for a blog in Finland. I thought it would be fun to revisit the interview and photograph. Note, I am no longer a raw foodist; just eating clean, whole foods. 

This is the English translation. 

Interview: Mary Anne

Dear readers of my blog. I had the honor and pleasure to interview an American friend of mine, Mary Anne, about raw foods and her diet.
Hello Mary Anne and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by me! First things first, please tell my readers more about yourself? Hello, my name is Mary Anne Christiano. I’m 46-years-old and living in Union County, New Jersey, USA, with my boyfriend and our kitties. I run my own home-based business editing books, doing research projects and some artist representation.

When did you first change your diet and why? I first changed my diet to high raw the summer of 2003. I had just turned 40 and wasn’t feeling right. I asked my mom how she felt in her 40s and she said, “I felt great in my 40s!” So I knew something was wrong. I kept getting sick. I had insomnia. I was too hyper and irritable. I had stomach issues.

What kind of stomach issues did you have? Constipation and stomach aches. So after intensive internet research, I decided to give up foods with artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, preservatives, chemicals and also coffee, breads, pastas, and sugar. I started concentrating on a high raw food diet. Within weeks I felt better, but it took a few years to tweak the diet to perfection.

When did you become interested in raw foods and what motivated you to try the raw food diet? I think the first time I heard of raw foods was a few years earlier. It didn’t appeal to me, as I loved cooked foods: pastas, Indian foods, gourmet vegetarian food like vegetarian chili and lasagna. But I kept coming across articles and after reading all the positives, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Have you ever been 100% raw? Yes, I’ve been 100 percent raw, but not for very long. Maybe 10 or 12 days at the most.

Where did you find information about raw foods? Everything off the internet. It was hard to find raw food books and when I did, they were very expensive and most were just recipes to make with a dehydrator. I never liked dehydrated food. It was always too heavy for me. When I think of raw food, I think of a fantastic salad mixed with all sorts of goodies, or fresh fruit. The dehydrator isn’t the way to go. The only raw book I really liked anyway was “Raw Knowledge” by Paul Nison. He interviewed 25 raw foodists and they all had different approaches to the raw lifestyle.

Did you get to know other raw foodists? I’ve met quite a few, but no one I am close with. I think many of them are too fanatical about the lifestyle, making it seem cult-like.

Have you ever met any celebrity raw foodists? I’ve interviewed Carol Alt over the phone for an article. She’s definitely an inspiration because she does it her way. She’s not a vegan and she said she goes off the raw food diet during hockey season. I like the way she thinks because she keeps it real.

That’s interesting, because in Finland a lot of people automatically think think that raw food means VEGAN raw food.  Have you eaten any raw animal foods during your raw food journey and if so, what kind of products? The raw animal foods I ate were: organic raw eggs, raw fish and raw milk cheese.

Any criticism about the raw food movement in America? I find most of the criticism comes from people who don’t understand it. People would see me eating an entire pineapple and say, “Wow, you can eat all that?” Yet the same people will eat 3 or 4 slices of pizza and not think anything of it.

And the positive stuff? The positive stuff is that everything you put into your body, you get back ten-fold. I stay thin without over-exercising or counting calories. I rarely get sick anymore. I have a ton of energy. My blood work is excellent.

Tell me about Raw Food restaurants you’ve been to! Any particular restaurants you recommend for traveling Finns?  The best raw food restaurant is Pure Food and Wine in NYC. It’s pricey and you’ll get a five-star treatment. The waiters are the best. The food is absolutely amazing. They also have vegan wines and unpasteurized sake. So a great place for a celebration. They also have a nice garden you can dine in if the weather is nice. There is another raw restaurant in NYC that is cafeteria style, called Bonobos. They have durian “ice cream” (which is just pure frozen durian!)

Where do you usually shop food and why? I shop for food everywhere. It takes about five stores to buy everything I want. There is no perfect store that has everything. But I do like to support the smaller health food stores rather than supermarket chains, so I do that as much as possible.

What’s your take on vitamin supplements? I feel supplements are over-rated, but they do have a purpose. I don’t take a multi-vitamin, but rather concentrate on what I need: Vitamin D and B-12 are very important for me because I’m a vegetarian. I recently had a bone mass test and I am nowhere near having any bone loss. That is pretty impressive considering women start losing bone mass at age 35.

What are some of the strangest things you’ve eaten since you discovered raw foods Well I’m always finding bizarre fruits, but the strangest of all is one called “Monstera.” You have to wait for the fruit to shed it’s outer layer before you can eat it. It’s ugly as all hell! It looks like a prehistoric monster!

Your favorite raw food ever? Definitely the durian!

Can you tell my readers what IS durian, where do you buy it, what it tastes like and how to eat it! A durian is a fruit from Thailand. It has a spiky outside and inside it’s a pudding. It tastes like a combination of hazelnut and vanilla with a touch of garlic. It can be bought in most Asian markets.

Do you eat any of the so called superfoods and how do you eat them? I’ve tried all the super foods. I think they are over-priced and over-rated. For awhile I loved gogi berries and cacao and put them in smoothies. I got burnt on them. If I never eat another gogi berry for the rest of my life that’s fine with me!

Have you noticed raw foods changing your psychological well being? Raw foods made me more calm and patient. But prior to discovering the lifestyle I’ve always been true to who I am and happy about it.

Does diet cure everything? How important part does diet play in health and do you believe there other other aspects that are equally important? I’m not sure. Diet can help a lot, but I believe there are other factors that contribute to good health: lifestyle, environment, exercise, love, music, having pets, doing something you love for a living … But when people say things like, “Oh you eat so healthy, but you’ll probably get run over by a truck” I just laugh … Having a long life would be a bonus, but while I am here I want to feel the best I could. I’d rather feel good, not worry about my weight and have a lot of energy eating like I do than eating crappy food and feeling like I have a hangover!  I know one cancer patient who is doing extremely well with a high raw diet. She’s definitely a success story and most of her cancer cells shrunk. I wish we could hear more stories like that. But I don’t think it’s that simple. I may sound cynical, but I’ve seen too much of people really taking care of their health, yet dying way too soon!

The Raw food movement is very young in Finland and there is a growing interest in superfoods. People talk about raw cacao, coconut water, maca powder ja goji berries. What would you want to tell someone who is getting into raw foods, just starting to change their diet and eating superfoods? Any warnings or advice? My advice is one size does not fit all. The raw food lifestyle may or may not fit for you. Eating as raw as possible is good for your body, but it may or may not be good to be 100 percent raw. Listen to your body, to how you feel. Don’t be a victim of raw dogma. Also, think about what you are adding to your diet, not what you are giving up. Instead of saying, “I can’t eat sugar anymore” say, “Wow, I can try all these wonderful fruits and vegetables!” A warning would be: don’t go crazy with dried fruits. They are very bad for your teeth.

Can you describe your current diet? Currently I am eating about 60 percent raw and low acid foods. I am a vegetarian, but not vegan. For breakfast I’ll have rennetless cottage cheese with organic blueberries; and a green smoothie (mixed organic greens blended with banana and chlorella). Lunch will be a big salad mixed with lots of organic vegetables and include seaweed for good hair. Dinner will either be an entire honeydew, watermelon and maybe a sweet potato. I started adding pastas back into my diet. I’ll sometimes eat brown rice pasta or I will have a low-acid sugar or carb treat like chips or a pastry.

Any favorite recipe you want to share? I like to shred beets, garlic and carrots in a blender, then add apple cider vinegar and flaxseed oil and wrap the mixture in nori. I call this Mary Anne’s Beet Goes On Salad!

Thank you, Mary Anne, so much for this wonderful interview and may you live long and prosper!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a two-time author, award-winning journalist and a public speaker. She’s available to speak at libraries, schools, senior centers, JCC’s, etc. For availability and pricing, contact Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 
















photos: Mary Anne Christiano’s personal archive

Interview and translation: Jenni / Hunajataivas, hunajameri

© 2009

Cold (Raw) Mango Soup!

Published May 6, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0761Cold Mango Soup (Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

I just made this amazing cold mango soup (suitable for vegans and raw foodists!)

Simply blend all the following ingredients

2 cups diced organic mangos

1 orange

1/2 large cucumber

1/2 red bell pepper

2 cloves organic garlic

Juice of two limes

Handful of cilantro

1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

A half cup water

Flavor with sea salt and freshly ground pepper

This makes one serving. And it’s so ultra delicious! Yum!

“Awesome Foods”

Published May 4, 2013 by Maryanne

???????????????????????????????Collard Wraps made by “Awesome Foods”

For quite a few years I’ve been a fan of Awesome Foods (http://www.awesomefoods.com/) — “on the go food” that is raw and vegan.

They are located in Pennsylvania but distribute to health food stores in my area. One of the places is Dean’s (in Shrewsbury and Ocean Township). Today I had a dentist appointment just a half hour from Shrewsbury, so I took a drive on this gorgeous New Jersey day and got some Awesome Foods goodies. I absolutely LOVE their collard wrap, as well as the raw vegan sushi rolls (which come with natural wasabi).

Over the years I’ve tried so many Awesome Food products I’ve actually got sick of some of them! Can you imagine liking something so much you eat it twice a week for almost two years straight?! Well that’s what happened with their raw pizza.

Now aside from sharing with my blog followers about the raw pizza, I keep my mouth shut about it because a lot of people are just clueless when it comes to good health. You say “raw pizza” and they’re picturing uncooked doughy yeast. Uh — NO!

Raw pizza is a burrito made with flax meal so soft it practically melts in your mouth. The “cheese” is made from Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds with lemon juice and garlic. And it’s topped with sun dried tomato sauce, parsley, and other goodies like fresh peppers.

How can you not love that?

Then the same thing happened with their eggplant lasagna. I loved it so much, again, I ate it for years, two or three times a week until I could no longer look at the dish! Does that make me a glutton, or just a die-food foodie who likes what she likes?

Now, let’s move on to their salads. The raw beet salad is my favorite thing in the world. Second is the cucumber sea vegetable salad — whoa, just so super delicious! The raw “egg-less” salad and “better than tuna” salads are terrific. One container makes for two meals easily.

And last, but not least, the mother of all treats — Awesome Foods raw coconut goji berry bar! Again, ate these so much I got sick of them. Absolutely melts in your mouth! Runner up is the raw chocolate coconut bar. (But I did get another brand of raw chocolate today — as I was just jonesing for some real chocolate!)

So if you wanna bon appetite without the cooking and mess — try Awesome Foods for a truly good meal that’s both tasty and healthy.

Also have to rave about other Dean’s goodies. I always love their house brand raw cream “cheese” which made from raw cashews. Also scored some Kvass — a probiotic cultured drink (they have many flavors but I try to go for the super green). And took home a loaf of manna bread, which isn’t raw but cooked at very low temperatures so you get plenty of good nutrients from it.

And Dean’s took the time to special order a mascara for me that’s all natural and doesn’t test on animals.

Funny thing on the way out, the cashier was so nice, I told him he had a dynamic personality. He loved that and started joking around with me. So much joking that I handed him a $100 bill and he forgot to give me change! I didn’t even realize because we were laughing so much until I got in my car and went to my wallet for change for the Parkway! I ran back into the store and was like, “Stop everything!” And then I got my $45. Whew!

A perfect spring day with lots of fun, a good report at the dentist and yummy treats!

Rudolph the Raw Food Reindeer

Published December 5, 2012 by Maryanne

rudolph“I’m cute, she said I’m cute!”

Here’s a little parody I wrote back in 2004 when I was following the raw food diet, ENJOY!

Rudolph the Raw Food Reindeer

You know Atkins and South Beach and Vegan and Phen-Phen
Bally’s, Ephedra and Yoga and Gold’s Gym

But do you recall?
The most healthiest lifestyle of all?

Rudolph the raw food reindeer
Never ever cooked his food
And if you ever saw him
You would even say “He glows.”

All of the SAD eating reindeer
Used to laugh and be skeptics
They never saw Raw Rudolph
Eat at any fast food place

Then one sunny Christmas day
Mother Nature came to say,
“Rudolph with your food so ripe,
Won’t you sow my garden tonite?!”

Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee,
“You were right all along Raw Rudolph,
This lifestyle really is for me!”

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, copyright 2004


The BEST ‘On the Go’ Juice!

Published November 29, 2012 by Maryanne


I’ve been eyeballing these juices for MONTHS, but held off on trying them because one serving is very costly (example: between $6.99 to $8.99 — ouch!) But a few days ago I was a bit under the weather and rationalized that if I brought something in the homeopathic area, it would cost just as much so …

One word “WOW!”

I tried the “kale/apple/ginger/romaine/spinach/cucumber/celery/parsley/lemon” drink and it was to die for. This is something I’ve always dreamed of — fresh juice on the go. This tastes like it came straight for the juicer. No exaggeration!

All those times I drank Naked Juice, I always felt I could taste the pasteurization. Those juices were always too heavy for my tastes. They also tasted sugary even though they were made of nothing but fruit and vegetable juices.

But BluePrint Juice is the real deal. This stuff is purely RAW. No evil pasteurization or flash pasteurization.

What a lovely treat when you’re on the go!

Staying Healthy This Thanksgiving Season

Published November 11, 2012 by Maryanne

One of my raw organic salads: oranges, kale, carrots, celery, flax seeds

This is an article I wrote for the Verona/Cedar Grove Patch, published November 19, 2010. It’s still relevant, so enjoy!


By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Thanksgiving is upon us and there is so much to be grateful for. But one of the things we often take for granted is our health. During the holidays people assume they get a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to their well-being, gorging on fattening foods and lying around during the four-day weekend watching football.

Would you like this holiday season to be different? I’m sure everyone would love to have more energy and eat freely without dieting. I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me stay slim and energetic over the years, especially during the winter months when our bodies are less active. Try some or all of these tips and you’ll be surprised that they actually work and may even make you lose weight – instead of gain – during the long Thanksgiving weekend!

1. Don’t forget to take your vitamins. During a long holiday weekend, people deviate from their schedules and something simple like taking vitamins can be overlooked. It’s important to remember to keep your health in check and your energy high. If you are feeling tired or fatigued, you will overeat.

2. Drink water. I make water my number one drink because there are so many positive benefits that come with it. Water is a wonderful appetite suppressant. It also helps you lose weight because it flushes toxins from your body. When your skin is hydrated you look younger and fresher. Drinking water aids in digestion and alleviates constipation. During holiday gatherings I make a game of it by drinking an ounce of water every hour. When it’s time to go home, I had my recommended eight ounces.

3. Get up and move. People like to relax during the holidays, and I can be very guilty of that too. But you will feel better if you don’t submit to the temptation of lingering around the dinner table nibbling or hitting the couch to sleep or munch on chips. There are many other things to do: take a walk outside, play with the children, volunteer to walk the host’s dog, clean up or even visit more people! I’ll never forget the year I visited four different homes on a holiday. It seemed like I was eating and drinking all day and I was almost afraid to step on the scale the next morning. But when I did I was actually two pounds lighter! All the running around and mini meals, rather than one big meal, worked in my favor!

4. Food exchange system. You don’t have to stress about giving up your favorite foods during the holidays, but if you can cut corners in certain areas without sacrificing taste, your digestive system will thank you. Mashed potatoes can be replaced with mashed cauliflower or turnips. When seasons right, they are just as delicious. Health food stores have tons of delicious cookies sweetened with fruit juices instead of refined sugars. You can even make your own. Raw nuts are less fattening than nuts that are roasted and salted. Raw carrots, instead of chips or pretzels, are great for dipping – but choose salsa or hummus instead of a creamy onion dip. Salads don’t have to be boring. I always add lots of fun stuff to mine like capers and sun dried tomatoes. Use colorful vegetables and even fruits to make it look enticing!

5. Gross yourself out! This idea is kooky but it works. If you think about what some unhealthy foods are made of, you may never want to eat them again. Cheese is one of the biggest holiday downfalls for most people. It’s on every appetizer and dessert platter. It’s assumed that cheese is just made from milk, but cheeses contain an ingredient called “rennet” which is a natural complex of enzymes produced in the stomach of a cow. Some of my friends who consider themselves vegetarians didn’t even know this. If this fact grosses you out enough to stay away from the cheese platter, you will spare yourself the extra fat and calories.

There’s a popular holiday recipe called “ambrosia” that is made with marshmallows. Most people don’t realize marshmallows are made with gelatin (which is a brittle protein made from animal tissues such as bone and skin). Marshmallows aren’t healthy because they are loaded with sugar, meaning empty calories. My healthy version of ambrosia is a holiday hit! Just combine raw shredded sweet potato (it tastes like pumpkin!), coconut, raisins, organic apples, pineapple and maple syrup. Let the dish sit at least an hour in the refrigerator. It’s delicious!

Take my tips to heart, or with a grain of salt. Or come up with your own. And I wish everyone the happiest and healthiest Thanksgiving ever!

INTERVIEW: Raw Food Author, Mary Jane Humes

Published November 11, 2012 by Maryanne

Raw Food Cook Book Author, Mary Jane Humes

Mary Jane Gives Us the Raw Deal

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

A few months ago I had the opportunity to proofread upcoming “Super Raw Cook Book” by Mary Jane Humes and Rhonda Dunlap. It was an honor to recently interview Mary Jane via telephone for my personal blog. Mary Jane is awesome! We think alike in that while we both are big fans of raw food, we are not vegans. We bonded over our love for raw milk and raw eggs. She even tried a raw egg recipe I gave her which she speaks of in this interview. Enjoy this truly down-to-earth talk with an expert who is living it!  

Mary Jane Humes is one of those lucky people who grew up in a healthy environment. She grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania in the 1970s. Her dad was a farmer and her mom was the type of person that had to have everything homemade. The health bible of their household was “Back to Eden” by Jethro Kloss. “Everybody’s who’s into healthy eating knows about it,” said Mary Jane.

And their family doctor was a chiropractor and a nutritionist who had his own health food store. She said, “In his waiting room, it was always packed. You’d always hear success stories. If people had a cold they’d go to this chiropractor. He did magical things.”

At a young age, Mary Jane was rebellious. “I wanted cupcakes, potato chips … that’s what my friends had,” she said. But that changed as she grew a little older.

“My mother had me when she was thirty-nine,” Mary Jane said. “When I got a little older, I realized my family was older. I wanted to keep them alive and well as long as I could. My mother used to get the catalogs from GNC. They were better way back then. I loved going through them. I begged her to order me Vitamin C when I was ten, twelve [years old].”

And to this day, Mary Jane’s mom is very well because of the years of taking care of herself. Mary Jane said, “When she was younger, she had a lot of stress. She told me she had bad acne. Back then the common thing, chocolate, caused acne. She was a very disciplined person. She’d make a bar of chocolate last a whole week. She had her vitamins. She’d take her vitamins every morning. She’d take unbleached flour … raw sugar. Very nutritionally minded … that’s how I grew up.”

Mary Jane took her mother’s healthy mindset with her throughout adulthood. It was always in the back of her mind. She went on to college and became a nurse, but the medical mindset just didn’t sit right with her. “I was so into natural ways of healing that I just felt to put drugs in people was not the right way. I’m not anti-drugs, but we are just far too dependent on drugs.”

With Mary Jane’s natural background she decided to start a raw food website two years ago: http://www.raw-food-diet-magazine.com/

“Food should be our first supplement, instead of living on junk food,” she said. “I learned so much about raw foods. I learned how to make green smoothies.”

Some of the positive benefits of raw foods, according to Mary Jane, were energy and weight loss. “I was never two hundred or three hundred pounds,” she said. “I’d say I lost thirty pounds. I hate scales. I go by the way my clothes feel.”

Mary Jane swears by her green smoothies. If she starts her morning with a green smoothie, she feels she can pass on candy, although she does allow herself to indulge. “That’s my little secret here,” she said.

But the raw food diet also comes with challenges. “Raw food is not convenient,” she said. “It’s easy to grab a burger and eat it. If I don’t have raw food prepared and ready, I’ll go for something out of a can. It’s prep work. Sometimes life gets in my way. I don’t want to make my own food.”

And traveling is tough too according to Mary Jane. “I’m not a diehard raw foodie,” she said. “If I’m traveling, I’m going to travel light as possible. I want to experience something I can’t get at home. Instead of a stupid t-shirt or mug, I want the food. That’s my souvenir.”

Unlike many raw foodists who are vegans, Mary Jane consumes dairy and eggs. “I’m weird that way,” she said. “Thanks to you, I’ve found great recipes with my eggs, with the raw orange juice.” And luckily for Mary Jane, raw milk is legal in Pennsylvania. She said, “I’m so blessed where I don’t have to sneak around to get it. I’ve always liked milk and thought milk was good for you until I realized the pasteurized was so bad.”

Because Mary Jane consumes raw dairy and raw eggs, she finds it easier to be a raw foodist and considers Carol Alt her favorite raw food guru. “She’s a non-vegan,” said Mary Jane. “That’s almost sacrilegious in the raw world.”

Mary Jane’s upcoming book, which she co-authored with Rhonda Dunlap, “Super Raw Cook Book” is a “work in progress” which she hopes to be published by Christmas in hard copy from Create Space on Amazon. Raw food author and advocate Paul Nison wrote the foreword.

Her future plans include marketing the book and spending more time on her website. Aside from Mary Jane’s raw journey her other interests include tending to her seven animals (three cats, two dogs and two bunnies) and being a Sunday school teacher.


The “Gentle” Food Snob

Published March 4, 2012 by Maryanne

The first time I was called a “food snob” I took it as a compliment. At one time, about six years ago, I was known as a “raw foodist” — a person who eats nothing but fresh food (unprocessed, unfiltered, unpasteurized, uncooked). Unless I ate a mango out of season, anything that touched my mouth was absolutely delicious because I brought nothing but fresh and prepared it myself (the dish pictured above is one of my raw delights, mashed bananas and sliced kiwi with raw cacao nibs — all organic).

At one time, there were only four restaurants I would eat in and they were all in NYC: Quintessence, Bonobo’s, Caravan of Dreams and Pure Food and Wine. Had I dined anywhere else, I would be eating prison rations because the menu choices were so limited.

Over the years, I let down my guard. I am still a food snob, my first preference being home cooked meals from scratch (by me, my husband or any friend/family member — in that order); second, the NYC raw restaurants; and third any vegetarian restaurant or a health food store that offers seating and fresh meals. BUT, although still a food snob, I am now a more gentle one. I will go out to eat at any restaurant — including diners (surprise, surprise) and enjoy the meal. I swear!

Diehard raw foodists, health enthusiastics, or foodies who would simply refuse to step foot into a diner may not get this, but hear me out …

During my raw food years, I’ve had several bad reactions to non-raw or non-organic food I consumed when dining out. These bad reactions consisted of mainly rashes, but also bloating and stomach aches. I’ve had similar reactions during parties when someone claimed something was all natural and it wasn’t, therefore I ended up running to the nearest health food store for probiotics. Eventually I started bringing my own food everywhere, including restaurants.

I was beginning to feel like a freak. I had to stop and ask myself, “Do I really want to be THIS pure?”

Vegans and vegetarians I met online would always give me holier than thou attitude saying that I needed to meet more vegan friends, which to me sounded cult-like and scary. Thank you very much, but I like the friends I already have — non-judgmental.

Little by little I started weaning myself back on cooked foods. And admittedly not always healthy foods either. After three years of not consuming pasta, bread and sugar, I let myself have a treat slowly and surely until I was able to eat restaurant food or non-raw food without an adverse reaction.

Now I can eat ANYWHERE without fear.

Do I still believe in raw and health foods? Yes, but I also believe that isolation isn’t healthy. If you live on a farm or in California where there is a great abundance of natural, health food — then God bless you. But most of us don’t. And most of us don’t have friends and family that eat as healthy as we’d like them to, but you know what? It’s OKAY!

I believe that good food is essential to good health. But it’s more than food. It’s love and friendship. It’s exercise. It’s listening to music. It’s having pets. It’s having a career and/or hobby you absolutely love. It’s having dreams and following your heart’s desire. This is probably why people, like say, Steven Tyler, have been through the mill with drugs and adversity and still look amazing in their 60s. It’s all a state of mind!

Food is something you can’t escape, so why not enjoy it to the fullest, under all circumstances. Meals should be enjoyed, not feared. Six years ago I was so obsessed with health, I was underweight and nervous all the time. Now, I could afford to lose five pounds, but I am content and enjoy life more because I can go anywhere and not be afraid if there will be something I can or can’t eat. Nor do I obsess over what is in everything. I do my best at home and when I’m dining out, I just hope for the best.

So, these days, 60 percent of the time I am preparing food for myself (raw or organic), 30 percent of the time I enjoy a healthy meal not prepared by myself, whether it’s an Amy’s Organic TV dinner or a meal at Veggie Heaven and the other 10 percent of the time I’ll go to a diner or treat myself to french fries or cold sesame noodles. To me, this is a wonderful balance — truly having my cake and eating it too.

And when I go out to a restaurant or to someone’s home and the meal isn’t up to par, I will not complain, but rather make up for it with my next meal. So even though I’m still a food snob, no one notices. Not that there is anything wrong with being a foodie or a food snob, it just means you embrace a good meal. But when someone wants to spend time with you and he/she chooses a restaurant, I think it’s in bad taste, not to mention bad for the digestive system, to snub a meal by merely saying, “It’s alright” and making a face.

If you must express your displeasure (and I admit, I am guilty of this myself), at least say it with some positive force behind it … like, you could say, “It’s not that great, but wow, what a fantastic conversation we had! I always love hanging out with you!”or “Food sucks, but what a good waiter!” or “Limp lettuce, but the atmosphere is stellar!”

Now THAT is a gentle food snob and something to truly be proud of! Changing my healthy ways was probably the healthiest thing I ever did for my psyche!