It's been almost a year since I made the switch to a plant-based diet. From that moment, I've basically been doing trial and error and self-experimentation with the research and information I've found along my way. A raw vegan diet seemed like the only thing I hadn't tried. 

Since the very beginning of my journey, the idea of preventing and reversing disease through diet has always been fascinating to me. To find more information regarding this vast subject, I turn to books, articles, documentaries, and health blogs.

During the semester, my jam-packed schedule rarely leaves room for extra reading. Hello summer! I decided to revisit my reading list and start right away. One of the books I had been keen on reading for quite a while was Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal by Anthony William, a.k.a., the Medical Medium, who has helped tens of thousands of people heal from chronic illness with his breakthrough information and protocols.

I had been listening to his podcasts during car rides and outdoor walks and was absolutely blown away with all the insights he offered about our current health epidemics and what we can do to heal. 

How It All Began

I knew right away that I had to read Anthony's books, and started with his first one. I was nose-in-book for days straight, taking in all the life-changing info he provides. Towards the end of the book, he lays out a 28-day raw vegan healing cleanse that can be used to jump-start the healing process for pretty much any illness or symptom(s). 

I was all up for it, but definitely thinking about how I would miss cooked veggies like sweet potatoes, stir-fries, and legumes. It's only 4 weeks, I said to myself. And so it began. 

The most healing foods on the planet were to comprise my diet for the next 28 days of eating raw vegan: fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Living food full of color, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and live enzymes were to be all I ate. Seemed pretty legit, since I was already in the process of transitioning to a high-fruit mostly raw diet anyways. This cleanse was just the final push I needed. 

Environmental Antagonizers

We are exposed to countless toxins, pollutants, insecticides/herbicides/pesticides, heavy metals such as mercury, aluminium, and lead, along with a myriad of other dangerous chemicals on a daily basis, without even noticing most of the time. These unnatural substances contaminate our water supply, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. They affect our DNA and the functioning of our organs. 

We are born with toxic heavy metals that have been passed down our family line for as much as a thousand years. What happens is that with time, heavy metals oxidize and can very literally poison our body, affecting most greatly our brain, liver, and central nervous system

Back in the day during the 18th and 19th century, giving patients mercury elixirs was a popular practice at conventional doctor's offices, and was thought to be a miracle cure for any ill. Quite the opposite happened, as this tonic literally made patients go crazy and even lose their jobs and families due to loss of sanity and mental health.

Even small quantities of this metal accumulate in the brain and can cause anywhere from mild to severe brain diseases. Now imagine a whole straight drink full of it. What these patients suffered was mercury poisoning. Thankfully, common sense rolled in and this practice was abandoned.

The thing is, if our ancestors had this level of exposure to the highly toxic metal, we still have that mercury inside of us, along with the one that's abundant in tuna and other large fish, and in heavy duty bug sprays

Aluminium in deodorants, beauty items, canned products, and a bunch of other things can also lead to toxicity, as it is a potent neurotoxin which has been associated with Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases. It also builds up in the lungs, liver, kidneys, and thyroid. 

If you're dealing with symptoms such as depression, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and memory loss–to name a few–a heavy metal detox may be useful. Anthony recommends a smoothie with a combination of 5 ingredients that work synergistically to safely evacuate these disease-causing heavy metals out of the body: Hawiian Spirulina, Barley Grass Juice Extract Powder, Cilantro, Dulse, and Wild Blueberries. 

Laura Rodriguez

Even though excessively dangerous pesticides such as DDT are banned now, they still linger inside our bodies. Michael K. Skinner, PhD, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University studied this profusely, and even arrived at the fact that this toxic pesticide can promote the inheritance of obesity

Turns out your great-grandfather's environment and toxic exposure can affect your methylation patterns, which can in turn determine your risk for developing certain diseases. These toxins leave traceable fingerprints in your DNA. 

Not to worry though! There are things you can do about your ancestors' and your own current exposure to toxins. 

How Food Changes Our Genes

We have the opportunity to change our DNA with what we eat. Joel Khan, plant-powered cardiologist and best-selling author, explains this phenomenon. Specifically he says, "It may be our genes that load the gun, but our lifestyle pulls the trigger." The food we eat can turn on and off certain genetic pathways that determine whether we become overweight, have high blood pressure, or get a disease or not.

Food is not just a source of energy and a pleasurable stimulus; it is information that can actually control and modify our genes. Multiple studies have been done that show the benefits of a plant-based diets for longevity, inflammation reduction, and disease prevention. 

Why Raw Plant Foods are Crucial for Healing and Detoxifying the Body

Laura Rodriguez

Detox diets are not something that's unheard of in today's health boom. The popularity of these cleanses has many health professionals distraught, as they claim our body's own detoxification pathways and elimination mechanisms, such as our liver, kidneys, and digestive system, are more than enough. A little questionable, to say the least. 

"There's no need to detox. Just eat healthy and that should do it." Sound familiar? It's what seems to be going on around social media. This couldn't be more further from the truth because if our bodies' detox systems were so good at their job, there wouldn't be millions of people all over the world suffering from chronic conditions and symptoms of toxicity.

This ancient healing practice has nothing "woo-woo" about it, as much as it may seem like it. I know it's fun to hate on current health trends and try to "debunk" them, but these raw foodists are onto something.  Exceptions can be made for things like the wine and egg diet, of course. Yes, this is an actual diet plan. Smh. 

Raw vegan foods have unique qualities that have the power to heal the body and support its ability to cleanse us of toxins that can linger inside us, stimulating our organs of elimination. The body naturally heals itself with increased nutritional intake. 

Raw foods deliver large amounts of highly absorbable vitamins and minerals directly to your cells, and their abundance of live enzymes give our digestive organs a break from all the hard work. In addition to this, the high water content in live fruits and vegetables optimizes cellular hydration in our cells and enhances kidney function

As if that weren't enough, raw food diets also cleanse our lymphatic system, which helps mobilize toxins. Not to mention the fact that raw vegan goods like fruits and vegetables, herbs, and spices have antibacterial and anti-viral qualities that make them even more powerful miracle-workers for getting those nasty toxins out of you. 

Laura Rodriguez

In addition to the physical benefits of a raw vegan detox, it can also bring along spiritual benefits. Raw foods full of life and color contain a living vibration, which we assimilate when we consume them. Life starts to make more sense, and you get connected to your body and the world around you in a more spiritual way. 

My Experience

Enough about science-y stuff. The nutrition nerd inside me can't help it, sorryyy. Now onto the nitty-gritty: what I went through for 4 weeks following Medical Medium's raw vegan detox. 

I know for those not familiar with a detox protocol it may seem that detoxing is all rainbows and butterflies. Actually no. Detoxing can be (and usually is) a pain in the butt. This is actually a good thing, believe it or not! The fatigue, intestinal discomfort, breakouts, irritability, and muscle soreness are signs that your body is moving toxic garbage out. It ain't pretty but it sure is worth it. 

I didn't feel these detox symptoms quite as powerfully as I thought I would while on the raw vegan detox due to the fact that I had been slowly transitioning to a high-fruit diet. Before going into the actual 28-day cleanse, I experienced bouts of EXTREME belly bloat, fatigue, and a sensitive nervous system a.k.a. irritability. The more detox foods (fruits are one of–if not the most–powerful detox foods) you consume, the faster your body is gonna try to eliminate, which can certainly be uncomfortable. 

The focus of this cleanse was to keep it really low fat in order to heal the liver, as the liver is really burdened by fat. Even too much of good fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds can place a strain on the good ol' liver. I really really wanted my liver to heal which is why I excluded all alcohol consumption during this time as well and kept my fat intake to once a day and exclusively from avocados. 

I started all my mornings with a tall glass of lemon water to support my liver and flush toxins, celery juice to up my consumption of vital mineral salts and increase the hydrochloric acid in my stomach to help break down foods more easily, in addition to healing my gut. All this was followed by a big smoothie, smoothie bowl, or a plate full of fruit.

Laura Rodriguez
Laura Rodriguez

I had a mid-morning snack of fruit. No surprise there.

Laura Rodriguez

Lunch consisted mostly of large salads–a raw vegan staple–with multiple fruits and vegetables to optimize nutrient intake. Just salad for lunch can sound like you're gonna be hungry again in no time but there is a big emphasis made on QUANTITY. If you want to thrive on raw you have to eat a lot

Laura Rodriguez

I added the occasional raw tacos and wraps for variety as I rarely eat the same exact thing twice. I like keeping it fresh, what can I say. I get bored easily. Bless Instagram for all the food inspo. 

Laura Rodriguez

Snacks were, again, fruit, fruit-only nicecream, celery sticks, and juices. I've always been a huge fruit fan, and the opportunity to eat it in almost unlimited quantities was an absolute dream come true for me. If you got a little bit of fruit fear in you, you can read this and find out the healing benefits these sweet treats can bring you.

Laura Rodriguez

Dinner was pretty simple: a plate of fruit, a salad, or a smoothie. Nothing really fancy. Tip: add your salad to nori sheets to make some yummy raw tacos. Life-changing stuff.

Laura Rodriguez

For one day of the cleanse, I decided to fast-track my detox and eat only watermelon for the entire day. Melons are amazing additions to any healing process due to their ability to speed up detoxification because of their high water content, which binds onto poisons of all kinds, undigested proteins, viral waste, unproductive bacteria, and other nasty stuff, and move it out of your intestinal tract ASAP. They are also extremely alkalizing, which further aids the recovery process. 

Laura Rodriguez

Watermelon season is in full swing and so is the heat down here in Mexico, so eating this extremely hydrating and perfectly ripe fruit all day was nothing to complain about. 

The Results?

The heightened sense of healing and wellbeing is too much for words, really. I felt so alive, connected to nature and to myself, that it almost didn't seem real. Sounds a little far-fetched? Try it out and see for yourself! Your whole perspective changes.

I come from a past of binge-eating and have even struggled with this along my plant-based journey. In the past, it was difficult for me to listen to my body's cues that said "stop eating!" because of the psychological impact that seeing food still on the plate had on me. Going through food way too fast without chewing properly has also been a struggle of mine. 

Eating until I literally couldn't with my life was a pretty big issue for me, and it was a situation I constantly found myself in– even with healthy vegan foods and fruit. This made me feel bloated and made it hard for me to let go of extra weight in the past. 

Now I feel more in touch with and greater sensitivity towards my hunger and satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin, respectively). I have been practicing mindful eating (still a work in progress but definitely better than where I was before), and it has become easier for me to avoid seeing remaining food on the plate as an excuse to continue stuffing myself. 

Laura Rodriguez

Now, I eat until I no longer feel hungry, without the need to unbutton my jeans and lay in a food coma on my couch until dinnertime. 

My skin, however, really suffered at first and I experienced quite a few breakouts, ones that I had become unaccustomed to since starting a low-fat high-fruit vegan approach. Rancid oils and toxic waste come out through the pores, and this can make the skin angry and cause acne flare-ups. Luckily this is clearing up nicely now. 

My hair and nails are growing like crazy and are stronger than ever. I also have more energy and feel like my performance in the gym, contrary to what one would expect of a raw vegan diet, has greatly improved. 

I bet many of you are wondering, "What about cravings?!" Well let me tell you that they are gone. My self-destructive vicious cycle of bingeing on unhealthy foods that I had so much trouble with previously is no more. It turns out that when you eliminate refined sugars and junk foods from your life, you crave them less.

Decreased cravings are also a sign that your liver is healing, due to the fact that eating like this restores its vital glucose stores, which when depleted, (long periods without eating between meals, stress, etc.) ask for a generous refill, which usually translates to impulse-driving to the closest McDonald's for a McFlurry for no apparent reason.

Let me make a little disclaimer that there were points in my detox that I got intense cravings for unhealthy food, especially my childhood favorites. This was nothing unusual, as Anthony stated in his book that memories of old favorite foods can indicate a pocket of toxins leaving the body. The difference now is that I didn't act on them, which is progress all on its own. 

As for weight loss, I experienced close to a 5 pound drop, which puts me at my ideal weight. There's still a lot of toning and refining to do though, but I'll take care of that through upping my gym game and with continuing my healthy eating habits and not returning to fatty, rich foods, even if they are vegan (with the rare occasional exception, just being honest here). 

I never did this for weight loss, but it turns out that when you start healing a sluggish and stagnant liver, it helps get rid of extra weight without you having to heavily restrict calories. This lifestyle has a low calorie density anyways, which makes eating in large quantities weight-loss friendly. 

What Now?

After the detox ended I felt like, while I had really cleansed my body in amazing ways, I was in no way done detoxing. You can't reverse years of bad eating habits (hope my ancestors weren't big on junk food because I have to deal with that now too, apparently) in just a month. 

Laura Rodriguez

This week which has been my post-detox, I have kept it raw and am loving it. I will slowly add in cooked vegetables, nuts and seeds, and then move to some grains (gluten-free ones), but I will for sure stay mostly raw, especially in the mornings. I think I'm gonna continue with my smoothies and fruit bowls, with the rare occasion of oats and things like pancakes and chilaquiles. 

I love how raw feels and I don't want it to stop. But I need some potatoes in my life tbh. Soon. Will probably stay at 70-80% raw though. 

5 Tips For Thriving on a Raw Vegan Detox

Laura Rodriguez

1. Buy LOTS of food. I found myself going to the grocery store every other day because I kept running out of stuff. Keep your fridge and counter stocked up on your favorite fruits and veggies (organic is best but if conventional's all you got make sure to wash really well) for the week. You may spend a little more than usual during this time, and if you can afford it, embrace it and see it as an investment, because it really is. Otherwise, buy what you can and stick to cheap fruits like bananas and apples, which are just as healing. Freeze up some nanners and enjoy banana nicecream or smoothies for breakfast. Easy and cost-effective. 

2. Keep bad foods out of the house, if you can. If it isn't possible, do your best to resist, and remind yourself of why you're doing this. If it isn't an option to begin with, you struggle with it less. Think about it, is it really worth it to throw away all your hard work for a second of pleasure that's only gonna leave you with regret?

3. Be creative. If creativity is not something that comes naturally to you, turn to Instagram or to raw vegan food blogs for recipes and inspiration. Remember, we eat with our eyes too, so make your food pretty. Eating the same salad every day can get boring really fast, and can discourage you from continuing your cleanse. 

4. Never leave the house without a snack. There's a lot of temptation out there, and it can be easy to be distracted from your goals if you aren't prepared with a little bag of healing goodies. 

5. Listen to your body. If you've eaten the whole plate of fruit and still feel hungry, eat more. If, however, you're more like me and get full with half a cantaloupe for breakfast, honor that and don't try to overeat because of a raw foodie on Insta that eats 2 papayas for breakfast. 

This cleanse really changed me, not only in physical ways but in spiritual ways too. It seems crazy until you do it, I promise! I never expected to enjoy it so much. I thought I would suffer through it and would be counting the days until it was over. Quite the contrary as time literally flew by, and I savored every healing bite I took. 

If you're feeling the detox itch and want to jump-start your healing, I would recommend reading the Medical Medium book first to understand more profoundly how to properly detox. Knowing how what you're doing is helping rid you of toxins makes it much more powerful, believe it or not.

The only thing I'd say is don't do the detox as a "quick fix" only to quickly go back to your old habits because that can send your body into shock and make you regain any weight lost, not to mention possibly reverse healing. See it as a transition into a healthier lifestyle. It doesn't necessarily have to be raw vegan or even vegan–including more plants and living foods in your diet just about does it. Make a commitment and watch your health transform.