Going raw sparks life change -- and a movie

CANBERRA Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:23am EST

1 of 3. A worker picks some New Zealand spinach growing in a greenhouse at an organic farm located on the outskirts of Beijing June 20, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Inspired by a documentary about eating only McDonald's for 30 days, Jenna Norwood decided to go for the opposite and only eat raw, organic food for a month with the result sparking major lifestyle changes -- and a movie.

The 2004 film "Super Size Me" followed American filmmaker Morgan Spurlock for 30 days when he ate food only from McDonald's and supersized his meal every time he was asked -- and he put on 24.5 pounds and suffered mood swings and liver damage.

Florida-based Norwood said this got her thinking about what would happen if you only ate healthy food for a month so she decided to try it, keen to slim into a showgirl costume for Halloween, with a film crew following her during that time.

The result? A weight loss of 15 pounds, improved vision, higher energy levels, and a documentary called "Supercharge Me! 30 Days Raw" which has won several awards at independent films festivals with a wide release expected in January.

She decided to continue with her new regime after the 30 days and lost another 15 pounds, taking her down to about 122 pounds and with people starting to mistake her for younger than her 42 years.

"Things happened beyond my expectations. I had been a vegetarian for 26 years but I was an unhealthy vegetarian, eating a lot of junk and processed foods and always eating on the run," Norwood told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"This led to an absolute, complete change for me."

Since her month on raw food three years ago, Norwood has left her job in public relations, completed her documentary, started a raw food group, and opened two raw food restaurants in Sarasota, Florida.

Norwood says she continues to eat mainly raw food and her restaurants will serve raw and dehydrated food, in which the water is removed from food by blowing warm air over it for hours.

"Food exposed to a very low heat over a prolonged period of time can give very different textures and flavors," she said.

Norwood said eating raw did not have to be dull. Wine is distilled not fermented so is raw and you can get raw chocolate.

"If it weren't for raw chocolate I don't know if I could do this. We make raw chocolate brownies and truffles from which you can get all the satisfaction you need," she said.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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