‘We, As Humans, Have a Sweet Tooth for a Reason. Fruit Is Our Friend, Not Our Enemy.’
Alicia Grant has put herself to many tests in searching for solutions to several health issues, but a fruit-based raw food diet is the one that lifted this 42-year-old woman from Orange County, California, to reach great heights in health and in the health movement.
Alicia recalls suffering from constipation and a bloated belly as far back as a toddler in potty training. These ailments worsened as the birthdays passed. By 12, Alicia began to break out with acne, and she describes her menstrual cycles as “absolute torture” and an “emotional roller coaster.” Regular headaches saddled Alicia and often progressed to migraines, sending her to hospital emergency rooms for relief.
Alicia took beta blockers to prevent headaches and was on several medications, including Accutane, for acne as well as over-the-counter pain medications for to abate her PMS symptoms and other maladies plus laxatives for constipation.
“Needless to say, I rarely felt good,” Alicia said.
In her late teens and early 20s, though, Alicia began taking charge, learning about health and what true health looks like. “I decided I didn’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life, and my personal journey to wellness began,” she said.
Alicia explored many diets and healing modalities, from Ayurveda, vegetarianism, herbs, chiropractic care and kinesiology to acupuncture, acupressure, massage, colon hydrotherapy, meditation and prayer. None of these produced lasting effects that compare with being on a low-fat raw food diet, Alicia said.
Alicia’s first brush with a raw food diet came in 1999 when she met Woody Harrelson’s brother, Jordan, who convinced her to read Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s impactful book Fit for Life. She wound up reading Fit for Life II and was “blown away” by what she learned. These lessons include an understanding about our food supply and how farm animals are treated as well as a look at the medical establishment and how it operates. Alicia also learned about the importance of food combining and eating raw foods.
“This book opened my mind in a whole new way and lifted the blinders from my eyes,” Alicia said. “I began following every principle outlined in the book for best health and felt a massive improvement within the first week. Suddenly, my digestion was working perfectly, my mood was uplifted, and I felt light and free. It was incredible.”
Alicia faced resistance from family and friends, however, for wanting to eat a diet of only raw foods. She lacked support from a blossoming community of raw fooders that exists today on the Internet and eventually returned to her old way of eating. All her health issues came back. “Without support, it was rough,” Alicia said.
Ten years later, in 2009, after she had tried all the many aforementioned healing modalities, Alicia went on a three-week cleanse designed to eliminate constipation. During the cleanse, certain foods were eliminated, and fruits and vegetables were at center stage for several days during the midway point. “On those particular days, I felt so much better than I had in a long time, and it reminded me of Fit for Life and how great I felt eating an all-raw diet,” she said. “As the cleanse came to a close and I was guided to reintroduce the foods I had eliminated such as meat, dairy, grains and legumes, I started to feel horrible again. I knew at that moment that my body had no need for those foods, and I decided to go raw vegan overnight and never looked back.”
Alicia dove headfirst into her newly adopted lifestyle, purchasing many books and signing up for recipe classes at her local Whole Foods market. Most of these were gourmet raw recipes, making heavy use of fatty foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds.
During Alicia’s early days on her second transition to a raw food diet, she experienced cravings for salty, crunchy foods such as popcorn. Occasionally, when the craving proved to be too strong, Alicia ate a couple of handfuls of Trader Joe’s organic air-popped popcorn, lightly sprayed with olive oil and a little bit of salt.
At the time, Alicia’s husband was consuming cooked foods but had cleaned up his diet after experiencing “horrible pain” and learning that his doctor wanted to remove his gallbladder. He eliminated dairy, sugar, white flour and all meat except for chicken. He was skeptical of Alicia’s lifestyle—and so was the rest of her family.
“They had so many questions, and a few of them voiced their opinions strongly, saying I should not be eating this way,” she said. “I completely understood their concern, since I believed the same before I made changes. What we’re raised to believe is something completely different. We are taught the major food groups of meat, dairy, grains, legumes, etc. We’re taught we can’t survive without animal protein.”
Alicia was challenged as she continued to prepare her husband’s food. Aromas proved to be “very tempting,” she said. “When steaming his broccoli, I would try a small piece or two from time to time, but it never really did much for me tastewise,” she said. “Eventually, after being raw for many months, I tried a small amount of his steamed broccoli again, and within a couple of hours, I had a sore throat for the rest of the day. That put an end to that. I had no interest in creating uncomfortable symptoms for myself.”
Alicia’s high-fat raw food diet was weighing her down, and some more research enabled her to discover Dr. Doug Graham’s book The 80/10/10 Diet. “This made so much more sense to me than my high-raw raw diet, and I made the switch to low fat, high fruit right away. I immediately felt the difference in my digestion and overall well-being. My body loved the change, and all of my meals tasted amazing.”
Alicia’s fruit-based diet spurred new questions—especially about sugar consumption—from her family and friends. She assured them that bonobos, whose DNA is 99 percent the same as human beings’, eats mostly fruit with some greens and a small amount of nuts and seeds. “We, as humans, have a sweet tooth for a reason,” she said. Alicia also relays to those concerned for her examples of friends with Type 1 diabetes who are thriving on this lifestyle and Type 2 diabetics who have reversed their condition by enjoying mostly fruit. “Fruit is our friend, not our enemy,” she said.
With Alicia thriving on a raw vegan diet, her husband made a dietary change, dropping chicken. “I never said one word to him about changing his diet—ever,” Alicia said. “I just let him do his thing; however, leading by example, my actions alone motivated him to change. He realized that if I could survive on a raw vegan diet and actually feel much better than I’d ever felt before, he could easily survive on a cooked vegan diet. He loves what he eats now and is so careful about the ingredients that go into his food.” Her husband’s gallbladder condition—and pain connected to it—have vanished.
Six years into enjoying a low-fat raw vegan diet, and Alicia said she couldn’t imagine ever going back to eating a standard American diet. She counts increased energy, strong digestion, clear skin and a headache- and PMS-free life among the benefits she’s realized. She also no longer gets colds or flus, which she used to experience every year at least twice. Additionally, nail fungus vanished after about six months on a low-fat raw food diet. Finally, dental plaque, once a “huge issue” before Alicia went raw, is a thing of the past. “Now I’m in and out of the dental hygienist’s chair in about 20 minutes with lots of praise from both my hygienist and dentist.”
Alicia has bloomed on a fruit-based diet. “Eating this way makes me feel so good,” she said. “I love that no animals will be harmed or die at my expense. In addition, I also really like the fact that being vegan has a huge, positive impact on the planet, not just my body and my health.”
Many of Alicia’s family members and friends have improved their diets since seeing Alicia positively flourish on a fruit-based lifestyle. Some strive for veganism, and none of them question her dietary choices anymore. “I’m always amazed at how eating this way inspires others,” she said. “It still surprises me when people tell me my dietary choices have influenced them to make positive changes in their own diet for the better.”
Even with all of Alicia’s successes on a fruit-based diet, she has still faced several challenges that called for her to continue to learn and be open to solutions. Alicia notes that in the beginning of her second raw food journey, in 2009, her hormonal migraines and menstrual cramps disappeared. Once she switched to a raw food diet with a focus on fruit and minimal amounts of fat, Alicia began to experience these symptoms again. “When I cut fat out of my diet completely for a while, I noticed that this seemed to make the headaches worse but the cramping better,” she said.
Alicia initially thought the rich amount of fats—especially the hemp oil, rich in omega-3—she consumed might’ve been the reason for her success early on with no hormonal migraines and menstrual cramps. She later learned that eating greater amounts of fat increased her cycles on a fruit-based diet, causing more pain. Ultimately, she determined that she had used apple cider vinegar regularly while consuming gourmet raw foods. A recent two-month experiment with this vinegar saw Alicia’s symptoms disappear. She surmises that her stomach acid might be low and that apple cider vinegar brings it back into balance. Tests she will soon order will let her know for sure.
Alicia and her husband also tackled health issues caused by parasites. Even though a low-fat raw food diet improved her digestion, Alicia began experiencing bloating and constipation again. About the same time, her husband began feeling extreme arthritic symptoms. They asked their sports injury specialist for help, and he suspected parasites. Tests proved his call was correct.
The Grants tried prescription medication, herbal formulas, papaya seeds, but nothing worked for good. Alicia searched relentlessly for answers online and discovered parasite zappers. They started using a Basic Zapper. “In just 24 hours, I felt so different,” Alicia said about using a zapper for the first time in July 2010. “I got the best night’s sleep in a long time and felt so relaxed when I woke up. My body felt like it had been replaced with someone else’s body.” She soon upgraded to a Terminator Zapper.
“It was a little bit of trial and error in the beginning because we didn’t know the importance of keeping the copper contacts clean and changing the battery every few days, but once we found that out, within a month, my husband was completely better, and I was right behind him in my success,” she said. “… We wore the zapper 24/7 for the first 30 days and, after that, at night for maintenance for a few months.”
Alicia said she now wears her Terminator Zapper if her digestion or sleep feel off. “I can’t imagine where I would be without that simple little device,” she said.
Watch Alicia Talk about Her Experiences with Zappers
Alicia’s vitality improved on a fruit-based diet and then declined after several years. She discovered that she was extremely low in Vitamin D and iodine. “Since getting my levels back up to where they need to be, my energy has improved and I feel much more energized and ready to go in the morning, and the energy lasts throughout the day without the typical midafternoon slump I always experienced on [the standard American diet],” she said.
Alicia also faced food sensitivities to all acid fruits, some subacid fruits and most greens. “The skin on my face would burn, become very red and break out with acne after eating offending fruits,” she said, adding that oranges were the “worst offenders.” She would also break out in hives from fruits and greens. Her sensitivity to acid fruits began in her teens, but she was not aware of the other sensitivities until switching to a fruit-based diet. “I seemed to continue to develop more sensitivities as time went by to the point where I eventually became extremely limited in what I was eating. It got to where I was living on about seven fruits and no greens for about nine months. … I was told by many health practitioners over the years that I had leaky gut, although there were no real tests done for solid evidence. I believe that due to a lifetime of constipation, my gut was seriously compromised, and it is highly likely that leaky gut was the main reason my body went out of balance in many directions.”
Alicia met Dr. Doug Graham at a Woodstock Fruit Festival, and he suggested that Alicia fast with him because he said it was her best option for success, adding that she likely would develop even more sensitivities. Alicia completed a 13-day fast with Graham in Sedro Woolley, Washington, in 2012. “[I] fortunately healed all my food sensitivities and … can now eat all fruits and greens without those reactions,” she said. “That has been the biggest blessing!”
Alicia’s exercise program has been the most consistent in the past year, since she began barefoot walking. “I’ve become completely addicted to it,” she said, adding that she walks 2 to 3 miles almost every day. “Following a fruit-based diet naturally helped me feel more connected to nature. It made me want to get outside, but once I began barefoot walking, I felt the need to be outside, connecting my bare feet with the energies of the earth.”
Alicia calls the practice of barefoot walking “meditative” and “incredibly grounding” as well as “healing.” “I find cuts and scrapes that would typically take more than a week to heal on a Western diet and a few days on a fruit diet [to] heal almost overnight with regular barefoot walking. I can only imagine the internal benefits I’m receiving that I cannot physically see!”
On a low-fat raw food diet, Alicia enjoys large meals of fruit for breakfast and lunch and usually a large salad for dinner with a fruit-based dressing blended with 1 tablespoon each of hemp and chia seeds or another kind of fat such as avocado, coconut, almonds, walnuts or tahini. “I’m very particular about food combining, so I don’t tend to mix fats together other than the hemp and chia, which digest well for me,” she said.
Alicia loves having freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast (25 to 30 ounces), sometimes blending fresh fruit with the juice. For lunch, Alicia enjoys seasonal fruits such as persimmons, bananas, cherimoya and apples and dates. Dinner sees Alicia preparing a salad with romaine lettuce or other leafy greens along with arugula, spiralized cucumber or zucchini noodles, tomatoes and a fruit dressing. Among her favorite dressings are mango and orange or tangerine juice blended with hemp and chia seeds.
Alicia’s favorite fruits are California Keitt mangos, Pierce cherimoyas, Barhi dates, Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons and mangosteen. Her favorite greens are romaine lettuce, arugula, Chinese sword lettuce, cucumbers, celery and Mache. She enjoys growing on a small balcony sun gold cherry tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, strawberry spinach, fresh herbs and organic edible flowers.
Alicia shops farmers’ markets about twice a week—some weeks as many as five times—and knows many vendors by name. “They will often give me the best deals on their produce because of how long I’ve been buying from them and how much I typically purchase,” she said, adding that she often takes home some free produce because of the strength of her relationships with these vendors.
Alicia supplements with Vitamins D and B12 and iodine, after testing low in these nutrients, under the guidance of longtime raw fooder and Avoiding Degenerative Disease author Don Bennett. She also takes 1 heaping tablespoon of Daily Green Boost barley grass juice powder twice a day, following Bennett’s recommendation. After about four-and-a-half years on a raw food diet, Alicia said she wasn’t feeling as energized or motivated—and noticed she wasn’t sleeping well. Since supplementing with Vitamin D and iodine, she has felt much more energy and motivation and sleeps more deeply and soundly, waking refreshed.
Alicia points out that she began to feel dizzy after flying, boating and riding in elevators as well as after earthquakes as if the floor beneath her was swaying. Graham suggested she might be deficient in Vitamin B12. This turned out to be the case, with Alicia no longer experiencing dizziness after taking B12. She supplements with a sublingual B12 tablet every day.
She continues to work with Bennett on iodine supplementation but said her recent Vitamin B12 and D tests showed that her levels are appropriate. She cautions that self-supplementation with Vitamin D and iodine are not recommended because complications can result and adds that supplementation should be done under the guidance of an expert such as Bennett.
Alicia’s best advice for transitioning raw fooders is to find recipes that mimic their favorite cooked foods, especially the ones they’re tempted to go back to eating. “If they make the raw alternative, it will help satisfy the craving and keep them on the path,” she said.
Additionally, Alicia said those new to a raw food diet should never leave home without being prepared with food on hand. “Advance planning is crucial,” she said. “If you’re not prepared, it’s too easy to get hungry on the go and deviate from your good eating habits. It’s so easy to take bananas, dates, apples, tangerines or dried fruits on the go. Fruit is the most convenient fast food in existence.” Finally, Alicia said it’s helpful to take physical or mental notes of locations of supermarkets and health food markets, juice and smoothie bars, and cafés and restaurants offering fruit plates and large salads.
Alicia has shared her health journey with the world on her website, RawSynergy.com, and on YouTube via her Raw Synergy channel. “My whole process has always been to share my journey and what works for me along with the information I pick up along the way,” she said. “Then, I started sharing what wasn’t working for me or if I learned the previous information I shared was not valid. I try to be as transparent as possible.”
Ten years from now, Alicia envisions herself having a healing-retreat center close to the ocean in Orange County, California. “I would love to have a place that fosters community, where people can come for support, inspiration and information regarding how to live the healthiest, happiest life possible,” she said. “A place for mind, body and spiritual connection. A place people can visit for an hour, a day or a week to nurture themselves and reconnect with their true nature.”
Alicia also wants to continue connecting with folks around the world. “My goal is just to continue sharing my journey and experience as I grow and evolve, to be a positive light of influence,” she said. “I hope I can continue to inspire others to make better food and lifestyle choices and help people see there is hope no matter what situation they’re facing.”
Watch Alicia Talk about Her Skin Before and After Adopting a Fruit-Based Diet
Discover Alicia Grant’s Top 10 Tips for breaking cooked food addictions!
Hungry for more? Check out Alicia’s Incredible Date Dip with Sliced Apples recipe!