‘My Dreams Took a Complete 180. I Have Found My True Passion.’
Elisa Oras suffered from depression, anxiety, digestive issues, acne and hair loss from 2006 to 2009, a time she refers to as a “transformation period.” She then gave up drinking and smoking and started to transition from consuming animal products to becoming a vegan after reading that dairy foods might have caused her acne.
The first brush with a raw food diet for the 27-year-old resident of Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city, came in 2008, though, when Elisa ate only apples for three days. “My acne got better, but the diet seemed so depriving,” she said.
Come 2010, Elisa gave a fruit-based diet another shot. “I tried to eat only fruit for three days again, and my acne got so much better than it had ever been before in such a short period of time that I sold my soul to raw food,” she said. “I was finally convinced.”
Over time, on a mostly raw vegan diet, the results quickly spoke for themselves. Elisa overcame all her symptoms, and her hair grew back thick and shiny. She reports that she has plenty of energy and no desire to drink alcohol or coffee or other stimulants.
Elisa eats fruit during the day and cooked low-fat vegan meals for dinner. She counts durian, mango, nectarines, peaches, dates and persimmons among her favorite fruits. Her go-to greens are butter and iceberg lettuces. She has experienced periods of being wholly raw but struggles eating this way.
“The most challenging thing for me was trying to be 100 percent raw,” she said. “I went through a very hard time two years ago when I developed bulimia, trying to be 100 percent low-fat raw, which lasted about 30 days and then binging on cooked junk food for two months—and then repeated the cycle. Now, I’m more relaxed. The most important thing is to be happy about what you eat. Maybe in the future I will be totally fruity. Maybe not. We’ll see.”
Elisa said transitioning raw food enthusiasts are wise not to take an all-or-nothing approach with diet, pushing themselves between cycles of raw food and old favorites. “Do not punish yourself for not being perfect, and don’t deprive yourself,” she said.
A way to get to raw bliss faster, Elisa said, is for one to surround yourself with lots of fruit to be sure you don’t get too hungry or succumb to cravings. Even so, a transition is helpful for most, she said.
“Take your time to transition,” she said. “You don’t have to be 100 percent low-fat raw overnight or even in a few years to feel good.”
A mostly raw food lifestyle also got Elisa moving. She’s been running consistently for two-and-a-half years, enjoying 60-minute runs three days a week at a “lower pace,” finishing with stretching. She also benefits from a strength-training program a few days a week.
Elisa traveled to Australia and other destinations in 2011, meeting fellow raw food enthusiasts and launching her blog, FollowTheIntuition.com. She also enrolled at the University of Natural Health to learn all she can about a low-fat fruit-based diet.
Like many raw food fans, Elisa discovered a calling to shout the merits of a fruit-based diet to the world.
“My dreams took a complete 180,” she said. “I was actually an interior architect, but since discovering raw food, I’m totally hooked and now make a living promoting raw food. I have found my true passion. It doesn’t feel like work, but I guess it is my full-time job now.”
These days, Elisa is immersed in promoting a raw food recipe book, Toortoit (Raw Food, in Estonian), she and her friend, Mariin Manglus, published. They plan to translate the bursting-with-color book, a bestseller in Estonia, to English.
Elisa’s work as an active promoter of a raw food diet in her native country has taken time away from her English-language-based blog this year, but she said she soon will launch another recipe book, 50 Low Fat Raw Vegan Salad Dressings, in English, and resume crafting regular blog posts.
Discover Elisa Oras’ Top 10 Tips for a healthful lifestyle!
Hungry for more? Check out Elisa’s Mango Chili Dressing recipe.