Struggling with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, Stacy Stowers sought a way to alleviate her pain. And she discovered it when she shifted to a raw food diet. Now she's created a cookbook and guide to her approach in "Eat Raw, Not Cooked" (click for details).
We asked Stacy to describe her journey from a life of limitations due to her condition to today.
"My symptoms resembled some of those with fibromyalgia, but I was first diagnosed with Valley Fever (Acute Coccidioidomycosis) at the age of 22 while living in Bakersfield California. This is the result of breathing in a spore found in the air. My symptoms resembled that of having the flu; fever, cough, chills, fatigue, all over body aches and joint pain," she recalled.
"The lower half of my legs were covered in painful red bumps that later turned black as my legs swelled up and I couldn’t walk. After an X-ray, there were lesions left on my lungs. I never fully recovered, leading to chronic coccidioidomycosis. During my 17 years of illness I would have short periods of recovery followed by periods of worsening symptoms. This common chronic illness led to the New York Times (July 5, 2013 article) to call Valley Fever “a disease without a cure”.
And then Stacy decided to try a raw food diet.
"When you are in constant pain, brain fog and your teeth are falling out, you will try anything, even if that means eating raw food for a week, and that is what I did. With a friend’s help I set out to eat raw food for one week as a “cleanse”, but I had to keep going and in just 10 days my health was reversed! I was pain free! My head was clear! The fog was gone. The only thing hurting on me were my smile muscles, because I couldn’t stop smiling. I had my life back after 17 years," she says enthusiastically.
And for those suffering but hesitant about what's involved in a raw food diet, Stacy offers encouragement to try her "Eat Raw, Not Cooked" book.
“Eat Raw Not Cooked” is a book of recipes for those who are new to their kitchens. I was known as the “microwave bandit” before I came to raw food. I wrote this book for people who are just like me. I needed this book. I needed the Happy Shake (page 3), which was my very first recipe I ever created. I needed easy tasty dressings for dipping vegetables or dressing a salad.
The Not Peanut Sauce (page 20) was my very first dressing. I think I ate it for a year and a half before I ventured on. I needed a recipe book with pictures. That is why I have insisted that every recipe have a beautiful full color photo. I also needed some warmth and comfort, and this is why I created Sunny Slope Farm Soup (page 108). I needed love and acceptance and not a book with a mission.
You don’t have to become a “raw foodist”, a vegan or be wealthy enough to only eat organic. By the way....I reversed my health in 10 days on non organic food. That speaks for the power of raw food. Eat Raw Not Cooked has a gentle approach that will help you to let go of your processed foods, while introducing you to the amazing healing powers of whole, fresh, real food.
We asked Stacy to share a few recipes below. All are reprinted with permission from "Eat Raw Not Cooked" (click for more information).
3 cups sliced summer peaches for blending
2 cups sliced peaches for filling pie plate
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
¾ cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (10 to 12)
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water, if needed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. For the filling: Place the 2 cups sliced peaches in a square dish or pie plate. In a
blender, combine the 3 cups of peaches, lemon juice, ginger, coconut oil, and honey
and puree. Pour the puree over the 2 cups of sliced peaches.
2. For the topping: In a food processor, combine the almonds, walnuts, dates, and
salt and process until the ingredients stick together. Don’t over process or you will
make nut butter.
3. Crumble 1. cups of the topping over the peaches and sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Chill for 3 hours. (You will have topping leftover: Add a dash of cinnamon and
make Nut Tassies by rolling the topping into little balls. Chill and share!)
S E R V E S 8
½ cup water
3 to 4 cups spinach
1 tablespoon coconut oil or 1 organic egg
1 tablespoon raw maca powder
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 cup frozen blueberries
¾ cup frozen cherries
¼ cup frozen banana, sliced in small pieces before
Optional: a little raw honey for those who like extra
Optional: 3 ice cubes or a small handful of ice for
those hot humid days
Toppings: Raw cacao nibs, goji berries, shredded
coconut, or fresh local bee pollen
1. The Base: In your Vitamix or blender start with the water.
2. The Greens: Here is your salad! Use a mild tasting green like spinach. Kale is way
too bitter and not happy.
3. A Good Fat: Add the coconut oil or egg. Good fat won’t make you fat, and is essential
for metabolizing the greens and keeping you feeling satisfied longer. Be sure to
add the fat after the greens, or it will get stuck on the bottom! Do not be tempted to
leave out the fat. If you are adding a raw egg, use less water.
4. The HAPPY Parts: Add the maca powder and cacao powder.
5. Blend all of these ingredients until they yield 1 cup of green sludge. (Do not add the
fruit until after making the sludge—this is very important for getting the right consistency.)
Add the 2 cups frozen fruit. (You can use any combination of blueberries,
blackberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas. My personal favorite
combination is blueberry/cherry. Find your favorite combo!) If you are using a traditional blender, a carrot will be helpful for pushing your frozen
fruit down the sides of the blender. This will give you a more efficient blend. The blending time is short to get a thick ice
Do not overblend; overblending will yield more of a shake like drink instead of the desired softserve ice cream texture. You’ll get the hang of it with practice.
5. The Toppings: Now it’s time to decorate your Happy Shake.
I like to add some raw cacao nibs. You can also top with
goji berries, shredded coconut, or fresh local bee pollen.