Eating from the same menu for a full 30 days may sound boring, but what if those 30 days were only the beginning? Meet Charlotte-based stylist Kymm McLean, the girl who settled in at Luna's Living Kitchen in South End for a full month of raw food — morning, noon, night. After suffering from severe digestive issues all her life, McLean hung up her vegan shoes and dove into the raw foods movement. When her 30 days were up, she was more devoted than ever to her new raw lifestyle. More than five months later, McLean has liberated her body from chronic pain, not to mention an extra 40 pounds. Now she is spreading the word on a new blog, "Living Ripe," which launches later this month. McLean plans to show others how to incorporate raw food into any lifestyle.
Creative Loafing: Take us back to the beginning — what made you decide to go raw?
Kymm McLean: I spent most of my lifetime suffering from a digestive disorder. I tried every diet you can think of to help, but nothing worked. I started researching and discovered that the culprit behind the pain was all the processed foods I'd been consuming. The more I researched, the more I learned the perks of a raw diet. I figured, what the hell, what do I have to lose?
Thirty days. One restaurant. Only raw food. Were you nervous?
I was terrified. I committed to 30 days, no matter what. I didn't know what would happen; no expectations, just blind faith. I was nervous to meet with the owner of Luna's. It was a really personal story; but the owner was amazing, very supportive, and there were so many menu choices. It was only 72 hours into the 30 days that I felt a significant change. No bloating, no pain; I'm not saying this is a definite cure, but for me it worked. It was almost a religious experience.
What about the social scene? Does your raw lifestyle hinder your social life?
Not at all. I'm currently 90-percent raw. The other 10 percent is caffeine and the occasional vodka. I'm still living my life as I was before, except now, when I go out for dinner, I order a green salad and top it myself. I'm not your stereotypical raw person. I'm not a hippie, no dreads; I'm not some organic farmer. The raw food movement is not just for those types, that's what I want to show people. You can live a glamorous, sexy, modern lifestyle and maintain this very primitive diet.
Any words of wisdom for future raw foodists?
Don't jump right into detox and throw everything out of your kitchen. Transition. If you only like one vegetable, start there. Eat it raw, make it into a smoothie. It should be a positive experience; you're moving forward. This isn't a diet; no one is counting your points. Keep your expectations realistic because the diet mentality is lethal. It's about progress, not perfection.