Heavy Burden: Eat It Raw

Why People Are Raving About The Raw Food Diet

Is a green liquid, which looks a lot like pond scum, the miracle we've all been searching for? A way to live longer and lose weight?

Stephanie Keys found out. "I'm heavier now than I've ever been in my entire life," said Keys, who lives in Los Angeles. "So that's why I'm giving this 21 days and trying it out."

Like a lot of women, this busy mother of two is watching her weight. A former Revlon model, she'd tried all the diets. So, she decided to try something new called "detoxing." Correspondent Bill Lagattuta reported on this health craze last fall.
It's a three-week program developed by nutritionist John Woods and Richard DeAndrea, a medical doctor who now practices alternative medicine.

Both men believe you need to detox – now more than ever.

"This is a harmless technique that has been done for thousands of years," says DeAndrea. "There's over 7.1 billion pounds of chemicals and neurotoxic waste dumped into the air, food and water."

"These things accumulate in your body," adds Woods. "How are you going to get rid of all this stuff?"

DeAndrea and Wood believe that by doing this three-week program, you can rid your body of these environmental toxins. Your energy will increase, your senses will sharpen, and maybe other medical miracles might follow.

"I never thought it would be possible to reverse asthma, heart disease, arthritis, osteoarthritis. I've seen those things happen," says DeAndrea.

But what Stephanie finds so attractive is the almost certain side effect: you lose weight.

"The obvious motivating factor for me is that I want to lose weight," says Stephanie. "I'm just really looking forward to it. I hope there's more radiance to come and you'll see less of me – hope you see less of me - and more of ME!"

Stephanie is not the only newcomer to the world of detoxing. Greta Rose, 33, who runs a gym with her husband, thinks she's been eating badly.

"I definitely eat a lot of sugar. I love caffeine. I have my Starbuck's coffee every single morning," says Greta.

And although she may not look it, she wants to lose some weight.

There is also Angela Johnson, a single nursing supervisor who comes from a family of big women. She's the skinniest and wants to stay that way.

"I just wanna be that 137-year-old fox. Still kickin'," she says.
These very different women are about to embark on a three-week plan that doesn't sound like much fun. There's no caffeine or alcohol allowed.

Week One: Woods says they can eat anything that isn't "an animal product and doesn't have a stimulating effect on your body." Translation? A strict vegetarian diet. No meat, fish or dairy products.

Week Two: Nothing you eat can be cooked.

"Instead of boiled vegetables, they would have a salad," says Woods. "They'd have nuts, seeds, grains, but everything would be uncooked."

"Raw, live, uncooked foods. All basically the same thing," says DeAndrea.

Week Three: Finally, the much awaited green sludge drink. It's a "plant-based, uncooked, blended diet," says Woods.

"What people learn through this is that, 'I might have to find the perfect diet for me as an individual,'" says DeAndrea. "You've kind of metabolically set your body for a clean slate, and it's almost as though now I can pick and choose because my body is sensitive, and I can feel what's happening when I take in this nutrition."

For a $200 fee, the detoxees are taught exactly how to make their food, and how to shop for it, with a field trip to a local organic supermarket.

"I don't cook. I don't prepare. I don't have time to do that. So it's going to be challenging," says Angela.
Now, it's time to put the detox to the test.

It's Day One and Angela is at her local juice bar for a custom-made breakfast smoothie. It's wheat grass juice, something she's never tried before.

Across town, Greta is also off to a rough start: "I've been feeling draggy all day. I'm definitely craving my cappuccino like you wouldn't believe."

But Stephanie has gotten off to a great start. And tonight, she's having dinner out at a vegetarian restaurant. "I need to be drastic about trying to get this weight off," she says.

Midway through the first week of the detox program, all Greta can think about is her favorite cappuccino, which she has agreed to give up.

"I'd say the first two days physically were really hard … really tired, really cranky," she says. "I told everyone to get away from me."

Her husband, Scott, is feeling the pain, too. "My dad used to call them VMS – 'Vicious Mood Swings,'" he says. "It's just that the diet has no sugar. No caffeine. And do it all at once. Plus, did she show you the shake? She couldn't even look at it in the glass."

Greta admits that the shake is hard to swallow: "You'd think this was 'Fear Factor.'" But it's only Day Four, and there are still 17 days to go.

During the first week of the program, Angela said she noticed a slight change: "I feel good. And my pants fit a little looser. And I don't feel that bloating."

Stephanie is also optimistic. She says she's lost seven pounds in seven days: "I'm feeling the benefits. I feel energy. I feel great."

Part II: Eat It Raw



  • Rebecca Leung

More From 48 Hours

Comments