Can a raw diet really cure cancer? Well, it hasn’t cured Kris Carr’s — but the woman behind the 2008 documentary “Crazy Sexy Cancer” has come out with a new book, “Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It!” This vegan-friendly tome is encouraging readers to try eating mostly raw — for optimum health, happiness and eco-friendliness.
The message appears to be popular; “Crazy Sexy Diet” is officially a New York Times bestseller.
The book’s popularity likely isn’t a surprise for those who’ve watched “Crazy Sexy Cancer” — a moving documentary that begins with the then 31-year-old actress Carr discovering that she has a rare form of incurable cancer — on Valentine’s Day, no less. But instead of sinking into despair, Carr starts to take control of her life by becoming a self-described “health junkie” — finding more health, happiness and even love in the process.
Watching the film inspired me to start following Carr's group blog at Crazy Sexy Life — which features health and wellness tips, advice and recipes. Early this year, all that advice got compiled into book form as “Crazy Sexy Diet” — and I couldn’t resist getting a copy.
I’m glad I did. Though the eating advice in “Crazy Sexy Diet” may be considered extreme, the book has a likeable, upbeat, sassy tone — kind of like “Skinny B*tch,” except a lot less angry. “Crazy Sexy Diet” is basically all about getting you to eat organic fruits and veggies — and a lot of them. Meat eaters may get a bit annoyed by the vegan menu — and certainly whether or not a vegan diet is the most optimal or greenest diet is debatable. But “Crazy Sexy Diet” isn’t too overwhelmingly preachy about veganism itself, instead choosing to focus on moving away from the inarguably unhealthy and ungreen standard American diet of processed edible food-like substances (including processed faux meats!) and factory farmed meats.
To that end, “Crazy Sexy Diet” weaves in a lot of eco-friendly eating ideas — by explaining the health and environmental consequences of factory farms, encouraging buying produce from local farmers, and preaching the downsides of a disposable bottled water habit. The book even includes a short essay about how to avoid potentially harmful chemicals in personal care products, written by Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
“Crazy Sexy Diet” isn’t a diet book focused on helping you lose weight. It’s actually a wellness book, focused on total health. A lot of advice — about trying meditation and yoga, for example — will appeal to mainstream readers. In fact, I’ve been convinced to try some lifestyle tips I’ve been curious about but never tried until now. Dry brushing, for example, sounds like it’ll feel soothing! And a neti pot is something even my sister, a medical doctor, has been urging me to use to temper my seasonal allergies. This week, a heat wave hit L.A. — which meant I could basically follow the book’s advice to visit a sauna just by sitting still in my tiny, AC-free West Hollywood apartment!
That said, “Crazy Sexy Diet” also contains recommendations that many medical professionals have quibbles with — and the superiority of an all-vegan diet is just the beginning. The diet portion of “Crazy Sexy Diet” recommends an alkaline — versus acidic — diet, which in more plain terms boils down to eating at least 60 percent raw, with a huge chunk of that raw diet coming from raw greens. The book also recommends an astounding number of supplements — though the FDA has not backed the multitude of vague wellness claims made about many of these. Many doctors would question whether the body really needs so many greens; many more have argued that the body doesn’t require fasting or detoxing, yet the “Crazy Sexy Diet” recommends an occasional liquid cleanse. The book also recommends colonics — another medically controversial practice — and even suggests shooting wheatgrass juice up into your lower bowels. I kid you not.
“Crazy Sexy Diet” makes an effort to answer questions raised by some doctors about these wellness recommendations. If you’ve wondered why raw foodies are so convinced their bodies will absorb enzymes from raw foods despite knowing that stomach acids can overpower those enzymes — or are worried that a colonic will flush out all the good bacteria you need in addition to the cruddy stuff you no longer want, “Crazy Sexy Diet” has answers for you — though fans of peer-reviewed scientific studies (me!) may not find them satisfying enough.
Still, I’ve found much to love in the book — so much so that I’m doing the “21-Day Adventure Cleanse” outlined in the book — with caveats. I’ll start my days off with green juices and smoothies — but I'll still indulging my coffee habit, though I’m using the cleanse as an opportunity to slowly wean myself off the caffeinated stuff. I’ve incorporated a lot more raw food into my life, but I’m also still eating some seafood. To me it makes more sense to get my B12 from real food instead of supplements.
The book does recommend taking things at your own pace and not being hard on yourself — so my modifications, I could argue, are an essential part of the cleanse. Regardless, I’m enjoying the new recipes I’ve tried in “Crazy Sexy Diet” — like the Cabbage Hemp Salad above (with brown rice and black beans) and Vanilla Chia Tapioca Pudding below (with mint leaf garnish and extra coconut nectar drizzled on top).
Want to try the cleanse yourself? “Crazy Sexy Diet” is available in hardcover for $24.95.
Photos: Siel Ju