It all started about five years ago when a 340-pound Jeffrey Milligan decided it was time to make a change.
“I went on a gospel cruise and when you see yourself in a bathing suitat that size, it can tell you a lot about yourself. I knew I wanted to get rid of my belly fat and change the way I was eating but had no idea how to make that change,” said Milligan, a diabetic who had high blood pressure at the time. “I was first introduced to this raw foods lifestyle of eating by someone on the cruise and never looked back.”
Today, Milligan, 48, is touting the benefits of his new lifestyle. Milligan, also known as Raw Chef Jeff, demonstrated just how delicious—and healthy—raw foods can be during a free class that he led on Jan. 22 at the downtown Atlanta Public Library. He prepared a kale salad and his award-winning “chicken” salad for attendees to sample. Milligan won the 2013 100 Black Women’s Gourmet Gents foodie event’s “Vegan Side Dish of the Year,” for his mock chicken salad.
The award-winning salad is comprised of almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, sea salt, onion, celery, sage, red pepper and apples.
Traci Thomas, one of about 20 people who attended Milligan’s class, was impressed after trying samples of the salad and mock chicken Milligan prepared at the library.
“The presentation had a lot of good information, but it was really something to hear Jeff’s personal story. That part was great,” said Thomas, who has been a vegan for 12 years. “From the plant-based foods like kale to the fruit smoothies, there are a lot of ways to get in on this lifestyle. I’m glad to see people like Jeff staying on it and spreading this type of message.”
Milligan has spent the last four years spreading what he calls “the truth” about food, the benefits of a raw diet.
“I used to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes and be dog tired. Now, I can run for at least 60 minutes, feeling as strong as an ox,” Milligan said. “Try this diet and I guarantee that you will gradually see a change for the better.”
Milligan said he gave up foods such as cheeseburgers and pound cakes for raw foods. Along with the switch in diet, he exercised and went from a 6’3 frame of 340 to 260 pounds in a matter of months. He said he was sometimes losing as much as a pound a day. But it was the doctor’s report that he received that really confirmed that he made the right decision to change his diet.
“My doctor looked down at the paperwork and looked up at me. He said: ‘Jeff we don’t have anything to talk about. Have any purses I can buy?’ I was selling pocketbooks on the side at the time,” said Milligan. “I was taken off diabetes and high blood pressure medicine all together that day. The food is your medicine. I’m living proof.”
Milligan said his favorite raw foods include: kale, avocados, organic bananas, dates, bok choy, spinach, and Brazil nuts and almonds (the non-flavored variety).
Milligan is licensed as a certified raw foods chef. He attended a three-week course at The Graff Academy in Roswell to become certified and he now teaches similar classes to those who want to learn how to cook raw.
Milligan says eating raw can be somewhat expensive in the beginning, but it is ultimately better for your health and your wallet in the long run.
“It’s an investment for a healthier life,” said Milligan. “Eating these foods together regularly can reverse those conditions you are currently suffering from.”
A raw foods diet consists of uncooked, unprocessed, and often, organic foods that are grown with no pesticides. Raw food diets may include a selection of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and non-pasteurized/non-homogenized dairy products such as raw cheese, and raw milk, said Milligan. “Raw foodism” can include any diet of primarily unheated food, or food cooked at less than 40 °C (104 °F) to 46 °C (115 °F).
Raw Chef Jeff says there are plenty of reasons why raw foods are better for you.
“Heating food over 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys much of the nutrients in your food. You won’t know this, unless you try it for yourself, but eating raw gives you an amazing boost in energy,” said Milligan. “I’ve slept better than ever while eating raw. On most days, I wake up feeling full of energy. Eating raw has helped me focus better. I feel like a wall of fog was removed in my mind. It’s easier to think clearly and focus for long periods of time.”
For more information on Raw Chef Jeff, visit http://jefftherawfoodchef.com or call 404-461-9944.