My Interview with MedWellness Italy!By Carol Alt / Post / October 19, 2016
While I was recently abroad in Italy, a lovely journalist by the name of Raffaella Quieti Cartledge sat down with me for an interview. She’s the editor-in-chief at MedWellness, which is a smaller publication, so I honestly wasn’t expecting SUCH an extremely high-quality interview! Raffaella definitely blew me away with her intelligence, kindness, and attention. I’ll post a link to the interview here, and the rest of this is the interview, just as published on her site. Check out MedWellness!
“Since her days as the world’s most renowned supermodel, Carol has gone on to be a multi-award winning actress, successful entrepreneur and best-selling author of Raw Food and Nutrition books. Hailed as the “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” by Playboy Magazine and the “Next Million Dollar Face” by Life Magazine in 1980, Carol has featured on over 700 magazine covers. Her acting career includes over 45 movies, mini-series and television series, both in America and abroad. Carol was featured in Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ playing Alec Baldwin’s wife and also has had great success in her role in Howard Stern’s ‘Private Parts’ produced by Paramount. She is the recipient of several acting prizes in Europe together with the CFDA’s Model of the Year award and The Woman of the Year Award for her charitable work. Carol’s first book on raw food, Eating in the Raw, came out in 2005 and was an immediate hit, remaining a perpetual best seller to this day.The Raw 50 (menus) was published in 2007 and her third book, Easy Sexy Raw was published in 2012. Her last book, A Healthy You, published in 2015, was based on The Fox News show she has hosted for two years, of the same name. She writes fiction too – her witty novel duo This Year’s Model and Model, Incorporated, draws on her modelling experiences.
Carol spends her spare time (what there is of it) raising money for her late brother Tony Alt’s Memorial Foundation – tamfi.org, gives 100% of its proceeds to worthy children’s charities, and co-authored another, about wellness and healthy living.
At 55 you look great and have written four books and co-authored another, about wellness and healthy living. How did it all start?
A friend of mine had a 22-year-old girlfriend who had overcome cancer with the help of a Los Angeles doctor who used alternative therapies, including a raw food diet, fresh juices, and supplements.At that time I was 36 and was not looking my best. I was starting to age and gain weight, while I was always hungry. Starving and gaining weight was not my idea of living a good life. There had to be a better way, so I gave this doctor a call. The moment he started to talk about the benefits of eating raw, I knew that what he was saying was the truth. Dr Brantley taught me how to eat raw foods, foods that have not been cooked at high heat and therefore preserve their essential enzymes. He showed me how to find the right ingredients which, at that time, were not easy to find. I learned how to cook lightly, so that fish or meat still retained its enzymes. I did everything he told me to do and felt immediately better. After a while people started asking me if I had had a face lift. The most discreet people asked if I had gone on vacation. I looked and felt so much better. I was reacting differently to all kinds of situations, feeling good in all instances while eating and losing weight. It was a miraculous transformation: from being hungry and grouchy, I started smiling at people and feel vibrantly healthy inside.
After you started to eat raw, you felt better and lost weight. What other changes happened in your body?
Raw food saved my life. I had suffered from stomach acid issues and the occasional headache. I was a frequent user of aspirin. I would catch colds all the time and I would be sick for months. I was so concerned about contagion risks that I became real diva about who was allowed to come near me. My health was so fragile that I did not want extras to meet me while I was on a movie set. After I started eating raw, I was not hungry, I was able to stay skinny and had a much improved immune system. But there was more; I had more stamina, more energy, better skin and my nails were growing stronger. Plus I could stay skinny and not work out. It was a dream come true, everything you want as a woman. Previously I would have to take antibiotics all the time. The minute I gave up gluten my constant sinus infections stopped.
Have you eliminated bread/gluten from your diet?
Gluten in itself is the result of a process that eliminates most of the wheat’s nutrients. Since I stopped eating regular bread, I have started eating sprouted bread. Sprouting releases all the vital nutrients in whole grains. Sprouted grains become ‘alive’ and full of nutrients. The flour made from these grains provides more protein, vitamins and minerals than refined flours. Where white bread is made by removing the wheat kernel’s germ and bran (containing the nutrients), sprouted-grain bread is made from wheat kernels that have been sprouted, ground and baked into bread, keeping all the nutrients our bodies can recognise and utilise, and giving us grains with more protein and less fat than other breads. I also advise people to avoid products that come from genetically modified and hybrid wheat.
What are your thoughts on the typical Italian diet?
The typical Italian diet uses plenty of raw food and condiments: cold pressed olive oil, fresh tomatoes, carpaccio, bresaola, prosciutto.But the pursuit of profit has compromised the quality of some of your healthiest products. Years ago I was in a small town in Italy and we were walking around a village square. The man who ran the most famous family-run olive oil company at that time, approached me and we started to chat. He told me with pride how his company had managed to meet the growing demand and introduced heat in the olive oil extraction process. To his disappointment I told him how, single-handedly, he would create so many fat people in your wonderful country. I said “watch what will happen in 10 years”. Almost 9 years later, I read in Time Magazine that the Italians now have one of the highest percentages of obese children in the world. The population needs to be informed about these dangers, because they get fat and they don’t know why.
What happens to food when it is heated?
When you heat food up, you change its molecular structure. This, in its turn, changes people’s ability to metabolise it. Heat causes the following reactions in food:
1 – It kills enzymes: We have to create enzymes to digest food. Raw food provides both the enzymes that break the food down, and the acid that prepares food for their action: hydrochloric acid, produced by the stomach, has the job of preparing foods for digestion, especially proteins. If you make plenty of hydrochloric acid, the enzymes can adequately digest protein. The human’s digestive system was made to eat raw food, but we primarily eat cooked food. Because of this, over time, our body stops making enough hydrochloric acid. Without it, proteins are only partially digested. Good, efficient digestion is vital for normal health and prevention of disease. We can be obese and at the same time starved of nutrients – or slim and very well nourished.
2 – It breaks the bonds between vitamins, therefore making them less absorbable.: The bonds that build vitamins and minerals are heat sensitive. They need to be in the presence of specific other vitamins and minerals in order to be identified and absorbed. For example calcium can only be absorbed in the presence of magnesium and vitamin D.
3 – It changes the ph level which becomes acid: The unfair reality is that we are all acid systems. We create tons of acid: lactic acid when we exercise and hydrochloric acid when we digest. Most diseases, including cancer, come from inflammation, which thrives in an acid environment. So we are alkaline by necessity and produce too much acid. We are unable to create alkalinity in our body. But raw food is alkaline. Therefore it dramatically reduces the acidity of our body.
4 – It modifies its molecular structure: The healthy fat in olive oil that feeds your skin, hair and nails, turns into harmful trans-fat when heated at very high temperatures. Cooking makes garlic less potent because heat reduces the amount of health-promoting allicin, so it’s best to add your garlic just before you finish cooking. On the other hand, the cooking process can sometimes release nutrients that would be difficult to get otherwise. For example, cooking carrots allows us to get more beta-carotene, which we convert to vitamin A. But if you take the same carrot and traumatise its cell wall, you will get carotene. Juicing a carrot releases the maximum beta-carotene, while keeping the enzymes as well.
Why is raw food not as freely available as we would like it to be?
There are industry logistical bottlenecks. For example, I eat plenty of raw dairy – there is nothing wrong with it. But the dairy industry in the US does not want to deal with the fact that the raw milk goes bad in three days. They cannot deliver in three days. Raw milk has bacteria that helps digest the lactose. When you cook it, you kill that bacteria and change the structure of lactose. If you were not born with those bacteria (therefore you have lactose intolerance) you cannot digest it.
Do you have any advice for people who are trying raw for the first time?
Start reading the label. Eat organic and local when possible. Eliminate processed and refined food from your diet. Eat wild fish and sear it. When you cook or eat out, eat rare meat which will have some live enzymes inside. Learn how to refrigerate and source raw products. Use common sense: you cannot go to restaurants where there is low turnover. Try to find out what you are eating. I tend to lose more weight when I am in Europe, as one of the problems in the US is that sugar is added to everything, including sushi. Look around, try stuff, do your homework. Check what you like and don’t like. Clean out your closet so that you cannot be tempted with old food and habits.
Do you have more advice that would improve people’s health?
I recommend the medically guided use of supplements, and discourage people from blindly taking general multivitamins. Even raw foods today may not have what we need. The soil vegetables grow in may not have all the nutrients the produce needs to transfer to us. I get my hair and blood tested, and when a lack of vitamin or mineral is apparent, I change my supplement schedule accordingly. I take a large number of supplements a day and have regular hair and blood tests to monitor the situation.I also recommend the use of alkaline water. Our ideal PH is 9.5. I use an alkalyzer in my sink that separates alkaline from acid water. I drink the alkaline. The acid residual can be used for some plants and as an exfoliator for our skin. By following a raw diet and supplementing your vitamin and mineral needs you don’t just live a healthier and better life but you will prevent the world’s top killer diseases like cancer. A 12 part blog on how to prevent cancer is about to be published on my website, so watch that space.”
Edited by Jake Layton