I started researching raw food and Natural Health back in 2005 while living in Camden town. Camden has a cool vegan and mostly raw restaurant called InSpiral Lounge on Camden High Street. This was the first raw food restaurant I ever visited and I remember thinking that the food tasted like cold vegetarian food. This is was before my taste buds adapted to the new flavours and texture of raw food.
I’ve eaten at this place ever since, whenever I feel like indulging in raw chocolate and oil nut based raw ice cream. My love for chocolate disappeared over the years as I increased my consumption of fresh fruits. I also replaced eating oil nut based ice cream with frozen fruit based ice cream.
If you visit Camden Market at the weekend, you can drink freshly squeezed orange juice from various market stalls and vendors in the streets. I wish this practice were more widespread around London; who wants to drink pasteurised orange juice when you can have the real thing? Freshly squeezed orange juice should also be sold at airports; you get them in Spanish airports and other places but sadly not in UK airports. Then again, they do grow oranges in Spain!
Whilst studying nutrition and Natural Hygiene I often visited the Nutri Centre Bookshop on Park Crescent, W1. It is a specialist bookshop where you can find rare books about nutrition and natural health. I bought most of my books and study materials online, but it is nice to visit book stores from time to time and this one in particular.
I moved to Covent Garden in 2009; Covent Garden is Theatreland. I’ve always loved this part of London because of its architecture and general vibe, though I hardly ever go to the theatre! I also lived here when I first moved to London in the early 1990’s, but it’s changed quite a bit since then, it’s a lot more touristy now and even has the biggest Apple Store in the world!
Covent Garden held London’s main fruit and vegetable market in its central square for hundreds of years until it moved to south London in mid-1970’s, where it is now called New Covent Garden Market.
When it comes to food shopping, by far the best choice is to buy your fruit and vegetables from street markets, there are very good local markets widespread all around London. You can also buy fruit and vegetables from the big chain supermarkets, but in my experience, I would only recommend buying greens from supermarkets; you get a better deal buying fruit from street markets, and it is generally sweeter and more ripe than that sold in supermarkets.
The closest access to fresh fruits and vegetables I’ve found while living in Covent Garden is Chinatown, and Berwick Street Market in Soho. There is also a clean and professionally run fruit stall, just outside Holborn Station, where they sell a wide variety of great quality fruit.
I’ve been going to Berwick Street Market for over 20 years as it’s in the middle of Soho. Soho used to be a magnet for DJs because of the many music shops selling vinyl. I’ve even known some the vendors in the market for that many years.
There’s a wide selection of produce available here and most of it is good quality, especially from those stalls that buy from New Covent Garden Market.
Chinatown is a convenient place for me to buy fruit and vegetables, but it’s very expensive too. I can get the same quality stuff at a fraction of the price at many other markets. Nowadays I only buy fresh Durian from Chinatown. You can also buy frozen Durian but I wouldn’t recommend it, because it’s made me a bit sick every time I’ve eaten it. It’s best to avoid buying all processed foods, even if they are raw.
There are also some nicely displayed fruit stands in Oxford Street, but they tend to be expensive as well. They are only convenient while you are shopping in the area. Please note that eating the correct raw food diet means you are hardly ever hungry or thirsty, so you almost never have the need to top up with food or drink while you are out on the street.
I walk the West End of London for hours at a time without the need to eat anything, or even drink water. This was definitely not the case when I ate SAD (Standard American Diet) in the past; I always had the need to buy some fizzy drinks and eat any kind of junk food, such as chocolate, sweets and a million other things.
In time you might find it easier to buy your fruit in bulk, direct from a wholesale market, and at half of the price. The UK’s largest wholesale fruit and vegetable market is New Covent Garden Market, located in Nine Elms, Vauxhall. The market is open from 00:00 – 06:00 Monday to Saturday and entry is also allowed to the general public. It is for individual traders to decide if they will serve the public but I’ve never experienced any problems, especially when they got to know me.
New Covent Garden Market is an oasis of fruit and vegetables from all over the world, sometimes I think I could live there! I find it handy to visit every 10 days or so and buy all the fruit I need at once. It saves me a lot of time I would spend day to day shopping. It was quite an experience going to the market for the first time because all the traders looked at me a bit sideways! It made more sense when I told some of them I was a raw foodist. I found lots of people working there really interested in my diet, “My wife will be well into this” was a common line!
New Covent Garden Market is well organised and very clean. Some of the shops play the radio really loud with music, mostly from the 1980’s. Getting there in the early morning with Fleetwood Mac blasting out at volume always gets me in a good mood. Beware of all the forklift trucks going as you are walking around!
In order to thrive on a raw food diet it is best to learn how to eat well at home, and prepare your own meals. I occasionally eat out at restaurants and there are some good places, such as 42Raw in Burlington Gardens, W1 and Wild Food Café in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden. They have some nice recipes but beware they are all high in fat, though eating them once in a while is OK.
I went off the idea of sitting down and eating in restaurants; I almost have too much energy for that. I’d rather use my time to exercise or do any other activity.
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