CAROL ALT's: Eating in the Raw Book by Christine Lynn Harvey

Supermodel Carol Alt has been eating a raw diet for the past 8 1/2 years and she says she's never felt better. At the age of 18, Alt was the youngest face to represent Lancôme; she has graced the covers of over 700 magazines including Sports Illustrated and has appeared in over 65 films and TV programs. Before changing her eating habits, she suffered from a variety of health woes that most people accept as normal - from chronic headaches and sinusitis to stomach problems and fatigue. Now, she just wants to spread the word about how eating a raw diet can change your life for the better. "At 34, I was way worse off than I am now at 44," she says. Alt uses the analogy of a golf cart. She goes when she needs the energy and when she doesn't, she relaxes, unlike a car which runs all the time regardless of whether the pedal is down or not.

Before eating a raw diet, Alt says, "The biggest part for me was confusion, What to eat, what not to eat, what would make me fat. There were so many diets to choose from. After I would eat, I would feel a lot of guilt, so, I just wouldn't eat. As a model, your whole job revolves around not only looking good, but feeling good - projecting that energy to everyone. Raw food is used up by the body, burnt away, doesn't take anything out of the body. So you always have energy."

Alt is a native Long Islander, having grown up in East Williston and graduating Wheatley High School in Old Westbury in 1978. A little known fact about Alt is that she joined the Army ROTC at Hofstra University where she got a scholarship to be a lawyer. She was studying to be a "JAG" but started modeling to help pay for college and the rest is history. Her first book, recently released,"Eating in the Raw: A Beginner's Guide to Getting Slimmer, Healthier and Looking Younger" (Clarkson Potter/Random House; 2005; $16) is a great book to help make the raw transition easier. Most people are afraid of what a raw diet entails, but Alt makes it easy. Her book includes chapters on what foods are considered raw, commonly asked questions, kitchen equipment needed, where to easily find raw ingredients, eating out, and extremely easy-to-make recipes.

Try Alt's "Creamy Carob Mousse" and you won't believe it's made with avocadoes! "When I would make it for my friends, I wouldn't tell anyone there were avocadoes in it until after they ate it; they couldn't believe it was so good!" The myth is that eating raw is time-consuming. While it does take a little pre-planning, the health rewards are well worth it. For example, soaking seeds and nuts so they germinate to release their enzymes, using cold-pressed oils and buying only unpasturized, unprocessed foods is the most time and money you will invest in a raw diet. Prep time actually takes less time since you no longer have to cook your food! Alt also educates you about foods that aren't really raw. The hummus you buy at the supermarket is made from cooked chickpeas; Alt offers her own raw version of the delicious Mediterranean spread. Raw food also should be eaten sooner, as the enzymes break down due to exposure to oxygen.

"Whenever I ate wheat (I'm not talking about sprouted wheat), I would clog up immediately. White flour, processed wheat is the number one killer of a good life," she says. This is because the body views wheat as a toxin and triggers an allergic response that causes an excess of mucous production. The mucous creates a breeding ground for germs in the body which results in chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, colds, flus and bronchitis. This mucous also lines your stomach and intestines which interferes with digestion. You end up with empty nutrition. When you don't absorb your nutrients, you become more vulnerable to the aging process and chronic diseases like cancer. "Raw food comes from God and your body was designed by God and meant to eat this way. He's created everything perfectly."

Alt was inspired by naturopathic doctor Timothy Brantley, ND and Nicholas Gonzalez, MD who successfully treats pancreatic cancer patients with a raw foods diet and other therapies. "I have seen people and talked with them and learned about their amazing stories and even I've had an amazing transformation myself," says Alt. "I haven't had an aspirin, a Ny-Quil, a coffee or a Tums in 8 1/2 years. I go to drugstores now and laugh at how I was a slave to them before."Alt says you can have your "cheat" meals and that you don't have to eat everything raw unless you feel like it. Alt still enjoys a little cooked popcorn at her hockey games.

You can find out more info about eating a raw diet and discover great raw food resources and products online at Carol Alt's website: www.carolalt.com. Front cover photo by Gideon Lewin, fashion by Joanna Mastroianni, hair and makeup by Rob Van Dorssen and Warren Tricomi Salon. Inside front cover photo is from the book jacket of Carol Alt's new book, "Eating in the Raw," courtesy of Potter Clarkson/Random House.