Why Carol Alt looks better now than she did 10 years ago

Beauty Cred on 26 Jun 2006 at 9:52am

45 year-old former Sports Illustrated swimsuit babe, Carol Alt, doesn’t do cosmetic injectables like Restylane. She doesn’t do scalpels or lasers either. What she does do is not cook her food.

"11 years ago, when I was 34, I felt like my body was falling apart” recalls the 5’9” beauty who has graced more than 700 magazine covers and more than 65 movies.

“I had terrible sinus problems, bad acid indigestion, my skin was starting to wrinkle, I was gaining weight that was getting harder and harder to lose and, for the first time, PMS was becoming a problem."

"I was taking NyQuil to fall asleep, drinking coffee laced with scotch to wake up, popping Sudafed and inhaling Afrin to help with my allergies. I was a walking mini drugstore. And I kept thinking I'm only 34! What will I be like at 50?'"

Out of the blue, a longtime pal, whose girlfriend had made a remarkable recovery from pernicious cervical cancer by incorporating a raw food diet in to her treatment, recommended she get in touch with Dr. Timothy Brantley in Los Angeles. "I picked up the phone and Dr. Brantley started talking to me about how I ate and how the body works and introduced me to the concept of eating raw…it was the absolute biggest miracle I've had in my life."

Since having adopted the raw food philosophy ten years ago, she maintains that she has not taken one over-the-counter pill, not had any major colds or flus. Gone are her persistent stomachaches and nasal problems.

"I didn't take any drugs, I didn't get my stomach stapled…the only thing I changed was my food. And, even my mother, my most honest critic, now says to me 'You used to have all these fine lines and wrinkles. What happened?' And I laugh because, sure, you can go and inject Botox but six months later you have to do it again. This isn't going away."

What exactly is a raw diet? Can anyone besides bunny rabbits really subsist on it? The concept behind eating raw is that once foods are heated above 106-107 degrees Fahrenheit they begin to lose their nutritional value and that cooking above 116 degrees kills all enzymes (widely considered to be the "life force" of any food ) and so changes its molecular structures that it becomes toxic to the body.

As a frame of reference, most traditional cookbooks suggest heating, say, your roast beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 135-140 and that's just for a medium-rare roast.The majority of soups, sauces, stews, etc. are prepared at boiling point – clearly well past the 106 degree cut off point for raw foodists.

"When I was a model I starved myself. Now I have trouble keeping weight on because sometimes I forget to eat! You should eat such a big raw breakfast that your lunch is chosen with your head, not with your stomach – that way, you chose the proper things for your body in terms of nutrition.

One doctor explained to me "that it's basically a preferential exchange between your body and fat. The human body cannot use cooked fats. But, if you consume raw ones, your system will exchange the bad cooked fats for good raw fats which become stored and, ultimately as you call upon this energy you get thinner and thinner because you're drawing fats out of your system and using them – cooked fats always stay there."

Carol maintains that being a raw foodist does NOT mean that you have to become a vegetarian or a vegan, though many who chose to adopt this lifestyle are. "For me that is way too strict," says Alt. "I love raw (unpasteurized) cheeses and I love honeys and I love seared fishes and tuna carpaccios and tartars."

If you absolutely can't give up red meat, get it seared or "black and blue" because, explains Carol, "that is much better for you than having your meat cooked all the way through. This way, at least it's a percentage raw and a percentage cooked and if you get the percentage raw it's got enzymes in it and raw fats and minerals and vitamins in it and that's what I’m after -- the part that's going to help you digest what you've just eaten AND feed your body."

Interest piqued? Pick up a copy of Carol’s book, “Eating in the Raw” – wherein she extols the virtues – from optimum health to weight loss and fewer wrinkles – of eating a raw food diet, and introduces the concept in a beginner-friendly, 'I'll walk you through it', kind of way.