I am a passionate raw foods chef, educator, published author & writer and combine my skills to offer a unique range of services to help you ‘bring your food to life’ and ‘be the best you possible.’ I run boutique holidays, retreats, cookery school, VIP days, create awesome recipes and so much more! Read my story below. Considering there is ‘no cure’ for my condition – you might be surprised by what you read!

Life Before Raw

I was not always raw – and far from it! In my late twenties career success became my prime focus and hand in hand with that came the absence of looking after myself. I wasn’t a ‘fat kid’ – but as I grew older I piled on the weight. I did no exercise. I had never been an exerciser! I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which is a chronic disease. I was overworked, undernourished and toxic.

I had been a vegetarian (well a pescatarian really) since the age of 20 so considered myself pretty healthy as I wasn’t eating meat but the truth be told I was eating ANYTHING that wasn’t meat. Now listen up – I wasn’t eating everything in sight or ordering take-outs every five minutes, far from it. Specifically I just wasn’t making conscious food choices. Not meat? Great! I was eating it.

The weight slowly piled on. I was eating a ‘normal’ diet but making poor food choices, portion control was probably an issue too. I had a rich dairy filled diet that included lots of boozy nights out with friends and late nights working or socialising. As a result, by my early 30’s, my weight was out of control – I was still focussing so much on my career I didn’t really focus on anything else. I had lost sight of ME.

Towards my mid 30s I realised that I had to take action and began experimenting with going to the gym (I was sauna’d out!) I had no idea what I was doing. I was instinctively focussing on cleansing my body (again I had no guidance really and was feeling a bit lost) and began to have colonics and rein the booze in a little. Over the years a few meaty dishes had crept into my diet and so I focussed again on my vegetarian roots. It was working and I lost a few pounds.

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PCOS

Suffering with chronic disease was hellish: when my disease, and lack of general health, was at it’s peak so was my weight. I had many of the symptoms of PCOS: excess and rapid weight gain, difficulty in losing weight, fatigue, anxiety and mood swings, ease in putting on weight, hormone imbalance, insulin resistance, hair thinning, miscarriages, chronic heavy periods, flash bleeding, periods that would last for more than five weeks at a time…. you get the picture. I also had ultrasound scans that showed that my ovaries were swamped with cysts. At this point I was really lost for a solution and was told that:

  • There is no known cure for PCOS
  • I would find it really difficult to lose weight, and that whatever I ate would probably be stored as fat
  • I needed to lose weight to break the insulin/weight gain cycle
  • I was told to ‘eat less pies’ (even though I wasn’t eating the pies!) basically the nutrition advice I got was awful

I had two options – continue with a course of drugs that were making me VERY unwell or have a hysterectomy.
There was no way that I wanted a hysterectomy, and I was feeling like crap taking all the drugs so I just stopped taking them. Why swap one set of hideous symptoms for another? In fact, I wasn’t swapping them. I was just ADDING to my PCOS symptoms as they didn’t ever go away!
At this point I had no solution. And I had no idea that my life was about to turn around.

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Before & After

Losing 120lbs and saying goodbye to PCOS

The Turn Around

It was on my 38th birthday that things took a turn. A friend of mine gave me a book as a gift. It was Jason Vales 7lbs in 7days. I was immediately insulted! ‘Are you trying to say that I am fat..!?’ I thought. Once I’d swallowed my pride I worked my way through that book and dabbled in a few juices. Eventually I made it to one of Jason’s retreats in Turkey and wooooosh!!! I was hooked. I lost more than 10lbs in a week! It was an unbelievable wake up call for me that even though I had PCOS (if you have it then you will know that you are told that there is ‘no cure’ and that it’s REALLY difficult to lose weight – only medication will help!) Wrong. The weight fell off.

I was experiencing Jason Vale‘s One Disease Hypothesis! One Disease – One Solution. Cleanse your body. Clear out the toxins. Give your body a break. Your diseases are a result of toxicity: allow it to heal itself (the body’s primary function) and your weight will rebalance. As the weight falls off the more capacity the body has to heal. It’s a wonderful cycle.

Going Raw

Well that was the start of my journey into raw. I juiced myself silly on and off for months and fell in love with all the flavours and of course the results. I carried my juicer everywhere. I lugged it across London in a cool bag if I was on the move. Wherever I went my juicer went. I was juice fasting aswell as juicing daily combined with eating healthily. And over time my body began to regain it’s balance. I didn’t lose weight at a shocking rate – it came away naturally and also it is worth mentioning that at this point I wasn’t ‘raw’ – just instinctively making better food choices. Fizzy drinks went out of my life aswell as most dairy products. It wasn’t enough for me however – I wanted to understand what pure eating was all about. I wanted MORE knowledge and I explored my raw food curiosities. I studied human nutrition and did spells of 100% raw for lent and for holidays. It was incredible. I then committed to doing 100% raw for a year (my Raw365 project!) which was my biggest learning curve!

What happened next was amazing!

VERY quickly my PCOS symptoms began to slow down. I was noticing changes. Periods were becoming manageable and more regular, less painful and my cycle eventually settled. In 2000 (my 40th year) I had my first full year of regular cycles EVER. E.V.E.R. I had no idea what that was all about! I had 11 periods in one year. Not bad for someone who sometimes had two or three that could last more than a month. It was unbelievable to me! My weight was balancing and I was feeling full of energy and feeling absolutely great! These changes were not JUST as a result of ‘eating less food’ I was hyperflushing my system with high levels of nutrition: I was detoxing and allowing my body to heal. For the nay-sayers out there: I did NOT go on a crash diet!! It took me years to lose the weight – and I am still slowly losing more. I was just healing at my own pace. Not bad is it? Considering that I was told that there is no cure. I might have had my womb removed at this point had I listened to that advice.

Stephanie Jeffs The Go To Girl for Raw exploreraw.com

What I did

I was so obsessed with how my body was healing – I wanted to share it ALL with everyone! I bought juicers for friends, I made raw cheesecakes for everyone, and took raw chocolates to business meetings. I was also bursting with all the information that I had been absorbing from my research and my experience and sat down one night and wrote my Raw7 book – my Juicing & Raw for Weightloss 7-Day Plan which I then piloted over several months with a group of enthusiastic volunteers. I think that was when Explore Raw was really born. I didn’t plan any of it. It was just in me.

I have so much to be thankful for. I have cured myself from Polycystic Ovaries and a wonderful side effect has also been that I have released lots of my weight. Which is blissful! I have lost over 9 stones (120lbs) and I feel great! My skin is glowing and I look and feel much younger than I have for years! Looking back at old photos I hardly recognise myself. I never saw that person in the mirror. On the plus side that means that I had a really positive outlook on life. On the down side I was probably in denial about my health.

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Medical Update

In January 2015 I had ultrasound scans that show that I have NO CYSTS at all. Not even one or two (to have one or two is quite normal I am told). My ultrasound scans show that my ovaries are as ‘clean as a whistle’. My blood tests show normal, if not super fantastic, hormone and insulin levels. Medically speaking I now show NO SIGNS OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIES OR POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME. I have allowed my body to heal! I also show NONE of the symptoms listed earlier and I have a regular cycle of 12 periods a year, and I am 46 and counting. Oh, and I still have a womb. Which I am very much attached to thank you very much.

It is important for me to share this as I am often challenged on my ‘healing myself’ strapline. Let me be clear – it was ME that made the changes to my lifestyle on a level that allowed my body to heal itself – by hyperflushing my system with quality, natural, healing raw foods.

How I help others

My professional career has given me the experience and credentials to be able to offer all of my knowledge and support to others. I am not just a ‘former fattie with a story’ I am an experienced and enthusiastic raw foods educator. I am a qualified food trainer and an Advanced Food Hygienist. I have studied Human Nutrition. I have studied alcohol and its affects on the body. I studied as a Raw Food Coach. By profession I am a qualified and experienced Mentor, Trainer and Coach and have been working with people to advance their professional performance throughout my career. I am an experienced teacher in and out of the kitchen. I am thrilled to be able to now join up all the dots and support others on their pathway towards better eating and optimum health and happiness.

I am a trusted coach to many clients who are looking to turn their health around! I am also the author of six eBooks, I teach detoxing, juicing and raw and run my own private events. In 2014 I launched Explore Raw Cookery School in London to give students practical knowledge of how to create awesome, dishes that taste incredible. I also partner with military trainers and yoga gurus to run my own fitness holidays and retreats in Portugal. Raw Juice Camp and my Summer Retreats are recommended by VOGUE and a range of other publications, awarded No2 Wellness Holiday by The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and raved about across media platforms. In August 2015 I authored my first book SPIRALIZE! with Pavilion Publishers.