Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Wild and Wacky Summer- and now the Holidays are Coming!

I would like to get back to raw before January of 2007, but my heart just hasn't been in it. Personal problems took up a lot of my energy starting this summer: I am a single woman now, which really took an emotional toll on me. Then, as a related problem, I had to move. That involved a lot of physical labor and emotional stress that took time away from my studies and made the whole break-up thing more upsetting. Remember that I joined the Raw Food Bootcamp? Well, need I say that I wasn't attentive to the Bootcamp regulations through all of this?

As part of my move I lost internet access at home, which interfered with my ability to stick to the Bootcamp regimen of checking in, logging foods, maintaining a blog, etc. It also interfered with my studies, a problem I especially do not need. Between trying to find reliable sources of free wi-fi, studying, moving and being generally depressed, it seemed that I had really picked the wrong time for the Bootcamp. I tried to stick to the regimen, thinking that if I could at least stay raw one of my biggest problems would be under control, but it was really too difficult for me to handle.

When I finally got moved, I thought I could then put more attention on the Bootcamp, but then my computer powercord broke! More internet woes, then- and not having a computer is even worse than not having internet because my research data is all digital. AARGH! That did me in as far as the Bootcamp. The truth is, other areas in my life have had more importance in my life than staying raw these past couple of months: my studies and my personal life. If I have to choose between the bootcamp and my studies, for example, the studies have to win. And I've found that it is too hard not to stray from raw when I'm so emotionally stressed.

So I am no longer a member of the Bootcamp. Speaking for me- not for anyone else- a Bootcamp experience works best when it's not competing with outside forces. I thought the Bootcamp would force me to focus on raw over those other forces, but no- I couldn't make it work no matter how important I thought it was. Carlene was very understanding that this was not the right time in my life for Bootcamp (although I didn't bring even bring up the break-up issues!). She didn't call me a whiny loser or anthing dreaded like that. :-) There is a time and a place for everything and if Bootcamp is in my future, it'll be when I am fully able to commit to it.

So what do I do now? I am definitely not eating raw these days, but I am starting from square one to get myself back on track. First, simply watching what I eat is important. I may progress from there to recording what I eat- maybe calories or Weight Watcher's points. I've bought some frozen meals because those are the easiest foods for someone going to grad school and working at two different job sites! After I'm in the habit of watching what I eat I can transition to an all-vegetarian diet, and then transition back to raw- maybe by my January 1st raw anniversary! Once the semester is over at the university I will also have some free time- a good time to start a gym regimen. So I know what options are out there. It's a matter of putting them into play. That's always the hard part.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Note for U.S.A. Voters

A friend passed this information on to me and I thought I'd post it, a bit late but still early enough to be helpful. This website lists the requirements for voters in each of the states. Many polling places have volunteers who are not fully aware of state laws and are mistakenly turning people away from polls for insufficient I.D. If you are able to print this information and take it with you to the polling site, you might fare better in case there are problems.


Friday, November 03, 2006

November 3, 2006

Getting back on raw is definitely a day-by-day thing for me- I rededicate myself each morning. I hope that soon it'll be the unconscious habit it once was. I had cantaloupe for breakfast and a "salad" for lunch. Since I didn't get to the store last night I had no herbs OR lettuce, so I just ate a bunch of vegetables with a base of taboule, basically. It was yummy, though. Who says a salad has to have lettuce, anyway? I made a conscious effort to keep water at my desk to help get myself back in the habit of drinking water every day. If I weren't doing the Raw Food Bootcamp I'd probably be trying to do "high" or "medium" raw, eating one nonraw meal and the rest raw to ease back into this, but my history with changing eating patterns shows that cold turkey tends to do the trick for me. Regardless, no single way is "easy"!

Right now I'm conducting research regarding the use of sacred spaces. As I perused the web for information on places of worship I came across a site that described the pastor as having healed the sick. The site featured several stories of healing; one woman had her depression lifted from her within a week. I looked at the other healings to see if any of them had food addictions (ha!) but no such luck. I think you have to be a "believer" to be healed in this way, and I'm really not a believer in spontaneous healings. What I do believe is that I'll always have this food addiction lying somewhere underneath, no matter how much I pray for it to be taken away. Although it makes me sad to think this way, I simply accept it. So I continue on this Raw Odyssey because it's the closest to "healing" that I've ever found.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November, Finally!

The beginning of the month is a good time to start over

Good morning! I've had my honeydew melon and kombucha tea and am raring to go. What a busy, hectic month October was for me. Between time-consuming academic projects and my move, staying raw and getting in gymn workouts fell to the wayside- I mean, there are only so many major issues my brain can deal with at one time. Not having internet access turned out to be a major problem, since you have to log onto the Bootcamp site daily to update everyone and to see how everyone else is doing. Once I had to rely on internet cafes it was amazing how unreliable they actually are. My favorite place lost wireless access for long periods of time, another place had a ridiculously slow connection that made online work useless, and another spot was so cold I couldn't stay there long enough to get anything done! The folks at the Raw Food Bootcamp have been patient, but November is my time to get on track or else I'm really wasting my and everyone else's time there.

I finally broke down and bought some new clothes this week. I don't know about you, but I tend to delay buying clothes when I outgrow my current ones because 1) I hate to acknowlegde the weight gain and 2) I keep telling myself that I'm going to lose weight soon, so why waste the money? Unfortunately, I usually end up not losing weight "soon" and therefore wind up wearing ill-fitting clothes that make me feel fat and which also keep reminding me that I'm gaining weight. Just looking in the closet sets a negative tone for my whole day- EVERY day! So even though I really am back on the raw wagon, I bought several affordable (read: cheap!) items to get me through the next few weeks.

Last night I made a salad at a saladbar for today's lunch- it's always a treat to go to a salad bar because they've done all the chopping and slicing for you, but it's hell on your wallet! Tonight, though, I'll be getting parsley and cilantro to make my herb-based salads- time to get used to chopping and slicing again. I will also be buying new gym shoes because I lost mine in the move (they didn't fit well anyway). Nothing like new shoes to get you back in the workout groove! Plus, since my new location is much more walkable than my old area, I'll be putting those shoes to good use going for walks. The best thing about moving is that I have a lot of new places to explore. Since I can't stand walking purely for exercise, having another purpose for walking makes it much more enjoyable.
Here's to a good week!!

PS: Some of you may notice that the link to the Raw Odyssey Cafe is gone. I have found that my life is too busy to properly promote and maintain the cafe, so it never really got off the ground. However, I am truly grateful to those of you who did visit and post to it . I look forward to your continued visits to this, the main Raw Odyssey site. Don't be afraid to leave comments here about your own experiences eating raw or contemplating a raw diet. Sharing experiences is what makes blogs great!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

We've Replaced Allison's Lettuce with Parsley...Will She Eat It?

Today, inspired by Valerie Boutenko's raw vegan weightloss ideas, I decided to replace my salad's romaine lettuce with a combination of Italian parsley and cilantro. Cilantro is one of those herbs that people either love or hate, and I am a cilantro lover. Still, I was nervous that the salad would be too strong-tasting. I am happy to report that the salad was delicious- the herbs were definitely strong tasting, but they complemented the salad veggies nicely. And let me add, I think I've never had breath this fresh-smelling before (haha!).

I've always chosen romaine over other lettuces for the protein, but according to, parsley is a better source of protein, plus its protein is more complete. It has 3 grams of protein per 100 grams while romaine has 1 gram of protein per 100 grams.

What else? Well, 100 grams of parsley has 34% of your day's iron, 14% of your calcium, and is off the charts for vitamins A and C. There were no listed cautions against parsley, but I noticed that it is higher in sodium than is romaine: 56 mg for 100gms of parsley, and 2 for romaine. Another caution might be price- I haven't yet compared the two. (I used about 1/3 of a bunch of cilantro and 1/3 of a bunch of parsley for my salad, stems and all; I believe the entire bunch of Italian parsley was under $1.50. I can't remember the cilantro price). Along with the veggies, all that parsley made for a big salad that will keep me full until evening. Now I'm looking forward to trying curly-leaf parsley because it'll make a very attractive-looking salad.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tough Week

I think I picked the wrong time to start bootcamp! My mind has not been on it the way it should be, what with classes and moving. My daily exercise usually involves some combination of moving, packing and cleaning, not the concentrated time at the gym or outside that I would prefer. I haven't been able to get online daily due to no longer having internet. But in 11 days I'll be in my new place and will be able to settle down. Due to selling some furniture I finally had money for real food shopping. I went to Whole Foods and got great salad fixin's from the salad bar. I'm just about back in business! Too bad the house is a shambles right now. :-)

The people at the Raw Food Boot Camp are very nice and supportive. I feel bad that I'm not up to standard at the moment, but having the bootcamp behind me is helping me keep my ultimate goals in mind despite my many current challenges.

I got a nice message from "Jennifer" who was very concerned about my gaining 35 lbs eating raw. Let me clarify- I went off my raw diet for a while! I didn't gain weight eating raw, although I did stay stuck at the same weight for weeks before I slipped off the wagon. Looking back, I know the high fat content of my raw diet was part of the problem, but I was enjoying the nuts, olive oil and avocados too much to give 'em up. After I'm finished losing weight, I will probably eat a diet much higher in fat than the Raw Food Bootcamp recommends, but for weight loss I think their 20% fat limit is better for me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

35 lb weight gain! Sad, but True.

Seems impossible to gain so much weight in such a little amount of time. I swear I must have a physical disease. I weighed myself earlier this week and found myself back over the 300 lb mark. I'm not depressed about it - maybe I'm still in shock. Really, though, I just kind of took it as inevitable; that's what happens when you overeat SAD and don't exercise. Maybe I have an extra-sluggish metabolism or something as well, but the main thing is that I ate more calories than I expended. BIG TIME.

So I joined the bootcamp. I don't have a lot to report yet because I really haven't been doing it properly due to not having enough money to buy the right amounts of groceries. Erratic access to the internet caused me to miss a couple of days of proper logging, too. After my move these conditions will improve. We have to do one hour of exercise daily for the bootcamp. Right now mine consists of packing boxes, tossing out stuff and cleaning. Boy, do I ache right now!! I've been taking Alleve this week. And my allergy symptoms have gotten so bad that I've taken out the old pills to use until my raw diet cures me of that problem again. I swear the symptoms are worse than last year. My sinuses hurt for three days straight.

I was eyeing a marathon that's being held here in December. If they have a walking version of it (often there are 5k walks associated with marathon events) I might try to envision myself training for that- it's a motivational tactic more than anything; I'm not sure I'm really gonna do any 5k's in the near future. Right now it's hard for me to think positively about losing weight at all, but as long as I look at the situation logically instead of emotionally, I know it will happen. There's no way that eating raw and going to the gym will not result in weight loss. Perhaps by next month when things are more settled I'll feel more positive about things. One day at a time remains the mantra.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm Back on Board!

OK- the good news: I've joined Carlene's Raw Food Bootcamp. If any of you have ever heard of it, its basically a very tough, regimented weight loss program based on a raw food diet and daily exercise. I look forward to getting back to my previous form through this program. I started today, and have had my first salad in a long time. I'm out of practice so it tasted rather bland to me, but the blandness reminded me that I'm doing the right thing. Soon my taste buds will have recovered from the junk I've been eating and I'll enjoy the full range of fruit and vegetable flavors again.

The exercise will be interesting. I have a jump rope, so if I need to conserve gasoline by avoiding the gym, I can certainly jumprope in my garage. The weather is perfect, thank goodness, so I can get some outdoor walking done as well (although the bootcamp requires one hour of exercise that makes you sweat, so I'd have to trot!).

I haven't weighed myself but I'm guessing I've gained about 20 lbs over the past weeks. I fit into clothes that I wore back in June! I have to weigh myself today since it's the first day of bootcamp for me. I'm excited about reversing the problems I've re-acquired since going off the raw diet. I wonder how long it'll take for...

1) the darkened pigment on my face to go away
2) my cold/allergy symptoms to disappear
3) my back pain to lessen
4) my dry skin to improve
5) my swollen ankles to deflate!

I do have some fear that the bootcamp will cause me to lose weight too rapidly and make more of my hair fall out. On the other hand, if I have to choose between less hair and overcoming food addiction, I'll choose overcoming the addiction. I'm used to wigs and hats now! I'm not happy about them, but I'm used to them.

Well, I'll keep you all posted on how the bootcamp goes! Wish me luck- oh wait, this isn't about luck it's about hard work! Ten hut!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Survived Another Week

I'm still not eating raw, but I'm feeling better about my food choices over the past week. I've rediscovered soup, so I'm eating vegetable soups and my mangos. Eventually the healthier foods will outnumber the less healthy foods.

Financial problems have caused me to lose my cable, phone and internet access so that's impeded my ability to blog this week. However, I try to see the positive in everything. Local internet cafes help me with internet access and also get me out of the house. Not having a phone means no bill collectors to wake me up at 8 a.m. on Sundays. No cable means less distraction from studying. See? We can make it work!

I'm looking at some new housing options this week so that I can actually afford to live and even save up some money. The upheaval will not be pleasant and I'd prefer better choices in where to live, but my longterm goal of getting my Ph.D is my main guide to the decisions I make. If my decisions get my closer to that goal, then even if they are unpleasant I want to try to make them work. The move puts me closer to places that are necessary in my life- school, work and the gym.

Not being on raw is a real catch-22 for me these days. Eating raw really helped to lift my depression earlier this year, but it didn't make it impossible to get depressed over new situtations. Due to that depression I stopped eating raw. I think that if I'd managed to stay on raw, I wouldn't have gotten as depressed as I have. I'm hoping to follow Ren's lead in getting outside support in returning to raw (namely, bootcamp) but I simply cannot afford it. I'll let you all know what happens with that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On to Tuesday, One Day at a Time

On Monday I took my vitamins and had my melon and cottage cheese for breakfast. The rest of my meals were not raw. My coworker who assigned herself as my food monitor asked me if I was ever going back to eating raw. I told her that I am easing back into it, but that I would also be concentrating on eating whole foods as well, cooked or raw. I can see that processed foods have a very negative effect on me so cooked or raw, whole foods are definitely part of my journey.

I’m very excited because my parents are coming to see me next week - they have not seen me in a year. Even though I’ve gained some weight back, I’ve still lost at least over 50 lbs since they last saw me. My mom is not a big fan of the raw diet, especially since it was part of the reason for my hair thinning out, so she’s happy that I’m eating “regular” food again and thinks I should just eat less. I wish it were that simple. I can drink alcohol and coffee and smoke tobacco with absolutely no attraction to their addictive properties. I get no buzz or relaxation from the chemicals whatsoever. But sugar? Salt? Give me a little and I want a ton more. So whole, unprocessed foods are on my grocery list. If I had an infusion of say, $100, I’d run straight to Whole Foods and stock up right now!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Still Struggling, But Hanging In There

I took a break from the blog over the past couple of weeks to get my thoughts together and to keep from repeating the same tired problems over and over. How many times can I say that I’m off the raw diet and feeling horrible both mentally and physically? I wanted to take some time to figure out a strategy, perhaps even to let this play itself out. Each day that I am not eating raw is a reminder of how unhealthy SAD eating is. I feel like I have a cold everyday. Sneezing, coughing, headaches, backaches, joint pain, you name it- it’s like returning to 2005, pre-raw.

I’m trying to get back to the road to good health- holistically. My current plan is to surround myself with objects that remind me of positive things, and to get rid of those that I see as negative. For example, when I’m depressed I let the house get disorganized, and seeing that disorganization makes me even more depressed. The messier the house gets, the more impossible it seems to clean it, and as some of you know, when you’re depressed, what would be minor disorganization to someone else can seem an impossible task to you. In a very short amount of time, I can be overwhelmed and “stuck.” And that goes for everything- school gets overwhelming, staying raw gets overwhelming, life gets overwhelming. Being the sociologist I am- specifically a symbolic interactionist- I am using my interest in object relations to deal with my depression. I won’t go into the details, but to greatly simplify things, I’ll say that the mess in my house is an “object” that, for me, reflects negativity. Recognizing this, I am motivated to get rid of it. It may sound like a strange strategy, but I’m not original in coming up with it as a solution to depression. I’ve also gotten rid of the foods that I see as negative. OK, I ate ‘em - but that means that tomorrow I start the day with healthy stuff in the fridge, which feels much better than the stuff I could be looking at.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from fellow and sister raw foodists, including those who are struggling as I am. Thank you for the support! It’s hard to blog when I’m feeling depressed because I don’t want to spread that kind of negativity. On the other hand, I’m not the only one who goes through these things, so sharing our problems can be helpful.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Looking for Tools

This weekend was a struggle for me. I was actually pretty ill on Friday- don't know what the heck I ate, but it didn't agree with me. I got about 4 hours of sleep that night. Reminded me of the old days of bingeing and getting sick as a dog. I spent part of Sunday trying to get myself into the right emotional frame of mind for the week. Being prepared is a big help in general- not just having raw foods on hand, but being organized for the week's duties. If I am disorganized mentally, it's easy to let other areas get chaotic as well. I've used the Franklin Covey "Seven Habits for Highly Successful People" in the past so I used it as an exercise to get back on track for the week. I chose 7 roles that I play in life (student, sociologist, daughter...) and then the "big rocks" (most important tasks) I need to do for each role, such as get through 17 readings for classes, make an effort to meet with certain people at my new job, email my mom, etc. There are four areas that you are supposed to cover for each role, if I understand it properly: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I know that being physically healthy is important for me to be able to concentrate on my work and studies, so I listed that as a goal for the week: a trip to the gym. I also listed that I will meditate and try to take walks. My heart isn't totally into things, but at least I am thinking in the right direction. My car is packed with gym gear so I'm ready to go if I decide I want to.

I looked up local Buddhist sanghas and events and found something that seems interesting. It is Zen, which I am not particlarly into, but I might give them a visit. I certainly need something right now! I am being very antisocial these days. I passed up two parties this weekend and pretty much wallowed in pity in the house instead. What a waste of time! I'll get out of this funk eventually, but I'd like to do it before I gain 80 lbs.

Friday, September 08, 2006


OK, so my week didn't go exactly as I had hoped. My fast was a bust, and I didn't stay raw. However, I ate a salad every day, had fruit daily, and drank tea and water rather than soda or other beverages. My new hair has helped me gain a little more confidence about my appearance while my real hair struggles to grow back, so that has given me one less thing to worry about, especially at my new job which requires tons of meetings with all sorts of professionals.

Yesterday at job #2 I used the desk where the bowl of candy sits. I absently ate a piece and what do you know, the woman who monitors my food intake walked in and sat down while I was still chewing! I know she must have smelled chocolate and seen the second piece sitting by the keyboard, but she didn't say anything about it and neither did I. It was actually very amusing- I felt like my father had caught me but was torturing me by not saying anything. :-)

This morning I ate a mango for breakfast. I always feel very healthy and happy after a big 'ol juicy mango. All those vitamins! I'm off to work in a few minutes with a CD full of good music. I have another marathon meeting today so I'm taking nuts to work with me, as a snack. They are healthy and will fill me up. I'm striving for a raw day. The more days that I strive for it, the more likely that I will finally reach that goal and be back on raw completely.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Whew, Made it Through The First Day!

Yesterday was much easier than I thought it would be, as far as getting back to raw. There was one moment of weakness, when someone pointed out that the desk I was working at had a bowl of chocolates on it. Immediately people were digging into it and I almost... almost... but I didn't. Whew.

I tried to set myself up for another good day (thank you again, Red Hot Chili Peppers, for getting me through those traffic jams!) by thinking positive, optimistic thoughts. The scale shows I've only gained a net of 5 lbs from my two weeks off raw, so 5 of the 10 lbs I saw a few days ago were just water weight. That's not so, so bad. Right now I'm drinking my Yogi fasting tea, I've had some low-fat cottage cheese for breakfast, and have a salad waiting for me for lunch.

It feels great to be back on the raw wagon, but I'm keeping in mind not to overly identify with how raw I'm eating and not to give food too much importance. After all, I'm also a sociologist, a student, a fun-loving person, a daughter... so many other things besides a consumer of raw food!

Well, I didn't stay raw all day. I was at a SIX hour staff meeting! Just when I thought I would die of hunger they bring in the- pizza. Sigh... I had a slice. So much for the salad! Next time we have a marathon meeting I'll bring the salad with me! I hate being off raw because I feel like the Monster has gotten hold of me again. However, I'm still going to try one day at a time and eventually I'll be where I want to be again.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I've Had My Kombucha- So Far, So Good

Good morning! I started off today in a great mood, which seems to be helping me to set out for raw day. If I were feeling depressed I would be eating the food off that lady's desk right now (I'm at work early). But no, I am drinking kombucha, have a little container of almonds and cashews with sea salt waiting for me, and a salad and cottage cheese for later. I wish I could maintain a mood like this all the time, since it's a great way to start the day. I listened to my favorite tunes on the way to work and sang through all the traffic jams. I hope you all have good days as well.

And by the way, I have a myspace page now- I finally joined that bandwagon. The sociologist in me finds it intriguing and exasperating at the same time. If any of you have myspace pages, feel free to join me. But beware- I don't "collect" people like trophies the way so many MySpace people do- I actually like to interact! So if you join my network, feel free to send me real messages so I know you're alive. :-)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Living Life

Today I'm trying to focus on staying more positive. To do this, I need to lessen the amount of attention I put on food, because I’m finding myself going back to where I was last year- ruled by food! When I was eating raw, I could go for hours and forget there was such a thing as food. I wasn't hungry, wasn't craving, wasn't feeling guilty or deprived- I was attending to the other parts of my life, and food occupied a proper amount of space in it. Now, food has taken over again. So I’m going to make a concerted effort to do some enjoyable, non-food things (except I do have to go grocery shopping today- can’t totally avoid food!)

One thing I really love is music- it’s a great escape and is very relaxing, even the type of music I listen to (metal, hard rock). When I can’t get into my music, I know I’m really going through a “down time,” but last night I was able to relax for the first time in a while. I think reading the site was a factor in helping me to gain some perspective and stop berating myself as much for falling off the wagon. I listened to some great stuff for HOURS- like from 10pm to 3 a.m! I think I listened to some songs about 20 times apiece: Dani California (by the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Master of Puppets, Some Kind of Monster and St. Anger (Metallica). I threw in a few other types of songs, but most were of the rock/metal variety. This type of music gives me energy, although I don’t always use it to push myself out the door the way I should.

Sometime overnight I found out about the death of Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter.” I was very saddened about this- especially by the idea of his suffering before he died, and by thoughts of the family, friends and fans he’s left behind. But I also have to say that he died doing what he loved. His lived his life according to his principles and his mission: to teach people to respect wildlife rather than to shun or kill living creatures out of fear and ignorance. He wasn’t perfect; he made mistakes in judgment and he’s gotten injured in the past, but he believed in what he was doing. If you see interviews he’s given, he was a driven and happy human being.

That is a lesson for people like me who tend to hide behind books rather than getting out there and living life. Irwin lived his dream, while I’ve spent way too much time preparing to live mine - gotta get healthy before I ride a motorcycle! Gotta lose weight before I take those percussion lessons or ride a bike across the country! Gotta finish school before… Well, at this rate, I won’t have done any of the crazy things I’ve always wanted to do! People may think Irwin was crazy, but there is much to admire about the fact that he wasn’t afraid to live his dream. I could stand to take a page from his book.

(Speaking of books, here are a couple below)



Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Path of No Extremes

Today I took a break from studying and decided to play with my Mac's screensaver. I tested the one that displays RSS (newsfeeds) and boy was I shocked to see my name come up! Turns out's Drumhil was commenting on my post about the challenges I've had staying raw. I really liked what he had to say- here's a quote:

"From my experience, I would say most of the problem relates to identity. The majority of people in the raw food circle have been sold a very rosey picture of what it means to be an enlightened rawfoodist who is above and beyond all food cravings and temptations. This image is a tough one to live up to and very few gurus talk about the honest challenges that even they face trying to live up to this image on a daily basis."

I really agree with this statement. As readers of this blog know, I've been very disillusioned about the lack of easily-accessible discussions by raw food gurus about certain topics, such as the hair loss I've experienced. There are raw food forums where topics that cast doubt on 100% raw food diets are taboo. I don't believe there is a single diet for everyone- we have different food tolerances and even likes and dislikes. A mostly-raw or 100% raw diet just doesn't do it for everyone, while for others it works just fine.

I think I've gained 10 lbs in the approximately two weeks I've been off raw (how unfair is that? I can't lose ten lbs in two months but I can gain it in two weeks?) :-/ Drumhil's observation that people who try to be perfect can find themselves backsliding back to non-raw has some relevance for me. I was doing so well, I thought. I was proud to be staying "high raw" despite months of not losing weight. But when the stress hit me, it was too hard to strive for high raw- I've been too busy trying not to get depressed. So I let it go altogether. I really want to incorporate the Buddhist values which include following the "Middle Path" of no extremes in either direction, but I keep forgetting to do that! Right now I'm on the non-raw extreme. I may ease my way back towards raw by starting the day raw, and then just seeing how the rest of the day goes. I want to eat a majority raw diet because I know it is healthier for me, and that it helps keep me from bingeing, since I don't tend to binge on raw food.

I like what another raw foodist, Pomegranate Bliss, calls her raw food journey: "lovingly imperfect." She embraces imperfection from the get-go! If I could adopt an attitude more like that, and not go from one extreme to another, my raw odyssey would not feel like yet another stressor when the chips are down.

Here are some links below related to this post.

Drumhil's article at
Raw blog by Renee (a kindred spirit): Pomegranate Bliss
Wikipedia entry about the Middle Path

Friday, September 01, 2006

I'm Never Eating Again!

(Photo: teas for my upcoming fast)

What a terrible day I had today. I've been off my raw diet for almost 2 weeks and I feel it has caught up to me. On one day this week the skin on my left cheek hurt really badly- my cheeks had been more darkly pigmented than the rest of my face but had cleared up once I started eating raw. Now the skin is getting a bit rough again and my cheek hurt so badly I could barely touch it! Another thing: I've been congested for days- stuffed and runny nose. I feel (gross-out alert): "mucous-y" as well as "heavy" and slow- like a weight is constraining me. Another thing (prudish people alert): my breasts hurt VERY badly for several days this week. I think it was from all the sodium. I'm just falling apart, people!! At work today I felt all out of kilter, as if I had too many things to do and not enough time to do it. I just needed solitude so I could think. And tonight as I was washing dishes I knocked over a glass and cut my finger rather deeply. I refuse to get stitches, so here I type with one bandaged index finger looking as nasty as I feel.

But waiting for me is the menagerie of teas you see in the photo above. I am so ready for a fast. I need to clean out my body and my mind because I feel like a trash can. I know I can easily fast with water alone for a couple of days, but I decided to make the experience more interesting and flavorful by trying out a bunch of teas I've never had. I made sure they had no fructose, "organic cane juice" (who do they think they're kidding with that one?) or other sugars- except for the Kombucha teas, whose 4 gms of sugars per bottle come from the fruit. I limited myself to 3 kombuchas for this fast.

I didn't pick the teas with any expectation that they will do what they claim; the detox and fasting teas claim to help you in those two areas but if they aren't any more special than any other teas I won't have a fit. I just liked the idea of using a tea called "fasting" and a tea called "detox" while I fast and envision myself detoxifying. I will have molasses daily during my fast, and since I have 5 mangoes, I will have a mango a day until they run out so as not to waste them. I bought a 24-pack of bottled water from Costco as well. How long will I fast? As long as I can stand it. I want to go further than the two days I did before because I remember that on day three I felt better than day two, and if I can make it past day 3, I might make it a week! I will monitor myself to ensure I don't dehydrate or feel weak, etc. (yes, nurse Pam, I said that for YOU!). :-)

I have magazines -Shambala Sun, Tricycle and Yoga - to help me get into a nice, calm mode for the weekend. I also have a lot of studying to do, which should keep my mind occupied as I fast.

So there you have it- I'm undergoing a holistic deep-cleaning this weekend.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have sent me well wishes, urged me to not think poorly of myself, reminded me of how far I've come, sent virtual hugs, shared their experiences with falling off the wagon, and told me to not say bad things about my hair. ;-D

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Raw Odyssey

Headed Back to the Raw Path

It's sad to see my food addiction rear its ugly head, but I'm grateful for my ability to really see what food (or non-food, as the case may truly be) does to me, and how much better for me raw food really is. I think that I will try to keep things more loose as far as "how raw" I am, allowing myself to eat cooked veggies and other whole foods on occasion. Ausjulie commented about Buddha, which reminds me of his comments about maintaining a Middle Path- neither too extreme one way, nor too extreme in the other. Although I still can't figure out how people know they are a particular percentage raw, I can see what they are talking about- they allow themselves some leeway. I'm not ready to name some percentage, but I'm going to start thinking of myself as being majority raw, and over time I'll probably define it a bit more clearly.

One of my challenges since falling off the raw wagon is staying away from That Person that many jobs have- you know, the one with the junk food at her desk! We've got one of those at my new job. Her desk is like Costco's junk food warehouse. She's got chips, cookies, candy and granola bars. Then there's a vending machine selling Coke in the staff kitchen. Why can't they have fresh fruit and vegetables everywhere? :-)

Anyway, I plan to fast this weekend, possibly starting Friday, which is my day off from both classes and work. I plan to stock up on tasty healthy teas and bottled water, and a little fruit juice. Then I'll get back on the raw wagon. Yippee!!! And I'm rockin' my new wig, people!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Who Deputized You as the Raw Police?

I haven't blogged in a few days due to feeling awful about going off my raw diet, and also due to all the negative things I've been going through this past week. I won't be going into details, but as far as not eating raw, I ate this week the way most Americans do- all the wrong stuff. Still, I don't feel like I'm leaving the raw life, just that I took a break. Eating raw takes a little work, as I've said in previous posts, so when I got stressed out and wanted to make parts of my life easier, out went the effort to stay raw. The funny thing about it (ok, not that funny) was that on two occasions that I did not eat raw, I was with other university people. At a banquet, one of them looked at my plate with a major frown and I had no idea what she was frowning about. She said, "That's not raw!!" She says this loudly enough for people who don't even know me to hear. Oh, good Lord! I can't remember exactly what I told her, but it was something to the effect that sometimes I just do the best I can. And then I got myself some linguini.

Another day, there was free food left over from a catered event I was part of. I hadn't eaten the food because it wasn't raw, but I was hungry and I hadn't gotten my paycheck yet so groceries in the house were almost nil (I was eating cottage cheese, bread and fruit all week). When a coworker mentioned to everyone that there was free food in the lounge for us, she pointedly said to me, "there's nothing for you." Oh, yeah? Who sent for the Raw Police??? Well, I immediately went and got myself a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise.

This is why I hate talking about my personal life to people I have to be around every day. People think you are made of cement and will never change, and they are careful to remind you of what you said months ago or a year ago. Well, I'm human and I'm not perfect, and I don't owe them any explanations for going off my raw diet. On the other hand, sometimes people do care and hate to see you go backwards- that I can understand, but don't go policing me! I have enough problems already without a guilty conscience.

I tackled another raw-related issue this weekend: my thinning hair. I really don't think it's growing back, but it still doesn't seem to be breaking off the way it was. Since I start my new and very important job tomorrow- a job that can usher me into the next stage of my life- I want to feel comfortable and confident. This is not a place to wear hats, but I hate wigs because I feel so inauthentic, and I hate doing makeup and wig stuff- it's just not me. So to feel like I have at least some integrity again, I acknowledged that I can't afford an expensive haircut and my hair doesn't look good natural, and I got out the curling iron. After a long struggle, I came up with a hairstyle that covers up the thinning parts decently enough to make them barely noticeable. My hair still grows, so the length helped to disguise it. Truthfully, my hair probably looks worse to me than it would to the casual observer because I know what I've lost, while 99.99% of the world has no before-and-after to compare me to. I probably look fine; I just don't have any more confidence. Today I debut my new look at a meeting. I am nervous and not entirely happy, but this is what I've got to deal with. I am relieved not to be hiding under a hat or wig. If people think I look like crap, that's just the way it goes.

Boy, I've really had a bad attitude this week. Between the money problems, academic stress, my upcoming move to a new home, and the physical/emotional consequences of going off raw, I can't wait to get back to my raw plan. Once I get back to that, I know I'll feel a little better mentally. Eating raw is my "home base" for a lot of things in my life. When I don't eat raw, things are screwed up!

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

From Eating Too Much to Eating Too Little!

What a crazy week. Between being stressed out and not having a lot of food in the house (poor college student, remember?) I've managed to lose a couple of pounds the hard, unpleasant way. I'd prefer to lose them without the starvation, thank you. Today I had a little extra cash and made a miniature salad at Whole Foods. I scarfed that thing down like a madwoman when I got home. Wow, you never notice how little energy you have from not eating enough until you get a good meal in you!

Due to lack of money I've run out of my vitamins. I have dread nightmares that because I have no more MSM and biotin and haven't been eating enough, my hair will start falling out again. I know that's not going to happen - at least, not "just like that,",but I'm still upset by the situation. I hate having no money! I mentioned that I will be moving soon. I try to stay optimistic by planning a new healthier lifestyle after I get settled- like going to the gym more regularly, going back to shopping for groceries in a more organized way like I used to, etc. etc. Things are stressful now, but as long as I haven't rushed out to visit the dollar menu at McDonald's, I guess I'm doing all right. ;-)

OH- I should mention that Matthew Monarch, who wrote the book Raw Spirt that I liked so much, was interviewed on Raw Vegan Radio. If you are interested in hearing the podcast, click on the Raw Vegan Radio list on the right hand side of this blog, where all the resources are listed. To read the posting where I wrote about my experience with Matt's book, just do a google search at the tope of the page on "monarch"- be sure to click the "" button so you are searching this site.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

UGH- Eating Way Too Much

I'm having quite the stressful weekend and I've responded by eating too much. No, eating raw does not cure old hand-to-mouth behaviors, just the type of foods you pick up with your hand and put in your mouth! I've been gorging on nuts for the most part, and they've actually been making me a little bit ill. Who knew? I'll be glad when I've finished that bag. I don't plan to replace it! I've eaten a lot of fruit this weekend as well. I'm very happy that my overeating of fruits and nuts won't harm me the way Snicker's bars and potato chips would, but I'll still go to bed with a stomach ache if I don't watch it! I'm trying to drink a lot while I study to keep busy, and that helps somewhat.

So, am I the only raw foodist who overeats? I've read where some raw foodists believe you cannot overeat raw food, but I don't believe that to be true in my case. Anytime I eat when I'm not hungry, I call that overeating! I have some major changes coming up in my life over the next month or so: two new jobs, a new semester of classes, and a new place to live. All of these will be a challenge to me to stick to my raw diet and to not overeat. We shall see...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ridiculously Hungry Today

Today I had my fruit for breakfast but by 10 a.m. I was so hungry I ate my lunch early. The hunger was insatiable, it seemed, leading me to realize that all week I've been unusually hungry. I was thinking earlier this week that my appetite has been smaller, but in re-examining the situation I must say that although my meals are smaller, I make up for them with snacks of fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts. I think the reason I'm so hungry is because I've been eating the same three things for breakfast, lunch and dinner day in and day out: fruit, corn salsa, and cottage cheese. A few nuts and a few pieces of dried fruit don't do much except allay a bit of evening hunger; they aren't really satisfying whatever it is that needs satisfying. I think maybe I'm not getting enough nutrition from my limited menu. I took my insatiable hunger as an alarm and bought some hummus tonight. I made a wrap with it, using a large Ezekiel tortilla and adding a small avocado and tomato. Next week I want to make an effort to eat a wider variety of foods in order to avoid this problem. I'm not sure if I'll fast this weekend - if I'm as hungry tomorrow as I was today, I'm not going to torture myself by fasting!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Getting Smaller!

Today I had some frustration as I dressed for my new job. Nothing fits!! At least none of my nice clothes. The pants I wore to the interview a couple of months ago are hanging on me now, and the second-nicest pants I have were only slightly salvaged by a belt (that I had to dig a new notch into). I still have two new pairs of pants that I cannot fit into, though. One is a pair of very light beige dress pants, size 22, that I can still barely pull up. The other are size 22 brown capris which I love and can now fasten if I contort myself into a pretzel, hold my breath and exert the power of a thousand superheroes. But hey- I couldn't fasten them at all a week ago! Seriously, though, progress is being made.

This morning I still weighed about 267- that is a miracle. I never weighed under 270 for more than one day before the fast. Makes me want to do another fast this weekend! My appetite is still lower this week than it was before the fast, and I am happily going along with it. For breakfast I had half a cantaloupe and used the little crater as a bowl for grapes, blueberries and cherries. At the meeting while the staff ate the catered meal of meat and cheese sandwiches, I made a little salad from the leftover lettuce and tomato. For dinner I had the other cantaloupe half and filled it with cottage cheese. I've had a couple of snacks since dinner: nuts (since I've hardly had any this week) , dried mango, and more fresh fruit. Boy, am I full!! I think only ate because I was studying and probably needed a distraction. :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

227 Days Raw!

Since my fast I have changed one aspect of my eating: I stopped eating breakfast before leaving for work. Instead, I take fresh fruit with me and eat that at work as my breakfast. At noon I have my normal sized lunch (and usually I'm hungry by then). In the evening I eat a small meal because I'm usually not starving. I've been a little better about drinking more water, these past couple of days. I deliberately did not weigh myself this morning, but I might do so tomorrow as I am curious about whether I've bounced back up the scale since resuming solid foods.

Tomorrow I have a little challenge: I'm starting a new job and will be attending a staff meeting they are having where I will be able to meet everyone. This meeting includes a luncheon the company provides. I imagine that they will not have foods I will want to eat, so I will have to figure out what to do. Maybe I can take some dried fruit and munch on that. Times like these are when dried fruit truly comes in handy!

Oh- and let me tell you about one particular dried fruit that comes in handy for me: prunes! Yeah, prunes,- the stuff I used to joke about when I was a kid, when I thought only old people ate 'em! Occasionally I get - um- stopped up, if y'know what I mean. I had that problem the first day after my two-day fast ended, which I thought was strange. Anyway, I have found that one or two prunes will solve the problem within less than 24 hours. I am really sensitive to prunes since I started eating raw, so I have to limit myself to one or I'll have cramps all day. I eat it when I get home from work or before I go to bed so that by morning, voila- I am cured. A simple example of using food as medicine. I love avoiding pills. I wish I could find a food for headaches now! And stuffed sinuses. And ear infections...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Day Three- to Eat or Not to Eat?

So it's the morning after my two-day fast and I've lost at least FIVE lbs. I weighed in at 267. I'm just having fun with this weight loss, but I'm not going to hold my breath that it's "real" until the end of the week after I've been eating again and can better assess the results.

Speaking of eating, I've delayed eating anything so far today. Usually I've eaten breakfast at home before leaving for work, then I munch on fruit until lunch time. Today I felt so good when I woke up that I didn't want to ruin the feeling with food. I didn't even take my molasses- I'll have it when I get home. I packed a bigger lunch than usual since I skipped breakfast: ezekiel bread, about a cup of cottage cheese, and a lot of corn salsa. I also put together a mixture of purple grapes, blueberries and dark red cherries to eat when I finally break my fast. I drank my Yogi fasting tea (iced) in the car on the way to work. Now it's going on 9 a.m. and I'm feeling only slight hunger pangs. It's amazing how much better day three feels than day two did! I'm flirting with the idea of not eating at all today, but deep down I feel I should eat today and therefore I probably will have the fruit within the next hour or so.

By the way, 267 means 74 lbs lost since January 1st. That works out to an average of about 10 lbs of weight lost a month. Perhaps that is less emotionally satisfying than losing 25 in one month, but it is much healthier.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Your Fasting/Cleansing Experiences

Here is some of the input I've gotten about fasting. Thank you so much!

What method did you try?
Juice Fasting, Master Cleanse, Liver Flush

Why did you try it?
Surgery Preparation, mind, body, and spirit maintenance, emotional recovery

What did the method consist of?
Liver Flush- Epsom salt, olive oil, grapefruit Juice
Master Cleanse- that nasty lemonade drink with the cayenne pepper, and salt water flushes
Juice Fasting- just juice. I like mine freshly juiced

What were you hoping to achieve?
Body-wide purification, stone passing if you saw those pictures, you would want those stones gone too

Were you pleased with the results?
Liver Flush- Yes
Juice Fast- Yes
Master Cleanse- No

Would you do it again?
Liver Flush- Yes
Juice Fast- Yes
Master Cleanse- No, it was far to intense for
my needs

What caveats would you have for a newbie like me?
Read everything you can find. Talk to knowledgeable people. Make a serious game plan. Probiotics for a few days after fasting.

Be careful with those teas. They hurt!

I did the Master Cleanse fast. This consisted of (roughly) 1/2 c. lemon juice, 1/2 c. maple syrup, and as much cayenne as I could stand mixed into 1 gallon of water. I would drink the whole gallon every day for 10 or so days. (The official way to do it is to mix your juice up fresh for each glass, but I work and just couldn't do it.)

It was fantastic. I've done it twice, and although I was hungry and cranky for the first couple of days, I felt fantastic for the last week and afterwards. The first time I didn't even want to stop at 10 days, but I felt kind of week. I didn't experience any miraculous cures or anything, but I felt... well, cleansed. I highly recommend it.

(Note from Allison: such different experiences from the same fast! Thanks for this information, Bootzey and Krystal. If I were to do the Master Cleanse, I would want to use molasses instead of maple syrup. Is there any reason why that would not work?)
check out is the one I'm presently doing...goodluck...supasolsista

(Note from Allison: Thanks, but EEEEEEEW- you could have warned me about the photos at that website, supasolsista!! :-D Hey, let me plug your raw food blog:

hey dpr, congrats on the wonderful work you have done so far and have nothing but good vibes going your way to help you on your journey. i juice fasted for 30 days. read my blog if you want detailed info but basically i did it mainly for weight loss. in 30 days i lost 25 pound but what really astounded me was the lessons i learnt and the way i felt, this was by far more important to me than the weight loss. however im not going to lie without the weigth loss i may not be as much as a convert as i am.

i juiced half veggie and half fruit, drank lots of water and herbal tea and added veggie broth to get me throught the difficult times. it was hard work but i have honestly never felt better in all my life. energy, sleeping, clarity of thought, emotional stability and many more benefits. it also taught me that i do not need to eat as much food as i thought and the lesson that i know you have learnt the more bad stuff you eat the more you want and the more good stuff you eat the more you want of that. it has changed my life my way of thinking my health and my body image so much so that i reconmend a juice fast for every living soul. that being said it is hard and not at all an easy thing to do.

my advice is to read read read and then develop a plan that you will work for you, set a time line, set goals and stick to it. hope this helped and i encourage you to try it. exercise is a vital key to the whole process but after fasting for a week i coulnt imagine not exercising you have so much energy you have to do something. good luck and please let me know if i can help in any way.

Julie's blog is

(Note from Allison: thanks, Julie - I always enjoy your comments and support. I'm scared of a 30 day fast, but you make it sound so good. )

Here’s Bootzey again
In 2002 I had fibroid removal surgery. I mentioned this to the gentleman in a health food store, and he asked me what I was doing to prepare for the surgery. I was unaware that any preparations needed to be made. The gentleman made a variety of suggestions about different supplements. He also told me to stay away from exercise, which I thought was interesting, because my body was essentially pregnant. He told me that by fasting some, my body would cleanse itself of toxins; and that would help me heal soundly and more quickly from the surgery. I also had Queen Afua’s book, Heal Thyself, at home and decided to reread it. The book called for a 21 day fast so I did it.

The spiritual changes that occurred during the fast were wholly unexpected. Initially, I suffered horribly from hunger pangs, dizziness, nausea, headaches, cramps, etc. But after a week it was over. That’s when the spiritual stuff kicked in. Once I stopped “detoxing” I found an odd sense of peace. It was just a mind calm. Things that would normally send me into a rage, just slipped off my back. When tasks arose, I didn’t obsess over them or wait until I had a bunch to do all at once. I just performed them with a new purpose. I noticed beauty in simple things. Even my mother’s weekly calls didn’t bother me. Everyone noticed and was asking me what was going on. But I was so peaceful that my answers seemed contrived. The main person that really saw what the fast did for my attitude was my husband. He would say and do things that he knew would piss me off, but nothing would come of it. It was great; although it didn’t last. Once I went back to eating my regular vegetarian diet, I went back to feeling the same way I had before the fast.

Since then, I try to do a 21 day fast yearly usually during Lent. Should something arise that I need intense clarity on, or I’m emotionally distraught by anything, I will fast again. It reboots my body mind and spirit


(Note from Allison: I feel like such a wimp reading about your fast. A week of hunger and dizziness etc. etc.- I don't know if I could do it! Congratulations to you for going through it and reaping the benefits, I would love to achieve the peacefulness that you experienced afterwards.)

OK- I'm waiting for the rest of you shy people
to tell me about your fasts and cleanses!

Mini-fast, Day Two (UPDATED 8:30 pm)

(Photo: Lake Las Vegas Resort- a great place to relax!)

I woke up this morning very hungry, but I got on the scale and saw that I'm back down to 270, where I haven't been for a long time. Yippee!!! But man, I could really eat a meal today. The only reason I'm not is because those numbers on the scale are inspiring me to stick it out today. Isn't that pitiful? I'm supposed to be enjoying the serenity of it all, but dammit, I'm HUNGRY! Now yesterday, all of my hunger disappeared shortly after 6pm- that was amazing to me. At the poetry slam I was jealous of Felicia's salad but I ordered tea, which I didn't even really drink because I was too busy taking pictures of the performers. I was fine, and didn't get hungry again until early morning, like 1 or 2 a.m.

This morning I have had my fasting tea, a lovely mouthful of molasses, my vitamins, and a tall glass of water. I've decided to make some fresh-squeezed orange juice the next time I get hunger pangs today, but other than that, I'll try to stick to tea and water. No- what am I saying? I will stick to tea and water. No solid food! (I can tell you one thing: I will really appreciate my meals tomorrow).

I applaud all of you who make it past day one, because I'm not finding this easy. Look out for a second post today containing some of the comments I've received from readers about fasting. Since I'm still collecting information, please continue to send me stories about your experiences with fasts and cleanses- what method you tried, what your goals were, how it turned out, and whether you would do it again. I'm thinking I can do this mini-fast again. Are there benefits to doing a one-day fast once a week, or is that a waste (other than saving money on grocery bills!)? I do think this experience allows for some mental expansion. It's like I have time to ponder other things because I'm not distracted by another meal. Considering that my life before going raw was all about food, this is a true revelation for me!

8:30 pm Update
I can't believe I'm making it through another day of fasting. Right now I'm so hungry I can feel those faint nausea-like waves, so I'm going to make more fresh orange juice (I had 8 oz. earlier today) and make sure I have enough tea and water until I go to bed. (I really have a problem drinking enough fluids, which is remarkable when that's all I'm allowing myself to consume! ) Despite these issues- learning to drink enough and dealing with the hunger, I can see why I was able to make it through two days of fasting when, in my days of SAD eating I'd have been hard pressed just to skip two meals in a row: it's the raw diet. During this fast I've had no cravings. The hunger I felt was pure hunger rather than a desire for certain flavors or treats. These past two days I've kept the faith that the hunger would pass and could be managed, and I think I've done pretty well for myself.

I sure hope this jumpstarted my weight loss again. Fasting does crazy things to your weight, and what you lose isn't always permanent since it's often more water than fat. Still, the 3 lbs I gained from my weekend of tequila sunrises are now gone, along with an extra pound or so. Since my weight loss had basically halted, this is pure joy for me. If a one or two-day fast can break me out of a weightloss plateau, I'd surely do it every week or two (yeah, maybe not every week- ha ha!).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Day of Serenity (with afternoon update)

(Photo: a bit of serenity at Mt. Charleston in Nevada)

I stayed out last night until about 4:00 a.m. having fun with Felicia and a new friend. We went out to dinner (seafood and salad for Fee and moi), did some walking and a lot of talking, some serious, some silly. Although I went to bed by 4:45 a.m., I still woke up refreshed by 9. Tonight I'll be going to a "poetry slam," where I'll be around a lot of positive, intellectual energy - something I truly love. I therefore woke up feeling that this is going to be a special weekend for me, so instead of immediately getting out of bed, I listened to my favorite music for a couple hours- my perfect stress release and a wonderful way to start any day. In a mellow mood, I put on Counting Crows, Silvio Rodriguez , and Guardabarranco. I envisioned my day going smoothly, and positively- indeed, my life progressing smoothly and positively. I connected what I do today with my overall life goals of finishing my Ph.D, losing this weight, and being healthy, happy and in control of my life.

I was then in a mood to do what I'm calling a mini "serenity fast," a precursor to the more serious one I'll do in the near future. My serenity fast is meant to create an uncomplicated mental, spiritual and physical environment. No meal planning, no new dishes to wash, no food to digest, no negative thinking. I'm drinking plain hot tea (spiked with my molasses), iced tea and water today.

Since I've never fasted before, I'm wondering what you all did when you got that hunger headache. I'm having one right now! One of the principles of Buddhism is about not rushing to get rid of sensations and emotions we don't like. We are always rushing to cure our headaches and hunger pangs and loneliness instead of "listening" to them and learning why they arose, experiencing them, and letting them subside naturally. I want to use my serene mood today to deal with all such stressors calmly and easily, without rushing for the food. From what some of you have already stated (and I will be compiling your wonderful stories and comments this weekend in the blog), you kinda plow through the early rough parts and are rewarded with energy and calmness afterwards.

So far I've brewed a batch of the Yogi fasting tea and have had a couple of mugs of it. I'll study this afternoon, look for more reader comments and stories about fasting and cleansing (send them in! Everyone's experiences, positive or not so positive, are welcome), attend the poetry slam, and have a wonderful day. I wish a wonderful, serene day for all of you, too.

6 pm Update
I've gone through a few strong waves of hunger, but I've stuck to my tea-drinking. I have had a couple of mugs of Yogi tea hot, as well as iced. I am not drinking enough, so my low-grade headache may go away if I drink more tea and water. Right now I'm brewing Cardamon Cinnamon tea made by The Republic of Tea. Boy, it sure smells good! I added about a tsp of molasses to my hot teal earlier but couldn't taste it at all. I'll add some to my cinnamon tea as well, as I still have a goal of 2 to 3 tablespoons of molasses a day. So far I'm not craving anything or feeling deprived. All I worry about is getting hungry during the event tonight and seeing everyone eating around me. If I can make it through that only drinking tea, I'll be very pleased with myself.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cleanses and Fasts- Have You Tried One?

Today topic: fasts and cleanses. This is a call for your input! I have never done a fast or a cleanse but I've been more and more interested as time goes by. To me, a fast or cleanse is symbolic of a fresh start, getting rid of the old and providing a clean environment for the new. I guess that's sort of a spiritual way of looking at it, but I also see it as a physical "spring cleaning" of sorts. From what I've heard and read, there are many reasons to do a cleanse or fast, and just as many methods for accomplishing it. One reader suggested I try a gallbladder detox/cleanse because of the pains I've been having in the lower front/right side of my abdomen. Then today a coworker gave me a box of Yogi Tea designed for people who are fasting.

So I'm intrigued, and have some questions for all of you who have tried fasting or cleanses in the past. What method did you try, and why did you try it? What did the method consist of ? What were you hoping to achieve, and were you pleased with the results? Would you do it again? What caveats would you have for a newbie like me? Now, unless you all suddenly become strangely shy, I hope to be able to compile a nice list of your suggestions and comments for us to read. Since this blog is mirrored at another locations, I'll put all of the comments together so readers of either site can see them all (hmm, I wonder which site will have the most feedback?).

Oh-here is the tea my coworker gave me- I haven't tried it yet. I tasted their "breathing" tea and it was spicy! Good, though.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Back to Reality

The weekend is over, but what a fun weekend it was! I think it was pretty successful. In past days when I spent extended periods of times with friends I would have eaten hamburgers and fries or barbecued chicken wings for my main meals, snacked on junk food in between, and drank Pepsi throughout the day. This time, I took my vitamins daily (including my molasses), snacked on fruit, raw nuts and vegetables, and chose healthy foods at the two restaurants we visited. Although the fish and vegetables were cooked, we asked for olive oil to replace the butter called for in recipes, ignored the rolls brought to us, left off all sauces, and requested oil and vinegar dressing for our salads. As for beverages, I had several tequila sunrises over a course of three days, and I also drank coffee with skim milk once because I wanted to stay alert for my drive home after a late night out. I drank water the rest of the time. I got a lot of exercise, mainly from walking from place to place, but also from a little dancing. My legs were really feeling it yesterday!

Our friend is interested in our raw food lifestyle, so we made her some corn salsa and guacamole and provided her with plenty of fruits and vegetables, cheese and ezekiel tortillas so that even though she was free to eat anything she wanted, she could also get a sampling of what she might eat if she decides to go raw. On her last day here, Felicia even took her shopping at Trader Joe's, where she stocked up on dried fruit and foods to start on a raw food path of her own.

I'm going to wait until the end of the week to see how much I weigh. If I gained weight, it would likely be from those tequila sunrises I drank- I really didn't eat much more than I normally eat, and I got some exercise daily. I find it really difficult to gain weight on this raw diet. Even if I feel I've eaten too much I still find myself bouncing around the same 5 lb weight range- never more than that. I might not be losing, but the fact that I'm not gaining makes up for that. It gives me hope that when I reach my goal weight and continue to eat this way, my weight will stay in a healthy range without the extreme effort it used to take. In fact, it might take little effort at all!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Ladies' Night!

A dear friend of mine is staying the weekend, so this has been a weekend of fun! We've spent hours gallivanting around the city and visiting resorts (for free, of course). Resourcefulness is a necessary skill when you are a poor student. There is a surprisingly large number of activities you can do for free or for a nominal fee in Vegas. Sight seeing is a good example, but we found some very cheap places to have fun- ladies' night at a club, a dinner special at a casino restaurant, and a night club with no entry fee, for a few.

I've done more walking these past couple of days than I think I've done in a week, but that probably won't make up for the calories I've consumed in tequila sunrises (hey- orange juice is raw!) and the salmon dinner I had the other night. Other than taking advantage of ladies' night, I have stayed away from less healthy fare despite having plenty of opportunity. I make sure to eat enough at home before leaving so that I have hours to go before being hungry again. My breakfasts have been cottage cheese and fruit, maybe a slice of ezekiel bread.

New Health Concern
Lately I'm wondering if I'm having gall bladder problems. I should go to the doctor but you know me... I hate seeing doctors. The reason I'm speculating about gall bladder is because the cramp-like pains I get in my lower right/front abdomen seem to come only after I eat or drink. The length of time the pains stay and their intensity vary greatly. Sometimes the pain is so mild I can ignore it. Other times I can barely breathe and can't move for a few minutes. Most of the time the pain is moderate, although somewhat limiting for a while. Since I don't eat constantly, I don't think about the pain until I have a snack or meal. I'm only thinking of it now because I just finished breakfast and I'm feeling the twinges beginning. Apparently losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time can lead to gall bladder problems. Felicia had gall bladder problems and her pains were emergency-department severe. Mine have approached that severity only a couple of times.

Well, the weekend isn't over yet- there is more fun to be had. Tonight I'll be dancing and burning calories!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Assessment of My Raw Journey Thus Far

Roooth (love the name!) suggested I recap my adventures after seven months on this raw food odyssey. I thought that was a good idea. After all, I've made it past half a year and haven't quit yet! For the first time in my life, thanks to my mostly raw diet, I feel I have almost total control over my eating. I won't say 100% control - maybe 98%. I thought I would take a Body, Mind and Spirit approach to my assessment.


I started 2006 with high hopes of losing weight, lowering my cholesterol and blood pressure, getting back into the gym after losing about 100 lbs, and experiencing a general improvement in all things physical. I've done all these things except reach the 100 lb mark- but I'm getting there. My quality of life has gone up quite a bit as my weight has gone down and allowed me to be more mobile and pain-free. The most important body issue is the connection I can now make between what I eat and what happens to me physically. I can see my complexion roughening up if I eat a certain food. I can see that my skin is much less dry and flaky when I drink enough water AND have enough oils. I can tell the difference between hungry and thirsty and between hungry and bored!

Many people who eat mostly or totally raw have talked about wonderful mental changes that occur- more alertness and a sense of vitality, for example. Better memory, too. None of those things have happened to me yet. However, a major improvement is that I fall asleep more rapidly, sleep more soundly, and stay asleep for a longer time than I have since the early 90s! I used to dread waking up in the middle of the night because oftentimes if I managed to fall asleep again, it would be hours later. These days, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I fall asleep again within minutes. I also don't linger in bed all groggy in the morning. I'm usually ready to get up right away (even if I don't want to!). The depression I suffered before going raw lifted pretty early on. I still have plenty of worries that cause me stress, anxiety and chest pains, but I don't have that depression where I felt completely helpless and overwhelmed. I guess that means I feel more energized or motivated or something- my mind is stronger!

I haven't had that spiritual awakening that some raw folks talk about; no miracles have happened and I don't feel closer to God (sorry, Mom) but I think that those who have experienced that are very lucky people and I am truly happy for them. I used to study Buddhism and got into vipassana meditation, but strayed from it a couple of years ago when I felt I had reached an impasse. Lately I've been working my way back to it. In fact, I wonder if my healthy eating habits will make meditation easier- one of the things I struggled with.

Since my weekend of fast food and ice cream, I think I feel more aware of the immense change I've made in my diet and the positive effects the changes have had on me since January. I think I feel more in tune with my body, as if it isn't my enemy the way it used to be. In other words, now that I'm taking care of it, I'm feeling more of a union with it. I still hate the way it looks, but I realize that this is more about my not possessing society's idea of attractiveness than anything else. On the other hand, I don't strive to a be a beauty- just a healthy person! Being overweight or having bad skin are simply reminders that I'm not totally healthy yet, so that's what I have to focus on. Getting back into my Buddhist studies helps me to remember to not get attached to superficial concerns like beauty anyway.

So that's where I stand in the second half of year one. I'm thinking that I can eat this way indefinitely, with a few treats here and there. I know I'm not "cured" of my past eating disorders- I sincerely believe that the monster is lurking and can be awakened if I overdo the foods that are wrong for me. When I'm extremely bored or very worried (about exams, paying bills, etc.) I want to eat, eat and eat some more. But I envision my future as one featuring a mostly raw diet, regular physical exercise, and a calm spirituality. I know that mind, body and spirit are all connected, so I plan to carefully tend to each of these areas and to not flog myself when I screw up. Everything has been a beneficial learning experience so far, and I've got much more to learn.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Ending My 7th Month Raw

This morning I seem to have returned to a total of 70 lbs lost- but since I go up and down, up and down, I'm not going to get excited about being 70 lbs down again. I could be eating too many calories to lose 1 to 2 lbs a week the way I'd like to, but I'm unwilling to eat less! Eventually I'll lose the weight, but it's just gonna take time.

I have a challenge coming up: a dear friend is coming for a weekend visit, and she is not a vegetarian or a raw foodist whatsoever. I don't think she even eats sushi. I'm not sure how the weekend will turn out for me foodwise, but I'm not foreseeing anything horrible- just a tad challenging. For example, it would be great to take her to a buffet, but I'm not sure a buffet is worth the price for a raw foodist since "all I can eat" doesn't turn out to be very much these days. On the other hand, I'm bound to come across some raw veggies and fruits that I haven't tried in a while (or at all), so maybe I should look forward to the experience.

Yesterday Felicia said she thinks my hair is growing back. I think the thinning parts might be filling in a little, but there is still a long way to go, making it one more thing I refuse to get excited about too early. I still wear my wigs and hats! The rest of my hair is thick and definitely growing.

Well, that's the entire update for today. Those of you in the hot weather- be careful and stay as cool as possible!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Progress is Being Made

Whew- I've been having trouble posting to this blog due to network and/or server issues. Now, I've got computer problems! Hopefully these issues won't cause additional missed blogs in the future.

I've had a very good week so far. I've made some adjustments by going back to eating salads daily, and cutting down just a bit on the nuts. I've had no fish this week, but have eaten low-fat cottage cheese for my protein. In fact, I've made cottage cheese my breakfast, eating it before leaving for work so that I can take my biotin/MSM combo for my hair. I've also cut down on the molasses since it's not the most pleasant experience- still, I take a couple of tablespoons a day. I've been eating fresh fruit this week: cherries, grapes and honeydew melon. I've been taking a calcium/Vitamin D supplement as well. So much for not taking any supplements!

I've noticed a couple of changes that I'm continuing to keep my eyes on: my complexion, which last week I noted has gotten a bit rougher, seems to have started to smooth up again. To make sure this isn't wishful thinking I won't say it's a sure thing for a couple of weeks, I guess. The same for my hair: it continues to break off less than it was before, but there is no evidence of new growth in the areas that thinned out. My fingers are crossed, though.

I've done pretty well with water over the past month. I freeze 30 oz. of water overnight so that I have cold water at work all day. I actually drink more than 30 oz. because I add water to the bottle during the day. I'm not noticing too much action on the scale, although it has eased down very slowly over the past week. I've developed a blase attitude about losing any more weight between now and the start of the Fall semester. Why aggravate myself? I should worry more about going to the gym regularly!

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's Fruit and Cake!

It's Fruit and Cake!

Here's a snippet from the video I found of Felicia and me dumping the last of our binge foods on December 31st, 2005. Take a look at that garbage can! The last words, which got cut off a bit, are "goodbye Fig Newtons, hello 2006!"

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Dirty Deed is Done

I had my treat! And before I tell you what I had, let me say that I can't believe I used to eat that stuff with no problems! Well, at least without any immediately noticeable ones, since you can't call weight gain, bad skin, high blood pressure and high cholesterol "no problems"- ha! Anyway, I decided on Kentucky Fried Chicken (they don't fool me with that Kitchen Fresh stuff, by the way). I got a 2 piece dinner with a biscuit, and a side of wedges and corn on the cob. I didn't get anything to drink- I didn't even want Pepsi, strangely enough. I had ice cream for dessert, from my favorite place: Baskin Robbins.

The chicken was, as you can guess, SALTY. It was like emptying a salt shaker into my mouth. I used to love all that salt, but I could barely take it. The french fries were the same- the salt took away from my enjoyment. The corn on the cob was the best tasting part of the meal, of course. I added nothing to it.

I discovered that I could not eat much of my dinner or dessert before getting full. I was surprised at how quickly I filled up. Both Felicia and I could have shared my two-piece dinner . My dessert was very sweet, of course- I loved it, but I couldn't eat much of it without feeling icky. Overall, while I did not enjoy my treat, I did like the way it showed me how my tastes and tolerances have changed. It also made me sad for all the people who still treat those foods as daily meals. It's so bad for you! I had some gastric distress afterwards, but nothing major.

I am not through yet! Today I had a healthier treat: a tempura dinner and a sushi roll. I love tempura, and thought it should be light enough and mildly flavored enough to be a pleasant treat instead of an unpleasantly heavy, greasy one like yesterday, fried or not. I was right- I enjoyed it, but still couldn't eat a full serving at one sitting. Rice is filling, but I loved it-it's one of my favorite foods. I didn't have any negative feelings, either physically or emotionally, after my Japanese dinner.

My last treat: I love pizza, so for dinner I got a supreme personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. And 5 barbecued chicken wings (shut up). I didn't feel overly full, probably because it was my first full meal of the day. It didn't taste nearly as salty as the chicken meal- either I was already used to the salt, or KFC is just over-the-top salty (I believe the latter to be true).


So now it's Monday and I'm back to my healthy, whole foods, with a much greater appreciation for raw. Most of my raw foods are naturally moist and fresh-tasting, with mild flavors that feel nourishing instead of stimulating. By contrast, the salt, sugar and spices in the junk foods were stimulating- they arose the taste buds and the appetite. No wonder I always wanted more. I'm glad I avoided the Pepsi- that might have been a Pandora's box!! I weighed myself this morning and haven't gained a thing (yet)- but I was careful to eat less of my normal foods in order to make room for the junk.

I can really appreciate my raw foods and the way they allow me to place food in its proper place in my life. Before, food was my number one concern; the thought of what I'd be snacking on next took up most of imagination. Today I don't even think much about food until I'm hungry (or blogging), and when I'm done eating, I'm ready to move on to the next item in my life.

Today I've got a great salad waiting for me, a slice of Ezekiel bread, and a mix of grapes and cherries. I'm going to work out tonight.

I'm back!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tonight's the Night

Yesterday while I was at Whole Foods it suddenly occurred to me to look at some of their offerings for my "girl night out" (God- that sounds pathetic, doesn't it?) One of my favorite treats used to be Amy's Enchiladas- she makes a line of frozen dinners, with her Mexican ones being among the best on the market. But I didn't buy the enchiladas. It's been so long since I've eaten a boxed frozen meal that the idea of buying it was...alien. Since it wasn't Friday yet, I told myself that I should make myself come out again if I really want it. Make myself work for it!

In truth, this little event is becoming more and more humorous as each day passes. I know that I'll rent a couple of movies and have a glass of red wine, but what to eat? I'm just not envisioning myself with a bag or box of overly-processed full-of-preservatives foodstuff, no matter how fondly I recall eating those things. I think what is happening is that I truly value whole, unprocessed foods now- I may go for something from a restaurant (yeah, I know, any of Amy's Enchiladas is likely to be healthier than a freshly fried chicken breast from KFC!) Ooh, you know what sounds good? Brie cheese and fruit! I think Felicia suggested that to me but it didn't sound decadent enough at the time.

Anyway... anyone got any movie suggestions? I like dramas but not the tragically sad kind- I don't need to be boo-hooing this weekend. I like comedies, but not the "stoopid" kind, if you know what I mean. I love adventures, stories set in foreign cultures (as a language lover I don't mind subtitles) and love stories. Even a chick flick is all right if it doesn't fall into the stoopid or tragic categories.

Oh, I have to mention something. I found a video from December 31st, 2005, of Felicia and me ending the year by throwing our binge foods into the garbage can. She's tossing out fig newtons and mock crying, and you can see in the garbage can an empty bottle of my beloved Pepsi along with the remains of all kinds of horrors. I laughed my head off. I may post a snippet if Felicia is all right with it. Despite my plans for this evening, I am pleased to know, deep in my heart, that I will NEVER be the way I used to be. Maybe that's what tonight is really all about.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back Away from the Spices!

Cellphone Video: Perusing the aisles of my second home, Whole Foods

I was at my second home today- Whole Foods- looking at the cottage cheeses. The cheese will replace the salmon I've been eating, because I believe the negative changes I've seen in my skin and digestion are due to the fish. As I looked at the display, my heart sank because I remembered how much I hated eating this bland stuff while on my Weight Watchers diet. Nonetheless, I decided on an organic brand that had the fewest weird and unnatural-sounding ingredients. This brand has a tart flavor and touts live culture content. I bought two 16-oz containers of it (and 5 bottles of kombucha tea!).

I must say that I believe that those who speculate that we overeat partly because of the multitude of herbs and spices we add to our foods are right. And by the way, that observation is not new; it was made ages ago by people such as the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, who noted over 200 years ago that people with access to spicy foods tended to make gluttons of themselves. With that in mind, I realize I probably shouldn't be eating strongly flavored foods like smoked salmon. If I found it easy to make a glutton of myself eating extremely sweet and salty foods in my SAD days, I know I could do the same with the fish. I've already gone from eating it once a day to eating it at lunch AND dinner. I could easily eat it for breakfast, too. That's probably a warning sign to me (if the other signs weren't enough) that I should back off. Cottage cheese is probably just what the doctor ordered: 14 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per 1/2 cup, and mild flavoring. The switch from salmon to cottage cheese will net me more protein, less fat, and not fill me up as much as the fish did.

Now, is there such a thing as raw milk cottage cheese, I wonder...?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Almost Seven Months Raw- Then and Now

(Photo: My blood pressure and pulse reading this week- not bad!)

(Note- I know there's a typo or two in here but I can't find them!)

When I first started this blog, I was a pretty sad person. I was tired of being overweight, depressed that I hadn't figured out how to keep the weight off, and was suffering from physical ailments that decreased the quality of my life. They say that when you start to feel that you are not making progress in your new healthy habits, it's good to look back at where you started. Since I'm thinking about having some decidedly not-raw treats over the next few - and because I've been frustrated over bouncing within the same weight range for many, many weeks- I thought this might be a good time to compare where I stand today to where I was on January 1st, 2006 when I first embarked on my Raw Odyssey. Below are entries (with some paraphrasing for succinctness) from my first blog entry, followed by comments about how things have changed since I went raw.

First of all, I started at 341 lbs. I am 5′6". In 2001 I started to regain the 190 lbs I'd just lost and eventually reached that weight, size 30. I couldn't walk from the car to the grocery store door without running out of breath, nor could I read a passage from a book out loud without stopping frequently to breathe. I had obstructive sleep apnea and qualified for gastric bypass surgery. My doctor said it also appeared I had developed asthma. I couldn't wash the dishes for more than a few minutes due to the pain in my back. If I went to the mall I had to sit down frequently because I was tired and in pain. My arms and hip felt like they were pulling out of their sockets. My knee and leg felt so week that climbing stairs was scary because I feared collapsing.

Things sure are different today- despite having over 100 lbs left to lose, I'm much healthier and happier. Check it out with me:

-Eyes water for a couple of hours each morning
-Stuffy nose/post-nasal drip
-Sneezing in the morning
-Sides of tongue hurt for days at a time
-Bad gums (probably gum disease)
-Stiff neck and back

My eyes still water from time to time and I sneeze once in a while, but I'm not "suffering" the way I used to, and no stuffy nose these days. My tongue stopped hurting after my first week eating raw. I've yet to see a dentist (no insurance) so I can't say much about the dental issues yet, but the stiff neck and back are largely gone. I only seem to get them these days from carrying my heavy bookbag or working out.

-Blotchy complexion, some acne
-Low grade headache in morning, sometimes throughout day
-Severe lower back pain all the time
-Pain in knees

My complexion cleared up amazingly after being raw for a few months. It happened gradually, but the teeny bumps and darker pigmentation on my cheeks went away. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I recently added smoked salmon and increased the amount of cheese I eat so that I could get more protein in my battle aganst hair loss (which started after eating raw helped me to lose a huge amount of weight in a short amount of time). Since adding those foods, the roughness in my complexion has slightly reappeared. Proof positive of the beneficial effect that a raw diet has on my skin- and I do love evidence! It is making me reconsider the salmon. I have no more daily headeaches, but I did develop headaches when I was eating smoked salmon from Trader Joe's and grocery stores. When I started getting my salmon from Costco the headaches stopped.

-Low energy, low stamina
-Uneven sleeping patterns
-Often feel hot
-Very noisy digestive system
-chronically dry skin

I noticed relatively early on that my depression just kind of melted away. I still tend towards depressive thinking when I'm stressed out, but I don't LIVE depressed the way I did before.
I'm not sure that my energy level has increased, but I definitely sleep better. It used to take me hours sometimes to fall asleep. Since starting raw I've fallen asleep within 15 minutes sometimes, and I sleep through the night soundly.
I still often feel hot. When I was a size 10 I was always cold. I'd love to feel cold again because it's hot here in the southwest. Guess I've still got too much insulation!
My digestive system was embarrasingly noisy in the old days and guess what? Since adding the fish and increasing the cheese, the noise has started up again. More proof that my body seems to like my more-purely raw diet better than the one I've morphed to. I'm definitely reconsidering the fish.
My skin is still dry, but no more alligator legs! I drink water all day and really miss it when I don't have any on me. Water comprises 95% of what I drink; the only other beverage I drink is kombucha tea from Wild Oats and Whole Foods, usually once a week or so.

-Resting heartrate = 80s and 90s
-341 pounds (about 200 lbs to lose)
My blood pressure is high
-My cholesterol is over 200.
-I am anemic.

Check out the photo up top- that was my blood pressure and resting heart rate this weekend at a pharmacy. My recent blood tests show my cholesterol to be in the 170s with the good and bad cholesterols both at healthy levels. I'm at 272 lbs these days and I'm not anemic any longer. I'm a size 22W.


-Salt, caffiene and sugar make up a large part of what I eat.
-Pepsi, some days, is the only thing I drink. Other days I drink very little of anything.
-High saturated fat and trans-fat

I consume no caffeine at all. My sodium levels were fine until- you guessed it: I added the fish and increased the cheese. (I am really reconsidering that fish....) I've had no Pepsi since December 31st 2005. I'm conscientious about drinking enough water and although I'm not perfect, I do have an average of 7 eight-oz. servings of water a day, I'd say. My diet consists of no trans-fats. The only saturated fats I get are the healthy, plant-based kind.

-Fitness? What fitness? I can’t climb one short set of stairs without huffing and puffing. If I have to hurry down the street even a little, I’m breathing heavily for a ridiculous amount of time.

Today, even at over 100 lbs overweight, I can run up a flight of stairs (I know this because I've been doing it at work since last week!) My knee and leg are FINE- so fine I forgot I ever had a problem with them (or with my shoulders, for that matter, until re-reading my first blog entry). When I visited the gym last week, I actually ran a little on the treadmill, too- so there!

All I can say is WOW- I'm so glad I re-read my first post! I've come a long way. I've learned a lot, too. The biggest lessons I've learned are that 1) junk foods have strong psychological and physical effects on me, and 2) My raw odyssey must be tailored to my lifestyle and body and no one else's 3) It's a good thing to experiment and to try new things. If something doesn't work for me, it doesn't work. There's nothing bad or good about that; I just have to adjust and find what does work. The fish and cheese thing, for example. I'll probably end up cutting out the fish and keeping low-fat cheese on my menu (cottage cheese comes to mind).

Now, does all of this mean I'm not going to have a few junky treats over the next few days? Truthfully, I don't know if I will or won't, but I'll be keeping in mind where I used to be. To those who wrote to me warning me not to overdo it, thank you very much. I'll be careful! I'm kinda hoping any treat I have makes me queasy so that it'll be easy to cross it off my list. I'm not doing anything until Friday, at the earliest.



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