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.



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