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 welikeitraw.com 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 www.welikeitraw.com'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 www.welikeitraw.com
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



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