Monday, January 21, 2008

A New Home for Raw Odyssey!

The philosophy behind Raw Odyssey has matured over the past two years. In the beginning it was a simple blog that I hoped would help me and other new raw foodists learn about raw foods as a way to gain health and vitality. As I became part of the wonderful raw food community, though, I discovered that there exist some deep debates. Some of these are: Who has a right to be deemed a guru? Which guru has the "right" answers? "How raw" we should be? Which foods are truly raw? Should the practice of eating raw have a spiritual component? Who should represent the raw community to the public? Some raw foodists are less tolerant of those holding views different from theirs, while others adopt more of a "live and let live" perspective.

I think that the raw "gurus" and others who strictly promote a specific way of eating as best for all humans forget that even though we all are of the same animal species, our minds, environment and lifestyles affect the choices we make and therefore create variations in how we actually live. For example, what works for one group of raw foodists may simply not be acceptable for my own taste buds, spiritual beliefs, fears, budget, time, skills, energy, geographic location, etc. When you take all of these variables into consideration, you can see that there is no single way to accomplish a successful diet of whole and raw foods. There are, indeed, multiple ways, all valid for those who are successful with them.

My commitment to raw and whole foods, and my affection for the raw community (debates and all!) has led me to develop Raw Odyssey into a site more reflective of the views I have discussed. I have registered Raw Odyssey as a domain and am creating a site which I hope speaks to those of us who sometimes feel we must be "doing it wrong." It will be a site that explores different ways of eating raw and addresses the various arguments for eating one way or another. As I am still developing the site I am testing it at If site development and hosting work out well there I will keep the site there permanently (thanks go to Dhrumil and Philip McCluskey who both advised about domain, hosting and/or site issues- might as well talk to those who have gone before you, right?)

The new home for the Raw Odyssey blog is and it is up now.
The rest of the site will be developed over time and will address raw food debates and the many different types of raw food eating we engage in. I plan for it to be fun and informative.

Any suggestions you have for the site as I've described it are welcome- you can leave them in the comments at (To read Raw Odyssey 2009, visit

I hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 15, 2008- Noticing New Things

So this is basically day 15 of my 2008 Raw Odyssey. It's easier to just say that then to try to subtract New Year's day and the couple of days I was sick and not eating much of anything at all. I am not feeling the need to be all scientific about this these days!

Since day one I've been doing the salads, the hummus/taboule/ezekiel pita, and the nonfat yogurt with fruit thing, and coconut water in the morning. I'm not totally sick of these foods yet, but I do need variety and I just don't want to relieve boredom by spending a lot of time making complex raw meals. Nor do I want to go to the other extreme and buy easy prepackaged raw stuff like I tried the first time around, like raw "bars" and nori-wrapped treats. Those seem more like snacks to me, and I'm trying to get away from snacks that feel like the candy bars and chips from my SAD days. When I get the VitaMix perhaps the green smoothies and other recipes I'll be trying will give me enough variety. I'm also thinking of making flaxseed crackers using my oven.

I've had more good results from eating high-raw: this week I noticed that the edema (swelling) I had in my lower legs has disappeared, so my ankles are back! I was alerted to that when I was watching the twins edition of the National Body Challenge. They had an episode with these twins who own an Italian restaurant. Their advisor showed one of the twins how his legs were swelling up, and she pressed the skin on his calf to show how the indentation remained. So there the twins were, making me laugh by poking at their legs in wonder (they looked so cute, though!), but that reminded me of how my own doctor had told me I had edema. I started poking at my legs, too! I was so happy to see that my legs aren't swollen anymore and my ankle bones are once again visible. Yay! The area of my arms right where they meet the wrist also have been swollen in the past, but the swelling has disappeared there as well. Even my pants feel a tad looser- I must've lost a lot of water weight these past couple of weeks (I still haven't weighed myself).

One problem I have noticed is that I am feeling hungry between breakfast and lunch, and after dinner. In fact, one day I was in a meeting and I felt a flash of faintness and knew I'd better eat something immediately (which I did). I haven't been counting calories, although I estimate in my head that I'm getting around 1200 a day. Today I drank more water to combat my hunger, and I haven't felt ill or faint since that one incident. I'm not sure if I'm just getting used to eating less food again, or if I really need to eat more. I'll probably start counting calories soon, just to make sure. I'm lucky that my job has started buying us fruit and cutting down on the junky treats. Today I grabbed a pear, a banana and an orange! (So much for that low carb thing I'm supposed to be doing!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Raw Again-How I've Missed It!

Today was my first week back on my nearly 100% raw diet. Unfortunately, I started the week suffering from the effects of what I thought was food poisoning, and my stomach is still bothering me- albeit to a minor extent -after meals. Because this week I've been eating less often, eating smaller meals, and eating healthier meals to boot, I had hoped I would have been well by now. I may need to make a visit to the doctor just to make sure everything's ok in there. In the meantime, I thought I'd try some ginger. I posted a question to both and Twitter and got answers within the hour suggesting I steep ginger to make tea. I grated some ginger and used slightly warm water to make the tea- I'm drinking it now. I'm not saying it's delicious or anything, but it sure smells nice. I'm envisioning my stomach healing as I drink it. Thank you GITMR and Twitter friends!

This week has been pretty good as far as eating raw. I don't have the same hangups I did the first time I returned to raw after quitting in mid-2006; I'm not worrying about how much weight I'm losing or how many calories I'm consuming. I'm not worried that I'm eating or two non-raw foods (nonfat Greek yogurt for breakfast, canned chick peas for next week's salads). I'm continuing to take the vitamins I have left: iron, MSM, and vitamin E. Every day I've been eating fresh fruits and vegetables, a few Whole Foods salad bar items, ezekiel pita bread and "raw-seed crackers" from Whole Foods.

Breakfast has been about 2/3 cup yogurt with fresh fruit, and lunch has been a salad with "Israeli salad," taboule, and edamame (I'm so gauche I throw anything together). I usual add one or more of the following: raw sunflower seeds, 1/2 small avocado, about 1 tbsp olive oil, and Celtic sea salt. For dinner I've been eating the above salad, but a lot less of it because I'm making a sandwich with it using an ezekiel pita and adding hummus. I eat dinner before 7 pm usually, but I am not above snacking late at night on a piece of fruit. Tonight I had a juicy pear.

Throughout the day I try to drink water or tea, but usually I forget. I remembered to do so yesterday and today only when I connected feelings of sluggishness with under-hydration. Drinking tea seemed to help.

I have to say that my job is FULL of unhealthy foods. My first day back at work there was a huge chocolate cake with icing in our kitchen. Today there were mini-bagels and cream cheese. In our snack area there are salted, roasted nuts, chips, holiday chocolates, Skittles, M&M's, ginger snaps, tins of popcorn, hard candies, crackers, and that's not even the full list. We have pop in the fridge and surprise treats that seem to pop up like whack-a-moles. I am proud to say that I did not feel the desire to eat any of these things. We do have tea, filtered water, and fresh fruit every week- I've been taking advantage of these healthier amenities.

I notice that I am craving salt bigtime this week. I've had this happen before when I first start on a raw diet. I guess it's because I'm so used to eating sodium in processed foods that I miss the flavor for a while. I've been putting Celtic sea salt on my salad; I figure that even doing that, I'm consuming waaaay less sodium than I was before. Over time I'll naturally scale back, I'm sure.

The greatest benefit I've experienced this week from going back to raw is alertness and clarity. For the first time in a long time I've been sitting through our "two-hour-plus"- long meetings on the job without yawning constantly, nodding off, or losing focus. That has made me more productive and has helped me to enjoy my work more already, and it's only been a few days!

That's it for the week!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Raw Odyssey Continues...

I decided, this past weekend, to eat up some of the non-raw food I had so that I didn't have to throw out too many items when I start my segue back to 100% raw. Unfortunately, one of the foods I ate- some bleu cheese- should have been thrown out. I ended up with food poisoning. Talk about agony. Thank goodness it's only lasted a couple of days. I have some lingering dehydration symptoms, but I'm feeling much better than I was yesterday- and pretty "cleaned out," too! And since I'm cleaned out, I'm putting only good stuff back in.

Luckily, before I got sick I had a couple of young Thai coconuts in the fridge, salad greens and some salad bar item from Whole Foods. Once I progressed from drinking bottled water and coconut water, I ate a couple of tiny salads. Today I'm ready for something a little more hearty, so I ventured back out to Whole Foods. I decided that instead of jumping into 100% raw I will ease into it, so I have bought nonfat Greek Yogurt, hummus, and seed crackers, as well as papaya, avocado, edamame, Ezekiel pita bread, 1 bottle of Kombucha tea, and raw sunflower seed kernels. Perhaps I'll time my transition to raw so that it ends the week that I get my new VitaMix! Let's see, when will that be? 30 Days!!

While I was out, I stopped at the local raw cafe and got a green smoothie. YUCK!!! I drank it down knowing it was nothing but healthiness going down my throat. When I start making my own green smoothies next month I will definitely be experimenting with flavors (and accepting any recipes you want to send me!) I know that the bitterness is something I'll get used to again as I re-accustom myself to an all-raw diet. The SAD way of eating gets you so used to sugar and salt that the naturally less-sweet flavors of so many healthy, natural foods seems "bad" somehow. My first go-around with raw, however, taught me to appreciate nature's flavors without seasonings, so I look forward to experiencing that again.

I don't know exactly how I'll handle eating raw this time around. I might log all my foods like I used to, or I might not. I do know I'm not in a hurry to jump on the scale! Maybe I'll wait until I've gotten back into the raw habit before I get more regimented about it. Right now, the most important thing to me is to start thinking, eating, and generally behaving in a more healthful manner. This means turning my home into a healthier environment, relaxing more, surrounding myself with "healthy" people who don't drag me down. Just doing all of the things that help make daily living less stressful.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I'm So Excited!

I found out that one of the Costcos around here is selling the Vita-Mix in February! I'm so ready to buy one. I see on their website that they have a new one called the 5200. So many choices! I'm going to buy that one, I think, as I do not intend to grind any grains into flour. I can't wait to watch the demonstration at the store. I love watching them put those recipes together- guess I'm easily entertained.

These past couple of weeks I find myself having less and less desire for junk foods. It's not a conscious effort. In fact, though my fridge is full of holiday food, I'm having a hard time finishing it all without thinking of how unhealthy it is and how this great raw diet is right around the corner. Pepsi, steak, pork chops, bread, pudding- even a little vodka- are in my fridge and freezer. They taste great (my friend Tonia is an awesome and inventive cook), but my mind is, thankfully, pulling away from that stuff and gravitating towards fresh fruits and vegetables, home brewed teas and filtered water. It's so nice to feel this way naturally, as it makes returning to 100% raw that much easier.

Right now what I need most is to be rid of this lingering cold or allergy I've had for a month already, and to regain my energy and focus as the new academic year begins. If any of you are also embarking upon a new or renewed effort in eating raw, you have my support. It might be fun to make a list of all of your ailments and see if any of them diminish or go away as you follow your personalized raw journey. That's what I'm doing- I'm making a list of my most irksome problems and putting a line next to each entry so I can record the date that I first notice a positive change. If I have negative experiences, I'll note those as well so that I can make adjustments as needed. Here's my list! What's yours look like?

Dark patches _____________

Dry, scaly _______________
Bumps/"tags"_____________ (did you know skin tags are related to hypothyroidism?)

Nails (brittle) ____________

Dry, Brittle_______________

Energy level_______________
Appetite changes____________
Weight changes_____________
Cold/allergy symptoms_______

(Wow- based on this list you'd think I was a total wreck. How do I manage to get up in the morning?? ) I can't wait to start documenting the physical changes I will experience over the weeks that I eat raw.



FeedBurner FeedCount