A Journal of Transition to a Raw Food Lifestyle

Monday, December 27, 2010

Progress, Not Perfection

Hi guys!  I’m feeling a little down tonight, but I decided to write anyway.  This cold is getting to me.  I can’t warm up for anything.  I think part of it is the raw food and part of it is the blood pressure meds I just started taking.  I am used to being hot and sweaty ALL the time.  In addition it’s been in the 20s down here in South Louisiana.  I’m going to Boston for two days, where there’s currently a blizzard going on, and I’m really not looking forward to the cold, although I can’t wait to play in the snow.
I decided that I’m going to incorporate some cooked food in my diet.  I don’t want to be sick every time that I do decide to indulge in something cooked.  Also, if I eat some cooked food then I can warm it up, and I think that being warm will make me feel so much better.  I’m going to aim for 80%-90% raw daily, with a few 100% days each week.  I think that transitioning to 100% raw will be easier and more sustainable if I make it a gradual, long term change instead of diving in head first.
I really believe that this is THE way to eat to live.  I have seen so many positive changes already.  There are people around me who are listening to the message of raw food, and I believe that I can help people by example.  The more research that I do, the more I realize that I don’t have to be perfect at this.  Almost perfect is plenty good enough.    

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Drumroll Please...Week 1 Weight Loss...

So, I know I told you guys that this really wasn't about weight loss for me...and it isn't.  But I couldn't WAIT to get home and find out how much weight (if any) I lost in the 1st week.  Are you ready?  10.2 pounds!  Wow.  Take that Atkins, Weight Watchers (sorry Lynn), South Beach, low fat, low calorie, the Zone, etc, etc, etc!  See you next Saturday for an update.

Stacy’s Raw Diet will resume tomorrow at it’s regularly scheduled time...

Okay, so today and yesterday were not raw days for me.  What was I thinking to do this at Christmas time when I was traveling and didn’t have time to prepare my own food?  But it’s okay because I have learned from this experience.
Christmas Eve we went to my mom’s mouse.  I had a huge salad and decided to eat a small bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo (but I didn’t have any sausage).  It was literally like a cup of gumbo.  And it was soooooooooooo good. I LOVE gumbo.  Within 10 minutes I was sick in the bathroom and ended up missing half of present opening time.  I also started getting tired and feeling like I was going to fall asleep on my drive home.  This hasn’t happened since I started eating raw.  I don’t regret eating the gumbo at all.  But I couldn’t believe how my body reacted.  Especially since I had a huge salad.  I mean I think probably 75-80% of my food was raw.  There is DEFINITELY a difference in how my body feels between eating raw and eating even just a little cooked food.
Fast forward to today (Christmas Day).  I finally was able to use my VitaMix and had a really nice green smoothie for breakfast.  I managed to avoid eating anything at my mother in law’s house for Christmas Dinner.  It was hard.  I kept thinking about how much easier this would have been if I would have had time to prepare my own food.  When I got home Christmas Eve, there wasn’t even anywhere that I could go to buy a salad or fruit.  I completely didn’t think about that or I would have brought some stuff home with me.  Anyway, I told myself that I would make myself a small plate of food to bring home and if I still wanted it later, then I could eat it.  
Then I started thinking about all of my food issues and about it being Christmas and most of this food being things that I only eat once a year.  All of my previous diets have been ones of deprivation.  Strict rules about what I can’t eat.  I don’t want this to be that way.  If I want to have a few bites of cornbread dressing, then I want to be able to eat it without guilt.  Denying myself of the things that I want is what has led me to fail in the past, and I want this to be a long term life style change for myself.  I am also really re-thinking this 100% raw thing.  Maybe I should do 90% or something like that where I eat a small amount of cooked food every day so that if I DO splurge on something one day, it won’t make me sick.  Most people are NOT 100% raw.  I need to do some more research on this but I’m leaning towards 80-90%.  I am starting the Resolve to Evolve program through Raw Food Rehab on January 1, and I think that will give me more direction.
I know for sure that I will wake up in the morning and be back on track.  I know for sure that this is really the lifestyle that I want for myself.  I know for sure that I am evolving and food is not holding so much guilt and emotional baggage for me.  I know for sure that my plate of food from Christmas Dinner was yummy, and I’m glad that I ate it.  I’ll see you tomorrow, for Day 6 take 3.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quit Stressing Stacy!!!!!!!!!!

Well...Day 5 was kind of tough for me.  I was very irritated and aggravated all day.  I’ve read that this is common...going through emotional ups and downs while detoxing your body from all the toxins that have been stored in it from eating processed foods.  I think that I’m really worried about going home and dealing with the stress of every day life and continuing to eat like this.  I told you that I’ve been in Tennessee.  Well, last night we drove half way home, and had to stop somewhere to eat.  The whole process of trying to pick a good restaurant that would be good but have a salad bar or good salads had me about to throw my beloved iPhone out of the window.  We ended up at Ruby Tuesday’s because they have a salad bar.  And I did add some salsa, which I’m sure came out of a jar, to my salad.  Only two tablespoons, and it actually tasted so salty and “fake” that I wished I had left it off.  I don’t feel guilty about it...but I realize that I need to plan better.  I keep thinking if I can just get home to my VitaMix, everything will be better.
Then we stopped at a BEAUTIFUL bed and breakfast called Century House in Meridian Mississippi.  On a side note, if you’re ever passing through this way, you should stop here.  It is beautiful and the owners are fabulous!  Anyway, I immediately started worrying about the breakfast when I got here.  The owner told me she was making stuffed french toast (my favorite), grits, eggs, and sausage for breakfast.  I told her about my diet, and she immediately starting trying to figure out how to accommodate me.  I told her I had my own fruit, it was no big deal.
This is really about today, day 6, but when I got up this morning I just decided that I wasn’t even going to go down to breakfast.  My daughter was really sad, but I tried to explain it to her.  Anyway, after a little while I decided to go down anyway.  The owner, Mamie, had gone out of her way to fix me a small yogurt parfait.  So, I ate it.  She was really worried about me having something to eat.  I don’t feel guilty about that either.  Now I have two Christmas dinners to face, but I think I’ll be okay there, and if not....well, it is Christmas.
I’ve been wondering whether or not this 100% raw thing is feasible for me.  I think I need to think in more flexible terms.  Being unbending is what has sabotaged me in the past.  Do people who eat 100% raw NEVER eat anything cooked?  And if you eat something cooked are you still 100% raw if you eat raw most days?  Like if I eat some broiled fish once or twice a week, but eat 100% raw the rest of the week, can I still consider myself raw?  I think these are personal decisions that I have to make.  I don’t think there’s any set rules.  I realize that this is an evolution, and I have to figure it out as I go along.  My goal for today is to quit stressing and enjoy Christmas...no matter what I end up eating.
Merry Christmas!

P.S.  I just realized that I didn't even miss the french toast, etc when I was eating the parfait...it was about the atmosphere and conversation much more than the food.  A great lesson to learn today.     

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 4 Down! Christmas Dinner, here I come!

Day 4 down with no problems.  I drank the 150 oz of water again with no problems.  I’m still feeling a little dehydrated.  I think it will all even out though.  I’m finding it easier to resist the food that others in my household are eating.  It’s really not a big deal anymore. Right now I smell breakfast cooking AND cookies baking, and I’m happy with my fruit salad breakfast.   I feel like I can do this indefinitely.  Although Christmas dinner at my mom’s tomorrow will be the true test.  I’m going to make me a very yummy sounding raw chocolate pie that I found in the fabulous e-cookbook Raw for the Holidays, which you can purchase here.  I’m going to make myself a huge salad topped with delicious salsa and have pie for dessert, and I think I’ll be okay.  
I finally told my mom yesterday that I’m eating raw.  We have had several versions of Christmas due to my fad diets of the past, so she took it in stride, and was kind of glad to cut the amount of food she prepared down by some.  They’re going to have gumbo, turkey breast and finger foods instead of the usual turkey, ham, roast, tons of sides, etc.  We actually had a nice long talk about raw food and she’s now on the list of people waiting to see what happens.  My dad is diabetic...very diabetic...and has been taking shots for like 24 years I think.  One of my main goals in all of this is to show him that this can work and help him.  There is a raw food program where you can reverse diabetes in 30 days.  There are countless people that this has worked for.  I want it to work for him. 
If any of you guys are interested in learning more about raw food, you should check out Raw Food Rehab.  It is an AMAZING place.  The information and support there is unlimited.  They have an 11 week raw food initiative coming up called Resolve to Evolve, and I think it’s a great way to get started.  I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there too! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waterlogged! (Or so I thought)

I did it!  I actually drank 150 oz of water yesterday, so that’s 1 gallon + 22 ounces.  It really wasn’t hard at all.  I do usually drink about half a gallon of water a day anyway, so I guess it wasn’t that much of a leap to do more.  I think the size of the water bottle helps.  I have a 1.5 liter water bottle, so I only have to get through roughly 2.5 of those to equal one gallon.  I think having to drink like 10 bottles would be rather daunting.
I made a strange observation last night.  Before I went to bed I realized that my fingers were wrinkly like I might be dehydrated.  I WAS still thirsty and my lips were dry.  My fingers were skinny.  First time I’ve ever had skinny fingers in my life I think.  Even when I was thin, my fingers were fat.  It’s still like this today.  Skinny, wrinkled fingers, dry mouth, dry lips, thirst.  My theory is that my body used the extra water to do a very thorough flush.  But, of course, I don’t really know if that’s what happened.  I’ll check it out today and let you guys know.
So, I stayed 100% raw yesterday.  3 days down, whoo hoo!  I was not hungry yesterday at all.  It was kind of weird because I was starving the first two days.  I did some research and asked questions in some forums and groups that I belong to, and the general consensus seemed to be to just listen to my body.  So that’s what I did.  I didn’t actually eat until late afternoon and then I kind of just grazed a little bit for the rest of the day.  I feel pretty good.  I am getting ulcers in my mouth, I guess from all the citrus and tomatoes that I’ve been eating.  I’ve always been a tomato lover, so they have been a main staple of my diet these last 3 days.
I’ve been trying to decide if I should do this the vegan way.  I realized a few days ago that I could make beef jerky at home because that’s dehydrated, not cooked.  Raw food is considered food that is not heated or cooked above 118* Fahrenheit.  So you can actually warm up your food in a dehydrator, very low oven, or even a fancy blender.  Now I have never really loved beef jerky.  I would eat it when it was available and nothing else was (usually road trips), but as for buying it just to eat...never.  Well, suddenly the thought of jerky was like an oasis in the desert for me.  One small slice of meat in a sea of fruits and veggies.  The jerky is King and should be treated as such.  Now though, after 3 days of no animal products, I’m not so sure.  This is not a moral decision for me.  I have had some of the best steaks in the country and enjoyed every bite.  It’s more of a pollution question.  Do I want to pollute my otherwise squeaky clean diet with that little bit of animal products?  I guess I’ll decide as I go along.  Either way, I’ll keep you posted!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Raw Food Day 2

So, after my phone call yesterday morning (see last blog post), I had a pretty positive outlook on this lifestyle change I’m trying to make.  For breakfast I had 2 cups of grapes, an orange, a banana, 1 cup of strawberries, and two kiwis.  Once again I wished I had my juicer because it took me about 30 minutes longer to finish eating all of this after my family finished their sausage, eggs, and biscuits.  Today I’m going to do some research on exactly how much I should be eating.  On Day 1 I ate about half as much as day 2, but I was hungry like an hour later.  On Day 2 I made myself eat more calories and twice as much food, but I was still hungry like an hour later.  I guess because regardless of the quantity, the food still digests quickly?  Maybe I need to eat a bunch of little meals instead?  I think if I was juicing and could add in greens and their fiber would make a big difference.  I’ll figure it out today. 
Throughout the day I found myself wondering if I would ever eat cooked food again...these were just random thoughts running through my head.  “Hmmmmmmm...this food smells delicious.  I wonder if I will ever eat that again.”  This is direct evidence of how THIS journey is different from other attempted diets.  I don’t think I’ve ever tried a true lifestyle change before, but in those old diets I just swore off whatever was banned.  I thought I’d eat low carb or low calorie or low fat for the rest of my life (which turned out to be a maximum of 4 months).  This time I am not putting limits on myself.  I am going to do what I can for as long as I can, and if there comes a time when I need to make changes I will adapt.  I am curious to see what will happen with me because I really don’t know.  I do wonder if I’ll ever have coffee again, or milk, or oreos...but I don’t want them now.  It’s kind of nostalgic to think about though since these foods have been such a big part of my life (and my waist) for 33 years.
Two days down and I’m feeling good!  At lunch yesterday eating my salad topped with yummy salsa, I thought to myself, “I can really do this.”  I really think I can.  Goal for today:  Drink 1 gallon of water.  I’ve read that we are supposed to divide our weight in half and drink that many ounces of water per day.  For me that’s not quite a gallon, but I’m aiming for the over achiever award today.  Join me in this quest for a hydrated body.  Bottoms up!

P.S.  I realized that my posts or two long, but I just have SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much to say.  So, I'm going to make them smaller and more frequent.  Let me know what you think! 

A Sign From Above

Yesterday morning I was enjoying breakfast with my family, when I received a phone call from GoDaddy, who hosts www.thewritingontheraw.com which I purchased a few days ago.  Anytime you buy something from GoDaddy, they give you a call to see if you need any help, give you some ideas, etc.  I love this about them, and I think their customer service is always top notch.  Anyway, the guy who called asked me what I was going to do with the website.  So, I told him about my blog and raw eating and my high blood pressure and everything that I want to do.  He told me that his daughter has been leaning in the raw food direction and he’s been doing research about it.  We talked for like 20 minutes, and he gave me a lot of information and pointed me in the direction of several movies and websites that I think will really help me.  He even told me about a guy in New Orleans who makes raw soul/cajun food.  Jackpot!  It was the coolest way to start my day.
Now, I am not a religious person.  I actually don’t believe in organized religion because I don’t think anyone has it exactly right.  But I am spiritual and I believe that having a spiritual relationship is important, and I believe that if we look for them (or if they hit us in the head), signs from God (or your preferred deity) are available to guide us in our journey.  So, I am taking this phone call from a random GoDaddy employee who happened to have my name/phone number come across his desk or pop up on his computer as a sign from God that this is the path I should be on right now.  Thank you for the sign.  I am listening!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Raw Food Day 1

Put up the High 5!  I finished Day 1 of eating raw food.  (Actually I will probably eat a little more tonight, but I know it will be raw.)
This is what I learned:
  1.  It takes a TON of raw fruits and veggies to equal enough calories to keep from being hungry.  I didn’t eat enough today.  I know this, and I really did try to eat enough, but it just didn’t happen.  (Hello Apple!  Get in my Belly!)
  2. Going raw-convenience-food shopping at a real store, even one as health friendly as Whole Foods, is overwhelming and should be avoided at all costs.
  3. Life without coffee is sad, as I thought it would be.
  4. Freeze dried veggies are pretty tasty.
  5. Salsa STILL makes everything better.
  6. Lettuce isn’t necessary in a salad if you have tons of other stuff in it.
  7. When you are on vacation (visiting my step-son in Tennessee), it seems unnatural to avoid restaurants.  Your (or at least my) eyes are just naturally drawn to intriguing places to eat.
So, raw foods and veggies are really low calorie.  When I was researching this diet I read about people who ate like 5 apples, two oranges, and 3 bananas for breakfast.  Now I know why.  One of the goals of eating raw food is to get the food you eat digested as quickly as possible.  I was really kind of blown away by this concept because years of dieting taught me to eat things with fiber or protein that would “stick to your ribs”, take longer to digest, and keep you full for longer.  When you think about it, it makes sense that you really don’t need food hanging around in our bodies indefinitely.  
I feel like a commanding officer.  Move in Apples!  Get in, do your job, and get out before you set up camp on my thighs!  Veggies!  Man the border!  Protect my body from disease and fluff! My former army (chocolate, steak, french fries) was not very obedient.  They moved in for the long haul and went to bed with the enemy.  I think my raw army will be a force to be reckoned with.  Beware fat, diseased, and unhealthy cells!  We are moving in.  Evacuate or be eliminated by force!
Besides not eating enough, today went pretty well.  I ate a big bowl of fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and an even bigger bowl of various veggies topped with salsa for dinner.  In between these meals I grazed on various fruits, veggies, and nuts.  It seemed like I was constantly eating.  I immediately recognized how having a high powered blender/juicer would make this easier and more diverse.  All the veggies that I don’t like would be disguised nicely in a smoothie with some fruit.  Plus, my jaw is literally tired from all the chewing.  Can you believe it?  Can’t wait to get home to my blender.
I do have a slight headache tonight, but I’m sure it’s from the caffeine withdrawal.  Nothing I can’t handle.  Tomorrow I’ll tell you about my trip to Whole Foods and how it sent me running straight to the computer to order food from the internet.
The saddest part of my day was driving by Starbucks without stopping.  Goodbye Venti Nonfat Peppermint Mocha.  I will miss you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Can I Survive Life Without Coffee, Steak, Milk, Etc...

Hi.  My name is Stacy, and I am a coffee addict.  This addiction snuck up on me.  Up until 2-3 years ago I always said “I just like the taste of coffee.  It’s not the caffeine that does it for me.”  I still say this, but I’ve come to realize that statement is a BIG FAT LIE!  I am addicted to coffee.  I drink it all day, every day, and if I can’t get to Starbucks, it’s a sad day for me.  And I like my coffee STRONG.  When I make coffee I use twice as many grounds as my office mates do.  I LOVE coffee.
Believe it or not, this blog is not about coffee.  It’s about food.  I am 33 years old.  I’m morbidly obese.  I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  I suffer with migraines.  Just this week I was diagnosed with super high blood pressure and put on medication.  I have a million different mystery symptoms that make me feel like crap every day.  I’m at the point where I feel like something has to change.
For quite a while now I’ve been leaning towards eating more naturally.  I really and truly believe that processed food is the cause of the world’s health problems.  Who knows what we are really eating?  I can’t pronounce most of the ingredients on a random food label.  We have seen evidence over and over about the risks that we take when we eat processed food.  There’s been e coli outbreaks and food recalls.  There’s a threat of our grocery stores selling us cloned meat without us knowing.  The list of scary food situations goes on and on for me, but I have been unable to convince myself to take the leap into healthier eating.
Here’s my list of major stumbling blocks:
  1. I don’t like veggies.  I was not raised eating vegetables.  I like salad, plain, with only lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.  Other than that I eat green beans and corn (which is not considered a veggie in most circles).
  2. I love coffee.  This stumbling block has gone through many transformations for me.  It really wasn’t about the coffee in the beginning.  I used to use a TON of Splenda in my coffee.  Then I decided that artificial sweeteners were evil.  So I eliminated all of them and went back to only pure cane sugar.  Except that I’m not REALLY sure that sugar is good for us either.  So, now I go back and forth between splenda and sugar.  This coffee post will be continued in #3.
  3. I love milk.  Cow’s milk to be exact.  Skim or whole makes no difference to me, it’s just good.  I have read study after study proving that humans have no business drinking cow’s milk.  I believe these studies.  But I love milk.  And what about my coffee?  Coffee is not coffee without creamer.
  4. I am lazy.  AND I’m busy.  I’m great at research, but not so good at “get er done”.  Eating healthy takes a lot of effort and time, and reaching for some pre-packaged quick fix meal just seems like the way to go most of the time.
  5. I don’t cook.  Currently my mom stocks my freezer for me.  I can cook, I just like mom’s cooking better.  And it works out great for my family and our busy schedule.  I buy the ingredients, my mom cooks, and we split the food.  It is hard to turn down a freezer of home-cooked meals and switch to diet food.
  6. I love cheese.  Possibly more than milk and coffee.  Need I say more?

So, about a month ago I discovered the raw food movement.  I was immediately horrified at the idea of eating only raw food...visions of raw broccoli and cauliflower (yuck) flooded my head.  But then I started thinking about it...this could be easier than “regular” healthy eating.  So, I became interested.
I have been on a million diets.  I have lost tons of weight (literally I bet) and gained it all back.  I have started something that made me feel better but quit after a week or two.  I have gotten sick of counting carbs, calories, protein, fat grams and given up.  I have created complex recipes, counting and measuring everything to make sure that each 1/2 cup serving has the correct balance of whatever.  I have spent a fortune buying whole grain, organic, “healthy” everything.  None of this was sustainable in my lifestyle.  When I really thought about it, eating raw food sounded easy to me.  Pick up an apple and eat it.  Peel a banana and eat it.  Crack some raw nuts and eat them.  Throw some fruit in a blender and drink a smoothie.  Have a salad, plain, the way I like it.  There’s more to it than that, but all of this sounds so easy to me right now after a lifetime of diet rituals.  I think I’ll try it.
I don’t really feel like I’m ready to start eating this way, but at the same time I feel like I should have started the first day I found out about it.  I am a researcher.  I exhaust every angle of anything that I’m interested in.  There are so many more things that I feel like I need to read before I’m ready.  All kinds of recipes and ways to make deserts and bread and other things that you would never think could be raw.  How do I find these purported superfoods and how can I get enough protein without eating meat or cooked beans, etc, etc, etc?  My questions seem endless.  But my new high blood pressure scare has catapulted me into action.  I’m just going to start eating raw food and see what happens...I’ll learn as I go along.  And if I have a few days where I eat only fruit and salads, well, I’ll be okay.  Surely it’s better than the many days where I had only junk food.    
So, my first goal is to make it 7 days eating raw.  I have no idea how long I’m going to do this for.  I have no doubt that I will slip up, but I hope that I can get back on track quickly when it happens.  I hope that eating raw will make me feel so great that I will not want to go back to cooked food.  If that doesn’t happen I hope that I will at least come away from this with a more healthy diet.
I am not going to make crazy goals like lose 100 pounds in 6 months.  I am going to start this journey and see what happens.  If I can’t sustain the 100% raw diet, then I will try 90% or 75% or whatever will work.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure.  I want to make real lifestyle changes.  I want to be HEALTHY!  Of course I want to lose weight, but this will not be a weight loss diet for me.  So, I’m drinking my last (sob!!!!) cup of coffee and tomorrow it’s off I go on this raw-food adventure.  Bottoms up!