The Many Misadventures of an Aspiring Raw-Foodist

The purpose of this blog is to give you a realistic view of the transition to a raw vegan life and the restoration of health. It isn't always easy. I don't always feel amazing. But in the end it is worth it. My hope is that I can inspire others to make positive changes in their own lives.


Confessions of a Sugar-holic

I used to eat sugar from the time I finished my protein shake in the morning to the time I went to bed (around midnight). I tried everything I could think of to quit, but it was all I could think about. The only time I ever went without sugar was during my liver cleanses, and then I was just counting down the days until I could have it again. That was all that got me through it. During the 4 days after my first cleanse I ate a gallon of ice cream and a dozen chocolate Entenmann’s doughnuts.

Of course my husband didn’t approve of me eating that much sugar, especially since I was always complaining about being fat and sick, so I hid a lot of it from him. I would go grocery shopping without him, buy 2 packs of cookies, put 1 upstairs in the kitchen and 1 on the food storage shelf in the laundry room. That way, when I finished the 1 upstairs (in a day) I could replace it with the other one and it looked like I hadn’t eaten many. Then I would buy 2 more packs and repeat the process. I would stuff packages deep down in the trash and then take it out before he got home so he wouldn’t see all the packages and wrappers. I would buy m&ms or chocolate chips and keep them in the back of the freezer where he wouldn’t see them. When he would go out of town for Chiropractic workshops I would eat a pound of m&ms, or ½ a chocolate cake in one day. I didn’t want to eat sugar at all, I hated it. I was sick all of the time. But the cravings would drive me insane until I gave into them. I could never get enough. I could not “satisfy” my chocolate craving. It was all about consumption, the pleasure was in the swallowing. It was a compulsive thing. I would eat until I was too sick to eat another bite, then wait for the edge to wear off and eat more. I ate at least a half pound of chocolate a day, and usually some ice cream as well.

It wasn’t until I started eating raw that it began to change. After 6 months I have no sugar cravings. I do crave raw chocolate from time to time, but am eating far less than I was when I started out. Raw food was the answer to my sugar addiction, and I know it can help anyone overcome any substance addiction. It purifies your body, reconnects your instincts. Your body begins to want only what is beneficial for vitality. You’re able to feel the full effect of the foods that are harmful to you. Raw food is a very powerful, wonderful, and lifesaving thing!

My, How Things Have Changed!

Sporadically throughout my life I’ve kept daily journals of what I eat, my weight, and measurements. I admit I’ve always been a little overly obsessive, and to this day if I don’t weight myself first thing every morning my whole day is thrown off. Anyway, the other day I can across a food journal from several years ago and I got to thinking about the difference between then and now. I also got to thinking about how my grocery shopping has changed. By most standards my shopping list probably looks healthy, and my new list is maybe a little scary… or confusing. Here are the lists for my own comparison.

Example of a former typical day:
16 oz. Isalean live enzyme whey protein shake
1 can Tuna with mayo on whole wheat Breton crackers
Tortilla chips and salsa
Honey grilled chicken, crispy baked red potato wedges, peas
Large bowl ice cream
½ - ¾ pack cookies (throughout the day)

Example of a typical day in recent weeks:
32 oz. green smoothie (fruit and leafy greens w/flax oil and acidophilus, blended)
2 slices cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread, lightly toasted with a little butter
1 grapefruit
2 oranges
1 apple
2 pears
raw almond butter sandwich (with Ezekiel bead)
2 large salads (dinner plate piled high with sunflower seeds and bottled creamy French dressing)

Example of typical former shopping list (main staples):
Chicken breasts
Ground turkey
Pork chops
Canned tuna
Ezekiel bread
Organic milk
Organic cereal, as low sugar as possible
Rice crackers
Tortilla chips
Chicken nuggets
Frozen vegetables (mixed, corn, peas)
Taco seasoning
Canned soup
Chicken broth
Red potatoes
Roasted, salted nuts and sunflower seeds
Soy sauce
Olive oil
Grape tomatoes
Canned tomatoe
Chocolate chips
Chocolate (whatever I could get the most of at the lowest price)
Ice Cream

Example of current shopping list (main staples):
Grapefruit (any seasonal fruit, and LOTS of it)
Frozen fruit for smoothes (mixed, strawberries, blueberries)
Ezekiel bread
Organic baby greens, salad (we buy 3 big tubs from Sam’s at a time, they last about 4 days)
Leafy greens for smoothies (romaine, red romaine, spinach, green leaf, red leaf, etc.)
Coconut oil
Cacao (raw chocolate)
Agave nectar
Nama Shoyu
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Nutritional yeast
Dried, shredded, unsulphered organic coconut
Raw almonds
Raw cashews
Raw walnuts
Raw pecans
Flax seeds
Organic raisins
Organic, cold pressed olive oil
Grape tomatoes

I think the biggest change in my diet has been my consumption of greens. I couldn’t find any in the food journal I was looking through. On occasion I would eat a small handful of salad with dinner… maybe 2-3 times per month. Nowadays, I get 2 large handfuls (blended for maximum nutrient absorption) in my morning smoothies, plus 2 huge platefuls during the day. I HATED salad my whole life, the very thought or mention of it made me angry. Once I started drinking green smoothies (which hide greens beautifully!) I began to crave salads! It’s a miracle!

Also, my new diet is very light and cleansing. I never feel stuffed or bloated… unless I eat something cooked. I’ve lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of energy. I will NEVER go back to a cooked diet. People really don’t know how much life they’re missing, and that is such a sad thing.


Lost & Found

There’s never been much that I’m confident I’m good at… until about six years ago when my first husband left me. I came from a family of horrible cooks. Nothing ever had any flavor, and everything was burnt and dry. But Nick could cook! I spent two years watching him and trying to mimic him, but it seemed like every time I tried to cook a meal he would come in to “help” and next thing I knew I was watching him perform is magic from afar. But I did learn a lot from watching. Prior to meeting him I didn’t know of any seasonings aside from salt and pepper (and ketchup, which unfortunately was a necessary seasoning in my home growing up). By the time he decided to end our marriage I knew a lot more than I did going in. So I guess you could say that between the skills I acquired, the daughter we made, and the dresser I got out of the divorce it was all worth it. I spent the next several years experimenting with different herbs, spices and ingredients and in the end I was sure of one thing about myself: I was a dang good cook! That was my very first beautiful, glimmering piece of self-identity. Learning this about myself helped me to overcome social anxiety in a big way. I LOVED showing off my skills, especially my dessert making skills. I was happiest when my house was full of people to feed. I felt like I had a place in the world and a reason to feel worthy to be in the presence of others, and for the first time in my life I HAD FRIENDS!

You can imagine the emotional struggle I encountered when I realized I needed to go raw. In a big way a part of myself that I loved died. I mourned a loss. A person cannot cook well without tasting, and now I cannot taste. I used to get a feeling of excitement when my husband would announce that someone would be coming for dinner, now its more of a feeling of dread. Not only because I don’t know what to make, but because I will have to cook something, which means I will have to smell it, and fight with the kids over not eating it, and worst of all, there’s the ever present tension and arguing between my husband and myself.

When I first went raw and was mourning my identity loss, I didn’t know that there were books full of raw recipes. When I did discover this I was full of hope and excitement, SURLY my skills with food could carry over from cooked to raw once I figured out what I was doing. I do still believe that I am good with food, but after many hours spent searching recipes online, after checking out every book the library has on raw food, after borrowing recipe books from a friend, and after spending much money on food only to throw it away, I’m really losing hope that there are any raw foods that are actually edible! At this point, there’s not much more irritating to me than people raving about how delicious raw food is, and how they can make raw versions of dishes that taste even better than cooked. There must be something VERY wrong with my taste buds! Which isn’t surprising, really, I’ve always had a “specific” palate. One thing that has been nice is the all-you-can-eat fruit buffet in my kitchen, but the winter selection is quite wearing.

I miss feeding people. I miss pleasing my husband. I miss having that purpose. I miss the harmony in our home. But I don’t miss the over 60 pounds that I’ve lost, or my size 18 jeans. I don’t miss my daughter having stomach aches everyday and feeling like there’s nothing I can do for her and worrying that something is very seriously wrong. I don’t miss having panic attacks or feeling nauseated all of the time. I also don’t miss scrubbing so many pans, or grease splatters around the stove top every day. And I DO NOT miss craving sugar all of the time and feeling like a prisoner in my own skin.

So after all this loss, what did I find? I feel like I’m slowly stripping away layers of an artificial me. I’m beginning to see who I am, who I’ve always been underneath it all, and who I am becoming. I’m reconnecting with my child-self. I’m healing past wounds. I’m reconnecting with nature and finding peace in daily life. I’m learning to love all of God’s creations, and am seeing the word through different, clearer, eyes. I’m seeing myself differently. I’m seeing myself and a “seeker” rather than a failure. I’m becoming a more positive thinker, and by so doing, creating more positive feelings and events in my life.

Now, if I could ONLY find a handful of delicious recipes so we can eat something other than salad with cooked dressing, and if only my husband would allow me to make raw food for guests!


How Did I Get Myself Into This?!!

I’ve been sick for as long as I can remember. In fact, my mom took me to the doctor for stomach problems when I was a newborn, he concluded that water gave me gas (this is almost laughable considering I was formula fed from the moment of birth). I saw quite a few doctors growing up. Each of them saw me once, did the basic tests, and concluded that it was all in my head. So, every time I would tell my mom that something was ailing me I heard, “Its all in your head!” Thanks mom. I was diagnosed with high cholesterol at the age of 7, which is also when the eczema on my eyelids showed up. It was attributed to the cholesterol. Doctors recommendations, “No more going to McDonalds.” Its true, my mom would get me a happy meal on the way to pick my sister up from her dad’s house twice a month, but I doubt those 2 meals were the sole cause of my high cholesterol. I went on having stomach problems for years. I had frequent panic attacks starting at age 4 or 5. I remember the first one clearly, lying alone in my grandma’s bed, staring up at the bright ceiling light. I’d just watched an episode of 20/20 on heart disease and I was terrified that I was having a heart attack. Because my panic was often brought on in this way, it was now not only “all in my head” but I also received the lucky title of “hypochondriac.” Yippee. I was a weak child. I wasn’t able to focus in school. By the age of 11 I began having neck and ear pain. Because of the huge knot in the back side of my neck I thought I had a cancer tumor. Doctors looked in my ear and told me, you know, that it was all in my head (not the least bit in my ear). Through my early teens I had a lot of knee pain, it was often very painful and I would wrap my knees tight in ace bandages, which helped to ease it. My grandma told me I was having growing pains. I had very painful periods. I would take a mega dose of ibuprofen, curl up in a ball or hide out in the bathtub and miss school. The pain in my neck, ear and head continued. When I was 16 I spent 2 miserable weeks pounding on my chest to make myself burp. I’m sure that sounds odd… air would build up in my stomach every few minutes to the extent that I couldn’t take in a full breath. So I would pound and pace around the room (it helped to be sitting or standing), rubbing my stomach, until a burp came up and I could take in a breath. Then it would start building again. My chest and stomach were bruised. Then one day I tried to eat some crackers and drink some water and there was so much air in my stomach that it came right back up, so I decided to see the doctor (you can imagine how much trust I had in doctors at that point). There, I was diagnosed with stress induced IBS and told to drink Metamucil, which helped enough that I could usually breath and wasn’t as constipated over the following years. At 17 I became chronically bloated in my stomach. It stayed this way until now. The symptoms continued to build. They built until I felt so terrible, I feared everyday was my last. I “knew,” I had always known, that I would die of cancer by the time I was 35 if I didn’t figure out what was wrong and do something about it. For a long time I prayed for an answer. Isn’t it funny how it often turns out the answer you’re praying for was there all along?

Backtrack to about 6 years ago. I was sitting in my living room one evening with my (now ex) husband and our 1-year-old daughter. There was a knock on the door. It was my husband’s childhood friend. We hadn’t seen her in several months and her visit was completely unexpected. When she came in we were struck by her appearance. She had always had acne, but now her skin was completely clear, even toned, and glowing. Her hair was shiny. She hadn’t been noticeably overweight before, but she had lost 15-20 pounds and looked amazing. The most striking thing about her though, was her eyes. I had never noticed them before, but now they were the most brilliant light ice blue. They were so clear. It was like beams of light, or energy, were shooting out of them. We were stunned. When we asked her what she had done she said she’d gotten a job at a health spa where they eat only raw foods and do colon hydrotherapy sessions once per week. My initial thought was, “Eww, people eat raw meat?!!” But no, she wasn’t eating meat. She pulled a huge orange out of her backpack and said, “Dinner! See how convenient it is?” Then she peeled it and started eating it, exclaiming, “Oh, this is a good one!” And oohing and ahhing all over the place and offering us some. She told us that her fibromyalgia, which she’d had since childhood, had completely disappeared. I thought of the pain in my neck, which I had thought for a long time may be fibromyalgia. I told myself right then that if I ever were diagnosed with firbromyalgia, I would go on a raw food diet. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that I could start right then and eliminate the pain, I don’t know why I thought I had to wait for a diagnosis, maybe I just wasn’t ready to change. So I went on gaining weight and accumulating symptoms until I became so depressed and my anxiety became so intense I felt I’d rather take my own life than go on feeling like I did for another second. So I went on klonopin and Zoloft for a while. Starting in the summer of 2007 I did a few liver cleanses and began to slowly lose some weight and feel better.

A year ago (November 2008), after the birth of my 3rd baby, my body was a wreck. I had pain in my knees that kept me from climbing stairs and getting up from the floor. I was 190 pounds. I had painful tender points all over my body. I was blacking out momentarily at random… there were a lot of things going on. In May I was finally tested for fibromyalgia. In June I did a 30-day liver cleanse, and in July started transitioning to a raw diet.

I started out with a green smoothie for breakfast, and half raw lunch, half raw dinner, and raw snacks. My body pretty much just took over from there. Since then I’ve been following my instincts. I cannot tolerate meat anymore, and my distaste for it has grown from stomach upset to a broadened awareness of the planet and deepened respect for all of God’s creatures. I’ve tried raw cow’s milk and cheese, and my body did not react well to that. I’ve eaten raw chocolate (in abundance) and have run into problems there. Currently my body just wants greens and fruit, and a few nuts and seeds. I’m also looking forward to a juice fast once I can afford a juicer.

Here is a list of the symptoms I was experiencing when I began this journey, to the best of my recollection:

Iodine deficiency
Sway back
High left hip (need heel lift)
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Blurred vision
Fragile nails
Nail ridges
Sudden, momentary “blackouts”
Swollen knees
Knee pain
Pain in calves
Neck pain
Jaw pain
Curved shoulders
Straight neck
Dry skin
Dull eyes
Dark circles under eyes/uneven skin tone
Weak muscles
Short of breath (often cannot speak easily or read stories to my kids)
Stomach pain (esp in evenings)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Ingrown hairs
Excess facial hair
Hip pain/sciatic nerve
Headaches with basic adjustments
Tense muscles
Heel pain, bottom and sides with pressure
Dry, cracking heels
Ear pain
Can’t stay awake all day, fall asleep around 3pm
Insatiable sugar craving
Fibroid, ovarian
Postpartum thyroiditis
Heavy menstrual periods
PMS bloating and irritability with food cravings
Moody, irritable
Feeling lost “in a fog”
Pinching pains through back, shoulders, and arms
Memory problems
Not able to focus
Feeling overwhelmed
Anxiety, general (and panic attacks)
Social anxiety
Hearing problems
Ringing in right ear
Knee “gives out” at random when walking (both knees)
Waking in night, feeling confused, suffocated and sick
Can’t breathe while laying down from gas in stomach
Rib pain
Overweight (@70 lbs.)
Joint pain/tightness in knuckles
Pain and tightness on waking
Uneven bite (right side comes together, left does not)
Light sensitivity
anal itching
Low energy
Stutter (comes and goes)
Poor night vision and depth perception
Prone to dental cavities
Seasonal allergies
Food allergies (dairy and possibly wheat)
Sensitivity to scents, dyes, soaps, etc.
Low self esteem
Low confidence in self
Emotionally reactive
Post-nasal drip
Tonsil infections, yearly
Chronic cough and sore throat
Yeast overgrowth in digestive tract
Low hydrochloric acid
Excess mucus in nose and throat
Numbness in upper back and arms
Spine tender to touch (lumbar)
Itching/dry skin
Feeling “trapped” in my skin
Night sweats
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Negative attitude/thoughts/feelings
Repressed emotions
Gall bladder toxicity
Liver toxicity
“catching” and gurgling under left rib

Some of these have been eliminated, and I look forward with faith to the day they will ALL be gone.



Okay, so maybe I’m more than “aspiring” as a raw-foodist. I’m currently six months into my transition, and most days I’m a good 95% raw (or better). I still use a little butter and bottled salad dressing. I also eat Ezekiel bread, which is made from live sprouted grains and cooked at a low temperature, but technically a “living” food, not a completely “raw” food.
My hope for this blog is to reach out to people who are struggling with a raw diet. Raw success stories are easy to come by, as are people raving about how delicious raw food is. Right up front, I’d like to say I really DON’T like raw food, nor am I experiencing flawless health. I’m not trying to be negative about it, in fact, the point of this blog is to be positive and to help people to accept themselves as they are. We cannot be perfect! Or rather, we are perfect in our flaws. I would also like this to be a place where I can speak with unfiltered honesty, for myself really. There are often things I need to say, but no one I can safely say them to.

Everyday has been an adventure, and a struggle. I have struggled with family, with ignorant comments, with cravings/addictions, with my children, with compulsive eating habits, and with my husband’s delicious smelling cooked food. Most days I feel like the entire world is against me. Most days I’m bored beyond belief by the food I’m eating. Most days I would quit, if I could get away with eating a cooked morsel without getting rather sick. I’ll be talking about my struggles in more detail in following posts. For now, we’ll just say there have been challenges.