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.


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.

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