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.


The Jitters

For the past 3 days I’ve been shaky. Oddly, it’s not like if I pick something up you can visibly see it shaking in my hand, I’m shaky on the inside. And nervous. Like I might have a panic attack at any minute. For the first 2 days I thought maybe the fruit is affecting me again and I’m just spasing out. I thought maybe I need to be working out hard to burn off the sugar if I’m going to be eating fruit. And then I though, you know, there have been times in the past I felt something unsettling physically, and after talking it out it turned out to be an emotional problem. I started talking it out inside myself. ‘Is something going on I’m not fully aware of?’ I asked myself. My first response was, ‘No, everything is fine. What could possibly be wrong?’ But as I thought about it some things began to surface, and since I don’t have anyone to talk to at the moment, I figured I’d talk it out here.
First of all, the thing I’m feeling is most urgent is the anxiety I’m feeling over starting my Wellness Coaching business. Even if I were 100% confident in my abilities, it would still be such a huge life change that it would be enough on its own to send me into panic. But added to that is the fact that I don’t feel 100% confident. I don’t think I should at this point. I know I’ve reached a place where I can’t go any further as far as learning how to be a great coach without getting out there and learning from the actual experience of coaching. I know how I’m going to do everything, and I know this is what I’m meant to do. I’m struggling with having faith that it will all move along smoothly and I’m worrying over the little things. Not so much the actual act of coaching, I’m pretty calm about coaching once I have a client. What I worry about is things like what to say when I answer the phone, and how to sell myself in a comp session. I worry about being too nervous to take charge and fake confidence and create a safe comfortable space for my client. I’ve always been the kind of person who lets others take the lead. In conversations I’m just along for the ride. It’s very difficult for me to think of questions to ask people. Well, what is a Wellness Coach? A person who is an expert at asking questions. I’m worried about money. I’m worried I won’t be able to find clients and mostly that my husband will be upset if I’m not earning enough. I’m worried that the business costs will upset him and I’ll have to make at least enough to cover those. I’m also worried about the opposite, of having a high demand for my services and not wanting to turn down any opportunities and becoming too busy and overwhelmed. I’m worried a client might be mean to me. I’m worried about feeling like a failure. I’m worried about meeting in public places where I have social anxiety issues as it is. But I also don’t feel it’s safe to meet people for the first time in their homes or mine. I’m worried about all the business aspects, since I am not at all a business person. I’m worried about it taking me away from my kids even more than I already am. I’m worried about the chores piling up even worse than they already are. I could go on and on. I didn’t even realize I was having all these thoughts!
Second, the lump. I tried to call and make a Dr. appointment yesterday and the number was disconnected. I looked it up online and that number gave me a busy signal. I will now likely have to call the insurance and see what can be done. If you know me, you probably know I have social anxiety where the phone is concerned, so this is a pretty big stressor. I’m also behind on several other phone calls, including the one to have the mold remediated from our house. And since I now have a little infection festering in my right lung, I really need to get on that. But back to the lump, I’m worried about dealing with state funded doctors. I’m worried about the tests they might run, and worried that they won’t run any at all. And of course I’m worried about what they might find and what treatment it might need.
Randomeness… I’m worried about how the dog keeps getting out of the yard and my husband is threatening to “get rid of her”. I’m worried about getting everything ready for the yard sale. I’m worried about the sink full of dishes and the piles of laundry to be folded. I’m worried about the fact that it’s been 2 months since I worked out and I can’t seem to get motivated to go to the Y in the mornings. I’m worried about how all three of my kids suddenly came down with UTIs… why would they all get one at the same time? I’m worried about having paid $15 to post an ad online to sell my hair and so far I’ve only gotten email scammers. I’m worried about needing to figure out a special healthy treat to make for the kids that they will all like for Saturday night, which is our family fall decorating party. I’m worried about having my cavities drilled on the 18th after I heard a kid screaming having his done while I was getting mine cleaned. The lady kept saying he’s a great patient and must not be all the way numb and she couldn’t believe the Dr. was doing that to him.
And then there are the usual, deeper issues. Worry about my health. Worry about dying and leaving my kids. Worry about my husband finishing school and us moving to Arizona. And the #1 fear of all time, the one that has followed me from birth, the fear of not being loved, accompanied by the fear of loving. I have yet to feel anything worse than loving with my whole heart and not being loved back. I feel trapped because I feel I can’t discuss feelings with my husband. He is instantly overwhelmed and angry at my feelings because he feels out of control and knows he can’t make things better. If only he could understand that he CAN help by just being my friend and not judging what I say to him.
I am well aware that what we fear becomes our reality. I’m aware that thoughts are things and that whatever we think will materialize in our lives. But what do I do with all this? Comments are more than welcome!



Remember my suspicion that it was fat, not sugar, that was causing my issues with hypoglycemia and bloating? Well, I went to my enzyme therapy doctor yesterday. I got the results from a 24-hour urinalysis and had a full physical done. All of the results indicated NO problems with sugar, but quite a few problems with the assimilation of fats and proteins. Well, no wonder I felt great eating high protein and low fat! I’m now taking an enzyme with everything that I eat that is high in lipase (a fat digesting enzyme), to help my body break down fats. After that I will likely be taking an enzyme supplement for my liver, which has consistently shown high levels of stress. I couldn’t be more excited to have FINALLY, after years of desperation, figured this out!
Now, the not so good. I’ve had this large lump in the lower right quadrant of my abdomen for a good year now. It changes size, moves, and often gets rock hard for a minute and then softens again when I rub it. It makes sloshing sounds when I massage it. I can work it up to where my ascending colon meets my transvers colon and there it gets stuck and meets with a pinching pain. No one I’ve seen can tell me what it is. My instincts tell me there’s a partial blockage at the twist of my colon there. I’m going to have to go see the Dr.s who take my state medical coverage and demand ultrasound or CT scan and see if they will oblige. Hopefully they don’t just try and offer me a bunch of drugs. All Dr.s have ever done is told me my problems are in my head, so I’m reluctant to say the least.
BUT on another good note (I like to outweigh the negative with the positive) I should have my Wellness Coaching certification within a week AND I am now enrolled in the Food Psychology Certification Program, which is the very thing I got into coaching to do. I’m so excited about this because they are closing the program today due to the fact that the author of it (Marc David, he’s amazing, check out his books) is creating a similar program as a Master’s degree for a University. We really didn’t have the money to do it, but lucky girl that I am my husband loves me and apparently believes in me. When I heard they were closing the program I, ironically, got depressed and attempted to sooth my sorrows with my One Lucky Duck ice cream. But all is good now, I’m on my way to fulfilling my purpose and living my dream and I feel amazing!!!


Something Tells Me I’m onto Something Good…

Isn’t it funny how you can be praying desperately for help and days, weeks, months… even years can pass and it seems no one is listening. Then, all of a sudden and quite unexpectedly, a series of events takes place that cause a light bulb to go on in your world? Such has been that past few days.
I was on to something with the nut suspicions. I’ve been bumping into information all over the place about fats. High fat intake is the reason most people fail on a raw diet. The average raw foodist consumes 60% of their calories from fat. That’s pretty significant considering the average American fast food goer gets 40% of their calories from fat, and the recommended amount for a healthy body is 10-20%. Almost all the gourmet raw recipes that people use to transition from cooked to raw include a horrific amount of fat. These foods are fine, in moderation of course, but not as part of every day. I read about how it is FAT, not SUGAR, that causes blood sugar problems. Here I was eating bread with almond butter and a ton of nuts and raw desserts, thinking the fat and protein was all that was keeping me from going unconscious from too high or too low blood sugar levels. I lived in a world where every moment was about trying balance and keep myself on middle ground, and almost always failing horribly. I read and watched video experiments where people eating low fat diets ate obscene amounts of bananas and testing their blood sugar levels to prove that fruit does not cause blood sugar to rise. I thought about my own diet. I’ve never counted fat before. I always figured it was healthy fat and I lost a ton of weight eating it so it must not be too bad. I decided to calculate my typical fat intake just for fun. In a typical day I eat between 80 and 160 grams of fat. By comparison, the RDA for fat is 65 grams. A large portion of my fat intake is from nuts, which I believe I don’t digest well.
So, I decided to conduct an experiment of my own. I mapped out what I instinctively feel my personal ideal diet would be, and I tested it for a day. I had nothing to lose. My blood sugar issues seemed to be creeping back and I was more bloated than I’ve ever been in my life. There were certain beverages I wanted to be sure to get in, and I limited my nut/seed intake to ½ cup (I measured it out in the morning and that was my allotment for the day), in addition to that I ate fruits and vegetables at will, whatever sounded good when hunger called. My blood sugar has NEVER, for as long as I can remember, been as STABLE as it was yesterday during this experiment! I felt amazing. I did still go through my late afternoon lull, and I wanted to eat compulsively most of the day, but otherwise I felt fabulous and I had great energy during the earlier half of the day.

Here is what I consumed (note: when I say “a few nuts” that is a tiny bit in the palm of my hand, totaling ½ a cup of mixed raw germinated nuts and sunflower seeds by the end of the day):

7:00-7:30 am 2 tsp apple cider vinegar in 8 oz water with a few drops Stevia
Shot wheatgrass juice
Protein Shake (Sunwarrior) with blended spinach and chia seeds
9-9:30 am 1 banana
9:45-10:15 large (plate sized) salad with mixed baby greens, tomato, cucumber, snap peas, bottled organic lemon chive dressing
10:30-10:45 am ginger tea
10:30 am a few nuts
11 am-1 pm red and black grapes (1 or 1 ½ cups)
1:15 pm green lemonade (1 c. romaine, juice from ½ lemon, ½ orange, 1 TBS lime juice, Stevia to sweeten)
1:45 pm a few nuts
2:20-2:45 pm Protein Shake (Sunwarrior) made with almond milk
3:00 pm a few nuts (I was feeling snackish, I really didn’t need them)
4:00 pm 1 pear (I felt bloated a heavy after I ate this, likely due to slow digestive energy this time of day), a few goji berries (why did I eat these, I was already feeling wrong and bloated?)
5:00-9:30 pm 64 oz. fresh vegetable juice (apple, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach and bok choy)
6:45 pm large grapefruit (by this time my digestive fire was stronger and this dinner felt pretty darn amazing)
9:40 pm a few nuts
9:50-10:15 pm ginger tea
10:50-11 pm 1 golden delicious apple
3:30 am a few nuts

My total intakes for the day followed by the RDA:
Fat 49.5g/65
Sugar 129.5g/no RDA
Protein 61.5g/46 for women 31-50, 71 for lactating women (which I am but not nursing much)
Fiber 40g/25 for women 31-50, 29 for lactating women
Water 162 oz/Recommended amount, which would be half my weight in ounces 62.5

In one day I regulated blood sugar, uplifted mood and energy, and lost 2 lbs and 1 ½ inches off my abdomen. Amazing! Could this be the missing link I’ve been searching for these past few years???


The Big Fat Culprit

Before you ask—NO, I’m not pregnant. Just miserably bloated, but what’s new? I’ve mentioned my bloat issues before and talked about how I gained weight on my recent diet endeavor, but only my stomach grew measurement wise. Here I am today, 10 lbs above my regular weight, all of it in my abdomen. To give you an idea of how completely misshapen I am, all of me is a size 2, except my waist which is a size 16. That is not right or natural… not to mention comfortable! I dread getting out of my pjs these days, and I’m embarrassed to be seen. What gives? Why won’t this go away? I’ve been stressing and studying over it all day, and I think I’ve got the answer.
It’s been my experience on this journey of altering my diet that I typically instinctively *know* what food it is that’s causing me trouble as soon as I begin realizing there is trouble… the problem is I’m not usually ready to face up to it. For instance, it took me a year of being extremely sick from raw chocolate to come to a point where I was ready to give it up in order to feel better. Well, I’ve felt for some time that nuts are causing me problems. If I eat more than a few of them my abdomen feels terrible. As I’ve gone through this sugar elimination diet I’ve been eating more of them than usual for protein to balance my blood sugar. I was thinking back today to when my Dr. cautioned me about how bits of nuts can build up in your colon (this discussion took place because of a moveable lump I’ve had in my colon for almost a year, she thought it may be a tasty nut-filled diverticula). Then I was remembering a video I saw posted by Victoria Boutenko on youtube of a doctor talking about the link between fats and Candia flareup. So I sat down to google bloating and fat consumption and came across the general info that I am well aware of but wasn’t thinking of before about how fats take longer to digest and so they can cause sluggish digestion, resulting in bloating, gas, and constipation. Suddenly, my nutty little friends are not seeming so friendly any more. If you’re familiar with a raw diet you’re probably aware of how easy it is to overdo the nuts. Any desserts or prepared meals you eat are primarily composed of them. All of my favorite meals, and, oh yes, even my beloved ice cream are made of nuts. I’ve never worried about fat consumption on this diet because I figured at 5”7”, 117-120 lbs I need fat to keep from blowing away… but at this rate I may just inflate to the point I might rise up to Heaven like a balloon. I prefer the risk of blowing. Less humiliating. So, now I have another challenge before me. What do I eat? The ever present question for the past 2 ½ years. It used to be so easy: m&ms, ice cream, donuts! But those days are long gone, and here I am fine tuning my diet again, hoping for some measure of progress toward resolving this issue that has plagued me since I was a child. The no sugar thing really did help me so much, but not for the bloating. I’m sure the cheese I was eating is still partying with the nuts in my rather roomy colon (lots of air space). I’m now weaning myself off of eggs and have not eaten cheese in 2 days. This morning I had a raw vegan protein shake. They used to give me stomach aches, but I think it may have been caused by the banana I would blend into it, so I’m giving them another go to see what happens. I still believe I have a less common body type that needs low carb, moderate to low fat, and high protein. I’m now researching produce protein sources to see what my best bets will be food wise. I’m also contemplating attempting a liquid fast for several days next week to see if I can get some of the bloat down that way. That was never possible before because of my blood sugar, but I may be able to handle it better now. I will keep you updated as I wean myself from nuts… I will miss them sorely. But not as surely as my tummy feels when anyone touches it.

I look 6 months pregnant. Its quite depressing to have lost 73 lbs and still see this in the mirror everyday.

A blurry photo of me from behind (I dropped and broke ANOTHER camera, dang it!) to show that I am by no means overweight, its just my stomach.


The Reintroduction Begins

Here I am on day 15. I need to go to the grocery store and am staring out the window at the rain trying to decide which fruit to buy to eat today. I’m really leaning toward red grapes, but they used to give me stomach aches, so I’m wondering if I should start with something I didn’t have any issues with before, like an orange or ½ a grapefruit. Citrus was always good to me, as were berries, but those are a little expensive right now. My head is spinning with ideas on low sugar raw vegan desserts. I’m most excited to try my idea of Raspberry Sorbet made with fresh coconut mylk and sweetened with stevia. I’d also like to get my hands on the newest trend in raw, low glycemic sweeteners, coconut sugar, and experiment with that. I’m not jumping into desserts right away though. For the next few days I will be eating just one small serving of fruit a day and see how that affects me.
My blood sugar has improved quite dramatically, and I feel clearer headed and more creative. As excited as I am about Wellness Coaching I’ve come to the certain and contented conclusion that what I really want most to do is to write, and own a raw vegan sweet shop in Arizona. I’m toying with names… The Sweet Life, perhaps? I want it to be set up like an old fashioned sweet shop. It would give you those nostalgic warm fuzzies and have desserts made to model old favorites (pies, candies, fudges, cupcakes, ice cream sundaes, etc.)… but healthy! As for writing I am already in the process of writing a book on health specific to Latter-Day Saints (which I am) and the Word of Wisdom. I also have one children’s book nearly finished and ideas for a whole series of books inspired by a drawing my daughter created. All my children’s books will be on various aspects of wellness, with the hope of teaching children and inspiring parents to model well behavior.
I really felt (and felt that I looked) like I was gaining a lot of weight on this diet. My hope was to lose weight and bloat. In the end, all of my measurements are the same except my abdominal measurements, which are ½ to 1 inch larger, depending on the area. My weight is up 1-2 lbs (it’s hard to tell, as my scale seems to be malfunctioning, I weighed myself 15+ times this morning in different places and got 3 different weights depending on where I was standing). It’s not too bad. I’m just still baffled as to what is causing the bloating. I was pretty much bloated to the max when I started and now I’m bigger, what gives? But I do feel better. I’m considering just chucking the scale, investing in some Spanx and moving on! (Kidding, I panic at the thought of not weighing myself every morning… I have issues… but the Spanx do sound appealing.)
Before I started I took an inventory of symptoms and rated them on a scale of 1-10. I’m rerating them now and will do that again in 1 week, and then 1 week after that when I’ve tested different foods. I think it’s a good way to keep track of things. A lot of times when we start to feel better we forget how cruddy we felt before and we aren’t really able to realize or appreciate that progress we’ve made. Some of the symptoms may sound a little strange, I’ll describe them as best I can. The first number is my rating before the diet, the second number is my current state.

Starting Symptoms:
9/3 Air in tummy (the full/can’t breathe feeling I talked about that almost sent me to the ER)
7/3 Gas pain
9/6 gas (less, and it’s actually coming out of me, so that is an improvement)
8/4 BM pain (was having sharp pain daily with BM, have only had it a time or two these two weeks, but my bowels aren’t moving as much either, so it’s good and bad)
8/5 BM quality/frequency (higher is better in this category)
9/9 Abdominal bloating
8/6 Abdominal “lumps”
5/6 Energy level
4/6 Eczema (I thought this might be part of the detox so I haven’t treated it with cortisone, just letting it do its thing)
7/4 Irritability/stress level
8/3 Anxiety (I find myself now able, when I start to feel anxious, to backtrack to the semiconscious thought that started the anxiety and decide if that thought is “true” or just a worry. It’s yet to be true.)
6/1 Depression (even though I haven’t been good about taking my EFAs and I also stopped taking my 5-HTP several days ago! … I do need to get better about the EFAs)
6/4 Swollen feet
6/1 Urination frequency (as in too much frequency, so 1 would be equal output to input… I’ve heard that when you have trouble processing sugars you will urinate frequently and I’m pretty much infamous for having to pee!)
5/3 Food cravings (only craving fruits and raw foods, no cravings for unhealthy/processed foods and I don’t spend all day thinking about eating anymore)
8/5 Muscle tension
6/3 Headache
4/4 Muscle strength
6/4 Endurance (seemed to be down when exercising yesterday, I was pretty weak and faint all day)
6/5 Weight (level of content with, higher is better)
4/8 Blood sugar balance (higher is better, as in more balanced)
6/8 General “balance”
5/7 Memory
6/8 Sleep quality (and I haven’t even taken my 5-HTP to help me sleep for several days)
7/2 Compulsive eating (I used to spend most of the day stuffing myself whether I was hungry or not, and I had to overeat to some extent because I was constantly trying to balance blood sugar. I now eat about a third as frequently as I used to and can go hours without getting hungry)
7/4 Back pain
7/3 Rib pain (I’ve had a rib out of place for 7 years that is stabbing/painful and surrounded by tight muscles)


Nearing the End of the Sugar Elimination

Today is day 13 of 14 of my no sugar, no carb elimination diet. Great things have happened. In the middle of the 2 weeks I spent several days so exhausted I could hardly function or stay awake all day. That was followed by 5 days of a terrible pounding headache, which also came along with elimination of horrible gas (sorry, TMI, that’s what this blog is all about!). After which, I discovered (and this is HUGE happy news) I CAN DIGEST RAW VEGETABLES!!! What a relief! I was so tired of eating heavy cooked foods, I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore. So, as of yesterday morning I’ve been crunching away on veggies. As I write I’m enjoying a large raw taco salad, something I haven’t been able to do in a very long time without feeling like I’ve just eaten sandpaper. Yesterday I ate 2 large handfuls of baby carrots and felt no discomfort at all, I used to get a stomach ache from just one single carrot. Amazing! The only downfall is that my blood sugar doesn’t feel quite as stable on raw veggies as it did on cooked, but it may just need time to adjust. It’s still nowhere near as out of control as it was before. A big plus to eating raw veggies is that I was getting quite constipated on the cooked foods, which I believe was playing a big roll in the headache, and the raw vegetable fiber seems to have me back to normal in the department. It’s just so exciting to feel like I’ve finally figured out what the stressor was that was causing my body so many issues… my 60-75% fruit diet with lots of raw desserts. In two days I will start trying different things and seeing what my body can now tolerate. I’ll keep you posted! I’m off to do my happy dance…


Getting Closer to the Cure

It’s been a long summer. Last I updated I was beginning to feel better from the enzyme therapy I was doing with a doctor. Well, after a very stressful 2 weeks of a major parenting challenge, ALL of my symptoms came back. I felt disappointed and hopeless, and became very depressed. That, coupled with the stress from the challenge I was facing, actually brought me to a point where I didn’t want to live anymore. If you’ve ever been in the place you know how scary it is. I was sick and afraid and I had nowhere to turn for help. So I did the parasite cleanse. It did nothing. No die-off symptoms, no improvement in how I felt. Nothing. The good news: I can now rest assured I’m not full of worms. With that checked off my list I continued to search for answers. My intern suggested I may have leaky guy syndrome, so I researched that. I found that leaky gut, colitis, and IBS all have one thing in common, and it was one of the few things I hadn’t tried before. They are all helped by eliminating gluten from the diet. So I did that (I had been eating 2-4 slices of sprouted grain bread daily to help stabilize my blood sugar). I was afraid my blood sugar would go crazy if I stopped eating bread all together, so I found a gluten-free bread that is egg-free and sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar like all the others. A week later I was still not feeling well, in a slightly different way, but not well just the same. The bread just felt very fake to me and my body didn’t respond well to it. I took a leap of faith and stopped eating bread all together. Another 2 weeks went by, still no improvement. I was still painfully bloated and tired all the time. I started looking into how to do a juice fast with hypoglycemia, but I didn’t get the best feeling about it. I was going to try and do as much juice and blended food as possible for a few weeks when I remembered my doctor saying she thinks I’m sugar intolerant, even to the point where a piece of fruit is too much for my body. Well, with hypoglycemia I pretty much live on fruit. I can’t digest raw vegetables, so I eat fruit and nuts and blend or juice a lot of leafy greens. I was really afraid to try going without any sugar, but I was also afraid of how I was feeling. I started researching after last Sunday evening when I almost went to the hospital because I was so sick I was afraid I was going to lose consciousness or die. My stomach was so full of air I was having trouble breathing. I was so bloated it felt like my guts were stretched to the max. I was having sharp pains in my colon and had large lumps all over my abdomen. I couldn’t stay awake the entire day. I couldn’t lay down more than a few minutes at night without sitting up to make myself burp so I could breath for a few seconds. I was irritable. I was having a lot of muscle pain and tension. I was often dizzy. When I stood up my head would pound and I would feel faint. I was often shaky and weak. I did a few days of studying, said a prayer, and jumped off the no sugar cliff. This is the end of day 2 with no sugar. I feel better than I have in as long as I can remember. I’m still bloated (though not as much and I no longer have the feeling of air in my stomach), and I’ve had some nausea and a whole lot of hunger and fruit cravings. I’m needing a lot of protein and cooked vegetables to get me through this, so I’m eating eggs, raw cheese, some pasteurized cheese, vegetables (mostly cooked), and germinated nuts and seeds, plus my regular wheatgrass and vegetable juice. I’m still bloated, but not painfully. I’m a little less tired than I was. I do not feel shaky or weak and am less irritable and tired. But the greatest thing is that the terrifying unbalanced-out-of-control-inside-myself feeling is gone. I feel “stable,” that’s the best way I can describe it. I will be eating this way for a total of 2-weeks, at which point I will try one sugar/carb food per day and see how it affects me. Many people find this process works as sort of a “reset” and afterward they are able to tolerate foods like fruit, natural sweeteners, and cacao (all things my body reacted negatively to before). Pray for me! I’m very much missing raw and the lightness that comes along with it. I’m feeling very heavy eating all this cooked food. I’ve realized through this that I actually LOVE raw food, it’s become more to me than just a necessary requirement for healing. Also, more extensive testing has been done and after a 2 month break from working with my doctor we will be starting back up on enzyme therapy again soon.