Monday, April 28, 2008

Rejuvelac: A Review

Have you ever heard of Rejuvelac? I believe it was first promoted by Ann Wigmore, and it is a drink made from fermented grains that is supposed to be a good digestive aid and a detoxifier. Since it is supposed to be so good for you, I've always wanted to try it. However, I haven't had success yet with sprouting, because I'm an idiot and can't seem to remember to rinse my grains...or even remember I have grains that I'm trying to sprout!

Picture from's rejuvelac recipe page.

Yesterday at a raw food restaurant, I decided to be daring. I've tried a different kind of fermented drink before and hated it. Do I dare spend $3.75 for a glass of potentially nasty Rejuvelac stuff? Uhhhh....(shudder)...okay, I'll do it!

The results? Actually, it wasn't that bad. It mostly tasted like lemon water. There was no fizz in it, like many recipes say it will have. All I noticed was a slightly fermented aftertaste. I'm not saying I loved it, but it really wasn't bad. Maybe if I added a little sweet juice to it, , or some agave, it would actually be pretty good.

So that's my review. Rejuvelac: It's Not Too Bad. LOL. I may even try to make some myself....if I ever remember to grow sprouts properly.

In the meantime, cool linkage:

Sproutpeople's Rejuvelac-a Rye recipe's Rejuvelac -the Ann Wigmore recipe's Rejuvelac-they give a little more info

Killing Me Softly

Well, I spent all of March and most of April eating cooked foods. So dumb. The reason is silly, too. I had bad insomnia again, and even though I was getting some sleep and didn't really feel all that sleep-deprived (thanks to raw food), I became obsessed with the fact that I couldn't get to sleep when I wanted to. A little (demonic) voice in my head said "eat cooked food, it will make you sleepy".

I tried to counter with the fact that the reason I would get sleepy is that my body would be shutting itself down and focusing on purging the toxins from the cooked food...but by then visions of (nasty) McDonald's breakfast foods were dancing in my head, and I gave in. "Just this once" I told myself...ha! And here we are, six weeks later. I tried at the beginning of April to get with the program and go raw again, but I just wasn't ready. Wasn't motivated, really.

Well, now I am! Everytime I go off raw for a month, my teeth get worse. I have very bad teeth. This time, a little piece of one broke off. It seemed like I could actually FEEL them rotting. Yuck! So now I am RUNNING back to raw. Sometimes God just has to give you a little kick in the pants, know what I mean?

It funny though, after being on raw, especially 100% raw, cooked food is never the same again. Even the "best" meal I had just wasn't all that great. And the sweets? I didn't have much, mostly because they've lost their appeal. Sweets may seem like a good idea, but once I have them they are so disappointing. I just don't get the joy I once did out of them. And afterwards I just feel yucky.

I ate at a raw food restaurant last night. I felt so good! Then I ate a frosted brownie that I'd picked up at the health food store as a last "treat". After all, it was organic, right? Ugh, as soon as I started eating it, the "good feelings" from the raw meal went away. I should have tossed the rest out the window ("sorry for littering officer, but it was a matter of life or death!") but instead I ate the whole thing. WHO HAS CURSED ME WITH THIS OBSESSION TO NOT "WASTE" FOOD?! No matter how junky it is, I am compelled to finish it! Ugh, no wonder I am fat!!!

Okay, so fast forward to today. Nothing but raw. Feeling better. By tomorrow, I should feel great! Unless detox kicks in, in which case, I'll be sick. But that's okay. A little detox flu on my way to a healing, healthy life is much better than killing myself slowly on cooked food.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Flashback on Being Raw in the Hospital, Post-Cesarean

I was reading over my old posts, and realized I never mentioned how things went after I gave birth, as far as eating raw in the hospital.

Fortunately for me, I did not give birth in the large city hospital, as planned. I had some bleeding a few days before my cesarean was scheduled, and my o.b. told me to go to the local hospital in the small town we were living in. I was kind of glad, since I'd been to that hospital and my experience had been good. It was a newer, clean hospital that really focuses on the patient. I'm blessed that all went well, though, as they did not have a NICU or anything like that. I took an ambulance there (we only had one car at the time, and we didn't have the time to rouse five children and put them in car seats). After being evaluated, they realized I was going into labor, and scheduled an emergency c-section. The doctor and anesthesiologist were awesome to me, as were almost all the nurses.

The really noticeable difference came after the birth. In addition to kind nurses (what a concept!) the nutrition staff was great. The nutritionist told me when ordering food, to order it like this: salad 3X. This would tell them I wanted a triple size salad (the portions in hospitals are miniscule). I also wrote in exactly how many packets of dressing I wanted (I was eating high raw at the time, and used cooked dressing). The dressing packets were the size of ketchup packets...I kid you not! They kept me fairly well fed. There was also a fridge across the hall for me to store the salads my husband brought. So all in all, the smaller hospital was a much more pleasant experience for me. Thanks be to God that my little one wanted to come a bit early!

However, the next time (no, I'm not pregnant....yet) I will be prepared ahead of time. I plan to bring a plug-in cooler, and have my husband cut up fruits and vegetables and put it in baggies, and prepare salad raw salad dressings for me. I will also try to keep a steady supply of dehydrated crackers and other snacky items on hand, so there will be some at the ready in case we have another surprise. I've always said the one good thing about cesareans is the fact that you know when the birth will be and can plan around it. Ha ha!

12.4 Pounds Gone!

As of today, I have released 12.4 pounds eating raw and living foods. I am really enjoying it so far. It is completely different this time around. So far, by the grace of God, I have felt very few temptations. The few I have experienced were very mild, and really only because I let myself get incredibly hungry. But I really don't feel any urge to eat cooked foods. They don't look that enticing, and it's not even a real consideration. That stuff is junk, it is poison, and I don't need it. What's more is, I don't want it!

Even the other day, when I was having a major mood swing (hello, Mr. Detox!) and feeling so upset and overwhelmed emotionally, I didn't turn to eating. Believe it or not, the thought never crossed my mind!!! People, do you know how amazing that is?! Usually I have to fight the urge to just grab something and stuff my mouth, or drive to the nearest fast food place, or go to the store and buy whatever junk I am craving. And sometimes I don't bother to fight it...I just tell myself I don't care, I want it, and I'm going to have it. Because you can't cry while you're eating, right? So momentarily, I would feel better.

Well, not this time! It did cross my mind that one glass of organic sulfite-free wine sounded pretty good, but eating in order to stuff down my emotions--even eating raw food--didn't occur to me. Instead, I cried for a few minutes, calmed myself down pretty quick, and fell asleep for a half hour. Now THAT is progress! Just one more thing that proves to me how amazing raw food is. And how merciful and wonderful God is for revealing this delicious, natural way of eating. I truly believe this is how He intended for us to eat.

I am so grateful to have found this lifestyle, and I know it will change my life dramatically. It already has! I just can't wait to start my children on raw. We just need to get over this financial hump, and the whole family will be raw.

My husband is doing fabulous on this diet. I think he's lost around fifteen pounds. He hasn't cheated once, and he is very committed to doing this for the whole month of February. He plans to re-evaluate after that. I hope he sticks with it. He has been tempted, but I don't think it's been too bad for him. He's already received comments at work about having lost some weight.

I don't know if my loss is showing yet. It seemed like I might have looked a bit different in the mirror. I think my face might be a bit thinner, probably from water loss. I haven't had much for detox symptoms, except a sore back one day, a few moods swings, the teensiest bit of nausea one day, and the mildest of headaches once or twice. I almost worry that I'm eating a tiny bit of cooked food, unknowingly. I'm not eating Larabars anymore, because I found out some of the bars are not 100% raw, even though the packaging implies that they are. It's pretty bad when even raw foodists become liars just to grab a few more dollars--shame on you, Larabar! I'm going to make my own version of the Larabars. It will probably taste better anyway.

One thing I'm noticing is the last few days my insomnia has gotten worse, rather than better. I expected to need less sleep, but I didn't expect to be up until five, six or even seven a.m.!

I'm still adjusting to having to think ahead and prepare things. Dehydrating takes forever, and a lot of the better recipes require it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Day 5

I'm still having weird dreams, though I slept better last night. I woke at 7 a.m, and couldn't get back to sleep because of stuff I was worried about (I only went to bed at 3 a.m.). I weight myself, and had gained .6 of a pound AGAIN!! Well, I wasn't going to worry about it. I know if I don't sleep as much, I don't lose. Weird, huh? That we lose weight while we sleep. I tried not to worry. I knew if I got more sleep, the scale would probably change. I might not end up having lost any weight, but I hoped at least the .6 pound would disappear.

My hopes were realized after I went back to bed and got 3.5 hours more sleep. When I awoke and weighed myself, not only was the .6 pound gone, but I'd also LOST 1.2 pounds! Yaaaayy! So I'm at 268.8 again. Hopefully, I will never see the 270's again. I was hoping to have lost 10 pounds at one week raw. I know it was asking a lot, but it looks very possible. I would have to lose 1.4 pounds tomorrow and the next day. So it may not happen, but I'm sure I'll get to nine pounds at least. I expected that much, and I'll be thrilled if I get it.

I really can't wait to say goodbye to the 260's. I was stuck at 260 for quite a while, bouncing around and ending up there every time. Then I gained even more, which was horrible! So getting below 260 and staying below that will be a great accomplishment.

I had no back pain last night or today, though I found myself in a foul mood this evening. Partly because the kids were acting up, but I think part of it could be detox. I was really overreacting, I think. Poor kids, I'll be glad to be out of detox, so I can be a nice mom!

My husband is down to 271-point-something today. Don't remember exactly how much, but he's catching up to me. I don't want my husband to weigh less than me! It's hard enough to weigh more than your husband, but when you consider that he's a foot taller than me? Ouch. But I'm so happy he's doing this with me. It makes all the difference.

I made some of Alissa Cohen's salsa the other night. I was short on tomatoes, but it was still great. I'm going to try to make some flax crackers tonight, so I can have more salsa. Yummy!
I'm also going to try to make a chocolate pudding tonight, although I expect it to be grainy--I don't have cacao powder yet, so I have to grind cacao nibs, and they never come out very fine. I'll make it with avocado and banana and agave.

My husband made fried chicken for the kids today. He's trying to use up the cooked food until we have enough money to transition them on raw. My children really love raw food, and I feel guilty telling them no, this food is for us. But we don't have a choice. Money is tight right now, and we couldn't possibly afford to feed them all raw. They each eat way more than even I do, when it is raw food. And there's four of them! (Baby isn't on solids yet.) Even though I want them on raw, I know it is important for me to get healthy so that I can be a good mom. Hopefully we can start them on raw soon. I do give them some raw food with each meal when we're not dead broke and running we are today. *sigh* Well, I can only console myself with the knowledge that they'll be on raw food as soon as possible.

Salad Dressing, Mmmmm

At this moment, I am enjoying a salad of baby spinach, spring mix lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, onions, chopped broccoli florets, and a homemade salad dressing. The recipe can be found here. Thanks for the recipe, Snowdrop! It is soooo good. At first I thought it was okay, maybe a little heavy on the lemon juice or the vinegar, I wasn't sure which. But it is addicting. I probably use way too much, but I really love it. This salad is actually my second...I just had to have another one so I could have more dressing!

I adjusted it a little bit, replacing the garlic powder, which I didn't have, with an extra garlic clove. I'm not sure why I wasn't crazy about it at first, probably because it is supposed to be a ranch substitute, and to me, it doesn't taste like ranch dressing. But as my first raw dressing, I am happy with it. My husband doesn't like it, but he is picky, and actually likes to eat salad plain. Yuck. Maybe after a while on raw I'll like salad plain, too, but right now, a plain salad is unappetizing to me. Too dry.

I did have to thin it out (it was thick like veggie dip) by adding some more purified water and shaking it up in the dressing bottle. That made almost a whole large bottle of dressing. I got it at just the right thickness. At first I thought it was too thin, but then I realized it was perfect: drippy enough to be able to pour slow drips all over the salad, thus using less of it, but thick enough that it didn't run off the lettuce or drip all over my shirt.

A whole post dedicated to salad dressing might seem a bit much, but I just had to share! ;-)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Update: Had Baby, Off Raw, On Raw

Sorry for having disappeared. I was busy with my new baby and buying a house. (YAY!) To catch you up, I had a healthy baby, unfortunately another cesarean, as the evil doctors and hospitals have forced me into not having a choice. The baby came a little early but was healthy, and still big, despite the fact that I had normal weight gain, ate a healthy high raw diet, and controlled my blood sugar. So to my doctors who thought my babies were big because I am fat and/or had high blood sugar....HA! I told you so! It runs in the family, just like I said.

Okay, putting that rant aside, everything is great. We bought a house in the country. We love it, it's huge. I did fall off the raw wagon not long after I had the baby. I tried getting back on it, but it was a tough time, and the chopping and peeling for the whole family really overwhelmed me. Plus my husband wasn't really into it. After failing at raw, I tried Kimkins again, but that didn't last long. I was sooooo hungry. Probably because I was nursing at the time. I was taking in more carbs than normal because I was nursing, but I guess it wasn't enough.

After that failure, I was really depressed. I couldn't bring myself to try another diet for a long time, because I couldn't bear failing again. So I ballooned up to 277 in two months. Yikes! After that, something HAD to be done. But what? I was desperate to try a mini gastric bypass, but my insurance doesn't cover it, and we have no money. Eventually I joined Weight Watchers again, even though I really wanted to do raw. After a few days on WW, I decided to do what I knew I had to...go back to raw. Raw foods actually fits right in with the WW core plan, except that on Core you can't eat stuff like agave, honey, or nuts. So I decided to to raw, and go to WW meetings once a month for real-world support.

I started doing semi-raw a few weeks ago, building up to high raw at the end of January. My husband, decided to join me, but this time for his own reasons. Diabetes runs in his family, and his blood sugar tested high on my monitor. Now, the strips had been left in the cold, and the reading may not be accurate, but it scared him. So he's really gung-ho about it, and I'm so proud of him.

As of February 1, 2008, we are now both 100% raw. I have not cheated, and I feel great. Detox is kind of starting to kick in, but no big deal at all, as of yet. I'm so happy about this decision, and we are really committed to doing a full 30 challenge along with others over at

There you have it, consider yourselves updated!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review/Recipe: My Favorite Trail Mix

There is a fabulous trail mix that my local health food store sells, that is both raw and organic. I tried to find it online so I could link it here, but I couldn't find it anywhere. However, you could easily mix up your own if you could find a store with the right ingredients, or you could order them online.

Shop around, as the prices can really vary. And be sure what you are buying is not only organic, but raw--meaning not heated more than around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Even organic food is often put through processes that include heat-treatment, and the word "raw" doesn't necessarily mean it is. Look for wording on the labels that confirm the product has not been heated to the point that it is no longer raw, and has not been refined or had sugar or anything else added. You can get some of these ingredients at The Raw Choice, though I can't say if they have the best prices or not.

The ingredients:

Cacao nibs, broken in pieces
Goji Berries, dried
Mulberries, dried
Cashew pieces, sprouted, then dehydrated (you can do your own sprouting/dehydrating)
Pistachio pieces
Raisins (I think they are Himalayan Hunza raisins)

Mix together, then eat! You may want to play around with the amounts, until you get what you like. The raw cacao is strong, so you want to have less of that. It's important to have enough berries in each bite that it gives sweetness to the cacao nibs. Also, be sure to mix it before eating. I eat mine out of a bag, and shake it occasionally as I eat--otherwise, the cacao settles to the bottom, and you get very little til you hit the bottom of the bag. You'll still end up with extra cacao at the bottom, but you can save it for the next batch you make.

I pay almost $10 a pound for it, which is kind of high for me. I have the ingredients to make it at home, but I haven't calculated yet whether or not making it at home is less costly when buying ingredients retail. If you bought the ingredients in bulk online, I would think that it should be much cheaper.

I absolutely love this trail mix. It is extremely delicious, and very good for you too. Raw chocolate (cacao) has a lot of excellent nutritional properties to it, it's good for your heart, and is a mood enhancer--it is MUCH better for you than regular chocolate. Goji berries are really big in Chinese medicine, and have anti-aging properties. This trail mix is great when you want a sweet snack or dessert on the go, and is completely guilt-free.


The Raw is Kicking In !!

Wow, when the minerals and enzymes from raw food kick in, they really kick in! Yesterday I had planned to take a nap, because I didn't get a full night's sleep. But when the time came around, I wasn't the least bit sleepy or tired--even though the Percocet I'm on right now makes you sleepy.

I did decide to at least try to nap, in case I ended up being really sleepy an hour later, when it would be too late to sleep. I fell asleep for a while, but I think I could have lived without a nap if I had to.

This morning I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7:15 am. I got a snack and eventually went back to bed. It took a long time to fall asleep, but I probably got one more hour til I had to get up. Getting up wasn't too hard when the alarm clock went off.

I did get sleepy a couple of hours later, but that's not too much of a surprise: it was a long day, as my husband went to work very early today. Usually he gets up with the kids to let me sleep in, and he heads off to work at noon. I plan to take a nap today since I have to go food shopping tonight. But all in all, my energy level is really going up...which is good, just in time for some necessary pre-baby nesting!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Eating Raw in the Hospital

Recently I had to stay for two nights in the hospital for observation and testing when I had abdominal pain. It proved to be...well...and interesting experience. I brought along a bunch of bananas and apples in case of "emergency", and thank God I did.

The first night, the dinner was ridiculously small, and all full of refined carbs. This was their idea of healthy food for a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes. I looked over their diabetic menu choices for the following day, and was appalled...potatoes, muffins, white toast...pure garbage for anyone, but for diabetics?! Sheesh! And the amount of food they gave was less than I feed my five year old...and he's not a big eater.

After being promised a visit from the nutritionist (who didn't show up til the next day) I was so starving, I spent the night constantly snacking on the only food available in the snack kitchen on the floor...saltines, graham crackers, peanut butter and jelly, bread (white and "wheat"), refined cereals, and ice cream. I've seen healthier food choices at McDonald's! When the nutritionist finally showed up the next day, she promised to order me two big, extra snacks every day, and put in the computer that my carb counts wouldn't be as limited (otherwise fruit would be out of the equation, and fruit and salad were my only choices there). That day I had enough food, and it was all raw.

The third day, I was served one orange and a teeny tiny bowl of rice krispies. Hello? I ordered two oranges, two bananas, and a salad! My one year old eats more than they brough me. I wanted to cry. I called my nurse, who never came, then called down to the kitchen. By that time I was so hungry, I just wanted to be full, so I ordered pancakes, an orange, some juice and milk, and some yogurt. They said that the yogurt would put me over on my carb limit. I was irritated...I wasn't supposed to have a low carb limit anymore!

After waiting over an hour and a half, they finally brought me ONE SINGLE small pancake, some milk, and some yogurt. I broke down. I was SO hungry and stressed out, I cried my eyes out. I ended up, once again, eating peanut butter crackers and ice cream from the snack kitchen. I was so frustrated, I forgot I even had the fruit I brought with me, and just ate junk.

The next week, I mentioned my frustration to my o.b. nurse at a check-up. She gave me the number of a coordinator for the maternity ward, and suggested I speak to her. I may do that, but at this point, I'm not taking any chances. When I go in for the delivery, I plan to take a plug-in cooler full of food.

I thought ordering meals ahead of time from the raw food restaurant might be a good idea, but I don't know if they'll taste old the next day, and it would be outrageously expensive. I think I will get some pre-made salads from Wal-mart (not organic, but big, cheap and better than hospital food), some cut-up food in containers, that I can mix into fruit salads, and some pre-blended smoothies and fruit juices, for immediately after the surgery when I can't have solids yet. I may have my husband pick up some fresher juices and some wheatgrass juice from the health food store on the second and third day when he visits.

Moral of the story: no matter what they promise, don't trust hospital staff to care enough to get your requests right. They're more worried about leaving for home on time, and may forget to do what they've promised. Meanwhile, the kitchen will close down and you will go hungry. Be prepared and bring your own!!

Book Review: Living on Live Foods

This week I finally found Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food book at my local raw food restaurant.

This book has it all. Most raw books I've bought or seen are little more than recipe books with a couple of chapters of very basic information about the raw food diet in the beginning. Alissa's book has very good information about the science behind the diet (but in a concise, easy-to-read format), the hows and whys, the benefits, success stories, before and after pictures, and much more. Plus all the recipes, which look really good. I'm really enjoying reading this book.

There are two negatives to the book, however. First is it's price. At first, I didn't mind the $30 price tag because it is a very large, high quality book. The pictures are great, the pages are glossy, and the layout keeps the reader's attention. But after reading the book, I realized quickly that this book didn't NEED to be so big...which brings me to negative point number two: the size.

This book is HUGE. It is very heavy. I feel like I'm carrying around a dictionary. It doesn't make for easy transporting. The easiest way to read it is to lie it flat on a table, or possibly in your lap, if you don't mind the weight. Laying on your side in bed is is forever sliding off the bed, or slipping out of your hands. I dropped it spine-first onto the side of my foot while sitting in bed--a six inch drop--and it HURT!! Really hurt!

Also, the words on each page are in narrow columns, with one column per page. Only half of each page is used. Then, each chapter uses one whole page just to display the chapter number on it. And many of the chapters have less than one page to them...and remember, only half of each page is used! While this does make for an easy-to-read format, it goes too far. I think the book easily could have been condensed into a smaller, easier to carry book without sacrificing quality or readability.

I do like the heavy, glossy pages, as I think this will be a book I will read and use often, especially in the kitchen. But when so many people in the raw food movement are environmentally conscious, the amount of wasted space in this book seems to be a bad business decision. I think the size and weight of the book could be reduced enough to lower the price to $25 , which would make the book easier to sell to people on a limited budget.

All that being said, I'm still glad I bought it. I'm sure it will prove very useful. There is also a companion DVD available on Alissa's website. The price of that seems extremely high to me...$29.95! There is a discount if you buy the book with it, but again, people like me might not be likely to buy such an expensive DVD without reading the book first to see if they like Alissa's style. But having read half the book so far, I would like to check out the DVD someday, when I can afford it.

Alissa carries other products on her site, such as raw food items and appliances. Be sure to price shop, though. I think a lot of her prices seem to be okay, and she's running a really great special on the Vita-Mix right now. Her raw food forum is a great resource as well.

I haven't finished the book yet or tried any recipes, but based on the first half of the book, I'd give it at least four stars, maybe five. Definitely a great introductory book for those wanting to go raw.

Coconut Butter - An All Natural Moisturizer

Not long ago I purchased some Raw Organic Coconut Butter by Artisana. I had wanted Raw Organic Coconut Oil, but they didn't have it raw. I wasn't sure if Coconut Butter is the same thing or not, but decided to try it. It is made from the whole flesh of the coconut, instead of just the oil.

I know I've heard of the many health and beauty benefits of coconut oil. Since Coconut Butter is made of the whole coconut flesh, rather than just the oil, I figured it would be just as good if not better.

So last last night I tried using it on my feet, which lately have been very dry, especially on the heels. My left heel especially has had stubborn dead, dry skin on it, and nothing seems to work. I worked in some of the Coconut Butter on my feet and ankles, and also my elbows, where I have some dry patches of skin that I think are psoriasis.

It is amazing! Today, I would have to say there is at LEAST a 50% improvement both on my heels and my elbows. NOTHING else has worked, but this is working overnight! I tried it today on a few more places, including some little spots that tend to appear on my sides...not sure what it is, possibly smaller breakouts of psoriasis? Those tend to heal up after a while, but the spots on my elbows are always there, to a lesser or greater degree. They seemed to clear up a bit when I first went on raw, but maybe the coconut butter will speed up the healing process.

I'm sure coconut oil would probably work good too. But whichever you choose, I would recommend you buy RAW organic. Conventional or plain organic may work fine, but I would be willing to bet that the raw organic works a lot better, because it still has living enzymes and extra nutrients in it.

I don't know if Artisana is the best brand or not. I know Alissa Cohen says on her website that she tested many coconut oils before choosing the Coco-de Creme brand that she carries. I bought my Coconut Butter in my local health food store. I don't remember the price, but I'm thinking it was ten dollars or so for 16 ounces. Compare that to the chemical-laden synthetic moisturizers out there, that can go for a hundred dollars for only an ounce or two, and don't even work nearly as well!

Another thing to think about, for those of us who are pro-life: did you know that there are many beauty products out there, moisturizers in particular, that contain collagen from aborted fetuses? I was shocked to learn this. Just one more reason to stick with something all natural, so you KNOW where it comes from!

I'm also trying this on my face, to see how it helps. Being overweight, I've neglected to moisturize my face, because I don't have many lines yet (they're all filled out with fat). Now that I'll be losing weight, I need to think about taking care of my skin. Although going raw is well known as a remedy for aging skin, I think using a natural moisturizer is still a great idea.

Sugar is From the Devil!

As you may have guessed from my lack of posting, I fell off the raw wagon for a few weeks. Boy, am I sorry, too! Not only did I rapidly gain back almost all the weight I lost, but I started having back pain, fatigue, pubic bone pain, lethargy, and a general bloated feeling. My rings started getting really tight again, and I was not a happy camper.

There are two main reasons I went off the diet. One is, I was getting tired of all the chopping and peeling, and really wanted to do some different type of recipes, which I don't yet have the equipment for (saladacco, Vita Mix). Then, I started having some weird nausea and abdominal pain. I wasn't sure if it could be from the diet, though I didn't think it was. I just started eating anything convenient. The pain didn't go away, though. It progressively got worse, til I ended up in the hospital for a few days for some tests and observations. The tests were all negative--no gallstones, liver problems, ulcers, etc. It wasn't acid reflux, round ligament pain (obstetricians think EVERYTHING is round ligament pain) or morning sickness.

The only thing they can figure out is that it's probably adhesions from a previous surgery. It's the only thing that makes sense. They say since I didn't have a problem with adhesion pain before, I should be better after delivering, when I'm no longer all stretched out (I sure hope so). Until then I'm on Percocet, but I'm trying not to take much. I hate taking any kind of drugs, but in this case, it's necessary. After two weeks of this nauseating pain, I can't function without some kind of relief.

Meanwhile, it took me over a week of false starts to get back on the wagon, after two weeks of eating processed cooked junk. The last straw was after three days of eating sugary stuff (mostly ice cream). All of a sudden, my sugar and chocolate cravings came back with a vengence (they were controllable before that) and my back pain and pubic bone pain were awful...even while on Percocet!! I have no doubt it was the sugar. That just goes to show you how much of a poison refined white sugar is.

Sugar is evil, people! It is an unnatural poison that pollutes our bodies and ruins our emotional and spiritual well-being. Sugar turns you into an addicted, fat glutton. Sugar makes you depressed. God did not make sugar. God made honey, agave, and sugar cane, but not refined table sugar. I kid you not, sugar is straigh from the Devil! (Okay, Evil Sugar rant is over.)

When I finally had enough of the pain, I went back on raw food, last Wednesday. I started by making it easier on myself, and buying pre-cut fruit trays and pre-made salads at the grocery store. They weren't organic, but it would be an easy start. Thursday I went to the raw food restaurant to bring home a couple of meals and goodies. I also stopped at the health food store for some raw trail mix, Lara bars, and various fruit.

My husband wasn't too thrilled at having to throw out all the organic produce that went bad during my three week "slip". Neither was I--all that money, and good food! But I'm back in the game now, and so excited.

My body is taking a bit longer this time to shake the symptoms...possibly because the toxins I ate were more of a shock to my system this time, after being raw a while. Or because I'm on the pain medicine. The good news is, I started losing weight right away, over a pound a day. I had been back up to 287, but now I am 283.6. My rings are looser already. I'd love to be no more than 280 when I have my c-section, which is in 2 1/2 weeks.

Today the back pain is mostly gone, the pubic pain is almost gone, I think, and I'm a lot less sleepy today...which is big, because this medication makes you sleepy. I'm actually feeling pretty jazzed up right now.

One of the best things about going back on this diet is that I can stuff myself on raw to overcome any temptations, which makes going back on the wagon much easier. Really, the first day was the toughest. Today I've just been eating like crazy. But I don't have to worry about it, or even feel guilty, and that is awesome! I made up a dessert, with cashew butter, crushed macadamia nuts, a mashed banana, some raw agave nectar, and some ground raw cacao nibs. It pretty good. And I felt great about eating it, because it is GOOD for me!!

I know once I have the baby and shift into weight-loss mode, I may have to watch my intake of nuts, avocados, bananas, etc. But since I'll be nursing I don't think it will be a real issue, unless I go totally crazy.

I am so committed to this way of eating. I really do enjoy it. I can't wait for my taste buds to continue to change, so I can enjoy even more different kinds of healthier foods. When I eat raw, I feel like I am eating the way God designed me to eat, and that my body is functioning the way it was created to. Finally!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How Do I Get Started?

Everyone is different. For somepeople, they need to quit cooked food cold turkey, otherwise they'll never do it. If you can do it this way, that's what I recommend. Less temptation. We are truly addicted to cooked foods.

I've noticed even when I'm not that hungry, if I give in and have a bite of cooked food (say, when I make my kids lunch), I have a sudden and uncontrollable urge to shove it all in my mouth, like an addict in withdrawal! I never feel that way when I eat raw, even if I am starving. I rarely stuff myself with raw food, whereas I will fill myself to discomfort when I eat cooked...and I was never prone to bingeing before. Overeating, yes, but not bingeing. So cold turkey is best.

If you can't do it all at once, then start by eating raw fruit in the morning, a salad and sandwich for lunch (using only organic, whole foods when eating cooked food), and a big salad with raw veggies for dinner, with a very small amount of brown rice and organic chicken breast. That's how I did it the first few days. You'll still feel a difference right away.

If you are going to eat things like whole grain breads and rices, look into the Nourishing Traditions book, and websites online about this way of eating. They recommend you soak or sprout all grains, nuts and seeds before eating. This is because grains, nuts and seeds are protected by phytic acid, which keeps the grain or seed from breaking down until it is planted. By soaking or sprouting it, you have broken down the phytic acid and made it more digestible and safer to eat. Many people who can't eat wheat can eat it if it is sprouted or soaked first. It is the phytic acid that they are reacting to.

Try to minimize the meat and dairy you eat. When you do eat dairy, eat raw dairy. It can be hard to find. Try or ask around at health food stores, or advertise that you are looking for sources of raw milk. Be sure that it is both unpateurized and unhomogenized. Laws vary from state to state. Find out what your state laws are. Don't just listen to what someone says. I had someone insist raw milk is illegal in my state. That person is ignorant. Our laws clearly state that raw milk can be sold, but only from the farm it is produced from, the farmer cannot advertise it publically (which is ridiculous), and the buyer must bring his own sterilized container (also silly--if the farmer's container isn't already sterile, it doesn't matter if the customer brings her own sterilized container).

Check out the place you buy your milk from to make sure you are comfortable with the farmer's operation, especially that it seems sanitary. I can almost guarantee that commercial dairies are probably worse. Also ask what the cows are fed, if they are fed grain, if the grain is organic, and if the fields they eat on are treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Also, is the field located next to or downhill from a conventional farm? If so, the grass may be soaking up pesticides and fake fertilizer.

As I said, though cold turkey is better. The first day I felt a bit of hunger throughout the day. Not an "I'm starving" feeling, but more like "I could really go for ___". After the first day or so, it went away. I made sure that I stuffed myself with as much raw food as possible, to avoid temptation. At the slightest sign of hunger, I ate. The second day I already felt so much better, physically.

The first two weeks I kept it simple, eating plain fruit, or cut-up fruit salad, or green salads. When I ate a sandwich, it was usually a whole grain pita, some egg salad, and as many veggies as I could stuff into it--baby spinach, red onion, cucumbers, red peppers. I burst the "seams" of the pita a few times, lol. I really looked forward to adding those veggies in. It made for great flavors. My tastes started to change, too. I started getting braver, and adding fresh tomatoes. I don't usually care for fresh tomatoes, but I tried it. I'm starting to kind of like them.

After two weeks, I knew I had to mix it up or get bored. I wanted a Vita Mix badly, but they go for around $400. Don't buy expensive stuff til you've been on it at least two weeks, and know you will continue. The Vita Mix is great, and you'll probably always find it useful, but it isn't necessary right away. The biggest tip I can give is to sit down one evening while you have someone to talk to, or a tv or radio program on, and spend an hour or two leisurely cutting up fruits and veggies and putting them into baggies or containers. This was a tremendous help to me. One night of chopping, and I had about four days of veggies ready to go. I put the chopped veggies into mini Glad containers, and stacked the containers in larger plastic baskets--one basket for salad veggies, one for cut fruits, another for uncut fruits that were washed and ready to eat. It keeps your fridge much neater and helps prevent "losing" stuff in the fridge and having it go bad. Want to make a salad? Pull out the salad veggie basket, and you're ready to make it! Perfect for the lazy person (like me).

After a week or two, be sure to start experimenting. At first all you need is a sharp paring knife, a vegetable peeler, and a large kitchen knife. A blender is helpful if you want to make smoothies. I bought a good quality smoothie maker with ice-chopping blades on sale for $30 at Target. Long-term you'll want a Vita Mix, it makes much smoother smoothies, and is pretty necessary for green smoothies (you really need to make sure greens are well blended), but you can wait a little while for that. Try ebay,, or your local classifieds to find a used Vita Mix. I wouldn't get one more than a few years old.

The first gadget I want is a Spiral Slicer, formerly known as a Saladacco. It is inexpensive, and seems to be a favorite amond raw foodists. You can use it to turn zucchini, carrots, and other veggies into "pasta". I had a dish like this at our local raw food restaurant (I'm SO happy we have one of these). It was a bed of spinach, with cut strawberries, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar, with zucchini angel hair "pasta" and a spicy sun-dried tomato marinara. The first bite I wasn't too crazy about it, but by the third I LOVED it! So I want the spiral slicer so I can create a similar dish.

I also want an Omega Juicer. I have a cheap one, but the Omega can do wheatgrass also. Wheatgrass Juice is an amazing thing, SO healthy for you. Though I warn you, it is disgusting. I usually chug a shot of it and chase it with a whole smoothie. But I've heard after you start having green smoothies, the wheatgrass juice isn't too bad. The green smoothies are supposed to make you crave raw foods, and I had my first one the other day. It wasn't too bad!

I'm also hoping to get an Excalibur Dehydrator. It comes highly recommended, as it has a controllable thermostat. You can use this to make "breads" and "crackers" from things like nuts and seeds. I had some spicy crackers from that restaurant. They're actually pretty good...and REALLY spicy! Another item I'm wanting is a separate fridge. My husband and I have talked about this before, since we have a big family anyway. We want to get an all-fridge freezer. I plan to use that for my raw foods, and maybe overflow from the main fridge. That way, no hunting for hidden produce that has rotted in the back! I'd like to keep most of the produce in the fridge to keep it longer, but right now ours is too small.

It may sound like this is an expensive proposition, but you don't have to have all this stuff. I'd say just the spiral slicer and the Vita Mix would make your life a lot easier. As for organic food, it is becoming easier to around. There is a lot of advice to be found on the raw food boards as to how to find produce cheaper. Even eating conventional raw food is better than eating a SAD diet. Though there are TONS more nutrients and less toxins in organic produce.

My husband, I'm sure, was worried at first that this diet would be like the others, and anything I bought would go unused. But after two weeks of seeing me happier and healthier, and controlling my weight, he is now all for spending whatever it takes to keep me on the diet. We plan on using tax return money for the stuff we need to buy. At some point soon we hope to be able to put the whole family on raw food. He's not sure about giving up meat and dairy (he's a big meat-and-potatoes kind of guy), but neither was I at first. He's open to it, though. I told him it's his decision. If he wants to go only 80% raw and still eat a little meat and dairy, that's his choice. But I know he'll feel so much better on even just 80% raw.

Just remember to keep it simple the first couple of weeks, eat cut fruits and salads, maybe some fruit smoothies (good for on the go). After that, start experimenting, and find ways to make it more convenient. Get rid of your old food, or if you can't, such as if you're a wife or mother, be sure to eat BEFORE you prepare food for others. Keep raw snack food on hand, and DO NOT let yourself get hungry. Hungry brains don't think straight! I think after a few days on raw, you won't want to go back to your old life. It's just not worth it!

The "What" and "Why" of Eating Raw

Raw food, also known as live or living food, is any food in its natural state that is not heated to over approximately 115 degrees (sources vary, some say 108, some 116, depends on who you ask). Any food that is cooked, steamed, boiled, roasted, microwaved, pasteurized, or canned (such as any produce in a can or jar on the store shelf) is not raw. It is dead food. Dehydrated food is considered raw ONLY if it hasn't been heated too high (over about 110 degrees). Many commercially dehydrated foods have been dehydrated at too high a temperature.

Why not cook food? Cooking destroys the living enzymes in food that our bodies need to digest that food. If the food has no enzymes, our own enzymes must be "called away" from their job of eliminating toxins and healing our bodies to do the digesting, then those enzymes are lost as they stay with the digested food and are eliminated with our bowel movements. It is estimated that by age 40, most people have only 30% of our natural enzymes left, and they do not replenish themselves.

Many nutrients and vitamins are also lost in cooking. And if you compare people to chimpanzees, the animals that are closest in physical design to humans, you'll see that their natural diet consists mostly of fruits and greens, some pith and bark, and some vegetables and seeds. Insects and the meat of other animals are a rarity, and those chimp troops who eat more meat don't live as long. Now, I do NOT believe in evolution, and chimpanzees are NOT the same as people, but looking at it from a physical perspective only, they have similar bones, teeth, etc. Our diets shouldn't be all that different from theirs. If you read Genesis in the Bible, it talks only of food naturally growing in the garden, particularly tree fruit. That is what God designed us for...produce. In fact, man's punishment for his disobedience was to toil for his grow it. Produce. Nuts, seeds, plants.

I'm not saying eating meat is wrong. I have nothing morally against it. I love it! Chicken is my favorite. However, I must reluctantly report that I feel better without it...and more so without dairy. I haven't gone completely without dairy (I can't seem to kick the habit of adding shredded cheddar to my salads) but the less I eat, the better I feel. It is true what I've heard...dairy does produce excess mucus. When I eat less, I have less mucus. A few days on pizza, and my nasal mucus tripled!

Does one have to eat 100% raw? I believe for true health and weight loss, yes, you do. But eating even 50% raw will help you, and improve your health noticeably. If you ate fruit for breakfast, a big salad with a small sandwich of organic deli meat and cheese on whole wheat bread for lunch, and a big salad with fresh salad vegetables with a very small amount of organic chicken breast and brown rice for dinner, I think that would be a very big step in the right direction. If you just couldn't part with meat and dairy, try to minimize it, and only eat meat from organic, grass fed animals, and dairy from the same animals, but raw (unpasteurized and unhomogenized). I have read a lot about the harm pasteurization and homogenization has done to our health. Raw milk products have natural bacteria that help our bodies fight off disease, plus many other benefits.

There are so many reports from people who have cured "incurable" diseases by going 100% raw. There are retreat centers around the country for those who want to break their bad habits and go on a raw retreat to heal themselves. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, food allergies, heart arrhythmia, arthritis, gout, IBS, celiac disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer...these are all diseases that people have freed themselves from by simply eating living foods as God designed us to eat. These are all amazing stories, but the cancer is the most convincing to me.

Did you know the cause of cancer was discovered back in the thirties? There was a doctor who received a Nobel prize for discovering that cancer is caused by an anaerobic environment in the body. I don't have the information at hand, so I'm just repeating this from memory, and you should research all this yourself. From what I remember, it starts with abnormal cells in your body, that do not get enough oxygen. Then those cells multiply, and the cancer spreads. This is a poor explanation, but the important part to remember is that your body needs to be in an alkaline state for your cells to be getting the oxygen they need. Most foods in the SAD (Standard American Diet) today are acid-forming. It is no wonder we are so sick! One hundred years ago, cancer was as rare as obesity. Sure there were fat people around...but not anywhere NEAR as many, or as heavy as today. Today with all our nutritionists and cancer research, we are fatter and sicker than ever.

Why? We eat unnatural, cooked, processed foods and sit on our lazy butts all day in cars or at desks or in easy chairs. If we all ate completely natural, unprocessed foods that are at least mostly raw, and worked in our gardens, went for walks, and kept busy all day, the oncologists and bariatric surgeons would almost all be out of a job!

I won't try to bombard you with facts and figures. Either you're intrigued at this point, or you're not. I would recommend you do some research on raw and living foods, and reach your own decision. Just try it for two weeks. Heck, even one week! If you stick to it for that long, you won't need any evidence...your body will be all the evidence you need!

Some sources I can recommend are: Raw Food Talk, Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko (an excellent read, taught me the importance of getting greens in my diet), the book Raw Foods for Busy People (ideas and recipes for quick raw meals) and any raw websites you can find. There are different mindsets out there about what raw is. Some people believe in eating raw meat and dairy as part of their diet. Some are partly raw. Some are "high raw", around 70-80% raw. Most hard-core raw foodists are 100% raw and vegan (no meat, fish, or dairy products at all).

I am shooting for the latter. I plan to aim for about 90% raw right now, because I was told not to go 100% while pregnant. Going 100% will eventually result in a "detox" period, where your body eliminates the toxins from itself all at once. It can be unpleasant for a while. You can feel like you have the flu, or re-experience some symptoms of illnesses you had in the past as your body releases the stored toxins. It is temporary, and for some people it can re-occur in short bursts after a year or two on raw. But they say afterward you feel better than ever. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not the time to be going into detox, and really you should avoid it when nursing, as the toxins could come out in the milk. Since I'm always nursing or pregnant, it seems, I may never get to 100% raw. But I hope to one day, and for now I want to go 90%.

My Stats...and today's lunch

My weight when I got pregnant was 260.
My weight when I started raw was 288.8 (yikes)...and I was only around 28 weeks along, too!
Yesterday I hit a low of 275.8...yay!

That's 13 pounds lost since I started raw. I'm trying not to lose more weight, and to prepare myself for the possibility that I may gain a few. But the best thing is that I know now that I will NOT see 300 pounds on the scale, which I was terrified was a certainty, at the rate I had been gaining. I'm just amazed that at 33 weeks pregnant, I'm only 16 pounds above my start weight! My doctor is happy too, he is surprisingly supportive of my new way of eating, and pleased with all my test results and "numbers".

I do have my measurements from right around the time I got pregnant, but since I'm pregnant with a growing belly, I'm not worrying about my measurements right now.

My aches and pains are still better, but I've noticed that since I've been eating cooked food more often lately (up to 50% some days) that some are coming back. The stiffness and pain in my back, and worst of all the pain in my pubic bone area (a pregnancy thing) is coming back. Before I started raw, it had been so bad that any trip to the store required taking one of their motorized scooters through the store. Anyone who is overweight can tell you that is humiliating. Everyone thinks you're too lazy to walk or too fat to walk--you can tell the way some people look at you. I even had some jerk say that right out loud. One day on raw food, and I didn't need a scooter. So I will NOT go back to that!

Today I have been 100% raw so far. I had a banana for breakfast, and a smoothie for lunch. The smoothie was 1 banana, 1 mango, 1 small valencia orange, and 1 pear that was getting too soft to eat, plus 1/2 the water and flesh from a young coconut. I peeled and diced the fruit, put it on a plate in the freezer for an hour, then blended it with the coconut meat and water in a smoothie maker, with two tablespoons of raw hemp protein powder. The hemp powder did affect the taste and color a little...not badly, but I may start using the hemp only in green smoothies. Any smoothie with mango and fresh coconut in it is really good!


For those of you who don't know me from my other blogs, I am a stay at home mom of four children, ages five and under, and expecting baby number five in August. I am morbidly obese, and have suffered from numerous "co-morbidities" such as sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, and other minor problems.

Really, I'm lucky my health isn't worse. I don't have type II diabetes (yet), no heel spurs, no bad knees, and my blood pressure is fabulous. In fact it's gotten even better on raw, though it was great to begin with. However, I do have increasing back problems, mostly while pregnant, and have been experiencing insomnia, anxiety, depression, pubic bone pain (pregnancy-related), pain in my back when I walk, some kind of muscle pain in my groin/leg area when I walk, difficulty breathing at night (serious nasal mucus, it gets worse every pregnancy) and probably a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.

Most of these symptoms are gone or seriously diminished since I started raw on May 20, 2007. Within a day, the insomnia was gone, the anxiety and depression are almost gone, the pain when I walk is virtually gone, I had more energy, the mucus is diminished, and I felt much more patient with my children. For the first two and a half weeks I did great, around 80-90% raw. Cut way back on the meat and dairy. No fast food, chocolate, or diet soda. (A miracle!)

After a few weeks, I found it hard to plan ahead and prepare my meals. I'm making separate meals for me, my children, and my husband (he works a late shift). I tried getting them on raw, it was working well, but after less than a week we realized we couldn't afford it right now. After that, I too often let myself go hungry, and then made some bad choices (pizza a few times, along with diet soda, and fast food a couple of times). I still haven't had cravings for chocolate, and one day I was feeling really down and planned to go buy some chocolate junk food at the store, but when I got there, I didn't want it, so I bought raw food...and THAT was a miracle! I'm normally a total chocoholic!

The first week I lost 9 pounds, then 2 pounds the second. This past week I lost another pound or two. I'm not worried about it, because my ultrasounds are showing normal growth in the baby. A lot of it was water weight, because my face and fingers got thinner.

I feel so much better now that I eat raw. If you had told me two months ago I'd be eating this way, I'd have thought you were crazy. But it's not hard. I actually enjoy eating this way. My tastes are changing. As long as I don't let myself go hungry, I truly WANT to eat raw fruits and vegetables. I feel so much better when I do. As soon as I eat cooked food, I feel bad the next day. A few days of just one cooked meal per day, and I feel significantly worse...and MUCH worse if it's takeout or fast food.

I know I need to eat this way for my health, even if I don't lose weight...although I know I'll lose a whole bunch of weight, fast, once I'm not pregnant anymore. This blog is to document my experiences eating "living foods", and to help me stay on the straight and narrow, and stay motivated. I've tried every diet in the book, and none has been as easy and enjoyable and effective as the raw way of life.

Finding raw was the best thing that has ever happened to me, health-wise!