Monday, October 27, 2008

33 days- One Third of The Way

Here are my stats for Day 33, 1/3 of the way through my challenge:
Weight today: 352 lbs Weight on Day One: 379 lbs Weight released during the challenge: 27lbs
Highest Weight: 406 (Jan 2008) Total Weight Released overall: 54lbs

Today I am much more positive than I was on Friday, Day 30. I know there will be hard days on this journey. There are tough times in an endeavor worth doing. I am going to try very hard to remember that, while it can suck hard in the moment, it is just temporary. "It came to pass..." is the most frequently repeated line in the old King James bible, and to me, this is a great comfort. It cam to pass, it didn't come to stay.

One thing that can help me move out of "poor me" thinking and temptation is to count my blessings and be grateful. I am grateful for all the support of new friends, and all the friends who have always stood by me. I am super motivated by the Rawkathon. That was a huge shot in the arm for me. What awesome people this movement inspires! I especially liked the two doctors and Happy Oasis and the Raw Food Coach, and oh heck I liked everybody!!

I am energized and excited for the next 66 days. I am hoping some of the worst detox is over. My eczema and pimples have cleared up, and I just realized yesterday that my foot has not been hurting! I have had plantar facaiiatis (latin for "my freaking heel hurts all the dang time") for about 2 years. Today? I barely have a twinge. I am sleeping a lot better, too. I used to have a problem with waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep, then spending the rest of the day exhausted. Now I either get up and go to the bathroom and go right back to sleep, or sometimes I even wake up to the alarm clock having slept the whole night! Woot!

A few modifications I have made since learning more: I now have a green smoothie every morning, and three hours later I snack on fruit. After that, in the afternoon I have a HUGE salad with plenty of greens, carrots, cukes, tomato, sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and a sprinkling of walnuts and sunflower seeds on top. For dinner I have crudite veggies dipped in guacamole or zucchini hummus. I am laying off of fancy recipes, Lara bars, and tons of nuts and seeds. (I really was eating way too much fat and fruit and hardly any veggies.) Here's to 66 more days....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thirty Days of RAW

As of today, I have been maybe 90-95% raw for 30 days. I am very excited that I have been able to make it this far. That excitement is tempered a little though because I am having a hard time right now. I have released 20 lbs, but all of that happened in the first 3 wks and the scale has not moved for the last week. After watching some guests on Rawkathon, I am pretty sure I am eating waaaay too much nuts and seeds and avacados. Sure they're healthy, but they are meant to be a complement to a diet of fruits and veggies, and not the foundation of my diet. I am just so in mourning for the crap food I loved so much (that didn't love me back) and the brat kid in me says, "No! I love my nuts and avacados! Don't take anything else away from me. I don't wanna eat only veggies!" Of course I eat more than veggies, it is just those raw emotions coming to the surface. I am dealing with lusting after other things I can't have, or rather don't have the moola for right now. I want to get my hands on some enzymes, but alas, that takes actual cash I hear.

The last few days I am struggling to stay raw. Temptation is everywhere. I was shopping at my favorite cheap grocery store with raw organics in bulk and I smelled the devil in bread and cheese form--pizza. They also have these grinder sandwiches that have cheese and fresh bread and they are just awful for you and damn if I am not drooling on the keyboard just thinking of them. I have even had to talk myself out of fast food today! I thought I was past that. I shut that door and I want it to stay shut dammit! So far I have stayed strong, and I plan to stay that way, but I confess I am a twee bit of a big grumpy pain in the ass right now.

So thirty days. Yay me. Or something.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day Twenty Three-

Today I introduced some people at my work to raw food. I made my "Rawsome" almond flax crackers for them (with onion and carrot, really good) and some of my "Mallory Bars." The people I work with are not all that adventurous, apparently. They tried a bite of the cracker but wouldn't even touch the bar. I admit its not pretty, but its hella tasty so, eh, their loss. They did say they liked the crackers, so not a total loss.

Speaking of food, I am so excited because I joined a raw food meetup at and I am going to a raw vegan potluck in November with a Thanksgiving theme. How cool is that?! I am really excited about connecting to people around here. Our only raw restaurant in Portland (that I know about) is in the Pearl, a snooty she-she area downtown, and I want to meet more just average folks, not just "the beautiful people." It is an amazing restaurant though, called The Blossoming Lotus. It's in a yoga studio, and for me, it was the food that made me believe I could actually go raw.

I am so incredibly grateful tonight- I am grateful because I have lost my taste for refined sugar. My kids made some baked Oreo brownie mostrousity and pronounced it amazing, and I just had to marvel because I didn't even want to try it. Ditto when my son tucked into a big (not raw) pizza. Cheese used to be one of the things I could not imagine living my life without, and why I used to say, "I'll never be a vegan." And yes, the pizza smelled and looked good to me, but not in that "I must have some or die" kind of way. I was able to tell myself that I will try to make some raw pizza soon, and until then I had other things I like to eat that are good for me. Yesterday, my work catered lunch for us, and I had a cooked vegan burrito. I could have used that as my excuse to go off of raw, even just for the rest of the day. In the past, if I "blew" my diet, it was on, no holds barred, x-rated eating for the rest of the day, baby. But I just calmly made the decision to eat my non-raw lunch, and go right back to raw at my next snack. Instead I came home and said no to the non-raw pizza, one of my previous binge foods. I am so thankful--for my healing, for being released from bondage to food, for being able to release weight in the healthiest way imaginable. Life is good!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day Twenty-Two: Ouch

Ok, first things first, I forgot to post this on Day 20:
Day 20 10/14/08 20% Complete and Weigh-In

So twenty days of RAW has me thinking that this is not so tough. The hungry days are mostly over, I think. I've got a handle on the uncooking. I am really digging the youtube cooking demos by Ani Phyo. It makes me want to try something bigger, like raw apple pie. Doesn't that sound yummay?

I never thought that my kids would want to join me on this journey, but to my surprise and delight my teen daughter is really getting into it. I catch her snacking on raw dates and almond butter and she happily downs my smoothies and is game to try my creations. She was the first person in my house to go vegetarian (at the tender age of 5 she told me she would not eat a cow and she has never wavered) so I guess it should not surprise me, but it does. I love having the support.

Ok, are you ready for the big weigh-in? I sure was! And my current weight is: 359 lbs! I have released 20 lbs in 20 days. Wow. And I am 47 pounds down from my highest weight of 406. I really feel like I am on my way, and I am excited for the next twenty days!

Now today's update:

Yesterday was a hard day for me, but I was proud of myself in a weird way, too. So after releasing almost 50 lbs I felt like it was time to look at some of the clothes that I put away when I outgrew them. I got rid of most of them, but there were a few I kept, and one was a wrap dress with a neat black and white print. Now, this dress was never loose on me, it is meant to be form-fitting. I tried it on, and lo, it fit! I was excited and showed my daughter. "Should I wear this?" I asked her. "It kind of shows how big my butt is and my stomache." "Mom it looks pretty on you. You should wear it. I'm proud of you." So I decided to go ahead and wear it to work and just get over myself.

So I'm at work, and already I'm a little uncomfortable because the wrap style of the dress makes it gap and become lower-cut in the front when I am sitting down at my desk. So I was messing with it all day, to keep from flashing the patients. Then as I was going to lunch, my co-worker (whom I am not close with outside of work) pulled me aside and said, "That dress is not doing anything for you. I'm just trying to be honest." I was stunned, and I stammered, "oh, well, I was not sure about wearing it..." and she said, "Maybe when you lose some weight it will look better." Ok then. I have lost weight. I just have a lot more to go. I managed to get out of there and not boo hoo by forcing myself to smile really huge. My confidence took a real hit. On the one hand, you don't want to walk around looking stupid and you want people to be honest. On the other hand, why does she care if my dress is flattering or not? It's not like it was not appropriate for work. *sigh*

I will just trust my body to let go of the weight as it wants to. I will not freak out, and I will not cry, or God forbid, go back to eating Taco Bell and Mickey D's. I will love myself, just as I am, and give my body the fuel it needs to heal and be happy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day Nineteen- "Mallory Bars"

I love Lara bars but I don't love paying $1.59 each for them. I decided to try to make my own, since it seems like pretty simple ingredients. I made my first attempt last night with an apple, a cup of raw, soaked almonds, 6 dates and a couple of handfuls of raisins. I processed it all in my food processor and added a few sprinkles of cinnamon. I made them into granola-bar shapes and put them in the dehydrator. This morning, I tasted one and it was soooooo good. I could have eaten them all right then and there. My teen daughter took 2 and wanted more. (I only had about 6 total so I had to stash a few. When you have hungry teens, there are two kinds of people: the quick and the hungry!) I am so proud to be sharing my first raw recipe invention. Or rather, rip-off of someone else's recipe invention. Whatev.

Mallory Bars

1 large organic Fuji apple, cored and quartered but with skins left on
1 c. soaked raw almonds
6 dates (any kind) not soaked
1/2 c. raisins

Process all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix until it is the consistancy of oatmeal. Form into bars, 1 inch wide by 4 inches long and 1 inch high. Dehydrate on Telflex sheets turning once half-way through until dry on the outside but still moist and chewy. Enjoy! Store extras in the refrigerator.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day Seventeen--Uncooking

So I have been doing some uncooking lately. I love that I can be so lazy with this way of eating and, if I want to, do zero prep: grab some fresh fruit, snack on some carrots and celery, eat a tomato or a cucumber, or munch on a handful of almonds (that I've soaked.) Since I am so busy, and hell yes, I am soooo busy, that really appeals to me. God made it so easy for us. And then, if I feel like I want something fancier or more variety, it is no sweat to whip up some of these cool recipes. I have had some great success--I make a mean flax/almond/carrot/onion cracker- and some colossal failures like the "cinnamon rolls" I made that came out a lot more like good-smelling hockey pucks. (I believe I just dehydrated them too long. Also they were supposed to have frosting but I didn't bother because they came out like rocks.) I love my guacamole and could live on it.

The funny thing is that I am some times embarrassed eating in front of people now, just because I get to eat so much! I was making costumes today and I ate two small plums, one apple, one banana, and a hand full of soaked/dehydrated raw almonds. It was miles better for me than the disgusting fast food burgers people around me were eating, but I felt like a hog. In truth, I probaly ate about 1/3 the calories they did with their bacon cheeseburgers, fries, and sugary cokes. No one said anything, but...emotions are logical. Anyway, I am just happy to be able to stick to my convictions and let my smaller thighs do my talking down the line.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day Fifteen--Insert Catchy Title Here

Great news on the weight front--I'm down to 363.5 lbs which makes a total of 15.5 released over these 15 days so far. Wow. I have no more doubts that this works for weight loss. I hope it keeps up but I am going to stick with it even if I hit some snags along the way.

Tonight I made some raw cinnamon buns from the cookbook Rawsome. It is my first foray into sprouted grains since I became a raw vegan. I am excited to try it. I'll let you know if it turns out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day Fourteen--Fatigue=Detox?

Today is day 14 of my Raw Adventure. I seriously cannot believe I have made it this far. What I really can't believe is that I have no desire to go off it. I am even on my cycle right now, which in the past has meant big time cravings. But eh. I just haven't had them. For me getting off sugar is magical and makes good things happen, like quelling cravings. Or, maybe I am just getting plenty of natural sugar from all the fruit and so I don't crave anymore. I dunno.

What I do have problems with is fatigue and general "I don't wanna" attitude. I should cut up a bunch of veggies to munch tomorrow, but, eh, I don't wanna. I need to do the dishes, send in a form for my daughter, call this person back, etc. No motivation at all. I could just be tired, but I wonder if it is more than that, simply because I am always flipping tired, I'm a single mom working 50 hrs a week and trying to go to school for Pete's sake. I think it may be detox related. I still need to snap out of it and get some crap DONE.

Tomorrow I am making Raw cinnamon rolls. Doesn't that sound great? My grains have been sprouting for 3 days, and tomorrow they'll be ready, and so will I! I'll let you know how they turn out!

("How cute! She's pretending anyone actually reads this! Precious!")

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 13--Danger, Will Robinson

There is no doubt to me that eating a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds in their most natural, unprocessed, organic state is the healthiest way of eating there is. Still, as with anything, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Since I am such a newbie at this, I am doing lots of research and I came across some good info:

Avoiding poisoning

As the consumption of raw foods gains popularity, some unsafe foods have re-entered the diets of humans. The following should be consumed with caution:

Buckwheat greens are toxic when raw, particularly if juiced or eaten in large quantities by fair skinned individuals. The chemical component fagopyrin is known to cause severe photosensitivity and other dermatological complaints.
Kidney beans, including sprouts, are toxic when raw, due to the chemical phytohaemagglutinin.[36]
Potatoes: a member of the nightshade family, can produce the toxic alkaloid solanine. The flesh of the potato just beneath the skins is usually green if solanine is present, but one may be present without the other. Solanine can be removed by peeling the potatoes.[37]
Alfalfa sprouts contain the toxin Canavanine.
Some types of raw Cassava or Cassava flour can be toxic.
Raw eggs contain Avidin, a Vitamin B6 inhibitor, which can cause “egg white injury”.[38]
Raw seeds of the genus Lathyrus (peas), can cause Lathyrism.
Raw Brassica species can contain Glucosinolate.
Apricot kernels contain Amygdalin, which contains the toxin cyanide.
Raw parsnips contain Furanocoumarin.
Raw foods may contain harmful bacteria, fungi or parasites, which may cause foodborne illnesses

To me, the risk/benefit ratio is still heavily weighted in favor of raw, vital foods. The biggest danger we face is the SAD which is directly attributed to heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases, PAD, cancer, gout, and is strongly suspected in many others including behavioral problems in children, skin problems, the list goes on and on. Be careful, and by all means be raw.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day Twelve- Weigh In

Today I weighed in and I was nervous about it because it is almost time for the Red Tide and I usually put on a few around then. I stayed at 369 which means I didn't lose anymore from day six, but with the TOM and my pasta orgy this weekend, I am just relieved that I didn't gain.

Yesterday I went Winco and got some oat groats and triticale for sprouting and I will be excited to get some grains back in my diet. I feel like I am slowly able to put the pieces together like a puzzle to have success with this new way of life. Maybe it is coming together a bit more now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day Ten-10% Through the Challenge

Today marks 10 days of this new way of eating. I have a lot on my mind, mostly stuff I want to document for myself.

DETOX: So I've had a little bit of detoxing but nothing too excruciating. All of the things that have cropped up have been things I have dealt with before, I just got them all at once. I got an awful headache the first few days that nothing would touch. My skin has broken out in both acne and eczema, which I haven't had in a long time. I have not been wearing makeup through this challenge to let my skin detox more fully, so I have gone to work in all my blotchy-faced glory. Don't you wish you were me? Here's the special part for the people I work with: all of the sudden I had really stinky b.o. I don't use antiperspirant, only a natural deodorant, and believe me, this was way too strong for it. I dealt with it by extra showers, plus just using soap, water, and paper towels to scrubb my pits out every time I went to the bathroom, and it worked pretty well. I am uber happy that particualar symptom went away. The only other thing is that my bowels have been putting in some overtime, but I expected that, and I'm just glad to be getting rid of all that, well crap that has built up in my system. Heh. Enough with the TMI alreay. I do expect to have issues with detox as I go along from time to time, for several reasons: I am going for as much raw as I can manage, figuring with my compulsive personality there may be some slip ups. It happens. I am not going to beat myself up about it. Also, toxins are stored in fat, and from what I understand, I may continue to have symptoms as long as I am releasing extra weight, which for me will be a year or more. Again, that's ok with me. I see it as the price I am paying to make a long-term investment in my health for the rest of my life. Finally, there are toxins that I can't/won't give up just yet: blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, ibuprofen, coffee/tea. I need to go slowly and be gentle to myself. I have already cut down by a lot the amount of ibuprofen I was taking, because without the inflamation-causing foods, I feel somewhat better. But being almost 400 lbs is a very physically (as well as emotionally) painful condition, with back, knees and feet constantly groaning and complaining about carrying all of this around. I am not willing to bear my life in constant pain. I think as the weight goes, the ibuprofen will just be naturally phased out along with it, along with the need for the other medications. As for the coffee and tea...oh look! over there! something shiney! Heh.

RECIPES: I have made a simple sunflower seed cheese, flax crackers, and lots and lots of guacamole. I have two good books, Rawsome, by Brigitte Mars, and Raw Food Made Easy for One or Two People, by Jennifer Cornbleet. Plus I have been going on Gone Raw a lot and getting recipes, as well as lots of other sites like Vegan Menu and vegweb where I've always gone for recipes. I've got tons of resources, I am just bad about using them. Here's my little secret: I really don't love cooking. At all. I mean uncooking, but you get it. I would rather just make some guacamole and dip raw veggies in it: broccoli, cauliflower, red peppers, carrots, cucumber slices, celery etc. Ditto with seed and nut cheeses and stuff. I love that I can do that, or have a big salad from my salad bar at work (I work at a medical facility and they use primarily locally grown organics on their salad bar. AWESOME.) What I am missing is sprouted grains and sprouted beans. I am eating way too many nuts. Part of my dislike of food prep is that I have so little time. I really do. I work way too many hours and then I volunteer with my kids' activities and take care of my aging parents. Housework takes a hit; I do it all on Saturday morning pretty much, when I can't stand it anymore. I get a lot of joy out of all these things. I love my job (most days) and the patients always, I have fun with my mom and my kids, and volunteering on costumes lets me have a creative outlet and lots of contact with other women. I do need to broaden my rep though, so I am going to take Chasmyn's suggestion and try one new recipe a week. Today I am trying "On The Road Bars" from Rawsome because I love the idea of having easy take along food. Do y'all know about Lara bars? They're raw, y'all! And delish beyond measure. I have ordered a case from Amazon as that is a cheap way to get them.

EQUIPMENT: I have a dehydrator, an American Harvest round one that I got at a thrift store (I try not to buy anything new that I can get second-hand to support recycling and to save moola.) I REALLY want an Excalibur. I think the AH gets way too hot. I think, if I am saving huge amounts of money from not eating fast food, (and I am) and taking the bus (which I have no choice about) I am entitled to my Excalibur, don't you think? Me too. BUT, I am saving for a car and for Christmas. And I do have the AH and don't really NEED the Excalibur. I will have to really chew on that one. I have one machine that is a blender which also has a food processor and you can switch them out. I love it and I am using it tons. It is an Oster, which I like because you can get repair parts easily for it, and I don't believe in throwing stuff out for environmental reasons. I believe it is called a Duo. Anyway, that seems to be working fine and I have no plans to drop a bunch of moola on a Vitamix. I used to have one but it died, tragically, in one of the many moves we made when we were homeless. I would love to have a juicer and an icecream maker so I haunt the small appliance section of thrift stores keeping my eyes open.

RAW ON THE CHEAP: Raw can be a really expensive way to eat. I am always looking for ideas about making it cheaper. Here are some ideas: Grow a big organic garden. I have no yard or I would do this. I do have tomatoes on my porch, which will soon become salad greens on my porch. I will probably rent a plot at a neighborhood community garden next year. Another idea is to go to some of the nut orchards around here and do you-pick since nuts are the most expensive thing. I better get to like Filberts (hazelnuts) as we have them in abundance in Oregon. But we have walnuts and other stuff too. I am really not sure what all, so I am excited to investigate. The you-picks will probably be my haunts for veggies and fruit too. Organic is the new black around here so it is easy to find good produce. I am shopping the bulk section, obviously. I find that the natural foods section of my regular grocery store, Fred Meyer, is oodles cheaper than my favorite natural foods store, which is People's Co-op. Guess I will stick with Freddies for most things. Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and flax seeds are all really cheap. Raw almonds appear to be the cheapest nuts. I know that variety is important for nutrition, so I will get the other kinds as they go on sale.

ONE LAST THING: I was getting bummed about the little plastic bags that you get in the bulk section, so I used fabric scraps and made myself some simple cloth bags, that close with leftover yarn that I braided into a drawstring. (I wrote the plu's on a scrap paper, but you could also just continue to use the twist tie things at the store.) They are really colorful and fun since it was just leftover fabric, one is a silly cat print from some pajamas I made, another is made of calico quilt scraps. You could also recycle stained/worn out/out grown clothes and use them to make bags. I am thinking of using them for veggies too, instead of plastic. I get some funny looks at Freddies, but everyone who has asked me about them has said what a great idea. Maybe I'll start a trend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day Nine- All Raw, Baby

Today was a good raw day. I have been lazy about preparing much so I mostly just ate fruit, along with some guacamole right from the bowl. Man, do I love me some guacamole! Tonight I went shopping and got some sesame seeds (for homemade raw tahini and to mix into flax crackers), brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds. I've got them soaking tonight and so I'll be ready to "uncook" tomorrow.

I'm glad I broke my 3 day cheating streak. I know I ate far more healthfully and mostly raw than I ever have so I absolve myself of the sin and I'm just moving along. Still I have restored my faith in my ability to do this in only one day. See? I'm easy.

Well my dear friend in teh computer Chasmyn found my blog and commented. She is someone I really admire and who inspired me in the first place. It means that I am no longer under the illusion that no one is reading, so I can let it all hang out. But that's ok. I am going to let my freak flag fly anyway. I am not always Pollyanna positive and I do plan to use my blog to bitch, whine, vent, etc as needed. I figure it is much better to channel my emotions into pixels than into my thighs and belly.

A great thing happened in that my ex-MIL let me borrow her car while she is out of town so I had wheels tonight, hence the shopping trip of massive porportions. Also, I figured with all that I've been through this week I deserved some retail therapy so I wandered into Goodwill to look at books and found some brand-new looking Docs maryjanes for seven dollah. Woot!

Friday came just in the nick of time.

Day Eight- Postcards From Wedgieville

So I am writing Day Eight on Day Nine because I was too damned tired last night to write five words. When I had gotten home, I finished off the last of that sweet and sour tofu that I had made "for my kids" even though they don't like it much and it was one of my favorite "fancy" dishes. It is hard to cook for other people and stay raw, when you have compulsive eating issues to begin with. Never the less, I remain undeterred and I know that I am going to get right back on the horse no matter how many times I fall off. The sweet and sour tofu has, you guessed it, sugar in it, in addition to brown rice and tofu and red and green peppers and pineapple. Right after I ate it, I felt all my vital energy leave me and my body sap my strength in order to digest such a heavy meal. All I wanted to do was go to sleep. So I did. I barely get any time with my kids on school days, and I cut it way short by needing to go comatose. The only good side to the story is that it is all gone now and I am not making any more, possibly ever, lol.

On the funny side, my underwear are getting really loose on me, and are giving me wedgies all the time. I never thought that I would be happy to get a wedgie, but if it means I'm getting smaller and healthier, its ok with me!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day Seven-- Raw Emotions

Today was a hard day. Work was crappy. Then I had to have the van towed. My son got locked out and had to wait 2 hrs for me to get home on the bus. Not having a car handy to go help him was a horrible feeling.

My diet was good and raw till I got home and then I ate some more of that sweet and sour tofu from yesterday (cooked.) I forgive myself but I wish I hadn't eaten it. Tomorrow is a new day and I have a raw plan.

Now I am just bloody tired and I am going to cuddle up in bed with Rawsome and dream of raw pizza and live pad thai. This diet seems to be the only thing going right for me right now.