Saturday, March 27, 2010

Working It Out

Today was a fun day. My kids got back from Spring vacation at the coast with their grandmother (my ex-MIL) and I went out to lunch with my mom and daughter. They ate Mexican, I ate raw with a salad. Iceberg lettuce is not to exciting or nutritious, but hey, ya do what you gotta do, am I right? Besides, I had whipped up some faux Thai wraps earlier (spiralized 1 beet, 1/4 sweet onion, 1/2 a zucchini, and julienned a couple carrots and marinaded them all in a mango-lime-cilantro dressing. Then I ground up some almonds soaked and rinsed and flavored with nama shoyu and mixed the crunchy bits into the marinaded veggies. Then I filled a couple of romaine leaves with the yummy melange and used more marinade as a dipping sauce. Divine!) Any how, I wasn't too hungry at the restaurant, which was a good thing. :)

Then we went treasuring hunting (aka shopping) and my daughter found some cute clothes and I got a great book about training for walking and running for women over 40.

I must have been inspired because after I got back from taking care of Mom and having fun with her, the kids and I went and worked out at the gym. This is significant because it was the first work out I've tried since my surgery (surgeon asked me not to exercise for 6 weeks) and because usually after taking care of my mom all day (she's in a wheel chair) and running around with her for 12 hrs, I am usually EXHAUSTED at the end of the day. But today, I was able to have a great time with her and still have plenty of energy to work out.

My work out was great too. I've barely lost any ground on my program. I walked a little shorter duration and a tiny bit slower, but I still got in a solid 30 min. at a decent clip. Since my surgery was a hernia repair, I still can't get back to weight lifting yet, but I'm thrilled to get back to the treadmill and just walking around the park on my lunch hour at work. (I used to call it the 'Dreadmill' because I hated it so much. Now, I'm rocking out on it, grooving to my tunes and getting happy.)

I think I bounced back from surgery a lot faster by being raw. That's the raw difference for you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Giving My Brat A Time-Out

I've recently been looking into a new way to deal with addictions and compulsions, as explored by Rational Recovery. They talk about the part of you who will do anything for your drug of choice as the Beast brain. They are very different than the 12-Step movement, and I find it intriguing.

I've always felt like there were two parts of me: the rational intelligent Grown-up, and the lazy, stubborn, compulsive Brat. My Grown-up says, "Healthy food is great for us. Have these nice kale chips." The Brat says, "I want candy and junk food!" Grown-up says, "Exercise is fun and will make us look and feel amazing." The Brat says, "I want to play on the computer!" The Grown-up says, "Woah, look at these bills, better tighten our belts this month." My Brat says, "I want clothes/kitchen gadgets/entertainment and I want it now, no way will I save up for it!" My Grown-up says, "Oh my so much to do, better get cracking on the cat box, making some healthy raw snacks, doing that paperwork..." and the Brat responds, "I don't wanna!" or even more sneaky: "I'll do it later."

I struggle to keep my Grown-up in charge. I feel like the Brat is a remnant of my damaged childhood. She says, "I'm hurting. I need comfort. I don't want to do what I'm supposed to do, I just want to play." I try to feel compassion for her. But I need to keep her safe. Because she is really me! I can't let her die of overeating, no matter how relentlessly she begs and tries to wear me down. I can't let her goof off until my house is a wreck and I suffer the consequences of not meeting my responsibilities.

The Brat is an expert con. She says things like, "We deserve this!" "Just one bite." "Just this once." "It doesn't matter!" "I'm too tired!" "I never get to have fun!" "That's too much work!" "Maybe later/tomorrow/next year."

I need to stay in charge. I've seen signs that the Brat is trying to throw a tantrum lately, and I've got to lovingly nip it in the bud. She has proven herself unworthy of making decisions, and I've voted her out as Commander in Chief of me. I give her a time-out by having positive affirmations I say when she starts yapping in my ear. "I deserve to be healthy." "One bite will lead to 50 and I'll be back where I was. I choose to say no." "Just this once is what you said last time. I am strong and capable. I make good choices." "My health matters to me a lot. I matter to the people I love." "Eating right and exercising will give me lots of energy." "Changing my life is nothing BUT fun. There is a whole world waiting for me to heal and explore." "Anything worth having takes effort. But I deserve to feel good. I'm up to the task!" "There is no later, there is only now. No time like the present! I'm not waiting for my life to begin."

Strategies for keeping my Grown-up in charge: affirmations, list-making to let me see tangible evidence of my progress, routines to keep me on track, gentle rules to give me guidance and keep me accountable.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Simply Raw

I just watched "Simply Raw- Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days." It follows six people who are all diabetics; 4 are Type ll and two are Type l. None of them start out health conscious; they are all eating typical fast-food SAD diet. They go to Arizona to Dr. Cousen's Tree of Life Center. All get off of insulin, blood pressure meds, lose over 20 lbs in the month, it is just amazing. One guy leaves after 20 days; he just can't hack it. Another guy (one of the Type l diabetics) hitch hikes into Mexico and gets drunk, just really plastered, and eats a lot of crap food. He does come back though, and ends up with good results, lowering his insulin from 70 units a day to only 5 in 30 days.

Diabetes has been something I have feared since I was a teenager. I have been not just overweight, but obese, pretty much my whole life. Every doctor I've ever gone to has told me that I WILL get diabetes, it is just a matter of time. When I weighed over 400 lbs (and I'm 5' 2") I was terrified that I had it. By some miracle, I dodged the bullet. I think it is because, although I was a compulsive eater, addicted to fast food, addicted to sugar and cheese and meat, I also ate a lot of fruits and veggies. I'd educated myself about good nutrition, and I'd try to do the right things; I would just fail over and over because of the compulsive demons I fought.

Working in the medical field, I know what a disaster diabetes is. It is really a slow death sentence. That's not a nice thing to say, but it is the reality. It is a theif that steals your health. It steals your vision, it wrecks your kidneys so you walk around with poison in your blood that you lose the ability to filter and get rid of, it makes all your blood vessels leak which starts to kill your heart and your circulation. You lose feeling in your feet, because they are literally being starved of blood. You know that pins and needles feeling when your foot goes to sleep and how you hate it? Some people have that ALL THE TIME.

I realize now, I was just waiting for diabetes to arrive. I was expecting it; I was living my life in anticipation of my death sentence. I am not stupid. I know the life expectancy of a 400 pound woman who is only 5' 2". I was killing myself, and I knew it. I just felt powerless to stop. I made out a will at 35. I wrote "good bye" letters to my children with so many tears streaking the paper that you can hardly read it. I felt like I was so lucky to have such a great family, a job I love, and even with my crappy income I know I am far more blessed than 90 % of people in the world. It was like I won the life lottery, and I was literally eating it all away. I felt like I was on the highway to Hell, and there were exits, but I wouldn't let myself take them. Instead, I lived in fear, and in a prison of pain. My back ached, always. My feet hurt terribly, my knees would painfully buckle under me. I would make myself exercise, but it would be like walking on nails, buried in sand (because it was so hard to propel myself forward) and with no air.

I felt unworthy of love. Who was going to love a 400 pound woman and want her as a life partner? No one. I made sure men knew that I knew that I was out of the question. I was every body's buddy. I was hilarious--maybe people might like me for that? It's hard to be the life of the party when you are literally dying inside. It's hard to watch everyone else out doing what you'd love to do--riding bikes and going on water slides, riding roller coasters that you won't fit on, walking around exploring cool places you'd love to see, but it is too much agony to carry yourself around to see them. I live in one of the most beautiful places in nature on earth, but I couldn't hike the trails or see the waterfalls.

I was in a prison. That I built myself. It was made of pounds and pounds of pain- mental, spiritual, physical, emotional--a thousand white hot suns of pain. And the whole time, I had the key.

I asked God to save me because I could not (or would not) save myself. He led me to freedom and to this life style. He gave me the power to believe in myself again, to trust myself after 40 yrs of lying to myself. I told Him I would do anything at all required; I was absolutely willing and ready to be healed. I told Him how grateful I was for my life, for all my family and friends and the wonder and beauty of this life, and that I didn't want to lose it. I asked Him to take away the compulsion, to give me the strength to bear temptation, to let my intelligence overcome my impulses. And, He did.

I absolutely believe He led me to the people and the tools that have allowed me to heal. He let me buy a dehydrator and blender and food processor back when I thought, "why the heck am I getting these? I'll never use them." (How I snicker at that now.) He let me meet Chasmyn and go to the Blossoming Lotus, the first living food restaurant I'd ever heard of. Through her, I found out about Raw Fu and all the other websites and blogs I use now. I found out about Raw Food Rehab and I get huge support there. I have books and ebooks and everything I need. He even finds me great deals on cheap organics so I can afford it all!

I am no longer waiting for diabetes to happen to me. I have laid down 60 pounds of pain; I trust my body to release the rest, and to heal every cell, organ, and system in me. I expect only healing, health, vibrant energy, and love.

I am slowly opening the door to my jail cell, and peeking out. I poke one toe out the door. It is a beautiful day. I am free.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lazy Woman's Raw

Sometimes I think we make raw and living foods more of a production number than it has to be. I look at other people's gorgeous pictures of their raw creations and I drool a little on my keyboard, and I feel so proud of them and of how I could eat *if I chose to.* This has got to be one of the downright yummiest cuisines in the world, a fact which downright SHOCKS people. I had horrible ideas about raw before I tried it (boring, suffering, deprivation) and didn't realize that when you don't cook (ruin) food, the flavors go "pow!" You can also have those yummy treats that were off the table because they are "fattening" like avocados and nuts. Uncooked fats do not make you fat! Amazing!

But as proud and wowed as I am by raw and living food artists, that is just not how I eat on a day to day basis. I do what I call "lazy woman's raw." I eat a green smoothie for breakfast, and mid morning when I get hungry, I eat some fruit. When I get hungry again, I eat a huge salad. Even my salad is lazy: I buy pre-washed organic greens (dirt cheap for me) or I grab some greens off my salad bowl garden on my deck. (Even my garden is lazy. It is in big plastic tubs that come up to my thighs so I don't have to bend much to weed or harvest.) I use cherry tomatoes *no chopping* and just take bites out of a whole cucumber and carrot as I go along. The dressing I make up ahead of time. I might eat an avocado out of the skin with a spoon. The next time I get hungry, I will grab a handful of soaked nuts (once a week I soak and dehydrate back dry.) Sometimes I chop and get fancy and make a nice proper salad, but at work, in a pinch, my lazy method works fine. Then when I get home, I make some vegan, bean or legume and veggie based dinner for the kids (and I might have a g few bites, so I say I am high raw, not 100%.) For myself, I may spiral some zucchini "noodles" and throw some more cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, carrots, onions, and garlic in a blender and put it on top for a sauce. The whole meal takes 10 min, far less time than it takes me to cook my kids' dinner. I will probably eat some more salad and make a proper one for my kids and add spouts that I grow in a salad spinner. (Did I mention I'm cheap, too?)

I am not against making fancy recipes, I just don't have time. I wonder if my way has some advantages, though.
I don't dehydrate a lot. If my goal is to have high water content, enzyme rich foods, why do I want to evaporate the water or risk accidentally killing the enzymes? I don't. I dehydrate a bit on the weekends when I have more time, but I don't think its good to dehydrate all the time.

I also think a lot of recipes are really bad food combining, like nuts with raw sources of sugar or fruits. Again, fine for fancy treats, but not for everyday. I was taught that fruits should be eaten solo. I do combine them with greens in my green smoothies, but those are blended so half the digestion is done for you.

I treated myself to Rawdawg Rory's "Gettin' Raw" ebook and a fake spirooli so I could try some more exciting meals when I have time. (I have some other books but that was my 60-lbs down reward.) I love to read Gone Raw and I'll still look at all the member's pics and dream that it was on my plate. I'll take you up on an invite to a raw restaurant any time. But I feel ok about my lazy way of doing raw. Whatever works, my friend. Whatever works!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Once An Addict, Always an Addict?

Just a quickie since I have 4 teenage boys sleeping on my floor who are going to wake up and want breakfast soon. (Last night we had a party/sleepover for my 15 yr old. It was fun! They played Rock Band on the Wii and they are actually good singers--several of them are in a band, and the other two are musical theatre geeks like I was in school. The musicians brought their actual guitars too, so my house was filled with joy and music and energy.)

I have amped up my raw again, and as a result I am going through some nasty detox right now, in the form of an outbreak of boils in places no one should have them! This sucks. It is painful, embarrassing, annoying, and a little bit scary. I know what to do for them, and I am not deterred from eating raw at all. I know my body is just getting rid of toxicity and that I will be better off when I come out on the other side of this. Still, it is really no fun to have a literal pain in the butt!

Now that I've asked God to relieve my compulsions and He's done it, I wonder how to think of myself. Am I still a food addict? If I say that I am, does that dishonor and discount what He's done for me? What does that say to my brain, also? Do I really want to claim the reality of food addict? Won't my unconscious just respond by saying, "Well she says she's addicted and that's what she's expecting, so that must be what she wants more of. Better give it to her." I believe that I am free, healed and whole, in and through the power of Christ. 40 years I suffered and stumbled, and He saved me and helped me save myself. I want to shout my miracle out from the mountain tops! ("I can make chocolate cupcakes and not want any! I haven't had fast food for 4 months! I've released 60 pounds of pain and it wasn't even hard!") But the 12-step community says that we are never healed, we are only "recovering" and if you believe otherwise you are in denial. They say that I must count the days, and that I have far too few to "count."

There was a time when I was most assuredly addicted to certain foods, and to the behavior of overeating. Foods are full of chemicals, naturally occurring, and in the garbage I was eating, lots of ones are added too. They definitely affect our serotonin, insulin, hormones, mood and emotions. I don't deny that I was powerless, or that my life had become unmanageable. My addiction almost killed me.

I know I must rely on God and be obedient to His leadings, to stay well out of the behavior that was such a snare for my soul. I am not fooling myself. If I go back to eating what I was eating and in the quantities I did, I would surely be back where I started.

But for today, I claim that I am free. I am happy, I am whole. I am healed by the Great Physician, and His work only has good side-effects. :) I am a Christian who *used to* struggle with addiction. That is the reality I claim for myself now!