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Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Life is pretty full lately, with lots of changes and transitions coming. I’ve had many years of emotional eating under my belt and the last 10+ have been changing the pattern a bit. In some ways, I’ve come full circle: when I used to raid the fridge if I was experiencing sadness or anger or frustration, etc, now I find that I can’t eat if I’m feeling a big emotion. That’s both good and very foreign at the same time. It’s good because I think this is how “normal” people react: they hear awful news and they can’t eat until their insides are settled down. It’s also very foreign: there is a loss of what to do when something big happens. I have many tools in my toolbelt and I’m still learning how to take inventory of mind/body/spirit when change happens or stress happens or excitement happens, etc. There’s always much to learn and I don’t think I’m totally out of the water yet for emotional eating.

Since we got the big Vitamix order, I was super excited and stressed (good stress) to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. Coincidentally, I had had a physical/blood test that showed some hormones that were extremely low – almost not existant. Could be my age, and doc suggested I try DHEA to help bring some hormones back. I did a little bit of research on DHEA and found a full spectrum of information ranging from no bad side effects to terrible side effects. I did some experimenting with it and on the one hand, I felt more “myself” in my body and there were other things that happened too, namely: having difficulty sleeping, getting BIG pimples on my face and gaining weight.

In retrospect, I can’t say for sure if it was solely the DHEA that made me gain weight, or the stress of the big order, or the problems experienced in relationship. I recall that I felt pretty darn hungry when I was taking DHEA – I typically don’t wake up very hungry, for example, and when I was taking DHEA, I was waking up pretty darn ravenous.

Whatever it was (and probably a combination of the three), I put on weight – about 20 lbs, which is a lot. This has been the norm for me, though. It’s been rather easy for me to put on and take off the same damn 20 lbs for the last 10 years. What a habit. I’m longing to break this. It’s a mental and emotional habit, I’m sure of it. (My 20 lbs is like average size people’s 10 lbs. I’m six feet tall, which is why I don’t refer to myself as average size. So I mean to say where it is easy for some folks to gain/lose the same 10 lbs, for me it has been 20.)

Anyway, I went off the DHEA after 3 months or so of being on it. The major difference is that I’m sleeping better and the mad pimples are gone. The weight, however, is still there. Holding on. The good news is that I’m doing strengthening exercises and using weights to try to up my testosterone naturally. I’m able to hold the plank pose (yoga pose) for well over a minute now! I do feel stronger and so my overall health and well-being is good. I don’t, however, feel good when it’s time to wear my clothes and I no longer want to have a “fat” wardrobe” and a “thin” one.

So, it is time yet again to step into this eating pattern and weight-holding-habit and see what I can do to get down to a healthy weight AND STAY THERE LONG TERM! I’m going to be working with Lauren Walker with this, she does energy medicine and so much of this for me is like a habit in the mind/spirit. I eat very well and I exercise. There is the mind of a fat chick in there, though. And the mind of a non-deserving person. These are the things to work on.

I’ve been contemplating this for a while now and it occurred to me that the last couple of weeks I’ve been pretty stumped about what I want to eat, how I want it to look like. In the past, when I felt the best, I did a green juice in the morning, a green smoothie in the afternoon and a BIG salad at night with some added cooked stuff like brown rice and some Rhapsody tempeh. It’s time to reboot the system here – the salads at night have turned into more cooked than raw and ending with desserts. I’ve also been snacking on raw chocolate during the day and that’s also not a good habit for me to get into.

Recalling the 10 days or so of eating lots of fruit this past summer, I remember how attractive fruit is. I remember how nice it felt to eat fruit (I had so many guilty feelings associated with fruit from books and raw foodies in the past that I associated fruit as being BAD!) I tend to have to gear myself up to green juicing (don’t ask me why) and so I thought I would start the day with a fruit smoothie today and see how that feels.

In the Vitamix pitcher (64 oz), I threw in:
4 ripe bananas
3 mangoes
4-5 honey dates (FRESH! What a treat in January)
1 blood orange

Whirled it around in the blender and then poured into 3 glasses: 2 16 oz glasses and 1 32 oz glass. I had the 32 oz glass. It was yummy and a light yellow color. Very pretty.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have similar experiences and what things work for you to get out of your own way to living your best healthy life. (I’m referring to energy and mind/spirit aspects of food here please!!!)
Love,

Linda

morning’s juice – start of Day 3

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I like to ease into the day. Today Matt was eager to get things done so that somehow jump started me into things done. I’m now trying to press rewind and start again but kids are up and wanting to get their days worked out: mowing lawns, play dates, what’s for breakfast, etc. So I feel a little grumpy to not have had my morning. They are going to be out of the house here soon so I’m going to ride the bike and sit in quiet (fingers are crossed.)

This morning’s juice:

  • 1/2 lb local mesclun mix
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 peaches
  • 1 mango

This served 2 16 oz glasses of yumminess. The flavors all mixed well.

day two morning

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Matt made a delicious juice this morning:
1 bunch of curly kale from our garden
4 oranges
1 local beet
4 small local carrots

I’m looking forward to getting my produce delivery today. I’m getting kiwi and black cherries and pears and a whole bunch of fruits. It will be yummy to have them. When I was in the shower yesterday, I thought about CHERRIES and decided to order a whole bunch of fruit I don’t eat a lot of. It’s been nice to juice oranges and peaches. I’m glad my juicer will do the pulpier fruits. These things keep me looking forward to juicing and it also helps me to drink all my colors.

OK, I’m about to do a bit of exercising. And then off to the cafe. oh p.s. I’m 4 lbs lighter today. YAY!

the intention

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Now I wanted to write my intention so I could go back and read it if I need to this week.

I’m juicing because my friend Chris wanted to do a juice fast to have a jump start to good health. I said I would do it with her. We watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and it was so inspiring so even Matt said he was willing to do it! As I thought about what it was that making me want to do this, I discovered that I had a short list of reasons:

  • Firstly, I’ve put on a few pounds again and that’s reason enough for me to jump start a change. If I think about it, I have been snacking more and eating higher fat snacks like nuts and dehydrated cauliflower snacks that I make for the cafe.
  • I also wanted to change how I was eating a bit. Typically I have a huge smoothie in the morning that fills me up for hours and hours. I don’t typically get hungry again until 4 pm. I thought if I had a juice in the morning and then did the bigger smoothie in the afternoon, it would be better for my digestion. I also want to do smaller dinners. When I’m at the cafe, I put other things before me (something typical that I find myself doing, I admit) so I will skip lunch a lot and then by the time dinner comes, I’m pretty hungry so I pile on the veggies and rice and beans. The kids are always looking for some dessert afterwards and I haven’t been saying “No” to that either (well sometimes.) It’s not a huge dessert but still, I don’t need it to thrive or survive so it’s really just a bad habit. So I was feeling in a rut, so to speak.
  • But the main reason, for me, would be to help with the ongoing inflammation I’ve had now for about 10 years. Things are a whole lot better for me than they were and I attribute that to my eating and my lifestyle. I still have some residual stuff going on, though, that I’d like to give my body the chance to do what it needs to do to release and heal it. With juicing, it’s like a tiny break on the body. The body is getting fuel and nutrients in good concentrations and without the fiber and without needing to spend lots of time break things down and digesting. So it can put more attention on healing what needs to be healed.

We all will defrag our hard drives. We’ll all clean out our bags and purses and wallets. We’ll all clean out our cars when they are feeling too full of stuff. Same for closets and cupboards. Well, this is the same thing. Juice fasts have a way of cleaning out what isn’t needed – there’s usually some taking stock, some rest, some more energy to put towards sweating, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing what this juice fast does for all of us that have said we’ll do it for 10 days.

morning and afternoon juices

Monday, August 1st, 2011
this morning’s juice: serves 2 16 oz juices.
1 head escarole
2 stalks celery
1 tiny peach
4 oranges
1 grapefruit
It was a tasty juice and the dominant flavor was grapefruit.  I thought after making the juice that I might not have enough stuff to last the whole day (what if we are super hungry!!?) but the thought subsided after I visited my garden and the cafe. I pulled out various fruits and veggies and came back home with them. All is again well in the world.

I went to the doctor this morning after the juice so it was a sort of rushed morning for me. It’s so weird for me to go to the doctor. I’m not used to the various questions and insurance questions. They are also not used to me saying that I take superfoods instead of vitamins, etc. So it makes for an interesting experience all the way around.

When I got home with all my fruits/veggies for the next day and a half or more, the thought popped in of how nice it would be to have the whole week off to do this. Part of the challenge will be to incorporate juicing in the middle of the day. Not so much of a challenge when you have a raw food cafe with a juicer, but already today when I stopped by the cafe to pick up fruit, my first inclination was to grab some nuts because my stomach was growling.

the juice I made for lunch was a lot bigger. Here’s what I did:

1 small bunch local collards
1 bunch local kale (lacinato)
5 small oranges
1 red bell pepper
1 big piece of ginger

This made 2 mason jars full of a very spicy green juice. Ginger dominated the flavor here. It is yummy. (I’m still drinking it as of this writing.) I’m using the Hurom slow juicer. It’s got some pluses and minuses. I have a Breville at the cafe and I like that a lot. It’s super easy to use and clean up is good. With the Hurom, you have to cut things up small so it takes longer to juice. The good news, though, is that you can juice pulpy things like oranges and strawberries, etc. So I’m not complaining at all!

day 1 of juice fast pep talk

Monday, August 1st, 2011

I’m writing this quickly as I have an appt here soon. But I wanted to write a lil pep talk for me as much as anyone else that may read this.

We were inspired to do a 10 day juice fast after watching the excellent and most inspiring movie called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. They certainly made doing a 60 day juice fast look very easy. We are only doing 10 days and I’ve done fasts before with varying degrees of ease or difficulty. The thing that I have to say that was of most importance when doing a fast is the intention behind it. That way you can keep your eyes on the prize, so to speak, particularly if/when the going gets rough.

So I’ve got my intention. I’ll write about it later. I’m going to begin here with a juice and I just want to say that I love love love my morning green smoothie so switching to a green juice is just different for me. I did it a bit last week and it wasn’t bad at all.

Some notes:

  • drink 4-6 juices a day that are around 16 oz each.
  • MAKE SURE to drink all your colors.
  • Vary greens and get in all the colors each day for fruit and veggies.
  • Something I heard a long time ago stuck with me: fruits are the cleansers and greens are the healers so eat them both often and vary them for good health.
  • If at any time there is a desire for crunching, then eat a juicy crunchy apple but mostly that won’t happen on such a short term fast.

OK, now let’s begin!

xoxo,

me

this week’s ASK LINDA – a question about juicing

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Linda,

I just purchased a Champion Juicer but I’m considering sending it back. WHY? Because I’ve been making amazing juices with the Vitamix. I basically throw the ingredients in the Vitamix, whirl well and then strain through one of the nut milk bags I got at your place. It works really well and I can’t see it being any easier than that!! It’s quick easy and no cleanup!

Help…your thoughts please…..I’ve been drinking 1-2 juices a day..and I don’t mind straining in the nut milk bag. Plus I add a little water when whirling in vitamix so that adds a little extra to the juice. With the juicer, I will be adding no water thus NOT getting as much juice………………..what do ya think??! ——C

Hi there C,
Yep, I agree with you on the Vitamix/nut milk bag juicing technique. It works very well. The champion was a lot of clean up for me so I sold mine. If you are doing a great job with the blending/straining, I’d say send back the Champion and keep doing what you are doing. The Champion was my second juicer and it does a great job with root veggies and some fruits but doesn’t do well with greens. In the beginning of my juicing days, I wasn’t juicing greens so I didn’t have a need for them. I used to use it to make some kick ass nut butters but now use the food processor for them because it’s a lot less to clean up. I think the blending/straining works really well because it really gets the greens masticated and so uses more of the greens. A lot of the time in my juicer that I use now, I find whole pieces of greens in the compost bucket. I think it also seems to use less veggies to get a decent amount of liquid and the nut milk bags strain soooo well. A lot of people who use juicers will use our bags for straining, too because it gets all the fiber out where juicers leave some in.

Of course I want to say that these are just my opinions. I don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum here, not any juicing company or people that love their juicers. I want to say that because I think it’s important to acknowledge we all have different taste preferences and I’m just sharing mine.
Thanks for the great question and keep up the great work!
xoxo,

Linda

to read more, please go here.

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Ask Linda! Please feel free to submit your questions to linda AT vt-fiddle.com. Questions don’t have to be completely raw food related but please bring questions on health, recipes, diet, weight issues, nutrition, parenting, nursing, pregnancy, spirituality or whatever it is you’d like to ask. I’ll do my best to answer and will most certainly learn from this as much as I can give.

traveling in the raw

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Drove down from VT to NJ this weekend. Was in the car yesterday and so I thought I would write what I ate and how I survive being raw vegan while traveling 🙂

So basically on the drive yesterday, I just kept things easy and simple. I had plenty of water for the drive. I had some nuts (I brought some gourmet spiced raw nut thingo-mo-bobbers) to munch on in case I wanted some but I didn’t really want any. Matt made us all green smoothies for the road although the kids had theirs before we left. (Thanks Matt!) So I had about a quart of a green smoothie to drink during the ride. It keeps nicely in the cooler. TIP: you can make a green smoothie and take it to sip on during the day at work. Smoothies will last longer than a juice will. I brought some goji berries for the kids and yacon slices for the kids to munch on. I munched on blueberries too.

We arrived in town early enough that I could go to my favorite little healthy food store here and get us some dinner. (I planned it this way. Otherwise, I would have brought dinner with us to have in the car.) The kids had stuff from the vegan salad bar and I got my daughter a modified green smoothie from their smoothie and juice bar. (At the moment, my daughter tends to do better with the greens in her smoothies – she hasn’t been wanting big salads and so this is the way I get greens in her.) I had a large green juice and sucked it down. I also had some spinach and some of these macrobiotic nori rolls that they have. Oh and they had some seaweed salad at the store so I totally chowed on that. (I like to eat seaweed just about every day.) 🙂

I didn’t bring my blender with me this trip. I realized that mostly I enjoy eating what is local to the place where I’m at. In the past I typically would bring the entire contents of my fridge and then still end up buying the local produce, etc. because it’s here and looks appealing. So I finally realized that I enjoy seeing the new foods that are in the place I’m at and thus didn’t bring much food with me this trip. I brought some small sample bottles of green powder with me to add to the juices or smoothies I’ll be getting at the healthy food store. There’s always fresh fruit to eat which is lovely. I also brought some coconut milk for the kids to have. At the store yesterday, I got some raw buckwheat granola (although I could have easily made some for myself and brought it with me) and the kids had that for breakfast with the coconut milk and some blueberries that I brought with me. (My nephew even ate it and enjoyed it, too!) 🙂

This probably sounds like sparse eating but it’s very filling for me. I fill up on greens during the day, drink a lot of my food and then have something to chew on for dinner. It works for me and it makes things pretty easy to do just about anywhere. My advice if you are traveling is to know where there is a good healthy food store in the vicinity of where you are going to be. Or access to farm stands or farmer’s markets or amish markets, etc. These things are in abundance in most places and there’s more awareness around raw foods now, so in places where populations are bigger, you’ll find a lot more options for prepared raw food items. If you find yourself at a juice or smoothie place, ask them to modify the smoothies – these places will often use apple juice as their base. Ask them to use filtered water and add some greens. They’ll look at you like you are crazy but just smile and repeat your request. For juices, get more greens than things like beets or carrots. Keep yourself hydrated with decent water while traveling and be relaxed knowing that there’s more than enough food around. 🙂

a time line on what led me to the raw food world… (my raw food transformation thus far – plus a bit of Matt’s)

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Since having that cute little video out that Mister Monarch did, it’s obvious that there’s very little one can say in a 5 minutes clip about our raw food transformations. So I wanted to do a little time line. Well, it’s a big time line really and I’m sure I’ll elaborate on things with other postings, but for now, wanted to get a start here…

I will begin by saying as a kid I was tall, overweight and wore glasses forever. In the 4th or 5th grade we read AS A CLASS the book “Blubber” – I was mortified as the fat chick’s name in the book was Linda. UGH! We read it in CLASS! What a nightmare – thanks evil 4th/5th grade teacher – wonderful sensitivity you had there! hahaha So anyway, the timeline begins with me being OVERWEIGHT since about 1st or 2nd grade. 🙂

1970s-85 Overweight with many many allergies. Allergies so bad at some points that my parents would think I’d have to go to the doctors for tubes in my ears or whatever but then I’d get better (I think I was most allergic to doctors!) 🙂 Moms put me on various diets throughout my childhood but nothing really helped me lose weight. I was definitely an emotional eater from the word go. Had various illnesses as a kid that weren’t much fun either: the usual things like colds/flus and tonsilitis but other things, too like mono and rocky mountain spotted fever. I used to go to the doctor for strep throat and other throat infections quite regularly in my early teens. Me and antibiotics were pretty good friends and I became a connoisseur of the ones I preferred. Same for codeine/tylenol for the throat stuff. That stuff was trippy!
1985 Lost (or should I say “shed”) 55 lbs in the summer between freshman/sophomore year. Sat in my seat in homeroom and someone told me “you can’t sit there, that’s Linda’s seat.” I happily replied, “I AM Linda!” Great to not be recognized in that way! (p.s. the way I lost weight this first time was just reducing portion sizes, swimming in the pool and doing a lot of visualizations.) People definitely treated me differently when I was thinner. Very amazing to see how vain a lot of folks were. And I became quite vain myself. Suddenly pretty for the first time ever, it was cool to have attention. So lots of ups and downs for that first weight loss program that I did totally on my own. Health-wise, still with allergies and throat problems. Still taking antibiotics whenever doctor treated me. Indigestion was always a problem for me. But I was thin for the first time in my life!
1989 Kept weight off in HS, went to college and ballooned up very nicely, thank you. The freshman 15 was more like freshman 40 for me! Then just for good measure I gained another 20 pounds while I was partying my ass off and eating huge, whole calzones all by myself… Still had allergies although not as severe as they were when I was a young kid. Failed out of college the first time ’round – totally too interested in the parties vs. the studies. 🙂 Still had problems with indigestion/heart burn. Began the rolaids regime in my later teen years.
1990 Decided it was time to get the weight off again. I wanted to get a jump start so I went on a medically-supervised fast for 40 days. I lost about 30 lbs or maybe 40lbs with that fast. I was TOTALLY missing the texture of food by the end so I broke the fast by eating macaroni and beef. I remember thinking how glorious it was to CHEW! I lost the rest of the weight at first by using Nutrisystem and then just doing smaller portions on my own. Overall, I considered my health to be good however I was still quite the partier (not during the fast though!) 🙂 Still had indigestion, allergies, colds/flus, throat infections, etc.
1991 Stopped drinking when I turned 21 – the thrill of getting into the bars underage was over so what was the point in going? 🙂  I considered my health to be good although had random allergies and seasonal colds/flus and always was a bit of a binge eater – definitely ate to feel better emotionally. Never got into binging/purging, thankfully, but I used to be consumed with guilt after binge eating. This is really throughout my life, not just at this time. I became a vegetarian here but was definitely an ovo-pesca-lacto-vegetarian, meaning I ate eggs, fish and dairy. Meat never seemed to digest well and I hated all red meats except for the occasional burger.
1994 Moms got diagnosed with non-small cancer of the lung (she wasn’t a factory worker and not a smoker, nor in a house with 2nd hand smoke for long periods ever and at the time, she was an anomoly. Unfortunately this isn’t the case so much anymore – more people are statistically getting lung cancer who don’t smoke or work in factories, etc.) and neighbor’s health took a turn for the worse after years of being Type 1 diabetic. I watched him going out in parts as various organs began to fail him, circulation started to fail for his limbs, eyesight began to fail, kidneys began to fail, etc. and so forth. One week he’d be in the hospital and then the next, my moms would be. At the time my oldest/dearest friend and I wondered why this was all happening – we didn’t know anyone else who was in their early 20s with such sick parents. We ended up being hella grateful to have each other for support ever since and even during. It became understood right away that our families had a lot of compassion and empathy for what the other was experiencing.

One of my brothers and I started researching alternative stuff individually. My brother bought a little juicer and started juicing fruits and veggies for my mom (although knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have had her drink sweet fruit/veggie juices for cancer patients.) I heard a show on Pacifica Radio talking about lung cancer having a possible link with prolonged vitamin deficiency and this somehow clicked with me for my mom – years and years of allergies meant years and years of compromised immune system. If her immune system was compromised, what did that mean for all the allergies I had as a kid up until that point? I started reading all kinds of books on healing foods.

My mom was not too interested in alternative or homeopathic routes. She believed, as many people did/do, that her doctor had the best method of treatment for her so she obliged us a bit with our juices and supplements but not so much. (She actually choked on a vitamin we gave her but swallowed the chemotherapy pills with no difficulties.) She suffered greatly but with amazing grace. I watched my mother’s health severely deteriorate as she went through chemotherapy, radiation and then did what was then an experimental drug in a 10 month time frame. She said that she felt like a sewer when she took all the chemotherapy pills. Her lung collapsed, she had swelling in her arm that made it so she couldn’t write. She had a tumor in her eye that made it so she couldn’t read, she had a tumor in her head, her lymph nodes, her bones. After a while we asked her to stop checking with various doctors to check for cancer. She took prednisone, she was on blood thinners, she lost her breath quite frequently, she became frail and weak. Her quality of life in the 10 months from diagnosis to death was terrible and that’s just what I saw – I can’t imagine what she herself felt/experienced inside her own body.

Needless-to-say, I gained about 20 lbs from emotional eating. And I got a full education on the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and experimental drugs in that 10 months. (And hospital visits and hospice, etc. I actually began working for the VNA of Central Jersey working in their mental health, continence, hospice, and assisted living departments a year or so after she died. Also volunteered for a non-medical hospice place when we were in the DC area…)

1995 Moms died and our neighbor died. I made a promise that whatever I could do to help myself naturally, I would try first before anything else medically. I had a deep sense of thinking that my allergies that were always brushed aside as “normal” were something to look into more deeply. Strengthening my immune system was a mission.
1998 Skip ahead a few years (and several tried/failed diets: the Zone, South Beach, you name it, I’ve pretty much tried it.) Pregnant, living in CA and gained 65 lbs with first pregnancy. Still had that 20 lbs on me from when my moms was so sick. (I took “eating for two” a little too literally!) I also began eating meat again for the first time in 7 years with that pregnancy. I was literally sniffing out barbeques and so I thought that this meant I needed the meat or iron or something. Matt also gained probably about 40 or so lbs. We were so round, how gross, but the pregnancy was healthy. The doctor kept warning me that my weight gain of 4-5 lbs per month vs. the 3 or so lbs that they call normal was dangerous. I asked “Where is this information coming from?” They said it’s gathered from avg sizes over the country or maybe even from a broader world average. “Do I look like I’m an average sized woman?” (I’m 6 feet tall.) I told them if I’m not worried about it, don’t worry me about it. Still they warned me about toxemia and gestational diabetes, etc. I loved being pregnant – what a great feeling it was. Thankfully I remained very healthy although in this pregnancy, I experienced yeast infections each month and got sick with colds quite a lot. It was after this pregnancy that I began noticing problems with the foods I was eating, showing a lot more allergies again and sensitivities to foods. I had wicked acid reflux with this pregnancy and it subsided only a little bit after the baby was born. (Son was 9 1/2 lbs at birth – was hoping he’d be more like 30 so I wouldn’t have to work so hard getting this weight off!) 🙂
1999 At some point in this year, Matt and I looked at ourselves with disgust and thought it was time to lose the baby weight. We borrowed my neighbor’s weight watchers books and Matt & I lost about 45 or 50 lbs using their point system. This was a very difficult transition for us because we had done a super great job of becoming virtual gluttons. We were living in CA at the time within walking distance to many a burrito place. There was one place we went to almost daily and ate these unbelievably HUGE burritos (ONE BURRITO PER PERSON! And here we were living in the poverty level not even sharing this monstrosity of a meal!) that were bursting with sour cream, guacomole and cheese. One of my brothers came to visit us and we took him to eat there. I don’t think he could believe the size of the things we were eating for lunch. (Dinner, we probably took him to get chinese or something when he wasn’t even hungry. ee-gads!) No WONDER I was eating rolaids so much!
2000-2001 We moved to MD and found out I was pregnant again! (While in the hospital that we stayed in for 40 days as we were looking for a house to buy, mind you!) 🙂 This time around I craved tofu and vegetables and my weight gain was about 30-35 lbs. This was a blissful pregnancy and the birth was blissful too. My daughter was over 10 lbs at birth and she was a fierce nurser. I lost that 30-35 lbs within a couple weeks of her birth but remember I was still a good 35 lbs still over weight. I’m tall and I’ve always been told I carry my weight well but I definitely know the weight I like to be at and that wasn’t it. (My 20 lbs is like everyone else’s 10 lbs) 🙂 I also had some kind of injury to my hip joint with the pregnancy or birth. Not sure which. I had x-rays done but refused the MRI because I just didn’t want to do it. I went to several chiropractors and physical therapists – all but one (mentioned WAY down below there in 2008) said that I would be in pain for the rest of my life. One doctor wanted to give me shots to help with pain because everything was painful (I never took any shots or medications for my hip.) I had sciatic pain down both my legs and an arthritic or some other “itis” pain in my hip. Basically, I couldn’t sit, stand, walk, lay down or anything else without great pain. The sciatic pain would come and go but the pain in my hip was super bad. I couldn’t exercise and I lost all flexibility in my hip (I was once so flexible and did yoga quite a lot. My dancer friend used to remark that I was more flexible than she! I see flexibility in my body again, don’t you worry!)

My daughter continued to be a fierce nurser and only wanted to nurse for the first 17-18 months of her life despite me trying to give her food at about a year old. She was a huge baby and the doctor said that “typically we’d like to see a baby eat solid foods by now but we can’t say that she isn’t thriving.” (SHE WAS HUGE AND TALL AND SUPER STRONG AND HEALTHY) It was at this point that my health became something that I needed to pay attention to more. My food allergies and sensitivities got to the point where I was having hypoglycemic tendencies, yeast infections, candida, acid reflux. I basically would eat lunch and then would be sunk for a few hours afterwards. I could barely pick my head up off the table or couch and taking care of a toddler, an infant and doing my freelance work was totally unbearably difficult. I was visiting my homeopathic doctor quite regularly who put me on an allergy-elimination diet and then a candida diet. The problem was that these are heavy meat-based diets. I told you before, I never really tolerated meat well. The acid reflux I had was terrible and I was literally taking shots of baking soda and water while being treated with the candida diet.

I was on a yahoo group for unconventional mothering. I was (am) totally into wearing my babies, extended breast feeding, aware parenting and democratic discipline, non-violent communication, eating locally and seasonally, community supported agriculture, using homeopathy, making our own baby foods, cloth diapers, cloth menstrual pads (my friend Linda’s products are the shit!), etc. This group was great because I didn’t feel like a freak (particularly because people were doing things WAY more “out there” than me!) 🙂 I complained about my total lack of energy, the supreme tiredness, the yeast problems, indigestion problems on this group and the moderator turned out to be a raw food dude! I never heard of this at all and asked her what eating a raw food diet meant? She explained briefly and took an interest in what I was eating. She pointed out all the refined sugars and flours I was eating and asked if I’d like to be her guinea pig as she was hoping to start doing some raw food consulting for people. I was desperate and said “Sure, I’ll try anything.” Sara was her name and I’m eternally grateful to her. She gave me recipes and told me what to read. At that time, there wasn’t a lot of books on the subject of raw foods. I started doing searches for raw foods and found only a few sites. I read everything. I followed her diet and things started changing SO rapidly for me that I actually started eating cooked foods because I couldn’t deal with the detoxing and transformation! I was detoxing heavily and was doing enemas to help with the detoxing. That helped quite a lot. I noticed the acid reflux was the first thing to go. I started having energy and was able to make it through the day without loads of naps. Yeast issues totally cleared up. But MAN! I had so much fear around this way of eating. I made a promise to myself that I would go slowly and gradually. I gave myself 10 years to get 100% raw. I didn’t want to experiment with my kids on this diet although as I started to feel better, I wanted to give them these delicious foods that I was eating. I noticed that my moods were greatly improved with the more raw foods I ate. It became like a game, I saw quite easily how I felt an hour after eating raw food vs. an hour after eating cooked foods.

2002 I took an online raw food course to learn a lot and have the opportunity to as questions with Jinjee and Storm out of CA. I figured as a mother of 2 young babes, I wasn’t going to be able to take off for a week or two for training anytime soon. Plus I didn’t want to shell out a couple grand to do that sort of thing. I was still experimenting with food. I easily released weight initially when eating more raw foods. I was noticing a LOT of addictions I was having to foods and the emotional pull they had on me. I would eat really well and then binge on various things particularly around my monthly cycle. I was addicted HEAVILY to dairy and starches. This was the beginning of me learning how to be gentle with me.
2003-2004 I fell into a nice groove with what I considered to be a transitional raw diet. I was getting some prepared things made for me which helped me curb my food cravings/addictions and help me feel like I didn’t have to do it all myself. I didn’t enjoy making food for myself which was different than what I was making the rest of the family so I found that dinners were the hardest for me to eat raw. I took a weekend class close to home with my raw food Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter. This class was incredible and I learned a LOT of stuff that seemed daunting at that point. Dehydrating and gourmet recipes were like a nightmare to me. As soon as I came home, I began making all kinds of glorious things! We moved to VT in 2004 and I was feeling pretty good on my transitional diet and I was about 20 lbs thinner.

I have to say that while I saw great improvement in many ways adopting a raw food lifestyle, I kept really putting it on the back burner. I was afraid to highly specialize my diet. I saw my moms cut out a lot of foods from her diet and I felt that restricting wasn’t the way to go. However, she was cutting out a lot of plant-based foods because she said she couldn’t eat them. When I was younger, I got tested for allergies and had the same as she did. She had the foresight to tell me to keep eating them but she chose to avoid them.

For a while since finding out about raw foods, I said, “This would be the perfect diet if ever I was very sick. I’d do this diet in a heartbeat.” But it wasn’t until about a year later that I asked myself “Why would I wait until I was really really sick before I tried to do something to make myself healthier?” (keep on reading.) 🙂

2004-2005 in the first year of living in VT, we were seduced by all of the VT foods – breads, cheeses, creemies, meats, etc. I moved there being about 65-70% raw and very quickly went to being about 80% cooked with dairy and breads as my staple. It was very easy to go back to eating these things and eventually I stopped eating fruits/vegetables/nuts/seeds/sprouted grains/seaweeds for several weeks. Remember, these foods are my strongest addictions! By the time 2005 rolled around, I was about 20-30 lbs heavier just by eating this LOCAL food, the acid reflux came back, my happiness and overall well-being was beginning to sink, I started to feel crappy again but THIS time I began having peri-menopausal symptoms! Hot flashes and weird weird periods and insomnia, panic attacks, heart palpitations and other crazy things. I went to the doctor (who initially said “Wow! a 35 year old who isn’t on any medication!”) and she then preceded to try to put me on anti-depressants to help with the panic attacks, sleeping pills for the insomnia and birth control pills to regulate my hormones and periods. I said “No Thanks” to the meds except I did take a couple sleeping pills because I was pretty darn sleepy. (They freaked me out though. Couldn’t take them.) I actually went on Jenny Craig at this time, too. I was totally in a state of desperation. I really can’t fully describe what this all felt like and I look back now and wonder what the hell I was doing. I had a dream that told me to go back to raw foods and this time 100%. Wild, right? Well, I listened and again the acid reflux was the first to go. I lost about 20 lbs very easily, the hormones/hot flashes and panic attacks and insomnia went away within 2-3 weeks. My periods became regular and PMS stuff went away. I still had major pain in my hips but this was totally CLEAR SIGNS that this was the right things for me to be doing. I took a five day class with Alissa Cohen, not really knowing why – I had no interest in teaching and I felt I learned a lot already just by reading, experimenting and taking the classes I already took. It was the first time I was away from the kids ever since they were born. It turned out to be great medicine for me in many, many ways. I met wonderful people there (several of which healed things like cancer with their raw food diets), learned great recipes from everyone and affirmed in myself that this was the right thing for me to do. I was bitten by the raw food bug BIG TIME! For me, it was clear that this was a great way for me to release guilt and shame from my life and my food. This, I felt, was the real shift in the journey for me.
2005-2006 Began teaching classes, challenges, making food for people, and doing workshops primarily so that more people could do this with me and I wouldn’t feel so alone up here in VT! hahaha In 2006, I had a thought about making an internet cafe in Worcester and incorporating some raw foods. We found a house and bought it for that purpose. We started Vermont Fiddle Heads in 2006. Physically, I was feeling abundantly good and healthy although still finding it hard to release weight and still not being able to exercise because of my hip pain. I was going to a massage therapist now who was helping me deal with the emotional stuff that I had until then saved for food. 🙂 She tried to massage my hip, to release lactic acid or whatever was built up but she couldn’t touch it or I’d cry out in pain. Still, I was having fun making so much raw food and was playing around with nuts and cacao and everything that was beginning to come out on the market. I started gaining weight on raw food! Don’t anyone tell me that you will starve away to nothing on raw food – I found out a way to gain weight on it! hahaha

I finally got clever and decided to a 30-day raw food challenge with Matt. For years, I’d make various raw food meals and put it in front of him. He’d love what he ate and then I’d ask him if he would like to eat this way forever. He said, “Um, no – not really.” And the cycle continued like this. After I got back from Alissa’s class, I went to Matt during the summer and said, “How would you like to do a 30-day 100% raw food challenge with me?” He surprised me and said “OK.” We did green smoothies from our garden and made a slew of meals to eat each and every day. Matt still had his coffee though – he could only do this challenge if he had his coffee. After the 30 days was up, I made him a cooked dinner and he said, “What are you giving this to me for? I’m not interested in this.” YIPPEE FOR ME! YIPPEE FOR MATT!

2007 Still the same – great energy but still not at my ideal weight and still not able to exercise although I wasn’t in as much pain as I used to be. It was still regular enough that it kept me from even walking. I used to try and walk and by the 1/4 mile mark, I needed Matt to pick me up in the car because I was literally crying from pain. I began making raw food for sale in stores and this was such a fun story, I’ll save it for another time. Went to a David Wolfe weekend and that dude is hella fun. I was totally glad to hear what he said. I read his book Nature’s First Law years ago and absolutely hated it and wanted nothing to do with him because of that book. I told him that, too along with saying how glad I was that he was saying something VERY different than repeating/reiterating “cooked food is poison” with each and every chapter. He was totally agreeable on that one. 🙂

Matt was beginning to notice differences while he was experimenting with his own eating… cooked vs. raw, etc. The kids too became more aware of what they ate and how it made them feel. YAY! (Although my kids rebel in such cute ways with me on raw food.) They are such cuties and they eat really really well when at home!

2008 Started going to a chiropractor who actually helped me with my hip. She was the ONLY one who told me I wouldn’t be in pain the rest of my life. I also went to see a craniosacral therapist who was SOOOOO wonderful and helpful. I can’t even begin to tell you how great she was for me. I was doing physical exercises that was helping me to be flexible again. I did some hip opening exercises that made me release into tears for no reason. It wasn’t pain or sadness, it was just release. I started taking small walks every now and then. Still wasn’t getting past that certain weight that I seemed to be stuck at but I really felt like exercise was going to be the key. Imagine having so much energy but not being able to burn it off! This was me!

By now, I was selling stuff in stores and via the website. I was doing regular workshops and occasional classes when I wanted to or had time. I have been routinely showing health and raw food related DVDs and saw Healing Cancer from the Inside Out and then read The China Study. Well, this really brought a lot of clarity to me on so many levels. It definitely resonated with what I experienced with my mom and my neighbor and it made me know that a whole-foods, plant-based diet is the way to go (majority raw, that is!) I don’t care if people choose a little (TINY EENSY-WEENSY) bit of animal products in their diet (ONLY IF THEY HAD TO FOR SOME WEIRD REASON) 🙂 and I quite frankly don’t care too much what anyone wants to do so long as they are harming no one. I’m not here to yuck anyone’s yum! I’m just writing about me and my family peeps here. The other movie that is a life-changer for so many is Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days with Gabriel Cousens, MD.

We were still working to get the internet cafe up and still just having fun with daily life. I should say that it’s very rare to have the things like colds and what is the flu or allergies. 🙂 These things that were a part of my normal routine of life became so clearly not familiar anymore, thankfully! I was also totally feeding my kids about 60-70% raw by now because there was just no other way about it. I prefer them to be vegan but they eat meat when visiting family or friends, much to my pleas and requests to NOT feed them the stuff. 🙂 The kids have been dairy free since my daughter was in kindergarten and her wheezing greatly improved by that and my son’s eczema went away just by doing that small thing.

I did learn other things: I had a good 3 month binge with raw cacao that was hella fun and probably my most productive 3 months ever. But health-wise, I started feeling a little bit off to what I now experienced as my normal health, energy & vitality. I learned that for me, there’s still a lot to this emotional detoxing thing! (more in future posts, I’m sure.) 🙂 I was also experimenting with various ways to eat raw foods and see if I could implement it like a “diet” – I used a variety of methods to do this…

2009 This has been a big year for me so far. My friend back in NJ told me about Joel Fuhrman because she loved his books so much and he was her family doctor which I thought was pretty darn cool. He was mentioned in one of the DVDs listed above so I had heard of him. She gave me her favorite book to read, as she bought several just to give them away to people (another cool thing!) I read the book and for me it was super great to have guidelines. I totally took this book and made my own program for raw food that sooooooo did the trick for me. SUDDENLY no more hip pain and I began walking 4-7 miles each day. Like really – within a month of switching things up a bit. Then I started doing the exercise bike again with no pain. Very quickly and easily I started releasing weight – it’s been about 40 pounds and counting. My friend Natasha wrote and published an excellent book on detoxing which reinforces what I’ve been doing myself and she paid us a visit up in Burlington. Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes paid us a visit in Montpelier and totally reinforced soooo many things that I’m doing and thinking and feeling and being. Our internet cafe passed state inspections and now we’re working to get the physical store open. We’re still doing quite a lot to add more products that we already have onto the website.

Matt also realized this year that he hasn’t used his inhaler for quite a while and his exercising and weight loss has been great as well! How awesome after nearly 30 years of asthma, he’s breathing full and fine now! He attributes it to how he is eating for sure! YAY! Good for you, Matt! In May we took a trip to NJ and he was using it as a test to see how his lungs would be with the pollen and he was totally fine! Same for June when we stayed at my relative’s house with their cat! BRAVO!

– And that gets us (somewhat) up to date! :-)-

me at 39

me at 39


© 2014 Vermont Fiddle Heads, LLC • Photos were taken by Pat Hazouri • website created by Linda Wooliever