There's so many conflicting things out there in both the cooked and the raw world. One place says "Don't eat cacao. It's poison" Another place says "OMG! Eat Cacao! It's a superfood!" One place says their cacao is better than the other dude's cacao. Same for the nuts. "Our nuts are of the highest quality - really raw. Don't get those schwag nuts from that dude." Same for the seeds. "Don't eat the white seeds - only the black ones. But make sure they don't come from China..." No green powders unless you check out this other site that says "Yes" to green powders. One place says "No" to greens like kale and chard and "Yes only to greens like micro greens and sprouts." No to oils - we're only supposed to eat as if we were foraging in nature... No to fats. Unless they are good fats like avocados. Other places say "Yes" to a high fruit diet and then you go to another site where you'll read "absolutely DO NOT EAT a high fruit diet." One place says eat whatever you want whenever you want so long as it is raw and other places will say "NO NO NO! Are you crazy? You'll get fat & sick!" It's rather maddening if you are really trying to look for something to help guide you. Some consistency would be nice, right? A few years back I just got rather tired of all the conflicting things I was reading. I used to get quite stressed over it all. And honestly, this isn't just happening in the raw food world, like I wrote above. In the cooked food world it might be even worse. Don't eat meat. OK, eat some of the leaner meats. Eat a high meat diet - well, unless you have high blood pressure or heart problems... Oh but then again if you are a certain blood type, then you want organ meats and the lean meats are not good for you. And then another book or site would go "No, no - vegan is the only way to go. It will safe your life and your earth." How about a lacto-ovo vegetarian? Or a flexitarian? "I'm a vegan that sometimes eats meat and cheese." :-D Coffee is not good for you. Well, actually, coffee can have many good medicinal properties... If you have asthma, coffee can help... If you are producing too much acid in your stomach, then maybe coffee won't be so good. Better try the low acid variety. Or just take this pill... High carbs used to be good - remember the Pritikan diet? High carb, low fat, low salt and very little taste. :-) OK, whatever - it doesn't matter now because high carb is sooo passe. Low carb is the way to go. Or no carb. And make sure you take your vitamins - just not this guys, his are no good. Oh and make sure to put sunscreen on. Oh but now we're finding that we're all vitamin D deficient. Hmm... well maybe we can be outside in the sun for 15-20 minutes without any sunscreen. But no more than that!! Yea, that should be fine... Nuts are good for you. Oh, except if you are pregnant - then your kid might have a problem with allergies or asthma... so forget I said anything about nuts. And tuna is GREAT for you. Whoopsie - wait a minute - there's all that mercury in there. Better not to have that if you are pregnant or young... OR too old... Hmm... well, dairy is good for you. Oh but wait, now we see a possible link with dairy and things like autism and diabetes and eczema, to name a few. High fat diets are fine - remember Atkins? Oh hold on - didn't he die of all these horrible things associated with a high fat, high protein diet? Oh and isn't there new research out showing a link to diabetes and high fat? Hmm... so we're back to low fat being the way to go. But I still want to eat ring-dings and muffins and crap like that. What's that? You've substituted fat with chemical fat replacers? Great! And what about sugar replacers? Got any of those? Artificial sweeteners? OK cool. Now I don't have to worry about eating a high fat and high sugar diet... Oh now wait a minute. What's all this I'm hearing about eating highly processed foods? So what if I can't pronounce the ingredients - there's no TRANS fat in this cookie! OY! What the hell do you want from me?! (Psst: you see why I used to stress over this stuff? I really used to take all this VERY seriously.) I just got to this point when I said, "Forget what 'they' say. I'm going to do it my way." And it's a big experiment. And I'm open to it. That's what life is, right? A big experiment full of choices. "Tell us Johnie, what is behind door number 3?" Now mind you, I still listen - I still read - I still watch what is going on. I'm just not as attached to "the latest research" as I used to be. I read my "Nutrition Action" newsletters that come each month. I read the latest from all the books & newsletters I get from the raw food world. I honestly just feel that it's always going to be confusing if/when we put all our faith in an another person when it comes to what is going on in our own bodies and our own minds. For me, it's important to remember that I've got this wisdom going on inside me that tells me clearly when it likes something, when it needs something and when something is appealing to my emotions more than my state of health. I do keep reading to make sure I'm up on things but I'm so happy that I'm not in that place anymore of needing to know what he/she thinks because knowing that will change *everything* in my diet. Read these raw food forums out there and you'll see what I'm talking about. There are so many postings that people write going "what does such and such have to say about this?" or "thanks for posting this. I definitely won't do that now since you wrote that." or "thanks for posting this. I definitely WILL do that now because you gave it such a good recommendation." It's fine and I'm not knocking it - I'm just saying that when I read these postings or comments, I hear a sense of urgency in a lot of them. And maybe it's because I used to write so many things like this and I used to feel like I couldn't really make a move unless others in the raw food world were doing it first and they said it was OK. You know what I'm saying? I definitely love trying new things and I definitely love offering a wide variety of my favorite stuff but I *SO want people to make up their own minds and eat what they feel works best for them. Otherwise, it starts feeling rather freaky, ya know? Anyway, new subject sort of. If you see me, you'll see that I'm not stick thin. I'm 38, and I was going to write that I'm full-figured although that connotes having a big chest, no? Well, I don't. :-) Since having kids, I weigh more than I would like but I also feel quite good. For me having kids has rocked me off center in more ways than one. I love love love being a mom and it has changed everything in my life. For better or for worse. But really there is "no worse" so it's all for the better. Anyway, I do find that I have gotten into some habits where I have packed on a few extra pounds and I think a part of that is to keep me feeling weighted and firmly planted on this earth. That may sound weird but if you saw me, I'm 6 feet tall. I am much lighter from the hip bones up than I am from the hip bones down. I have a flat stomach but have a big ass, curvy hips and big legs. I've seen some beautiful African art that I look at and go "Damn, I'd be a goddess in Africa! YAY FOR ME!" hahaha Anyway, this is what I mean when I say that my weight is distributed so that I am more attached to the earth than to the sky! :-) For a number of years, I was very upset and worried about how I looked particularly because I believed a lot of what I was reading in these raw food books. I thought I could eat whatever I wanted with raw food because this wasn't food anyway - rabbit food is not food! I thought most of my weight was coming on because of all the pasta and cheese I had been eating in the cooked food world. Right? There's no calories in raw food! It's fruit and vegetables! Well, yes and no. Some fruits are higher in calories than others and I was macking down the mangos and avocados baby! And yes, vegetables are not high in calories but what about all the nut creme dishes that I was making to go WITH the vegetables! Recently I made a raw lasagna with my sister-in-love and we were all eating it. It was delicious and I heard her say that this was "free food" - she was used to doing weight watchers and in weight watchers most vegetables are considered free foods meaning you can have as much of it as you want so long as you aren't heaping tons of dressing on top or whatever. But it's OK to munch on an apple because that's only like a point or have a lot of greens on your plate because that is free. She called the lasagna "free." Well no, it's not free at all. I'll put the recipe on the blog. It's really a great tasting recipe. But you really only need a SMALL SMALL piece of it and have it with a large salad. THIS will fill you up. It's very rich - this SMALL, SMALL PIECE. It's not free food. It's fattening food. And it is food! Rabbit food IS food! But I write this because I totally understand where she's coming from. Most everything has a lot of veggies in it. The marinara sauce, the pesto, the cheezes and the pasta is made from zucchini for god's sake! It's all delicious and it's so much healthier than pulling something out of a freezer and heating it up in a microwave. Or even if you made it "from scratch" (honestly, unless you are making the cheese yourself with the enzymes and the rennet and making homemade noodles from the ground flour that YOU ground yourself along with the eggs and whatever, you are not eating from scratch these days) there's still so much processed stuff in the recipe. So many refined ingredients. So I understand that this raw lasagna dish "FEELS" as is it's free food. "Eat as much of it as you want." I felt this way for a long time on raw foods. I felt like this wasn't really food so I had sort of double up on things in order to feel satiated. Well, it really does take a while to change a habit. Not just 21 days. Not when it's a lifetime of eating. Granted some folks can make a change and never look back but I think a good majority of us eat emotionally in the US and I am certainly one of them. :-) I was JUST reading in this nutrition action letter that said that psychologically, we don't feel like we are eating anything when we get our calories from liquids and so we tend to find ourselves eating something solid after having something like a late or soda or a juice. The letter did say that soup was the anomoly - that we have different associations with soup so we don't necessarily feel the need to eat something solid after having soup. And I agree and disagree with what they said. I agree that for the majority of people eating a primarily cooked food diet, drinking a meal will make you hungrier and probably more likely to eat more or snack more. But after transitioning to more living food, I think a shift happens. It's taken me a while but I really DO feel quite satisfied from a smoothie as a meal. Most of my smoothies keep me filled up quite nicely for the majority of the day. And same for juices PROVIDING they have greens in them. If they have greens in them, then I do feel quite satisfied with a juice for a meal. And even salads. I'm really getting closer and closer to being able to have only a salad for dinner and feeling quite satisfied. I read on one site that there are 3 stages for a live fooder. The first is the gourmet/transitional/dehydrated foods. The second is salads and the third is whole foods. I'm kind of confused by this. Mostly when I meet long time raw fooders, they typically do a lot of liquid meals and sprouts. Are liquid meals considered eating whole foods? I'm also unclear as to how a salad isn't considered a whole food. Because I chop it up before I eat it? But hey, maybe I don't understand because that's the phase I'm in! hahaha Anyway, I really digressed. I started to say that I used to feel quite badly about my appearance. I thought that once I went on raw foods, I'd be just like so many others that would lose weight so quickly that I'd be too thin and worrying about putting on weight. I did lose weight at first. I lost something like 25 lbs or so. And then I plateaued. And then I started to gain some weight back! How horrifying! Right now I am back down pretty much to that initial 25 lbs of weight loss. And yet I still would like to release a few more pounds. 20 would be awesome. That would be a great start. And then a few more. And for those of you who are reading this with gaping mouths as you read these numbers, try living in a six foot frame as a woman. :-) I really do carry weight well. For most people they lose 5 lbs and people notice something. 10 lbs gone and people go "Wow! You've lost some weight!" We're not even in the ball park for me with those numbers. 5 lbs is like having a big pee. NOBODY notices a thing when I lose 5 lbs. My 10 lbs is the average size woman's 5 lbs. My 20 lbs is her 10 lbs. You get where I'm coming from? I know you're reading this going "Wow! You've lost 25 lbs and you want to lose 20 more at LEAST? You must be obese!" - No, I'm not. I am over my ideal weight though. I am tall and I had this tested once: I have somewhere around 145 lbs of bones/muscle. When I was in high school, I weighed on average 145-150 lbs. At one point I weighed 135 and I was very thin looking - my brother said I had a dog's back - all boney but always had the legs and curves so I didn't freak people out. But I'm telling you, the minute I said I weighed 150 lbs, people would go "OMG! I'd never imagine you weighed that much!" or "Wow! You don't look that heavy!" So I stopped telling people my weight. If 150 freaked them out, then anything more would make them faint! :-) Anyway, I'm caring less and less about the number on the scale. It's all how I feel and how I want to feel. In my skin, in my clothes - this is what is important to me. I am taking more walks now. I am moving my body more than I have in years (I had an injury with the last pregnancy that left me rather immoble for *OH* about 6 1/2 years.) :-) I am overcoming many obstacles in my mind, in my environment, in my body. It's very cool. We'll see where this goes. So this is another long post but it feels good to just write. The moral of the story is START listening to that voice inside, that wisdom inside that knows how it wants to be fed - how it wants to be treated - how it wants to feel. And go with it. Shut out the noise that we willingly (or not so willingly) take in and just listen to your silence. There is wisdom in there - wisdom that will tell you what YOU need to hear so that you can make some choices in your life. Whether it be the choice to eat cacao or not to eat cacao - take a vitamin or not take a vitamin - have a piece of meat or not have a piece of meat - how & when to move your body - what weight you want to weigh - how you want to feel and look and be. Really - this really is about being gentle and quiet with yourself so that that inner you can really shine outward for all of us to see. I'm so looking forward to seeing it. Aren't you just so curious?! I'm off to bed. Bless you for reading my ramblings. :-) love and light, Linda P.S. For more info on raw food haps, please have a good read here.