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My raw food journey
Posted by: cdonavon ()
Date: August 07, 2011 09:52PM

On January 1, 2011, I began the new year by eliminating refined sugar from my diet. That meant, of course, cutting out all foods that include any refined sugar. I started really reading labels and was taken aback by the fact that almost all prepared foods have refined sugar as an ingredient. So I immediately started eating more fresh foods that I prepared myself. It also meant that most snack foods went by the wayside. I stopped buying cookies and other baked goods, much to the chagrin of my husband. Even he has benefitted though, because he has gotten in the habit of eating fresh fruit instead of reaching for cookies or snack cakes and has lost about 17 lbs. since the first of the year.

Doing nothing but eliminating refined sugar I lost 16 lbs. in the first three months of the year going from 156 lbs. on January 1 to 140 lbs. by April 1. I felt better, more energetic, and had begun to get some lessening of pain in my arthritic right knee. At that point, I decided to go a little further and cut refined wheat and dairy products from my diet. This was a little more challenging as I really love good bread, but I substituted with rice bread and Ezekial sprouted breads and didn’t really feel too deprived. I already used a lot of almond milk in place of cow’s milk, but I LOVED my first morning coffee with honey and half and half. I started using coconut milk creamer, but it wasn’t quite the same.

I continued to lose weight at a fairly steady pace. By June 1 I was down another 9 lbs. to 131 lbs., but was still experiencing pain and swelling in the right knee. I asked a friend who is in the alternative health field about the use of acupuncture for joint pain and edema. She recommended that, as I was already treating myself nutritionally, I might want to look into balancing my PH since an acidic system will exacerbate inflammation in the joints. I got a book she mentioned on the subject and started eliminating foods that foster acidity and eating more alkalizing foods. In the course of studying about it, I recognized that a lot of what was recommended for PH balance was raw foods.

I have flirted with raw food lifestyle a couple of times in the past, but always found it a little too challenging. However, since I was already eating a much cleaner diet that incorporated a lot of salads and fresh veggies, I decided to ease into eating substantially more raw foods and for the past two months I have been steadily increasing my raw food intake. I am now eating about 90% raw foods and finding more and more wonderful raw food recipes that keep me interested and satisfied.

I have eliminated almost all animal products although I will occasionally (once or twice a month) have a bit of grilled fish and about once every couple of weeks I’ll eat eggs. I no longer drink coffee or caffeinated tea and, except for kefir and, occasionally, a little raw milk cheese or goat cheese, I am essentially off dairy. I am finding that the more I search out recipes and find a variety that I enjoy making and eating, I have less need of falling back on cooked or processed foods. One exception is almond milk which I buy ready-made. I haven’t yet tried making my own nut milks. Even eating out, I manage to find good salads that fill the bill.

I have less pain in my knee and have returned to taking my daily walk, although I use hiking poles for a bit of support. The positive side of that is the upper body workout that using the poles adds to my walk. I have dropped my weight to 122 lbs. and I’m now wearing a size 4 pant. I feel great and I am sleeping so much better and waking up earlier with more energy. I rarely need to take any Advil for my knee and while there is still some swelling it is about half as severe as it was in January.

I don’t have the cravings for sweets that I used to have on a daily basis. In fact, the taste of sugar is now repellent to me. The other day, my husband and I were out for brunch. I had a salad and he had a Philly steak sandwich and fries. I finished my meal and decided to eat just one of his fries which I dipped in ketchup. To my amazement, the ketchup tasted so strongly of sugar that it was disgusting to me. I know that bottled ketchup contains sugar, but the surprise was that sugar was almost all I could taste. It seems that once your body is free of refined sugars you become hypersensitive to the taste. I can’t imagine what a sugary dessert would taste like to me now and I have no desire to find out.

Eating fresh, clean, raw foods is changing my life. At 63 I feel 20 years younger and I look at least 10 years younger and fabulous. I have always been interested in nutrition and over the years have tried to maintain my weight, eat well and exercise. But I wasn’t always as aware as I might have been about how some of the foods I was eating were not serving my body well. It’s easy to get lazy about shopping and preparing food when we are busy and looking for a fast and easy way to put a meal on the table. A raw food diet does require some forethought and preparation. But the benefits of taking the time, making meals thoughtfully and eating consciously far outweigh any small inconvenience and, yes, expense involved. Shopping several times a week in order to be sure that my foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are as fresh as possible is an important element, but why would I want to put anything into my body that is less than the best and freshest food possible? Living well, eating well, keeping well is a gift that I give myself every day with a raw food lifestyle

I see people all the time who are overweight, depressed, suffering from physical maladies, taking too many pills and aging way too fast. I wish I could share my experience with them and offer some hope and help. There is so much we can do for our health and well-being through better nutrition. Our bodies crave the right kind of fuel to maintain a high level of function. Too many of us are literally starving, not from lack of food, but from lack of the foods our bodies need to be truly healthy and our minds need to be as alert and creative as we are meant to be.

I would love to hear from you if you are a raw foodie who would like to share recipes and experiences, or if you are interested in learning more about transitioning into adding more fresh raw foods into your diet. There are so many great books out now that help you learn about the raw food lifestyle and I have several on my kitchen counter that I love and would love to share with others who don’t already have them.

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