Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello world! I've revamped the blog a bit. More changes to come - just dusting things off right now. I've changed the title and description, as I've come to find spirals, circles, and spinning as dominant imagery in my life now.

I'm very inspired right now by a couple of fantastic online summits (interviews with inspiring, interesting people) and want to share them with you. Make time for them - you will not regret it!

Women's International Summit for Health

Inspiring Women Summit

Thursday, October 28, 2010

sidebar updated

By the way, I've updated (OK, completely re-written) the sidebar on "Why 'Raw Growth'?" Check it out.

Refined purpose and new focus

For the first time in 5 months, I feel led to blog! I have been too busy living to be online as much. I have been continuing to grow and continuing to eat some raw foods. I have been journaling more lately and see a therapist regularly. This has helped me grow tremendously this year. I can feel the changes and others have commented on them too. And there's much more to come.

Since last December, I have had green smoothies almost every day. I usually skip the weekends to give myself a break. Usually these are fruit, water, and greens, and sometimes other bonuses like green powders, chia seeds, slippery elm bark powder, etc. Sometimes I make green protein smoothies instead. With those, I leave out the fruit as my stomach doesn't seem to like fruit with such a high level of protein all at once. It took some work (my first creations were kind of gross!) but I've got those protein shakes down to tasting really good too. The last was kind of cherry cordial-like. Mmm!

The rest of the time, my diet's not "raw." I stay away from dairy and wheat with rare exceptions. They make me ill and no mind-over-matter positive thinking can keep them from leaving me at least mildly depressed. Why would I want to go back to feeling sad, lonely, tired, and apathetic? We made a vegan, gluten-free pizza at home the other day, with fresh home-made tomato sauce (which was way easier than I thought it would be, by the way), and it was quite probably the BEST pizza I've ever had. It was SO good.

I do need to get away from eating corn all the time - I know it bugs me too, at least in large amounts. And I have been reading more about the connections between gluten and soy intake and thyroid problems, so I'm reducing my soy intake too. I hardly eat soy anyway, so that's not hard for me.

In my efforts to achieve great health, I've focused on food and diet pretty exclusively for a couple of years. That has done me a world of good, and I've learned so much. I'm not going to drop the ball on it, but it's time for me to focus on some other things too:
  • Overeating and fast eating: How much I eat and how I eat can be as what I eat. Eating too much "healthy" food, or gobbling it down too quickly, will leave me as tired and icky-feeling as an "unhealthy" food. I've long had an issue with overeating because I didn't want to see any food go to "waste," but I'm working on that. It's still a "waste" if it's making me feel sick, after all! I also need to get used to the idea that my small frame and small appetite means I don't need to take or eat as much as a 200-pound man or a marathon-runner. Also, I am trying to take the time to eat slowly and mindfully, remember to chew thoroughly and breath deeply. This makes a world of difference to my digestion! And if I'm eating more slowly, my body is better able to signal me to stop when I am full, reducing how often I overeat.
  • Sleep: Ever felt like your life would be easier, like you could get so much more done, if you didn't have to sleep? I've felt that way sometimes. Couldn't I at least have to sleep less? But really, if I had to sleep less, I'd just feel I have to do even more. For as long as I can remember, I've slept too little during the week and tried to "catch up" on the weekends. The more I learn about health, nutrition, and healing, the more doctors I talk to and the more books I read, the more I learn that's all a bunch of hooey. Sleep is important, not just on the weekends, but every night. It's needed for health, disease prevention, concentration, intelligence, energy, digestion, beautiful hair and skin and weight loss. Want to look and feel great? Commit to getting enough sleep every night. I'm going to!
  • Exercise: I've long being pretty lackadaisical about exercise. It's not that I'm entirely sedentary - I like to go on hikes a couple of times a month, some days I dance around the house when I'm feeling good, and I play games with my friends and my cats. But it's been over five years since I had a committed, regular exercise program and it's past due for me to do it again. Again, the more I read about health, the more I learn that exercise is not an option. It's essential. 
Focusing on diet is important - it really is a big, big part of health, probably the single biggest factor in disease causation, prevention, and healing - but it's not the whole picture. Exercise can do a LOT to either make up for or compliment your diet. You can get away with eating more crappy food if you exercise more... but eating crappy food means longer recovery times are required, too. But that, my friends, is a whole other post!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Back from a leave of...

And... I'm back.
It has been a long time since I last posted, I know, and I can't promise regular posting just yet. I had been avidly reading and blogging all winter, but toward the end I hit the winter-blues, and since then, I've been refocusing my time and energy to things offline. I am changing a lot of priorities mentally and slowly changing the manifestations in my life of these priorities. This has meant I had to focus my energy on things other than my diet. But things are coming back around again

I have been eating what I have felt like, and that's been pretty far from the gluten-free, corn-free, raw vegan diet I'd like to follow on a semi-regularly basis. Once I allowed wheat, dairy and corn back into my diet, the addictions reasserted themselves and I have not been able to resist bypassing all three for even one day. But chocolate is really bad - I realized that I am pretty thoroughly addicted to chocolate/sweets and they are a big part of how I cope with stress. Not good.

Emotionally, I am having a rough time. Depression sunk in midwinter and has been hard to beat back. Trying to stay optimistic, though. I know it is harder because of the crap food that I am eating - food that causes inflammation in the body and therefore fatigue, depression, and all that. But the weather is warming up and it's past time for me to go for a higher-raw diet again. This will, by itself, make a difference, but it is also not the only thing I am doing to improve my mood situation.

Oddly enough, I feel that I've been hesitant to go "whole hog" on the raw thing in part because I've been getting mixed messages from my body & my intuition, both. I simultaneously feel that high-raw-high-vegan (HRHV) is the best thing for my body, AND that I might need to integrate some animal products more after 9 years of vegetarianism. I have been eating raw cows' and goats' milk cheeses occasionally for a few months months now, and I don't think they are sitting with me very well. I have eggs occasionally, and those don't disagree with me, but they do feel heavy. So I introduced a little chicken, after research and buying only from sources I am OK with. I have, when eating it, intentionally let myself listen to what my mind, body, and conscience are telling me. And I have really mixed feelings about it... but they are not all bad. So I've had chicken a few times now... I'm not sure it's something I want to do often, but perhaps it will be something I do once a month or something like that. Or maybe it was just something I needed for now, and I can go back to eating more in alignment with my values soon. We will see.

So, I'm doing the six-week detox thing again. I've been listening to inspirational speakers and educational teleseminars. Also, I am spending the first week of June in New York, and I am looking forward to trying all sort of fantastic raw vegan restaurants there. Nothing like gourmet raw food that I didn't have to work for to get my inspired and back on track, right?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Smooth skin and emotional steam

It would be funny how addictive gluten and dairy are, except it isn't! After the day where I succumbed to the junky snacks and that piece of piece, I had gluten and/or dairy again for the next two or three days. Every time, I tried to stay away, but every time, I felt like I had no control of my actions! Each day I had a little less, though - the last was a single stolen bite of my hubby's mac'n'cheese. Since then it's been much easier.
My salt cravings are still intense. I remind myself to eat salt-containing healthy foods, like miso broth or nori (the seaweed used to roll sushi, which I just love to snack on!), and that usually handles it, but sometimes I eat a salty snack anyway.
So, I'm plugging away at the six-week detox. I've got a cold, which isn't making things easier, but I'm sticking to it nonetheless. I'm determined to get more exercise.
My skin is smoothing out some. Oddly enough, the eczema isn't getting any better, and my face is still covered in the tiny bumps that I think of as preceding pimples, though it's been years since I actually got full-fledged pimples all over my face. It's usually just these tiny bumps with occasional pimples. Where I don't have the eczema, though, my skin is softer and regaining healthy elasticity. This is one of the biggest things I wanted out of this detox, so I'm excited about it. I will be more excited when my eczema actually goes away. I'd like to lose a little weight, too, but I understand that my body has higher priorities right now, so I'll be patient.

The "emotional detox" has continued to be pretty intense, making me very, very glad to have a very supportive husband and supportive friends around me. One of the biggest realizations I had was how much my friends me to me and why I am "meanest" (most prone to be a bit snippy) to those closest to me. I only feel safe expressing my anger with the people that make me feel safe, that I believe won't hate or hurt or leave me if I express my anger. That I am now able to explain this I think makes it easier when I am snippy to a good friend.
And meanwhile I'm working on other issues, so that I can express anger, frustration, and other "negative" emotions in a healthy, gradual way, rather than bottling them up and blowing up at someone.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I felt like such a success on Saturday - my first full liquids-only day! - and Sunday morning, when I made a greeeeen smoothie with an entire bunch of dandelion greens (that was *bitter*!). But then Sunday afternoon a friend had a birthday party. I asked if I should bring food, and they assured me it wasn't necessary, that there was TONS of food. Her roommate (a very good friend of mine) had gone out of her way to buy rice-based snacks so as to avoid wheat and corn, but she didn't bother to check the ingredients list (second ingredient on both was corn, not to mention all the sugar and other crap). That was as good as it got at the party, and I was so hungry. I should have gone out and gotten food for myself, but I already felt like everyone thought I was being unreasonable and rude asking about food ingredients at someone else's birthday party. Probably not true, but... my friend had gone out of her way to get something I could eat, and even though she hadn't actually succeeded...
I have been lax with many of the detox rules, but my firm rule was no dairy, wheat, or corn, because they all make me really sick.
But I felt so guilty, and so hungry... so I ate some of the rice cakes. Super sweet and processed, but the least offensive thing available.
Then I had some of the corn tortilla chips because there was guacamole and I love guacamole.
Then I had some with the bean dip, which "only had a little cheese."
Then later everyone was eating pizza and I had a piece. A small piece, with pineapple on it. And three leftover crusts with the garlic sauce because I love garlic so much.
I didn't want the pizza. I wasn't going to have any. It wasn't even good pizza. >P And I felt so crappy even before that. I don't really know what happened.
After the pizza, I ached all over and my head felt like it was full of bees and I couldn't think, and I was suddenly really depressed.
That food makes me so sick.

I was trying to stay away from dairy, wheat and corn for the last year, but I've never succeeded for long, because they are biochemically addictive. I hate that. I really hate not being in control of what I eat.

I'm starting over today. My husband helped me put things into perspective last night: that it was just one day, one bad day, and I learned a lot from it about my emotional issue surrounding hospitality, politeness, birthdays, and food.
Six weeks can't undo years of bad eating. But one day can't undo weeks of detox, either. Right?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hi again! Sorry for the quietude, but I've been busy reading, listening to teleseminars, and concentrating on my well-being during this first week of the Six-Week Detox. I've been keeping a mini-journal on a private forum for participants, and between that and reorganizing how I use my time, I'm a bit strapped for spare moments.

So, I'm going to copy (and lightly edit) a bit from my mini-journal there.

Today I decided to make an all-liquid day. I think I may break with that and have some oranges, because my body's been craving citrus a lot lately. I sat down and ate three whole grapefruits the other day for lunch/brunch. I love grapefruit! I was surprised I felt so satiated and satisfied having just grapefruit for brunch and lunch. (I don't tend to eat anything until at least mid-morning - my gut is much happier that way!)
Last night I made a very green smoothie, low (for me) on fruit and loaded with greens and green powders - chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, mullein leaf (good for mucus issues), and dulse. That's what I'll be having for lunch today. I also juiced last night and froze the jar for today - one bunch carrots with their tops, one large bunch parsley, the center 1/3-1/2 of a head of romaine, and two pears. Verrrry green for me, juice wise, but the pears made it still palatable.

I can tell I'm detoxing again - I'm getting mild acne on my face. >.< But being less strict - not doing 100% raw every day - means the detox is much more gentle than it was when I did 100% raw for a full week. I am not feeling so overwhelmed and angry, either. (Hm, sounds like I need to detox some anger... gee, big surprise! NOT!)

Another thing I've been craving and eating a ton of is green olives stuffed with whole garlic cloves. They are oily, but very delicious. I don't even really like green olives, but I love garlic and I know how tremendously healthy it is. I realized I was sitting and eating the equivalent of one or two heads of garlic in one sitting, and found myself thinking, "Huh, I bet my body needs and wants all that anti-microbial goodness."
(Plus they are so tasty!)
Grapefruit is the same way, especially the seeds - an anti-microbial power-house! Huh, I guess my body is trying to tell me something. Wink

I'm going hiking in the woods with friends tomorrow, and we'll be playing games and chasing each other too, so it's going to be my super-high exercise day for the month. (I'm usually worn out for a couple days after these monthly game days!) But I think I'm going to go bowling and/or roller-skating for fun and exercise tonight and/or Sunday too.

I've been making a version of the "Leaky Gut Repair shake" - with hemp protein, a red-superfood powder, chia seeds, coconut, a banana, and about 20 oz. water - and it is not only giving me indigestion, it's making me a little constipated. The indigestion is probably from combining the banana and hemp - and I know better, but man, the shake tastes pretty gross without the banana to sweeten it. I'm going to try my shake again with stevia instead of the banana to sweeten it. I think it is the bad food combining that is upsetting my stomach, but if it is the hemp alone, I should know soon. I hope not, though, because I bought three canisters of hemp protein powder, and I know that stuff doesn't keep forever, even frozen. Sad

The red powder contains lots of stuff, too much to list it all here, but it's lots of high-anti-oxidant red/blue/purple foods (like pomegranate, acai, purple cabbage, berries of many sorts, etc.), detox herbs (milk thistle, tumeric, aloe, ginger, etc.), and enzymes & probiotics. I saw it at Trader Joe's and it sounded just about perfect, so I decided to give it a try.

Well, wish me luck!