Monday, April 5, 2010

My Story and My 1-Year Raw Anniversary!

I LOVE Clean Eating and have been feeding my family that way for quite some time now. I personally, have taken a side road from Clean Eating, a stricter version of the same basic principles. We each have different ways of dealing with our health and our life choices have shaped these decisions. Mine was a very rocky path and I'm glad to say I came out the other side, happy and healthy. Here's my story:

I have been riding the roller coaster of eating disorders since I was 13. By that age I was bigger than any of my sisters or friends. I wanted to be just like them so I started dieting, it went downhill from there. I went on every hair brained diet known to man then eventually ended up both anorexic and bulimic. By 17 I weighed 110 lbs on a 5' 6" body. Mind you people start to bug me about being to thin when I hit about 130 lbs. My dad threatened to put me in the hospital for treatment which led me to pretend I was eating. It was a very lonely struggle which was hard for everyone around me to understand. For once, I was getting the attention and I kind of liked it. When I was 19 I met my now husband, he knew about my eating disorders and really helped me get them under control. All it took was him putting his foot down and telling me I had to stop or he'd leave. Tough love worked!

Eventually I started to become more interested in good nutrition, the kind where your food feeds you health and vitality. I became a walking nutrition dictionary. If you needed to know anything about any health food you just had to ask me. The funny thing is, I wasn't applying all of this wonderful info into my everyday life. I am an all or nothing kind of person, it has to be 100% perfect! Perfectly planned and perfectly executed. This is not always possible.

My first real stab at becoming healthier was when I was 20 or so, I became a vegan and was vegan for two years. As time passed I became what I call, a "french fry" vegan. You know eating food just because it was vegan and not necessarily because it was good for me. I wasn't feeling very good and so I slipped back into the standard American diet.

Over the next 7 years I was busy with the birth of my 3 wonderful boys. I got caught up in their world and started cooking things that were easy and fast.  I loved planning meals and cooking but the constant rush got the better of me. I started to cheat here and there and kept "convenience" foods in my home. It's amazing how you can justify keeping junk around. It's cheaper, it's easier, it makes you die younger! Yeah, that's convincing, not!

Fast forward 10 years, I was miserable, irritable, pudgy, and tired. I was still working out everyday but with no results. This made me feel like a hamster on a wheel, spinning around forever and getting no where fast. I figured it must have something to do with my Hashimoto's disease or my missing gallbladder, so off I went to my doctor and than an endocrinologist hoping they could tell me why I was so miserable. Nothing. The endocrinologist all-knowing advice, "Go check out Weight Watchers". Weight Watchers? That was the long awaited answer I had been looking for? I don't think so!

In my desire for an answer I started searching high and low on the internet for answers. The Raw food lifestyle kept coming up in searches but it was not what I wanted to see. With a husband and 3 young boys in tow I knew it wouldn't work. Too much time, too much money and too much structure. I kept searching and searching and Raw just kept popping up. After awhile I started softening to the idea. I wanted to prepare to talk to my husband about it so I sorted all my info and sat down with him. I told him I couldn't live like this anymore, things needed to change. He knew I had been feeling yucky so he promised I could go Raw and he wouldn't hassle me....... too badly:) Now he's not an unreasonable person but he has been with me through many of my eating disorders so I think he was thinking it would be another one of "those". He gave the green light and so my Raw Adventure began.

I would have to say that Day 2 sticks out in my mind as being the hardest. I had an awful headache, I was cranky and I was tired. The funny thing is that on that day my mind was whispering, "You need to eat junk food, this Raw thing is crazy". Of course, when I had these little whisperings, I knew that eating crud was NOT the answer but my mind was wrestling with it big time. Would the coffee and Cadbury chocolate eggs have made my headache go away, probably. Would it have made me feel better physically, uhh no!

Here I am at 33, 1-year into my Raw Adventure and I'm feeling great! The hardest part for me is that I am still surrounded by all of this non-Raw food. My husband and kids are not Raw so I still make them their meals. Granted I don't feed them poorly, they all eat lots of fruits, vegetables, salads and chicken but there are a few indiscretions still lying around. The good thing is that I incorporate healthier foods into their diets so that we can all feel this good together! Because of the profuse amounts of fruits and vegetables I keep around, it is really easy to make my family Clean Eating Meals. Clean Eating works so well for them. I use the same vegetables for my meals as I use for their meals, the only difference is that all of mine stay Raw. I use all of Tosca Reno's cookbooks and magazines and I have to admit that my mouth waters when I look at some of their meals. I do have a ton of Raw and Clean Eating recipes and even started a Raw blog to keep track of the Raw recipes.

I just had a new round of blood work done so I will soon see if my one year Raw has been worth it. Regardless of the blood results, I know with the way I feel, it's been worth it!

Okay, so here is what I have typically been eating:

6:30 a.m.- Water with the juice of one lemon

6:45- Vegetable juice Mostly greens with a few carrots for sweetness

9:30- Smoothie made with berries, greens, almond milk, coconut water and meat, green powder and hemp protein powder.

12:30- Collard Wraps with carrots, sprouts, avocado, spinach and Raw ginger dressing or Raw hummus, yum!

3:30- Pure Bar, fruit with a handful of nuts, flax crackers w/ avocado or another green smoothie

6:30- Kale or lettuce Salad w/ bell pepper, sprouts, carrots, broccoli and a yummy dressing, I also will eat guacamole with my salad if I want a Mexican flare to my meal. I miss Mexican food a lot!

7:00- Sometimes I treat myself to a little Raw chocolate or some berries

I hope you all follow you're own journey to health and well-being, it's a long road but so worth it! Remember, these are my thoughts and conclusions and in no way suggest that anyone else has to come to the same conclusion I have. I hope that in the end we all find our niche' when it comes to living a healthy, happy, full life:)

On April 12th I will celebrate my 1-year Raw anniversary. I am so excited that I have reached this milestone. It is so much more than I thought I could do. I now know I could and will eat this way forever. There are so many people who have been pivotal to my success. Thank you to Kristen from Kristen's Raw for the encouraging words and delicious recipes, Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes for providing such wonderful raw foods so I don't get bored, Averie Sunshine for creating the best, easy, Raw recipes that make it that much easier to keep up this way of eating and for constantly encouraging me, ShannonMarie who also creates amazing Raw foods with flare, Heather Pace who is awesome with Raw recipes and always has fun adventures to share, Liz/Veggie Girl who encourages me to stick with it, and my wonderful family who has supported me 100% even though they think I'm crazy sometimes : )



Lizzie M. said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story, you look AMAZING!

You have become so creative with raw food, you make it look even more appealing!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're crazy...all the time ;) . Really, I admire you're dedication and have actually enjoyed every raw thing of yours I have tasted! Here's to year 2!!


TheFitnessFreak said...

Thanks Lindsey! Although, I know my Raw pizza was questionable : )

shannonmarie said...

Congrats on your one year anniversary. You look amazing and I bet you even feel amazing.

A lot of raw foodies have adapted this lifestyle after dealing with similar eating disorders. I've dealt with some myself, although I rarely discuss it online. Eating raw has stopped me from counting calories and feeling guilty for eating sweets.

I try not to stress out about how perfect my diet is anymore (which is why I sometimes make room for cooked or controversial ingredients like agave and cashews). Life is too short, and I'd rather just enjoy it.

SO, glad you are enjoying life, too. Thanks for the shout out :-)

TheFitnessFreak said...

Thanks Shannonmarie! You really have inspired me to relax and go with the flow. Thank you so much : )


shannonmarie said...

You're welcome. You're an inspiration to me, too :-)

Jenn said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Sounds like we have had a similar journey until you reached the fork in the road and went raw. I tried raw once for about a month and didn't like it at all and I live in Southern CA where we have access to all sorts of amazing produce year round (as you know...saw you were from San Diego). It just wasn't for me. I tend to lean more towards traditional and paleo style of eating although I'd never label myself either. I just eat mostly real food with a lot of protein b/c that how what makes me feel great!

TheFitnessFreak said...

Paleo eating would be my ideal Jenn. Because my thyroid numbers are continuing to improve I have continued with it. It does get hard during the winter and I long for warm food again: ) Every once and a while I'll cheat and have some cooked Vegan Thai food. Yum!
We are spoiled with lots of yummy fresh produce in SoCal so it makes being Raw easier. I don't know if I could do this in a cold climate. Yeah, I hate the label too. People assume a lot if you label your eating style. I try to avoid talking about it unless people know my story.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the sun, I heard it is supposed to rain again come Tuesday : (


warren said...

I'm curious, as I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto's, what did your numbers come back at? Specifically your TPOab and AgAb?

TheFitnessFreak said...

Warren, I'm not sure what those numbers are, I just go with the broad TSH levels and keep it between 1.5 and 2. As long as I'm in that range the rest usually falls into place. Here's hoping!


Ani said...

I can't believe the transformation! I've been vegan for nearly 4 years now but over the course of my uni degree and getting married I have become a "french fry" vegan, as you put it so well! I wanted to try raw to force myself to put healthy food back into my diet, but after the first day I was sick all night :( Nevertheless I have persevered and while I have been cooking my food I have only been eating foods acceptable on the raw food diet. I've lost 7 pounds in one week! But right now I'm really craving sugary, processed foods and reading your story and seeing your one-year picture is inspiring me to stick with it. Thanks for the breakdown of what you eat/drink each day: Could you do something similar for exercise? Right now I do none: I've never been athletic and am not fit now, and I've crashed out of regimes in the past because I demanded too much of my body. Were you exercising before you started raw? Maybe you can recommend a good way to ease into it?

Also, I saw your comment on winter in San Diego. It's 50F here (in Melbourne, Australia) tonight and on nights like this I can't contemplate salad. What has helped you to overcome "warm food" cravings?

Felicia (a taste of health with balance) said...

What an amazing story! First off you look awesome, and second its crazy (once again) how much I can relate to this. There is so much information out there , and I am just trying to find what works for me. I have always loved tosca (have all her books too) but then I learned about Raw, and now I struggle between should I eventually go all raw or still eat clean and enjoy foods because "life is too short". Its a constant mental battle because I know raw would be best for me, but at the same time clean eating is healthy too , etc. (I think you get my point :) I have a horrible all or nothing attitude that I'm working on as well. I'm just trying to find the balance and be happy (which was why I finally went ahead and started my blog!) Anyway, this is a great post and congratulations on finding what works for you!

TheFitnessFreak said...

Way to go Ani! Yes, being Raw in the winter is a lot harder because you end up eating a lot of nuts to fill the void. I started drinking Teecino and hot tea to warm myself up and I also made wraps with lettuce as the "tortilla". I made this yummy broccoli, mushroom dish all of the time and put it in the dehydrator to warm it up a bit. You can put quite a few veggies in the dehydrator or even a warm oven, for a short period of time, say 30 minutes or so, and it won't damage the enzymes. It helped me a lot! I have the broccoli mushroom dish recipe on my raw blog.
I have been exercising regularly for 10 years but it never produced as good of results as when I went Raw. I have worked out at home for 10 years and am just now getting the opportunity to head back to the gym, scary! I have a ton of workout DVD reviews on my blog for all kinds of levels. Just click on workout reviews at the bottom of a post and it will pull them all up. Thanks for reading and commenting!!
By the way, my sister lived in Australia and has been wanting to go back so badly. She was happiest there for sure and we all wished she would find a hubby there so we could talk to him on the phone all the time, heehee : )


TheFitnessFreak said...

Felicia, thank you so much!Yes, that all or nothing personality can really wear us down sometimes. It's so tricky finding that balance but I am really working on it this year. I hope by the time I turn 40 I will be all good : ) I think High Raw is a better middle ground. A few cooked veggies or grains here and there. So many of the Raw mentors I have are going this route as they feel better with some cooked food. Have you checked out Kevin Gianni's blog, Renegade Health Show? He does a middle ground kind of thing as does Kristen's Raw. It's interesting that they are all doing it at the same time. I think they are buckling under the pressure. Either that or they just needed "permission" : ) Come winter I will be added some lightly cooked veggies so we'll see how it goes! I hope you find your middle ground too!


Fitness Food And Style said...

You look fabulous!!! Congratulations!!! I have just recently started to regain my post baby body after having 4 children and must say loving the new clean eating lifestyle, no diets here anymore!!!

Keep up the great work!!! xxDani


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