Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why me? Why raw? Why now?

The Short Answer? I have no alternative.

The fact is, I don't know what else to do. After years of suffering with fatigue and IBS (fancy technical term for, "We don't know WHY you have debilitating pain after almost every meal."), I decided to use my extremist personality to my benefit, for once. Salad and fruits were the only things that DIDN'T force me into the fetal position after eating, so it couldn't hurt, right?

I'd give it a week.

In that week, my energy level and mood went through the roof! I had no pain after meals anymore. My meat-loving husband's response was, "Please, stay raw!" Admittedly, some of that energy and joy was just the newness and the creativity of it. Some was because I crave beauty in everything, and raw fruits and vegetables are so vibrantly colorful, they make me smile. Some was the food itself.

It's now been 18 months. I was 100% raw for nearly 8 months, and then I slowly incorporated more cooked vegan and vegetarian food back into my life. Why? Convenience. As a mother, a wife, and a graduate student with two assistantship positions to juggle, I found myself buying frozen foods in bulk to cut down my time in the kitchen! Now, I'm paying the price. Since doing that, I've regained 10 of the 25 pounds I lost, and yes, I am tired again. So. Very. Tired.

And so, I am resolved to resume my raw food lifestyle, continue my yoga practice, and keep a public journal of my journey. My immediate challenge: Eat 100% raw vegan until my 33rd birthday on April 6th. 53 days, Including today. I've done it before. I can do it again!

This time, my life is more complicated, so I need to:
  • Find simple, quick recipes that I can make in large amounts and take to class and my office for lunch on weekdays.

  • Spend less $!!! We took a huge pay cut by both enrolling in graduate school at the same time. Good foods on a smaller budget!

  • Meld my diet with my family's diet - I no longer have time to prepare 2 separate meals every night.

NOTE TO READERS - The raw food world is full of gurus, factions, and eating disorders, as well as some great people who want to be healthy, happy, and lower their impact on the planet.
I am NOT interested in: PRODUCTS, fad diets, mono eating, juice diets, raw-food retreats and 'teachers', arguing about philosophy, religion or anything of the kind. Posts of a dogmatic or contentious nature WILL BE DENIED. This is a place for me to share my thoughts, recipes, struggles and victories as I try to cultivate a strong, healthy body. PLEASE, share your thoughts and your encouragement, but let's keep preaching out of it.


  1. Yes, more power to you for making such an excellent choice! I am finding myself in a very similar situation to yours with post-graduate studies ( MSc in environmental science), a young family and the challenge of STAYING on raw. I find it strange how, once we've experienced the life 'on-raw', we find ourselves struggling to stay 'ON' even though the health benefits are undeniable and it makes us feel so much better. And quite honestly, I find that creating raw dishes takes less time than cooking in most cases! So, why do I struggle? I don't know. Maybe following this blog will give me insights (and encouragement!) too :) I know that "cheese" cake recipe will! Thanks for posting it, and all the best for your journey! Will add any hints/tips when come up with some!

  2. Thanks, Chuti! I'm glad to know I'm not the only mom/student/wife struggling to do this! Welcome!

  3. Nice recipes...One thing I do is keep raw, soaked and dehyrdated nuts in the car with me. I usually also eat before I go to a function. The likelihood I'm going to find something while there is slim to none.
    Everyday, some kind of nut/seed is soaking. When that batch goes in the dehydrator, the next batch is soaking. Raw "burgers" are also staples for me. I make them meatball sized, using a cookie scoop. There's always several in the fridge for me to add to salads or pop in my mouth for a savory snack. Keep on...

  4. Ooooh...if you can share that 'burger', please do! I got on the ball with soaking last night. Soaking and sprouting:

    Cashews, wheat berries, brown rice and mung beans...gotta have it on hand - you're totally right.

  5. oh yes, got to keep those burgers in the fridge. I've made Sundays my 'burger making days' when I make a big batch of two flavours for the week. They are really handy when on the go as well as bulk up the salad a bit when needed. Basically I use all kind of veg (e.g. carrots, celery, courgette) mixed with ground almond meal and cashew meal, and add these to either slightly soaked flax seeds of dry ground buckwheat(my personal preference). I find that curry spices especially Garam Masala bring out a really nice flavour in burgers. I've even made savoury burgers with cacao and and hemp seeds which were gorgeous! This recipe was in the Raw Magic book by Kate Wood.

    What comes to coffee, to be honest I tried substituting but it didn't work as I always ended up having a coffee in the end anyway. Believe me, I know the evil lure of the habitual coffee at the University campus! And there are so many coffee shops there as well that it's hard to avoid them!! Anyway, after a while as the dehydration from the coffees was really damaging, I realised I had to play hard ball and I started sabotaging myself. On the days I need to be at the campus I drink litres or lemon juice mixed with water and agave and a dash of cayenne pepper, or just straight blended oranges with coconut butter. I find that coffee and citrus can be quite a bad combination on your intestines ;) and lo and behold, I stopped drinking coffee! haha

  6. Here's my favourite burger recipe:

    1kg grated carrots
    500g kale/spinach/cabbage
    3 cups cashew (blended into fine powder)
    1 cup almond (blended into fine powder)
    1/2 cup buckwheat (blended into fine powder)
    3 tbsp tamari
    1 tbsp thyme
    2 tbsp ground cumin
    2 tbsp curry powder
    2 cups sundried tomatoes

    Mix all into a dough in a food processor (If you are using linseeds in stead of buckwheat, don't process them with the rest, just add them in the mix by hand. I find that linseeds go off really fast if their form is broken).
    Make into burger shapes and put onto dehydrator trays. Dehydrate for approximately 2h, flip them over (removing texflex) and dehydrate for further 2 hours.
    Sometimes the inside stays moist.

    I like to serve these with raw caramelised onions:
    1 cup soft majool dates
    3 tbsp tamari
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1/4 cup water
    *Blend these until smooth.
    Mix together with 5 thinly sliced onions (large) and dehydrate for 2-3 h until they gain a soft 'cooked' look.
    Sometimes I let the mixture marinate over night before dehydrating.

    And, YUM! Enjoy!

  7. Chuti, thanks! The citrus and coffee tip is excellent...I will try it today since I'll be clocking 6 straight hours in the library, which has a fabulous-smelling coffee shop on the first floor...aaagh! :D

    Got my battle plannow!