Monday, December 31, 2007

Second Verse, Same as the First!

O.k., so the day started off a bit badly. Feeling crappy in the morning (a side effect of my past months of poor eating and stress). A disagreement with my husband.

Then it got better. Made up with my husband. Took a much-needed nap. A long walk in the winter wonderland. Oak trees with their golden leaves covered in snow. Why haven't those leaves fallen, I wonder? For my aesthetic appreciation? I approve! And sloggin' through that powdery white stuff sure works the glutes. But how is it that I still don't own any boots?

A nice family dinner (raw) and a fun dance party. We made New Year's wishes. The kids were pooped by 7:30 and went to bed. I can hear my hubbie breathing heavy in his chair downstairs and it's only 10 p.m. Ahhh.

I'm feeling utterly optimistic about 2008. My year to feel GREAT!

(Now, I might have to come read that over and over when the cleansing symptoms start. I could feel the burning in my nasal passages this morning... I'm ready, though!)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

O Happy Day

Nice to put something more positive at the top of the page.

So, I promised my daughter no more junk food. That felt good. Now I can't go back on my word! I feel great about that. Ready.

If I freak out, I'll just have to punch somebody. *grin* Just kiddin'.

Today, I got outside and went sledding with the kids. Got a free Ab Slide from a nice Freecycler. Worked out. Spent a great evening with my 3 year-old doin' kid stuff.

Today's Food

9 a.m. 6 oranges
12 p.m. Smoothie w/ 8 lrg. bananas and 1 1/3 cups raspberries
5:30 p.m. Big plate of lettuce w/ tomato-orange-celery blended for dressing
7 p.m. Smoothie w/ 6 lrg. bananas and 1 c. raspberries

Cal. 2400 (almost exactly what I burned!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas... sigh

I don't even feel like telling a sad story. So I won't tell you one.

Today, my girls enjoyed painting with their watercolors. In fact, the dining room is covered with lovely abstract paintings and pictures of rainbows.

We walked downtown to the movie theater late in the afternoon and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks, which was tolerable for the adults and enjoyable for the kids.

I finished the evening by fighting with, and then making up with, my husband, and then eating half a cheese pizza, a whole bunch of corn chips, and some chocolate truffles. I then read Sarah's blog about feeling the lovely tingly feeling of well-being when she eats her fruit. Imagine the antithesis of that. That's what I feel...

Well, tomorrow is another day. I choose what to make of it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Faith and Freedom

Yay! I got my spark back. Or, better yet, I found a spark I never had before.

So, I've been making huge strides lately, and I hope you'll indulge me as I glow a little.

First, I actually faced my mother and told her the outright truth (I won't go into the details because they're no biggie. But just saying them out loud and being honest about my feelings was a big hurdle for me). And, to my surprise, she accepted me! She actually told me that although our beliefs were different, she knew that "I was a person of faith," and that we shared the value of "loving others as ourselves." Wow. I told her that she was an inspiration to me and that she had helped me become the person I was, which is really true.

Another big step... I have been moving forward this week on tasks I have been procrastinating on for years. I have been repeating inwardly, "It is safe and o.k. to let go of all that I no longer need." And it is.

I have also stopped feeling so anxious, rushed, and stressed. I have realized that true emergencies are rare! A problem that is not "solved" immediately is not the end of the world.

Finally, I have done some major work with Elchanan from Path of Health and I can't say enough about how my life is changing as a result. I am embracing my faith... Faith that I can learn and grow and change. I can accept and love myself. I can love others as they are, and further, I can choose what I give and receive from others. (I realized that I often felt I needed to force my information on others to save them... like a missionary! And I can see now why that approach doesn't accomplish anything or help anyone.)

Finally, I have come to undrstand that we are born FREE. Free to learn from all situations, the good and the irritating.

I have been working to learn what it is that I seek when I head for junk food. The surprising answer... I am seeking to block out my own negative judgements of myself. When I lose faith in my ability to create financial resources, or parent effectively, or create and sustain close relationships, that is when I want to binge.

If I can trust that I am always learning and growing, that I will always do my best, and that my best is good enough for this moment... IF I CAN JUST HAVE FAITH (enter choir), then all is well.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Is that hope on the horizon?

The other night, someone said to me, "This is who you are..." And they went on to describe me better than I could describe myself. There was a sort of thrill and relief that went through me.

I do not have to try to be someone I am not just because I am afraid of rejection. Because I will NEVER feel happy pretending. WOW! Sounds simple, but I assure you, it's a big breakthrough for me. More to come, I hope.

I am now done with my library job. The sweet kids gave me tons of hugs. The kindergarteners gave me a book that they made. The teachers brought me fruit and veggie trays, chips and salsa, and a gift certificate to a bookstore. I enjoyed my time there, but am happy to be done. My last formal job ended so badly (getting fired basically), so it is nice to have done well at this job and be appreciated. I know this is not a job I would want to do as my life's work and so I can move on without feeling like I "failed" or lost out in any way.

The "last day" was strenuous, and that along with the stress my body has been put through lately, I went to bed at 6 p.m. last night and slept 14 hours. I guess I needed it!

Tonight, I am SO excited because I joined the Fruitarian Fitness 90 Day Body Challenge. I want to feel fantastic again! Anyone else in?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Should it be this hard?

I am home sick today, sick because I have not been taking care of my health. I am chronically stressed out, eating 80-10-10 on and off (and when I'm off, it's really off... like eating 4000 calories of potato chips, Taco Bell and candy bars off.) The weather is cold and snowy, so I haven't been forcing myself to go outside and walk. Blah.

After sleeping all morning, I am surfing the 'Net for inspiration. I stumbled across the Ultimate List of Raw Food Blogs and began visiting those I wasn't familiar with. What hit me at first was that it is shocking how many people are struggling the exact same way I am. On and off raw and/or low-fat, and almost 100% of it is emotional.

How did we, as humanity, end up so unhappy?

Which brings me to my 3 year-old. Yesterday, my husband and I were having a very deep philosophical conversation about the nature of life. When I say deep... let's just say that philosophers such as Rousseau and Hobbes were mentioned, as well as Eastern philosophies/ religions such as Taoism and Buddhism. All of a sudden, in response to something one of us said, our 3 year-old interrupted emphatically,

"Life is NOT rotten."

We had no idea she was listening, let alone able to follow the conversation... We swiveled our heads around in amazement and she gave us the sweetest smile and said,

"Life is pretty."

Well, there you have it... We all just have to go back to our 3 year-old selves somehow.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Our New Thanksgiving

This year, we decided to begin to break away from the toxic traditions and behaviors from our past and begin to establish our own family tradition that is more in line with our values. We value togetherness, love and gratitude. We value health and happiness.

We were very afraid to simply say to our families, "We are not coming to the Thanksgiving gorge this year, because ____________." We also realized that it would be futile to say, "We are coming, but we will only participate in our way." We have tried that in the past with no good results.

So, in lieu of brutal honesty, we chose escape. We planned a small trip to Madison, to a Holiday Inn that has a small indoor waterpark called Crawdaddy Cove.

Our children, particularly our oldest, were a little skeptical. The night before we left, he spent quite some time crying and listing all of his fears about how horrible the trip would be and how upset he was that he was going to miss out on turkey and Cartoon Network at Papa and Grandma's. However, as you see, he revised his opinion and all the children had a great time.

For our Thanksgiving dinner, I prepared a surprise plate. It LOOKS like an ordinary salad, right?

But this surprise was hiding beneath. The children enjoyed uncovering the design and eating "special occasion food" such as raisins, figs, and raw peanuts.

After dinner, we read three special Thanksgiving stories, all humorous and with the theme of sparing the turkey. I read A Turkey for Thanksgiving, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Diane DeGroat.

Our son read A Plump and Perky Turkey, by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Jeff Shelley.

My husband read 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, by Dav Pilkey.

I will rate the whole experience as a qualified success. My husband and I had a bit of trouble relaxing and enjoying ourselves, preoccupied with many major decisions and changes facing our family soon.

Crawdaddy Cove was just o.k. The chlorine was overpowering and our five year-old got sick from it.

Next year, our Thanksgiving trip will hopefully be an utterly joyous occasion that will take place somewhere with fresh water and sunshine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Back (I hope)

Don't want to jinx it, but this is Day 3 of all raw.

I've been eating lots of papaya, which is quite possibly my favorite fruit. We got some good citrus, too. And I tried some of my Fuyu persimmons that I got at a major bargain price--2 forty pound cases for $70. Not totally ripe yet, but still sweet and yummy.

I am experiencing some cleansing symptoms already, such as an intermittent headache, a rash/ hives that migrate around my body, and other mild irritations.

I feel a lot less dehydrated, bloated, and backed up, though. So that makes up for it. LOL!

Someone (Elchanan from Path of Health) suggested that every time I feel a craving, I should stop and try to explore what might have triggered it. This has helped somewhat. Sometimes, I realize that I feel upset about X, but I can't really solve X at this point. So it can be a little frustrating.

My husband and kids and I are taking a mini-trip for Thanksgiving to an indoor waterpark. We hope it will be a time to really bond as a family. I may end up in bed the whole time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rewards and Punishment

I remember when I thought of eating healthy as a habit to be checked off on a chart with a gold star. I proudly, religiously (some might say self-righteously) ate my 5-9 fruits and veggies a day. Actually, the more veggies the better--more nutrient-dense, dontcha know. Every serving of whole grain, home-cooked, vegetarian food was an antidote to my vices (overeating, ice cream, cheese, smoking).

I liked "healthy" food, too. I loved my stirfries with 8 or 10 different locally grown veggies, brown rice and tofu, seasoned with herbs, "good fats," and salt. I loved the little fruit I did eat.

Then, I learned that virtually everything I had ever learned about nutrition was wrong.

Suddenly, I started viewing everything I put into my body that wasn't food for a human--dairy, grains, tubers and crucifers, oils and salt--as a check mark against my good record. I no longer delighted in my virtuous consumption, only worried about my sins. (Of course, I'm exaggerating a bit for effect.) I worried about food combining and how early was too early to eat in the morning.

Now, I'm just starting to scratch beneath the surface of all of this behavior to find the real issues lurking beneath. Can I love the little girl inside and meet her needs without training her to respond to praise and punishment?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Looking for Joy

Have you seen her?

I was just looking at my picture to the right. I look pretty happy, don't I? Actually, I was faking it in that picture. I remember the day that it was taken. I remember feeling unhappy about many things that day. I remember that a couple of hours before that picture, I had eaten a high-fat raw meal that was sitting like a big brick in my stomach. Still I did feel a sense of happiness that I could show off my newfound physical beauty in a picture. I did feel appreciation for the beautiful weather and the gorgeous flowers around me, and appreciation for the opportunity to spend the day with my family on an adventure. Overall, I felt hopeful at that time that my life was on an upward trajectory.

So, why did I ruin it by feeling the need to project a false sense of perfection to the world? Look at me, I'm a perfect raw vegan, I am saying.

If I took a picture of me now, I would look much different. My body is swollen and bloated and overweight (over 20 lbs. in 2 months!). My hair is greasy and at an awkward stage of growth. My skin is dry and lustreless. I am wearing an expression of malaise, unhappiness, and even possibly, anger. I'm wearing the same pair of tattered, mismatched sweats for the second day in a row, for God's sake. LOL!

I can say, however, that my insides match my outsides. I am not faking anything. I am just feeling what I am feeling. And I'm saying it out loud in public.

I feel like I am ready to go on a search for REAL FEELINGS OF JOY! Not for some glossy image of perfection to portray to the world.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

30 years of problems take more than 3 minutes to fix

"Am I in heaven here or am I in hell? At the crossroads I am standing."

Sarah McLachlan

One conversation that I see repeated numerous times on raw forums is when newbies state that they have been raw for a number of weeks or months and they have not seen their symptoms disappear completely or their energy soar. Invariably, the wise sages appear and assure them that a lifetime of damage cannot be repaired in such a short time. So, be patient, stay the course, have faith, they are counseled. Some do, some fall by the wayside. Such is life.

I am trying to apply this lesson to my emotional struggles. Be patient, stay the course, have faith. Will I survive? Or will I be left laying on said wayside, a casualty of my own special collection of trauma and weakness?

Today, I was feeling under the weather and contacted a person I was scheduled to meet to beg off. She expressed concern that my illness was caused by my raw vegan lifestyle. Actually, her words were, "I wish you would consider eating more."

This is the umpteenth time this person has expressed her concern that I am going to kill myself or my children with my crazy diet.

I could not contain a derisive laugh. Hasn't she noticed that I have gained 20 pounds in the last 6 weeks, I asked her? I have been eating lots of foods on her approved list, huge amounts of calories.

"Brown rice?" she pressed. Yes, my problems are definitely caused by a brown rice deficiency.

She is just doing her best, I reminded myself. Feeling a disgusting combination of guilt and fear, I went on to explain to her, honestly, that I was going through a lot of emotional difficulties and that I felt uncomfortable being subjected to her judgements. I played the "miscarriage" card (I had a miscarriage last year at this time), which was possibly a bit dishonest, since it isn't at the top of the list of what is really bothering me, but I felt I had to say something.

She apologized profusely, for not being aware that she was letting her judgement show through. In other words, she doesn't think she's wrong, she just thinks its wrong to make another person uncomfortable by sharing her correct opinion. Sigh. I feel frustrated by my inadequacy at standing on my own.

I want this to be true:

"All the fear has left me now
I'm not frightened anymore.
It's my heart that pounds beneath my flesh.
It's my mouth that pushes out this breath

and if I shed a tear I won't cage it.
I won't fear love
and if I feel a rage I won't deny it.
I won't fear love."

Sarah McLachlan

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fruit Fun

A lovely papaya tree: coming soon to my back yard? Not!
So, I'm still struggling and suffering. LOL. Thanks to all of you who have left supportive comments on my blog. I really do appreciate it.

However, I don't want to talk about that right now... I want to talk about something crazy that happened today. Today, I cut open a ripe papaya (a Maradol variety from Mexico) and the seeds inside were all sprouted. Some had little tails, but some had actual seed leaves on them. Whoa! I've never seen that before. By the way, there was nothing wrong with the papaya. It was quite good.

I also had a ripe Hachiya persimmon tonight. I liked it! My husband got it at Woodman's in Rockford when he went to buy our son's birthday present. We don't go to Rockford much.

Our local grocery store just got Fuyu persimmons in. I was very excited, since I have been reading about persimmons on Banana Island and on Harmony's blog. They didn't have the price posted yet, but I decided to take a risk and put 3 in my cart for us to try. I got to the checkout with my persimmons and the rest of my fruit. I was tired and starting to zone out as the cashier was ringing everything. I suddenly began paying attention when the persimmons rang up at $4.97. "Wait!" I said in alarm, "How much are those a pound?"

"Oh, we sell them by the each," said the cashier. "They're $1.50 each." To put this in perspective, let me tell you that these persimmons are the size of a plum. And they are $1.50 each! Needless to say, I only got one persimmon, not three. It is still ripening on the counter. I hope to be able to tell you soon whether it is as extravagant as its price.

Finally, my son's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated the occasion with a combination of his two favorite fruits, apples and dates. We made an apple-date pie with a date crust, shredded Fuji apples, date sauce (made with water and dates) and a tiny sprinkle of Chinese 5 spice powder. (Recipe courtesy of the Path of Health, Chinese 5 spice our variation...) We all enjoyed it! Now, if only I had a photo. Note to self: charge the camera batteries the day before all birthdays. LOL!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I have been working on a lot of personal issues and it is hard work, let me tell you!

I have been binge-ing on junk food fairly frequently and feeling generally bad about myself, which is why I haven't been posting here. But I feel like I am ready to stop feeling horrible and start feeling good again. It is AWEFUL to know what it's like to feel good, and yet to continue to make yourself feel bad. Sigh.

To add insult to injury, I have had an itchy rash all over my face and sores in the corner of my mouth for the past 4 days. Enough! Really...

There are exciting developments in other areas of my life, however. My husband has joined Path of Health and has been eating 80-10-10 raw for almost a week now. We are reading the Nonviolent Communication book Language of Compassion. We are working on our homeschooling vision as well.

And, I have been offered a job opportunity to work with my farmer friend Phil next summer. Will I do it? The successful class I had with young children in the community garden seems to be leading me to make some changes in that project as well.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Feeling the Love

I am so grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends! Wow. I am also disconcerted a bit by all those online and in my own life who have responded with their own questions, fears and skepticism.

I am thankful that people feel comfortable sharing their concerns and asking their questions. At the same time, I feel a bit nervous taking on the role of expert or even role model. I share my own personal experiences with the hopes that they will help others feel confident to try 80-10-10 out. I encourage anyone who has questions to go to Dr. Graham's VegSource Forum or the PathOfHealth Yahoogroup. These folks really ARE experts and role models.

I guess I should clarify for those of you who might wonder... I have ZERO doubts about the health, safety and normalcy of eating a diet of raw fruit and tender greens. That's right, folks, I truly believe that this is the way that humans are designed to eat, and that anything else will result in less than optimal health.

I also know that as Dr. Graham says, it's direction, not speed, that counts. I am going in the right direction again, thank goodness!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Two-Week Detour

Two week detour, much like the famed "Two Hour Tour" gone awry, only without the Skipper and Marianne.

Seriously, though, maybe you've wondered where I've been. It hasn't been a happy place!

Two weeks ago, in response to feelings of frustration, anger, fear, and loneliness, I decided to eat some SAD "food." I knew that I would get sick, but I still chose to do it. However, I had a new awareness of my body's reactions to taking in these foods that I had not experienced before when I ate them fairly often.

Within an hour, I could feel my entire body rapidly dehydrating. My throat and mouth got very dry and then my lips. I could feel my hands and feet swell. I felt a comfortable numbness throughout my entire body for about the first hour--a heavy (but not unpleasant) sensation in my stomach, a slight fogginess in my thinking, drowsiness. Then, however, I got a knotted, painful sensation in my stomach. I heard gurgling noises. I also felt unsatisfied. I felt like I "needed" more SAD food. So I ate more. I went to bed feeling heavy. I slept fitfully, waking often to drink water and remembering strange dreams. My stomach hurt but not as much as I had worried it might.

However, the next morning, I threw up and had diarrhea forapproximately 6 hours. I was incapacitated for the whole day. Iimmediately had increased vaginal discharge (something I had since puberty but went away on 80-10-10). Also, I got a mild yeast infection for a day or two. Then next day, I craved more SAD foods. My stomach was still visibly bloated and gurgling. I later ate more SAD foods throughout the next two weeks. I noticed less symptoms--my body no longer produced diarrhea or vomiting--but I got severe heartburn, which felt like someone was literally kicking me in the esophagus. I gained about 10 pounds in one week, which I assume to be mostly water-weight and colon backup. My hands are slightly painful and swollen in the morning. My skin is oilier and I have some minor breakouts. My scalp is also oilier and a little flakey. My workouts were more difficult and I had less energy. My bowels were immediately irritated. I had gas and a bit of constipation.

The other annoying thing I noticed is that I never felt satisfied after eating the foods I "craved." It was never enough!

The interesting thing about experiencing these physical and mental symptoms was that they were all familiar. I had experienced these symptoms before with regularity before, but never paid much attention. Some of the "milder"symptoms I attributed to age or the natural course of things. The more severe symptoms I chalked up to a bug, such as the "flu." The dissatisfaction and cravings I had attributed to my weak willpower or "stress." Somehow, adding back all these symptoms made me appreciate more clearly how I had not been experiencing them at all in the past 3 months of 80-10-10.

So, self-love, where are you? I feel like I was doing great and then I just fell into a pit of despair and self-loathing. Now, I gotta claw my way back outta here.

Today was Day 1

10 a.m. 1 cup of heirloom cherry tomatoes (a gift from a friend)
11 a.m. 3 large Bartlett pears
Noon Smoothie with 7 med. bananas, 2 cups frozen raspberries
3:30 p.m. (Having baaaaaad cravings!) a large quantity of lettuce and 2 cups cherry tomatoes
7 p.m. About 2 mangoes and 2 C. tomatoes blended into a soup

Total: About 1700 cal. (I can afford to be a little low after a week of eating 3000 cal. a day)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Day's Menu

I have been lax about posting what I eat in the past weeks. Give me a break, I'm working full-time now. LOL!

Anyway, here's today's food...

7 a.m. A smoothie made with 6 medium bananas and 1 1/2 cups of frozen mango
12 p.m. 2 1/2 cups red grapes, 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, 3 leaves of romaine
5:30 p.m. A smoothie made with 7 medium bananas and 1 cup frozen mango, a salad with 4 C. local red leaf lettuce, 2 C. chopped heirloom tomatoes, and 3 large Medjool dates for dessert

Total: 2200 calories

Perfect for the amount I expended.

I did some walking, running, calisthenics and strength training and aerobics today. Sounds like a lot, but only added up to 40 minutes... Better than the 15 minutes I've been getting for the past few weeks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Celebrate good times

Our new kitty, Rover (otherwise known as "Nugget"--the name my 3 year-old gave him)

My daughter with a sunflower head that's bigger than her head! Actually, that was one of the smaller heads.

My son enjoys fresh sunflower seeds.

I have so much to be thankful for in this life, although sometimes I get caught up in moments of (self-created) stress and depression and forget to count my blessings.

We have a new addition to our family--a cute little kitten named Rover (or Nugget). He came with a distended belly, gas and diarrhea, which cleared up immediately on a diet of raw meat. We considered worming him, but his rapid improvement indicates that giving him a species-appropriate diet was all that was required. He is a frisky, happy, cuddly little guy and very tolerant of being "loved" by our three year-old. Unfortunately, our other cat has not accepted him yet, and is spending 24 hours outside to avoid poor little Rover. Hopefully, Bart will come around and learn to tolerate his new housemate soon.

This weekend, we had a fabulous children's class in the community garden. Thirteen children, ages 3-10, came and used their 5 senses. They sniffed basil, mint, and dill. They collected flowers and seeds and leaves. They felt furry lambs-ear leaves. We caught and examined grasshoppers. The kids dug and played in the dirt for quite some time. They pulled carrots and harvested summer squash. Some didn't even know that carrots came from the ground, or what squash was. They each got to help cut a huge sunflower head and got their photo taken with it. They sampled local apples, garden tomatoes, sweet peppers, the carrot they pulled, and the squash they picked. A few tried sunflower seeds. It was great fun for all! Honestly, it made every time I felt overwhelmed or frustrated with this garden project fade into the background. It was ALL worth it to enjoy this with these kids.

So I am for this moment, grateful and happy. I wish you all well.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I have a bad habit of thinking of myself as completely healthy now that I eat raw.

I tend to forget that I've only been eating 80-10-10 for a few months and that although my health has improved dramatically in that time, I still have years worth of toxins to dump and massive healing to be done.

On Tuesday, I stayed home sick from school. I had a low-grade fever in the morning and a very runny nose. I didn't eat much and I slept most of the day. Interestingly, I had 6 bowel movements (all "normal"). I felt pretty light and cleaned out. Maybe my body was spending more time repairing my bowel, which had been pretty irritated for the last 2 years or so.

I felt much better on Wednesday. Ideally, I would have taken another day off just to rest and recover fully, but I don't have paid sick leave, so back to work I went.

I feel good thinking about all of the repair work my body is able to do without me consciously directing it. All I have to do is "stay out of the way" by not consuming toxic substances and resting properly.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Germ Theory

One of the more controversial tenets of Natural Hygiene is the belief that germs do not cause illness.

The argument is the following... All disease is caused by toxemia. Toxemia is caused by toxins building up in the body. Toxin buildup results from consuming foods inappropriate for our species (meat, milk, grain, cooked food...) or from other practices that thwart the body's ability to cleanse metabolic toxins. So basically, if you are emotionally unhealthy, if you don't exercise, if you don't get the rest and sunshine you need, toxins can build up.

Your body then produces a response to remove the toxins. Throwing up, sneezing, runny nose, for example, are all ways for the body to rid itself of toxic matter. Symptoms are the healing itself. Symptoms also alert your conscious mind to perform actions that assist healing, such as fasting or resting.

What about those bacteria that we can see on a microscope? Well, according to NH, the germs are opportunistic organisms that actually are assisting in the healing process. Bacteria are consuming toxins or performing other functions, not attacking us and causing illness.

Without delving deeply into all of the convincing evidence that NH teachers use to support their theory, let me just state that I generally am convinced.

But I am challenged by a couple of unanswered questions:

1) Why do I have the same cold symptoms that my kids had a couple of days ago, and that some of their daycare compatriots had last week? The usual argument would be that we have similar poor habits that build up toxins and so our bodies simply are cleansing simultaneously.

But I'm the only committed raw fooder in the bunch. Why should I have similar symtoms as my kids who ate tons of sugary baked goods this Saturday and a bunch of meat and milk consuming daycare kids?

2) What about stuff like rabies?

So a long drawn-out way to say... Waaah, my nose is running. LOL!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Three Lousy French Fries

Well, folks, after eating 100% raw exclusively since April 29th, I finally had my first cheat.

During lunch today, I ate three crinkle cut fries (no salt, no catsup) off of someone's plate. Why? Well, that's a darn good question. I don't remember being really self-aware at that moment. It's not like I did it without thinking. It's not even like I felt compelled by an overwhelming craving or even a strong desire for the fries.

I do remember thinking... all this time; is it worth it to "break the streak" for some lousy cafeteria fries? The answer was, no. They were cold, tasteless (I was a bit suprised that they weren't salted or chemically at all--I believe my tastebuds would pick up on that stuff). They were quite mushy in texture, not because they weren't cooked properly, but because potatoes are mushier than I remember. They also had an unpleasant, starchy potato taste and a slightly oily sheen to them. Very bland. Not sweet.

So why did I do it? Honestly, I'm not quite sure. I do know that I ate less than half the calories than I was supposed to yesterday and this morning was forced to choose between unripe bananas and unripe honeydew melon. I have been quite crabby about food. There have been no ripe bananas to be had in my entire town (5 stores I've been to and all the bananas are the identical shade of pale yellow tinged with green). Local melons are on the downswing. My garden is cashing out. So, I feel very disappointed with the lack of good food choices available to me. I have also been feeling pretty frustrated by not having enough money or the right location to access quality food.

Also, I am not getting enough rest and I was particularly stressed at my job today. But I didn't feel like I was eating "emotionally" at the time that I did it. I feel frustrated that I still lack the self-awareness to understand why I am choosing certain actions. I want clarity, darn it! Clarity about what I want and why.

Well, now I know that I don't want french fries.

I was a bit afraid after I ate the fries that I would get ill, but I had no noticeable symptoms. My mouth was very dry and bad-tasting in the afternoon, but I have had that symptom for weeks. I drink LOTS of water and don't eat salt at all, so I don't know what this symptom is telling me.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Isn't Nutridiary cool?

(In case you're wondering, the first pic shows my calorie distribution in upright bars. The blue is for carbs. It also tells my weight and body fat percentage when I started Nutridiary in August and as of today. Get out your magnifying glasses. LOL! The second chart shows calories burned vs. calories consumed. The bottom line is calories consumed. As you can see, I haven't been eating enough, but am getting closer now.)

Nutridiary is so fun to play with. I love charts and graphs and detailed information. But, really, how much time does it take out of my day to chart every bit of food I consume and how much I exercise and how big my waist is. And then to scrutinize these fun graphs... Sheesh! Just go eat some watermelon and be done with it.

Knowing how many calories a computer system estimates I should eat is helpful, to a point. But really, at some point, I have to move past that and be able to tell my actual body's signals for hunger and thirst. And I have to build a life that allows me to eat what I need, when I need it, which is not currently the case. (This need is also extended to all of the rest of my being's needs--rest, sunshine, exercise, spiritual fulfillment, emotional ease, etc.)

So, I have been thinking about this a lot. How to manifest my REAL life, the one I'm meant to be living.

A further update. The difference in my mood and cravings and my ability to work out is unbelievable after just a few days of getting my calories up. I am still working at it.

Also, I am trying to work especially with my oldest son, who is undereating as well. We had some good talks and some good smoothies this weekend.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Improvements already!

Day three of getting those calories up there. Already I'm noticing significant improvements! The cravings are massively lessening. And, I ran a full lap around the track at a pretty good speed without feeling like I was going to die.

Too tired to post much more. It's been a super-busy week at work with the Open House and the Book Fair lasting late into the night on Wednesday. And packing the Book Fair (along with the rest of the job).

I also was at the Community Garden tonight. Lots of stuff going on there. There are amazing sweet potatoes to harvest and sell soon.

Today's food

7 a.m. 6 nanas and 1/4 large head iceberg
12 p.m. 7 nanas
6 p.m A huge salad of the rest of the head of iceberg, a mango, 2/3 of an avocado, a huge red heirloom tomato, and a yellow tomato
7 p.m. A few pods of okra while harvesting

1880 cal. C-F-P 84-10-6

A couple hundred calories short

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Transitioning from weight loss to health maintenance

I had a really helpful conversation with my Path of Health mentor Seena last night. Together, we talked through some of my more recent challenges.

Here's the basics... I'm not eating anywhere near enough to fuel my activities. I am losing weight, but not dropping body fat and building muscles. I am having cravings for SAD foods because I am hungry.

I thought I was having trouble recognizing the signs of "true hunger," but one reason for that might be that I'M HUNGRY ALL THE TIME. Duh. Seena also thought that I might be confusing hunger with thirst, since I am drinking way more water than a non salt-eating raw fooder would normally need.

So, using Nutridiary, I can see how many calories I actually need to eat on a day-to-day basis, and I'm actually going to do it.

Once I have the money to buy enough food. LOL!

Seena encouraged me to try using smoothies to get over my banana aversion. She also suggested that I eat before work, even though it is earlier than I'd really like to, because otherwise, I don't get a chance to eat two solid meals during the daytime. She encouraged me to research the most calorie-dense sweet fruits (bananas and dates, in case you're wondering) and eat 'em up! And, she said once I start fueling my body properly, I can exercise more vigorously and see the body fat drop and the muscle-building I'd like. So... feels exciting to have some ideas how to get going. Thanks again, Seena.

Today's Food

7 a.m. 10 cups watermelon (Got a stomacheache. Not sure if it was the watermelon, which was just a tiny bit under-ripe, or if it was the speed I ate, or eating so early. I felt really bad for 20 minutes)

11:45 a.m. 7 medium and 3 small bananas

4:45 p.m. Leftover 2 cups watermelon from breakfast

6 p.m. Salad with red leaf lettuce, okra, zucchini, heirloom tomato, and yellow pepper

7 p.m. A large mango

Cal. 2048, C-F-P 89-4-7

Only 60 calories short! Not bad for day one.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Where've you been, Greenmama?

I am so happy to have a long weekend to relax and rejuvenate! I skipped the Farmer's Market today as my partner was out of town (that makes 4 out of the last 5!) and I just felt I needed the break.

My job is going better than I feared. I really enjoy the children and being surrounded by books. The rest of it sucks, but the first two things make it doable. My kids are enjoying school, although we've already had some difficulties there. They are a bit overtaxed by the long intense days and tend to be tired and irritable at certain times of the day (usually when we have to get ready to leave and time is of the essence). So, we're surviving.

We are again completely out of cash. We don't have enough money to buy food or gas to get us to work every day next week. Of course, we'll manage somehow. We always do. Next week will be my first full paycheck and it will also have some extra hours for the Book Fair, so that will be fine.

I am doing some Dynamic Self-Discovery one-on-one sessions with Elchanan and our first session focused on my ability to create resources. "I am ready, willing, and able to have and to spend whatever money my heart desires--now." I still feel like that is such a wonderful thing to say and I can't wait until it is true. I am ready, willing, and able... o.k., not "able" at this point because there is no cash. LOL! Another gem, "When you have more, you have more to give." That feels really wonderful. There are so many people and causes I would love to give more to. So, in order to give, I must be able to receive. I have to receive the abundance that is out there for me before I can share it. (Where is it, though?)

On the raw food front. I am still eating low fat raw vegan. I have been eating mostly local watermelon, with a few bananas, and tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, and squash from the garden. I have been a little lax on my greens, every third day or so. Yesterday I had a lot of green leaf and romaine. My community garden box has a lot of salad greens that are about 1 1/2 inches high, so I'm looking forward to eating those soon.

On the exercise front, I have been consistently getting 15-30 minutes of walk/jog in on my lunch break at work. It's nice to get the sunshine and the exercise helps me feel better. I need more exercise and want to build more muscle and core strength. But I feel so exhausted by the end of the day that I am just collapsing. About the most I can get myself to do in the evening is read a little bit of the new Harry Potter. Even if I do have any spare energy, I feel like I need to do things like dishes and laundry and packing lunches for the next day.

At the suggestion of the Path of Health group, I set up a free account at Nutridiary. I have always used SparkPeople and they have nice features, but Nutridiary is a lot more helpful because they add up the calories you burned and subtract the calories you ate and give you a total--how many calories are you over or under-eating. Wow, I am consistently undereating by quite a bit. I was ingrained in the dieter's myth that as long as I was eating more than 1200 calories, I would be fine. But my activity level burns significantly more than that. That could be why I have lost 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks and why I am experiencing a lot of food "cravings." The cravings are more like obsessive thoughts, rather than actually WANTING to eat foods. I can go into the cafeteria and buy the foods like French fries or nachos. I don't do it. I could. I don't even feel like I am stopping myself from doing it.

But yet, I find myself thinking about these foods and even remembering what they taste like. Sigh. Part of me wonders about the theory I've heard about cravings being triggered when you burn fat, because the fat was created by those foods and particles of them are released into your bloodstream. I used to think it was absurd, but now I wonder.

Anyway, I usually feel better if I just EAT. But I sometimes have to delay because of my schedule. And, we just don't have much food. Bananas are the solution, but I procrastinate eating them. I don't really like bananas much. I don't hate them. I just feel blah about bananas.

So, that's me, right now. Here I am. Greenmama, out.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tuckered out!

My kids started school today. They enjoyed it for the most part. I had a busy day at work. Looks like they're all that way. I enjoyed some of it. It's challenging for me to feel utterly exhausted by 6 p.m.

Tonight I spent a little time with my five year-old, just the two of us. We took a bike ride to the community garden. We found an okra pod the size of a large carrot!

Still eating raw food.

Last night, I listened to a Path of Health teleconference called Monoeating and Self-Love. At the end, the speaker Elchanan reminded us to stop thinking about what goals we haven't accomplished and look back and appreciate how far we've come. So, I think I will try to focus on how much my life has improved in the last few months and just feel grateful.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cute kids

Today I started classes in the library. I really loved spending time with the kids. They are funny and interesting. But there are so many of them and our time is so short. A cute little girl named Allisen wanted me to help her find a book on pigs, but unfortunately, I didn't have time. As it was, all of my classes were late returning because I had to have each child tell me his or her name before I could check them out, and I'm still getting the hang of all of the steps it takes to do a checkout. All of the kids are required to have two or three books, depending on their grade level, and I have to check the reading level of their Accelerated Reading book so that they are only taking books in their level so that they can take a quiz on them. Being on schedule is hugely important in a school. It is irritating that the schedule is the main thing, not the learning or the interacting of people, or even bodily needs like eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty, or going to the bathroom. It is also annoying to enforce such a rigid system for which books the children can choose. They are used to it and happy to comply, though.

Today I got an excellent lesson from a third grader. She was helping her friend, who was upset because her shiny Fruit Loops token was not in her backpack where she thought it was. The wise little third grader said, "The important thing is not to panic. When I lose my Polly Pocket slipper, I start to panic and then I can't look for it. But, if I CALM DOWN (here she made a large gesture with both hands to illustrate), then I usually find it right away." Her friend decided that maybe she had left her Fruit Loops token at home under her swan picture she drew where she keeps all of her special things. Ah, the wisdom of children.

My kids have their first hour of school tomorrow. They will go with their Dad to meet their teachers and turn in their school supplies. Then they have the rest of the day free to enjoy each other's company.

I got my first paycheck. Very exciting! It all went to overdue bills, but I am thankful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I LOVE garden club. I love spending time with interesting people more than twice my age. Seriously... I wish I could recount all of the fascinating and unusual stories and funny jokes I heard tonight. I stayed late with a couple of interesting octagenarians and we talked about everything from what it was like to be a repo man fifty years ago, to why the phone company sucks, to a 92 year-old movie shot by Thomas Edison, to the Renaissance, to San Padre Island and the cheerleaders one can meet there. Gus Petrakis told me that he was in love with me and offered me some uzo. A girl could get used to that. I better be careful, he's got a book called Windows XP for Dummies on his coffee table and may find my mention of his name on Google. (Hi, Gus.)

Anyway, it's past my bedtime. (No, I didn't have any uzo.)

A note about my food record... I am sorry I've been lax about this. I doing well for weeks now eating about 90-5-5. I am eating a lot of bananas and local melons, as well as lettuce. My friend brought me an order of peaches and blueberries from Michigan. The rest of my diet is stuff out of my garden--cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, and tomatillos.

I need to consistently eat more calories. Work is wreaking havoc on my eating schedule. I have to eat way earlier than I want to or wait until 11:30, when I'd be starving. I want to get in some outdoor walking during my lunch break, but I only have 30 minutes to both walk and eat, so it's a bit hairy. I feel lousy if I don't get some exercise, fresh air and sunshine, though. Then I feel ravenous after school and start eating and don't quit until after dinner. So I'm eating too many kinds of foods together in the evening.

I'm sure I'll get into a more comfortable routine soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tired (and tired of being negative)

The title says it all.

Literally, at times this week, I have only not eaten cooked foods because I know I will get violently ill. Several items that have been occupying my mind... Taco Bell bean burritoes, vegetarian super-nachos, and waffle fries. When I think of them, I simultaneously feel desire and nausea. The thought of eating them literally makes me want to vomit.

But then at other times, I feel better.

Actually, I don't think there's much I could say at this point that would be interesting or useful to anyone. But I want to record how I feel for the future. So when everything is all wonderful and I am the person I always was meant to be, I can look back and see the depths from which I rose.

Geez, even that sounds bad.

Ok, two things I am grateful for... Patton Oswalt (warning explicit language, but GOOD GOD, this guy is funny) and Tomato-Peach Soup (recipe in Dr. Graham's 80-10-10 Diet).

Good night all and thank you for being here for me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rainy weekend

Work has started and life is busy. Today, it was raining, so I worked on washing and slicing tomatoes for dehydrating. We've got a lot of tomatoes. I don't know how the rest will do with all of this rain. We've been getting so much rain that the beans are molding on the vine. I have some pinto beans ready to pick, but no customer, so I'm not in a hurry to pick them. It rained off and on all day anyway.

I am reading a fantastic book called "How Children Learn" by John Holt. I recommend it to everyone who will ever interact with a child. Actually, it is giving me some insights into some of my own feelings about learning--for example, why I feel confident and able when approaching certain learning tasks, but incompetent and fearful approaching others. I am really, REALLY looking forward to releasing my children from school next year and feel anxious and impatient about this year. We are struggling financially and I want it to stop. But, I seem to be resisting the jobs that will pay the bills, too. LOL!

I checked my body fat percentage today and it is still hovering about 25%. I really need to get busy on the exercise. I'd feel better, too. So, I'm headed down to do a step aerobics video and maybe a little strength training.

Today's Eating

10 a.m. About 12 C. local watermelon
12 p.m. 9 Calimyrna figs (a gift from a friend)
2 p.m. 6 more cups of watermelon
6 p.m. Organic baby romaine and spinach with tomatoes and Armenian Snake Cucumbers from my garden

Approx. 1500 cal., C-P-F 89-7-4

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gearing up for a new gig

So life is getting bit hectic here as Jason and I both start work Friday and the kids begin daycare and school (next week). I have been keeping it positive. I have especially been trying to focus on the positive in my blog, which at times feels a little phoney. Really, people, in the interest of full disclosure, I go back and forth between fear and faith, crisis and confidence, sometimes on an hourly basis.

Really, what it boils down to is this. I want to be homeschooling my raw vegan kids and living in paradise (fruit trees please) with my healthy raw vegan husband with our meaningful work that pays us a comfortable income. Instead, I am sending my omnivore children off to heartless institutions so that I can go work a job I'm not that happy about. My husband tastes like a garlicky hamburger sometimes when I kiss him. And then other times, like now, he runs off and leaves me alone to slave away while he goes to, of all things, a role-playing game convention (which, by the way costs MONEY, which we don't have enough of). Wah, wah. Who's a whiny baby?

Really, it's not so bad. I had a lovely day with the kids. I have been practicing my communication skills and managed to survive more than one tantrum without either losing my temper OR letting go of my limits. The kids and I had a fun trip to the library AND together as a family, we got the house reasonably clean. I am glad my husband is going to have fun with his friend doing something he enjoys. He works hard to earn our bread (make that fruit) and we have a nice house, food to eat, clothing on our backs, etc. and so on... A little fun and games didn't hurt anyone.

So, the positivity isn't phoney. I really am blessed and grateful for my life.

Today's Food (*local food)

9:30 a.m. 12 cups watermelon*

12 p.m. 8 Medjool dates (not so hot, dried out and grainy)

2:30 p.m. 6 more dates

6 p.m. 1/2 Casaba melon, salad with organic red and green romaine, heirloom tomatoes*, organic celery, and about 1/4 organic avocado

1900 cal., C-P-F 87-6-7


Walked about 1 mile with the kids

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Salome with her Grandpa (my father)

My farmer friend Phil hangin' out at Willow

Busy, busy weekend! Saturday was Farmer's Market and then the kids and I headed out for the Willow Creek Folk Festival that is held in a picturesque little churchyard in the country about 25 minutes away from here. Willow attracts a ton of amazing talent from all over and is a big thing for all the crunchy/ hippy/ liberal folk around these parts, but believe it or not, we've never been. We made a special effort this year, as my husband's brother's band had secured a timeslot to play. My husband was feeling really low with a rib injury, however, and decided to stay home and rest.

We had a WONDERFUL time. I had a few welcome but unexpected encounters, including with my parents! My parents had decided to take a little mini-vacation and stayed in a hotel in Stockton with my four youngest siblings. The sibs decided to sit out the festival in favor of swimming in the hotel pool. But my parents had a great time. It was nice to visit with them a bit. The kids ran me a bit ragged, especially at the end, when two of them disappeared into the darkness and it took a little while to find them. We enjoyed hearing my brother-in-law's band... They played a really fun cover of Folsom Prison, by Johnny Cash, an original murder ballad that my dad deemed "inappropriate for a churchyard," and a White Stripes song.

Today, we had Salome's birthday party in a local park. Nobody blinked when we served a watermelon cake. Aside from a lot of sweating and my nephew Sam's dramatic spill off of a swing, a rolicking good time was had by all.

Food from today and yesterday (* denotes local)


I ate a lot of watermelon* and some cukes*, tomatoes*, lettuce, peaches and a few grapes.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Resting and letting my body cleanse

Another photo from the family reunion last week. Aren't they sweet?

Today, I simply felt wiped out. My head felt better. I had big plans to spend the day in the garden, but my body had other ideas. I slept out in the sun for a little over an hour this morning, then listened to a teleconference in the recliner and did some stuff on the computer for a little while. Then I took a long afternoon nap. I had loose stools four or five times throughout the day.

I imagine it must seem odd to my friends who know about my raw journey that I have spent so much time this summer being ill. I personally feel a little discouraged by this myself at times. But I understand that this process is my body healing from all of the toxins that have accumulated from years of smoking (in college), poor eating, stress, etc. I am happy to know that all of this is being released and feel confident that I will continue to feel healthier as time passes. Already I have seen so many benefits. I often get impatient and don't give my body the rest it needs when I experience symptoms of cleansing. Then my body has to throw out stronger symptoms to get my attention. So, I plan to try to rest when my body says rest.

Today, I was happy to have the opportunity to really rest well, since my husband and the kids headed off and spent the day at my in-laws for the family's annual garage sale. They packed lots of fruit and the best of intentions, but again, the kids indulged in meat and everything else. It is very hot and so as I nurse my 3 year-old, her sweat reeks of dead animal. I am curious to see if they throw up this time or if their little bodies are too busy with the stuff from last week to bother...

Tonight, I managed to go out to the garden and harvest some tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers for tomorrow's market. I plan to try to go get some chard, endive, okra, potatoes, and a couple cabbages tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes. I was annoyed that I forgot my radio to to set up to keep the raccoons out of my corn. Let's hope they don't find it tonight.

Today's Food (*denotes local)

9:30 a.m. About 10 cups watermelon
12 p.m. About 8 cups watermelon
6 p.m. About 2 cups organic romaine, tomatoes*, cucumber*, a little summer squash*, 4 organic bananas

Approx. 1400 calories, C-P-F 84-7-9

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Picture from TheArtfulWriter

O.k., so it was bad, but maybe not that bad. I went back to bed and slept all morning, but I had to go work at my new job this afternoon. To be more precise, I chose to go even though I could have cancelled.

I still have some lingering pain and pressure on my right side, and my vision sometimes gets a bit "off" with halos and such.

I had a very bad evening yelling at the children. I am doing some research on Nonviolent Communication but I better get my eyes off the screen soon and go to bed.

Today's Food (*denotes local)

11:30 a.m. About 12 cups Watermelon (actually TRYING to prevent my body from sending out the symptoms. Yes, very counterproductive, I know.)
From 2-4 p.m. Snacked on some organic red grapes
6:30 Salad with organic romaine, an avocado, some summer squash*, tomatoes*, okra*, cucumbers*, and sugar snap peas*

Approx. 1450 calories, 70-8-22

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fear Vs. Faith

My garden, weeds and all. It's kinda hard to see, but back there is my 6 foot tall sweet corn. In front is sweet potatoes, swiss chard, and various cole crops--all for selling at the Market.

The other side of the garden. The poles standing up are for the pea fence. I picked the last sugar snaps this week. The second fence in back has Purple Triumfo pole beans. In front of the pea fence are the tomatos.

Four varieties of snap beans--Dragon tongues, yellow French Filet, and two kinds of green beans that look pretty much identical. Yes, they are planted too close! But I didn't have to do much weeding. LOL!

Red okra starting to bloom. Okra tastes great raw and isn't slimy like it is when it's cooked.

Today was a day for exhaustion, exhiliration and epiphanies. After a marathon late-night "working things out" session with my husband, I got up at 6:15 to go to a Farmer's Market with my farmer friend Phil. Great fun, and lots of learning! The "big city" market was a lot different than my home town one.

This afternoon, I had fun with the kids watching videos of colonoscopies. I highly recommend this video for anyone trying to kick the meat and milk once and for all. (If you go, click on the link to the movie that is called Colon Therapy. Also, please don't think I'm endorsing the good doctor's eating plan of 80% grains!) My kids were fascinated and asked lots of questions. However, some of the last shots of really badly diseased colons and polyp removal got too gross for them and they stopped watching. My son has a bad rash on his anus from his weekend SAD experience, so I think he thought about that a bit. He is very interested in anatomy.

Today is our baby's birthday! She turns 3. We celebrated her all day! She is the person in the family who truly knows The SECRET to life. We plan to have a party for her on Sunday with a watermelon cake.

Tonight, I started listening to the first free conference offered by the Path of Health, entitled What is Health? Amazing stuff! My husband and I have been so grateful for the Path of Health community and the help they have offered to us on our journey, and I would encourage anyone to try out their 2 month trial period and free mentorship program.

Anyway, while listening, I was struck by Elchanan's teaching about fear versus faith. I was thinking about this as I took a long walk late in the evening. It came to me that I am ALWAYS afraid! I grew up constantly afraid that I would be yelled at, belittled, criticized, and paddled. I was afraid that I was a bad person and would burn in hell. As I grew up, I added more and more fears. I am afraid of being a total failure, of being unlovable. I am afraid I can't do math or learn to fix anything mechanical. I am afraid of losing things and not being able to find them, and consequently, I never can actually look for lost items. I am afraid of being a horrible parent. I am afraid of being attacked by men or dogs. I am afraid that I can't manage time or be organized and that I won't have enough time or energy to do all the things I am interested in. I am afraid of what others think of me.

As I was thinking all this, I started realizing that I was walking, and not running because I have always been afraid to lose my breath. Somehow, I have convinced myself that I can't run. Then I thought how there was a time when I couldn't really walk very well. My thighs rubbed together painfully. My back and feet ached. I felt tired and out of breath quickly and felt like I was forcing myself to walk. Now, I realized I wasn't feeling that feeling any more. I felt light and airy. I realized I was walking quite fast without any real effort. I thought about how my thighs are never irritated and chafed and broken out any more, like they used to be. I saw my thin, fit shadow on the ground. It seemed like a different person than the one I was afraid of being.

I broke into a joyful run, just to see if I could hold that feeling of energy. It felt really easy, like I was skimming over the ground. I didn't feel like I was forcing it or like I was being chased. It was just running.

Then I started getting afraid of being fearful. LOL! What a silly thing to be afraid of. I slowed down, just to feel in control. But I broke into a run again as soon as I felt ready. It was fun! I got home feeling fantastic.

Today's Food (* for locally grown)

10 a.m. 1 large cantaloupe*

12 p.m. 1 more large cantaloupe*

3:30 p.m. 1/2 large Armenian Snake cucumber*, 1 cup or so various small tomatoes*

6:30 p.m. About 12 cups watermelon, 1 large stalk celery
11:30 p.m. About 4 cups watermelon (yikes, I know! but I didn't eat enough and exercised late.)

Approximately 1400 calories, C-F-P 83-9-9


45 minutes brisk walk with a bit of running thrown in

15 minutes strength circuit (body weight exercises)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Family Reunion

My husband's parents, siblings, and our families. The only person missing is his sister's husband.

Guess what I'm feeling.

Chicken and noodles are a special tradition in my mother-in-law's family.

She was willing to scream for this ham sandwich.

This is plate #2 or maybe #3. She's not so sure anymore. Most of this got pitched in the trash.

Today was a family reunion for my husband's mother's side of the family. His mother is one of six children, but they are scattered all over the country and rarely get together. In fact, this was my first time meeting one of his aunts.

We brought 5 watermelons and a big tub of cantaloupe. Last night, our two oldest children were overheard talking about what food they might get to eat. They talked a lot about chips. At the reunion, there was a LOT of fruit besides our watermelon--others brought fruit trays and more melons. We had talked to them in the car about how they might get sick if they ate food that wasn't raw, since it has been quite some time since they ate any. We tried not to make a big thing about it.

My two oldest children immediately parked themselves in front of a tray ofcrackers and began chowing. We tried to call them away to playgames with their cousins. They continued eating for awhile and then played for a bit. They kept asking when they could dig into the main dishes. When everyone else started serving their plates, they immediately began loading up their plates with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, ham sandwiches, etc. I mentioned again that they might get a stomachache if they ate that. They continued.

I WAS going to at least feed the 3 year-old fruit because I felt she was too young to decide for herself whether or not to eat poison. She SCREAMED, and grandma handed her a ham sandwich. O.k. Apparently 3 year-olds CAN decide. Then my husband served himself a big plate of everything. So, after almost 2 months of doing this "together," I am now the only raw vegan in the room again. (Actually, my husband has recently been more honest with me that he, in fact, has been cheating here and there all along.)

I practiced observing people and trying not to judge them or give them advice in my head. I walked around and took many photos. I was surprised that people did not seem to notice that I was taking pictures. No one asked me one question when I did not eat at the same time as everyone else, or when I ate a big plate of melon and nothing else. I enjoyed taking photos. It was difficult to just see people without adding commentary in my head.

The kids did NOT throw up at the reunion or on the car ride home, which we were worried about. Also, they ate less than they would have in the past. After eating, I could tell they all felt a bit sick. Our middle daughter laid in a lawn chair for quite some time. Then she went and got herself a plate of cantaloupe and honeydew. Maybe she thought that would help? In the car, our son told us that his stomach DID hurt after he ate. I asked, "Did you like that?" He said, "Kinda."

I felt pretty bummed out by the whole experience. I really don't see the point to these events. His family didn't really talk or do anything much but eat a big meal and take some group photos. It was almost like they showed up to remind each other they carried some DNA in common and to see what each other looked like after so many years.

Tonight, our middle daughter has been throwing up and having severe diarrhea. It smells very acidic. GROSS! I have not been adding commentary at all, except to tell her I love her. This is hard for me, because I feel annoyed that I have to clean up stinky puke. I feel bad for her, though. I REALLY hope the 3 year-old is not going to puke on me in the night. We cosleep.

Today's Food

*denotes local food

About 8 cups large black seedless grapes
About 4 cups chopped watermelon
About 4 cups chopped organic cantaloupe
About 3 cups sliced Armenian snake cucumbers*
Some tomato slices grown by my husband's aunt
Some tomatoes while working in my friend's greenhouse*

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Eating Locally, in fits and starts

Photo from Seeds of India

Photo from Ozark Gardens

I LOVE those cucumbers. One of the best things about this summer has been discovering what I love to grow and what I love to eat. The Poona Kheera cukes were grown by another farmer's market vendor, not me, but I'm definitely growing them next year. They are so sweet. I did, however, grow the Armenian snake cucumbers. They are very mild, but not so sweet, have very small seeds, and are very crisp. They have a very tender skin and since you don't have to peel them, they keep this cool shape, like the cogs of a wheel. They also sell like hotcakes! Luckily, the plants really produce.

Well, as you can see from my August expenses record, we are eating a LOT of nonlocal food. On August 1st, I felt pressured to eat 100% local (solely pressured by myself--just a typical bad habit I get into, an "all-or-nothing" mindset). I hadn't done much homework and had no local fruit to eat, so I ate 7 large ears of local raw corn that was too old and starchy. I spent the entire day of August 2nd violently ill and feeling dumb. I will remember that lesson.

After calling around and asking all of my market vendors, I have found that there are virtually NO local fruits available right now. Melons will not be ready for another week to 10 days. The second crop of raspberries are not ready yet. Peaches in this area were all killed by a late frost. Plums and pears are not quite ripe. There are some sour apples; we bought 25 today. Let's face it, we can't survive for even one week on sour apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

This does NOT excuse buying nuts, which is certainly not good for our insides or our budget! Today, I re-read that both "raw" cashew nuts and Brazil nuts are decidedly NOT raw. O.k., I admit it. I am soothing the savage beast of emotions run amok. I need more rest, need to overschedule myself less.

I had a WONDERFUL time working together with my whole family at the Farmer's Market today. I had a WONDERFUL time reading archives of Suvine's blog. I had a WONDERFUL time with my family watching Dr. Who (the 9th doctor?). They have all been into Dr. Who lately, from the 60's stuff and onward, but I have been resisting because I generally don't like science fiction. But I liked it. We have also been reading Bone together.

I am done with the nuts. I am breaking up with cashews. They are mean to me. LOL! I will eat local melons as soon as I can get them. I will keep eating all of my lovely garden produce. Okra pods are coming. Tomatoes of all kinds cover my countertop. I have too many beans to keep up with picking. We had some nice savoy cabbage leaves tonight, although I have gas now. I can't digest the cole crops really. But the savoy leaves work perfectly for wraps. In my defense, I tried to sell the savoy at market first.

We also got some DELICIOUS sweet corn, which I will eat in moderation. I will trust my tastebuds on the corn! I will eat enough sweet fruit to prevent cravings and fuel my body properly.

Today's Food (Local food has a star* by it)

Morning during Market: Nectarine, Mexican Midget tomatoes*, Armenian snake cucumber*, yellow cucumber*, 1/2 large ear of corn

Around noon: Various tomatoes*, 4 medium ears sweet corn*

Around 4 p.m.: Savoy cabbage leaves* with mashed avocado (only one between the 5 of us) and salsa (tomatoes*, onion*, sweet corn*, lime juice, cilantro)

Around 6:30 p.m.: Banana and raspberry ice cream

Around 8 p.m. Several handfuls of cashews and an ounce of Brazil nuts

If you are a committed 80-10-10-er, you probably are groaning because you know that if you ate like this, your stomach would hurt. Yes, I admit it, my stomach is hurting. Well, tomorrow is a new day!

Friday, August 3, 2007

August Food Expenses

Grocery Receipts

8/1 Cub Foods, $9.48, 1 1/2 lb. Fuji apples, 1 12 oz. package mango chunks, 1 12 oz. package cherries
8/1 Cub Foods, $11.07, 6 gallons reverse osmosis water, 1 seedless watermelon, 20 ears local corn
8/2 Cub Foods, $46.33, 1 large seeded watermelon, 2 lbs. Jazz apples, 5 lbs. Fuji apples, 6 lbs. organic Red Delicious apples, 6 organic kiwi fruit, 4 organic cantaloupe, 1 1/2 lb. organic nectarines, 3 large bags of discard bananas at 99 cents each--15 lbs.?
8/2 Sullivan's, $10.47, toilet paper, 2 12 oz. packages frozen raspberries
8/2 Nature's Path Health Food Store, $15.13, 1 lb. Brazil nuts, 1 lb. cashews
8/4 Freeport Farmer's Market, $22, 3 dozen ears peaches and cream corn, 25 sour apples, 8 large organic carrots, 1 organic Poona Kheera cucumber, 2 organic yellow cucumbers, 3 pints organic Mexican Midget cherry tomatoes, 2 quarts Early Girl slicing tomatoes, 1 bunch organi beets (given as a gift)
8/4 Aldi, $9.06, 3 seedless watermelon
8/4 Cub Foods, $6.68, 2 2/3 lbs. Fuji apples, 1 avocado, 1 bunch cilantro
8/5 Cub Foods, $77.16, 5 seeded watermelon, 7+ lbs. black grapes, 6 large Fuji apples, 6 organic cantaloupe, 2 bunches organic celery, 1 lb. organic romaine hearts
8/7 Sullivan's Foods, $10.87, 9 gallons reverse osmosis water, 1 lb. Fuji apples, almost 3 lbs. Michigan peaches
8/8 Edgebrook Farmers Market, $5, 2 large cantaloupes
8/8 Cub Foods, $13.03, 2 12 oz. packages each frozen cherries and mango chunks
8/9 Cub Foods, $41.12, 3 1/3 lbs. Fuji apples, 3 3/4 lbs. organic bananas, 2 1/4 lbs. organic red grapes, 4 large organic peaches, 2 1/3 lbs. organic green grapes, 3 lbs. organic Gala apples, 4 organic avocados
8/9 Cub Foods, $4?, 6 pack Mickey's beer (He is suffering extreme pain from a cracked rib and thought this would be a better option than Vicoden. I am not commenting on either choice.)
8/11 Freeport Farmer's Market, $27, 3 organic Florida Giant watermelons, 1 organic Crimson Sweet watermelon
8/12 Cub Foods, $20.89, 5 1/2 lbs. Braeburn apples, 9 lbs. organic bananas, 3 lbs. organic romaine hearts
8/13 Cub Foods, $3.09, 9 gallons reverse osmosis water
8/14 Cub Foods, $15.56, 2 1/2 lb. papaya, 1 1/4 lb. black plums, 5 1/2 Braeburn apples, 1 mango
8/15 Cub Foods, $98.24, 1 large honeydew melon, 13 lbs. Fuji apples, Canary melon (7 lbs.) Casaba melon (4 lbs.), 12 lbs. organic bananas, 2 lbs. organic red grapes, 2 heads organic celery, 2 lbs. organic romaine, 2 10 oz. packages organic spinach, 1 11 oz. package organic baby romaine, 2 lbs. organic green grapes, 1 lb. Medjool dates, 4 organic avocados (all rotten), 5 lbs. clementines (from South Africa!)
8/15-8/16, Jason's trip to game convention, $45 (his estimate)
8/17, Cub Foods, $, 6 lbs. Fuji apples, 5 lbs. clemnetines, 3 lbs. red grapes, 3 lbs. green grapes, 1/2 lb. Medjool dates, 2 nectarines, 5 lbs. organic bananas, 1 gallon reverse osmosis water
8/18 Freeport Farmer's Market, $46.50, 3 organic Florida giant watermelon, 2 organic Crimson Sweet watermelon (the best melons we've eaten this year!), 3 organic Sugar Baby melons, 1 lb. organic carrots, 2 organic lemon cucumbers, 7 oz. organic raspberries
8/19 Cub Foods, $17.44, 5 lbs. bananas, 2 1/2 lbs. green grapes, 2 1/2 lbs. black grapes, 4 lbs. Fuji apples

Total: $556.12

Free Food

8/3 Gift of 3 apricots, $1
8/4 Gift of 3 nectarines, 2 ears of corn, 2 yellow zucchini, and 1 lb. green beans, $5
8/12 Gift of 1 honey mango, 3 ears corn $2
8/15 Gift of 3/4 of a large papaya, $4
8/18 Gift of 5 lbs. of local pears, $5
8/19 Gift of 12 oz. dried Calimyrna figs, $3
Total: $20.00

Garden Produce (charging ourselves the value we'd get selling it at Farmer's Market)

8/1 Green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, $12
8/3 Green beans, yellow French filet beans, red okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, $15
8/4 Savoy cabbage, $2
8/6 Worked in a friend's garden as an exchange--Slicing cucumbers, Thelma Saunders Sweet potato squash, various heirloom cherry tomatoes, green Japanese eggplant (given as a gift), $12
8/7 Heirloom tomatoes, Armenian serpent cucumbers, yellow French filet beans, okra, sugar snap peas, $6
8/8-8/19 I haven't been keeping up with this, but we've been eating a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers, okra, a bit of sweet corn (wrong variety for eating raw, so we'll be giving most of that away), tomatillos, summer squash, and a few snap beans, let's say $50

Total: $97.00

Garden Income

8/1 $18.00 (sold to Margaret Larson)
8/2 $17.00 (sold by a friend at a bigger city market)
8/4 $17.75
8/8 $37.55
8/11 $9.25
8/14 $17.00 (sold to Margaret Larson)
8/15 $24.00 (sold by a friend at a bigger city market)
8/18 $2.50
Total: $143.05

Garden Expenses


Thursday, August 2, 2007

100 Mile Diet in August

Our county's new local food logo
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am a member of the Northwest Illinois Local Foods Task Force. Our mission is to spread the word about eating locally, as well as to build both the supply and the demand for local foods. Here is an exerpt of our official mission statement explaining why we promote local eating.
Reasons to Eat Local
· Enjoy exceptional taste - Local food is fresher and locally grown varieties tend to be bred for taste and freshness, rather than shipping and shelf life.
· Strengthen the economy - Buying local keeps dollars circulating in the community.
· Support local farms - Local food is often sold directly by the farmer, allowing the grower to keep more of the profit.
· Encourage health and safety - Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and wholesome dairy products is good for your health. Plus, knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown allows you to support a safe food supply.
· Protect the environment - Less reliance on shipping foods long distances reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing material. It also helps make farmland more profitable and sustainable.

We debated whether to also cite new evidence that eating locally-grown food increases vitamin and mineral intake because fresh food has lost less of its nutrients. The members as a whole felt that this might not have enough evidence to support it yet, so we stuck with the really strong reasons listed above.

Obviously, I make some personal compromises when I "stand behind" a document that claims that increasing intake of "wholesome" dairy products is good for your health.

I also note that our last meeting was held in a local ice cream parlor that serves local beef, cheese, and ice cream. We all gave a round of applause to the manager, who explained that they don't make as much money serving local potato chips as they would if they bought nonlocal French fries, but they are committed to supporting local producers and their customers approve. Then everyone but me happily chowed down on cheeseburgers, potato chips, and large scoops of ice cream. Sigh.

In the final analysis, I feel that the great work that this Task Force is doing outweighs their promotion of local meat and milk. Margaret Larson, the Unit Leader for the County Extension, has been a real champion of local foods in the community, and works hard to use local foods in as many events with Extension's name on it as she can. As they are located on a community college campus, sometimes foodservice contracts get in the way. She was instrumental in getting an ALL-LOCAL farmer's market started (the one I sell at) and in helping our little community garden get the grants and volunteer Master Gardeners we needed to survive and thrive. She is amazing and when she asked me to participate on the Task Force, how could I say no?

Let's face it, one of the main reasons I am so committed to the Task Force is that I secretly hope to at least somewhat balance out the meat and milk lobby. Believe it or not, we have lots of local fruit and vegetables. LOL!

One of the first steps the Task Force took was to hire a local media firm to create a logo. This logo was unveiled in a promotional event at the annual Ag Breakfast, a well-attended affair that serves local agricultural products (again, primarily meat, eggs, and cheese) from this county. The purpose of the logo is to encourage local businesses such as restaurants to use local ingredients in their dishes. Grocery stores, farmer's markets, roadside produce stands, etc. would also want to use the label. Consumers can look for the logo and use this to better vote with their dollar.

We are also planning a Local Foods Harvest event at Freeport's new Visitor Center, and are bringing several guest speakers with expertise in connecting local producers to restaurants, grocery stores, and foodservice professionals. We have also sponsored some fun events, such as a cooking demonstration at the Farmer's Market.

Finally, the most exciting event the Task Force is undertaking is that during the month of August, several members, including me, have taken the challenge to follow the Hundred Mile Diet, and write about it in a blog, as well as in articles for our local media. We hope to lay groundwork for a more ambitious promotion of eating locally in the future. One of the ideas kicking around in MY head is getting the general public to pledge to follow the Hundred Mile Diet for a certain amount of time next summer and then have a Local Foods Banquet for the participants. This would be a great opportunity for consumers to network with local farmers and food purveyors. Imagine the possibilities!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Voting with Our Grocery Dollars in July

Salome LOVES organic celery

This is month 2 of recording what we bought, what we grew, what we found in the dumpster, and what we earned from our garden. This has been a learning experience.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with our running log or expenses in July, it can be found here.

Our stated goals at the beginning of the month were to reduce our spending on groceries and gasoline, and limit 90% of our spending to bananas and local foods.

Total Grocery Receipts: $432.75
Estimated value of Free Food We Obtained This Month: $361.55
Estimated Value of Food We Grew This Month: $115.50
Total Consumption For a Family of 5 plus 1 Cat on a Raw Diet: $909.80
This works out to $29.34 per day.

We met our first goal and significantly reduced our spending on groceries! Yay! Our total grocery receipts were $213.02 less than last month. This even includes a whopping $78.38 restaurant tab, and $11.65 on food gifts for friends. If you remove cat food, restaurant and gift spending, water, toilet paper, and my husband's nonraw cheats, then we only spent $395.31 in total. Of course, last month's tab was artificially high because we invested over $100 on frozen meat for the cat. However, if you adjust both June and July's spending to only include raw human food, then we reduced our grocery spending by $74.79. Could have been better if we didn't buy so many lychee and raw bars and dates on our Chicago trip.

It was also nice to see that we double our money's worth out of our garden, although we earned about half at the Farmer's Market. I forgot how much I made selling lettuce!

Gasoline was harder to track since we didn't keep track of gas expenses either month. We took a trip to Chicago in our car, so it is unlikely. Also, we made a total of 30 separate trips to buy food. That's almost one trip per day. This is ridiculous, although I believe it was a couple of less trips than we took in June. We have obtained a bike for my husband and we plan to fix my bike. We hope to do more by bike and limit car trips. However, almost daily car trips are inevitable, since we garden 5 miles from our house on the other side of a busy highway. Often we must carry tools and large quantities of produce, so it makes riding a bike difficult. Tacking 1 or 2 extra miles onto the trip to stop at stores seems like no big deal. But, it really adds up over time.

We increased our consumption of locally grown products slightly from $274.00 in June to $292.56. However, when taken in context with our overall drop in spending, this means However, most of this was either grown by us or gifted to us by family and friends. If we think of each dollar we spend as a vote, we only increased our votes for local foods from $35.00 to $38.85; hardly a victory. We also bought more organic foods, though I didn't calculate the exact amount.

We definitely got more bananas this month than in June, but as to limiting our spending to bananas and local, we did not meet our goal.

In August, I begin an experiment to follow the 100 mile diet with the The Northwest Illinois Local Foods Task Force. Stay tuned for more information about this tomorrow. Should be an adventure!