December 28, 2010

The End of Raw

I officially lasted almost two weeks on raw. I had a series of minor breakdowns, followed by a biggie that had my husband wondering if he needed to lock me in a padded room.  It was ugly.  I apologize for not telling you sooner, but it’s taken me quite a while to get back to feeling like me again.

I spent quite a while feeling like a total loser because I couldn’t even go 30 days.  
30 days is nothing.  
Or so I glibly thought.

I kept telling myself that those darn people on Simply Raw went 30 days.  And they had detox like I did.  They wanted to give up.  They had breakdowns.  And THEY KEPT GOING.  
Why couldn’t I????

As my husband pointed out…

1.     They were at a retreat where their food was made for them.  And most likely it was delicious.

2.     They were at a retreat where they did not have to take care of laundry and dishes and kids and homeschool and church service and many other things.

I was in no such place.

I will openly admit that the detox was badReally bad.  The first week or so I was feeling great…and then I started crying…and getting angry…and crying…and getting impatient…and edgy….and crying…and raising my voice (which I NEVER do)….and crying….Most of my detox was emotional and my kids were noticing.  I didn’t like the mom I was becoming and felt very little control over myself at that point. That made me cry even more. 

By the end of the almost two weeks I was a quivering mass of depressed mucous-covered raw nerves.  My husband called an end to the insanity and I started eating “normal” food.  And wouldn’t you know it, within a few days I was happier, calmer, and in control of my emotions again.  And fatter.  I regained the 7 pounds I lost. 

I’m currently working on a semi-raw diet.  So far I’m doing well emotionally and physically.  I eat raw for breakfast in the form of a large smoothie (usually a green one).  Lunch is either salad or vegetable soup/chowder with another massive smoothie.   Dinner is a small portion of whatever I cooked for dinner with veggies and fruit on the side.  I’ve been making a lot of vegetarian meals lately and tons of soup.  I feel so calm, so healthy after a big bowl of veggie soup with homemade broth.  It is very grounding.  I’m also trying to avoid sugar and bread.  
But they are NOT trying to avoid me.

My husband still thinks that raw is a great idea, in moderation.  He also suggested that I try various recipes out while eating “normal” thus building a collection of meals that I enjoy…after a while I should have a supply of “go to” raw recipes that I like, instead of ones I throw in the garbage. 

So, our current goal is to maintain the status quo albeit a modified status quo including many, many more smoothies….and work on building a repertoire of raw and/or vegetarian meals.  Are we giving up meat and dairy?  Not for now.  But we do want to decrease the amount we eat…and increase the quality. 

I found that I don’t really care for “gourmet raw”.  I don’t like the fake sour creams and fake noodles and fake whatevers.  They taste fake.  The things I enjoyed the most were raw foods acting like themselves – a salad acting like a salad, veggies tasting like veggies instead of like some nasty sauce, fruit that still looked and tasted like the actual fruit.   Gourmet raw relies on a lot of nuts and seeds, which I found somewhat irritating (to my gut).  And expensive.  Some recipes used hardly any veggies at all – it was all nuts and seeds.  That didn’t feel “raw” to me.  Just fake.  (The repeated use of the word fake in this post has now ended.)

I have learned a few things from this experience:

     For my mental health and well-being, I need to make gradual changes to my diet.  Some people may not have this problem.  I do.

     I was surprised at how strong a hold food has over me.  How emotional eating is.  I want to work at freeing myself from this dependence.  Food is my drug…and I want to break the chains.  Any suggestions?

     Food tastes best when it is in its most natural state.  Covering it with a sauce, even a raw sauce, usually doesn’t enhance the food.

     Blended soups need my attention.  I must figure out how to make more blended soups…but make them  chunkier  …and warmer.

    Smoothies are my friend.

     There is really no replacement for a great salad.  All the gourmet raw in the world doesn’t beat a salad with a fantastic dressing.

     Foods eaten in their natural state are faster than making fancy recipes.  That’s a big duh, but I need to learn it.  A nectarine is much faster, much tastier, much easier than putting together a frilly little doo-dah to snack on.

For now, raw is done.  It was not fun.  Hey, that rhymed! I’m still learning though, and still experimenting with raw recipes.  Just at a slower pace
I’m taking one day at a time and doing the best I can that day to be healthy.


  1. Heather,
    Thank you so much for that very honest assessment of your experiment. All one ever reads about is the successes, and then when we try things and don't succeed, it makes us feel worthless. I've never had the guts to try something like your raw diet, and now I'm glad. I don't know if I'd say food is a drug. It is something that we're supposed to have, and if all of it is bad, then we're not going to be happy.
    My weight-loss/health kick this last 6 months just focussed on cutting out as much processed food as possible, and I lost 13 pounds that way. Also, not eating out helps and making lots of soups and salads.
    I always enjoy your blogs, as I have homeschooled (only hs one part-time now), and mine are all boys.

  2. ((((hugs)))) I'm so glad you've found a balance that works for now. I think you have it right. Status quo (if a bit modified) while you work up to where you want to be. And MODERATION in ALL things. While raw foods can be very good for you, our bodies simply were NOT meant to live off of purely raw foods for long periods of time. I know people may disagree with me on that, but I stand firm that we were made with omnivorous attributes for a reason. We were made to eat and digest meat (although not in the amounts and deep-fried varieties that people these days tend to do), and to depend on grain for a large portion of our diet. Just as it's not healthy to eat only meat and leave out the fruits/veggies/dairy/grains, it's also not healthy to eat only veggies and leave out the meat/fruits/dairy/grains. It's all about balance, for the long run.

  3. Your posts are very entertaining! I like your sense of humor and candor.

    I found a happy medium that works for me. (FINALLY!) I'm doing the "Raw Until Dinner" program. I have a green smoothie for breakfast, a huge green salad for lunch, fruits and veggies or a handful of raw nuts for snacks (which prevents me from binging on toast late at night) and something sensible but cooked for dinner. The knowledge that I'll be getting something yummy and warm and comforting for dinner keeps me happy. I noticed that the more I eat raw fruits and veggies, the better they're tasting. I'm beginning to looooove my salad for lunch everyday. Oh--and to simplify things, I don't bother making raw dressing. I just use a healthy option from the store. So after doing that for a week, I cheated and had Cheerios for breakfast and you know what? They tasted like styrofoam to me! They were disgusting! And usually I love them. So I'm happy I finally found a program that works for me. My 16 year old sister is also doing it and she lost three pounds in the first week! Plus she's actually starting to LIKE veggies! And what I like about this is it's something I feel comfortable doing for the rest of my life. As long as I have my one cooked meal, I'm happy.

  4. Thanks ladies!!! Susie, you bring up a point I didn't mention earlier, but I think is super important. Most raw foods exclude beans and grains which I think are two of the most nutritious foods around (and cheapest). That always bothered me. By eating more "cooked" foods I have been able to incorporate them and feel like I am using ALL of the wonderful foods the Lord created for our use.

  5. Amen, Sister! I've come to the same conclusions. You might giggle at my quote I posted on my blog today. But serisouly, you made it a whole 2 WEEKS?? That's pretty amazing! I totally agree about the fake stuff.. I'd much rather just eat a whole fruit or salad! But, I'm sure you're glad for the experience, it's nice to know these things for ourselves.

  6. Wow! You did great, and look--you severed that junction point to Babylon long enough to make changes that will last.

    One thing I have found helps me immensely is to pray each day before I begin preparing food that I will be led to what to make, and that it will be consecrated for the temple that my body is.

    Way to go! You are amazing!

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

    Do you have the Moosewood cookbook? It is such a fabulous cookbook that is vegetarian but real food not fake food and many dishes can have a bit of meat added to them easily. Anyway, I was cooking from mine again today and thinking how much I love it.

  8. I'm new to your blog and I'm really enjoying reading it. I too struggle with this stuff. While I am trying to lose weight and get healthy I cannot take a break from being a good mom. I still have to be a mom with some semblance of emotional control and energy. I really love greensmoothiegirl (i know you've been there)because she only advocates 60-80% raw with lots of great cooked plant based main dishes. I don't know if you were one of Lara Gallagher's readers, but her discovery about SIMPLE meals has really helped me a lot. My main goal right now is working my family (and myself)towards simpler tastes. I also think the overly gourmet raw is ridiculous. I do not think we were made to be dependent on RICH foods, even if they are raw and incredibly healthy. (I also think becoming accustomed to simple dishes will really help if and when the worst of the "latter days" stuff happens and/or when we have to live on our food storage).

    Lastly I thought I'd share a story I heard from a friend many years back. She knew of a girl who grew up in a very large family with very little money. They basically had cooked beans, cornbread, and cooked greens, twice a day, every day. For a Christmas treat they had ice cream!! When she grew up and went to college (on a scholarship?) she went to doctors and dentists for the first time in her life and discovered that she had the best health and best teeth that the doctors she went to had EVER seen. I find this a very reassuring story. I think we can eat very plainly and simply, as long as its close to the earth and be very healthy.

    good luck! keep us posted!!

  9. You don't know me but I have done what you did as well. You may want to visit
    She has a 12 step program where once a month you introduce yourself to one raw thing a month. I love it she is not total raw but she is 60-80%
    It is great. I am starting again with the new year. : ) Hugs, Emily B.