Category Archives: Food

15 Years Vegan: My Journey to Embracing a Vegan Life

veganFifteen years ago on December 1st, 2001, I implemented a decision that would forever change my life: I decided to go vegan.

Fifteen years later, I’m still joyfully vegan. ūüôā

Previous to taking the plunge to follow a vegan lifestyle, I had long struggled with the idea of eating animals.

One memory comes from when I was very young — I’m guessing I might have been about four years old (and certainly no older than five). ¬†At that point in my life, I had never yet eaten a particular kind of meat that my dad’s side of the family would often prepare and eat as part of the Sunday Family dinners we would have at my father’s parents’ house… a meat they referred to as “spare ribs”. (As a reference point, my parents had separated when I was about three and a half years old, so it’s no wonder I had developed the habit of¬†referring to my family as either my mom or “mom’s side” versus my dad or “dad’s side”.)

As a child, this “spare rib” meat looked gross to me. It had big bones poking out of it. It obviously came from an animal, and I was afraid to eat it.

It was during one of these Sunday dinners ¬†my dad and grandparents — although I think it was more my grandfather’s doing, come to think of it — had decided enough was enough… it was¬†time to push my child food-pickiness aside and make me eat spare ribs.

I remember how I really didn’t want to eat it. Sure, I had never tried¬†one before, so how could I know I wouldn’t like it? But the mere idea of eating it just tore me up inside. “Just try it, you’ll like it,” they insisted. I was adamantly stubborn and not wanting to eat it, but they kept persisting. I remember feeling so strongly about it I was¬†crying, literally in tears. But they wouldn’t stop and leave me alone until I had at least one taste.

I finally gave in. I reluctantly took a¬†bite of a slimy looking spare rib. Getting myself to take a bite seemed like torture at the time. And…

…It wasn’t awful. I didn’t die. And it was okay, actually. I guess I liked it?

The indoctrination was complete. Eating parts of cooked, dead animals¬†was normal, I was supposed to like it, want it, and eat it… and so I did.

I had a long and difficult struggle in terms of having a healthy relationship with food before adopting a plant-based diet.

The food I was fed by my family and parents while growing up was not the healthiest.

Since my mom had sole custody of me (my dad had visiting rights every second weekend, and I would spend the night at his place on those weekends), my primary source of food was from my mom and her side of the family. Nearly everyone on my mom’s side is obese. Genetics surely plays some factor, but so does learned behavior, such as food choices and eating habits.

Looking back, whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables were not abundant in my youth. Fruit usually consisted of sad macintosh apples… the kind that had a thick wax coating, were often bruised and mealy, and were definitely not a pleasure to eat. Maybe there were bananas on occasion, but usually it was just sad, crappy apples. Fresh produce was usually limited to iceberg lettuce (typically reserved for making taco salad), carrots (which were somehow pretty bad, too), and an occasional tomato (which was also usually specially reserved for taco salad as well). Everything else came from a package, can, or a box, or was meat or dairy (and sometimes egg). I grew up on Flintstone vitamins, second hand smoke, Kool-Aid and a plethora of BPA-laden canned foods.

I was given the responsibility of making my own lunches around the age of six. One time at daycare, I had traded some component of my lunch for someone else’s… I can’t remember now what it was… half a sandwich for a cookie? Or maybe it was one of those bad, crappy apples for a cookie… I can’t quite recall. One of the daycare supervisors witnessed this and tattletaled on me¬†by informing¬†my mom of the trade. The resulting consequence or punishment that followed would be the responsibility of making my own lunch would forever be mine. …I’d even end up making my mom’s lunch on occasion, too.

Learning to enjoy¬†and even desire¬†healthful foods did not really start happening in my life until I made the decision to embrace a vegan lifestyle. High quality fruits and vegetables were rarely ever present¬†in my life before then. My dad’s side of the family tended to eat relatively healthier foods with more vegetables, but these were often very bland and over-cooked — in true English tradition. ūüėČ

Growing up, my favorite foods were spaghetti, Kraft Dinner (aka macaroni and cheese, Kraft brand), and cheese. In regards to cheese, my favorite cheeses were old cheddar (only available at my dad’s — my mom preferred mild cheddar) and Kraft Parmesan. Sometimes Cheeze Whiz (which is another Kraft product)… which again, come to think of it, was typically only at my dad’s as well. I distinctly remember my young little self announcing my love of cheese by stating that I wanted to marry it when I grew up.

I was generally a sad child, likely even depressed (though never clinically diagnosed). I don’t have a lot of happy memories from my youth. I distinctly remember crying a lot, feeling sad and depressed and lonely. Perhaps these¬†poor quality foods that fed¬†my body also fueled these feelings, but when I was sad I’d want their comfort, too.

I was a fat kid. I think I got¬†fat while I was in kindergarten, around age six. At that age I had a period of illness where I was infected with chickenpox, measles and mumps pretty much all in a row. (I still have¬†chickenpox scars.) Being essentially bedridden for a long stretch of time, it was a very lethargic time in my youth, and the only way I could manage to swallow my prescribed antibiotics was to chase it down with a big glass of chocolate milk… so you could imagine how drinking a lot of chocolate milk every day plus being bed ridden could easily fatten up my little body in a short period of time. It wouldn’t surprise me if the antibiotics messed with the healthy digestive bacteria, too, contributing to a sluggish digestion.

I was put on multiple diets as a kid, usually while dieting with my mom or aunt or grandma, or even all three. We were all fat. …I wasn’t an obese child, just rather chubby and pudgy. Even so, I don’t think it’s healthy for pre-teen children to be placed¬†on calorie restrictive diets; it’s a perfect setup for creating unhealthy relationships with food (and self), and could possibly even restrict growth. It wouldn’t surprise me if I might have been¬†malnourished from a lack of quality nutrients, perhaps even¬†contributing to my very short stature. (Note: Yes, you can be fat and malnourished. It’s a matter of lack of quality nutrients vs intaking a lot of low-quality or empty calories.)

When I was around twelve and later thirteen, I lost a notable amount of weight from dieting (i.e. restricting calories). Sometimes I would only eat a single-serving bag of taco chips for lunch with an apple. Diet Coke was my savior. Even at my thinnest I was never very thin, especially compared to the thin and pretty girls, and my butt and upper thighs were still laden with cellulite (it had been there from even a younger age); but at least I no longer looked fat while clothed. I got compliments from teachers at school for having lost weight. It helped improved my self-confidence.

Later that year, though, I gained it all back, and more. My mom moved into a new house in a new neighborhood, and I didn’t know anybody at all in the area.¬†I felt really really lonely, and again would turn to food for comfort during that lonely summer break. I’d eat entire boxes of Kraft Dinner and add even more cheese (I loved adding parmesan to KD). I’d eat a bunch of these “Mint Melt-Away” chocolates that were lying around my dad’s plac from a past school fundraiser. I ballooned up and got stretch marks from gaining weight so fast. There were even bright red stretch marks on my upper arms… 23-24 years later, I still have pretty bad¬†stretch mark scars on my arms. (I don’t think they ever go away.) I felt horrible in my body. I just wanted to hide and not be seen.

I remember a¬†different summer where I committed to losing weight again. I implemented a combination of drinking a lot of water, not eating much, and exercise. I know I lost weight, but I can’t remember how much. I think I was probably within a healthy BMI, but again, my entire life I had always been rather flabby, even when in a healthy BMI range. ¬†(Yo-yo dieting would become a regular part of my life. I suppose to some extent, it still is, but no where near as bad as it¬†used to be.)

Sometime around the age of sixteen, I remember being at a family dinner at my Grandma’s on my mom’s side. It might have been a Thanksgiving Dinner, or a birthday dinner, or maybe even Easter; I can’t recall. But whatever the occasion, there was at least one dead animal, if not two… a chicken or turkey, and a ham. For some reason, I began to think of the meat at the dinner table as animals that had once been alive, and that had died simply so we could eat them. It seemed unfair to me, and sad.

I voiced this thought of mine. I don’t remember my exact words, but I shared¬†how I thought it was sad that we had to kill animals to eat them.

I’ll never forget what my Grandmother said in response: “But God put the animals on Earth for us to eat.”

I remember feeling so angry at such an¬†idea. As a teenager who self-identified with Atheist principles, the whole idea of¬†“but that’s what God wants” was frustrating and angering beyond belief. I wasn’t going to buy that as a logical reason to eat animals, but yet I couldn’t find a logical reason to stop eating them, either.

Around this same time,¬†I had been¬†dating my first boyfriend. (Our relationship would last for nearly 7 years.) My boyfriend didn’t eat pork due to religious reasons. Wanting to be supportive, and perhaps also wanting a seemingly valid reason to not eat animals, I had decided I wouldn’t eat pork, either. I never have since.

Time passed, and I shoved that feeling of discomfort about eating animals aside. But it never fully went away. At some point later down the road,¬†I shared with my boyfriend¬†my inner¬†struggle regarding¬†the idea of killing animals to eat them. My boyfriend seemed adamant¬†that we needed¬†to eat meat in oder to be healthy… but that if I was uncomfortable with the idea of animal slaughter, then perhaps I might feel better about only eating meat from animals that were¬†killed in a more “humane” way.

My boyfriend was a couple years older than me, so I figured he must be right. And plus, the Internet wasn’t yet known as a popular tool for research back then. I mean, Google didn’t even exist yet! (And I’m someone who started using Google within months of its release! Hell,¬†computers weren’t even an every day household item yet.) …So I took my boyfriend’s¬†word for it and didn’t question his belief that we simply needed to eat meat for the sake of health and well-being. But it was then when I decided I’d only eat meat from sources that were considered to be more humane than regular meat.

(In hindsight, it’s astonishing how the concept of vegetarianism had never crossed my path. I don’t think I knew a single vegetarian growing up. Everyone ate meat. It was just normal and something you were supposed to do.)

I don’t remember how old I was when I made that decision to eat so-called “humane” meat. I think I might have been 18 or possibly even 19. At any rate, for years to come, I followed a mostly vegetarian diet, usually eating meat only a couple times a week when we had dinner with my boyfriend’s family¬†(who also made it a practice to purchase and cook with the type of “humanely slaughtered” meat).

Since I was no longer eating as much meat, I ended up eating even more cheese than before. Too much cheese. And too much processed food in general, although that was simply due to lack of proper nutrition education. I gained a lot of weight. I think I was 21 when I realized I had been steadily gaining weight and was then nearly 160 pounds, which is considered to be borderline obese for my height. The thought of being so overweight that I was almost considered to be clinically obese hit me hard. I knew I had to lose weight.

I started a diet program online with e-diets and I started going to the Y.

With persistence, some of the weight started to come off. (…But unbeknownst to me at the time, it wouldn’t be until I went vegan more than a year later before finally getting back into a healthy weight and BMI range.)

Probably around the same time, I recall I became disillusioned with my solution of only eating “humanely slaughtered” meat (such an oxymoron!) to make peace with my discomfort of eating animals that were being killed for the sake of being my food. I’d ask myself, “What’s the point? What difference does it make? The animal is still getting killed in the end.” I used this thinking as some kind of reasoning or reassurance to give myself permission to start eating chicken from restaurants once again… but I’d still make sure I would only consume “humanely” killed beef. “Maybe eating chicken in restaurants is better than always opting for the cheese option and getting fat off cheese.”

In fall of 2001, I was enrolled in a theatre acting class where one of my classmates identified himself as vegan. I had never heard about vegans before. I would soon learn that vegans not only don’t eat meat of any kind, but they also don’t eat cheese or other forms of dairy, nor eggs… nor anything that was derived from an animal.¬†…Huh.

Despite having long held discomfort surrounding the slaughter of animals for food, the idea of adopting a vegan diet never really occurred to me… not right away, that is.

The vegan classmate wasn’t really an in-your-face type of vegan. One time he and I ended up being scene partners, and as a result we ended up spending some time outside of class to meet up, go over lines and rehearse. Sometimes we’d end up grabbing a meal before or after class. It was probably during these times where the idea of actually considering veganism as an option for myself really set in.

One evening after class, I got on the Internet and did a Google search about veganism. I found a link from PETA – People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. I followed the link and starting learning things I honestly had no clue about before.

Before then, I honestly had no idea that the dairy industry was intrinsically linked to the meat industry! Supporting dairy (via one’s consumption or purchasing dollars) invariably meant supporting veal. Cheese almost always was tied into cow slaughter, because a main component in most cheese (at least the cheeses I loved) was rennet, an enzyme derived from the stomach lining of calves. ¬†…Not to mention how baby calves are taken away from the lactating mother cows to be¬†caged so that they can later be slaughtered and sold as veal.

I saw secretly-obtained video footage of the cruel treatment of chickens being slaughtered for KFC by having their heads violently thrown , whacked and beaten against walls. I saw videos of standard practices for cow and pig¬†slaughter. I cried from seeing these horrific images. ¬†…How could I NOT?

I was horrified and disgusted.

In addition to the above, I started reading about a plethora of environmental reasons for going vegan, not to mention reasons related to human health.

Then and there, I decided I had to go vegan. There was no way I could continue eating meat and supporting the egg and dairy industries after being exposed to all this new information.

It was late November. I decided I would stop eating meat 100% from that point forward. I’d finish up whatever non-vegan vegetarian food was already in my house, but aside¬†from that, I didn’t want to support¬†the animal-food industries ever again. My plan was to go 100% vegan as of December 1st.

I had initially considered waiting to go vegan as of January 1st. After all, the holidays were coming up, and holidays are usually celebrated with tons of non-vegan foods. One of my favorite foods up til that point was a cheese ball that was a tradition to make and eat around the holidays… let alone buttery shortbread cookies, chocolates, the turkey at Christmas dinner, cheddar and potato pierogies, etc., etc.. ¬†What would my family think of me suddenly pushing all these long-held traditions aside?

But it didn’t matter. I realized I would feel horrible inside my heart and could no longer enjoy those foods anymore. It would be grotesquely incongruent for me to eat those foods during the holidays even if I did intend to give them up as of January 1st. …So December 1st, 2001, it would be. I would go fully vegan on that date.

Honestly, it wasn’t even difficult. It’s true that there weren’t very many vegan products available back then, but there were some, like Yves Veggie Ground Rounds. Fake/vegan “meat” products are great for transitioning from an omnivore diet to a fully vegan one. I also bought a vegan cookbook, which gave me a lot of great ideas for vegan dishes to make. …It really is hard to stress how easy the transition was — even for someone like me who had so immensely loved cheese.

Hands down, making the commitment to follow a vegan lifestyle has been the best decision of my life. I love eating plant-based foods. Knowing that the ingredients of the foods I choose to eat are not a part of the cruelty associated with the meat and dairy and egg industries makes me feel lighter in my heart.

I saw a quote today that said something to the effect of going vegan is a choice your heart makes, and I must say that has definitely been true for me.

My main reason for going vegan was for ethical, compassionate reasons — for the animals. True, I also did it for the well being of the Earth (and the human species as a whole — we’re all connected), as well as reasons pertaining to personal physical health; but the main factor that drove me to go vegan and compels me to stay vegan is and always will be the well being of the animals and the reduction of their needless suffering.

After going vegan, I eventually lost a lot of excess weight, and after some time I finally got back to my ideal weight range. My weight still yo-yos a bit from time to time depending on how often I exercise and how often I indulge (I’d imagine my metabolism has decreased with age), but even so, I know I’m much healthier now than I ever used to be prior to adopting a plant-based diet. I exercise more now than I ever used to prior to going vegan — exercise just feels way more enjoyable than it ever used to. (…Exercise never really felt enjoyable prior to going vegan, to be honest; it had always felt¬†rather torturous before.) I had no idea how badly phlegmy my respiratory system truly was due to my dairy consumption, because it was only after giving up dairy I was able to see the huge difference: I could suddenly run and exercise without getting¬†giant gobs of disgusting phlegm accumulating in my mouth and throat. Being rid of those dairy-related systems was such a relief! And yet, I would have never known that it was related to my dairy consumption if I had never opted to give it up for good.

It was the vegan lifestyle that opened my eyes to the wonderful world of fresh fruits and a rainbow of vegetables. Granted, anyone, regardless of their way of eating, can add more fruits and vegetables to their daily diet. But since I was surrounded by friends and family who ate little to no vegetables (yet lots of meat, dairy and starch), it really did take a whole shift in my dietary paradigm¬†to make the daily consumption of leafy greens a reality for me. Now I LOVE vegetables so much — ¬†I can’t get enough! They just make me so happy!! I’ll often even exclaim aloud my love for broccoli or salad or avocado (which is technically a fruit), etc. ¬†(I was not exposed to fresh avocado until sometime after becoming vegan, so I feel as though I really do have reason to do a little happy dance when I prepare and eat avocado. ūüėČ )

Anyway, so that’s my story of how I came to be vegan. It’s been 15 years now since making that decision, and I’ve never looked back… I plan to remain vegan for the rest of my life.

After reading this, do I expect you to go vegan now, too? Well, that depends on you. Of course I’d be happy if you chose to omit all animal products from your diet, because that would invariably equate to less animal suffering in the world. But I know there are some people who feel completely congruent and at ease with the idea of slaughtering animals for food. I, however, am not one of those people.

If you yourself would not voluntarily kill an animal for food because the idea of committing such a violent act disturbs you and goes against your inherent kind, compassionate nature, then I urge you to please consider giving veganism a try. You don’t have to jump right in like I did (although you could); you might try eating vegan a couple times a week or more. Or you could go fully vegan for 30 days, just to see what it’s like. Either way, I urge you to please arm yourself with some research first so that you set yourself up for a successful, positive experience.

Whatever your choice is and whatever you do, my only hope is that you are fully conscious about your¬†dietary choices, actions, and habits, and don’t¬†just follow a particular way of eating out of cultural indoctrination (i.e. what your upbringing¬†and mainstream society taught you to believe without question).¬†I encourage you to do some deliberate research. Question the main driving force behind your existing habits and actions.

…And above all, listen to your heart.

“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness.”
~ Bbhavagad Gita

Going Raw For A Year

I celebrated my birthday about two and a half weeks ago. Yay! Happy birthday to me!

I had decided to give myself an unusual sort of birthday “present”; something to celebrate and honour life and health. I had decided to go raw – i.e. to follow a raw vegan diet – for a whole year!

But recently, I’ve had doubts about that decision…

The Raw Diet

If you’re unfamiliar with the raw diet, it essentially consists of eating raw (i.e. uncooked) fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. If oils are consumed, they are natural and cold-pressed, which means no transfats or hydrogenated oils. Some simple staples of the raw food diet include salads and Green Smoothies — which are AWESOME!

There are actually quite a few different variations of this way of eating. The variation I tend to follow – at least for now (as I may decide to experiment with another variation sometime during the course of this year) – would probably not be considered “100%” raw, and I’m fine with that. This is because I still intend to include ingredients which may not be considered raw in certain foods I prepare, such as wheat-free tamari, nutritional yeast, and maple syrup. The Raw Chef Russell James includes some of these in some of his recipes, and since he’s a self-proclaimed Raw Chef even when using these ingredients, I intend to use them too!

I also intend to consume fermented foods on occasion. I’m not sure exactly how often I’ll be eating such foods, but I’m going to allow them on my “okay to eat” list of foods.

Speaking of fermented foods, I’m also going to allow myself wine (and possibly sake as well).

Is Wine “Raw”?

There is a fancy gourmet restaurant in New York City called Pure Food and Wine. Any alcohol they serve is in the form of either wine or sake, as sake is often referred to as rice wine.

So, does that mean wine is raw? Well, I suppose it depends how you define “raw”. It’s certainly not a fruit, nut, seed or vegetable… but wine is derived from fruit, right? It’s essentially fermented fruit juice.

Although there are many reasons to not consume wine, there are also many reasons to consume wine. My reason is mainly that I really enjoy a good glass of wine, and seeing that I’m giving up nearly all of my vices for the next year, I thought perhaps I’d at least allow myself a glass of wine in social settings now and then. I’m a foodie at heart, and a glass of wine can certainly compliment many raw dishes, such as raw lasagna, pizza, nut-cheeses, or a rich chocolatey dessert.

Is a Raw Diet Healthy?

I’d say that depends on what you eat, and how much.

One can certainly obtain all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need from eating whole, unprocessed raw foods. I know from past experiences that my body thrives on plant foods, especially fresh fruits and veggies!

There’s been some critique as of late of the raw food diet, and how it can be unhealthy or dangerous. My opinion is that sure, that can be the case if you eat a pound of nuts and oils every day! But seriously people.. use your brains! *Balance* is the key!

There are some raw food recipes and creations that I LOVE, and they may be quite high in fat, but that’s not going to stop me from eating such dishes from time to time. But I’m certainly not going to eat foods like these every day.

Pasteurized Foods

Something a lot of people may not realize is that some foods which you might think are raw actually aren’t – at least not technically.

Take orange juice for example. If you buy orange juice from a grocery store, it’s not going to be raw. Why? Because it’s pasteurized.

The process of pasteurization involves heating a food to a specific temperature for a definite length of time and then cooling it immediately. This process slows microbial growth in the food. It’s done to preserve the shelf-life of your food while it ships from the manufacturer to the grocery store, where it will wait sitting on a shelf waiting to be bought. And then, once you buy it and put it in your own fridge or cupboard, there it sits even longer.

So why is pasteurized food considered “bad” by raw foodists?

Well, the main reason lies in the pasteurization process. When food is heated to high temperatures, many of the good enzymes found in that food die. The food is no longer “alive”.

If you drink a glass of pasteurized orange juice and compare it to a glass of fresh squeezed organic orange juice, I’m sure you can tell there’s a huge difference. The fresh OJ will taste vibrant and alive in comparison to the pasteurized OJ (that may be from concentrate, too).

While it will be my aim to generally avoid pasteurized foods, I’m not going to put them on my “to avoid at all costs” list. If I’m out and about, say at a friend’s place, and they happen to have OJ available but no fresh fruit (and I forgot to bring my own fruit along with me for whatever reason), I’ll likely be okay with accepting a glass of orange juice! Personally, I don’t want to be *too* hard core about this… not that there’s anything wrong with being hard core! If you want to be hard core raw, then all the more power to ya!

Additionally, many natural, non-roasted nuts and seeds that are sold in stores that we might think are raw, are technically not raw! Why? Because they’ve been pasteurized!

100% raw nuts and seeds are often pretty expensive, and I personally do not have the budget to purchase such items on a regular basis. That said, I’m going to be okay with including some pasteurized food items in my diet when I’m eating raw.

Steamed Vegetables vs. Raw Vegetables

I was debating whether or not I’d allow myself lightly steamed veggies and still consider myself to be “raw”.

I know from past experiences that I don’t digest certain foods very well in their raw and natural state, such as cauliflower and broccoli (and I think cabbage, too). I do think these foods can be very good for you, but for me, when I eat them raw, I often experience uncomfortable digestive issues. That being the case, I figure I have three choices:

1) Just live with the discomfort and eat these raw veggies anyway.

2) Completely omit certain raw veggies from my diet.

3) Keep these foods in my diet, and lightly steam them first before consumption.

I think foods like cauliflower and broccoli (or broccolini, which I prefer) have a lot of nutritional value to offer, most of which won’t get absorbed in their raw state due to my crappy digestive system. So, after giving a fair bit of thought, I’ve decided to be alright with lightly steaming these types of veggies while eating “raw”.

(FYI: I put “raw” in quotation marks because, technically, it’s not 100% raw! The raw community often refers to this way of eating as “high-raw”, meaning that a very high percentage of your dietary intake consists of raw foods in their natural, uncooked and non-pasteurized form.)

Will I Ever Eat Cooked Food Again?

This is easy for me to answer: Yes. Yes I will.

When I started writing this article a week or two ago, I had originally intended to eat raw¬† — well, mostly raw — for a whole year; and already I’ve changed my mind.

As I mentioned near the very beginning of this article, I’ve recently had doubts leading me to question my decision to go raw for a year.

One of the main reasons I wanted to eat raw for a year was because I wanted to “get in shape” and lose weight, and I believed a raw diet would help a lot on that path. Of course, establishing and maintaining an exercise routine would be very important as well, but I thought eating raw would help a lot, too. It certainly has in the past, anyway.

Another reason I wanted to go raw for a year was because I usually feel amazing when following a raw diet. …At least, that’s been my main experience during my previous 30-days raw experiments.

However, after eating raw for these past 17 consecutive days or so, I just was not feeling that raw “high” that I had gotten used to feeling in the past. I actually felt tired! And instead of feeling really joyful, I’ve even been feeling more on the down side. I wouldn’t say I’ve been feeling “sad” or “depressed”, but definitely not as happy as I usually feel while I was eating cooked vegan food earlier in the year.

My body definitely felt off. I wanted cooked food. My body seemed to want cooked food for some reason. And since I was not experiencing the benefits I usually feel after eating raw for 2+ weeks, such as that raw emotional “high”, clear mindedness, and weight-loss, I decided to re-incorporate some cooked food back into my diet after all.

Thankfully, I’m glad to report that my mood has already improved a lot after reintroducing some cooked food back into my diet!

Something’s Not Quite Right…

I think the raw diet is great — if done properly… and it’s very likely I just wasn’t doing it quite right this time ’round. But honestly, it’s hard for me to say how. But it’s more likely something’s just not quite right with my body right now.

I somehow found myself on this site: What Your Poop and Pee Are Telling You About Your Body.¬† Sounds a little “eww”, I know, but it serves up some very useful and practical information.

One thing the site tells you is that healthy turds should look like a torpedo and should be easy to pass. Well, this hasn’t been the case for me in quite some time. And if my turds aren’t healthy, I’m likely not very healthy right now, either. As of late, I’ve been experiencing everything *except* what I should be experiencing!

When I feel healthiest, my “#2” is exactly how it’s described above… but I’ve also noticed it’s coincided when I’ve combined a balance of steaming certain veggies, consuming a high amount of raw food, and also consuming some cooked (and always vegan) food in my diet.

Who Does Number 2 Work For? ūüėČ

I think for the raw diet to work best with my body, I have to first resolve whatever issues I have with my digestion and elimination systems.

This may sound completely contradictory, but it seems when I eat a lot of high-fiber foods (i.e. only fruits and greens), I actually seem to get constipated!

Not too long ago, I tried a 7-day raw detox where I only ate fruits, greens and a small amount of veggies for 7 days without any source of fat at all – no seeds, no nuts, no oils, nor other overt sources of fat such as avocado. Salt was also avoided. And, believe it or not… I was constipated! You’d think with all the fiber I was consuming, it’d be impossible for that to be the case.¬† Right? Interestingly, I had the mental clarity that often comes along with the raw diet, but I felt constantly bloated due to the constipation, and hence my energy was kinda sucky during that week, too.

Food, Glorious Food! …Vegan Style!

Perhaps once my digestive issues are resolved, I’ll start up the ‘raw for a year’ experiment once again. Or, perhaps I’ll decide to simply stick with a high-raw diet, including some cooked vegan food in my diet, too.

Time will tell.

In the mean time, I’ve decided to continue to prepare and enjoy a variety of both raw and cooked vegan dishes… and I plan to share these creations here with you, too!

…Stay tuned for some delicious recipes, photos, and tips, such as these delicious Raw Vegan Nori Rolls that I made last night! Yummers!


Rachelle <3