About two weeks ago "12 Steps to Raw Foods" by Victoria Boutenko arrived from Amazon. It finally filled in the gaps, and made raw foods accessible and comprehensible . . . it was a book on color theory when all the other recipe books and blogs I had read were more like paint-by-number kits. (A review of 12 Steps to Raw Foods to come . . . )
Here's what I've noticed after ten days on a very nearly 100% raw menu:
1. My back is FINALLY beginning to heal. I didn't stop to think about how much better it is until I noticed a broad white "healing line" through the darker area of my right iris which corresponds to my lower back. (Iridology fascinates me, btw.) That made me stop and think about how long it has been since I really hurt . . . and it has been quite a few days. (Five-ish.) The change in diet and a slightly firmer bed have really been a good combination. (Fwiw, we were sleeping on a firmer surface before the diet change, but it didn't help much.)
2. I'm rested when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes waking up is still tough, but it's NOTHING like the days of severe hypoglycemia. Within a few minutes, I feel cheerful, and have a reasonable amount of energy (total shocker for me). Oh, and a huge bonus: I no longer have nasty morning-mouth. That was a recent development (started about a year ago), and it's just lovely to have it gone.
3. My body is able to restore itself during sleep in a manner completely different than anything I've experienced in the last three years. Or, come to think of, since I don't know when. Possibly before the critically-sleep-deprived days of high school. The last two nights, I've woken up to the baby's cries before Vern stirred at all, got up to take care of whatever it was he needed without feeling depressed or frighteningly weak or like my back would literally not hold me up, and woke up the next morning feeling better than the nights two weeks ago when I didn't have interruptions. When I don't get sufficient sleep, I'm still tired, but it's wholly physical now . . . I'm no longer a hostile, depressed, snarling wreck. (My family is glad. lolol) Last night was a chopped 7.5 hour night. A solid 1.5 hour deficit from what I really have needed lately to feel reasonable solid during the day. Today has been a phenomenal day.
4. I no longer am driven by food cravings. I know I can eat all I want of whatever whole, good, fresh food I want (even if it's nothing but dates for a couple days, which I nearly did), and when I find myself hungry and wanting to root through the fridge, I know from experience that I'll find what will truly satisfy my hunger. It's a secure, solid feeling. Gone are the days of being driven nearly crazy by a deep hunger, not seeing anything that tempted me. (Barring frozen desserts and chocolate, which quieted the hunger, but never silenced it.)
5. I'm slowly dropping weight. I shed about five pounds of retained water the first two days (which was more than I could do, even with dieting, before!), and have lost a few ounces each day since then, except for Thanksgiving Day, and the two days bracketing it. Those three days I included a small amount of cooked foods, and I simply maintained. Not too bad, though, considering what has happened in the past to myself, and others. (T-day I had a 1" x 1.5" piece of turkey, no refined sugar, a couple small helpings of maple-syrup sweet potatoes, and lots of salad.)
6. My moods have been milder, lighter, happier, nicer, and far more buoyant than they have in a looooong, looooooooooong time. I'm a woman of no small will or drive . . . but depression really had me pinned the last few years. Even the last year and a half, living in such a great spot in Oregon with such great people as friends, I struggled. It has been so good to really want to smile, and then to smile and feel that smile grow and strengthen and deepen until it fills my entire body. Smiling at people today during church was so fun . . . especially complete strangers who seemed down, worried, or reserved. I'd smile at them, looking them in the eye, and I could see my happiness enter their hearts, and then break out over their faces. That alone is worth giving up every cooked, traditional, lovely comfort food I ever knew. Driving home from church today, Vern turned to me and said: "I've never seen you this happy." I replied: "I don't think I've ever felt this happy in my whole life."
I know things won't be smooth sailing. Life happens. People will have trouble with this choice I've made, even though I will do all I can to make sure those I love and interact with (who need to know my eating habits, lol) know that this is something I've done wholly for my own well-being, and is not something that I expect them to cater to, listen to, or (heaven forbid), have forced on them. My body simply wouldn't do what I need it to do eating the way I had been (and by American standards, I was eating darn good foods: organic, natural, and mostly whole--just mostly cooked, and very few veggies). This is a gift I'm giving myself, and my family who has to live with me. :o) Before and After photos will come . . .
Have a wonderful, wonderful week!
(Who thinks she has had a small taste of why the raw-vegans she has corresponded with have always signed their emails with things like "In Joy!", and have used seemingly too many !'s . . . )