Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Countdown to RAW

Okay, I know, I know...I keep saying (how many years now?) I am going RAW 100%... and a few days ago I made the decision to "go for it" because every day I was getting bombarded with MSG. I honestly believe it is in everything. Hot sauce shot me down...I was on the couch with a blinding headache and excruciating gut pain for an entire evening. Parmesan on my Caesar salad the day after that...same story. And then after every MSG attack I have joint pain for 48-72 hours! How am I supposed to figure out if the Simponi is working if I keep having MSG reactions?

Hubby has promised he is in for 30 days. Do I expect to change his life? No.
Do I expect to change my own life? Definitely.

I've always been the one to do the positive motivating and life coaching...as Sensei and as Guru. I'm entering new territory here. This is scary stuff. I have 47 years of SAD food conditioning to overcome. I talked to hubby about the standard three meals a day I've grown accustomed to. That model won't work for RAW. At least not for me. I've had too many blood sugar crashes. I'll have to learn to graze...

September 1,2011. That's my start day.
The cupboards are almost completely bare and ready to be filled with raw goodness. I have a grocery list.

I was so excited when I came up with this plan a few short days ago. I was on cloud nine. But as the deadline approaches, I'm getting worried. I've failed so many times. Will this be one more? And this after being 70% raw for most of this year. I know, insane right? I should be ready by now.

What's holding me back?
Meat? I really don't think this is an issue at all. Seriously. Fifteen years of being ovo-vegan prepared me to go meatless, although that almost raw, rawer than rare steak two weeks ago was amazing. That was my downfall when I fell of the vegan wagon in 2007. Bloody steak. I think I've decided that my anemia was the culprit then. I was severely anemic. I'm still anemic but not nearly as bad. I may need to figure that part out sooner rather than later.

In the meantime I need the motivator to come to me...and what better way than via youtube?
Enjoy the show...

Now listen...same guy, no flash...really. listen.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Still Dealing With MSG Issues!

All the prepackaged food is gone from the pantry...
There is no eating out. Period. So I am making everything from scratch, right down to the condiments like mustard, mayonnaise, and barbecue sauce...

And still I'm having MSG issues:
Blinding headaches (migraine or cluster)
Severe abdominal pain
Debilitating fatigue
Joint pain
(How do I know it's just not the RA I'm dealing with? Because all of these symptoms manifest within 30-45 minutes of eating anything with MSG...)

So where is it hiding? There will be a video at the end of this post that really delves into the problem. So here is where I found MSG this week ... my whole chicken (its in the liquid and the water that's injected into the bird (our govt says up to 30% liquid is allowable)), it was in my spices (the garlic and turmeric were imported from China and were not labeled)...

Call me frustrated...
This video explains a lot:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pucker-Up Smoothie

I loved this mornings smoothie so much because I was really craving something tart and this was it! Very refreshing for a morning that started out at over 80*F

2 Granny Smith Apples
1 Cucumber
Juice of 4 Key Limes
2 Tbl Honey
1 cup water
1 cup ice

Blend until smooth

Thursday, August 11, 2011

RA and Choosing A Biologic Drug
I get an injection once a month  and while I am not looking forward to week four (because previous injections have meant a miserable week four with a full return of symptoms and pain flairs from hell) I am enjoying enough benefits from my biologic medication to make week four worth it. Meaning: my joints don't hurt ... as much ...

(I do have to clarify because when I say "pain-free" people say "Oh yay, you're better!" ... and I don't say, "No, I'm not better, I will never be better, but I am maintaining my levels of pain to a manageable level" ... because to say something sarcastic like that would just be mean, right?)

... which means instead of pain of 7-8, not being able to maintain my balance, not walking up and down the stairs, not enjoying my life, I am leveling at a range of 1-2. Which is good, very very good. In terms of the average guy understanding it - this medication takes my RA from feeling like the worst flu I've ever had in my life 24/7/ for the last 2 years to feeling like I ran two miles and I ache a little...

So, yes, I'm enjoying being on Simponi...
But choosing to take such a harsh medication was a hard decision...

I've had a lot of people say, "Why would you risk the potential side-effects (they mean cancer) when you can just take a pain pill?" And here's the answer... Pain pills numb more than pain. To mask the amount of pain I was in would require a high enough dose of narcotic to knock me out and if I'm asleep 24/7 I'm not living...

Other people have asked, "Isn't Simponi and Humira and all those other type drugs dangerous?"
They can be. Natural immunity drops making it (in some cases) impossible to fight off an infection, and liver or kidney damage can occur; so, I have to have my blood tested regularly.

When the doctor explained it to me he said basically, (paraphrased because its been months ago) "We don't know the long term effects of staying on this type of medication for long periods, but you have a very harsh disease, one that can disfigure you, permanently disable you, potentially kill you, and it's going to take a harsh drug to combat that."

What Is A Biologic Drug?
From Consumer Health Information Corporation The difference between biological drugs and normal prescription drugs is that biological drugs have almost “pinpoint” accuracy and can search out the diseased organs or cells that need to be treated.  These drugs of the future are being developed through advanced technology called “genetic modification” ... "

From WebMD Biologics are genetically engineered proteins derived from human genes. They are designed to inhibit specific components of the immune system that play pivotal roles in fueling inflammation, which is a central feature of rheumatoid arthritis.

Great links if you have or are close to someone with a chronic illness...

The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino

15 Things To Not Say To Someone With RA  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Raw Is Too Raw?

Lately I've been craving a regular lunch meat sandwich... chicken turkey, roast beef, pastrami...I'm not too picky. The problem with that is being able to find an MSG free (or its hidden conspirators) lunch meat anywhere! My hubby told me that cured meats (air dried) are in essence RAW... and has been wanting to try his hand as his favorite... sausage. I joined the search and found a recipe I am willing to try  called Basturma. (Armenian/Lebanese) Now we see if hubby is as game as he says he is.


2 to 3 lbs. boneless beef (from rib section, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
½ cup Kosher salt

1/4 cup hot paprika
1/4 cup ground fenugreek seeds (chaman)
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
3 small cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 cup (or more) cold water

Using a fork, pierce meat generously to allow salt to penetrate. Cut meat in two equal pieces. Thread a heavy twine or string through one end of each piece of the meat and tie it into a loop. (used to hang meat when curing)

Rub each section of meat liberally with Kosher salt. Refrigerate for 3 days. Turn meat once a day.

On fourth day wash meat thoroughly. Soak in cold water one hour. Drain and pat meat dry.

Wrap meat in cheesecloth, hang in refrigerator - for about 2 weeks.

2 Weeks Later:
Combine Paste ingredients to form smooth paste.

Cover meat with paste and marinade for 2 weeks in refrigerator. Turn meat every other day and recover with paste as needed.
Remove meat from marinade, cover with cheesecloth, hang for one additional week.
It is then ready to serve sliced into very thin slices.
Eat with Olives and Feta.
Keep stored in refrigerator.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Black Rice Love

I love thai rice... it's black, it's shiny, it's yummy... what's not to love? And this recipe came from total determination to recreate my favorite local deli salad since I have sworn off all restaurant fare until my allergies are under control. (Since Many of the MSG-sensitivity symptoms are identical to RA symptoms I need to know which pirate captain is controlling this wayward ship of my body) Anyway, the results of trial and error were well worth it and if I if say so myself actually rival the deli-version I so love...

Thai Rice Salad

1 cp black thai rice
Sesame seed oil in pan toss with 2 cloves cliced garlic and quarter large onion diced
Boil in 2 cps water –reduce heat and simmer 30 min

Salt, Pepper,
¼ cp Tamari Sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
Juice 2 key limes
1 tsp korean hot sauce
1 cp chopped cashews
½ red pepper diced
½ yellow pepper diced
Handful sweet potatoe sticks diced

Mix together – add rice refrigerate or serve warm

**The photo is awful, the salad is amazing. Try it, you won't be disappointed:)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making It Work This Week

The last few times I've tried to "go Raw" haven't worked. I blamed lack of will power and fast food commercials. This time around I can't go to fast food restaurants because they all use MSG liberally and even when they don't actively add MSG they may unknowingly be using products that contain MSG. (This is an eye-opening list to go by if you want to check the labels you have in your house right now. Think about it, no restaurant is gong to go to the trouble. So, if you are severely sensitive, as I have recently discovered I am, or think you are, start by paying attention to how you feel after you eat out...) Now my lack of will-power is a totally different issue.

The biggest obstacles I face are a carnivore hubby... I love grilled meat... who thinks he's French and considers wine and cheese the only food he needs besides meat. Okay, two meal plans... ooohsoo expensive... maybe we'll have to compromise...

The other obstacle is just not liking the recipes I've tried out of Raw Food Uncook-books. I think most of the authors honestly see cilantro as required for every dish. I'm not a big fan of cilantro. I won't gag if its used lightly in salsa, but don't go crazy with the stuff...and I've tried hard to like it and thrown many meals away.

This time around I'm using tried and true favorites that I've always had... Waldorf Salad, Carrot Raisen Salad...as a starting ground for a theory that there are good RAW recipes in regular cookbooks. There is usually a salad section...

I'm also using recipes that are mostly raw. Like Deli-Style Bow-tie Pasta. Yes, there's a cooked noodle in there but if I bump up the veggie proportion its gong to fit in my 75% raw goal. Ditto for Quino and Cous Cous Salads...

So, this week I'm hanging in there. Seventy-five percent raw, feeling pretty good, and not craving anything.