Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! Blessed Samhain!!

An ending...and a new beginning...

Following the Simponi Side-effect Crisis, hubby is 100% on board for helping me attain 100% health and disease reversal through raw-foods. I never thought I'd see the day, but here he is asking, "what can I do to help?" He is now the official raw-food and msg police. Since I am not as good at deciphering labels as he is. He reads and gives the final yeah or nay. He never wanted the job, but I know he's a non-believer in food as ally and healer. He's also a scientist. So I am now the lab rat and he is the scientist. After he has to print a few reports and do a few spread sheets he may be wishing he hadn't been so quick to agree to help me... but neither of us saw any other way to make this happen. And I am out of medical community options.
(Well, there is an option but I refuse to even consider it. Taking even more dangerous pills with even more potential side-effects to counteract the side-effects of the already dangerous medication** I'm taking seems like a recipe for disaster!)

The parameters for the "experiment" include:
100% Vegan ... no meat, no dairy ...
100% Living Foods ... no cooked foods ... however herbal teas will be brewed as per instructions
< 10 grams fat/day*
*(after 90 days this will be reevaluated and it will be decided if the target range needs to drop even further and will probably be reduced at 2g less fat every 3 months until I experience the desired results)

Our experiment is primary centered around the work of JOHN McDOUGALL, M.D., BONNIE BRUCE Dr. PH., GENE SPILLER, Ph.D., JOHN WESTERDAHL, M.P.H., R.D., C.N.S., and MARY McDOUGALL in their paper titled Effects of A Very Low Fat, Vegan Diet in Subjects With Rheumatoid Arthritis who summarized, "Dietary therapy has many important advantages over drug therapy. It is low-cost, self-administered, and has no adverse side effects. Results of our study as well as those of others have found that many patients experience dramatic improvement in their arthritis symptoms and some have a complete remission with a change in diet."

And also the work of Gabriel Cousens M.D. who has studied raw foods and their influence on health for over 30 years. He has written several books including, Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, Conscious Eating, and There Is A Cure For Diabetes

**I use the words "dangerous medication" because for me they are dangerous and potentially life-altering and/or life-threatening. That does not mean they are dangerous for everyone and individuals have to use their own brains to decide what constitutes acceptable risk.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Up and Down and Up Again...

Silly me, thinking all was clear on the war-on-disease-front lines...the war on msg front lines...
I took my Simponi on October 13th, several days later...on Oct 17th side-effect hell broke loose. This was the first time this has happened on the Simponi. It was a regular occurance on the Humira, so I expected it...was even ready for it... the Simponi staggered me... and it was only yesterday that I had a 100% day.

The problem with huge side-effects is that it changes all the rules... including food rules. It shouldn't but it does. I have eaten so many wrong things...but I'm not dwelling...I'm calling out a do-over. Beginning again.

Because that's all I can do.

I joined a raw-support group called Raw-Rehab and everyone involved on the forum are amazing. THis is a non-judgmental safe place so no matter what level of Raw-Foodie you are, you fit in. Lots of recipes. Lots of advice. The best advice is to be kind and forgiving of your own and others faults and setbacks...

So, here I go again...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Taking Juice to Work...

Another faire season ends... I took juice with me to faire both days of Final Weekend! This recipe may be a new fav! Kept me going strong All Day!

Carrot's and Stuff Juice

5 Carrots
3 Granny Smith Apples
1 Lemon
1/2 Cucumber
1" piece Ginger

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fruit and Vegetable Health Scares

Wow! Recent listeria outbreaks in cantaloupe and romaine lettuce really have people talking about giving up their fresh fruits and veggies and opting for cooked!

And for about a half a second I was worried. Then I talked about my concerns with my microbiologist hubby (if I can't trust him who can I trust) ... and the advice he gave me was to treat all my fruits and veggies like I would eggs bought from the farmer down the road:

 Wash the exterior well, using a brush, before cracking the shell (peeling and eating the fruit/veggie), wash hands after scrubbing and before cracking (cutting into the flesh), and store raw foods (cut/diced fruit/veggies) in refrigerator.

 This advise was echoed in this Christian Science Monitor article: 

Direct quotes from the article:
"Cantaloupes are particularly susceptible to contamination because of their rough skin, which can hold bacteria, says Michele Morrone, director of environmental studies at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. “If bacteria settles in that skin, you cut through the cantaloupe and you bring the bacteria into the melon.” " 

"Consumers should also follow common food-preparation procedures when handling cut melon, the CDC recommends. These include washing your hands before and after handling the fruit, promptly refrigerating it at no more than 40 degrees F., and throwing it away if it has been left at room temperature for more than four hours."

"“Everyone needs to wash the melons before they cut them,” Professor Morrone says."

Bottom line: 

1. Treat your fruits and veggies as if they just came from the field...scrub them well...scrub yourself well before slicing into...keep your work station wiped down and dry between tasks. 
2. Never buy fruit or veggies from store that are already sliced

Hope this information relieves a few minds.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Preparing to Juice Feast

I've been reading a lot about detoxing and Juice Feasting and I want to make certain I get off on a strong start so that I don't fail. Much of what of been reading stresses the importance of "moving into" the juicing stage with a preparatory diet. So, for the next five days I will be following a pretty set routine which provides roughly 1000 calories and very little fat:

Lemony Ginger Blast - 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 T honey, 1 inch piece ginger, 1/2 serrano, 1 stalk celery, 1 apple, 1 cup water and ice

Smoothie - 3 fruits (1c serving each choosing from strawberries, grapes, bananas, plums, pears, cherries, apples, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, mango)

Mid-Morning Snack:
1-2 c Watermelon

Lunch: Large Salad - dressed with lemon or lime juice seasoned with garlic and capers 
Pre-dinner: Apple

Dinner: Green Juice - 2 apples, Lemon, Lime, 2 c Spinach, Romaine, or Kale, 2 c Cucumber, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 c. parsley, 1 inch ginger, 1/2 serrano

After Dinner Treat: 1-2 c. Watermelon

In case you too want to read up on the health benefits of a Juice Feast:
I love Juice Fasting and Detoxing for Life by Cherie Calbom MS and John Calbom MA
Quotes from inside book:
"While colon cleansing is far from a sexy subject, the results it achieves are truly exciting. It's one of the most effective keys for weight loss and great health."
"Toxins are a bit like criminals; they hole up anywhere they can find a place to hide."

This book covers all the necessary cleanses: Colon, Liver, Gallbladder, and Kidneys, and also Lungs, Skin, and Lymphatic Systems; but doesn't stop there. There are also chapters for Mental and Emotional Cleansing. And the necessary components and diet ideas for each of the above. This book will be a constant companion and resource.

In case you want to know more about THE WHY behind a living foods diet?

Gabriel Cousens, MD is one of the most influential leaders in the living foods lifestyle. His studies are compelling and there are many books and many video interviews by this man worthy of rereading and rehearing again and again.

Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine is not the easiest book to read-lots of facts-but for someone interested in the medical and scientific proof behind assuming a living foods lifestyle, he's the guy.

One point that highly resonated with me, because it echoes the yogic philosophy of diet, is his teaching of rainbow phytonutrients. The basic principles are to consume fruits and vegetables from the rainbow: Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Purples, and Whites, as the colors directly correlate to chakra health. For example a smoothie with cherries, carrots, lemons, kale, blueberries, grapes, and apples would cover the spectrum. The idea is to use as many colors as possible for each of the main meals.

Quote from the book:
"Dioxin (2,4,5-T), an active compound in Agent Orange, is considered by Dr. Diane Courtney, head of the Toxic Effects Branch of the EPA's National Enviromental Research Center, to be the most toxic chemical known... The EPA has officially recognized that (U.S.) cattle grazing on land sprayed with Dioxin accumulate it in their fat. According to pesticide industry authority Lewis Regenstein, those who eat beef get a dose of dioxin that has been concentrated as it moves up the food chain. Dioxin has been shown to produce cancer, birth defects, miscarriage and death in lab animals in concentrations as low as one part per trillion. It is no wonder, according to David Steinman in Diet for a Poisoned Planet, that deaths from cancer in this country have risen from less than one percent in the beginning of the nineteenth century to one in four American men and one in five American women today."

And from one of the pioneers in the Living Food Lifestyle Movement, many, many, many books by Ann Wigmore. The one I am reading, which is a loaner from a friend and impossible to find right now is: Why You Do Not Need To Grow Old. Let me just say that the title left me skeptical, but the more I read and understand how diet and nutrition affects our quality of life and the way we age, the more I understand the title choice.

Quote from the book:
"What does Self-Healing mean? It means taking responsibility for our own lives and not leaving this for anyone else. It means realizing we are masters of our own destiny. It means giving the body needful nourishment and keeping the colon clean. It means removing the causes instead of suppressing the condition."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Modern Day Warriors

David Rainoshek of The Tree of Life Institute talks about being a Modern Day Warrior. What does that mean...going up the food spectrum and raising consciousness in the process. A real "how to" on safely juice feasting... I'm not quite ready for a juice feast, but I'm hearing the call...I'm researching juicers...and I can feel that soon... I will begin.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Balancing Act

The cravings I have fought for years...are gone. Bye-bye MSG addiction!
I can finally drive by Wendy's and Taco Bell and all of those other death-by-drive-thru joints and not drool. I know. It's amazing. And yesterday my daughter came home from work with a quesadilla from the aforementioned hot spot and sat down right beside me, ate it...and nothing. I didn't want it. So that's big.

The one thing bothering me is that I want eggs. And trust me this is crazy weird because I've never been big on eggs. If I eat two a year that's a binge. So to be thinking about how many ways there are to prepare eggs is just plain odd. For me, that signals that I'm missing something essential... a little research, and I'm guessing protein... even more basic essential amino acids...

I remember when I was vegan, I started every single day with a protein shake and after looking at my fitday stats and seeing my average daily intake of protein is hovering between 4 and 5%, sooner would be better than later. Honestly, I would probably be fine between 10 and 15%...for basic daily function...but I've already lost so much muscle mass and core strength from the Rheumatoid Arthritis I don't want to lose even more. I'm also interested in really building my personal yoga and hiking goals.

At one time (when I was teaching) I did four one-hour yoga sessions every other day and a single yoga sessions on the odd days. And I miss it! Seriously. Although I have no interest in teaching again, just being able to get through a daily workout would be awesome. The other thing, is that I am really doing well with mile-long daily hikes and it looks like I will be able to increase the distance (half miles at a time) to reach my daily goal of 3-5 miles. This would be primo amazing. And I can't do that on 4-5% protein a day.

Commencement of protein shake research begins...

Today, I settled for what was in the pantry (a sample pack of RAW-brand protein powder) and it was all right. Actually, drinking it created a feeling of supreme joy. I could feel my body soaking in what it needed. I know it sounds corny, but when you get intuitively connected to what your body tells you. You just know.
As for the protein shake itself, I've had better...I've had a hell of a lot worse.

I'm also looking at a product by the Amazon Herb Company based on a recommendation from the RawBrahs for Amazon Power Shake. After reading the promo material it sounds very promising and I'll be ordering it immediately. If it doesn't make my body feel as happy as the RAW-brand did, I can always make a trip to the healthfood store to get it, but I'm hopeful it will be even better...  

I made the announcement on FB that I'm down 40 pounds... not my goal, not my intention...but losing enough weight to get into my size eights again, in addition to being able to hike and yoga again is an added bonus. I am more convinced every single day that being on a raw food diet is hugely responsible for the improvements I'm seeing in my health.

I've had no pain pills in seven weeks. Not one. Not even after an exhausting day of working Faire. Yes, I've used my cane on three occasions to get back up the hill to the parking lot after a day on my feet bartending, but that's okay.

My guts are happy. I won't go into the horrifying details of how I know they are happier, but trust me...the difference is night and day. And I have had set backs...days when I've gone off the raw diet because I thought I needed pasta or chicken or pizza ...or whatever the excuse of the moment was, but I paid with days on the couch doubled over regretting every bite.

Right now, I'm just working on the nutritional balancing act, trying to keep the fats under 10% and get the protein back to 15-20%...

If you are trying to "go raw" I'd love to hear your story...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Raw Foodie Feast

My friend Tricia visited today. She's a raw food gypsy who travels the world, braiding hair and talking the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I follow her journey digitally most of the year, but two months out of the year she is in Ohio and what a blessing she is during those two much light, and love, and radiance.

Of course a day spent with a fellow raw foodie was priceless. We talked lifestyle changes, books and recipes ALL DAY...

But it's also a relief having someone I can have lunch with and not spend the entire meal explaining why I am eating all uncooked, unprocessed food. And it's not like either of us left the table feeling neglected...

Today we shared a raw food feast:
Mango Salsa
Spicy, Tropical Coleslaw
Mock-Waldorf Salad
Layered Caesar Salad with deconstructed Pico de Gallo and Spicy-Sweet Pecans
Onion Bread

So good...

I'm already planning our next lunch...