Sunday, November 06, 2005

Living on life

Four weeks ago yesterday, I woke up in the morning and was lying in bed, thinking about a change I needed to make.

I'd been feeling yucky and tired, and I'd gained some weight that I didn't seem to be able to shake. I knew I needed to change something, to fix my diet and get to feeling more healthy. After all, I have another book to write (and hopefully many more) and in order to do that, I had to feel good and have a clear brain.

I said a prayer, there, lying in bed that morning, for help--help to find the way to make the change and to feel better about myself. Whatever it was.

Well, that night, I took my children to a fund-raiser spaghetti dinner at my church and ran into a casual friend of mine. We aren't close; we'd gone to high school together and reconnected here at church twenty years later as passing acquaintances. My friend had never attended these monthly spaghetti dinners, and in fact had had other plans for that night, but they'd changed...and she came to the dinner...and we passed each other as I was going up to refill my Diet Coke, and we started talking.

I asked her what was new and she mentioned she'd gone to a living foods class that day.

"Living foods? What's that?" I asked, intrigued. After all, I'd been thinking about how to change my eating habits, remember?

"Living food--it's food that's not cooked. Raw fruits and vegetables, and things like sprouts." And then she launched into more detail, because I was showing interest--in fact, it was more than interest. It was a sign. The hair all over my arms was standing on end and I felt this rush of breeze (I'm not kidding) over my shoulders and neck.

This was it.

This was my answer. And it had been presented to me so clearly, so purposely. After all, Julie hadn't planned to be at this just happened. For me.

Julie and I stood there and talked, right in the middle of the salad and spaghetti lines, for twenty minutes. We made plans to get together the following week so she could show me some of the things she'd learned at the class.

But I left the dinner thinking, "How can someone just live on raw food? Uncooked food? What about meatloaf? What about hot soup? Spaghetti? Pizza? Chocolate?????"

So when I got home that night, put the kids to bed and then I did what every curious person in the 21st century does...I Googled "living foods."

And I found out a lot more information about why living foods are a great way to eat and live.

First of all, anything that hasn't been cooked still contains all of its nutrients and digestive enzymes. When we cook food, we kill most of the nutrients--so we need to eat more to get more. (Did you know that when you cook meat, it kills half of its protein?)

And our bodies, which are used to eating cooked food, produce two gallons of digestive enzymes to help break down our food--and there's a lot of waste. Bodies that don't digest cooked food, that eat raw food, only produce one cup of enzymes.

Secondly, foods like seeds (sunflower seeds, broccoli seeds, pumpkin seeds, garbanzo beans, wheat berries) and nuts (almonds, pine nuts, cashews) all still have the potential to sprout and grow. When these foods are sprouted (like alfalfa seeds, grown into sprouts), or just soaked in water, the enzymes are activated and these foods start to grow. They can still produce life. So eating these foods is basically like eating life.

Our bodies digest raw foods so much more easily than they digest cooked foods, not only because the enzymes are destroyed when we cook them, but also because of the additives and chemicals we use to preserve our foods. Our bodies can't digest those chemicals, and our bodies also need more nutrients, so we eat more. There's more waste and there is less efficiency.

After I read all this information that night, I decided to try it. The next day, four weeks ago today, I started eating raw. And my husband, who had also wanted to make a change, was just as fascinated as I was...and he felt the truth of it too. So we've been doing it together.

And for four weeks now, we've been about 85-90% raw.

We've lost weight. We feel better. We have more energy. We eat as much as we want, but...we're not hungry. And we don't crave things. (My first week on raw was my PMS week. I didn't crave anything.)

And we're not eating just salads every day. We do eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, but we also eat guacamole (yum yum yum!) and fresh salsa. We also eat foods that have been "cooked" in a dehydrator--veggie burgers, crackers, breads, wraps--all made at a temperature that is low enough to dry and/or warm the food, but not hot enough to kill the enzymes. (Enzymes die at 115 degrees.)

Alissa Cohen has a great site and a fabulous "cook"book, with examples of foods that are not just salads.

Oh, I forgot to of the other weird things about this was that the week after I went raw, I ran into another woman I know and happened to mention my epiphany. Turns out she'd been eating raw, and another woman whom I know very well from church, who lives on my street, has also been eating raw! That makes three people in less than a week that I ran into who have been doing this.

As I said, I knew it was a sign.

It's made a difference in our lives, and although there are times when a piece of pizza looks good (and I confess, I did have a piece over the weekend), and a beer washes that guac down nice and easily (yep, have had some of that too--I said we've been 85-90%; although most days we are 100% raw)...all that Halloween candy that our kids got doesn't appeal even the slightest.

And last night we went out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant. We ordered guacamole and a salad with whatever raw vegetables they had...they brought us a plate with salsa and chips while we were waiting and neither of us ate even one chip. We ate the salsa with forks!

It doesn't feel like deprivation. It feels good. It feels right.

So I'll keep you posted on how it goes, but for now, it's been great.

Living on life. Makes sense to me!


Blogger Marley Gibson soliloquized...

Colleen...this is completely fascinating and I'm happy to hear it's working for you. There is something to getting back to basics and stepping away from the manufactured, processed and over-processed foods. Good for you and good luck with it!

= )

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 8:30:00 AM  

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