Ahhhhhh… Spring! My favorite time of year! After months of being under siege, we finally get to shed some of those extra layers of clothing and spend more time outdoors. Mmmmmmm… Gotta open the windows real wide and let in all that fresh air!
Well, spring is certainly settling in at a furious pace around here. Snow is melting so fast you can almost watch it shrink before your eyes. The thermometer climbed all the way up to 16 degrees yesterday (Bring it on, babe!) so we had our first picnic AND sunbathing session of the year! Woo-Hoo!
With the advent of spring, our ‘Raw-Through-Winter’ experiment is coming to an end, so I thought I’d better report, before winter becomes but a fading memory.
Warming Up To Raw
As I was mentioning in “Fiery Raw Foods to Help Ward Off the Cold Fingers of Winter!”, this has been our first fully raw winter since moving to interior BC, 4 years ago. In the past, when the weather would drop down, we used to feel the ‘need’ to include simple, alkaline cooked foods, such as quinoa, millet, and steamed vegetables, to our mostly raw diet.
The major difference this time has been the introduction of green smoothies as well as dehydrated foods. Well, if you’ve read my previous post, you already know about our new love affair with greens. As for the dehydrator, not only did it allow us to create more elaborate and ‘heavier’ dishes, it provided a fast and simple way to warm up our food before eating. I’m quite aware that this is just a psychological thing, but hey, it did the trick! We’ve noticed, however, that as our bodies/minds have gotten used to the new diet, food temperature gradually stopped being an issue for us. (We are such creatures of habit!)
Actually, Don and I were talking the other day about how so much of what we experience is totally subjective. For instance, now that the outside temperature is climbing up, 10 degrees feels sooooooo warm while the same temp in the summertime or fall would have seemed most definitely cold. Yet, both experiences feel very ‘real’ to us, which proves the old saying that “we can’t trust our senses”.
Our Daily Raw Fare
Keeping in the spirit of the ‘experiment’ we conducted, I thought I’d share with you what our daily food intake has been looking like the past few months:
- 3 to 4 glasses of fresh juice each around 9 or 10 AM (our favorite blend is carrot, apple, beet, celery, ginger and lemon)
- 3 glasses of green smoothie each that we sip throughout the afternoon
- A few freshly cracked nuts as a snack
- We have our main meal around 4 PM (which ensures to give our bodies plenty of time to digest) and consists of: soup, salad, an entree (something simple like a sandwich or a spread on crackers, or something more substantial like pizza, burgers, lasagna, etc…)
- And usually a small dessert a bit later on
While our nut intake has been much higher than in the warmer months, it allowed us to put on some ‘flesh’; a much welcome
(and natural) insulation against
the cold. I estimate that I’ve gained perhaps 5 to 8 pounds, giving me rounder, fuller curves, which I must say feels very nice, as I tend to be really thin and wiry on Raw.
My mom is always asking whether I’ve been putting on some weight. For some reasons, she has this thing about how you need to be ‘chubby’ in order to look healthy. (Sounds familiar?) Even though she saw how much I was in great shape last summer, (and how I ate like a horse!), she can’t let go of that old paradigm. I ended up taking a few photos so that she can see for herself, although I gotta admit that it doesn’t really show so much. Oh well…
One of the most apparent changes we’ve noticed on a fully raw diet is the total disappearance of cravings for SAD food. Since getting into Raw back in 2001, there was a time when a piece of cooked pizza or a burrito would be our idea of a ‘treat’. This is hardly surprising, as cooked food has been one of the main ways we’ve all been conditioned since childhood to get ‘comfort’. However, we no longer see cooked food as something ‘special’ to look forward to, let alone pleasurable.
I don’t remember enjoying eating as much as I have in the last 9 months. (In fact, I eat the same amount of food as Don does! lol) Each meal is a delightful experience, leaving me feeling nourished and satisfied. What more would I want?
A Different Kind Of SADness
In my very first post, I was telling you about my general state of unhealth prior to introducing
more raw foods into my diet, and the transformation that ensued. However, even while eating 80% raw, there were still certain conditions that I couldn’t shake off.
For longer than I can remember, wintertime used to be a period of internal fallow for me. Life’s flow would slow down to a trickle within and I would go into ‘hibernation’ like the rest of Nature. In 2003, I was diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), aka ‘Winter Depression’. According to the Northern County Psychiatric Associates, this condition is said to affect over 10 million Americans during the fall and winter months.
SAD is generally understood as being related to a lack of exposure to light/luminosity, as well as a deficit in melatonin levels. Its most common symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain
- Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact
- Anxiety: Tension and inability to tolerate stress
- Loss of libido
- Mood changes
While ‘knowing’ helped to explain various symptoms I had been experiencing all these years, it did little else to improve the condition itself. The usual prescribed treatments consist of light therapy, antidepressants and/or counseling. For my part, I acquired a special light box which I would use every day for about 30 minutes.
I Feel So Dif-fe-rent (Or The Transformation Continues…)
A horde of butterflies has been fluttering by us during our walks the last few days. (What are they doing out so early? Amazing!!!) One of the many mysteries of Life! As Don Juan, Carlos Castenada’s Mexican mentor, would point out, Life is an infinite and eternal deal, and as such, it is unfathomable.
When I see butterflies, what I see is the incredible transformation that they have gone through; a mirror of the one I’ve been undergoing in the last few years.
I’m always a little hesitant to give credits for what I might be experiencing, be it at a physical, psychological or energetic level, to any one particular cause. (I mean, how can you REALLY know for sure what has brought changes?) However, making the jump to a fully raw diet does seem to have directly contributed to my on-going transformation. Here are some of the changes I’ve been noticing in the past months:
- I’ve had no cravings for cooked food (and I mean zero, none, ziltch!)
- I didn’t feel ‘internally’ cold as I’ve experienced in my 2 previous ‘raw winters’.
- I haven’t had a hint of a cold or flu.
- My skin is beautiful, smooth and soft (It used to get so dry in the winter, I’d joke about me ‘shedding skin’.) I’ve also recently noticed how some of my moles have started falling off. (Cool!)
- My hair is softer with hardly any split-ends.
- My digestion has continued to improve, as well as my elimination.
- My sleep is deep and restful (huh… except when I get struck in the middle of the nite with ideas for future blog posts!)
- I am more stable mentally and emotionally. The pronounced mood swings I used to experience have mellowed out dramatically. (Just ask Don! He’ll corroborate! lol) I feel more balanced, rather than getting caught in the extremes of feeling like “Everything is honky-dorey!” or “That’s it… I’m doomed!”
- I’ve had virtually no depressive, pessimistic thoughts.
- I’ve experienced very little conscious fear or anxiety, to speak of.
- I haven’t felt the usual lethargy. (In the past, there were days when I could hardly get out of bed…)
What Happened To SAD?
I know… I was just asking myself the same thing! As you can see, the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder that have been plaguing me for more years than I can count, have virtually disappeared! (And I didn’t even feel the need to use light therapy at all!) Another one of Life’s great mysteries…
I feel I’ve changed so much, it’s hard to relate to how painful and debilitating a time the fall and winter months used to be for me. I remember reading that the raw diet helps to rebalance hormones, but who knows?
All I can say is “so far, so good!”
Coming Up Soon ...
I spent all day today playing in the kitchen, turning it into a little chocolate factory: Turtles, Truffles, Brownies, Chocolate Cream Tarts, Caramel (Turtle) Tarts… Oh my! I’ve never made so many scrumptious goodies at once!
So stay tuned for decadent chocolate-full ideas to help you celebrate Easter ‘in the Raw’! (And trust me, this is no April Fool’s joke! lol)