Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My One Year Anniversary on a Raw Living Foods Diet--How I made the Transition, Part I

Last month marked my one year anniversary living and learning the raw living foods lifestyle. How did I begin this journey? It happened as a result of the research I did for family members on healing Crohn's Disease. We have three family members with gastrointestinal issues and I needed some answers. I started snooping around on the Internet searching everything I could regarding Crohns and other IBD's. I kept seeing a repeating pattern-- proper dietary changes. First I looked into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for them and I would see many references to the Raw Foods Diet while reading through all of the information. I became curious so I decided to start researching the Raw Diet. I came across two different men who had Crohn's Disease and they both had great success with changing their diets. One of them went totally raw and the other went partially raw. Each of them taught me a great deal and I was able to take what information I needed from both of them and adapt it to my family members that were ill. We tried many different approaches and it was a long road and a huge process of elimination to finally find almost the right balance for them.
I was along for the ride and thought it would just be easier to eat like them and feed the rest of the family likewise. For me I found that I felt the best on a raw living foods diet. I ended up discovering the cause for my chronic hives and I also got rid of my horrible migraines. So many other health benefits kept coming to the surface that I was not even aware just how awful I felt before I made these dietary changes and slowly transitioned into the raw lifestyle. It is amazing how we can go day to day doing what we do and eating unhealthy foods and become numb to the fact that we feel awful and suffer from things that can be eliminated if we simply eat right and allow the body to do what it was designed to do--heal itself. It's not the foods that heal us, it is the amazing human body that heals itself when we supply it with the right nutrients through living foods.
So how did I personally transition into eating this way? After much research into the raw living foods diet I decided to jump right in mentally, but physically slowly move forward. I needed to do just what I knew I could handle without becoming overwhelmed, otherwise I would not succeed. So I decided to start by adding in more smoothies to our daily routine. We would make fruit smoothies quite a bit but now it was time for green smoothies! I began with spinach, a little bit at a time until we eventually got to 2 cups of loosely packed spinach in each batch of smoothies. Kale and collards go in too now. The kids adore them! Here is a great recipe for one of our easy green smoothies.
Blue Green Smoothie
1 small bag of Cascadian Farms Blueberries, frozen
2 C fresh organic baby spinach
1 leaf of kale
3 small ripe bananas
2 T Non GMO lecithin (optional)
1/2 C water
1/4 C fresh juiced apple juice
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. Enjoy!

Part of the early transition was eliminating processed foods and other foods that cause more harm than good to the body. Wheat and sugar were out and I knew the importance of going dairy free for the entire family. I won't even get into the dangers of cow's milk, I'll leave that up to each individual to research for themselves. All I know is I won't feed my family that stuff! Enough said. So what do you do for a substitute? You make your own raw nut mylks, at least that is what we do. I learned how to make many different types of raw nut mylks and found that I enjoy almond and hemp the best. Here is a simple recipe for raw almond mylk. I used this in my Very Cherry Smoothie recipe that I will share with you as well.  Let's start with the almond mylk:

Almond Mylk
1 C raw almonds, soak for 8 hours then rinse and drain (yields 1 1/2C)
2 1/2-3C water
3 pitted medjool dates, soaked (or use a non fruit sweetener+)
1/2 t vanilla, optional
Place 1 1/2 cups of water, almonds, dates and optional vanilla in a blender. Blend on high speed until very smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and blend until smooth. If you prefer a thinner mylk like skim milk then add a little more water and blend again.
 Over a medium bowl pour the mylk through a nut milk bag and squeeze the milk through it, leaving only the nut pulp behind in the bag. Save the nut pulp for raw cookie recipes or raw pie crusts. You can freeze it in a ziplock baggie. Transfer the mylk to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Shake well before using.
+For Almond Mylk with Stevia: Stevia is a naturally sweet herb that can be used if  you are avoiding fruit sugar and other sweeteners. Omit the dates and use 4 drops of liquid stevia or 1 packet of stevia powder.

Here is my recipe for an easy fruit smoothie. Sometimes we like having something really simple and not green.
Very Cherry Smoothie
1 fresh ripe banana
1/2 of a frozen ripe banana
Large handful of frozen organic cherries
1 fresh ripe pear, do not peel
1 t vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 C fresh raw almond mylk
Blend till smooth in a high speed blender.

The next step in my transition was to begin juicing. After much research I was convinced that we had to add fresh juices to our diets. I bought a book titled, Juicing for Life by Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane. I read it cover to cover at least three times before I bought my juicer. That was a project in itself, researching all of the juicers on the market. My focus was on power and ease of cleaning. I spent a great deal of time reading about all of the different juicers and decided on the L'EQUIP Pulp Ejection XL Juicer. I am very happy with it. It performs great and is super easy to clean. I love the fact that it comes with a 10 year warranty also!!
We have tried many, many juice recipes so far but I would like to share two favorites:
Juice of Radiance from
2 stalks of organic celery
1 large kale leaf
1 large collard leaf
1 small apple, remove seeds
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 a carrot
1/2 a lemon

Pinkytuscadero by Elizabeth
1 pink grapefruit, peeled
1 orange, peeled
1 Bosc pear
1 tiny piece of an organic beet

~JMJ~ Today I am grateful for the Blessed Mother's abundant love and intercession. As I sat in Mass tonight with our five children I was so much at peace, knowing that her mantle is constantly covering my precious children and me as well. Today we celebrate The Immaculate Conception of Mary. Ave Maria!


Mr. H. said...

Good health is a beautiful thing and the funny part is that all we really ever needed to achieve it is so very obvious yet hard for all of us to see in this day and age. All these wonderful health giving fruits, vegetables, and greens have already been provided for us...we just need to take notice.

I loved hearing your story about how you came upon the raw food diet and your children are so lucky to have you to teach them this so they will not have to wait until later in life to figure it out on their own. Good job Mom.

My Mom suffers from migraines and unfortunately is unwilling to make any dramatic changes to her diet. Was there anything in particular that seemed to help with yours or was it the diet as a whole that helped you rid yourself of this issue?

Elizabeth said...

I believe it was the elimination of processed foods. Having no artificial ingredients/dyes/preservatives = poisons, in my body is what did it. But then on top of that I was adding in living foods packed with enzymes and antioxidants. I did not go through a horrible detox like some people can b/c I slowly transitioned. I could not shock my body b/c I was still breastfeeding the baby! I think the raw diet in any amount is the best thing. Eliminating as much processed and cooked foods.
I discovered that it was wheat that was giving me the hives, so when I put the family members on the Specific Carbo Diet that is when I noticed it, there are no grains consumed on the SCD. Then when I kept it out of my body while transitioning to raw I really saw that that was the culprit. I had an accidental exposure to wheat and whamo, the hives were all over my neck.
I can eat sprouted wheat berries though and wheat grass...they are in a different stage of their plant life and aren't the same as consuming GMO tainted wheat processed flour.
Tell your Mom that the connection b/t diet and headache has been suspected since the time of Hippocrates. Food allergies may be a major cause for migraine headaches. They say to avoid foods containing tyramine ( a naturally occuring substance that can cause vasodialation). It is found in alcohol, red wine in particular, homemade yeast breads, sour cream, aged cheeses, red plums, figs, aged game, liver, salami, sausage, salted dried fish, pickled herring, Italian broad beans, green bean pods, eggplant, soy sauce, and yeast concentrates found in soup cubes, commercial gravies, and meat extracts. Other triggers are cow's milk, goat's milk, wheat, chocolate, eggs, oranges, benzoic acid, tomatoes, food colorings, rye, certain fish, oats, cane sugar, grapes, onion, soy, pork, peanuts, walnuts, beef, tea, coffee, nuts, and corn. WOW, that leaves almost nothing left to eat. And definately NO aspartame or MSG. I guess if one is truly serious about finding the cause so they can live a better quality of life they would need to try an elimination diet and have a load of patience. They say to increase your consumption of foods that reduce platelet stickiness such as cold water fatty fish.
As for juicing, beneficial juices are collard/garli/parsley (sources of magnesium) and ginger root/cantaloupe/garlic (reduce platelet stickiness). I found all of this info in my "Juice for Life" book. Perhaps you could get her a copy as a gift along w/ a nice juicer!! Tee hee hee.
It is so difficult finding what foods are causing imbalances in our bodies, I have had many a sleepless nights trying to figure out what was causing my family members so much discomfort. It is a daily struggle and a journey that I am happy to follow if it will help them to heal!!
Peace & Health,

Kristen's Raw said...

Great post - yummy recipes. Off to make a green smoothie. :)

Cynthia said...

Juice of Radiance sounds great.I'll make for a snack today.

I totally agree about the relation of food and headaches. I'm not for sure if it's genetics but your brother sure responds to certain foods. One day when he's ready he will change to a more raw diet to avoid the headaches. Only when his are opened will he change. I just keep on making it available to him and the boys and keep on praying. Tyler woke up yesterday with a swollen eye. Then last night after babysitting for the neighbors his eye was huge and it was a welt! Some kind of allergy reaction. They have a dog and my parents cat bothered him over Thanksgiving. Interesting?
Peace Cynthia

Jane Kaylor said...

I am one of those people prone to headaches, migraine and colds. Usually, my first recourse is White Flower Embrocation (, also called White Flower Oil

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie Lately I've been blessed with fresh, green, Florida coconuts from my neighbor's trees. We enjoy drinking...