I feel like a fool…but it seems fixable

April 1st, 2010 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments
This is one of those way too honest and way too long posts but it sets the stage for what I want to share throughout the month. I promise future posts will be more concise and picture-heavy.

Three and a half years ago I found myself at the Toronto Vegetarian Foodfair taking in a number of fantastic lectures on food and nutrition (including a presentation by T. Colin Campbell and Brendan Brazier). I left the weekend with a new determination to eliminate processed food from my diet and add as much raw plant food as possible (highlighting my favourites: kale and apples of course).

The results were dramatic. I was already a thin, active person with a BMI around 18.5 but with my new found devotion to the tenets of the low-fat raw diet I lost 20 lbs. To say that my friends and family members were concerned would severely understate the issue but I felt fantastic. I had tremendous energy. I was running faster and engaging in more creative work than ever before. The digestion issues that had always plagued me disappeared. I was full and satisfied and thin. It all felt too good to be true.

Well, I’m sure you all know where this is going. Looking back, there were signs that my body was not in the tip-top shape I believed it was. There was a flu that knocked me out of commission (I lost 7 lbs in 3 days), a migraine that left me on the couch for days and the fact that my menstrual cycle ceased and desisted.

I was frustrated because I felt like I was doing everything that I had been told to do in order to live a long and healthy life. Eat lots of fruit and leafy greens (check). Eliminate all processed fats (oils etc) and sweeteners (check). Exercise everyday (check). Eat when you’re hungry but not just out of routine (check and check).

Speaking of checklists, in Becoming Raw, I came across a list of the problems associated with a calorie (especially fat) restricted raw vegan diet:
1. Too little body fat
2. A change in hormonal balance
3. Amenorrhea
4. Deficiencies of protein, minerals, and vitamins
5. Low bone density
Hmmm…once again I checked all of the above. I had experienced all of that in the name of achieving optimum health. I had reduced my body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like iron and zinc), the exact vitamins that I needed to recover during training and the challenges of daily life (like riding the subway) and was finally starting to feel the impact.
So, I may have been a fool but with 308 pages of research and information on how to create a balanced raw vegan diet I now have a very different perspective on how to fuel my body.

In the last year, I’ve been working consciously to return to a healthy weight while continuing to adhere to the nutritional advice I was given but it wasn’t until I read Becoming Raw that I realized how dramatically I needed to change my consumption in order to achieve a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. I’m not willing to wait any longer to start realizing the benefits of raw foods by giving my body exactly what it needs (which might mean also including more cooked foods).

Over the next 30 days, I’m going to share with you:
1. All the mistakes I was making and the changes I’ve made to correct them.
2. The realizations I’ve had about how my motivation issues and physical challenges are directly related to nutritional deficiencies
3. The impacts of correcting my imbalances on my body, my training and my emotional wellbeing.
4. Photos for each of the recipes in the book and the meal plans

Let’s get started. During my early days of exploring the raw food diet, my favourite discovery was green smoothies. I was amazed at how much kale you can pack into a blender with a banana and still have the result taste sweet and delicious. This Blueberry-Kale Smoothie (p.258) is low in fat, a rich source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, an excellent way to start your day.

Trust me…it tastes way better than it looks.

I spent three hours commuting to my Mom’s today so I wasn’t able to start my new training plan but I’m pretty excited to get going tomorrow.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone!

11 Comments

  1. Posted April 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Great Post Lisa!
    Looking forward to reading about your progress.
    I'm not vegan, but I would like to incorporate some aspects of it into my life.
    Thanks for Sharing.

  2. Posted April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    You are a brave and generous soul, dear Lisa. I'm so grateful for that generosity of spirit. I'm looking forward to all you will have to share. We're all walking the path with you, and we all have much to learn.

  3. Posted April 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Lisa, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. There is a lot of enthusiasm out there for a raw foods diet and most of the information seems to be based on anecdotes and not science. It's important to discuss the caveats as well as the benefits of a raw foods diet. I'm looking forward to the rest of your posts. I think what you have to share will be of great value to a lot of people.

  4. Posted April 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I'm going to reiterate what everyone else has said before me, but I too am looking forward to your posts and learning more about healthy raw foods eating (there are so many different approaches out there, and debate gets pretty heated!). Hopefully it will give me a kickstart to eating better again, too.

  5. Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I love you and I think you're amazing! I'll be reading and with you all the way – you always know where I am if you need anything.

  6. Posted April 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you for the amazing feedback on this first post. I really hope you enjoy the 29 to come. Please let me know if you have any specific questions or topics that I can try to address.

    xoxo

  7. Posted April 4, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you for your honesty in this post as well as the ones that will follow. I love your perspective and I'm looking forward to learning from your experiences.

  8. Posted April 8, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I am a few days behind on reading your posts, and was so happy that I caught up today. I just wanted to tell you what an inspiration you are and what a gift it is to follow your journey. I continue to learn so much from you and am this close to trying a green smoothie :) Much love to you!

  9. Posted April 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you Lindsay,

    Loving you right back!

  10. Posted May 24, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Very helpful info, thanks for being so honest. :-)

  11. Posted May 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

    London Mabel,
    I have included a lot of what I learned through the posts in April. I hope you find the info helpful.

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