Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hippocrates Throwback

I watched this video, and it made me miss Hippocrates extraordinarily.



I miss my room, and my roommate, especially. My roommate passed away about a month and a half ago, unfortunately. She was one of the most radiant people I met while there. Though she had difficult eating (she had to blend most of her food) due to the surgery that she had to remove tumors from her jaw, when I was talking to her I forgot that she had ever had any ailment. I really want to live out her memory and remember not to get too burdened down by life. One of the first things she told me was to never think that you can never find true love, because she found true love at about sixty years old. She really did have a beautiful spirit. Arna, I miss you.



Hippocrates really was a beautiful place, though it is somewhat shabby-chic.



I especially miss the food:



Most of all I miss how I felt mentally while there. The joy and love in the place is really amazing. It sounds cheesy, but I really was in a completely blissful mental state there. I felt capable of everything! Then, I came to college and quickly became burdened with so much responsibility and now I'm struggling to cope with these responsibilities while maintaining a positive outlook.

I'm hoping to get into some Tai Chi and Qigong up here in Boston. One of my favorite activities at Hippocrates was the Tai Chi, and I found that it brought me a lot of mental calmness and clarity, so I hope that I can bring a little bit of that back into my life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Step at a Time

I know that being raw is the healthiest thing I can do for my body. That's not the issue. It's the convenience and over-availability of non-raw food that gets me. I've decided to try to get back to it as best as I can, though.

Therefore, I'm doing something that I scoffed at a little bit at first. Because I went to Hippocrates, I was able to jump into being a raw vegan with both feet forward. I was totally gung-ho about it, even though I knew it would be a challenge in college life. Now, after several steps backward, I'm moving forward once again. I'm committing myself to being vegan, at the least. Whenever I go to the dining hall and prepare a meal, it always conforms to the Hippocrates diet, more or less, because they have a great salad bar (even if they don't always have the pea sprouts that I requested). It's when I'm offered a slice of cake or a cookie that I'm tempted.

When I became a vegetarian, I decided I wasn't eating meat and that was that. I don't know why this is so much trickier. I know it's much more extreme, but I have a lot of faith in my mental resolve.

I'll be going home Wednesday morning, and I know that my parents will be extremely encouraging, and I think that will help me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm Going To Be Honest

I am not doing too well with the raw vegan diet.

I blame three factors:

1. I am extremely busy. Juicing alone takes about an hour when cleaning the juicer is taken into account, because I have to clean it in the bathroom, and I don't have an hour to spare every day.

2. College is full of free food. Constantly there are candy, desserts, and non-vegan things offered to me. Last night alone, I was offered apple pie, chocolate toffee crackers, and cookies at dance practice, and then there were donuts provided after Mass. I never had much of a sweet tooth, but these things have been hard for me to resist. I'd never go out and buy them, but it's so easy to eat them just because they're there.

3. I am stressed. The first time I ate off of the diet was when I was taking an exam and, basically, there was a lot of free food (see #2). I hadn't eaten much that day, and was extremely hungry, and caved.

Therefore, the outlook for curing myself has been somewhat bleak, as my condition, to be frank, worsens. However, I saw an ad for a documentary that my college TV station is doing about extreme diets, and signed up with another raw vegan who does not maintain a 100% raw diet anymore. I hope that I can use this as a way to get back on track.

At Hippocrates, raw veganism was so easy and attainable! I felt so happy, capable, and empowered there. Bringing that home is the tough part!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Raw Card

Upon graduation at Hippocrates Health Institute, along with my diploma and manna bread for the plane, I got my "raw card."





This card is to be used whenever you go to a restaurant and don't want to sit and explain the complexities of your diet to the waitress.

Therefore, I decided to use it the first time I ate out with my family after coming back from Hippocrates. The first time we ate out, however, happened to be at an airport restaurant in Chicago. My family expressed their doubts, saying, "they probably prepare all of the meals ahead of time." I decided it was worth a shot. The waitress kindly took my card, and soon enough, a fantastic raw vegan salad was produced!



I ate it with some oil and vinegar. I normally don't eat vinegar as it acidifies the stomach, but I couldn't quite bring myself to eating the salad with only oil.

Who said airplane food had to be gross?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Even Raw Vegans Get the Flu

I'm writing this post from isolation. I have flu-like symptoms and I'm a college student, therefore I'm a modern day-leper. I have been moved to an unoccupied room, I have to wear a mask whenever I leave the room, and I have my food delivered to my door. Therefore, I've been straying a bit from the raw vegan-ness, and conforming only to a vegan diet. It's the best I can do right now, unless I were to have my friends prepare me complex salads in the dining hall and bring me hand-picked fresh fruit three times a day.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that when going this extreme in terms of diet, I can't stress myself out about it. While I stay raw, gluten-free, nightshade free, and food combine properly as best as I can, sometimes there are situations (like this one) where it is near-impossible. Of course, there are hard-line raw foodists who would disagree with my leniency, but I doubt many of them attempted this lifestyle while living in a dorm surrounded by much worse lifestyles than their detoxed mindsets could handle.

That all being said, some may use the fact that I came down with the flu as proof that a raw vegan diet is no good. I must not have been getting enough nutrients to support my immune system and fight off infection. Well, if this is what you're thinking, you're probably wrong for a few reasons:

1. I probably don't have the flu. I had a 101.4 fever for a day (Monday), then it fell to the 99.somethings on Tuesday. It's been pretty much normal today. The flu generally has a high fever that lasts longer than a day. My symptoms are closer to an upper respiratory infection. Yep, just took my temperature and I'm at 97.9, which is normal for me...I think. However, because colleges are pretty crazy about the spread of H1N1 right now, I'm being treated as if I have the flu.

2. I'm immunosuppressed. While I am becoming a raw vegan to cure rheumatoid arthritis, I also had started prednisone before changing my lifestyle. Prednisone isn't the kind of drug that a person can stop suddenly. Therefore, I've been basically weaning myself off of it ever since I started it two months ago. Therefore, it was probably not a lack of nutritional support, but a drug that is suppressing my immune system functions that caused me to have the inability to fight infection.

3. My sleep has been irregular for the past week. In fact, I've missed a ton of class because of staying up to see the sunrise and subsequently oversleeping, and I didn't get a lot of sleep this weekend. Part of this was because I had a big exam for EPIIC on Thursday, part of this was because of a retreat I went on for EPIIC, part of it was because I have horrendous time management. Therefore, I probably compromised my immune system this way.

4. Lastly, I have been pretty darn stressed. Stress has a direct negative impact on health and a positive correlation (causation?) with disease. Some people seem to think that college is just a fantasy life without obligation. While the first part of that statement may be true, college, especially a top-tier university (not trying to brag?) is also full of responsibilities.

5. I am a whole lot healthier this year than last year. "But you've only been at Tufts for three weeks!" you say? Well, Last year, I came to Tufts sick, and I stayed sick, basically all semester, until I was bed-ridden for several days by exam time. I constantly had a cough that never went away, and I ended up flying home with bloodshot eyes and an incomplete final exam. No good. Therefore, some minor flu-like symptoms that are almost all relieved after two days is not something about which I'm going to stress.

6. I may or may not have participated in some other immune-system compromising activities. I'm in college. Things happens. Overall, I'm living a much healthier lifestyle than the majority of people I see. I am not currently drinking, and I'm not having crazy promiscuous sex or anything like that.

I just hope I'll get better soon. I've already missed a bunch of class last week because of the exam I had on Thursday, and now I'm missing almost another entire week of classes. My professors have been fairly understanding, but I don't want the plethora of work I have to accumulate into something monstrous.

In other news, I'm working on a rendition of Ace of Base's "The Sign" that will begin "I've got the swine, and I opened up my eyes, I've got the swine." Suggestions for revision of this line and further lines are encouraged.

Also, the doctor recommended to me that I am in the most vulnerable category of people because I am immunosuppressed, and therefore, I should get both the seasonal flu vaccine (the injection, not the nasal spray) and the H1N1 vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine makes me uncomfortable, and the H1N1 vaccine makes me even more uncomfortable. I know that it's generally not a good idea to put chemicals in the form of dead virus proteins into my body, especially those that are experimental, but I also am already compromising my body unnaturally and I can't afford to miss this much class again. I know that Hippocrates would not be very happy if I were to get a vaccine, but I don't know how hardcore I want to be about living naturally. Advice?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I exist!

I'm finding very quickly that being raw vegan in college is hard enough. What's even harder is keeping up a blog about it.

Since I've gotten to college, I've done a lot of things:
- sprouted legumes (red and green lentils, fenugreek, garbanzo, etc.)
- hydroponically grown sunflower sprouts
- hydroponically grown wheat grass
- juiced various combinations of kale, cucumber, celery, sunflower sprouts, sweet pea sprouts, and wheatgrass
- been to the Davis Square farmers' market in Somerville, as well as the Haymarket deal in Boston proper
- been to the closest Shaw's at 2:00 in the morning and stocked up on lots of organic things including raw food bars with bad food combining
- began to dabble in fruit eating once again
- eaten a lot of things that aren't quite Hippocrates, raw, or even gluten free, but are vegan..
- been interviewed for a magazine at San Francisco State University called [X]Press about being raw in college

I have pictures of a lot of things, and stories to accompany these. I'll write detailed updates at some point when I'm not trying to do a problem set for International Economics, revise a Spanish essay, and study for an insane exam for an equally insane class (colloquium) that is literally called EPIIC

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So What Do You Eat? (part 1)

A very common question that I get nowadays is, basically, "so what exactly do you eat?

Well, while I was at home in Illinois, I was able to make myself a very delicious concoction. Every Saturday night at Hippocrates, we had "ice cream." There were two varieties: banana and nutmilk for people who couldn't have fruit (i.e. me). The banana was made by literally putting a frozen banana through a juicer (without the screen that separates the pulp from the juice). Also, for those who could eat fruit, there was a delicious (or so I hear, since I never had the pleasure of tasting it) date sauce for it. The nutmilk ice cream, however, was a trickier task, since it involved an ice cream maker.

Therefore, I sadly went home, thinking that I would never have the delicious taste of frozen pine nut cream, walnut cream, stevia, maple flavoring, cinnamon, and pure vanilla flavoring touch my taste buds again. By some miracle, however, we just happened to have an ice cream maker sitting in the garage! So, of course, I made myself a delicious batch of raw vegan, sugar-free, ice cream.


The ice cream maker.


The ice cream! In a cute ice cream bowl, too. Oh, and yes, that is a picture I drew in elementary school that has been laminated into a placemat.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Move-In Day!

Tomorrow I move in for the second time at Tufts. I'm going to be setting up my juicer and trying to figure out how to live the raw vegan lifestyle in a traditional dorm.

Sorry for not having any updates since my first - the few days I've had between Hippocrates and the beginning of college have been really hectic!

One thing that's been interesting (and a bit troubling) is how I've been losing weight after Hippocrates. Lots of people lost a significant amount of weight during their three weeks (or less) there, but I didn't shed a single pound. However, since I've left, I haven't been eating as much (often one solid meal a day rather than two), or as regularly as I was at Hippocrates. Additionally, I haven't been juicing, since I didn't have the juicer, or eating as many nuts or avocado. Hopefully once I get back in a routine, I'll maintain my weight better.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sprouts!

I'm in this five-and-a-half day transition period right now. I got back from Hippocrates on Friday, and I'm leaving for Rhode Island to pick up my stuff from my grandparents' house on Thursday night.

There are few really important things to consume daily on the Hippocrates diet. They are wheatgrass juice, sprouts (sunflower, especially), lots of supplements, green drinks, and garlic. Alright, I'm kidding about the garlic, but that stuff seriously cures everything.

So, I have been trying to figure out how to make the diet work here. I've been getting roughly $3 double shots of wheatgrass at Jamba Juice every day, which isn't that big of a deal for the next few days, so I'm set there.

The sprouts are entirely different, though. Thankfully, the Whole Foods that is five doors down from my house sells sunflower (the best sprout to consume, since it contains all of the essential amino acids) and snow pea sprouts (a close second to the sunflower). However, the sprouts cost $4 for a 2 ounce bag. Therefore, they come out to $32 a pound. At minimum, I've been consuming 8 ounces a day; at maximum, I'm closer to 16 ounces. I decided not to put the sprouts in my juice, resulting in the minimum number for two reasons. One: the juicer that I'm using temporarily is pretty terrible, and barely juices the sprouts. Therefore, the sprouts are too expensive to only get a bit of juice from them, and I drink straight up celery and cucumber juice instead twice a day.

I thought calling the place where the Whole Foods near me gets the sprouts was a great idea, and I found out they were in downtown Chicago. I talked to my dad about getting them, as it would be very much a cost-saving venture, but as soon as I told him exactly where the place was located he said, "Got your flak jacket? Ammunition?" So, therefore, I doubt I'll be getting sprouts much cheaper for the next five days. If I come home for a more extended period of time, I'll probably try to look into something more sustainable or maybe risk my life in the inner city to get my nutrition.

Fresh from Hippocrates

I returned the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, FL two days ago. I spent three weeks learning about raw food preparation, tai chi, meditation, sprouting, growing wheatgrass, making a mean green drink, every aspect of colon health, how garlic cures everything, and much, much more.

The reason I decided to embark on this journey was because roughly two months ago, I was diagnosed with moderate to severe (depending on which conversation with my rheumatologist to which you would like to refer) rheumatoid arthritis. I've had the condition since I was sixteen, but this summer it became unbearable. Therefore, I confirmed my mother's fears, by allowing an absurd number of tubes of blood be drawn from my arm. A week later, I returned to my rheumatologist as she went over numbers on a paper. My rheumatoid factor was supposed to be under 10 IU/mL. It was 120 something. My anti-CCP autoantibody was similarly absurdly high. I had rheumatoid arthritis. My mom cried. The doctor and I were puzzled. I had no genetic link. She was sure of one thing: "Nothing caused this. You didn't do anything wrong." My doctor was quick to hand me pamphlets of drugs and detail the options I had - from injections to oral medications, antibiotics to forms of mild radiation. I was to choose one to take for the rest of my life. Predisone should be taken as soon as possible to alleviate swelling.

Long story short, I decided to seek out a cure for my "incurable" disease. A one-week visit to Hippocrates was in order, and after I spent a few days there, the stay was soon extended to the full three-week "Life Change" program.

The night before my trip the intensity of what I was about to do dawned on me. I desperately searched for information on raw veganism online, only finding disjointed sources. Even more frustrating, I tried to find some sort of information on being a raw vegan in college, or at least the reassurance that somebody was doing it. Nothing.

Now, I'm at home, trying to figure out where to buy sprouts and if the conventional (non-organic) baby carrot I ate is going to kill me. In four days, I'll be in Rhode Island, picking up my stuff, and in six days, I'll be driving back to Tufts University to start my sophomore year, leading a radically different lifestyle than that of freshman year. This blog will detail my journey.