Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Have You Been Doing Lately?

I figured it is only fair to give an update on my life and where my diet and health have gone in the past year. It's been an incredible journey, and I am about a million times better now than I was in the summer of 2009 when I was diagnosed.

As far as my diet goes, I am no longer a raw vegan. I'm vegan, however, with the exception of honey. Specifically, I'm using Manuka honey to treat my persistent acne. I know, though, that this is just a simplistic approach to attacking this problem, as when I was a raw vegan (and drinking tons of wheatgrass), I was completely acne-free. But, I digress.

The exciting / encouraging / amazing news, however, is that I am official R.A.-free. Yes, you read that right. A little after a year ago, I was diagnosed with "sever" rheumatoid arthritis. About a month ago, my doctor told me that I no longer had the disease. I'm extremely grateful for this, though it's hard for me to even grasp. Medically, R.A. is considered incurable, but I was able to eliminate it, simply by eliminating a few things from my diet. To me, it's a no-brainer. Why would I go on medication when I can cure myself?

I'm going to be getting blood tests soon to see where my indicators for R.A. have gone. They used to be strongly positive for R.A., so it will be interesting to see if they have changed. Though I don't show any symptoms, generally, I still have some mild pain and stiffness sometimes, so it will be interesting to see if my levels fall within the "normal" range or not.

I am trying to decide where I should proceed with this blog. This past summer I was fully self-sufficient for the first time in my life. Therefore, I became a self-taught cook, and subsequently fell in love with (vegan) cooking. I love reading (and drooling at) cooking blogs, and I already try at least one or two new recipes a week. Therefore, I may toy with the idea of moving this blog towards the format of a vegan cooking blog, with plenty of room for discussion about health issues, nutrition, etc. Then again, midterms are coming up, and I cannot promise regular posts.

One thing that I do want to emphasize, however, is that being a raw vegan is possible. I started this blog as a way to show college students that they weren't crazy for giving it a shot, and that there were other people out there doing it. I'm confident that this is still true, though I am no longer one of them. I'd be lying, though, if I said that being a raw vegan was easy. It's not. It's time-consuming, takes a huge amount of effort, and a lot of care. Unfortunately, in college, the time to look after your own well-being is sacrificed for other priorities (both positive and negative!). I know this first hand. Going to a school with rigorous academics, I found it hard to devote the time every day to juicing, making salads, and growing sprouts. Being vegan allows me much more flexibility in my options and allows me to have many more time-saving choices.

If I could be a raw vegan without the work, I would in a second. Sure, I'd miss a couple of cooked items, but those cravings subside as soon as I start to reap the benefits of a raw diet. So, I still encourage everyone interested to give it a shot and see what it can do for you. Just know that you will have to devote a lot more time than you're probably accustomed to towards taking care of yourself!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's May?!

Dear faithful readers,

I am nearing the end of the school year. My last exam is tomorrow! Though, I do have two more assignments that I have to finish after that. However, I guess this is the time to reflect back on the past year.

I started off the school year completely raw, following the Hippocrates diet as much as I could. I lost a pretty decent amount of weight really fast, which was actually a bit scary, because I didn't exactly have a lot to lose. I felt great, but the diet, as I feared, was extremely high maintenance. By the end of my raw vegan attempts, I ended up getting too lazy to even change the water in my sprouter every day, and I got moldy sprouts.

Anyway, long story short, I got lazy, stressed, and tempted, and stopped being a raw vegan. For a while, I was even delving back into eating dairy and egg products again, and feeling not-so-great again because of it.

I decided, eventually, to stick with a vegan diet, and that's what I've done for several months now. I feel fine, and the arthritis has come back only very minimally. However, I realize that I am not feeling my best at all, and I've been a lot more sick with other things this year than is necessary.

I knew that I had to get back to the raw diet this summer, especially since I'll be (finally!) living in an apartment with an actual kitchen with a disposal! I'm also looking into investing in a weekly CSA box for the summer, at least. The final straw, however, was when I looked at a photograph of me when I was at Hippocrates. Now, I have struggled with bad skin for at least seven or eight years. I forgot that my skin, while on a raw vegan diet, was completely clear.

The first one there is me at Hippocrates. I have a better photograph where my sunglasses and hair aren't covering half of my face, but I only have a printed copy. Just trust me, my skin looked amazing. The second photograph is not long after coming back to school and still being raw (for the most part). My skin still looked pretty great.

So there you have it, though health issues are a huge factor in why I'm becoming raw again, vanity has won me over =].

I'll try to keep more updates this summer as I explore this again. I'm a little disappointed in myself for not being able to keep up the diet during the school year (and the point of this blog was to prove that it was possible!), but I am just too busy. I am in an extremely challenging program, and I, frankly (and sadly), put my schoolwork before anything else.

It won't be long, though, until my lunches look more like this:

Now, I have to get to juicing the wheatgrass that my Mom overnighted me today. (Yes, I am spoiled!) (Yes, I really am juicing wheatgrass at 3:00 AM) (No, my roommate is not home).