Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Raw?

When I first became vegetarian I was in my early 20s. Once I made the commitment, I was able to stick to it, and I've stuck with it for the past two decades. Making a change later in life can be harder. I've tried to go vegan several times and always failed. I tried transitioning to 2/3 raw once before and quit. Am I blaming my age for my lack of stick-to-itiveness? Maybe. But I do think major life changes can be more difficult as you get older

For me, considering the raw path began when I saw the trailer for Raw for 30 Days in which several diabetics reversed their condition by eating raw for a month.

This came not long after I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my daughter, and after the pregnancy the condition initially disappeared but returned about a year later. I'm told that if you had gestational diabetes, you're much more likely to get diabetes later in life. When I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, my doctor told me that getting full-on diabetes was inevitable -- with proper diet and exercise I could postpone it, but I could not avoid it entirely.

My mother has diabetes, and I've seen where improper diet and exercise has led her. She has more health problems than I can list and taking care of her has convinced me that I do not want that fate for my own life. I immediately changed my diet by restricting my sugar consumption and exercising, but I wanted to do more. I began to wonder if this fate really was inevitable. Could I reverse the condition? If it was truly inevitable, so be it, but I figured trying alternatives couldn't hurt and might possibly help.

I began seeing a homeopathist -- she's also the certified nurse midwife who helped me birth my daughter, so she has a wonderfully balanced view that considers western medical modalities with alternative treatments. After about a year of treatment along with diet and exercise, my blood tests are coming back normal, though I still occasionally have low sugar moments. I've also seen significant changes to my energy and mood. My husband would credit all of this to moderate changes in my diet and exercise and none of it to the homeopathy and he may be right, but I think on some level we're both a little stubborn about our biases, so I'm willing to stick to the treatment and see what else transpires.

I'm also willing to do what I can to see if I can't prove the doctor who told me diabetes was inevitable was wrong. After all, it's my health and quality of life that's at stake. That's why I'm willing to try a way of eating that might seem extreme to some. I'll admit that it's a dramatic enough change that even though I'm already vegetarian it can still be difficult. The raw aspect is particularly challenging because it completely changes the way you prepare food. It's especially hard because my husband is not a vegetarian and we eat out a lot -- that second part should change anyway; all that take out can't be good for my health.

So here are my goals:
  • To transition from vegetarian to vegan: I was a vegetarian for ethical reasons, so I never ate particularly healthy. The options dairy and eggs allow me tend to indulge all my worst habits.
  • To incorporate as much organic, unprocessed food as possible
  • To eat raw foods, including green smoothies, for at least two meals a day
  • To monitor how I'm feeling on this regimen and make adjustments (whether that means increasing the amount of raw foods or abandoning it)
I don't know if I'll do any better than I've done before, but I'm also at a point in my life where I'm not too hard on myself about that. If it has the potential to make a difference, it's worth the effort. If I don't keep with it, maybe I'll try again. Life at 42 is all about giving yourself all the chances you need to make your life what you want it to be. It's also the answer to life, the universe, and everything. I can't think of a better time to choose live foods.

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