Saturday, November 6, 2010

Going raw.

I promise this post is not as scary as it sounds. Don't un-follow me until you've read it all. Ha.

Let's just talk for a minute about food, shall we? Modern humans ... we have such a bizarre view of food. We use it as a reward, we withhold it as punishment. We entertain ourselves with it. We abuse it when we feel bad. We load perfectly good foods up with salt, sugar and oil so they'll taste better. As if they're not good enough on their own.

It's kind of sad to think about, really.

Now, don't get me wrong. I looooove cake, cookies, candy, donuts, chips, Indian fry bread, French fries and all those oh-so-yummy things. I do. I am not here to tell you to stop eating them.

I just think we should all eat more fruits and veggies and less junk food. That's all.

A little backstory: When I had Smush, I decided I wanted to breastfeed him. Mostly for money-saving purposes. I only nursed Bubs for a month and a half due to some intestinal difficulties she had. With Baby Guy, I was determined to make it work. My bank account depended on it.

Well, that little stinker decided to be all lactose-intolerant on me. Sheeeeeeeesh.

This time, I decided to go ahead and cut all dairy out of my diet instead of putting him on lactose-free formula. Dairy is a common culprit in causing infant digestion issues like reflux, gas and diarrhea.

I tried going dairy-free with Bubs and it didn't help her issues, so the formula was a life-saver in that case. But with Smush, eliminating dairy worked like a charm.

For BOTH of us.

Since I've already told you everything about my lady parts, I don't feel the least bit sheepish to say I have had problems, um, going #2 since I was a wee child. I have tried everything to no avail. I just could not go sometimes. Ok, no, a lot of times. Pretty much every day. It was awful.

Well, guess what finally worked for me? Abstaining from dairy. Who would have thought?

Anyway. Enough about my digestive tract. When I went off dairy, I ran into a little problem. I had to replace a lot of my favorite past snacks (yogurt, ice cream and cheese) with other things. Instead of crackers and such, I opted for carrot sticks, apples, bananas, pears, peaches and grapes. But when you're nursing, you have to keep your calories up so your body can produce milk, so I found myself eating quite a bit of these plant foods. Not surprisingly, they (along with going dairy-free) have also helped move things along in my innards. How nice!

Not only that, but I noticed when I started eating more fruits and veggies, I started to feel better in general. I have more energy, I sleep better and my skin looks really good. I don't get bloated anymore.

Recently, I started reading about raw food diets. Like most trendy philosophies and lifestyles I encounter, I've decided to take some of it to heart but abandon the rest. Like, I'm sorry, but I will not eat uncooked meat. EVER. Sushi is about as close as I'll get, and even that scares me a little. I am not going to soak my rice overnight so I can eat it. And I cannot just forego all baked goods. Can't do it! Not to mention, what happens if someone offers me a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie? "No thanks; I only eat RAW food."

NO. WAY. They would cry, and so would I.

But here's what I can do (and have done): eat more raw fruits and veggies.

It's actually easy once you take the plunge. You just have to BUY fruits and vegetables and NOT BUY other snack foods. That way, when you've got that mid-morning urge to eat a cookie or something processed, you'll eat a handful of grapes and a banana instead. And your body will love you for it.

For the past two weeks, I've eaten non-raw meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and ate raw fruits and veggies for my snacks. Basically: normal foods for my meals and raw foods for snacks. It's amazing how great I feel. And it's not that hard. I did notice that I get hungry more quickly, but that's rather simple to fix: just eat MORE. Remember, things that are good for you don't have as many calories and are easier for your body to digest, so you have to eat more of them than you do processed foods in order to feel full.

Another thing I've done recently is to make almost all our grains whole. We use whole-wheat pasta whenever possible and I only buy whole-wheat bread (I hope to get a wheat grinder soon so I can make my own bread. Nothing smells quite as good as a loaf of homemade bread in the oven. Mmmmm...).

Of course, I'll still indulge in a donut or a white roll or whatever occasionally. And it's OK to eat out once in a while as a "treat." But I don't feel bad about doing these things because usually, I put good things into my body. And it's funny, because the more "good" food I eat, the less "bad" food I crave. Plus, I've learned to love foods I once hated, like raw broccoli! I could barely gag it down a year ago.

Soon, I am going to tell you all about Bountiful Baskets. It's a local, volunteer-run food co-op I recently discovered and I love it. It's a cheap, easy way to get a ton of fresh produce.

Anyway, see if you can make half of your foods raw fruits and veggies. Or maybe if you currently eat very little of them, start at 25 percent. Eat two raw food snacks a day and see if you notice an improvement in how you feel.

Remember, you don't have to change overnight. As Dr. Leo Marvin says, "Baby steps."

(P.S. -- What About Bob? One of my favorite movies of all time, ever.)


  1. You are so right, Jenna. I also feel better when I'm eating well! It's funny how we KNOW we feel better yet we still get into those slumps of junk food eating. I just got a wheat grinder and my homemade bread is sooooo good!!!

  2. I need to get back on this bandwagon. Eating healthy is something I have done sporadically but need to pick up again.

    Baby steps to the produce isle...

    You are awesome Jenna!

  3. i love the way eating healthy makes me feel.

    can't wait to hear your review of bountiful baskets - i've been wanting to try it for a long time, but i'm worried a lot of it will go bad (since clint pretty much doesn't like to eat fruits and veggies unless i cut it up and put it in his hand ;)

  4. I swear you are looking into my life right now.
    I am learning more about this and feel so much better than I ever have before

  5. Doctor Leo Marvin?! Baby steps into the elevator, baby steps out the door.

    I think you should have thrown a "Faye, is this corn hand shucked?" in there. It fits your theme. I too have found how "real" food make me feel better. However, dairy and I are best friends. But I limit my intake.

  6. After I had Charlotte I ate raw for a while. I felt awesome, lost weight quickly, went potty with ease ;), and pretty much loved it. But I missed cooking so badly. So then I made the goal to eat 50% because it was easy to eat a raw breakfast and only raw snacks, but then actually be able to cook and bake and stuff. It's a great compromise! Thanks for reminding me!

  7. I so need to be better about adding more fruits and vegetables. Wonderful inspirational post.

  8. Jenna, there are a few reasons why I like this post!
    A) You don't sound preachy at ALL - you are simply suggesting what has worked for you and encouraging others to try it as well since it can only help.
    B) I actually feel like your suggestions are very doable. Alot of people who suggest "going raw" in any way make it sound like you have to completely revamp all your eating habits. After reading your post, I feel like I really can just eat more fruits and vegetables - it really isn't hard to do.

    So what I'm really trying to say is THANK YOU! Your suggestions have given me motivation to try this "raw" food thing as well!

    PS I love your blog!

  9. I'll try anything! Since we're (and the we're implies you, but I'll join in anytime) being candid, I've had pooping problems all my life too. I'm totally going to try the two raw things a day, and see if that gets things moving. Great post!


I like feedback almost as much as I like food.