I discovered Raw Foods back in April of 2005. Back then, I was a stable 225 pounds and squeezing my 5’5″ size 20 body into size 18 clothes because I just wasn’t gonna make the leap into buying the next decade of sizes.
I hadn’t been heavy my whole life. Although I would say I’ve generally struggled to achieve and maintain my ideal weight since I was a teen-ager, I’d only actually been “heavy” for about 6 years.
Let me take you back with me all the way to October of 1999, when I was an extremely lean size 4-6, comfortably wearing “Smalls”, with a little waist, flat tum, trim hips… had a good thing goin’ on. But then I started “eating healthy”.
Actually, I’d already been into food, cooking, diet, nutrition, that whole realm since forever. I’d been into yoga, all different kinds of fitness… a generally with-it and active person. I’d been eating organic foods for years and was already outside the mainstream in that I ate quite healthy. But then I started to shift into a predominantly “vegetarian” lifestyle, which happened to include a lot of soy products.
I was doing a lot of juicing. I was big into Tahitian Noni juice and was doing a lot of super-blue-green algae and a number of high-quality supplements. I started to drink soy milk, ate veggie-burgers with soy in them, used a variety of protein powders for shakes… which all had soy in them. I always had some kind of “healthy” power bar in my bag… I was always conscious about keeping my blood-sugar & insulin levels stable, so I used these “healthy protein sources” very frequently. And of course… they all had soy in them. I used soy cheese, made sandwiches with them, ate organic pizzas with soy cheese on them.
Oh, I was “eating healthy” to beat the band!
But suddenly, I started to balloon. My weight began going through the roof… inexplicably! I ramped up my workouts, power-walked long mileage every day, “ate healthier”. But instead of trimming down, my weight cranked up even more. Within 15 months, I put on 50 pounds, all the while “eating healthy and working out regularly”. Fifty pounds turned into 60, into 70… finally I stabilized at a weight increase of 75 pounds, all acquired mysteriously in a very short time frame!
Around the 50-pound mark, I felt utterly desperate. In addition to the ridiculous weight gain, I was having unidentifiable colon problems. I’d always been “healthy & free-flowing” in that department, but suddenly I was experiencing just awful, just excruciatingly painful elimination. And it wasn’t hemorrhoids. Whatever it was, it was absolutely traumatic and mind-searingly painful, and I didn’t know what that to do. I tried laxatives, herbal cleansers, massive salad-eating, probiotics… nothing helped. It really was a dual-edged nightmare. I seriously needed some new information.
The traditional channels of nutritional & dietary information hadn’t helped me, and nor had the available “alternative” sources, so I turned to the Internet to find what might be truly “cutting edge”. The world of Raw Foods didn’t come into my life at that point, but this research that I did was foundational to what was to come into my life later. I resourcefully mined the Internet using “Web Ferret” (this was before Google), and I was indeed led to some things that were, at the time, very outside-the-mainstream.
And, I stopped all soy products.
Almost immediately, my mind-searingly painful symptoms just disappeared, never to return. And happily, my weight stopped escalating like crazy. However, I was still left with the fall-out: a huge body that didn’t look or feel like me at all. I felt utterly trapped in it.
I tried so many approaches to get the weight off, approaches I was already very familiar with because, as I said, I’ve always been pretty tuned in to the subject of fitness. I tried Body for Life again, I did The Zone, I’d sweat my tuckus off with incredible diligence. But nothing would give. I’d lose maybe 10 pounds, but then it would creep up and go a bit higher.
And I started to just feel SO OLD, not in my mentality, but in the way my physicality felt. Just going up the steps felt like I was hoisting twice my weight of 225. I wondered how I’d ever break the spell and recover the vitality and release the yet-untapped-potential that I felt rising within me and craving expression so urgently.
Finally, in the spring of 2005, the stars aligned in such a way that I was ready to make a radical change, and a series of explorations introduced me to the the Raw Foods Lifestyle!
I went whole-hog… stayed very nearly 100% for around two months. In my first 5 weeks, without exercising and without “dieting”, only by focusing on eating as nearly-all-raw as I could manage, I lost 15 pounds… effortlessly! My skin changed, my energy changed, I quite literally started to GLOW. I could feel a tightness and restriction that had plagued my muscles and my back just DISAPPEAR, and in its place I felt easily 10 years younger. My body started to feel “juicy”… alive… wanting to move… uncontainable, like a kid! And you can bet that people at work started to notice and to comment.
I initially started out making all kinds of interesting recipes from my growing Raw Foods library. I’ve been a “foodie” and into creating fabulously yummy & multi-cultural cuisine since I was a kid, and had a successful career working as a waiter and “waiter’s captain” in some of the best restaurants in the country, so this new realm of “raw foods” was very exciting to me. I felt just wonderfully, creatively inspired by all the cool things that had yet to be discovered with what one could do with raw and living foods! I had a blast experimenting.
I bought a dehydrator and played with that. But what settled into my daily routine most of all were what I called from the beginning my Live Green Smoothies. I hadn’t read much about green smoothies, had only networked in an online raw forum with a group of raw foodies who were into their greens like crazy and would sometimes blend them up. But this notion really grabbed me and I incorporated it like mad.
Making Live Green Smoothies were just so simple, took very little time, were easy to clean up, and were fabulously portable! As a single mum with an hour commute each day and working 9-10 hours, I had no interest in anything time-consuming or complicated. So I eventually radically simplified my “raw foods approach”, and this is the routine I eventually settled into:
Within 2 months of “going raw”, I stabilized at about an “85% raw’ diet, some days more than others, but never worrying about it. I didn’t flog myself and suffer regret when I had a day of primarily-cooked foods. I also regularly enjoyed a good brownie, or some of my favorite Greek spaghetti with meat sauce when the urge hit (I’m a Greek chic who loves to eat… right out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding).
I did not stress, I just kept “going toward the raw” every single day, as best I could, without fighting against resistance or punishing myself as many do for “falling off the wagon”. I just focused on experiencing more live foods, more vitality, more energy… and trusted that things would fall into place.
In 7 months from first starting out, I went from my size 18/20 to the primary size in my closet being a SIZE SIX! Without calorie-counting, without decreasing my portions, without limiting how much I ate, without ANY guilt whatsoever, and without effort.
Along the way, around the time I hit size 12, I discovered dancing. I took a group class in Rumba & Salsa and just absolutely fell in love. I’d never danced before but something really struck a chord, and I knew I’d found a major passion.
The following year I started studying it seriously with a very accomplished professional, and the year after that I started competing as an amateur in the Pro-Am division in the “International Standard” style (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, and Viennese waltz).
Last year I competed in 13 competitions. My training took me to the point of beginning to compete in the “Open” division, the “elite” level that comes after climbing up through the foundational “syllabus” levels. I even won my first title — “North American Pro-Am Open B Standard Dancesport Champion”. It just cracks me up and thrills me to no end that something like that is possible for someone who just a few years ago was hoisting her 225-lb body up those stairs like an old woman! I’m 44 and feel a couple decades younger than my years, now.
As an outcome of radically Jacking Up The Raw in my life — however imperfectly, and without any struggle — I’ve become youthful, I’ve become an athlete, and I’ve begun to forge a completely different path for myself as compared to where I was headed before I discovered the exquisite power of raw foods. I know that my best years of achievement & self-fulfillment are yet ahead of me. And in the moment… I’ve never experienced more abiding joy.
I am utterly, deeply happy. The little, and even the very big stresses, tend to just roll off my back, and I’ve never been more creative, more empowered, or more driven to be all that I can be and to share all that I have to share with others. And truly, it is the deep nourishment that living foods and Live Green Smoothies provide which is a big part of that.
Now let me make something very, very clear: I have not been 85% raw this whole time. I have absolutely not been perfectly consistent. I have achieved these changes and these results in my life as a regular, ordinary human being who just Jacked Up The Raw and used Live Green Smoothies in an easy and wonderfully massive way to enhance my intake of nutrition-packed, live-enzyme-rich foods overall.
I make no claims to be a “raw foodist” — I describe myself as a “raw food advocate”. And although I do see that, with a few adjustments in my approach and lifestyle, I could eventually “go 100% raw”, that is not what my message is. I’m not proselytizing about “the ideal diet” in any way. I prefer to stay away from “food-as-religion” discussions.
Instead, I want others to know just how easy it is to radically increase one’s raw-food intake, and how powerful the effects are. How radically you choose to add raw and living foods into your diet, that’s up to you to decide, and I give you thumbs-up for whatever you choose. Because it’s all a journey, guided by one’s inner sense of what one needs in the moment. What I do know, however, is this:
Foods with more Life in them lead to a life with more Life in it!
So… that’s what raw foods and Live Green Smoothies did for me. And certainly much, much more – but I’m only presenting an overview here for starters. I’ll share more as I evolve the site here.
In the meantime, check out my Before and After pictures. I don’t have many “before” pictures — I’m generally rather camera-shy, but during those Fat Years, I stayed out of pictures as much as I could, so I could only find a few.
But the ones I could find are fabulously terrible… I just love how awful they are, because they really do show the transformation that took place. I hope you get a kick out the comparisons as well… and perhaps they will inspire you to make changes in your own life, or to pass this information on to someone who could really use it!
Discover the "liquid sunshine" happy vibe of blending & drinking live greens and fruit!
Whether you're a raw and whole food enthusiast, a junk food enthusiast, a master on the BBQ grill, or a life-long vegan, the Live Green Smoothie Diet site has you in mind.
The purpose of the LGS site is to show you ways to use living, raw, and superfoods to jack up your health, your vitality, and your sense of well-being...no matter what your current diet & lifestyle is like!