This story started on day 10 of my raw food experiment when I noticed I already felt like a whole new person. It was hard to believe that it took me so long to do this. After a tough winter, my father’s health challenges took a toll on me but the wake up call and clarity of the experience was life changing for me. I realized that if I want to remain healthy I must take charge of my own health. Not that I didn’t know that before but watching someone only partially commit to making the lifestyle changes that are required to support their health made me realize that I have done the same over and over again with my weight. I have been fortunate in that my weight has generally not meant diabetes, high blood pressure and the rest of the common ailments for me.
I turned 50 in August of 2014 and in some respects I never felt more myself. However that winter I noticed that the same malaise I experienced in 2012 was returning with a few additional surprises. Back then I was experiencing a variety of subclinical symptoms including: weight gain, unexplained rashes, seasonal allergies, brain fog, digestive issues, bloating, trouble sleeping, general fatigue, heart palpitations at night, and mild depression. I literally did not feel like myself, so after some hesitation I went to my doctor and described my situation. After perusing my blood work, she recommended that I visit a barrage of specialists: the sleep specialist, dermatologist, allergist and GI specialists to name a few. I actually went to the sleep center and when I discovered what that process was (spending a night at the sleep center wired up for monitoring), I decided there had to be a better way. Or at least something I could try before heading down that path.
I decided to look into natural remedies as I have used many Alternative therapies in my life. I described my symptoms to the person on the other end of the line and she said, “Oh, those are symptoms of Perimenopause.” I was stopped in my tracks. I could not believe that: 1) I had not thought of that and 2) that my doctor never even mentioned that perimenopause might be a possibility despite my age (late 40s). I had thought of hot flashes being the primary sign of “the Change.” I discovered after reading Ann Louise Gittleman’s book Before the Change that all of my symptoms (including a couple I forgot to mention to the doctor) were part of this biological process. That year I decided to go to a weight loss program for a month and returned feeling better if not totally back to my normal self.
So that winter, I had, through returning to old patterns, allowed myself to slip back into a similar state in 3 years with some new and “improved” symptoms: very dry skin and itching (no amount of moisturizer or oil seemed to alleviate the dryness); extreme digestive discomfort including stomach cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea after meals; and much worse mental fog than before. About a month before Easter I decided that I must have some sort of food intolerance and cut all grains from my diet. It helped at least with the digestive discomfort and as a side benefit I lost a few pounds. I still did not find much relief for the other symptoms.
So, I decided that I needed a more cleansing diet. Fortunately, thanks to Scribd I rediscovered some of the Raw Food cookbooks I had used years ago (in 2008) to lose a lot of weight and feel great. On Easter Sunday, I prepared a delicious roast duck meal and shared it with my family. The next day I started Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Detox and I haven’t looked back. I literally had no caffeine or sugar withdrawal and experienced no hunger or cravings. And in 9 days I was down 7 lbs! For the first time, the mind fog started to clear and I was able to focus, I was finally able to get a decent night’s sleep, and the seasonal allergies never appeared. I felt like a new person.
I must admit I felt a little silly for waiting this long to get back to raw foods. When I tried it before I had great success with weight loss (a struggle since my teen years) and energy but without a workable strategy I lapsed in the winter months when it is more difficult to maintain this lifestyle. I remembered that I NEVER felt deprived on the raw foods unlike low carb or low fat diets where I always experience some sort of cravings. The other benefit is that the food preparation seems to take much less time than a traditional kitchen. The only time consuming thing is using the dehydrator and that is not something that requires my attention, just an extended period of time.
So I made a new commitment to myself to choose this path to improve my health. I decided to write about it to hold myself accountable and perhaps help others along the way. I relieved most of my Perimenopause symptoms and set myself up for the life I want to live in my so-called midlife and beyond.
My original idea was to find a way to document all of the beautiful food that I have been eating. I have always wanted to learn photography and the gorgeous colors on my plate (and in the glasses) called to me. I found the perfect subject for my photo journal! I never dreamed that there would actually be significant interest in my journey and the pictures. This blog has become as inspiration, motivation and ideas for your own health and well-being.