I have now been on this remarkable journey for almost 5 years which began quite by accident at age 53. So how did I get here? Let’s backtrack twenty-five years or so.
As women in our society, we are told by doctors to do as follows:
- Eat dairy for calcium. That would include yogurt, milk and cheese.
- Add whole grains to your diet. It is known to ward of chronic diseases and help maintain an ideal weight.
- Eat soy to lower cholesterol, calms hot flashes, prevents breast and prostate cancer, aids weight loss and to ward off osteoporosis.
- Eat lean protein such as chicken, pork and lean meats.
- Eat beans and legumes – another great form of protein.
- Reduce fat
- Reduce processed sugar
- Reduce alcohol
- Reduce salt
- Keep moving
- Drink lots of water
So I followed the rules. Breakfast consisted of whole grain toast and full-fruit jam and a cup of coffee. Sometimes it was eggs with whole grain toast. Sometimes it was hot cereal. Heartburn and lethargy usually followed along with being hungry two hours later and on the search for something to eat.
For lunch, I’d always pack a huge salad topped with a lean protein. In my case, it was some form of soy – grilled, flavored, baked, filling. So filling that I continually had “trapped gas” right after. The waistline on my slacks would get so tight and I would be so afraid to stand up from my seat fearing the “escape” of some noise or odor escaping from the back door!! And the pain of having trapped gas caused me such misery. Two hours later, I was on the hunt again for some form of snack or sugar. I usually packed some form of nuts, seeds, dried fruit or real fruit and hoped that would satisfy that need.
By dinner time, I was exhausted and did not want to cook. I always tried to keep it healthy. lean protein and veggies. “Whole grain pasta” with sauce and some form of protein. Exhaustion set in again soon after and I was on the search for something “sweet”! I was constantly getting heartburns, migraines, gas and was continually exhausted. I didn’t get it! I was eating healthy. Following the guidelines for the standard American diet. I worked out constantly. Yet I was gaining weight and absolutely miserable.
Then at age 50 everything tailspinned out of control. I had so much pain in my my knees and in my joints. I couldn’t get up from chairs without moaning. I couldn’t walk up the stairs that I always bolted up without getting exhausted. If I dropped something on the floor, I couldn’t get back up. My blood pressure was rising. Doctors told me that I had arthritis and that it’s just part of aging.
I hadn’t slept in 3 years. The pain in my knees kept me up. I would toss and turn. They’d feel fine for 3 minutes and then the pain would start again. I lived on Advil and Ben Gay. Ben Gay had become my “Eau de Parfum”!
When I hit 53 – a bunch of my friends were going on The Paleo Diet. Eating only the foods that cavemen hunted or harvested. It consisted of lean protein, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. No dairy, no sugar or processed foods, no legumes (including peanuts), no grains, no soy, no alcohol and no starches (no white potatoes). This intrigued me. I told my husband that I basically eat that way – lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I thought I’d like to try this. It just meant giving up the soy, dairy, whole grains and white sugar.
I read everything I can about it and searched all kinds of recipes on the web and I started my journey. Not thinking about it at all, three days later my husband and I were standing in the kitchen one morning when it hit me. I turned to my husband and said “I slept through the night – all night — pain free!!!!! I don’t know what it is, but there is definitely something about eating this way and I definitely want to continue”.
What happened was the migraines were gone. The bloating was gone. The pain in my gut and joints were gone. My energy leveled soared. I could bolt up those stairs again. I could get out of my seat with out the fear of farting or pain in my knees. I could drop things and bend and get back up. I could workout for an hour straight without getting winded, beat red and having to stop for water. I slept through the night! I was happy again and it showed. My body was redistributing. My skin glowed. May hair shined. My smile broadened. My focus became sharper.
So here I was, the new me. I was creating all kinds of Paleo friendly dishes including nut mylks. Nut mylks require a milk bag – something to separate the pulp from the milk. So I went on line and ordered one from Amazon.com from Diana Stobo. When it arrived, the label had her website on it so I went on looking for more info. What happened next surprised me! I began reading all about RAW living and it intrigued me. I LOVED the science behind it. It was very close to the Paleo diet except it’s strictly plant based. Nothing cooked. No meats, chicken, fish, bacon, eggs. I read her recipes and watched her videos and saw how easy dishes were to make. I had to try this – if only just to challenge myself to make foods that would still please the “hard to please”. I felt that I was eating way too much animal protein on Paleo and knew I wanted to cut back.
I became certified in “Uncooking” . Everywhere I went, people I knew kept asking me what I was doing. I looked so healthy and happy. Of course they all thought I was crazy when I told them that I eat RAW foods. But they were still interested and asked me for recipes and ideas. So that’s when I decided to create a website that I could post my hints, tips and recipes and direct them to my website. And that’s how www.rejuvenationandwellness.com was born!
I continue to learn about eating a whole food plant-based diet. I do tell people that I do not eat a 100% RAW diet. I eat an 80/20. Eighty percent RAW and 20% my choice and usually after 6 p.m. or dinner. I still like to keep it as plant-based but it could be cooked. I will include fish in dinner if I feel like it. And on a rare occasion that I am at a party or dinner and only meat is served – if that meat is “calling my name” and I have to try it – I will. No guilt involved. If I eat something that includes one of the “no” foods or decide to have a cocktail – I know that either that night or the next day, I will have some sort of headache or heartburn. My choice. My decision. No guilt. Back on track the very next morning! It works for me.
As I continue to experiment with new recipes, new products, new workouts, new ideas – I will post them to share. Many times I use other peoples recipes and I like to share those as well. I always give credit to the Chef or author! We work as one!
So I hope you enjoy what you see. If you have something you would like to share – a recipe, a book, a product, a workout, your story, your journey – feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to sharing our journeys!