Real Food Rehab

No rigid rules, labels or dogmas.... just REAL food, for your body, mind & soul!

The following video is very transparent and I'm sharing directly from my heart. I know how busy you are and the 13 minutes of your time that it will take to listen/watch it in its entirety is deeply appreciated.

It is important to me to learn what your needs, thoughts, ideas and desires are. Raw Food Rehab and anything that is birthed from its existence is only possible because of you.  My passionate heart's desire is to bring value to this world by touching lives, inspiring, educating, motivating and doing it in a way that is very real and very fun. If we're not having fun, then we're doing something wrong. 

So, as always.... I love you like crazy and I thank you for your acceptance of me and my truth at this time.  I can't wait to hear from you and please be your true self in your responses. I think public comments added below will be most helpful for creating a brilliant thought tank from which to grow our community forward, but I also welcome private correspondence, if that is the only way you are comfortable communicating your truth. Email me at

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Ditto. :-) And ditto. :-)

Penni said:

YOU have been there every step of the way. Always the trusted, dear supportive friend, confidant and backbone. Much more than the wind beneath our wings. xoxox

Susan : ) said:

This is a very reflective video...remembering everything that has been happening here at the Hab since it's beginning...and looking forward to the future!!!!   : )

Darling Penni, I've taken my time answering this because I wanted to put some time between what you said and what I write now in order to make sure I'm being as truthful as possible. (Sometimes I write what I think someone wants to hear instead of what is truly in my heart. Especially, if that person means as much to me as you do.)

So here's my truth... When I joined RFR probably about a year or so after it began, I knew little about living a raw food lifestyle and I was in remission from lupus, but just barely. I had completed a 30 day raw challenge with Tera Warner and was amazed how much better I felt. Literally, better than I'd felt in years. Having RFR, you, Susan and so many others just on the other side of my computer screen, coming to me often and regularly every week, participating in the 11 week challenges one right after the other helped me ... well there are no words to do justice to what that did for me. It literally changed and maybe even saved my life. For that, I will always be grateful. I will ALWAYS love you for it.

When I felt so much better, I must admit I slipped back into eating more cooked foods, although I have stayed vegan (not as much for health reasons as for ethical reasons). I think (and I may be wrong here) that the mission of raw food rehab was to help people reclaim their health through a mostly or all raw food diet, rather than to support a strong stance of animal rights. And, with me, that mission was clearly met. I think probably with many others as well. I never expected to get the animal rights or environmental issues from RFR, although they were there in gentle and respectful ways. I never worried that when I went to RFR, I would feel that those values of mine were undermined.

What I think I know about you, Penni, is that whatever you have passion for you will succeed in doing. Even though it is wonderful that you are asking for our input, when it comes to deciding what is next for you must come from your heart, must be in alignment with what you are feeling called to do next. And, if you do that -- and I truly believe you will -- you will help people. Probably thousands of people like you did through RFR. Those that need what you have to give will find you and stick with you. At least if they know what's good for them, they will.

I wish you all the very best, Penni. And I thank you for all you've done for me.

Hi Penni:

First, my thoughts are with you and I am sorry for the loss of your father.  I have read a number of the comments that people have left and can relate to a lot of them!  I tried to transition to raw food for health reasons and weight loss being the major one, BUT it is so hard when the rest of your family will not eat raw and the temptation to eat processed food and meat is always there.  It is a struggle to find a balance between what I want to eat and being around others during meal times.  I am also battling those very strong food addictions.  I have decided that trying to raw for the first 2 meals of the day and having a good, well-balanced vegetable dish, even though it would be cooked, is probably the best route for me to transition away from processed food and meat/dairy products.  I am now trying to find some good, easy recipes that would be fulfilling and satisfy those cravings, so your timing is just perfect for me.  I am not too active on this site, although I do read the comments, and I know that if there would be another room for cooked meals, I would be here more often.

Keep up the wonderful work and a huge thanks to you for all your efforts.

As you know, I was all in for raw food all the way and saw it as best for my body. I still believe it.

However, when I began my adventure at the worlds largest nutrition school, I saw a different way. I got educated in true nutrition! WOW!

Raw is not for everyone, as each person is an individual. 

Now I coach differently , educating  people where they are, although recommending fresh yes, I teach a gradual process and big things happen!

I am currently loving black bean soup and brown rice, avocado, fresh green juice (a lot of it) and fresh fruits and smoothies.

Balance/ Moderation and there is no wagon nor limo nor police in my life nor my clients! The whole concept itself can create the feeling of "failure". So yes, they retreat and never feel "good enough".

It is powerful and amazing. I took raw out of my website and email and identification as a coach, as I too thought it would turn many away.

Great move, go for it Penni!!!  If we are not growing and changing, we are stuck and stopped. Moving forward!!! Good for you! You go girl! I am so sorry for you in the loss of your gem!

Hi Penni,

One of the 1st things I liked about rfr was that there was NO judgement. I have been on other raw sites where they would kick you out if you mentioned animal products.  As you point out when a person joins, we are all at different places in our journey. I joined 3 yrs ago on thr Friday after Thanksgiving. Yes, I had turkey that day but knew I had to make changes if I wanted to be healthy.


I pray that you will remember to take time for Penni in 2013. We ALL need that private time every day to meditate, read the Bible, or to pray. When I don't take time for Joe, it's a very stressful day.


My lifestyle is similar to yours. I eat very high raw every day. I also eat brown rice almost every day. I will have pizza 2x a month & eggs once a month. My weight is higher than last year when I was more raw, but I haven't exercised in a while because of the demands of a new job.

Our lives are comprised of many different 'seasons'. If we can realize that, we won't panic when we slip.


I think the RFR site is AWESOME. There are so many discussions that no one should be at a loss to find someone else who has or is going thru what they are.               


God Bless You for all you do. This site is safe!!!

Joe Wood

Couldn't agree with you more. Thank you.


Thanks so much for sharing!  In a world where we have families and growing teenage boys, some of us have to cook food every single day.  I am like you, I try to make it as healthy as possible and always include a huge salad- which they all love- 

I feel better on 100% raw   and that is my goal- sometimes I make it and somethines not= but I LOVE your comments about not even going there on the "falling off the wagon"  that is a crash diet mentality that we need to leave to the Middle Ages

Love ya!

Remember me? 


I just sent you an email to your yahoo email with my request!



Penni, I meant to post on this yesterday but there was something wrong with my keyboard. It is so ironic that you posted this yesterday, because day before yesterday, for the first time in months, I had the first talk with my highly skeptical boyfriend about raw food in months. We are basically so desperate for a solution to my health problems that it has come down to him being game to help me pay for a juice feast for the next few weeks. Basically what has happened is my doctor told me that any mild medicine, in her words, "would be like throwing peas at a hurricane," because my arthritis is worsening so rapidly, and so she's prescribed me the strongest stuff--the stuff that puts me in that category with, "Only the elderly, children, and the immune-impaired are susceptible to this disease." Well guess what, if I take that medicine, I am now the immune impaired. And my immune system isn't the greatest to begin with. I caught an eye virus from using a microscope this year (which ended up being another chapter in this--these meds I've been prescribed can make dormant viruses go active, and this eye virus is one that can't be cured once you get it, it's just put dormant from 10-day preps whenever it comes back up, and left untreated it can make you go blind, and who knows what would happen on humira. I've tried asking my doctors for answers and the worst of it is they don't seem to give me enough. I feel like they're clueless as to the prospects as well.)

A few months before this conversation I was just eating anything vegan. Although recently I worked really hard, and I've managed to lose 7 pounds since this summer. I find I am not even hungry for the amount of food I used to eat--my body adjusted and seems to like things the way I'm doing them now. I make sure to pay extra attention to protein as well as whole foods like rice, fruit, and vegetables (cooked many times because my digestive tract isn't a fan of the fiber).

My plans in my life, ironically in that biology class where I got the eye virus from the microscope, I found I am really fascinated by science. I enjoy learning about all the amazing things our world does, down to the cellular level. And I know myself that sometimes medicine is a life-saving thing, in the short-term. If I didn't have muscle relaxers and daily 5mg (lowest dose possible) prednisone at this moment, my life would be miserable right now. But because I do, pain is much lower and I'm able to go about life with ease (currently--you can't really be on muscle relaxers forever). Even though I know they're only treating symptoms--not healing the problem. I know this because if I forget a dose, I'm back to feeling very painful again.

Anyway because of my fascination in science and healthy foods, I've decided I want to become a dietitian. So I've been working harder in school than I ever have before and getting great grades. My life is finally in a direction!!

I haven't been on RFR mainly because I have been so busy since I got my boyfriend, and I've been working so hard in school. I do show up on facebook a lot more frequently because I like to catch up with loved ones on there and I still have things to vent about, but I can do it a lot quicker and easier by going on facebook and having all those things all at once. I still like RFR though. I like going on here and being able to read about people's stories. It gives me courage and hope that maybe one day, I can get rid of this arthritis the natural way, and not the scary way. But long journals like I used to write, I don't really have time for anymore. And now that I'm medicated I don't feel as sorry and sad like I did a year ago. There's a lot more to be grateful for now, and while I wish I would write more about that I think I tend to use writing more often as a tool to vent than something to record good things in. Maybe one day when I have more time I will :)

Thank you for sharing from your heart, I love this site and I love the Upgrade Your Plate site on facebook. I have been vegan for 2 years now and I still have to cook meat for my family because they refuse to eat anything vegan and it was either that or get a divorce. Lately, due to major stress, I have not been working out and have been eating more processed foods, still vegan, but vegan junk, and I can tell in the weight I've gained and the crappy way I feel that I need to get back to eating more of a high raw diet. When I did the cleanse americas, I felt Great, but always came off of them with intense cravings for carbs - baked potatoes, homemade wheat bread, brown rice, pasta, etc. I didn't like the last one being on facebook and I didn't really participate in that one, but the first 2, I did great on. I'm looking forward to the year year and I hope it is better than this year has been, I really want to be free from my food addictions and to experience true freedom in all things.

Hi Thank you  so much for this, Penni.

So sorry to hear about your Dad and well done for making that decision to be with him. Please do take some time for yourself now. It does take time to heal. My dad died at the age of 48 from the same illness so I can empathise with what you went through with him. 

I disappeared from the site for a long while and went for it alone. I had become so ill with my pre raw diet, which actually wasn't a bad diet by most people's standards, and  it became so that I could not even eat a lot of what was posted on raw food websites. 

I have something call Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Histaminosis (severe histamine intolerance) and a form of reactive arthritis akin to Rheumatoid. My immune system  is basically shot to pieces. I had weird choking at night so I would wake up not able to breathe, skin lesions and hives, my hair came out in clumps (I shaved it all off in the end), I reacted badly to hair dye that my hairdresser had been using for years, I had immense joint pain... the list of symptoms went on and on. I reacted so badly to food  - all yeast and fermented foods, so breads, alcohol, cheese, meat, fish, aubergine/egg plant, avocado, ...   and I started to put weight and in fact  joined your inner circle for an 11 week weight loss. I lost a few pounds but I felt so ill all the time as i just could not work out what I could eat. I reacted so badly to medication too and I started to react adversely to all body products and household cleaning products. Going out to the cinema or theatre became a nightmare as other people's perfume made me react adversely and I could often go into a slow form of anaphylaxis.  I have been mugged twice when travelling as the air conditioning on trains and planes makes me fall into a deep sleep. I have not washed my (now silver hair) or my body in anything other than water and epsom salts for 2 years. 

In the end my then doctor (now sadly retired) said I had to work out my own diet as there was nothing he knew that would help me. He suggested raw food was the way forward and I started to do my own research. I started a blog called  "The Reluctant Raw Foodist "  - I was reluctant as I was forced into it by circumstance -and I will now post about it in your blog section. 

I now eat a high raw, no shop bought processed foods, low fat, vegan diet.I eat some very simple cooked foods too. I get cravings but I work on those.  I don't regard eating something I shouldn't as falling off the wagon. I just learn from it  and move on. My body is healing but slowly and I cannot return to my old way of eating as when I do my symptoms return almost immediately. I am feeling stronger every day and I can go out and about again and enjoy life once more.

I came back into Raw Food Rehab to see what was going on and found your video. Thank you for being so honest. I have felt I don't really belong anywhere on the web diet wise and health wise (hence going it alone) but now it seems I can settle here once more. 

Wishing you all health and happiness..



I love you Penni, I love your authenticity and your real Love. 

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