Adding LIFE to your years and years to your life!
Hi guys :) I know I've not written in ages... May 11 was my last entry on here and I used to write daily.
Well on my new medication for arthritis, I haven't felt compelled to write on here because I've been feeling so much better :) It's been such a relief...there are still it's cons, like the fact that I have to drink lots of water all day in order to keep myself from being dehydrated from it (it's a big side-effect), but all and all I know I've made the right decision for me. The pain is sooo far less than it was, and because of it, I've been doing so much more, finally feeling like I'm truly living. I feel a lot more sane now because I'm able to live my life again. I've been able to work and make money, and now--I can afford a lot more raw foods. I still eat extremely healthy--but you know what. If I desire something not so great for me--I have it. That being said, I'm still a vegan and enjoy being a vegan, never feel deprived with that, and don't feel a reason to go back. However I allow myself these foods because that allowance seems to give me a mental balance I wasn't really having before, because I was constantly feeling deprived and having a hard time enjoying a good portion of what I was eating. I would add lots of salt to my raw foods and that too would dehydrate me, was bad for my skin, and made me carry a lot of waterweight. I haven't been weighing myself, but I can see since allowing myself a more balanced vegan lifestyle (balanced for me--everyone needs something different, I know), I can clearly see I've lost at least 5 pounds, and I'm losing more. I also have tons more energy... I do have somewhat of a high-metabolism, and I'm also someone who deeply appreciates and loves physical activity (I've been going on bikerides almost daily and on my feet all day no problem many days!! plus working part-time!!) and I couldn't really afford to buy enough/use the time to grow enough raw foods to satiate the caloric RDA that would be right for me. Growing a garden takes a lot of time. My boyfriend's grandma has a huge property that she mows twice a week with this 20 by 10 foot garden and at least a dozen fruit trees, and even he understands how time consuming it can be to weed, water, and care for areas much smaller, as he helped her every day as a child. I do enjoy gardening every once in a while, but I'm no green thumb yet and I don't have the room here at my mom's condo to even enjoy a garden that would satiate a small portion of my dietary needs. I also don't have the time to care for one, as I spend lots of my free time with my boyfriend when I'm not working, and I prefer using my time to do things that I truly enjoy, and gardening, to be honest, isn't even in the top 15. Life is short.
I've found this way of life has made me a lot happier as a person. I just feel more optimistic about life now, I feel more excited to get up in the morning and like my life isn't a waste. I truly do feel blessed now that I'm living in a way that makes me the happiest, although that's not to say I've let go a lot of my values that I stand right and true by, because that wouldn't leave me feeling my happiest either. I still do love a good kale chip and I still eat banana icecream almost every day--because I love it. I prepare and order the healthiest meals possible whilst still maintaining the highest levels of enjoyment I can from my food and my life. I go to wholesale produce markets, local stands, and the farmer's market, and I still purchase lots of the plants of the earth for my consumption. I greatly enjoy doing all of those things. I still eat far healthier than most--but this time in a way that brings me more joy than strain.
I was eating a very high-raw diet previously, almost always going far above and beyond the potassium RDA, which in other times of my life, I didn't even think was possible. Now I'd say I'm around 40-50 percent. I think I'm more realistic with myself too, and this helps me forgive myself better than I ever could. I can take a bite of my boyfriend's grandmother's non-vegan cookie that's going to go stale anyway because she made far too many and not feel an ounce of shame because I just made someone extremely happy and prevented waste. That is not to say I'd ever bake any non-vegan cookies on my own, or purchase anything non-vegan, but nevertheless I can appreciate and enjoy in a situation where it feels the most appropriate. I've had probably 3 bites of non-vegan things, intentionally this year now, total. I don't plan to eat much more than that per year, in fact I don't desire it at all and those bites only furthered my love towards how amazing vegan food is. I still consider myself dedicated to the protection and well-being of animals and an activist against unnecessary cruelty and abuse to animals, and the self-righteousness people carry in eating animal food with unknown, highly-potentially cruel sources still lovingly frustrates me, and sometimes not-so-lovingly, but I'm also loving and forgiving to the ones around me, and I've found that this has only helped them be evermore convinced of my sincerity. Mom bakes her own vegan breads now, rather than purchasing them, dad eats vegan icecream, and my boyfriend has replaced a lot of meat based meals with bean based ones thanks to me (and my dad, who's an amazing cook...he's less tempted by my own cooking, but I'm trying!). My closest girlfriends have also attained far more aware and healthier diets, and I don't think it's brash to say that my own influence might have helped. One has lost over 30 pounds now, partially from replacing a lot of old staples with just-as-delicious, healthier versions, and the other is going to graduate school now in Public Health, because she, like me, is fascinated with how little people know about nutrition and how it affects the body, although I am not a science/math brain like she is, and I don't have any desire to go into this sort of field. I am much more in love with writing, painting, photography, dancing, singing, drawing, and other right-brained endeavors that take me away from such a world of structure, rules, and studies. I've been thinking about applying to work at an art gallery or studio or maybe being an elementary school teacher, things I truly enjoy.
I disagree with a lot of how information is put out there in the raw food world, and it's taken me a long time to figure out exactly why and how I've been feeling this way. It is true that raw food has turned many people's lives around and healthy lifestyle changes can truly improve anyone's lives, for many reasons. But this is not to say that raw-food is THE cure-all answer to all of life's illnesses and problems. I don't think it's fair for anyone to make such claims or even to lead people to making those conclusions. Have you met and tried this with everyone on earth? Furthermore, is everyone truly happy with a 100 percent raw lifestyle alone in curing a disease, let alone with a smaller part of the lifestyle itself? Although it's definitely a positive thing, no one has the right to say that it's the answer for everyone. We all do what we can in life to sort out our problems, and, thus far, there is no cure-all way to fix every disease. I definitely think everyone should at least try this lifestyle, and try to find what foods work for them in this lifestyle--as many as you can--but in the best possible way. Your mental health is equally as important, and if you are starting to lose your happiness in the effort to heal yourself, then maybe it's time you looked at other options in addition to what you are already doing.
We all do what we can, and even if you feel small, you do have an influence on the people around you, and if everyone starts making small changes for the better, that in itself does make a huge difference. You never know just how far you'll reach, but the point is, you are reaching. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with dogma and cure-all-claims, people can and will start to question your sincerity, even if/though you have the best intentions at heart.
Life is short, and we have to all live it to the fullest in whatever ways make us the happiest, in the most compassionate ways we can possible. I love raw foods, and I love juices, but right now a high-raw lifestyle simply doesn't make the most sense for me. I'm happier and healthier than I've been in a very long time. I don't love taking medication, but I do find it to be very necessary for a lifestyle that I most enjoy at this point in my life. That's not to say it won't change. Everyone changes and their sources of happiness are constantly morphing over time. But I am accepting both what I want and need right now, and I feel that's more healthy than any other option.
I'm still going to continue visiting the site because I enjoy the raw recipes and information, and find it very useful. Also, you guys have been so wonderful and supportive and I feel truly lucky to have found a place filled with so many aware and compassionate people. Hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings, just my thoughts and views. I definitely don't know everything and I don't claim to, and I know it can be pretty easy to come off that way in writing. Hope this was unbiased and fair.
Lots of love :) Lyza