Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feeling Raw-Blah and yummy granola bars

It's official! I have been raw (well high raw) for three months now. It is also my 18th Wedding anniversary this weekend! Well, the date is really February 29th but that only comes every four years. I am sure you are wondering why anyone would pick Feb. 29th for their wedding day, but that is another post! In honor of these two momentous occasions I decided to make some yummy treat to take with us this weekend as we are going camping (of course). My hubby and I are turning into hippies as we get older, and camping just seemed the right way to celebrate 18 years of bliss! (haha – mostly bliss).

So hop on over to Miss Averie's site and check out her recipe for High Raw Vegan Chocolate-Coconut-Chia-Oat Dessert/Energy BarsThese were so fantastic during the creation process that I could not stop licking the spoon! I did omit the banana as I still detest them. I also added some pre-soaked pumpkin seeds and pecans.

I should have taken a pic with the spoon in the batter but I was to busy applying it to the inside of my mouth!


This is just delicious goodness! High Raw yumminess!

Now I popped this into the freezer and later I will cut them into bars and package them up for our camping trip. I am still trying to lose a little weight (can I get a grrrr!) on the raw diet and having trouble with it even though I eat nothing but green juice and kale all day long.  I will make sure to only eat one small bar a day while camping…maybe a snack.  And just so you know, I did not have enough peanut butter, so I added some sunflower seed nut butter and they still turned out fab.

So my thoughts on this RAW diet thang– has it helped my Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I went through some NASTY detox symptoms (at least I think they were detox symptoms). Within one week of the raw diet (and I was 100% raw from the get-go) my knees were super stiff and hurt all day long. My RA got much worse everywhere. Basically I started a major flare and I think it was detox symptoms. Maybe us RA people detox in a weird, joint-associated way. I took more prednisone during this time period than the last 13 years of my RA disease.

Still injecting Enbrel into my thighs 2x/week. In fact, it does not work as good as it used to since I went raw – go figure!

Has my RA improved overall in the last three months?

Well, let me see – in a word – NO.  How sucky is that? I am still worse than when I started. I think it might take longer to detox for people with auto-immune disorders. But I am no expert. I can only tell you what I have experienced.

Have I seen any health symptoms improve?

YES and can I get a YES. I know this a tabu subject but can we talk constipation? I am the queen of it. No the King of it. No the Galactic Ruler of it! I have struggled for my entire life with the number 2 thing. I lived on Senekot. I am sure I kept that company in business. I have tried it all, Benefiber, Metamucil, you name it I have tried it. Now I have always consumed massive quantities of water so that was never an issue. Before I went raw, I ate a ton of steamed green beans which seemed to help but then I would digress to my old sluggish ways. RAW has seemed to cure me of this awful problem. So was it meat, dairy, crap processed food? Do I lack enzymes that help me digest stuff? I have no idea, all I know is that the RAW diet has CURED my constipation.

How about weight loss on the RAW diet?

Yeah whatever (She says with arms folded and back turned!) – Seriously, damn it. I lost seven pounds when I first began this diet, but since then I have lost NOTHING. ZIP. NADA. In fact, I have put on two pounds. Now, to be fair, when I started RAW I had just had a hysterectomy so I basically laid around for three months due to a horrid recovery. So I am sure I lost some muscle mass. In the last month I have really stepped it up and I am lifting weights again and walking alot with the hubby. Yes, it does hurt to lift light weights and exercise when you have RA. At times I find myself cursing my own body parts (damn these wrists, damn you to hell!) but we RA people have got to keep moving no matter what. So maybe the two pound weight gain is muscle? At least I can tell myself that! But after three months of being RAW (two months 100% raw, and this last month high-raw), I expected to be down at least 10 pounds! What the heck is going on? I will have to cut off an arm to lose that last five pounds.

What about your hair and skin?

Is my hair fuller and thicker? NO. But keep in mind I have RA, and the meds make you go bald (seriously, I used to have 100 times more hair). Has my skin improved? Do I have that glow everyone talks about? NO! In fact I still have adult acne at times. I always battle clear skin. I was hoping going RAW might really help that but so far I have not seen any difference in my skin.


Besides the obvious benefits of helping stave off animal cruelty and environmental impact issues, the jury is still out for me as far as my health is concerned. I really had high hopes for going RAW. I really thought I might be able to get off all my meds one day. So far, this seems to be unattainable for me. RA drugs have really nasty side effects, but the disease is so debilitating that most choose to take the meds (including me) or I will cease to function. Now I realize my inside health has probably improved since I am not eating animal fat. I do realize all the benefits, but my main goal was to overcome this dang, crappy RA thing.

My Ultimate Goal

I want to transition to a high raw diet/vegan. I miss cooked food. I miss stir fry and soups. I miss going out to dinner with my hubby. I can see myself doing Raw for breakfast and lunch and eating a cooked vegan meal for dinner. I already find myself assimilating some cooked food into my diet and so far my digestive issues have not returned. I tell you one thing, being a vegetarian would be a piece of cake for me now! I think being dairy free is harder than not eating meat. Not that I ate that much dairy. In fact, I love nut milks and all the dairy alternatives, but eating at a restaurant and being dairy free is almost impossible. My favorite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, offers basically zilch for vegan options. Even their pasta is made with eggs, and veggies are cooked in butter, and milk products are added to sauces. Yes, I could order a plate of veggies cooked in olive oil but why bother spending the money. I can cook or uncook veggies my way at home.

Lately I am finding it hard to be on the Raw diet. The excitement is not there and I am getting bored of my food choices. Maybe I will feel different tomorrow!

Is it just me, or does everyone hit a RAW plateau? Do you ever get bored of the Raw diet? Maybe I am going through Raw Mid Life Crisis! lol



VivaciousVegan said...

I so feel your pain....I know how it feels to have such high hopes about something and then having it do abso-freakin-nothing...
I went vegan because I kept hearing about how wonderful it made you feel, how the weight would melt off and the inflammation would practically go away...YAH>>>>NO
I have not lost more than 16 lbs. I am still in constant pain and I feel heavy and lethargic still....
But....I wouldn't go back to eating what I used to, but I could kill someone over a ooey gooey cheese burger...literally!

When I was on Enbrel, it did nothing, I injected in my stomach and all I can can say about it is I am now scarred from it.
I am now on Remicade and get infusions every 7 weeks, it takes about 3 hours to get it...It helps with my PA and it has strengthened my hair and nails, but I still have pain and my plaques are not so severe.....I still need to lose 60 lbs, from last years steriod treatment, but I am working on it..

What ever you choose, I know t will be the right thing for you!
Sorry I am rambling....

Having an illness is never easy, I wish you didn't have to suffer, well I wish I didn't either, but it does help to talk about it doesn't it?

Ok, now I seriously want a cheseburger...lol

RawSierra said...

I am soooo there with you on the cheeseburger. My cravings for stuff like that has not gone away! I wont go back to the way I used to eat but I am sure one day I may eat something that is crappy for me (cheetos, where are you? lol)

I wish you felt better too! It seems like diet is the only thing we have control over and if that does not help, then what? I guess we start a blog and whine about together! haha....thanks viv-a-cious! I am so with you there on the weight loss! I mean how much kale can we eat and NOT lose weight! I was on remicade once...just one time! Had to battle insurance to get it. They seem to be okay approving Enbrel. Go figure!

evergreen said...

Congratulations for being raw for three months, and a very happy wedding anniversary too!

The energy bars look amazing and I love the sentence about applying it to the inside of your mouth...lol!

I am hoping you will find whatever gives you some relief from your RA. I have a close family member dealing with it, so I do understand what you are going through.

The longer I have been raw, the easier it is for me(since 2007). I am always on the lookout for new and exciting recipes, so I have not been bored...yet:)

bitt of raw said...

I have been there! I think I had more results in 3 months but I also was doing B-12 shots and an herbal protocol. It also takes awhile to lose weight, especially for women and especially the older you are (not saying you are old--just FYI! *bites lip*).

I think it's pretty natural to go through this kind of questioning. When I wasn't getting any better I wanted to go back to cooked food. I didn't crave it, but then once I tasted it again I craved it. Then, oh boy did the weight come back (like a pound per cooked meal!) and the pain came roaring back. So it's pretty clear cut for me. I'd love to be High Raw (well I guess I am if you count tamari here and there but that's so little I don't count it) but my body prefers all raw. But it took me almost 2 years to figure this out!

I have been bored with raw food--oh yes! Luckily I love to make food. Lately I was getting a bit bored and have been having some raw take-out food. Just to mix it up. That's also why I surround myself with raw blogs and raw recipes. They are like my training wheels.

I think it's ok to feel how you feel and to experiment with what works for you. For some people it can take more time to feel better.

rawkstar diaries said...

hey there! I have often felt "raw-blah" over the years... especially if you are making cooked food for family members. If the whole fam was raw it would be a lot easier. My husband is not raw and NEVER will be. Yesterday he ate just a plate of chicken for dinner. No veggies or anything. So I know what you are going through. It's frustrating also when you are eating this way and not seeing results like you want. Over the past 4 years I have learned that you cannot push yourself too hard in any direction. I think that it is great if you do raw during the day and a cooked vegan dinner. That is awesome! I mean really, how does anyone really know if 100% raw is best? You have to do what feels good for you or else you will get frustrated. I eat cooked occasionally. I save my cooked meals for weddings, family get togethers and other important events because at those times I feel like my diet should not be the center of attention. I can usually find cooked veggies and raw salads and this is satisfying for everyone. I don't think much about it and then move right back into my way of eating as soon as I get home. It's not the "here and there" that is bad for you it's the "all the time." Also, have you every tried a water fast for your RA? I have heard that it really helps. Joel Furhman wrote a book about water fasting for auto immune diseases and it seems really good. Anywhoo, I hope your raw-blah feelings don't last too long and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

HiHoRosie said...

Plateaued? Yes. Been bored? Yes. Frustrated when not seeing/expecting results? Yes. Glad to know you're not the only one huh? :) Congrats btw on 3 mos raw and your 18th wedding anniversary!! I haven't struggled with many of the issues you have so I can't offer much in way of advice. I do hope that you'll find the path that does work best for you and does help with your overall health. For me, I enjoy being med to high raw (I eat more cooked during the winter but have been eating cooked longer than that due to pregnancy and now nursing). I have my work cut out for me to get back to where I want to be. :) I wish there were more restaurants who'd offer vegan/vegetarian choices! Make it easier when with mixed company. :)Hope you enjoy your anniversay weekend! That granola looks SCRUMPTIOUS!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

Hi and thank you for linking and making my granola bars!!! Glad you omitted the banana since you dont like em and rolled with what you do like and have on hand! They look great, can't wait to hear how you think they taste after the freezer!

High raw vegan. I am this way b/c of health issues and food allergies and never really liked cooked heavier meals, so for me, it's a natural flow. However, i can understand how it's not for everyone and how one can get bored. I also don't keep a tally sheet of raw or cooked, i just eat what i like. And I'd say it comes out to 80% raw, but if it was 5% raw, that would be fine too. Who cares! It's about how you feel: do what feels healthiest and best!

Melissa said...

Hi and congrats on all your anniversaries!
My mom has chronic pain (fibromyalgia and arthritis) and so I've seen her sturggle many,many times with frustration and pain. And so you do whatever makes you feel better (drugs, no drugs, raw, vegan, vegetarian, or whatever you want to eat). I wish you all the best on your health journey:)

Those granola bars look too yummy, I would lick the spoon too:)

I am very new to this whole RAW world so everything is new and exciting but I know that will settle down and I'll have to somehow make it fresh again!

Gena said...

As you know, I don't believe that all raw or high raw is necessary for great health -- it's all about eating digestible, plant based, nourishing foods. Restaurants and cooked dinners are perfectly OK! So it's important for you to do what works best. Something we'll discuss, naturally :)

Unknown said...

I have RA too, and it is wretched and PAINFUL. I have in a lot of joints. I found eliminamting grains, dairy and nightshades to be the best thing for me. I found your blog becasue the raw food diet has been helping my pain and swelling. I think if you tried to avoid grains and eat raw veggies and fruit for a week you might notice some imrovement. I hope you feel better. Nice blog you have here, its cute.