Alisa/ On the Road to Raw
Diets, Donuts and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Part Two
The first book I bought on the raw food diet was Juliano’s book entitled, appropriately - RAW. It was a beautiful book. It was filled with his exciting story about how he was introduced to raw and what it did for him. His story was inspirational. I felt hope for the first time. I felt if he could do it so could I. The pictures in his book of the food that he created looked absolutely delicious. His story was delicious and he looked delicious (although I must admit when I first saw him I thought he was a girl….oops, I’m bad…take a look yourself).
Now, you have to remember that I don’t cook. I don’t like to cook. I never really stepped into a kitchen. I was not the cook in my family. My now ex-husband, friend cooked and I cleaned. I burnt butter. I burnt water. I was a disaster in the kitchen. O.k. the scariness returned. I panicked a bit. How was I going to do this while I was raising a young child and working a million hours at the office???
Well, at the time that I was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, my ex was suffering from high blood pressure. He had suffered a massive stroke not long before my illness appeared. Being the supportive partner that he was, he said that he would create the recipes. He would prepare the meals and we would take this journey together. He would go raw with me. I was relieved, thankful and hopeful once more.
Because I was in such excruciating pain, and because I always dove into something new with both feet first and am an extremist by nature, I declared “no more cooked food!” I was going to eat 100% raw food. I was going to heal my condition and I was going to do it now! We cleaned out all of the cupboards, the pantry, the refrigerator, etc. of all cooked processed foods. We threw out the microwave and got rid of all pots and pans….this act almost gave my ex another stroke because he was a Cordon Bleu Chef and LOVED to cook but he went along with it because both of our health was at stake. We could always buy more “stuff” if it didn’t work. I wanted to start with a fresh clean slate. I could have nothing around that would entice me away from my goal of regaining my health.
O.k. so now our kitchen was a “raw” kitchen. Where to begin??? Because I love bread, being the Italian that I am, and because I’d always loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we decided to try Juliano’s recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly on his version of what he called ‘bread’. The photograph of the sandwich looked scrumptious. The one that I made? Not so much.
Well, what I learned very quickly, even though I had never followed a recipe in my life, was that recipes don’t always work out the way they say they should. My first try was a complete and utter failure. We followed the recipe to a “t”. Was it the fact that I couldn’t cook?
I put the book aside and began simply. I ate fruit for breakfast. For lunch, I took baggies to work filled with nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit. For dinner I ate the largest salad in the world filled with as many fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds the bowl could hold. This was my diet for the first month. And let me really make it clear. When I say I ate a bowl of salad, it wasn’t a typical salad bowl size bowl it was a family bowl size bowl! I ate it all by myself and I loved it…because -by now you know- I’ve always loved salads.
While we ate this way, I also introduced this new information to a friend of mine. She became immediately intrigued and began her own research. A couple of weeks later she invited us to her home for a raw dinner. I was jealous and shocked that she was already preparing a real four course raw meal when I failed so miserably. I wondered what book? Juliano’s? I couldn’t wait to see and taste her creations because I was ready to eat something more than just salad.
My girlfriend’s home is beautiful. She lived in a townhome on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her dinner table looked gorgeous. As did I, she jumped into raw with both feet. She went one step beyond me though. She immediately ran out and bought an Excaliber dehydrator (the one recommended by all raw foodists), a vita-mix (the mother of all mothers of a blender), a Champion Juicer (the mother pate and ice cream maker) and a 14 cup Cuisinart food processor. She bought everything a raw foodist needs to prepare any and all raw food recipes. If I thought I was jealous before, I was drooling now.
She chose to create a raw Japanese meal b/c we loved eating sushi. We had shared many sushi dinners in the past. The first course was a raw miso soup!! Although it was not hot (which kind of freaks you out at first), the flavor was right on and just delicious. The second course was a seaweed salad. My first reaction upon sight was “yuk” but after the first swallow, I knew that my life was just beginning. I knew I could eat this way. The main course, of course, was sushi, but without the raw fish. She substituted rice with jicama (what the hell is jicama??) and fish with vegetables. I have to say, without having to lie – it was scrumptious and I did not feel deprived at all because it was fishless. The dessert was banana ice cream. Banana ice cream, I asked myself?? The only ice cream I’d ever eaten before had to have some kind of chocolate in it because chocolate was and remains the number one ice cream flavor in my book. The banana ice cream was out of this world. I have broadened my horizons.
After consuming every last morsel I was literally in heaven. I felt wonderful, light and happy. It was one of the most delicious meals I had ever eaten. I couldn’t thank her enough. My raw adventure really began after that meal. So, although I had introduced her to raw she introduced me to the rest of my eating life.
So what happened to me after that? What happened to my Rheumatoid Arthritis? You’ll just have to keep reading our blog.
Thanks for listening. Stay Raw with Us!