Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Story- Part IV-The Continuing Saga

Now, two years into this journey, I have to say I am getting bored of my story. And if you’ve been around me for any decent amount of time, you’re probably bored of my story, too. I find myself trying to skip to the end and get more current, but my wife has been the voice of reason, encouraging me to slow down and tell it right, not skipping ahead. So here we go.

After my one month trial had come and gone weeks started to go by like days. Each day I was feeling better and and getting lighter, literally. In just 90 days I lost 100 lbs. It seems crazy to say it because it sounds like an informercial for a get-thin-quick meal-replacement chocolate shake that tastes awful and leaves you so hungry you dream of eating a dozen burger and fries!

You may think that it took a truck load of will power to keep from breaking down to eat “normal”, but the truth is I felt no want, craving or need for anything but raw foods. My whole being felt like a great weight was being removed from me each minute of each day. I even remember going out with friends not long after I went raw, to all-you-can-eat-ribs night at Montana’s, a sacred night for me in the past. I used to love ribs and I mean love! I would devour so much we started to count not by the rack, but by the pig - disgusting, I know. This time, my friends looked on in horror as I ordered a large salad with no dressing, no cheese, no croutons, just the veggies. They taunted me, commenting loudly how great the ribs were, “Look how the meat is just falling off the bones!” I laughed along with them while digging into my tasty bowl of greens. I had brought with me a nut mix that I made at home to add to the salad. A practice that comes in handy when wanting to eat out with friends or family. In the end it was I would had the last laugh. While they were all loosening the notches on their belts and going on about how stuffed they were, I was skipping my way to the cash to pay my $3.99 meal!

To this day, I often forget that most people leave their dinner tables feeling “stuffed”. It has been forever since I have felt that feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about feeling full, but rather, that feeling of debilitating sleepiness, like after a Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Growing up this was a regular occurrence, after our dinner we would all make our way to the living room to recline and watch TV, often being allowed to skip doing dishes until after our favourite family show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. At home we called this “vegging” after a filling meal and up until I started eating raw, I considered it a normal reaction after eating a meal. In fact, I felt a sense of loss if that “stuffed” feeling was missing.

Going raw did a lot more for me than just help me lose weight. It has challenged me to open my eyes and widen my horizons. In those first few months I did a lot of research so as to best take care of myself. My fears, fueled by almost everyone I knew, were that I would slip away into a malnourished state. As I read up and set my overall diet in order, something occurred to me: no one eating the standard North American diet was really researching what they ate. I didn’t when I was eating that way. I mean, you’d hear things like “carbs are bad”, so the next time you went to the store you’d avoid buying things with carbs in them. When I was growing up, it was the anti-fat fad, sending margarine sales through the roof. Years later another “study” said the opposite and again we had butter on our table. So much of what we know about food is based on hearing half of the information. Medical studies are a bore to read, and are filled with technical jargon that need for you to read other studies to understand. So, in the end, the media takes the bare bones of the message and throw it together into a headline, which is then toted out on 30 second radio and television spots as facts (sometimes, if we are lucky, they point us to the source, which no one actually checks for themselves).

Also, there a number of “studies” being released by doctors and researches who are on the payroll of the meat and dairy lobby. I came upon of of these such studies just a day after the birth of my second daughter, Calico Skye. She was born November 17, 2009, just seven months after I started eating raw. While in the hospital, I would make frequents trips to the kitchenette to fetch water, etc. for my wife. On the wall was a giant poster all about how great milk is for you. It looked really official, with charts and figures, and it even had a FAQ section which dispelled age old myths like milk shouldn’t be consumed when you have a cold. According to them, the vitamin D can help fortify your immune system when you have a cold. Something just didn’t add up. I had been reading a lot of medical studies that contradicted everything I read on that poster. I thought that the government must have published that poster, but upon further look I saw that it was put out by the Dairy Farmers Of Canada, one of the registered lobbies for the dairy industry. The reason it didn’t add up was because their “facts” were coming from them. This reminded me of seeing those old ads with the heading “9 out of 10 doctors smoke camel cigarettes”.

It’s hard for people to know fact from fiction, so they resort back to what they already know. They eat what they want to eat, and what they think is good for them (except when they don’t want to be “good”) and all the special interest groups have to do is put enough reasonable doubt out there, while trying to convince us that they are the “healthy” choice to keep us doing what we will always do: Keep on doing what we already are.

The battle for your plate is a battle of hearts and minds. And as I found out those first few months in my research, the truth wasn’t winning. The though of a juicy, bloody-as-hell steak (my former favourite) seemed to me a foreign concept. Just the idea of eating animal flesh became a harrowing thought; and drinking soda as appealing as drinking Javex. The weird part was that this “enlightenment” came to me after only a short while of living the raw life. It felt kind of like getting out of a toxic environment. I had such an experience after leaving a construction job as a drywall taper. The environment I was in 12 hours a day was a severely toxic one, with shouting and shoving matches a common occurrence. Slowly but surely my joie de vivre was being sucked out of me, even though I felt no different at the time. When I finally left, I could see the difference in myself. Somehow, I had become a jaded pessimist. Upon leaving and moving on I just felt right and was able to slip back into my normal state. I know it may sound like I “drank the kool-aid” and maybe I have, a little, but sitting in that Montana’s watching my friends chow down on ribs didn’t just not temp me, it seemed like a foreign concept. My eyes were open and my body was finally getting what it needed. And as the months went by, and the pounds kept coming off, I felt better than ever and my resolve grew stronger. My life, as I knew it, had changed forever.

1 comment:

  1. I think that growing up watching Star Trek: TNG is a great way to live. Best show ever.

    But on a more related note, I'm really interested whenever you post things you've made, I'd love to hear what a sample day of food is for you. Also, what is your family's diet like (as in your wife and the girls)?