How I became an 811 raw vegan
How I became an 811 raw vegan…
Present stats (spring 2008): Past stats (spring 2006)
Age: 40 Age: 38
Sex: female Sex: female
Weight: 122 pounds// Weight: 165 pounds
Height: 5feet 7 inches// Height: 5 feet 7 inches
General health: Excellent. I have no more allergies,// I had many acute allergies: they lead me to the hospital in ambulance on many occasions because of my breathing problems.
I no longer have kidney stones// I had regular problems with kidney stones: They are much more painful than giving birth. Despite having them blasted out with ultrasound treatment, they returned on a regular basis.
I have much lower cholesterol levels// I had elevated cholesterol levels.
I have high energy levels. I am very happily active. // I had low energy levels. I had
to push myself to do any physical activity.
I have painless, regular bowel movements (2/3 per day)(Hooray!)// I was severely constipated (to the point where my family teased me with a “She can’t poo” song when I was struggling in the washroom).
This was followed by bouts of extreme/explosive diarrhoea (I literally had to stop the car occasionally no matter where I was and hide behind something/anything to go).
I have not had even one cold in over a year and a half// I got regular colds and flus, at least 4 times a year.
I have mild, hardly noticeable menstrual periods// I had excruciating menstrual periods that would lay me out flat for a couple of days, even from work.
I no longer use or need shampoos, pastes or deodorants// I had bad breath and bad body odour-even shortly after brushing my teeth and bathing.
I am much more positive and content// I had bi-yearly bouts of depression, especially during the winter months.
Morally: I am no longer contributing to animal
or planetary suffering. I am actively volunteering for
causes I believe in. //I was concerned about animal rights and the state of the environment, but aside from the usual platitudes like recycling, spaying my dog and donating to charities I did not do much to help.
Two years ago, I never thought I would be travelling this road. I used to love eating meat, especially chicken and eggs. I would regularly eat very salty, spicy, sugary, fatty, and highly processed foods that usually had at least one animal product per meal-to make sure I was getting enough protein (LOL). I started everyday with some herbal tea, cereal with milk, or omelettes and some fruit. Lunch was some variant of soup or sandwich or occasionally a highly seasoned/dressed salad-I loved olive oil, vinegar and salt. Supper usually involved pastas and sauces, breads and spreads, starchy vegetables, meats etc. I used to love chocolate too! The only positive note was that I ate at least two or three fruit or vegetable servings (cooked or raw) per day for my vitamin C (LOL-I was probably on the verge of scurvy). At the time, I thought I was eating a “healthy”, “varied” diet because I always chose “lean” meats, “low fat” milks and cheeses, organic produce as much as possible and “whole grain” products-anything with a “healthy” label on it. I never drank alcohol, soft drinks or coffee. I drank lots of water-at least 8 glasses per day as well as “fortified” juices. Nor did I smoke. Nor did I take any medication except Tylenol for my periods. Most people would have agreed with me that I had a very “healthy” diet because these are the prevailing messages people receive from most sources, even today. I had gained a lot of weight from my pregnancy and tried many times to lose it without success. Nonetheless, I was not too concerned about my weight because compared to most women my age, I was just a little overweight and not technically obese, according to my doctor. Compared to major diseases like cancer, etc. my discomforts were relatively mild: I thought I was managing my health well (LOL).
So…what made me change in 2006?
Ironically, the last straw was the “avian flu” business. I live out in the country near poultry farmers. Nowadays, chickens are mandated to remain in enclosures (factory farms) lest they catch the avian flu from wild birds (yeah right). A neighbour was describing the horrible conditions in these farms. For example, when the chickens are sent to slaughter, the barn must be fumigated and the flies removed with tractors!!! As he was describing this to me, I thought to myself: “this is so sick-it can’t be healthy for people to eat that”. Thus began my journey.
I had toyed with the idea of becoming vegetarian in the past out of compassion for animals who I have always loved; but, I was convinced humans needed to eat meat. I was daunted with the lack of knowledge about how to go about it and still be healthy. I had a couple of vegetarian neighbours and they lent me “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins. This started the ball rolling for me. I started devouring books and internet sites on the subject.
My next major influence, two months later, was “The China Study” by Dr. Colin Campbell. This book blew me away and convinced me that a vegan diet was absolutely necessary for my health. However, my long cultivated cooked food bad habits prevented me from totally adopting the main message of this book: “Eat an unrefined whole-food, plant-based diet”. I have since read an interview with Dr. Campbell in “Living Nutrition” magazine where he clearly states that “organic and raw” is the ideal human diet.
Next, I joined internet fitness sites and started corresponding with other vegans on their forums. On this one site, a young fellow called Harley (ha) came on extolling the virtues of the raw vegan diet and his mentor Dr. Douglas Graham. Needless to say, Harley, as well as his mentor, were ridiculed and severely criticized-even accused of hurting the vegan cause. For me, what Harley said rang true so I looked up Dr. Graham and his 80/10/10 book. That was in the spring of 2007.
Since then I’ve begun implementing 811rv and the results are fantastic as you can see from my above stats. It has been actually very challenging and I must sadly admit that I have backslid into my old cooked food habits on many occasions. Undoing many years of conditioning, bad habits and the sometimes overt, sometimes subtle and sometimes even hostile influence of friends and family has been stronger than I at times. But my body and thoughts of the greater environmental and animal rights implications of my choices always bring me back to 811. I can truly feel the difference between healthy eating and lifestyle versus dietary and lifestyle abuse. I must listen to my body and continue 811.
My favourite poem has always been “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.
1. The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20
I will continue on the 811 road because it does make a difference.