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Personal HomePage for Angelique

I'm raw

It was the day after Thanksgiving in 2006 when I first realized that I was sick. It wasn’t like I had a cold, or the flu. I was sick on a deeper level. I had gorged myself the day before, and I knew that somehow that had damaged me. I wanted nothing to do with food. By the end of that day I could stomach white bread and chicken broth… And I had my nose in all the health reference books in the mini-library at the Springfield Food Co-Op where I work. I stumbled on a book on fasting and juicing, which was no raw reference book, but it planted a tiny seed in my mind that there was something more to food than normal media and schooling had exposed me to.

Though the seed had been planted, the germination period took much longer than it should have. Still it was there, waiting, laying dormant for the right combination of stimuli.

I was sitting in my living room one day in February of 2007 watching The Tyra Banks Show, which I loved because she was always doing specials on weight loss. At that point, I had weight to lose, and I knew it. I am 5’ 8” tall, and I weighed 220 lbs. By federal government standards, and my somewhat frustrated doctor’s standards, I was obese and endangering my over-all health.

The previous summer, I had myself on a diet and exercise challenge which consisted of a 2,000 calorie diet with less than 20g of saturated fat allowed per day. I walked 6 miles a day, did between 30 and 60 minutes of yoga every day, cardio training on odd days, and weight training on even ones. I should have been in fantastic health… So I thought. My doctor thought so too.. If in fact I were being truthful about exercising that much.

This was the kind of program that two of the nutritionists on Tyra’s show that day were advocating. They took their teams of two women through a whole fitness program to see how much weight they could lose as part of the Diet Wars challenge. The team that felt they had gotten the short end of the stick, however, were being monitored and trained by Alissa Cohen, one of the world’s leading authorities on raw food. The debate between nutritionists got more and more heated, and as I listened to Alissa explain how her program works, something inside my mind clicked. I was already familiar with the other types of diet programs out there, and I knew from the previous summer’s experience that they did not work. Counting calories and fat grams was making me neurotic and anxious. My body needed more than weight loss. It needed healing. That night, I ran the idea past my (now former) significant other, and he offered to buy me Alissa’s book to get me started.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got her book. Was I in for a life of nothing but salads and carrot juice? To my surprise, the book that arrived at my house was more like a computer manual than a cook book, which I decided to read from cover to cover. The concepts astounded me. I had always known that cooking destroyed some of the nutritional value in food, but I had no idea just how much damage it could do. Cooking destroys all enzymes, oxygen, chlorophyll, all C vitamins, and most B vitamins, as well as altering the make-up of fibers, minerals and fats. Alissa has this to say about cooked vs. raw food:

When food is cooked at over 112 degrees (this temperature can be felt as warm to the touch) we destroy all of its enzymes. This is a problem because we need enzymes for every function in our body. To walk, to talk, to breathe and to move; life itself depends on them. As we age, our bodies natural source of enzymes becomes depleted and we need to replenish this source through the foods we eat. If we do not do this and we continue to eat cooked foods, then we eventually begin to use up our body’s enzyme reserves. Cooking makes it harder for our bodies to break up and digest the foods that we eat. This food then begins to get stored in our bodies as toxins; which can lead to all kinds of diseases and illness. – Alissa’s FAQs

I didn’t feel I could argue with this. It made sense. I thought about all the over-weight and obese people in our country, about all the sickness, diabetes, heart disease, death, and suffering that goes on. If I could prevent that in myself, and educate others about how to heal themselves, I could I could really help a lot of people… Plus I could fit into those jeans I haven’t worn since high school.

As I read through the recipes, I thought, “I’m going to need a food processor… And a blender… And…” And I got discouraged. Could I really do this? How was I going to prepare all this food? I didn’t even really cook, and this seemed like a completely foreign set of procedures. I started looking for something simple. A pate or a pudding. I bought my first mini-food processor and all the ingredients that night. It was okay, but I felt it could have been done better. I added some different fruit to the avocado and date base and made my own fruit pudding. I lived happily on that for several days.

After a few days of raw, I began to detox, and thought that this might be a bad idea. I rebelled, ate something cooked, and felt horrible. Sitting at my computer desk, I thought to myself, “think, Angie. What have you done to your body? You ate until you weighed 250 pounds and sat on your butt and did nothing about it. Then you did Slim-Fast, you starved yourself, you threw up your food, trying in vain to lose the weight.” I remembered the hunger pangs and the muscle strain of too much exercise, and I thought, “could this possibly be any harder than anything you have already put yourself through?” No.

Once you get started, this turns out to be easier and much more beneficial than any other diet you could possibly put yourself on.

So from then on, I did my best to stay as close to 100% raw as I could. Now keep in mind, no one is perfect. Sure I still occasionally went to the pizza place with my friends. Sure I still had the occasional glass of soda or local, organic hotdog. For the most part, though, I kept to my raw plan and the more I did, the more weight I lost. The pain eased up on my joints. My head was clearer. Customers at my place of employment commented on how shiny my hair was getting, how slim I looked, how young I looked, how sparkly my eyes were, and the most on how much energy I have. I felt great.

A year later, I weighed 151 lbs., was in the best shape of my life, and those pants I used to wear in high school got dropped in one of the yellow clothing donation bins in town because now they were too big.

When Pyramid Wellness Center in Rutland, VT opened up, I immediately went to check it out. It is owned and operated by a former professor of mine from college (and former head of the GMC Wellness Center), so I had to go up and check it out. I couldn’t wait to congratulate Bill on his new business, and I couldn’t wait for him to see what I had done with myself. The look on his face when I walked in that day was priceless.

Not long after the grand opening, Pyramid started offering classes in raw food taught by Phil Smith. I knew this was my chance to get my certification. This was when the “educating others about the benefits” part of my program was going to begin. I share my story whenever I can, giving tips and passing out web addresses at work, the park, the Laundromat, anywhere someone would see me eating something “different” and had the courage to ask, “what IS that anyway?”

Now I’m back in cyberspace republishing the story again. In September of 2009, I’m still raw, I’m still 150lbs, I’m happy, energetic, and ready to face every day with a mason jar full of raspberry power smoothie in my hand.

If I can do this, so can you.

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