As I mentioned in this post, one of my goals for my 26th year is to get rid of my skin allergies. I visited an allergist last year, and she said I had dermatographism (which literally translates into something like “can write words on your skin in hives” — i.e., if you scratch a pattern into your skin, a red rash will appear in said pattern). She said there’s no cure, and that I should continue to take allergy medicine (which is expensive!!) as needed.
These allergies are REALLY annoying. Without the medicine, my skin breaks out in a red, itchy rash whenever it’s exposed to heat, pressure, or scratching, and even when I’m just stressed. Sometimes, if I haven’t taken a pill in a few days, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I’m going to jump out of my skin. It’s no fun! And conventional medicine doesn’t offer much insight into this condition—not even a potential cause.
The only time I’ve had a reprieve from these symptoms since I was 19, when they started: 1) When I spent a semester studying abroad in India and ate very little processed food and not a lot of fruit or sweets, and NO soy, and 2) When I do periodic raw-food weeks (like this year’s “spring cleaning,” which started here ). This makes me think my diet could be a huge contributing factor. People react to the strangest things in food: my mother had a friend in college who swelled up like a balloon when she consumed anything with Yellow #5 in it. This makes me wonder whether a food additive could be giving me these allergies. Thus, I’ve been taking a close look at my diet and see if there’s anything that could be throwing off my histamine levels.
I love what happens when you forget about a pot filled with soaked lentils!
I eat a fairly healthy and balanced diet, but this past year of veganism, soy became my dominant source of protein. And often, soy comes packaged with preservatives and additives.
Along with my energy and weight fluctuations in the last few years – and it seems like getting back to basics (fresh food!) is the most logical place to start.
Sprouted quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and homegrown fresh zucchini in homemade vinaigrette. Delicious.
I alluded to my history with raw food in this post and this post, but haven’t ever really gone into it in detail. Six years ago (phew) I spent a summer living in Boulder, Colorado, and picked up part-time work as a prep cook for a raw foods chef in town. I learned a TON about raw recipes and began creating my own, but in the end raw foods served as another vehicle to restrict my food intake and try to lose more weight. I tried to eat mostly raw food for the next six months or so, but didn’t take a healthy or balanced approach (i.e., would eat a salad with a few nuts on it for lunch and beat myself up if I was hungry a few hours later, and not let myself have a snack, or try to skip dinner, etc.) and didn’t eat enough to fuel my active lifestyle at the time (daily running). I remember at some point realizing that if I sipped kombucha in the morning, I could last until the afternoon without eating, and being really happy about this. If I got hungry, I told myself I needed to give it time, get used to this new way of eating, do a juice fast, etc. Thus, the “raw food diet” has taken on a negative connotation in my life.
At the end of June, I ran into one of my parents’ neighbors, someone I babysat for when I was in high school. She was absolutely glowing, bright-eyed, and youthful. I mentioned to my mom that she looked great, and my mom forwarded me an e-mail from her with two raw food e-books. Apparently Carrie had adopted this way of eating a couple years earlier, and says she’s never felt better, and “wished she’d read these two books in college.”
This line in her e-mail really hit home for me. I don’t want to wait until I’m in my 40s to enjoy optimum health, to be able to say “I’ve never felt better.” I don’t want to waste my 20s feeling sub-par, lethargic in the morning at work, starving in the middle of the afternoon because my blood sugar is crashing from eating too many sweets during the day. Yes, it was important for me to eat sweets this past year as I got over my fear of forbidden foods like chocolate-chip cookies, but now that these foods aren’t forbidden, I don’t even want them that much anymore. They make me feel icky, like I’ve punished myself somehow.
More chard, carrots, avocado, and sprouted chick peas, this time with a side of brown rice and bbq baked tofu (I’m sticking to edamame, tofu, and tempeh — the least processed and most digestion-friendly forms of soy protein, in my opinion).
So, In the month or so since my birthday, I’ve begun to redefine raw food for myself. Now, I refer to it as FRESH FOOD! I have been trying to eat more fresh food, and find ways to combine fresh foods that give me good energy and are satisfying to my tummy. During my “clean-house” weeks, I always feel AWESOME, and get a nice break from the allergies, so why not eat that type of food more often, not just as a tool when I feel myself relying too much on sugar for an energy quick-fix? This shift has been more in the spirit of Diana’s Radventures than a “new diet” or “100% overnight overhaul” kinda thing. And frankly, I feel like many people who enjoy good health eat close to this way, without labeling it “raw,” “fresh,” or anything else. We all know that fresh food is good for us!
So here’s to more freshness, without rules or restrictions
homemade white wine sangria with lots of fresh fruit Includes the zest and juice of 1 lime, apples, green grapes, and pears
Greens, sprouted chick peas, and raw pumpkin seeds, in my almost- empty hummus container (thanks again, Diana!) – equally delicious.
dinner for 1 (I seem to crave cooked food most often in the evening, and I' m happy to oblige that craving).
This shift has been more in the spirit of Diana’s Radventures than a “new diet” or “100% overnight overhaul” kinda thing.