From Tired, Overweight, and Depressed to Radiant Beauty with Whole / Raw Foods

Dawnmarie Raw Foods Before & After

This is a guest post by Dawnmarie, read on to hear her story of transformation with raw foods.

The year 2006 was the worst year of my life. My best friend of 15 years and I had a falling out. My Grandmother died. I lost my job. I opened my own practice only to close 9 months later in near bankruptcy because of low reimbursement from insurance companies. My husband left. I found a new partner. He left. My dog was diagnosed with ehrlichia.

My life was starting to sound like a country music song. But perhaps the most devastating news came from my ob/gyn.

You aren’t fertile. Your FSH is too high. You need an egg donor.

Having wanted children all my life, now 37 and without a partner, my chances were quite grim.

Not only would I need a sperm donor, but also an egg donor. There must be a way to restore my fertility.

In addition, at the time, I was taking a pharmacy load of medications:

  • Wellbutrin for ADHD and depression.
  • Lamictal for refractory depression (standard antidepressants no longer worked).
  • Strattera for ADHD.
  • Klonopin for anxiety.
  • Citrucel for my irritable bowel with constipation.
  • Bottles and bottles of Advil for various aches and pains, headaches and menstrual cramps.
  • Glucosamine for joint pain.
  • Coffee to wake me up in the morning.
  • Sleeping aids to get me to sleep at night.

I was 155 pounds, heavy for my 5″7 frame. My cholesterol was elevated. And, I had acne. All of the time. I didn’t recognize who I had become. And I didn’t like her.

Discovering Raw Food

My friend Leslie, at the same time my husband left, decided to “go raw” for a few weeks to do a “cleanse.” I thought this was ridiculous and unnecessary.

Meat and dairy are essential to a balanced diet. Its good for you. Or so I thought and so I had learned.

While my world continued to spiral down, I noticed Leslie’s was improving. She became my emotional rock and she was no longer so fragile.

Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine

She continued to tell me about “raw” and I continued to dismiss her. But for Christmas, to support her, I bought her Gabriel Cousens’ book Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine. And I did myself the favor and read the introduction.

There was one thing that he said that I wanted to hear, you can “change hormone production with a living food diet.

A month later, when I arrived in California for a job so that I could prevent bankruptcy, I “went raw.”

After three months, I was no longer anxious. I didn’t need Klonopin.

After six months, I didn’t feel depressed. I stopped the Lamictal. Several months later, I didn’t need the Wellbutrin, either. Strattera was causing my blood sugars to rise. I stopped it, and they normalized. The Citrucel sat on my shelf.

Eating fibrous foods was not constipating. I wasn’t buying Advil, either, as I no longer ached. I didn’t get headaches anymore. I replaced coffee with green smoothies. I slept well every night.

Testing The Raw Boundaries

One day, early in my raw journey, I was overtired and decided to get a latte prior to work. Within hours, I was doubled over in pain.

All along, I had been lactose intolerant, and didn’t realize it. So that’s why I wasn’t farting anymore.

I lost weight. All of it. And I was back down to my prior college weight of 125 pounds. I looked and felt fantastic.

Although, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos (likely induced prior to going raw, by the large quantities of dairy I used to consume, as dairy promotes autoimmune disorders), my thyroid hormones stabilized quickly, and I haven’t yet needed a prescription for thyroid replacement.

Once I stopped gluten, I no longer had acne.

The Ever After Part…

It’s four years later, and I’m still mostly “raw” and definitely only consume a whole food plant based diet. I feel better now at 41 than I did at 31.

Another fertility specialist just informed me that my AMH is zero and that I have only one follicle producing in my left ovary per month.

He says I need an egg donor and he says I have a non-significant very small external fibroid on my uterus.

My mother lost her uterus to fibroids at 37. I believe had I not turned my diet around, I, too would be getting a hysterectomy.

While all of my other health problems have cleared, the fertility issue is still a challenge. I’m not giving up.

I’ve been to Clear Passages for 30 hours of physical therapy to prepare my ovaries and uterus for pregnancy. (A pleasant side-effect of this treatment, now that my uterus isn’t nailed to my abdominal wall from adhesions, is that I can now orgasm on intercourse).

I’m taking DHEA, which has been shown to improve egg quality and follicular production. And next week, I fly to Seattle to attend Randine Lewiss course for women with reproductive challenges like my own.

Whether or not I become pregnant on my own or by a donor egg, my raw food journey has lead me to a better place, to better health. This physician, healed herself, with a whole food, plant based diet.

Thank you Dawnmarie!

I just want to take a moment to thank Dawnmarie for sharing her story with all of us. It’s amazing what a whole food diet can do, and I am so blessed to be able to share this message with the world!

Love, Nathalie

Raw Food Fight #7: Wendi Dee from Pure Jeevan

Interview with Wendi Dee

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Wendi Dee from Pure Jeevan! Check out her words of wisdom and her raw food fairytale in this candid interview.

1. How did you get into raw food, what’s the story there?

I was obese with a long list of health problems. Essentially, I thought I was going to die at a
young age and leave my daughter without a mother. So, I gave living one more chance…and jumped
into the raw food lifestyle to see if it really could heal the body.

2. How has your diet changed since you first went raw to how you eat now?

My diet has dramatically changed from the beginning of my raw journey to now. In the beginning I
ate a lot of gourmet, rich recipes to mimic cooked foods. Now, I eat mostly salads and smoothies.

Raw Food Before and After

3. What’s an average day’s intake of food look like for you?

There is no average. I follow my body’s messages on how much I should eat each day, what I should
eat, and when I should eat. So, some days I consume a lot of food and other days I consume very
little.

4. If you had to give a step by step recommendation to someone who just discovered raw, what would
it be?

Step One: Love yourself enough to make the changes you know will help you
Step Two: Continue with Step One and you’ll meet your goal.

It’s really that easy: LOVE YOURSELF!

5. What has been the most life changing thing you ever did, outside of raw food?

Giving birth to one of the most special beings on this planet has changed my life in more ways
than I can ever explain. Children have the power to change and to heal, so without a doubt giving
birth is the most life-changing things I’ve ever done!

6. In your opinion, what is the meaning or purpose of life?

That’s an individual thing. ;-) Overall, I think we’re here to experience this human life, to
feel, feel, FEEL all that we can possibly feel and experience!

7. If you had to explain your experience with raw food to someone in one word, what would it be?

Rebirth!

8. What project of yours are you most excited about, and how can people get their hands on it?

I’m passionate about helping others, so most of what I do is done for free (a labor of love). I’m
most passionate about the Pure Jeevan blog because it’s through there that we share inspiration with others, as well as through our newsletters and
free ebooks. We do have things for sale, but I’m mostly passionate about giving away inspiration
for free!

Thank you Wendi!

Thanks again to the lovely Wendi Dee. I am so grateful to be sharing this space with these lovely inspiration women. It’s truly amazing! You can get your hands on Wendi’s raw recipes books here.

Join us next time for more interviews and more raw related goodies! :)

Love, Nathalie

Raw Food Fight #6: Kristen Suzanne from Kristen’s Raw

Interview with Kristen Suzanne

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kristen Suzanne from Kristen’s Raw! Check out her words of wisdom and her raw food fairytale in this candid interview.

1. What brought you to raw food, what’s the story there?

About 7 years ago, I started eating a vegan diet after reading the books Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution by John Robbins. Those books are life changing. In the span of about a week I became an activist for animals (I’d always loved animals but I had NO IDEA about the horrors of slaughter houses, and, sadly, I never made a connection between my plate and those precious creatures. But, that changed once it was brought to my attention.) So, my reason for going vegan was primarily for animal ethics/politics. The secondary benefits, in my opinion, were the health and environmental aspects.

Then, while searching for nutritious, high-energy vegan recipes in the cookbook section of Whole Foods Market (4-5 years ago), I stumbled upon a book of raw vegan recipes; I was enraptured by the gorgeous vibrant photos of both the foods and the author(!). They seemed to jump off the page at me.

I bought the book, and went home where I read it cover to cover in one sitting, practically salivating at the pictures. Afterwards, I hopped online to research more about raw – I couldn’t help myself. I had to know more! After reading about the many benefits of eating fresh whole foods, I was hooked on making it a fundamental part of my lifestyle. I had no idea I would take it this far and make a career out of it – haha.

2. You’ve got tons of awesome recipe books, what types of raw foods are your favorites?

Amazingly Simple raw recipes

Thank you! I’ve had so much fun creating recipes and writing books – it’s a real passion of mine. I think the recipe creation is genetic because my dad is a chef, and when my parents were married, my mom shared in the chef responsibilities (they owned a restaurant) – so, I’m not sure I could’ve helped myself.

Anyway… to answer your question… My favorite raw foods change depending on various things. For example, during the spring months I tend to enjoy cleansing foods like sauerkraut, green juices, green smoothies, salads, etc. During the hot summer months, my diet is heavily raw based with fresh fruits (hello watermelon!!!), salads, zucchini and cucumber pasta dishes, etc.

During the fall and winter months I gravitate toward some cooked foods (always vegan, always organic), but I still keep it pretty high in the raw department. I feel my best and perform optimally, when I have lots of organic raw foods in my day – in spite of the temperature outside. However, during these colder months you’ll catch me eating (cooked) oats, quinoa, lentils, beans, non-gmo tofu, miso soup, steamed veggies, etc.

Yummy raw soups

Then, my diet can also change based on hormones. I dive into raw chocolate usually once a month (sometimes more!).

There are times that I’m more active in the gym so you’ll see me drinking more protein shakes, etc. Or, there are times when I want to lose a few pounds so I have a couple days a week where I juice fast.

And, of course, now that I’m pregnant, I’m finding that I have some days that are all raw and some days that are moderate to high raw (again though, always vegan, and always organic, unless I’m at a restaurant that doesn’t serve organic).

Finally, when I’m traveling and there are delicious raw vegan restaurants to be visited then I’m all about the gourmet raw food – I load up, baby!

I love the flexibility of this lifestyle and the options with how we can have more raw in our lives. All of the above are favorites for me, it just depends on my life at the moment.

3. What has been the most surprising part of eating a high raw diet during pregnancy?

To tell you the truth, there really hasn’t been anything surprising. My family supports it and so does my midwife. I’m fortunate that even though I experienced all day morning sickness from weeks 7-14, I still had intense cravings for juicy fruits, salads, etc. (That being said, there was a 10-14 day period, where I consumed a lot of soups, crackers, grains, and sprouted toast.) I’m also not surprised that my health has been in top shape during this pregnancy because of my healthy diet. I’ve had pristine urine analyses, blood work, and no swelling so far.

4. What has been the most life changing aspect of eating more raw food for you?

Raw vegan food makes me feel alive, light, happy, extraordinarily vibrant – from my head to my toes. It’s like the cells in my body have truly come to life, and I approach each day with immense confidence that my health is extraordinary – that’s priceless. But that’s not all – With fresh, pure, plant-based foods, I’m connected to something that can be hard to describe for people who haven’t shared the same experience. It’s a connection to the earth. To life. To the sun. To animals. They are precious interconnections that are impossible to take for granted. I feel like I’m experiencing — and deeply connected to — a planet that is alive!

5. What one thing would you recommend for women wanting to get pregnant?

Kristen

Hhmmm…. Only one thing? Gosh, I could write a book (lol – I think I will!). But… one thing -> eat (and behave) really healthy. I can’t stress enough how important I think nutrition is to pregnancy for both the mama and the future baby.

And, in that “healthy” definition I include:

  1. ORGANIC FOODS! Pesticides can cross the placenta.
  2. Plenty of alkalizing greens (think: smoothies, juices, salads, etc.)

And, can I give one other piece of advice? I don’t recommend starting a detox diet while: trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding. It’s important to eat healthy, but it’s not the time to suddenly go all-raw if you’re body isn’t used to it.

There is a risk of your body releasing toxins if you do this, and getting pregnant isn’t the best time for that. Therefore, it’s smart to start eating (and behaving) really healthy 6-9 months before trying to conceive so your body adjusts to the changes and cleans out. Furthermore, when I say “behaving” I’m also referring to eschewing chemicals in the home and on the body, as well as reducing stress.

6. How would you approach someone who was resistant to eating raw food?

I’d simply be a glowing example of how great it is – being a walking testimonial is usually enough to at least garner curiosity. I don’t usually approach people because I prefer that they come to me when they’re ready. When people are resistant? I have two easy statements: “You can’t argue that it’s smart to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, can you?” AND “Just try it for yourself and see.”

Here is something fun: When dealing with family and friends who are resistant, I’ve used it as a gift to myself from them. One holiday season, I asked family and friends to not buy me any gifts. Instead, I asked them to go vegan (with lots of fresh raw foods) for 5 days as their gift to me. I told them to save the money they would have spent on me, and, instead, use it for the vegan and raw foods they were going to buy themselves. I provided them with the starter kit from GoVeg.com as well as a little document I wrote including easy recipes as well as tips and tricks.

7. Tell me about the project/book you’re most excited about right now, and how people can get their hands on it.

I’m excited about my latest project, Green Mommy Blog. It’s a place where I write about all things green and/or mommy related. I also have a new recipe book I’m writing that will hopefully be available in the next 1-2 months.

8. If you could summarize your experience with raw food, what one word would you use?

THRIVE!

Thank you Kristen!

Thanks again to the lovely green mommy to be Kristen. I just loved reading her advice to those who want to conceive, as well as her tips for dealing with reluctant friends and family members. You can get your hands on Kristen’s raw recipes books here.

Join us next time for more interviews and more raw related goodies! :)

Love, Nathalie

Raw Food Fight #5: Miranda Martinez from Viva Raw

Interview with Miranda Martinez

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Miranda Martinez from Viva Raw! Check out her words of wisdom and her raw food fairytale in this candid interview.

1. What brought you to raw food, what’s the story there?

I had a weight issue since I was a child and you can say I’ve been on a diet or about to go on a diet all my life until I came across raw vegan foods. I have to say that my initial motivation to become a raw vegan was to lose the weight I’ve been carrying around for most of my adult life and I had heard it was easy with raw foods.

Miranda Martinez Raw Food Before and After

I was able to go from a size 20 to a 4 and I’ve been blessed that keeping the weight off has been much easier with raw vegan foods. Now I’ve become such an advocate for the raw vegan lifestyle because I’ve discovered I not only look better, but I also feel amazing. I’m very grateful to have found the raw vegan lifestyle and that I was very smart to give it a try. It completely changed my life.

2. What’s your view on dabbling when it comes to eating raw?

I think that everyone has to do whatever works for them and their lifestyle. I advise to incorporate as much raw vegan, organic and fresh as they can in their daily food intake.

Depending on the amount of raw vegan food you eat, that’s how many upgrades you will see in your health. That has definitely been my experience.

3. What is your favorite savory raw recipe?

Mexi-Mole Tomato Soup

My favorite savory raw recipe is my Mexi-Mole Tomato Soup from my e-book “Easy & Raw: Recipes and tips to achieve your goal weight on a raw vegan lifestyle”.

You can find the recipe by clicking here.

4. What has been the most life changing aspect of eating more raw food for you?

Since my weight issues had been so out of control for most of my life, I think I can honestly say that being able to have a handle on them is the most life-changing aspect for me. I had given up and at that point in my life, I didn’t think it was possible to be where I am today. It is truly a miracle.

5. What one thing would you recommend for someone’s health and well being outside of raw food?

Actually two things: Enjoying your life – it’s an absolute must! And staying active is very important, making sure that whatever you do is something that you love to do. Whether it’s yoga, going to the gym, ballroom dancing, running, cycling… Just make sure you enjoy it.

6. Do you feel like you’ve got a handle on your life purpose, or is it something that emerges gradually?

I do have a handle in my life purpose. I know where I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to be doing and my goals I’m working to accomplish. I do have a path I’m following. And, at the same time, I’m very aware and open to any opportunities that present themselves. Who knows where that new path will take me!

7. Tell me about the project you’re most excited about right now, and how people can get their hands on it.

Before becoming a raw vegan chef and coach, I had been an actress/producer. I’ve been in the film/acting industry for over 12 years now. Right now I’m very passionate about my first full feature film I’m currently funding.

My film company Barú Films completed a short documentary called “Nevada & Pine” in order to raise funding for the film. The documentary and the full feature film of the same name is based on the story of Rachel Valadez who infiltrated gang territory to find her son’s killer, during San Antonio’s bloodiest year. You can view the documentary and all about my film company here.

8. If you could summarize your experience with raw food, what one word would you use?

Fantastic!

Thank you Miranda!

Thanks again to Miranda, and I hope you enjoyed this interview. I love the concept of including more raw food as a way to get “upgrades” to your health. Definitely my kind of lingo! ;)

Until next time, where we’ll have more interviews and raw articles.

Love, Nathalie

Yay! Raw Foods Witch Featured in The Edge Magazine

I’ve got a couple of fun announcements to make…

Nathalie Lussier interview
Nathalie Lussier interview in The Edge Magazine

I’m featured in The Edge Magazine

The lovely Amy Putkonen interviewed me for the Raw Food feature interview in The Edge magazine May 2010 edition! It’s out now, and I’m just waiting for my print copy to arrive. :)

You can check out the interview here and read the great insider stories that I don’t usually blog about here. You’ll also get a feel for my approach to wellness, and how I got to be the Raw Foods Witch!

Live radio interview coming up

To celebrate the print article, Amy and I are also doing a live radio interview for the Cirkla Radio show.

You can join us and tune in live on May 12th from 7:00pm – 8:00pm Central.

Mindful Monday is moving to Facebook

Every Monday I like to reflect on what I’m grateful for to start the week off on a good foot. I’ve noticed a trend – that I’ve been getting more people participating on Facebook.

Click the like button

So join the Facebook page by clicking the “Like” button at the top of the page, and you’ll be able to participate in Mindful Monday with us! :)

Lots of love!

I’m sending you lots of love and gratitude. I’m literally humming with joy right now. :)

Love, Nathalie