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 Tooth Sensitivity & Cavity Journeys

This is an extremely hard blog post for me to write. In fact I was going to write an entirely different blog post, but I couldn’t get the writing to flow… so I knew I had to follow my heart, and share this vulnerable side with you.

Running Away from the Dentist

You see, I’ve never had great teeth.

I’ve been going to the dentist for fillings ever since I can remember. My parents didn’t have great teeth, and maybe it’s a combination of genetics, and bad food choices from my childhood days.

As you may recall I was the cookie monster and I ate so much candy when I was little.

I never saw my photo on the wall with all those happy kids who were cavity-free.

It didn’t help that my first dentist was a little rough around the edges. After my dad brought me to the dentist one time and I cried too much, the dentist kindly asked that my mom do all the dentist duty from then on.

The truth is that too many of my teeth have been filled with amalgam fillings. You know the ones that leech mercury into your body? They’re also pretty ugly, all metallic and dark.

Then comes orthodontia…

To make my relationship with my dentist even more rocky, I also had a bunch of teeth pulled when I got braces.

I’ve had a total of 7 teeth pulled, including 3 whisdom teeth. (Don’t ask why they decided to keep the last one.)

I don’t have a lot of teeth compared to most people. When I first went raw I thought I was doing the best thing for my teeth. After all, raw food is good for your body, and bones are part of the body right?

I thought I was so immune to health problems since I was eating more raw food, and really taking care of myself. I mean I was brushing 3 to 4 times a day, flossing with dental tape regularly, and swishing after every meal.

Yet when I went to the dentist last summer I had to have a root canal. Yuck! Never again. That was the turning point for me.

Becoming an Adult

It’s not about teeth, or health, or any of that stuff. It’s about becoming an adult, being honest with myself, and taking full responsibility.

You know how it’s easy to ignore that you’re in debt when you only pay the minimum balance on your credit cards? The same is true when you ignore slight tooth pains, or your check ups at the dentist.

I’ve read a lot of information about eating a raw food diet and maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

The Weston Price folks say you need to eat raw dairy products and raw eggs. I gave that a try for awhile, but didn’t feel so good. (I’m always evolving, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. If raw milk works for you, all the better!)

One of the things I learned from this video is that raw foodists tend to think themselves impurvious to health challenges, even around their teeth.

The sad truth is that when you’re eating more healthy fruit sugars, the bacteria in your mouth is actually thriving. None of that fake sugar can compare to the real deal, and that’s good for your body but also good for the bacteria between your teeth.

Replacing Amalgam Fillings

Brush your teeth!
Photo by Kevin Trudo

I’m really glad to have gone to a holistic dentist for my root canal, since she is helping me to remove all my old amalgam fillings. Last week I had an old amalgam filling replaced and I had a cavity growing underneath.

I have 3 more to go, and I also need to go for a full check-up and clean up. I used to absolutely hate going to the dentist.

Now it’s my responsibility. I take myself willingly to the dentist because I know that there is still the possibility of developing cavities while eating raw. Especially because of the not-so-good start that I had as a child.

So if you’re experiencing sensitive teeth, or you’re worried about your old amalgam fillings I urge you to find a holistic dentist.

Book that appointment, no shame, no blame.

I’m finding out the hard way that it’s never too late to really take your health seriously, and really make the most of what you’ve got. And your teeth are pretty precious.

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Here are some of the things I do now to maintain my healthy teeth and gums:

  • Floss with Dental Tape: Dental tape is thicker than regular floss, and it removes more stuff from between your teeth. Make sure to floss below the gum line, because it’s usually where the stuff hides.
  • Brush with Tooth Soap: Although I haven’t experienced any teeth growing back or cavities reversing, many people who use tooth soap have had great experiences. If you don’t know what tooth soap is, check it out here.
  • Rinse with Ecodent Mouthwash: None of that alcohol content, but all of the bacteria killing power. At least that’s what the bottle says. I’ve been using this Ecodent mouthwash for a little over a month now, and it’s very refreshing.
  • Oil Pulling: Swishing cold pressed sesame seed or sunflower seed oil in your mouth slowly for 15-20 minutes, then spitting it out. Rinse again with fresh water a few times. Be sure not to swallow the oil. This is great for whitening teeth, and strengthening gums.
  • Going to the Dentist: A lot of web sites teach you all of these alternative methods for taking care of your teeth, but this one is usually not on the list. Honestly, I regret not making dentist appointments a priority in my life even while I was traveling abroad and living the carefree raw foodie lifestyle.
  • Eating Lots of Leafy Greens: So I already did this with green smoothies, but I didn’t realize how important it was when I first went raw. Eating more greens and less fruit is the way to make sure you’ve got lots of minerals to keep your teeth healthy.
  • Keeping Citrus Fruit to a Minimum: This one is kind of interesting. The idea is to keep citrus fruit to a few times per week. The trick is also to brush your teeth before you eat citrus, since citrus actually makes the enamel on your teeth softer and more prone to pain after brushing.
  • Keeping Nuts and Dried Fruit to a Minimum: These foods get stuck between your teeth and create food for bacteria. It’s something I’m personally still working on, since you know I love my raw sweets and those usually involve dried fruit and nuts.

What have been your experiences?

Did you experience tooth sensitivity, or cavities while eating raw food? I want to know!

It’s only by speaking up and sharing our experiences that we can find what works for each of us. I hope you learned from my story, because it’s not easy for me to admit that I’ve had tooth issues for the majority of my life.

Love, Nathalie

How Much Water do You Need to Drink a Day?

Drinking water story
Photo by Patrick

This story starts a long time ago, in a small town where families had dozens of kids. Her name was Monique, and she was a bright eyed bushy tailed girl, who liked to draw horses and sometimes people too.

Monique liked to dance, and she hid stacks of love letters under her mattress. As she grew older, she did what most young girls do. She settled down and got married. Then Monique started a family of her own.

Somewhere along the way she stopped being a bright eyed bushy tailed girl. Not that she wasn’t happy, because clearly she was. She had all that a woman could hope for, and she was content.

But somewhere along the way, she stopped doing the things that had kept her healthy and shiny-eyed.

She stopped drinking water.

As Monique grew older, she watched her children move out on their own and start families. She even taught some of her grand children how to draw horses and sometimes people too.

When one of her bright eyed bushy tailed grand daughters asked Monique why she didn’t drink water, she replied: “Because I don’t want to go to the bathroom too often.”

How Much Water Really Affects Us…

We all think that wrinkles are normal, and that it’s age that makes us sick and weak. But what if it was just a matter of keeping your body fully hydrated?

Monique was my grand mother. She passed away when I was a young girl, suffering from bladder and kidney issues and later on cancer.

I’m sure there were other contributing factors, but from my research and experience I know that drinking more water could have helped keep her healthy longer.

How much water should you drink?
Photo by Cyron Ray Macey

How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?

We’ve all heard something about drinking 8 eight ounce glasses per day. But the amount of water you drink should really depend on the individual, as well as your lifestyle.

If you exercise and sweat a lot, then you would need to drink more water. Also, it’s important to note that drinking liquids other than water are not a good substitute.

Even changing the amount of minerals the water contains can change how your body absorbs it. So think twice before drinking anything other than pure water, and counting it toward your total.

My recommendation for figuring out how much water you need to drink in a day, is to look at the color of your pee.

Yes, it might seem silly, but it’s a great way to get immediate feedback on how dehydrated your body is. If your pee is dark or yellow, then you aren’t drinking enough water. It’s only once your pee is clear that you know you’re getting enough water.

Notice that most mornings your pee is dark, whereas throughout the day it is more clear. That’s because our bodies get dehydrated during the night from exhaling, sweating, and because we aren’t drinking any water during the night.

Should You Drink Less Water if You’re Eating Raw?

Recently, I was talking to a client about green smoothies and he mentioned that he had to go to the bathroom more often after drinking a smoothie. Since green smoothies are high in fiber, that made sense to me but he was more worried about having to pee more often.

A lightbulb went on in my head, since I had heard the whole “I don’t want to pee too often” excuse somewhere before.

The truth is that high water content fruits and vegetables are good for you. They help flush out toxins in your body, and they keep you hydrated with the most purely filtrated water available – from plants!

I recommend you use the same strategy of looking at your pee to determine if you’re drinking enough water.

How Much is Too Much Water?

With every recommendation there’s always a caveat, and this one is the possibility of drinking too much water. I remember hearing about a case where people drank so much water while fasting that they experienced major problems, and some even died.

Clearly, it’s a case for listening to your body. If your pee is clear, then don’t try to force yourself to drink too much extra water. Just to be on the safe side.

And remember that going to the bathroom often is not a bad thing! If you are worried about an elderly person, why not bring a bedside commode for them to use, so they can get the health benefits of drinking enough water.

Tricks to Keep Hydrated

If you really don’t like the taste of water, try adding a slice of fresh ginger, or cucumber, or a lemon or lime. This adds flavor, it’s inexpensive and can make drinking water a little more enjoyable.

Another tip is to have water with you where ever you go. That means bringing a water bottle, or knowing where the water fountains are.

If you need more tips, check out the follow-up article all about how to drink more water every day!

What other tips do you have for keeping hydrated?

Share in the comments below!

Love, Nathalie