I jumped head-first into the raw food world in January of 2003—seven years ago at this point. Although this site isn’t intended as a personal blog, I do want to share some of my own history and experiences with raw foods and health in general.
Read, peruse, or skip over this at your leisure.
The Early Years
Growing up, I wasn’t exactly a robust kid. I was a colicky baby, an ear-infection-prone infant, and a chronically sick elementary schooler who racked up a hefty stack of absences. My immune system was rubbish. I was never diagnosed with asthma, but I always had difficulty breathing when I tried to run or exercise vigorously—something I later pinned down to dairy. I dreaded PE with every fiber of my little-girl being.
At age 7, I stopped eating meat. It wasn’t for ethical or health reasons; the taste and texture simply became repulsive to me.
When I was 11, my health hit rock bottom. I caught what I thought was a nasty case of the flu—except it lasted for a year straight. For months on end, I felt stuck in a half-awake lethargic daze, massively congested, sore-throated, losing frightening amounts of weight, hauling around a box of Kleenex, unable to sleep because I couldn’t breathe when I laid down. In pictures—which I may try to post eventually—I looked like walking death: dark circles under my eyes, gaunt, stringy-haired, sleepy, barely living.
I remember almost nothing about 5th grade except being shuttled from doctor to doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I visited over a dozen. Each one was baffled. They all tried their favorite Western medicine remedies. A few rounds of antibiotics, daily Claritin pills, medication galore—none of it helped. They pricked my arm to test for allergies; nada. They put me under the knife and took out my adenoids; no help.
Somewhere around the eight month point, I went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist who said, “You must just have a cold that won’t go away.” Really, doc? An eight-month cold?
Finally, my mother—who I imagine was in as much pain from the whole ordeal as I was—took me to a naturopathic doctor, a warm and intuitive woman working at a clinic in Seattle. This doctor took one look at me and said “food allergy”—something no other doctor had surmised.
An elimination diet pinpointed the culprit: wheat. I was severely, doubtlessly allergic to wheat. Within weeks of avoiding the bread, pasta, crackers, pretzels, and cookies I’d once lived on, I felt completely back to normal and could breathe easily for the first time in a year.
From that moment on, the diet/health connection was permanently fused into my consciousness.