Monday, February 1, 2010

One Year Progress Report

Anyone who has ever tried to diet throughout the holidays knows how difficult it can be. But being raw is another story! Throw the emotional stresses of a family health crisis into the mix and it becomes a recipe for disaster.

I am human. I have not made it through the holidays or the crisis at my desired level of raw vegan. In fact, I have completely failed to maintain 100% raw longer than a few days at a time. Fortunately I did have a pretty good routine in place that kept me coming back to what I still believe to be the best diet for me. But, again, like dieters everywhere know, once you cheat, it is so difficult to go back.

It was my intention to get things back on track once the holidays were over, but that hasn’t been very successful either. Dealing with my husband’s cancer has been such an emotional experience that I have found myself going out of my way to find comfort foods on a regular basis. The urge to stuff my feelings has not only been just for comfort but to actually function during this very stressful time. All the nights of no sleep have left me with a need for caffeine to stay awake during a day when I needed to drive and make difficult decisions. The caffeine would then stimulate my appetite and I would soon find myself craving heavier foods. The chemo treatments that are supposed to shrink my husband’s tumor have so far been ineffective and the emotions that have surfaced have been overwhelming. There is such a desire to go back to our old social patterns of eating out and enjoying SAD food to just have some part of our life be “normal” again. Traveling around the city in cold weather has also been a strong pull to eat warm, comfort foods.

Given the nature of things in my household right now, I have decided to give myself a break and just do the best I can with my raw foods. I am still very committed to going back to being 100% raw, I have just reaped too many benefits to go back to a completely SAD diet. But I also have to acknowledge that it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain and it has become increasingly harder to do with all that is happening in my life right now. At some point in the process of caring for my husband, I am hoping that he will agree to eating more raw foods himself. That would certainly help both of us. I am sure that his health would be drastically improved by the raw vegan lifestyle, but that is a decision that only he can make for himself. He isn’t there yet and right now his comfort and satisfaction is my primary goal.

Don’t get me wrong, I still pack pounds of produce, pates, smoothies, and my own trail mix into the oncology center with me each time we go for his chemotherapy. But at some point the desire for comfort foods hits with a vengeance and I am tired of trying to fight the cravings and all my emotions around this circus of events.

Forgive me if I have let you down, but I need to find a way to cope while all this is happening to our family. I will come back when I am more grounded in taking back my raw lifestyle. I still believe that eating a 100% raw vegan diet is the best possible path to good health and happiness.
Thank you to all who have written to me and continue to support me as I travel this path. You don’t know just how much I appreciate, and depend on, your efforts to keep me going. I will be back.


Friko said...

What an awful time this is for you, for both of you. For goodness' sake, go with the flow, don't punish yourself so and do what is the most comfortable thing to do. If that includes a ' naughty' treat then you must have it.
Be kind to yourself, life is being beastly enough already.

Good luck and my very best wishes to both of you.

Nance said...

I think volumes are spoken with one line in your post: Forgive me if I have let you down.

If you think that your intentions and your diet are in some way contingent upon others, then you are not keeping your own best interests at heart. Additionally, you are allowing yourself to place responsibility on others if you succeed or fail. You have to decide upon your path for you. We aren't important here; YOU ARE. You are not just your diet or just your body. You are so much more than that. And right now, when your priorities are so very dramatic, and when so very much is at stake, you have to maintain a clear focus.

It's time to re-evaluate, perhaps, exactly what you are doing and exactly why. Write it down, even, and look at it. See where it fits in with these new circumstances.

Not too long ago when I was in very ill health myself, I allowed myself to become overwhelmed. I had an emotional moment in my doctor's office. He took out his prescription pad and wrote something on it, then passed it to me. On it was this: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.

He told me that I was worrying too much and trying to still do too many things, and all of them too perfectly. I had to re-evaluate what was important and try to remember that I was only one person. That some things might not get done or done exactly right. Maybe you need this same prescription.

Karen Schlesinger said...

Friko and two most favorite bloggers. To have both of you write comments on the same post is a wake up call. The elders of the village are speaking to me. It is a commanding call. Thank you both.

Friko, your common sense and easy going approach to life inspires me to heady heights. I am taking heed of your words to "be kind" to myself. But, I admit, I don't know what that looks like. One doesn't end up in a body like mine from knowing how to treat myself with respect and kindness. There is still much to learn on the subject.

Nance, like any great educator, you have gotten my attention! It is not so much that that my diet is contingent upon others as the support and strength I know others draw from me when I am living up to my ideals. But you do bring up a good I keeping my own best interests at heart? I will do exactly as you suggest and writing... what I am doing and why. I can give a few quick answers to why it is more important than ever to eat raw, but in light of the present circumstances, is it still appropriate to pursue? Perhaps you are right. It may be time to take the ax out of my back.

Thank you, Ladies. This is exactly the kind of support I need right now...a demand that I examine my own life and goals. It is something I can and will do. I am grateful for your sage counsel. It won't be ignored.

Joy Mitchell said...

Karen, I was googling for 'raw emotional detox' and found your blog. Having read a couple of entries I am inspired and hopeful, and greatly appreciate your straight-to-the-point honest approach. I have just read this your most recent entry and wanted to send my warm heart-felt wishes for you both. The other comments have it so right - be kind to yourself. Get through this whichever way you can, but get through this without regrets. Is whether you cook your meal tonight or not really the priority right now?

Warmest wishes and positive thoughts

Karen Schlesinger said...

Joy, Thank you for your kind words. The past four months have been a living nightmare with my husband's cancer. Slowly he is coming around to the idea that he must take control of his disease...that the doctors can't fix everything. I think we are about to turn this ship around with raw vegan foods! I am hanging onto my convictions about this and not giving up. I firmly believe that the more raw fruits and vegetables that we put into our bodies, the more healing takes place. The healing that needs to take place in this household is physical, mental and spiritual. Raw food addresses each of those. I am going to keep on keeping on!

Joy Mitchell said...

Then I admire you for your conviction also. Best wishes Karen - sending positive vibes your way!
Joy :)

Friko said...

Karen, I just found your comment on the "being positive" cancer post.
I am very glad if it was helpful at all; I mean every single word, as I am sure you know.

People are afraid of cancer and having to watch someone suffer is not easy. Too many people prefer to shut their eyes to anything really unpleasant, forgive them, it is a weakness they cannot help, but don't rely on them. For the moment they are less than useless to you. Concentrate on people and things that make you strong, you cannot be expected to educate others at the moment.

And be kind to yourself and your husband; forget about rules and regulations, listen to your innermost core and follow what your heart says.

Rules and regulations have no place in your life right now.

MAP said...

I have just stumbled on your blog--and I must say it is about more than the "raw diet". The most appealing thing is the struggle--we all face that in our life. The subject off struggle may differ but does the process? You are very courageous and I applaud your honesty.

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Brooke said...

I've just started easing into the whole "raw foods" idea with green smoothies. I'm doing this to better my health. I've come across your blog by searching "detox symptoms" as I've been experiencing headaches the first two days I've been having green smoothies. Possibly coincidence, possibly not, but I'm going to continue with the green smoothies and carefully watch how I'm feeling. I'm encouraged to continue carefully because of reading your post about detox symptoms. Thank you SO MUCH for the encouragement you didn't even know you gave me. It is strengthening all the same.

I'm sorry to hear of the overwhelming difficulties you and your family are facing. I might not know you, but thoughts of health and well-being for others is a basic idea we should all share, and so I think of you and yours.

PLEASE don't think you've let anyone down. You might be so consumed with other things right now, that you never see this comment, but I hope that somehow you could know that years after writing your post (it was from Feb 2009) it is STILL guiding and encouraging others. I don't see how that could POSSIBLY be the product of a disappointing person!

Good luck to you and yours. Blessings.