What can I say, it was an awful autumn and I let everything good for me go away. I am not a victim, it wasn't taken from me. I am not full of excuses but I am sure it wouldn't be hard to justify myself with some whoppers. I was struggling with staying raw while dating and something happened that made me release my grip on it and everything else. This isn't the time or place to go into the details of what happened but you will just have to trust me that I had my reasons. Phew, they were big.
My kids and I agreed to try the S.A.D. diet through the holidays. Yes, the "Standard American Diet" with meat and everything. We had been vegetarian for awhile and before that gluten and cassein free so we had never tried the S.A.D. type of holiday. I have to say, I do not regret a thing...turkey and stuffing and home made cranberry sauce, well worth the gross out of meat and fat and so forth. I made my Grandmother's carmelled walnuts as Christmas presents and enjoyed the leftovers quite dearly. Mmmm... We made roasts and soups and stroganoff and all kinds of things we had never tried. I even found a delicious recipe for turkey chili for leftovers and I have NEVER liked chili before but LOVED this!!!! As the days turned colder our over and stove and crock pot warmed the house and the heart.
So, there's the up side of the S.A.D. way. It was nice BUT I do not feel as good. I gained weight back. My energy level plummeted. I can hardly get out of bed some days. My body feels bloated and sluggish all the time. I look forward to quick fixes for energy like caffeine and sugar. I crave sugar foods in the afternoon to get me through. I forgot that this is how it used to feel ALL the time. I miss my fresh food. A salad or a fresh fruit once in awhile started to become elusive. When you buy a lot of meats and breads and cheeses it is very expensive and tacking in fresh organic produce makes the food bill higher. Then, the kids turn to chips, crackers, breads and cheeses before they turn to carrots or apples. Where did my kiwi lovin' kids go?
My son became addicted to food. It has become a family joke that he sneaks into the pantry and steals food. All of a sudden you can hear off in the distance of the kitchen "c r r r u u n ch" coming from the shadows of the pantry and he will walk around with his cheeks puffed out stuffed with food he thinks nobody is noticing. I would find empty chip bags lying like carcasses along side empty cracker boxes in this graveyard of food packaging. His desire to exercise went away and he only moves his body to go play outside with his sister or throw and autistic fit. My daughter grew back her obsession for cheese and basically lives for her next fix. In the pre-adolescent world of an almost ten year old girl, mix in a cheese fix with hormonal swings and you got an ugly combo.
So, I woke up a couple of weeks ago and realized what has over taken us is the sluggish result of our eating. We were better rawkin. We were healthier rawkin. We were happier and more balanced rawkin. While rawkin food was a lot of work, it was not an addiction or an obsession. The work was worth it. I decided to approach the children with this fact. I simply said at a sit down family meal, "I miss our rawkin food" and immediately got, "NOOOOOO!" Laughing out loud, I could see this would be tougher than I thought.
I decided to divide and conquer. I seized the moment with my son alone in the family room a week or so later and said, "what would you think if I decided to go raw again?" and he stood still, afraid to move. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he battled with his response. My son loves me and respects me (yes, he's not quite a teenager yet) and wants me to be healthy and knows that I want him to be healthy. He KNOWS that raw food was so dang good for us that he can't argue the value and benefits of it. On the other hand...the boy loves the crackers and chips. He loves that salty processed food taste. His face began to wrinkle and ripple as he tried to hold back tears. I put my hand on his arm as he stood there and said, "but I love food soooo much, Mom." My heart broke. I questioned everything I am as a mother for the bazillionth time. What am I doing? What have I done? What have I turned into? What have I turned them into? Why did I have to learn about raw food? Why can't I be ignorant and believe our stupid food pyramid that the processed food companies want us to believe? Why can't I just numb my children in McDonalds and Disney like every other average Mom in America? I reassured my son that I would not ever force him to do raw food and that I would love him no matter what he ate and allowed the subject to drop.
My daughter was not as contemplative when I hit her up for a response. Her statement was “raw food is disgusting!”. There was no question about it, she was hooked on the S.A.D. way of life. I would have to be subtle with her and let her cross over on her own. A kid like my daughter can not be forced to do something without then needing to resist constantly. She needs to buy in. I could see I had my work cut out for me.
Last week I announced that I would be returning to raw food. There were grumbles but no screaming and running away. I left it at that. I kept the emphasis on myself. I brought it up again a few days later and said that while I was going raw I would not force anyone to go raw with me but that I would limit some of the processed food choices and bring in healthier alternatives in their stead. I explained that chips would no longer be available nor would crackers. This met gentle resistance but found agreement eventually. I also explained that I would not go 100% raw at first. I would gently and practically work my way back into it. I would have oatmeal available and I would allow sandwiches for school lunches but that cheese would eventually disappear. I also offered that dinner would be a non-raw choice. Heads bobbed up and down with hesitant agreement.
So I needed to assess the damage of allowing seeds and nuts to sit for six months. I am hesitant a bit because I am sure some have lost some of their flavor if not gone rancid but I am also thrifty (the nice word for cheap) and do not want to buy a whole new stash. I started with the flax seed. Examined thoroughly, they seem okay. Almonds check out too. So, here we go.
As I began grinding up flax seeds the excitement began to return to me. I forgot how much I love preparing raw food. I got all excited about my eternal search for the yummiest rawkin cracker. I forgot how much I love to think about the REAL flavor of food and how to combine it to make delicious treats. The energy came back as I played in the possibilities. What if I add this? What if I combine that together? SOOOOO much fun thinking about it again. I started to remember my favorite recipes…yes, the enchilada popped up highest. As I started to get excited something changed in my children.
“Hey Mom, can you make the cheesecake?” chirped the biggest vote of dissent.
“Oh and Mom, are you going to make the Nori Rolls?” said my son.
I knew this was a fragile time and I needed to be agreeable so I offered to make whatever they wanted as long as they promised to eat it and not let it go bad. Suddenly the enthusiasm for raw food returned. Bwah ha ha ha ha. The S.A.D. way is not match for a mother’s enthusiasm.
I grocery shopped and got the goods for their favorite recipes and mine. I have flax seed crackers of three different varieties (experiments) in the dehydrator that I dragged out of the pantry, dusted off and plugged in. We are on our way. I started our day today with fresh fruit as I grumbled about being too tired to cook breakfast yet. As they munched on their oranges begging for more fruit I laughed and teased them about wanting me to go raw. “Gosh, you guys are so pushy about making me go raw, stop it!” I later made them scrambled eggs to hold up to my end of the bargain. Tomorrow will be another story. Gently tip toeing into this is key.
I have corn thawed and ready to make tortillas for my enchiladas. I have flax seed crackers and fresh spinach and avocado and tomato to put on it. I have other flax crackers slightly sweetened with raw honey and cinnamon ready for almond butter and banana. I have raw nori rolls ready for cauliflower bits, sprouts, mushrooms and tomato for my son’s lunch tomorrow. (I’m such a good Mom to make his favorite) I have bananas ripening for my daughter’s favorite banana crepe. Oh yes, I’m gonna make her beg for it. Bwah ha ha. I have enthusiasm again.
I am a little trepidatious at the detox and challenge ahead in only going part way and still cooking regular food for the kids at times. I think the half way stuff is harder then full steam ahead but I think it is important to be practical and gentle with the transition for the kids and also for myself. It is hard to go to a friends house and see the different foods. It is challenging to do this. Our culture revolves around food. We have friends over for dinner. We go out for coffee. We are barraged with commercials about food and diets. The S.A.D. is EVERYWHERE and well marketed. We must start our swim upstream gently, playing in the current and splashing about with joy in order to grow the strength to better health. At least I think that’s what we should do. What do I know, really. Just trying to be practical.