Every day I receive countless emails filled with questions about the raw food diet, my own success with reducing nearly 100 pounds and regaining health, and pleas for help by many who feel like they’ve hit bottom and there’s no way up. Some emails have me in tears, because I can completely relate to what many of you are going through. I feel your pain, frustration, desperation.
One thing I’ve always been good at is listening, truly listening to what others are saying (and being an empath allows me to know what some are saying, even when they many times aren’t verbalizing it). Another thing I’ve always been good at is intuitively knowing how to help others who are asking for advice. Jim used to joke that he wanted me to go into business running an advice column because ever since he’s known me, I’ve been the person everyone comes to for help and advice. So, when I receive so many emails asking for help, it feels natural for me to reach out and connect with those needing help. It’s what I do best—well, that and spreading love!
Following are some excerpts of questions I’ve received, along with my responses. Since I feel many can learn from the questions others ask, I’m going to begin sharing more of the questions and answers here on the blog. Let me know if they are helpful for you, or if you have some questions of your own that you’d like to have answered. [Please email questions to me, rather than post them here on the blog: WendiDee [at] PureJeevan.com.]
Q. Something personal….does your skin get stretchy [or sag] when you lose a lot of weight? [This is a popular question I receive at least a few times a week.]
A. I didn’t have a problem with sagging skin. I do know exactly what you are asking about, however. I’ve seen it on friends and family members who have lost tremendous amounts of weight over a short span of time. I’ve also seen images of it in magazines. It’s a scary thought to have so much skin sagging and hanging all over your body, isn’t it? However, let’s just suppose that *is* what happens when you eat a raw diet (but it *isn’t*). Are we so vain that we’d rather die at a young age, obese with skin that doesn’t sag, or would we rather live a long life in a healthy body with sagging skin?
What is the reason you are trying to lose weight? For me, I wanted to lose weight so that I could be healthier and live a longer life. I hoped, of course, that weight loss would come as well, but it wasn’t my focus. I strongly urge those who are overweight to strive for HEALTH first, and let vanity fall away. You will find yourself blossoming into the most beautiful version of yourself once you allow health to be your primary focus.
Anyway, don’t worry about sagging skin on the raw diet. Your weight loss will be gradual (which is healthier in the long run) and the skin will respond in healthy ways. My body gradually reduced its weight on raw foods and my skin kept responding by becoming tighter. Is my skin as tight as it was when I was a young child? No, but neither is the skin of most women my age [please don't ask!]. If you are overly sensitive about what your skin will look like, try some exercises that will tone the muscle under your skin and help your overall appearance look more toned and tight.
Q. Did I read somewhere that you eat ten bananas at a time? I can’t eat bananas without getting a stomach ache.
A. I’m laughing right now because I know how completely outrageous it sounds to hear that someone can eat ten (or more!) bananas at a time. But, yes, it’s true. There was a time when I was eating between nine and twelve bananas, depending on how hungry I was at the time. Do you know what, though? Before I became healthy I had a difficult time eating even ONE banana! If I ate one banana, it would be so filling I couldn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day (no exaggeration!). As my body became healthier, however, my digestion improved and I was able to easily digest ripe bananas.
Keep in mind, bananas should be truly ripe before you eat them. Unripe bananas will not have any brown specks on them. Just because a banana is all yellow, that doesn’t mean it’s ripe. There could still be a bit of green at the top or bottom of the banana, also. Until a banana begins to produce brown specks on the yellow skin, it is not ripe enough for your body. It will be difficult to digest.
If you are still wondering about the quantities of bananas I eat, I no longer eat as many in one sitting. My body was starving for nourishment, so I found myself craving large quantities of different foods over the first two years of eating a raw foods diet. Now that my body is healthier, I normally eat three to five bananas when I’m hungry. That’s not really a lot if you figure it’s a meal (one banana equals approximately 100 calories).
Q. What can I substitute agave with?
A. For agave, you can substitute soaked dates, honey, or maple syrup (which isn’t raw). Also, many times fruit can be used in recipes to give a sweeter flavor.
Q. Can you please share information about nuts and seeds and why they are supposed to be soaked?
A. First, there are no rules. If you want to eat nuts or seeds and they aren’t soaked, why not eat them and see how they make you feel? I don’t always soak nuts before I eat them and I’ve continued to become healthier over the past three years. Would I become even healthier, more quickly, if I had been soaking nuts and seeds all along? Possibly.
I agree that soaking nuts and seeds is better for your body; however I’m also interested in convenience when it comes to my daily routine. So, often I do not soak nuts or seeds. Here are some of the reasons given for soaking them, however, so you can decide for yourself:
- When nuts are soaked, they release their growth inhibitors which allows them to begin sprouting. The inhibitors are there so that the nuts stay viable until they are in the right conditions to grow.
- Nuts are easier to digest when they have been sprouted, because the inhibitors put a strain on the human digestive system.
- Sprouted nuts have more protein and other nutrients available for the human body than they do before sprouting.
Q. How do you change when people you are stuck with are not interested?
A. Don’t concern yourself much with what others eat/don’t eat. Just focus on yourself right now–love yourself enough to feed your body the best raw foods possible. When you are doing fantastic and glowing on a deep level, others may become inspired to eat similar foods with your guidance. For now, though, just keep doing what you need to do for yourself.
Q. Sometimes I’m too hungry, so I eat cooked foods. Do you have any advice on how I can stop this habit? Also, I have a blood sugar problem. Will this diet help me?
<A. I’ve learned to eat something if I’m hungry (like a banana) and then prepare a meal. Otherwise, sometimes I’d be so hungry that I’d not want to prepare anything and I’d crave prepared cooked or packaged foods. I advise people to always have some kind of raw food that they can easily eat when they are faced with extreme hunger. For me it’s the banana, but for others it may be an apple, celery or carrot sticks, some dates, etc. Pick something that you enjoy eating by itself and always make sure you have it available (not only in the house, but also for when you are going out, as well). If you are too hungry to prepare a raw meal, eat your healthy snack before beginning the preparation for your larger meal. Remember, also: you are not starving to death. Ease your hunger a bit with the small snack and then prepare your larger meal.
My blood sugar normalized, as did my weight. It didn’t happen right away, but raw foods healed me inside and out! I don’t doubt it can do the same for you. For some more inspiration about others who have stabilized their blood sugar levels on the raw food diet, check out The Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally. Join their online community and purchase the “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days” movie if you, or any of your loved ones, struggle with diabetes. There has been some amazing work/studies done by Dr. Gabriel Cousens regarding diet and diabetes. He has CURED individuals of diabetes by using a raw food diet. So, yes—the raw food diet can help individuals who have blood sugar issues.
Q. I’ve got PCOS and you state somewhere that you had it too. I take a drug called Metformin and I am hoping that I can get off of that at some point. It’s important for me to continue having periods, which the medicine helps with, because I still plan on having children. Did you ever take meds for your PCOS?
Also, I’ve been strictly raw since Jan. 1 and I don’t feel like I’m losing much weight. I do feel better though, that only took about 3-5 days. Were you strict with the food combining? Is that how you lost the weight?
A. I’m not allowed to give health advice, all I can do is share my own experiences. I was on Metformin, as well. It allowed me to have perfectly “normal” cycles for the first time in my life. I didn’t want to rely on medications, however, especially since I was having side effects that were just causing more problems in my body. Once I found out that my PCOS was a result of insulin resistance (which is what causes PCOS), I searched for ways to heal my body without medication. Raw foods helped me tremendously. I was finally ovulating (and still do) on a regular cycle!
Even though I have a daughter, I was lucky to have gotten pregnant at that time. It must have been one of the rare times I ovulated. On raw, I ovulate regularly without medication! It IS possible!
My body is still healing–raw isn’t an overnight cure for everyone. I encourage you to follow your instincts. My instincts told me to eat 100% raw, natural, and that’s what I did. I ate a lot of fats in the beginning, too…lots of young coconuts…and I feel that helped tremendously with my healing.
Don’t worry about the weight loss on the raw diet. It happens very slowly for some of us, but one thing is for sure–it WILL happen if your body needs to lose excess weight; that’s been my personal experience. It just takes some time if your body has other healing priorities.
No, I was not strict with food combining. In the beginning food combining didn’t give me a problem. Now, over three years later, “bad” food combining can sometimes slow my digestion down.