I'm 19 and female. My whole life I have had bloating, constipation, post nasal drip, food sensitivities, and fatigue. I have been on many different diets, rotation diets, i have tried meditation, yoga, positive thinking, $30,000 1 month inpatient therapy, all an attempt to make me feel better. Doctors say its all in my head and I should eat whatever I want. Anyway 2 weeks ago I was feeling so sick I couldn't take it anymore and said "My last resort is to go raw, so that is what I will do"
Well, just like everything else i have tried I felt good for 1 week and now I have abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, mucus and headaches, fatigue. I don't believe this is detox because my diet before raw was very pure. I think it is stress. I don't have friends, I have social anxiety, my job is extremely stressful. I need to learn how to deal so I can feel better. I would like to be a person that lives in the now, happy, positive, healthy, strong. Does anybody have any suggestions?
Valgal -- The symptoms you describe seem to be the same as those you had before going raw. Am I right? Perhaps you could tell us what kinds of things you were eating before going raw, and what you eat in a typical day now. It would be difficult for someone to make valid suggestions without more information.
Before raw I ate whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Now I eat a green smoothie in the morning with coconut oil and flax oil, 1 T nut butter, some raw cereal. Lunch is a salad with a bunch of different veggies, avocado, vinegar, olive oil. Snack is fruit with coconut butter, another snack more fruit, dinner same as lunch with maybe a raw burger patty and some sort of raw dessert. Snack in fruit 1 T nut butter. another snack is more fruit.
Yes these symptoms are the same symptoms that I have been feeling FOREVER and thought "raw will deffinately cure it!" Since my diet isn't the cause what is? stress, you know how POWERFUL the mind can be!
hmm.. have you ever tried adding one food at a time? It could be you are eating a food that you ate before and during raw, that you are actually allergic to? do you smoke? If you have tried process by elimination then it seems like stress must be the cause. You might look into EFT, emotional freedom technique, it can be productive in a short amount of time and maybe help you understand more of what's behind your "stress" so you can free yourself of it. you can look up more details online.
My observation is that you are eating a lot of oils, nuts, and fat, which are things that take a lot of energy to digest. Are you soaking any of your nuts? I find that I cannot eat nuts and feel well unless I have soaked and sprouted them first. Also, have you looked into food combining? I would highly suggest you research this because of your sensitive system. Mixing nuts with fruit can cause tummy troubles, as can mixing multiple kinds of fats, or multiple starches, etc. I also find that my system does not handle oils, possibly because most oils tend to be rancid upon purchase.
I hope this helps, and don't give up! Give yourself some love, and maybe a vacation?
Valgal, I suffered from constipation and other horrible digestive problems my entire life until I started eating RAW. The main reason I can get constipated sometimes is if I eat too much fat. Fat slows your digestion down a lot, so I would cut out some of the oil you eat. I don't eat fats every day anymore just because I get bloated and constipated.
You also can't be healthy unless you eliminate the stress in your life. If your job causes you a lot of stress, I'd look for another one. Your well being is too important to sacrafice for a job.
Where are you buying your nut butter & coconut oil? Question everything you eat that doesn't come from the produce section of the store. 99% of anything packaged or bottled is not raw. Normally these mistakes involve fats. Oils, nuts etc. see... http://www.purelyraw.com/deadfoodlist.htm
1 week, 2 weeks, these are not long enough time periods when you body is concerned. Most people detox for at least 3 months. I had funny symptoms come and go for over a year. You body changes slowly.
Find some basic fresh raw meals that you like. Make this the majority of what you eat for at least 3 months. Only then will you even begin to see what your body is like on that food.
Raw Food can't be treated like you've started a new medication. (3 days and where are my results?) When you first go raw, your results are based more on what you are NOT eating than what you are eating. I say this is mostly true all the time and eating is only meant to be another of life's pleasures.
I agree with the other guys, it sounds like you are eating alot of fat. Cut out the coconut butter and nut butters for few days and see how you feel. You don't say what the raw cereal is but if it is grain based, try giving that up as well for a few days and see how you react to that as well. When you re-introduce these things, re-introduce one at a time, so you can judge the results. You can keep a high intake of calories with whole fruit green smoothies. I do hope you get better soon.
Eat to have smooth digestion, not to numb your emotions. Start taking a good look at your emotions. For perfect digestion try to eat like one would in nature. Eat one fruit per meal and pair it with lighter greens like lettuces. For example I have the best digestion when I skip breakfast (water, prayer and meditation for breakfast), 4-6 oranges for lunch, at 3 or 5 I have 4-5 bananas with lettuce or half a watermelon, later in the day have 2 cantalope or 5 bananas and later a snack of 2 tomatos and a half a head of lettuce just to munch on by themselves maybe a couple oranges. If it takes you more than 30 seconds to prepare your probably not eating optimally or naturally as we would in nature.
I have the kind of body that just thrives on a low fat diet. Fats slow my body and mind down and I eat overt fats once a week or less.
It may take your body a couple of months to adjust to the really high levels of fiber, but with food combining you would be doing your body a lot of good!
I agree with Parsley. I think you should completely eliminate nuts, seeds, and grains for at least a month and see how you feel.
Also practice better food combining and cut out most or all of the oil. The raw burgers and raw desserts are probably not well combined.
As an example, for meal 1, have 4 bananas or a banana whip, maybe some type of other berry; meal 2, 3 apples or 3 pears or 3 mangoes; meal 3, some pineapple or more bananas or a green smoothie (only fruit and greens and be mindful of which fruits you combine); meal 4, a salad of greens and cilantro or other herbs and a fat-free dressing (I've ben making a good one with dates, mustard, water, herbs, and greens, blended); meal 5, cucumbers and tomatoes or other non-sweet fruit, like zucchini, maybe some basil and lemon juice; meal 6, celery and carrots or some green juice; meal 7, if you're still hungry, probably more bananas, either whipped or room temp.
This is how I eat, I eat a lot and I'm always nourished and glowing.
Maybe once a week, a raw gourmet treat is fine, but otherwise, they are not ideal, unless you find a way to make one without nuts, seeds, oils, and good food combining. Use herbs, not fats, for flavor.
Don't worry about getting groceries a week in advance; figure out what you want to eat on a certain day and pick it up then. Go with your cravings.
Sprouts (non-wheat) offer great nutrition if you are okay eating them. Try a cup a day. Sometimes I eat about 4-6 cups of them a day, but only if I'm craving them/want them.
Have you ever done a candida cleanse? Candida could very likely be causing your symptoms(bloating, constipation, unable to gain weight). Eating more sweet fruits would just add to the problem. Many people have better results going raw if they start off not eating any sugars for a month or so - this will starve the candida. Taking herbs will accelerate the cleansing process. Also make sure to take probiotics to repopulate your digestive tract with good bacteria - to aid in digestion and to fight off yeast and fungus (candida). I would definitely recommend at least looking into this as the cause of your problems. Most health food stores have candida cleanse kits. The first book I read on raw food was the "Sunfood Diet Success System" by David Wolfe - it helped me alot. It covers pretty much everything you need to know starting off - including the candida diet, eating for weight loss/gain etc..
I sort of disagree with some of the comments about the amount of fats you are taking in. It sounds like your body wants the fats and you are giving them to yourself - stressed bodies want fat! I would maybe rethink some of the fat choices you have made. I don't recommend a lot of fruit to someone with anxiety! Raw desserts might be difficult to digest with mutiple ingredients. Nut butters disagree with me at times, but I'm finding hempseed butter works well for me. And YES - the source of your food and the quality matter a great deal!
I feel you with the stress thing. I have been eating raw eight months now and with a stressful job and a move in the near future, my body and nerves are spent. Raw foods do not instantly cure anxiety and degenerative diseases, but I can say your approach to stress (and life) will change so drastically and you will find better ways of coping with work, relationships, social situations, etc. It really will - every day you will learn something new, and it is an exciting journey! Anyway, I wouldn't really want a cure - I would rather feel like I have learned and absorbed everything through each experience. That way I know how and why I got there. I am leaving my stressful job and relocating to a place where people live life more organically, and I know my diet affected those decisions.
One thing to think about - raw foods will give you a LOT more energy than you had before. People with anxiety have more of it - it is just misdirected. You will have even more energy eating raw, and you will have to learn how to redirect it. As an anxious person, I always found meditation impossible, but raw foods have helped ground me emotionally, and it is much easier now. Just don't be scared by the excess energy you may experience eating raw foods...find a good place to put it. Listen to what your body wants and don't push it beyond what is comfortable.
So, I consider myself a positive and happy person who is becoming healthier and stronger (good enough for me!). I have a goal of where I am heading, and I KNOW it is real and I WILL get there now!
My concern was not the quantity of fat per se, but which fats you are choosing. I agree that fat is not bad and is definitely necessary, especially for bodies under stress! My concern is primarily that the fats seem to be primarily in the form of oils; which as I mentioned above tend to be rancid upon purchasing at the store and are highly processed to boot. I was also concerned if that the nuts might be causing some indigestion problem because they are not being soaked to release the tannins and other enzyme inhibitors.
I suggest upping your avocado intake (they are yummy in so many ways!) and soaking your nuts. Soaked nuts grind easily in the blender so you can add them to your smoothies in replacement of flax oil or coconut oil.
Hope this helps!
Thank you parsley, I would love it if you could give me some suggestions for what to do with avocado, i have so many ripe ones!
To everyone else I forgot to mention that I have been experimenting with diet among other things for YEARS and a few years ago realized that I can eat the same things every day and feel fantastic one day or week and crummy the next. Thats why i believe its stress.
My personally favorites are in salad, green smoothies, guacamole and just plain (with soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds, and maybe a twist of lime). I didn't like them plain when I first started on this raw journey, but I love them now.
AND, when you get creative and come up with something new and delicious or a new twist on something old, do share with the rest of us.
-Have you been tested for celiac disease? If not, you should ask your doctor, but even if you don't have celiac disease, many people are sensitive to gluten. http://jccglutenfree.googlepages.com/
-Grains, even gluten-free grains, are difficult to digest for many people. Same goes for nuts, legumes, and roots. Look up antinutrients:http://www.geo-pie.cornell.edu/issues/toxins.html Try eliminating different groups for a week and see if it makes a difference. I did a legume-free week and then a grain-free week and found that the latter was the culprit. These foods do not benefit from being eating the way berries and other fruits do (seeds get passed on), so they evolved these defenses. Nuts also become rancid easily and it's not always easy to tell.
Grains are a pretty new food for humans as a species on the evolutionary timeline...kind of like cooking. Other primates don't consume them. "The primate gut is not equipped with the enzyme systems required to derive energy from the specific types of fiber which predominate in gramineae. Consequently, unless cereal grains are milled to break down the cell walls and cooked to crystallize the starch granules (and hence make them more digestible), the proteins and carbohydrates are largely unavailable for absorption and assimilation. Thus, until the advent of regular fire use and control (as evidenced by hearths ~125,000 years ago), it would have been almost virtually energetically impossible for our species to consume cereal grains to supply the bulk of our daily caloric requirements." It's highly disappointing that many raw vegans acknowledge the species inappropriateness of things like charred meat, but don't take the extra step in recognizing the dangers of other new foods like legumes and grains.
I had your same problems and eliminating grains made a huge difference! Most candida diets eliminate most grains and that is probably why people do so well on it. I would personally recommend a diet high in berries, especially wild berries, which are low in sugar and high in nutrients.
I have been through a somewhat similar path. Feel free to email me as well; my gmail address is dusky.at.dawn (sorry, trying to avoid spambots).
In terms of meditation:
Mindfulness meditation does help for many psychological issues including anxiety and depression (and many physical symptoms can be mitigated in the brain -- it's the control center!). Yogic breathwork training in particular could be of use to you as well. It helps me be aware of my anxiety responses. Being aware of your own bodily sensations and responses is the goal of these practices, and even if they do not "solve" your issues they seem to have an enormous effect on many people's well-being (including my own). Yoga classes are also a social opportunity!
In terms of digestion:
Natalia Rose's "The Raw Food Detox Diet" actually includes a great idea in food-combining philosophy (for some people): Eat lighter, "quick exit" foods in the morning and afternoon, and transition to heavier foods through the day. This means cutting out your heavy lunch and sticking to lots of juices/smoothies/fruit for breakfast and lunch.
It works really well for my digestion, and I am prone to slowness/difficult digestion and bloating.
Not possible for some people -- digestive response really is an individual thing -- but worth a try.
In terms of possible brain chemistry imbalances and the fatigue issue:
Do you or any family members have a history of depression? Physical symptoms (headaches and fatigue especially) and social anxiety can be closely related to the neurotransmitters involved in depression.
There are three supplements you might want to research: SAM-e, 5-HTP, and L-tyrosine. (I have been using all three in conjunction with a raw diet in order to recover from deep depression, which for me included extreme fatigue and many of the symptoms you list. I'm sure there are others for anxiety in particular, I just don't know them as well).
All of these have been shown to work (at least on depression) by studies here and in Europe, and used/recommended by Dr. Gabriel Cousens (the raw healer and author of Conscious Eating, etc.) as natural supplements for people deficient in these neurotransmitters. (Check out his book "Depression-Free For Life" if you're interested, too.) 5-HTP (a precursor to serotonin) in particular does help to normalize the sleep cycle (taken in the evening) and improve mood. Of course, definitely do your own research!
You show strength and determination, so you will find a path through this. "If you find yourself in hell, keep going." My thoughts go out to you in your struggles.
I would suggest a thorough parasite cleanse with the cloves, wormwood and black walnut hull. Also take diatomaceous earth twice a day [almost miraculous in its effects[ as well as start the `MMS drops. Cut the fats down, drink fresh juices and do a few colonics.
You can also take GoldenSeal tincture for single cell protozoas, [like Giardia]
You can combine this with a clay fast for 5 days and do two enemas, morning and night of garlic and wormwood tea.
This protocol will kill just about everything, protozoa, parasites, worms, bacteria, fungus.
You can eat all the best food in the world, but if you have many worms, you will feel anxious, stressed, and all the other symptoms you mentioned. Because you have been eating well for years and more or less getting nowhere, try a different tact. Do not underestimate the impact of these things. This could easily be the reason you can eat the same food one day and be OK and then the next it is all different.
All these intolerances we have, bloating, [you could try enzymes] and allergies, digestive disturbances can often be healed with a thorough parasite cleanse. We do not put enough stock in this, and spend fortunes on this food and that detox only to be barking up the wrong tree.
Also, have you ever done a liver flush with a glass of Olive oil and espom salts? Your liver may be blocked with stones.
Good luck. :)
PS Don't rely on tests for parasites, you will always come up negative, there is a hilarious story on the net of a girl who was doing this and a dead worm came out, so she laid it on top of the stool sample to see what they would say it was. The results came back....negative. We all have them, it won't do you any harm and will only do you good.
If you THINK meditation, yoga, etc will help, it will. However, in my humble opinion dont try to stretch, meditate, or eat your problems away. Be honest with yourself and ask "why is it that i have this social anxiety?"--you will learn so much more about yourself and how to handle INTERNAL problems this way. (Btw Ive had SAD--social Anxiety disorder--for 4 years and there really IS something to learn from it..)
Hope this helped and I really wish you the best of luck-- whether you are fasting, eating raw, eating junk food-- emotional peace reigns supreme over all else.
: ) Good Luck