Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Struggles and Stresses...and Good Things, too

Hiya Folks,

So, Cliff and I are about 2 weeks raw now.

It's been a struggle at some points, and at other times, easy and like it always used to be.

The last few days, however, I've been in a kind of awful place emotionally, stressed, due to finances. I feel like i work so hard, but the work I do doesn't pay me. I can barely pay my bills this month.

Last month when i was binge eating, buying pizza and chinese meals daily on my debit card, i never thought of how it would impact me. It must have totaled a few hundred. And now i'm suffering because i spent that money, that i need now to pay my bills. In the heat of the binges, i felt rich. But, i wasn't.

Somehow, it feels like eating pizza and eggrolls again will make this woe all dissappear. The urgest for cooked food have been quite strong at some points, but thank god, i've verbalized them, and it's taken the energy out of them.

Cliff is also ultra supportive. The moment i say i feel like going out to get pizza on the drive to my mother's house, he insists on driving me himself instead. God bless him.

Cliff is struggling with eating cooked at times, too. Strong emotions and pain can make us want to run away into cooked. Cliff threw his back out and was in considerable pain. Later in the day, I was about to make him one of our raw platters and called all over the house for him. Well, I found him upstairs in our 2nd kitchen where all of the illegal cooked food got stowed, eating a bologna sandwhich.

He's been back to eating raw breakfast and enjoyed a raw lunch today, so that's wonderful. He's not throwing out the baby with the bath water. A minor blip.

Today, I was out all day and i left him plenty of raw food and directions on how to put things together, but i'll soon find out how he coped when he comes to pick me up.

I'm mostly upset about gaining weight and how I look, but i know it's also my financial situation that is depressing me. So, the heavy heart i have is not all about how i look, but it's contributing.

And it used to be so easy to just do 80-10-10 for a few weeks, like i did to prepare for my Halloween performance as I KNOW i can drop 20 lbs easily by doing that.

But, something keeps telling me that that's not the way to go. That i simply need to control my portions. Listen more to hunger and fullness signals. Everytime i diet to lose fast, i gain it right back anyway.

I'm scared to weigh myself.

Anyway, if i want to lose weight, i keep telling myself to walk more. But it's absolutely frigid out here in Philadelphia, and i never tire of finding excuses not to go to the gym. I was so on a roll this summer with the exercise. What a blessing that was, to just be on FIRE to exercise daily and walk up those hills of Manayunk, supremely contented.

Now, i've been walking a bit here and there, but not the 1hour+ walks i was doing.

I'm so depressed about being heavier, but feel helpless in a way. I know i overeat and knowing that depresses me, too. I'm watching myself do it. And i know i'm heavier and shouldn't overeat, but yet, i do.

And I'm depressed because i have barely any income coming in.

I called an opera cafe in Phila where the waiters/waitresses all sing opera to get a job there. They asked for my resume and headshot, which i promptly sent. When they phoned me after that inquiring about my availability, i was excited, but got cold feet. I was binge eating on cooked at the time and couldn't see myself resisting the pasta and bread and butter there. I let two weeks go by without returing their call. Now, i've called at least 3x, and no one has returned my call yet. At least if i worked there a few nights a week, i'd make tips.

The catering does not pay. By the time you add up all of the hours and hours of labor that go into making catering trays, we probably average $2/hour.

I feel like so work sooo hard. For so little.

Last night, i finally got fed up. I said a prayer to God, to the universe, working the secret. I said, "I want to be paid to sing. I want a nice renovated house. I want a good income." I went on and on like this. I think this is what i am going to have to keep doing daily, because this cloud over my head is just making me feel awful.

Another stress/blessing has been preparing two new classes i am going to be leading at Arnolds Way. I know they will be good for me and a blessing to others, but to prepare for them is, you know, challenging.

The one class, "12 Steps To Raw" is ever on my mind, which is turning out to be a good thing. I almost heated up some Fuhrman lentil soup yesterday that i had in the freezer, until it popped into my mind that i have to be an example to my students. I put the soup back in the freezer. I should move that soup up to the freezer upstairs.

I've also been planning what i will demonstrate in my "Raw Food Masterclass with Chef Michelle" class. That was stressing me out as well. I've made the plan, and now i'm not happy with it, which is stressing me out, too!

I'm just venting, and i'm sure the classes will work out just fine.

If you are interested and would like to join me at Arnolds Way for these classes, here is the info:

RAW FOOD MASTERCLASS: Arnolds Way, 4 Thursdays from 6:30-8pm beginning Thurs, Jan 7th - Demonstrations of smoothies, salads, desserts, wraps, with an emphasis on how to reuse leftovers.

12 STEPS TO RAW: Arnolds Way, 4 Fridays from 6:30-8pm beginning Friday, Jan 8th - Lecture, handouts, discussion and support on getting and staying raw. Topics include traveling raw, avoiding temptation, different raw diets and finding what works for you, garnering support, creating a raw kitchen.

xoxox michelle joy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Raw On The Road - Picnic In The Car!

Hiya Folks,

Yesterday Cliff and I went out shopping in the rain. Here we are in the car. This is how raw foodists go out for a day of shopping...you have raw picnic in the car!!!!




On the way to the ZERNS Farmer's Market in Gilbertsville, PA.



My black sparkle sequin hat drew such attention at the market, by the way. An older gentleman dressed so dapper came up to me and said, "That hat beautifies you!" That certainly brought a smile to my face :-))



Okay, here is the soft blue igloo we often use to travel for daytrips. Inside we put those blue ice packs to keep everything cold. I always try to bring an assortment of goodies and we eat what we are hungry for. Inside this bag, we had several green smoothies, crudite with dip, apple pie, dehydrated mexican snacks, trail mix, grapes, forks/knives/plates/napkins, cabbage slaw. Enough for lunch and several snacks!



My main man, Cliff, and moi.



Green smoothies are great to travel with. Just pop a few jars of the elixer into your igloo with icepacks and you're ready for a quick meal on the road. This smoothie was delish. It was made from 2 bananas, romaine lettuce, mango, strawberries and agave. Yum.





This picture looks gross, like some kind of frozen ground beef or something, sorry for ooking your out, but i can assure you, it is not raw meat, but a double peice of scrumptious raw apple pie. One of the best pies i ever made. It got better and better after a few days. The brown top is shredded apple and pear seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and zest. The middle section was a vanilla cashew cream, and below, a scrumptious pecan date crust.




Here is what is left in a plastic container after we ate several of these little dehydrated goodies. I made a mexican nutspread and spread it on zucchini and eggplant and topped with tomato and dehydrated for a day. Yummo! Cliff loved these.


Cliff loves crunchy celery so i like to have that available for him. And he enjoys a carrot stick every now and again.

Tip: It's so useful to have a wonderful dip in the fridge, and to keep these little 2 oz to go containers with lids on hand. Fill 'er up with a wonderful gingery/garlicy spread and oila', snack city.

We filled the celery crevice with this thai dip and was that yum or what?


Okay, a view of how we do this. I bring plates and forks and everything in plastic containers. On the right was an awesome cabbage slaw i made days earlier. Cabbage lets off alot of water, so i thought the 2 day salad was ruined, but i just squoze out all of the juice and dressing and was left with a dry marinated cabbage slaw that was super super tasty and low fat. We really enjoyed this. There's the green smoothie towards the left and the pie we dug into for mid afternoon snack, later on.




Okay, there's my Cliffy showing you how it's done! Carrot in one hand, plate and fork and cabbage slaw in the other. Satisfying, filling. No need for McDonalds.

Really, there is NEVER an excuse for not eating raw. It just takes EFFORT to prepare and have food ALWAYS on hand. NEVER leave the house empty-handed, otherwise you face temptation.

I am also a firm believer in seasoning food well. When raw food tastes good, it is not only good for you, but delights the taste buds and keeps you interested. Don't eat the same thing everyday or you'll get bored. Mix it up. Homemade food does take effort, but you have to have your priorities in order. It IS easier to drop a box of pasta into boiling water than to shred cabbage and veggies and devise an interesting sauce. Yes, it takes more effort, but, the payoff is better. Homemade food is SO much better for you.

And creates memories that last. Cliff and i have the fondest memories of eating avocado wraps in the winter by the Lucy Elephant Statue down the shore, and at another date, the same meal in the winter on the beach. It creates memories, creates intimacy, creates and sustains health. Go out today and get an igloo or an igloo bag and some blue ice packs.

How do YOU cope with being out? Do you pack? Or have a favorite place you eat at? Let's hear from you!

xoxoxo michelle joy

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How Cliff is Coping with Detox, and New Images!

CLIFF'S MOM WITH HER ELF HAT ON ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!!















ME AND ALEX RAMIREZ, MY ACCOMPANIST, AFTER PERFORMING IN OUR CHRISTMAS CONCERT!















RASPBERRY CREAM TARTLETTES FIRMING UP ON A COOKIE SHEET. WE PUT SARAN WRAP INBETWEEN THE HANDFORMED TARTLETTE CRUST AND THE TARTLETTE TIN SO THE CRUST WOULDN'T STICK TO THE FORM. ADORNED WITH BLUEBERRIES AND MINT, YUM!














WHY DO I ALWAYS REMEMBER TO TAKE PHOTOS AFTER THE FACT???? HERE ARE THE KEY LIME TARTLETTES AND THE RASPBERRY CREAM TARTLETTES ON A LOVELY TRAY COVERED WITH A BED OF COLLARDS, READY TO DELIVER!















OUR LUSCIOUS PUMPKIN SPICE CHEEZECAKE IN A TO-GO TIN, ADORNED WITH MINT LEAVES, COCONUT SHREDS, PECANS AND FRESH CRANBERRIES!















OUR FAMOUS RAINBOW VEGGIE WRAPS. INSIDE THE PURPLE CABBAGE WRAP IS A MEDLEY OF VEGGIES AND SPROUTS BLANKETED IN A CREAMY GINGER GARLIC CHUNKY THAI DIP, ACCENTED WITH LEMON GRASS & THAI BASIL. THESE ARE REALLY YUM!















MY CATERING PARTNER, SUSAN AMAN, OUR CUSTOMER, SHAWNA MORRIS, AND ME! YOU MAY REMEMBER SHAWNA FROM PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES. I STAYED AT SHAWNA'S HOUSE IN OREGON WHEN I SANG AT THE RAW WEDDING UNION FOR MATT MONARCH AND ANGELA STOKES MONARCH. SHAWNA WAS SOOOOO EXCITED ABOUT HER RAW PIE!















OUR RAINBOW VEGGIE WRAPS WITH THAI SAUCE CUSTOMER, SUZANNE. AGAIN, TOO LATE FOR A GOOD PHOTO! THEY WERE ALREADY PACKED AWAY TO PUT IN HER CAR!




















Hiya Folks,

I hope you enjoyed the images above from the last few days. It's been busy and fun :-))

So, today, was my 12th raw day. Yay!

And i just made a nice raw plate for Cliff for dinner. It's waiting for him on the table, while he takes a nap upstairs. The raw plate includes a slice of cranberry cream pie, 2 raw flax crackers with mexican cashew 'cheeze' and tomato, marinated fungi italiano, and thai broccoli salad. Preparing raw food is time consuming, but worth it. Cliff really appreciates the effort, and enjoys how i flavor his dishes. When something tastes good, it makes it so much easier to stick with, obviously.

Unfortunately, my Cliffy's having a tough time with detox, poor thing, but is super motivated. Look, detox is NOT easy. And you have to be super committed to raw to tolerate feeling BAD and continue on irregardless, KNOWING you will soon feel even BETTER than before.

Cliff is also used to using caffeine to wake himself up, and now, he feels, um, kind of, vulnerable or dare i say, weak, needing to take a nap midday or late afternoon. Actually, he's napping at 7pm tonight.

I think he'll get through this for sure.

To confirm that, he actually just came from the basement where we put our cooked food (dry good) items into locked storage (pasta, rice, etc....). I had run out of raw honey and asked him to grab me the regular honey from downstairs. I don't have a key to the locked cabinet. [p.s. I recognize regular honey is not ideal but does not put me in danger of binge eating. There's a huge difference between using a little regular honey in my tea, and, say, having a bowl of macaroni.] I asked him if it was hard to go in there and he was visibly uncomfortable, but expressed that he "didn't want any of that stuff", referring to the pasta and rice items in the basement, and I really saw that as a terrific committment to raw. His blood sugar plays on him more than before, and so do more frequent hunger pangs, and it's all so new, but he's hanging in there. When i asked him if he wanted a nice raw plate for dinner, he nodded positively in the affirmative.

It's so motivating for me to have him doing this with me. God BLESS him.

Although this is a hard transition for him, he's already aware of benefits. Today at the mall, his ankles which usually burn like hot coals, felt completely great and he was walking the mall cheerfully AND quickly, and beamed, "Look at me, i have a bounce in my step!" The last time we walked that same mall, he had terrific trouble even walking a few steps his ankles hurt so badly. But today, we walked the mall at least 3x around, easily.

He also notices that his digestion is MUCH better when he eats raw, and when he eats cooked, he suffers reflux and burning in his chest. Those signs from his body are pretty strong messages that raw food is doing something good for him. Also, the red rash on his nose, rosacia, is almost completely cleared up. He used to need creams to do that in the past.

E3Live and raw food are working, yay!

Emotionally, I'm also noticing changes in Cliff. He is much moodier these past 12 days, which i just have to accept. Raw food opens us up to our emotions. And for people who are generally closed off, repressed like him, he's an introvert, just FEELING can be scary. He has to pay attention to himself more. Ask himself if he's hungry and adjust to eating things that take a LOT more chewing, and i think he's just in a more vulnerable place because of this change. Eating isn't so routine anymore. It's taking not only mental but physical effort.

I do notice something nice, that he seems to be more social, desirous of more social interaction and he's also more open to attending raw food events like potlucks and parties, which he wasn't before. He also seems more assertive, asserting his opinion and direction more. He's also a little sexier. We've had a little fun the past few days, and, well, i doooo like that, i must say!!!

I hear him stirring upstairs, so time for dinner.

Much love,
xoxoxo michelle joy

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! 11 days raw! No Binges!

Hello, friends,

We had a lovely Christmas day today, visiting friends and family and sharing good times with all.

I've had an exciting past few days!

I had a catering job with Susan. We have a raw catering company called "Mostly Raw". (We'll use cooked beans if you desire them). We made a tray of raw raspberry cream tartlettes, and raw key lime tartlettes, a raw pumpkin spice cheezecake, and a tray of our famous "thai veggie rainbow wraps". they are so good. I'll hopefully share pics with you tomorrow. I hope our goodies make the holidays special for our very special customers!

Great news...I've been raw again since last Monday, Dec 14th, 11 days, yay!

Previously, i was raw for 3 years. Coincidentally or not, just around my 3rd year anniversary, things went haywire. When i went off, i, uh, i really went off. I have a binge eating disorder, so, things get high volume very very very quickly. No meat, thank god (it's so good, could i have even stopped???), but lots of cheese and eggs and bread and butter and pasta all eaten in uncontrollable binge fashion.

So, it's so amazing to be back on raw, and amazingly enough, the more liberal stance i'm taking now on raw fat and raw dairy is having tremendously beneficial consequences on my binge eating. I've not binged for 11 days!

I'm working on listening to my hunger/fullness and chosing what i want to eat regardless of how i think it will affect my weight. This is challenging, but i feel worthwhile. I have cravings for cooked food sometimes, like last night, i only wanted like 6 scrambled eggs in secret, but i cried and let Cliff hold me and stroke my hair and it passed. I was upset over feeling and looking heavy. Scrambled eggs would have soothed my pain but ruined my new re-committment to raw.

I have a few classes i'm starting in 2 weeks at Arnolds Way. One is called "12 Steps To Raw". How could i lead the group if i gave into scrambled eggs? It was a good motivation.

During my weeks of cooked vegetarian binge eating, I gained at least 20 lbs.

Instead of going on a diet afterwards to lose everything, like i normally do, i've decided it's time for a new approach. It's time to make peace with raw gourmet food, with raw gourmet fat, with raw dairy, and just enjoy it, savor it, really taste it, time to stop running away from what i really like.

Trusting myself along this course has been on and off. I get scared alot. But i also feel confident alot.

I know i'm on a special sacred path. I feel it in my bones. I feel this is the beginning of a very special time of healing.

Overall, this approach is really working splendidly, but day to day, it's sometimes hard to say, but overall, i FEEL the tremendous difference. I'm soooo much LESS obsessed with food!

For example, tonight at Christmas dinner, i brought a raw vanilla cream apple pie i made to our company's house, and enjoyed one slice supremely, and now, back home, I couldn't even IMAGINE wanting to binge or indulge in anything else. Why? I'm not hungry, so i'm not interested in food.

Tonight, I managed to ALLOW myself to ENJOY the pie it in the moment. So, now i don't need any more of it now! Pretty awesome journey i'm on, i must say.

My weight is sometimes a worry. I'm going through quite a bit of fear about my weight. And how this learning to trust myself with gourmet raw food, fat, and feeding my desires all will affect my weight.

As i said, i've gained a substantial amount of weight recently, when i binged for weeks on cooked.

Now that i'm doing gourmet, one might confuse the weight gain with THAT. But, i'm able, thank god, most of the time, to see the two events in my life as separate. I don't think i'm gaining from eating gourmet anymore. I think i've gained from BINGE EATING GOURMET alot. But i've never learned to eat gourmet raw in small enjoyable blissful quantities. I think this is really what my goal is now.

Sometimes i look in the mirror and I hate the heavier me. Sometimes i look in the mirror and i think i look great, regardless of being heavier.

Impulses to go on a diet overcome me often, but I think i'm going to take a new approach if i chose to lose weight: more exercise, enjoy food EVEN MORE with whatever raw gourmet decadence i chose, learn to eat slower, savor smaller portions....

I used to become obsessed with cutting out fat to lose weight. These kinds of rigid plans work short term for me brilliantly, but i can't maintain them and they ultimately exacerbate my binge eating, because when i go off, i'm obsessed with fat again.

My sensual nature, i'm discovering, demands food that is supremely delicious and luxuriant to the palate. My goal is to simply eat less...because i enjoy it more.

Cliff's been eating more cooked food, through no fault of mine. There is all raw food in the fridge, but he's had some meals out that were cooked. What's cool is he notices how much better he feels on raw. But since eating MUCH more raw overall, he is absolutely overjoyed with how his arthritis is decreasing. His ankles have stopped burning. And, his rosacia on his nose dissappeared! All of this, just from 11 days of eating mostly raw and taking E3Live.

Pretty powerful, huh?

Merry Christmas, all! I wish you all a blessed journey with raw food. Hang in there and if you pay attention, you will teach yourself what you need. It may take some time, but the proof, they say, shall be in the pudding. When it works, you'll know!

xoxox michelle joy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Raw Dairy and Fat, and Elimination of Binge Eating

Howdy,

So, did i mention since we, Cliff and I, turned our home kitchen all raw, that we've been indulging in raw dairy?

RAW MILK ESCAPADES
My nose is itchy and stuffed up quite a bit and i sneeze several times a day due to this indulgence, but, um, well, actually, it tastes so good and is keeping me from feeling deprived, that i'm going to hang in there with it. And Cliff has always been a big milk drinker, so i figured, heck, if he's going to drink it, it might as well be raw.

Whole Foods Markets in our area now carry organic Raw cow's Milk from a dairy called "The Raw Cow" in Scotland, Pa. Cliff is enjoying drinking this milk very much and says it doesn't taste any different than regular milk, so that's a plus for him. Knowing that the milk's enzymes and nutrition are in tact is a nutritional plus, for the both of us.

And yes, I'm enjoying the milk, too. I had a rare glass of raw milk with a lovely slice of raw blueberry pie the other day, and man, was THAT satisfying. I've never been a milk drinker, but enjoyed it very much. I do enjoy a nice splash in my Decaf Earl Grey Tea with raw honey several times a day. Is that ever delish, or what? A nice cozy cuppa tea, mmm.

RAW UNPASTERURIZED CHEESES AT WHOLE FOODS MARKET
Whole Foods Markets also carry unpasteurized raw milk cheeses. I was able to find 3 such cheeses in the gourmet cheese section - an unpasteurized Blue, an unpasteurized Machego from Spain made from raw sheep's milk, and a raw hard goat cheese. Man, oh, man-o-schewitz, am i having the time of my life.

I think european cheeses in general are not pasteurized, nor is milk in europe so the cheeses they import are just often unpasteurized as they've always been. I think Americans are just not used to, or familiar with it, or even know that unpasteurized cheeses exist at Whole Foods or in the cheese world in general.

Whole Foods also carries a raw sharp and mild chedder that is stored in the refrigerated section with other prepackaged cheeses.

[Here is a page from Whole Foods explaining that most of their cheeses are organic. So, that's good. Alot of people poo poo raw cheese, but then go and eat pizza when they go off of raw. Eating it seems to be helping me NOT go off.]
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/cheese.php

ENJOYING RAW CHEESES
In fact, I just had a delish romaine salad with a creamy cashew dressing on it, nutritional yeast, and chunks of raw blue cheese. Was that ever delish, or what???!! And it's still vegetarian. After that, i had a small slice of the cranberry pie i made yebsterday with a wonderful pecan crust and a sweet vanilla cashew cheeze layer. Tart, sweet, buttery. frickin' fabu.

After i ate, i took a deep sigh of contentment, and happily walked away from the kitchen. On to doing something else.

I used to complain about how gourmet at work made me binge. But now that i have gourmet at home, too, it really took the sting out of the food at work. I didn't binge there either. Hmmpf.

Something about the way cheese is satisfying me on a very deep level is...well, satisfying me on a very deep level. If i eat LESS food by eating richer, isn't that somehow BETTER? For me, VOLUME has always been my thing. THAT's what a binge is. Enormous volumes of food.

SMALL PORTIONS BIGGER ENJOYMENT
So, Cliff and i are eating small portions of highly tasty and satisfying raw gourmet and raw dairy foods are are feeling orgasmically satisfied. Smaller portions of tastier food is rocking my world. Who woulda thunk it? I'm just in heaven, eating.

And then i do my best to wait to eat until i get hungry again. Isn't that the way it's suppossed to be? Eating when you're hungry?

People in france eat cheese and butter liberally, and aren't fat.

A small platter of highly tasty and interesting raw food is so much more satisfying than 5 bowls of Dr. Fuhrman soup in a row.

REDUCED IMPULSE TO BINGE
What's cool, is there's really no need to "binge out" of what i'm doing when i'm eating in such a satisfying tasty way. The only draw back is with Fuhrman soup, you lose 18 lbs in one week.

But, if indeed binge eating is driven by dieting, it seems what i'm doing is favorable to dieting. Zero impulses so far to binge. WOW.

OUR LUNCH PLATES
So, say, for lunch, I make up two plates of 3 or 4 or 5 different things on the plate, keeping in mind all of the different flavors and how they will work together. For instance, we had a lunch plate yesterday that included a spinach salad with fresh tomato and red onion with a sweet tangy honey mustard dressing I made up at the top of the plate, a small mound of zucchini spaghetti with a creamy mild basil sauce I whipped up to the right of that, a few small peices of different raw cheeses next to that, and a very small peice of the cranberry pie at the bottom of the plate.

Whew, talk about flavors and textures exploding in your mouth. salty, sweet, tart, smooth, etc...
It does take a considerable amount of work to eat this way, but, it's worth it.

LESS HAIR LOSS
What also drew me into this direction was that I suspected that eating bread and cheese when i was bingeing was supplying something nutritionally i might have been missing. My hair stopped falling out in the tub when i was eating cooked.

Now, alot of people have told me that my hair falling out was detox and a good sign. But, after 3 years raw and it was still falling out and never did grow back in fuller as was promised, I got a little tired of waiting. I may be halting detox, but frankly, i don't care much for being bald, and since i'm not dying of cancer halting detox is not life and death to me.

The tub doesn't seem like a hair bath since i've been back to raw with dairy.

RAW UNPASTEURIZED CHEESES AT THE READING TERMINAL IN PHILA
Cliff and i also trekked out to the Reading Terminal in Downtown Philly the other day in the snow. That was a fun outing. We left the farmer's market with bags of fresh squeezed tangerine juice, fresh squeezed orange pineapple juice, and 3 more raw cheeses: one from new jersey, one from switzerland that was aged in a cave, and one from france that had ashes in it.

I can't tell you the enjoyment these cheeses are bringing me. We have little peices of 2 or 3 with a meal maybe once a day and marvel at the different tastes. The Gruyer from France tasted like fried chicken to me. You know how in wine they say you can taste chocolate or vanilla or cherries? Well, it's the same with cheese. The flavors are so complex. God, that fried chicken one was stunningly good. Some of the cheeses are creamy. One is kind of crackly and feels like there are crackly chunks in it. One from france is smelly. The blue, i think, gives me the worst congestion, but, haha, it's worth it.

SENSUAL FOCUS
I really feel like my idol, Nigella Lawson, these past few days. It seems Nigella exists purely to enjoy food. She doesn't seem to have an eating disorder like me. She's only mildly plump and completely a hedonistic sensual foodlover. I admire her so! Me, i either diet or binge wildly. Well, so it seems, not anymore! I can have my cheese, and eat it, too!

When i was binge eating on cooked this last month, i had no meat, but quite a bit of cheese. Cheese pizza. Cheese fries. Cheeze sticks. I said to myself that maybe i should just include this food in my diet in a raw way and just be happy.

(Of course i take my Betaine HcL after every heavy meal and that helps me digest it.)

CONCERNS ABOUT WEIGHT
I haven't weighed myself. It would be kind of neat to just go on like this for like a month, not weighing myself, and just see what happens.

Exercising has fallen on the priority list and that upsets me. We're operating with one car now in the snow, so going to the gym is not so easy, and it's cold out and i haven't been walking outside with all of the snow and ice. It's discouraging that my walking has slipped so as i had been doing so incredibly in the summer.

To add insult to injury, I spoke with my catering partner this morning (as we have a few jobs upcoming for the holidays) and was mentioning my current enjoyment of raw cheese and raw pies and how well it's so positively impacting my binge eating as I don't want to binge at all. She was very sympathetic and interested and understood and encouraged me, but said if she ate like that daily, she'd look like a blimp.

Well, that did burst my bubble a bit. Fat IS fat, and i've proven to myself hundreds of times that i lose rapidly when i cut out the fat. But if i binge afterwards on fat and can't stop, was it really worth it having been so strict in the first place?

Susan is not a binge eater, so i have to recognize that our paths may need to be different.

FAIRBURN'S "OVERCOMING BINGE EATING"
Dr. Fairburn's book, "Overcoming Binge Eating" explicitely states that losing binge eating and losing weight are two horses of a different color. He explicitely states that it is imperative to get binge eating under control before attempting to lose weight. So, I'm hoping this latest path will unlock me from binge eating completely. And then losing weight will be a matter of eating less and exercising more, and not binge eating anymore, and just coping with life, coping with my feelings.

You know all of the talk about how feelings were driving the binge eating? I'm wondering if they really are. There is a lot of talk in Fairburn's book about how dieting is the number one cause of binge eating.

But, i'm still wondering a few things. By eating fat liberally, am i numbing myself to how i really feel? Or am i just feeding myself in such a pleasurable manner that i really am happier, more sensually fulfilled? Nothing's changed much on the homefront, except for Cliff's terrific support in offering to go raw and clean out the kitchen. Nothing else has changed, yet i'm able to stay raw. Is it really the feelings driving the out of control eating? Or was it the constant dieting???

External control verses gaining skill in INTERNAL CONTROL. I think that's what i'm hoping to learn.

PROS AND CONS AND HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
All i know is, i feel content, i work through what's bothering me and, heck, i like cheese, i like cheese, i like cheese. Maybe it doesn't like me, sniff, sniff, ha-chu, but, gosh darn, i like it! My tounge is soooooo happy.

Enjoying food feels so liberating. What's 20 lbs really when you're as fat as i am anyway???? And evidence will show you on this blog...in black and white...that i've been UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN the same 20+ pounds as a raw foodist repeatedly. IS that really any good?????? Maybe if i stay UP for a while, when i finally DO get DOWN, it'll STICK.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

DEALING WITH AND ANALYZING BIINGE IMPULSES...
I just got off of the phone with some friends who'd like to go out with me and I'm worried they'll dissapprove of my weight gain. And it almost caused a binge.

Following talking with them, I ate a peice of raw pie that i wasn't hungry for.

Prior to that, i'd had my dinner, an unsatisfying nori wrap that i was barely hungry for. It really didn't taste all that great. That was my first really dissappointing meal of these entire 8 raw days. I realize now, only, that if the wrap didn't appeal to me, i didn't have to continue eating it.

After the pie, the impulse to binge was really strong. I imagined eating the rest of the entire pie. But i 'saw' it, 'watched' the pictures in my head, and thankfully, didn't give in. That was new.

Now, i'm just left feeling rotten.

After speaking with my friend, i'm suddenly scared i've gained weight. Well, i know i have, but I'm scared to be okay with me and what i'm doing and scared to show it to the world. Overall, i'm scared i'm heading down the wrong track actually allowing myself to enjoy food. Losing weight and looking good really makes me feel better about myself, but if i can't be okay with me a little heavier, than what good is any of it? Like Arnold always says, you have to love yourself every minute of every day. Fat or thin.

I remember when i was in an eating disorder unit once i was so pleasantly titilated that they were serving me cheese sandwhiches and milk and some kind of snacky illegal thing for a dessert...in an eating disorder unit. I couldn't believe i could actually EAT that, i mean, that that was my prescribed diet....and that i could eat it and not binge afterwards. Well, i WAS in a hospital and didn't have access to food, but i had a hard time believing that i was "allowed" to eat those foods and it was actually OK, i mean, fattening food for a fat person? I felt the same sense of liberation eating those cheese sandwhiches that i felt earlier today.

Have i told you about my thin brother and that my mother used to hide "his" food all over the house? I used to go all over the house searching for it and would binge on it. My mother bought me diet food. I wasn't 'allowed' Ricky's food.

When i was weighed at the hospital after lunches of cheese sandwhiches and hamburger dinners and it was discovered that i had GAINED weight, I felt duped. "You see? You see? I CAN'T eat what i like and have that be okay."

That's how i kind of feel right now. In a bit of a panic over what i'm doing. Eating pie and thinking that could actually be OK.

After the anxiety producing talk with my friend who wants to "see" me (spend time with me) (my interpretation is literal, SEE me, see how much weight i've gained and judge me for it), i wanted to binge and diet and avoid seeing her until i lose weight.

Instead, i tried to talk myself into accepting myself as i am, and that i'm good enough exactly how i am. The impulse to run upstairs and weigh myself was strong, but i didn't.

Something tells me i'm on the right path.

I think i'm going to break out Christopher Fairburn's book, "Overcoming Binge Eating" and work on it for real, like i once did. And i was an entire year binge free following the recommendations of that book. Coincidentally, i followed his book as a cheese eating vegetarian. I didn't lose weight, but didn't binge once in an entire year.

Something tells me giving up dieting and my constant and intense focus on weight loss and appearance will liberate me. Maybe i WILL be able to stop binge eating and then actually continue on a path of further weight loss. I already avoided a binge tonight. If i can do that every night, imagine the calories i'll save just doing THAT.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

FEARS OF WEIGHT GAIN EXCELERATE BINGE IMPULSE
Really had a seriously big binge impulse last night. Really was scared i had gained a lot of weight and that i was seriously on the wrong track. Wow, was that a strong sense of urgency to eat. I was 'there' with myself the whole time and kept asking myself how eating was going to help me if i was scared i GAINED weight??? Well, it FEELS like it would help.

_ _ _ __ _ _ _ _

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Cliff has lost 5 lbs since turning over the kitchen to raw. He's sometimes dissappointed with meals. He's more of a meat and potatoes guy. The zucchini spaghetti does not rock his world as it does mine. Having had real spaghetti only too recently on my weeks of cooked binges, i understand. Cooked pasta is freakin' awesome.

I looked at my face in the mirror this morning, and it didn't look too too awful. I determined i would weigh myself so i could really see how i was doing. Fairburn advises weighing WEEKLY, not daily.

I decided that if i was in the 280's, i was heading down the wrong path. I weighed in at 272. 272 is not 258 like i was on Hallooween, but it's not 285 either. And at one point in my raw journey before i sought out 80-10-10, i had even gotten up to 299.5!!! Remember my alltime high is 425, so really i am doing terrifically. I'm just seeking out a way to continue losing, a way to stop binge eating and a way to just get on in this world.

More enjoyable foods seems to nourish me on a deep level.

I am going to continue to follow this path. I am going to continue to focus on hunger/fullness and have that be my guide. I am going to continue to discount fat and sweets and just eat what i like, what i want, as long as it's raw.

Having the raw kitchen has certainly been a huge assett. We have a carton of eggs down here, though, and the impulse to fry up 6 or 8 was very strong last night. I'm so happy i didn't and that i saw the "panic" attack through.

Being internally driven and in touch must be scary to me. This is something i must explore. What is it about me that feels like if i listen to myself, i must be wrong? Self trust is seriously lacking, but that's what i'm working on afterall, isn't it?

I am certain that in the months to come i will gain more and more skill over feeding myself and with exercise, may begin to lose naturally. I am going to stay the course.

xoxo michelle joy

8 Days

Hiya,

Today is our 8th day of our raw kitchen, yay!

Being raw for me now is completely and utterly effortless. It's quite a miracle. It's actually to the point where it's not even a question anymore, it just IS.

We received our computer back, but i notice now that there is still a problem, so we'll have to send it back to be refixed...uy, uy, uy.

We're on our 3rd raw pie this past week, wow...that's a lotta pie. I made cranberry yesterday. I'll share with you how i make my raw pies in an upcoming post. I'm in a bit of a rush right now.

I'm plump, but getting used to it. I watched Oprah yesterday and she's gained and remains gained. She's living with it. If she can, i can!!

I'm starting to really understand the addiction is not only to binge eating, but to dieting.

Now that i'm eating raw gourmet, whatever i want, sometimes even when i'm not hungry, but not binge eating, i'm appreciating more and more how much better i'm doing. Even though i'm heavier and eating fatty foods, i'm doing better. Isn't that bizarre? Seems like a contradiction. I'll have to work that out so it makes sense to you at another time.

By the way, as long as i take the Betaine hCL, my singing voice is doing great. I think i got a little obsessive about the no fat thing and how it affected my voice. I've been eating a good amount of raw fat for a week now and have been singing splendidly, due to my new vocal technique.

We're heading out for a busy day, so i have to run.

Clean out your kitchen if you're having trouble. Even if i'm not losing, i have a feeling i'm holding steady. But the binge eating is gone....for today.

Blessings,
xoxo michelle joy

Monday, December 21, 2009

Still Hangin' In There!

Hiya Folks,

My computer is still not back so i'm at the library, picking up some music. I sing in an Italian concert in February, where i will do excerpts of Tosca and some duets from "Most Happy Fella." Also, in April i am singing a new opera called, "Belisario" by Donizetti. It's very challenging, so wish me luck. P.S. Last night I sang a Christmas concert and man, my new lessons have revolutionized my voice. I am singing so well that i actually feel like i actually COULD become a professional singer now. I never had the confidence, because i could never count on my voice. Those few lessons i took with Dolores, my new teacher, gave me the skill to handle my voice so much better, it's amazing. I can sing high to low, no stress, no strain. I'm filled with so much pure joy today after having had such a fantastic singing experience last night. I said to Cliff, "It's like I'm a bird, and i need to sing well!" It nourishes my soul.

The kitchen is still raw. My Cliffy is struggling a bit, but is doing fantastically in his new raw lifestyle. He is in some considerable detox and not feeling well, so made himself some eggs and bread last night while i was away singing. Other than that, he's been all raw at home, yay!

Having the kitchen all raw is helping me like HUGELY. Many a time now i've been tempted to want to eat something cooked, but because the kitchen is raw, I choose raw. Do it for your own kitchen if you're having issues. I highly recommend it.

I guess it's been about a week now that i've been back to all raw. It just feels like home. I've been making raw pies for a treat. I'm not thinking or worrying about weight loss right now. Just about satisfying myself and getting through this transition period, and supporting Cliff.

I can't say I'm happy when i look in the mirror. I don't think i look as well 20 lbs heavier, but it's not so awful, and people still compliment me on how well i'm looking who don't see me often. If you would have seen me on Halloween in the 250's. Just writing that sinks my heart. I do feel alittle hopeless again about losing weight. But, i actually think losing binge eating is better now that losing weight, so i'm going to stay on this course. Eating "what i want" as long as it's raw is liberating and feels sensual and good.

The only problem occurs when i eat when i'm not hungry. Which i still do quite often. I think THAT is where i need to cure myself.

When i eat when i AM hungry, god, raw food tastes so good that i forget about cooked food alltogether. In fact, i HAVE forgotten about cooked food alltogether. That is a blessing as it got out of control. It's MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to get out of control with cooked food than with raw. With raw you feel much more of a sense of satiety, and you lose interest much quicker. That is a blessing for me, a person with such a food addiction problem.

So....contrary to what they say about needing to eat ALL FOODS in moderation to stop binge eating, i have cut out ALL COOKED foods and have stopped binge eating.

It will be a blessing for others suffering when i have this all figured out and can come up with a program of recovery not only for stopping binge eating, but for losing weight on raw without feeling deprived.

Many men i've known have lost 100 lbs in their first year of raw eating gourmet. I lost 140 lbs in my first year of raw eating gourmet only a few times a week. Now that i am 3 years in and have still 100 more pounds to lose, it's been, well, more than a challenge.

When i was exercising and walking daily, long long walks, that was a HUGE KEY.

When i can learn to only eat when i'm hungry, that will be a huge key.

I think i'll focus there, eat satisfying raw foods, no matter how fatty, and if i want to lose, exercise and eat when i'm hungry and less. That seems like a better route for my sensual nature and for my tendency to binge. Like my friend, Tim Arnold says, "NO DEPRIVATION." Deprived feelings on 80-10-10 do indeed lead to binge eating at least for me.

Just kind of dealing with this weight gain sucks. Just being in it. Instead of running into the diet/break out of dieting binge eating mode. That way i did feel a sense of control. But in a outer way.

Maybe i can learn that inner control. So i can eat what i want, raw, be satisfied and never need to feel i have to break free from anything.

xoxoxo michelle joy

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Power of One

Hiya Folks,

Just a quickie today. I'm at the library as my computer at home is still out of commission and my back is still quite tender. Better for me to be typing less.

The Power of One is today's message. What a powerful thing.

Well, what does it mean?

Just to backtrack a little... I had the most wonderful conversation with my good friend, Jan Bongiovio, the other day. Jan and I met at Optimum Health Institute in San Diego. She stayed for 3 weeks, I stayed for 8 months, and we met the first day we both arrived on the same week. Before i even saw Jan, i heard her. Jan has severe asthma and breathing/lung problems. At the end of her 3 weeks, she was walking around a lake and up stairs without wheezing, and stopped snoring. Raw is very powerful. I saw the miraculous change in her and often remind her of it.

I ADORE Jan and am so grateful for her wonderful friendship. Jan lives outside of Los Angeles and we talk on the phone STILL after 3 years weekly. Jan is so smart, so sharp, so perceptive, so caring. She's such a great lady. I know one day "Jan, the gypsy" will be folk dancing again and bouncing off of the ceiling with her newfound energy. Jan is applying to do the missionary program like I did at Optimum Health Institute. That's what enabled me to stay there so long and i know a long stay there will transform her life in amazing ways.

Jan is the one who brought up the phrase "the power of one." Apparently, there is a book that talks about how ONE PERSON can help change your life in such dramatic ways.

When i imparted to her how INCREDIBLE Cliff and I are doing supporting each other in our latest raw venture (we're on our 4th day...he's feeling fantastic....his arthritis seems relieved...he lost 4 lbs....no cravings....feeling light and happy!!!! I'm doing fabulous...eating gourmet and adoring it, feel sensually gratified and in no way deprived, am exercising and forgetting about losing weight for today), she mentioned how incredible it was of him to do this, to go raw to help support me. It's been transformative. I was...heading down a road to destruction. [2 sticks of butter a day and unable to stop binge eating. Now 4 days binge free, eating gourmet raw and feeling a huge load of pure raw joy.] The power of ONE is truly awesome. I would NOT be back here at pure raw joy were it not for my Cliff.

My friend and coworker, Megan, coming over to my house weekly to help me organize is another powerful example of this "one" notion. Cliff and I now have a walk in closet-room. We have a lovely living room and dining room and a basement that is not an embarrassment. We also have 2 clean garages (that were formally a huge source of shame). It just so happens Megan didn't help with those and Cliff took those on himself. But her motivation, her inspiration has gotten the ball rolling for these two pack-rats. The power of one at work again. We needed an outside source of intervention and we have Megan to thank for it.

Amazingly, Jan looks up to me as a power of one, a source of motivation for her, which fills me with a huge sense of pride and honor. Jan struggles with her weight and eating and is so amazed i lasted 3 years raw and have kept all of my weight off that i lost at OHI, and you know what? I'm pretty amazed, too. I'm so glad even with all of my detours and troubles and relapses i can serve as an inspiration to her and to others.

Attaining "the power of one" in our lives means we need to recognize our weaknesses and ask for help. Jan is doing that by applying to be a missionary. I did it by asking Megan for help and by reaching out for help to go raw again. And you know what? People WANT to help you, and are more willing to offer it than you realize... If you put out that energy that you NEED help, you'll get help.

So many of my of my raw friends i am grateful to for their constant encouragement and care. Meredith of www.therawseed.com has been invaluable to my journey, as have Tim and Leslie Arnold, not to mention Arnold Kauffman of Arnold's Way, and so many others.

YOU can be the "Power of one" to someone else in need, too. It's a wonderful feeling!

xoxoxo michelle joy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GOOD NEWS!

Greetings, my dear ladies!

I hope you are all well! I've missed you.

I am writing from the library as my computer has been out of commission for over a week now, and i had hurt my back and did not work this week, so the rest from the computer was good.

As you probably suspect, the last weeks have been hard. As you know, after much 'trying' to eat cooked, 'trying' to rationalize how much healthier some cooked foods are (true) than raw foods, I had been full force binging on cooked vegetarian food...until 2 days ago.

SOMETHING about cooking food is not good for me, even though 'technically' steamed veggies and potatoes probably ARE healthier than a lb of nuts. Nevertheless, trying to eat my Fuhrman soups kept me in the loop of cooked and I couldn't break free of my compulsive eating, and no, i don't think it was all emotionally based.

During my binges, I never ate meat, though meat was my number one binge food before turning raw. I had to ask myself, "What's keeping me from eating meat?" And i had to answer. "NOT eating it." There IS something chemically addictive about cooked food. I really believe that. I never started eating meat, because i never started eating meat.

Over the last 2 days, I don't think anything changed much emotionally for me. Emotionally, i think i'm still the same. I still have the same issues. But something seriously diffused. I feel different. I feel hopeful. I feel actually BETTER about raw than i have in some time. Raw is what helped me stop binge eating on cooked food. And it actually works. Maybe it works because i 'believe' it works, but whatever the reason, it works. Trying to eat a slice of bread only kept the addiction alive. I couldn't make moderately eating cooked food work for me.

I think DIETING on raw (80-10-10) made the binge eating worse. I always gained everything back and still never made peace with food. I looked at gourmet raw as something evil. And in doing that, binged on it even more.

[Now I have raw chocolate and raw pate in the fridge and raw bread in the cubbard. And I don't feel compulsive at all. I feel satisfied.]

So, just to kinda backtrack...I didn't know what i was going to do with myself I was so out of control. Bread and butter and pizza and fried mozzerella and literally anything vegetarian. Totally full out binges. I'm sure i ingested thousands of calories in one sitting. Binge eating in itself can be an addictive behavior. Not only the food. One just gets caught up in the thrill of it.

I knew i couldn't go on like this. I called the raw retreat in San Diego. I called a friend of mine in Pottstown with a raw retreat. I was going to charge a trip to one of these centers on my credit card. I felt incredbly and utterly hopeless. Though i still wanted to eat cooked, i knew a trip to a retreat would get me back on track...and the peace of "the old raw days" would return.

Even with the raw binges, those days were WAY better than my cooked binges. Cooked food is everywhere. At least to do a raw binge i have to drive 45 mins to Oasis or 30 mins to Whole Foods. A cooked binge is as close as a 1-block walk to the corner grease-pit restaurant.

ENTER CLIFF, my main man and main support!
Cliff said to me, "I don't know how to help you." He felt hopeless as well. We talked about breaking up. "I can't see you gain all of your weight back." He couldn't sleep. He didn't know what to do with me.

I returned from a trip to the market with loads of bread, of pasta, of all of "his" food that i had been bingeing on now for days, and literally did NOT know how i was going to stop.

He said, "Honey, maybe cooking for me now is going to be impossible. It's keeping this thing alive. How about I go raw too, and we clean out the entire kitchen, make it a raw kitchen and lock everything else away. I have bicycle chains i can use to lock up everything cooked in a the basement cabinets. And whatever needs to be refrigerated, I can lock upstairs in the upstairs fridge with my other lock."

"But i just bought all of these groceries," I replied.

"So what?" He answered. "Getting this stuff out is cheaper than going to a retreat. We'll have raw retreat HERE. I want to lose 30 lbs and get rid of my arthritis. And if it helps you, i'll do it."

I smiled and we both cried. "OKAY!," I exclaimed.

So, we've been raw together for 2 days now. No, i haven't tried to break open the chains. I haven't even been interested to go see if the fridge and cubbard are really chained afterall. The compulsion just vanished.

Having Cliff's support has been literally life changing. I was heading down the path of complete and utter destruction, and now, i'm binge free and eating when i'm hungry, eating raw. The desires to binge completely disappeared. It lifted and i'm just grateful. Why it lifted is not really as important as the fact that it lifted. No more food out, not more bread and butter.

Yes, having the stuff out of the kitchen HAS been tremendously helpful. WHEN i was raw it NEVER bothered me. But since i began to eat it, i literally couldn't stop eating it.

Maybe the gourmet raw is satisfying my sensual needs? Maybe Cliff's support has been crucial? Maybe raw really IS less stimulating than cooked food.

The emotional issues will have to be worked through or i'll fall back, i'm sure, but for today, i KNOW i'm on the right path.

Practically speaking, now I make us raw gourmet meals, in small portions, so they will appeal to Cliff, and to me. They keep him interested. And they keep me from feeling like i'm on a diet or like i'm deprived. I eat pie and chocolate and pate and raw bread in small portions. And when i lose my hunger, i stop.

Eating when you're hungry really DOES taste so much better. And it's incredibly empowering.

We're eating raw dairy and i was hungry yesterday and took bites from a peice of raw cheese. God, it was so good. But, with each bite, it tasted less and less good. I'd had enough and was able to put it down. The pleasure of eating it when i was hungry outweighed eating it in volume. It felt very Geneen Rothy of me. But, i think it's really the way to go.

Maybe someday i can eat lower fat and lower salt, but the dieting kept the compulsion alive.

Being totally UNCOMPULSIVE with the gourmet is a new place to be. I eat when i'm hungry. I use salt. I use oil. I don't feel deprived. I don't feel scared. I'm not weighing myself daily. I'm learning to accept myself. And something about feeding this to Cliff as well has "legalized" it for me, suddenly. It's now "good food." Not anything bad or scary.

Now Cliff and I are like the other raw couples we've admired. It's truly exciting!

Cliff said to me, "Do you know anyone whose gone raw who has regretted it?" I had to admit, "no!"

I think one of the keys to the cessation of the binge eating (besides the incredible support from cliff) is that I decided to COMPLETELY ABANDON the idea of quick weight loss. You know me, the queen of losing 18 lbs in a week. Yes, it would be nice, but it seemed to exacerbate the binge eating....AFTER going OFF of the diet.

I've gained weight, I'm in the high 270's. That's not easy, knowing i was 258 on Halloween after 80-10-10ing, but i recognized this weight is not such a terrible place to be. I keep telling myself that gaining weight is NOT a crime. I'd been HERE in the 270's raw for over a year last year.

It's not ideal, but it's where i need to be for today. I'm focusing on listening to me, eating consciously, and on exercise. And that's it.

This feels like PURE RAW JOY. Finally. And the look i see in Cliff's eyes is worth MORE to me than any fried cheese stick. This FEELS good.

xoxox michelle joy

Monday, December 7, 2009

IMAGES FROM RAWSOME FOOD, MUSIC & YOGA FESTIVAL AT ARNOLDS WAY, LANSDALE, PA - SUN DEC 6, 2009

Hello, Hello, Ya'll!

Yesterday's festival at Arnolds Way was a super duper big success!!! Images below, but first alittle about how things have been going for me.

I felt particularly good about the festival because for the entire week I did so great with my food, all raw and low fat, no salt. Zero binges.

When preparing the massive amounts of raw food for the event (to feed over 100 people!), I barely tasted a thing...just the tiniest pinprick to see if seasonings were on target...and, well, everyone raved. It just goes to show that you CAN make fantastic food, and not kill yourself overindulging in tasting...which inevitably leads to binge eating for me. A big success on that account.

Also, I felt good about my weight. Wasn't bad. Mid 260's. Not fabu, but not awful. I felt proud, not filled with regret or any whatsoever bad feelings about myself. THAT was a treat.

Getting the kitchen organized for the day's special menu worked out really well, and i was SO blessed to have phenomenol helpers to dish out the special menu. Everyone flipped particularly over the Thai Broccoli Salad and the Marinated Kale Salad. The Rosemary Chick-un was also a big hit, as were the Kelp Noodles with Coconut Curry and the Southwestern Chili.

The best part of the day was when I sang and got a standing ovation!

I was SOO nervous before singing and so stressed having to run the kitchen until it was time to sing. I felt like i honestly didn't know how well i would sing and feared i'd be awful, so stressed i was. But, well, the tension seemed to evaporate as soon as i began to sing...and i felt pretty darned good. I had woken up early and had a good vocalizing session, so the ground work had taken place.

And I received several comments from friends that my voice is sounding better than ever. That was gratifying. And i know it is due to my low fat, low salt raw diet the past week, a diet whose properties of easy digestion work towards anti-reflux laryngitis and anti-bloat, all great for the voice. Also playing a huge role in my improvement are the lessons i've been taking with my new teacher. Yay! It feels so amazing to just emote! What Dolores has been teaching me is really helping me to sing with greater ease, more relaxation and more freedom. Yay! Several people said, "She's like a Susan Boyle!" when i explained that i'm in my early 40's and possibly too old to start a professional opera career (maybe, maybe not). It's not a bad idea to go on one of those talent shows. Who knows!!!

During my program, I sang "Ave Maria" (the Schubert version) (the same one i sang at the Raw Union Wedding), "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi, Carmen's "Habanera", a prayer from Verdi's La Forza del Destino called "La Vergine degli Angeli", "Born Free", which i had also sung at the Raw Union for Angela and Matt Monarch, and I closed with "Climb Ev'ry Mountain". It is such a joy to share the GIFT that God has given me with others. They are so appreciative and I am so appreciative for their support. It's a mutual exchange of good feeling energy. I LOVE to sing and sharing it feels like....water for the thirsty.

The low fat raw seems to be the portal hole to my good vocal health, and not only my weight.

Sometimes it feels like a burden to need to have a certain diet to access God's gift (my singing), but when it comes out well, like yesterday, i feel blessed to have the gift, and if all i need to do is control my diet to control my vocal health, i'm willing and motivated to do it. Nothing feels as good as singing well. Nothing. It is my expression. And if i can express with beauty, i feel divinely blessed.

After my singing, Susan Aman and I (we have a catering company called "Mostly Raw Catering") did a food demo. Yum! Thai Veggie Rainbow Wraps and Chocolate Bliss Balls. A picture of the balls are below. I'll see if i can find one of the rainbow wraps. They are so beautiful and so yummy. Susan did a great job with her exciting version of Thai sauce, wow, yummo!


Well, enjoy some scenes from the festival! We had speakers, entertainment, a magician, singer/songwriter, Felicia Rose, testimonials, food demos, yoga demos, tons of vendors... It was a great day!

Here's me in the hallway in front of Arnolds Way! If you've never been to Arnolds Way, do come by! Arnolds Way Raw Vegetarian Cafe and Education Center, 319 W. Main Street, Lansdale, PA. http://www.arnoldsway.com/



Here's the man of the hour, my beloved boss with the biggest heart in the world and a love for mankind, health and healing that lights up Lansdale, our Arnold Kauffman of Arnolds Way! Arnold, we LOVE you! Arnold's mission is to "create an energetic vibration" that creates a total and complete transformation of society...dietetically, spiritually, socially! With hugs...love...and bananas, Arnolds goal is to change the world...and we who love him are happy to assist him in doing it...one banana whip at a time!





A hug shared between the cook...and the boss! Mmmmwah! Love you, Arnold! That was a FREE HUG...since he was offering them!!! Check out Arnolds Way and Arnold Kauffman on Twitter, Myspace, Facebook. He's everywhere!!!




My main gal, "Megoni", "Megabytes" Megan McDonnell, chief organizer of the event, wow, what a great job, and organizational wonder of MY house, yay, LOVE YOU MEGAN!!! Isn't she totally adorable? She just got off of a 5 day water fast and is looking particularly radiant. Check out her facebook page.


Lisa Montgomery gave a fantastic demo of raw chocolate pudding that was to die for, so i'm told (i didn't taste anything!!!). Lisa recently wrote her book, "Raw Inspiration," in which i am featured. My story and 5 of my recipes are in the book. Lisa said, "i just made your toona salad the other night, and, yum!!!" I have to say, it is becoming world famous!! You can purchase her book through me. LaSoprana@aol.com. Or check out Lisa's website to attend her famous potluck! http://www.livingdynamically.com/

Lisa'sbeen a raw foodist for YEARS. She drinks wheatgrass daily and really has it all as far as i'm concerned. She eats gourmet daily, but looks and feels fantastic. She's found what works for her. I think we ALL need to find our way and Lisa has definitely found hers!

Oh, how sweet, look at the LOVE!!! These are my dear friends, Tim and Leslie Arnold, raw foodists and customers from Arnolds Way, who are so brimming over with health and abundance, they are practically GLOWING! Tim and Leslie run daily, a new venture for the both of them. Tim lost 100 lbs eating raw and Leslie, 30 lbs. They eat gourmet, but burn it off so quickly, it completely works for them. Tim is particularly fond of salt and even eats himalayan rock salt as an energy boosting snack. It boggles my mind. I'd be blown up like a sausage if i did that, but it works for HIM! Everybody's bodily needs are SO different!!!



Check out Tim's before picture on his spiritual website, http://www.akatha.org/. Tim is a spiritual leader of a teaching called AKATHA. Tim and Leslie do a special meditation they refer to as "contemplation" every morning. They are totally in the zone, thriving, manifesting and all around HAPPY, good feeling, fun loving people. I adore them!






Meet my new friend, Brenda. Brenda came from Los Angeles to Philadelphia just this week to visit her parents and stayed especially for the festival. Brenda just friended me on Facebook!








Meet my coworker, Stephanie Schenible and her hubby, Scotty. Stephanie is a beam of light and a joy to be around. She's always smiling, always cheery, always laughing. She is so filled with love and good cheer. Stephanie is a long term vegan and a relatively new raw foodist. She just came off of a 3.5 month "fast" on 80-10-10 with no overt fats whatsoever. Prior to that, she was eating gourmet, but suffered toe fungus. Since 80-10-10ing, her toe fungus has improved. Scotty, her beloved hubby, is along for the raw ride and thriving in his new diet. The couple live in Arnolds home in Lansdale, with their cats. Steph is also a professional massage therapist.


One of the only decent food pictures i took. The rest look like vomit on a plate, not kidding, although i am told the food i made was fabu. All of the shots i took were after the food was 1/2 eaten up in huge buckets. Anyway, these are my world famous "Bangin' Bliss Balls." They're very yummy. They are 2 for $3 or 6 for $8. I'm shipping these out now, so if you'd like to buy some, please email me: LaSoprana@aol.com



This is my darling new coworker, Dorinda Rumbold. Dorinda is part Blackfoot Indian and such a beauty...on the outer...and the inner! Dorinda runs a company called Washtyme. She makes soaps from recycled vegetable oils, which we sell at Arnolds Way, or you can purchase from her website: http://www.washtyme.com/ Arnolds Way now only exclusively uses her soap in our washroom, it is THAT special!!!!

You know Brad of Brad's Raw Chips from previous postings. Brad and I did some work together on some new flavors for his chips. We had a really great time. Brads chips are the bomb! Light and crispy and full of goodness. Arnolds Way carries them or you can purchase them from his website: http://www.bradschips.com/!



Here's Megabytes again in the kitchen at Arnolds Way. Her little antlers make me want to sing, "Megan, the raw food reindeer!!" This cute little reindeer eats lettuce!! Notice all of the bananas at Arnolds....and our new clock...and our new chalkboard menu that Megan created! She's a mover and shaker, i tell ya!!!






Hope you enjoyed these images. Enjoy your day! Much love, Michelle Joy xoxoxoxo

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Arnolds Way Festival Today!

RAWSOME FOOD, MUSIC & YOGA FESTIVAL
319 W. MAIN STREET
LANSDALE, PA
215-361-0116

SUN DEC 6, 2009
12NOON - 10PM

SPEAKERS
RAW FOOD DEMOS: Chef Michelle does a food demo at 2:30pm!
ENTERTAINMENT : Chef Michelle sings OPERA at 2pm!
MASSAGES AVAILABLE FROM SanKtuary Spa
FILM FESTIVAL
SPECIAL LUNCH AND DINNER MENU BY CHEF MICHELLE:
- Thai Broccoli Salad
- Coconut Curry Veggies with Kelp Noodles
- Southwestern Chili
- Mediterranean Hummus
- Rosemary Chick-un Salad
- Herby Mushrooms
- Marinated Kale

25$ at the door

BE THERE...or be square!

xoxox michelle joy

Friday, December 4, 2009

Benefits of Low Fat No Salt High Fruit Raw...and the Detriments....

Hiya,

Just got back from the 3rd great day at work. That's so awesome. Peppered all over this blog are descriptions of days out of control eating at work. Getting ready for the Festival (on Sunday at Arnolds Way in Lansdale, PA) is a lot of work, but so stimulating, i don't even THINK about food until i'm hungry. I'm not alone in the kitchen since i have helpers there, and let me tell you, this is KEY for me. NOT ALONE IN THE KITCHEN.

So, i had another raw day. It's become so simple, i can't believe days ago i was binge eating rye bread and sticks of butter. It seems like ages ago.

I had green smoothie this morning.

Then for lunch, a green salad with a dehydrated veggie burger mixture on top (Arnolds veggie burger "steaks" contain only veggies and apples and minimal cashews, no salt, no oil). I chop up the burger in the cuisinart with other moist veggies and use THIS as my dressing ontop of greens. It's actually quite yummy. I also sprinkle nutritional yeast on top, raw cider vinegar, a squirt of agave, a squirt of lemon and moosh up. Quite enjoyable, especially if there is enough spice in the salad. I added fresh garlic and onion to the cuisinart mix.

Hungry later, i had a banana whip. Hungry again later, i made another of those salads i just described. Hungry again later, i had some smoothie and later a banana whip. When i got home i was hungry again and had an apple and a cup of tea with lots of raw honey, yum.

Seems like ALOT. Calorically, i wonder what that is. 1 banana is 100 calories, so 10 bananas and that's 1000 calories. I had at least 1o bananas today.

Speaking with my coworker today, i was expressing my dissappointment in not losing weight faster for all of the effort i'm putting in. It's so childish, i know, but when i really thought about it, i realized how those cooked veggie with bean soups in the Dr. Fuhrman program were so ultra low calorie and i think i DID lose weight quicker doing Fuhrman. Cooked veggies are like calorie free practically and beans are quite low. I filled myself up on a tasty warm huge bowl and lost like a crazy 18 lbs or something. On all of the fruit and greens, it's slow going.

It's SO GOOD that i got over the cooked chinese food and pizza. Wo, wait a second, it's BEYOND GOOD, it's PHENOMENOL. How could i have been sure that that would have ended? My LIFE is filled with falling into binges that never end. This time i was lucky. Or more skilled???? If i am more skilled, can you IMAGINE how bad i was before????

But, i can't help thinking the Fuhrman thing, intellectually, makes more sense.

I know, i know. Cooked thoughts again.

And then i ask myself, COULD i just restrict cooked eating to beans and veggies, salt and fat free, in the hopes of losing weight quicker?????

Okay, one question. WHY do i want to lose it so quickly???? What the hell is the rush? It just seems like so much effort for not much weight loss. On Fuhrman, in a week, i lost everything i gained from binge eating. On my version of 80-10-10, it's slower.

Well, this is just a little clue into what it's like to live in MY head!!! Aren't you lucky you DON'T???!!!!!

I ran into an old buddy at Arnolds Way who is a pretty strict raw foodist, or so i thought. I came to find out, she also eats beans and cooked veggies and eats out sometimes in cooked vegetarian restaurants. It got me thinkin'. I'm so suggestable.

You know what? Maybe i just shouldn't WEIGH myself....then i wouldn't be so concerned over the speed of losing!!!! Not having cooked has put me back into an incredible focus. It feels good.

The no salt, low fat eating completely ELIMINATES binge eating at work, too. THAT is priceless. And I feel so energetic.

Good to talk that out.

Anyway, big day tomorrow. A friend is coming over for a singing lesson and raw lunch and then we're heading to an art gallery. He is an artist and might want to show his art in this gallery.

So, all you out there, have a great day tomorrow. And come over to Arnolds on Sunday. RAWSOME FOOD, MUSIC & YOGA FESTIVAL - Sunday, Dec 6th from Noon - 10pm. 25$ at the door!

xoxo michelle joy

SanKtuary Spa & Arnold's Way present...THE RAWSOME FOOD, MUSIC & YOGA FESTIVAL, Sun, Dec 6, 2009 12noon-10pm!

Mornin' ladies,

Uy, uy, uy, 4th day raw, very nice and good, but i feel kinda miserable this morning and a bit discouraged. Ya know i like fast weight loss, it's kind of a sickness i suppose, but if i work hard, i expect to be rewarded....immediately!!

I took a 20 min walk again yesterday morning, as i will do this morning. [This is going to be my new 'minimum' daily activity. There's no reason i can't get out for 20 minutes and walk to Starbucks down on Main Street and back.] It feels good and gets the blood pumping and is 'supposed' to help you lose weight.

As is low fat no salt raw. I think i lost 3/4 of a lb today.

I see how ridiculous i am when i write this to be upset over that. People on Weight Watchers lose 3/4 of a lb in a WEEK.

I'm telling myself now "Down fast, up fast" and that IS exactly how it goes with me, but it would just be nice by Sunday's festival to be looking really good.

I should look on the bright side, i had a fabulous day at work yesterday. No binge eating, no snacking. When i eat lowfat, no salt raw i'm on track. Plus, i've been busy, busy making all of the food for the Festival, so i'm stimulated, and didn't need to be stimulated by eating. That's so important for me.

Hey, forget about me, come out to the Arnolds Way Festival on Sunday! www.arnoldsway.com I made a special menu and i'm singing and doing a food prep.

Time for a walk with Cliffy. It's cold out today, brrrr!

Hang in there!!

xoxox michelle joy

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day THREE raw

Mornin, Ya'll,

FOLLOW UP: [Post b.m. i weigh 268.5...thank god, back in the 60's....gonna try to juice more today. there IS something to VEGGIES....much lower CALORIES than fruit....]

Just wrote an email to a wonderful friend of mine, Monique Powell, former lead singer of "Save Ferris." We met at O.H.I., the raw retreat i went to. She's so fabulous. You should watch her sing on Youtube. She performed on CONAN O'BRIEN and JAY LENO with her band!!!!

Anyway, I figured instead of writing everything again, she asked how i was, i'd copy and paste the portions that answered that, for you :-))) It updates you on how i've been doing.

This morning i woke up really miserable. I've been low fat no salt raw for two days and feeling dizzy. I think it's all of the bananas and fruit sugar. Plus, i didn't lose anything this morning. I mean, for all of this effort, fuck. i'm discouraged.

I had been trying Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live program where you eat beans and cooked veggies in soups and lose tons of weight and i lost 18 lbs in like days. It IS more low calorie than 80-10-10 which is what everyone does at arnolds way, mostly fruit and greens.

I'm discouraged.

Although, when i started eating cooked food back in sept, from that point on, it had DEFINITELY SNOWBALLED out of control to where just 3 days ago i had on a binge: 1 slice of cheese pizza, 2 veggie spring rolls, 1 small brown rice, 1 singapore rice noodles, 2 scoops baskin robbins icecream. At least i stayed vegetarian.

So, i finally decided that i felt even MORE hopeless eating cooked because not only had i lost control, but i lost my identity. I'm supposed to be a freakin' raw chef here and it had unraveled so that i wasn't eating barely any raw and i couldn't get back on track. Everyday i was beside myself and didn't know where to turn, so i realized that raw felt like a safe haven again and though it was not a cure-all for my binge eating (i still have binged for 3 years on "gourmet" raw - what we call anything raw with olive oil, salt and spices, usually nut based foods or dehydrated, anything not WHOLE fruit or veggies), it still helped me to control my weight, and at this point, i figured, my weight was actually MORE important than curing binge eating.

I've been reading all of these binge eating books and everyone says you can't restrict your eating so i tried, i really tried to just have a little, but ultimately, i can't control cooked worse than i can control raw, so there.

i didn't gain too too terribly. I'm 270 1/2 this morning and my lowest was 249 so far, but that i hit for like a day and went back up. Recently i had been at about 258 on a good day and was happy with that. Not too too terrible a gain.

But i woke up to not lose anything. and knowing i lost so much faster on Fuhrman is playing with my mind again. "cooked, cooked, cooked", it's wooing me, but i have to remember how badly it went out of control. I mean, worse than that one binge i described above. Another binge was like an entire 1/2 loaf of rye bread with 1 stick of butter, 8 eggs and 6 peices of toast with the other stick of butter and a pot of white rice with more butter.

Man, bread and butter is GOOD. That's one of the things i took from this whole experience. Cooked food DEFINITELY tastes better than raw food!!!

But, it makes sense for me for today and for this week at least.

On sunday at work we have a raw food festival at work so i feel confident doing this this week. It's restoring my sanity to be raw at a raw festival at least.

my head was great for the last 2 days but horrible before that. fear, confusion, just awful.

Okay, i feel a b.m. coming on and i like that, it means i'll lose a pound. Then i go for a walk. Because it feels good and i like feeling good. I wonder if i'd do better juicing some greens today, ala Meredith Frantz of http://www.therawseed.com/. She juices greens daily. What's great about Fuhrman's program is you can eat a ton of calorie free cooked veggies in a soup with no salt and no fat and it still tastes good. Raw veggies without fat and salt don't really taste all that good.

OH WELL, gotta suck it up today! That's all she wrote!

xoxo michelle joy

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It feels good to feel good!

If you're in the Philly area, don't forget!

SANCTUARY SPA AND ARNOLDS WAY PRESENTS THE RAWSOME FOOD, MUSIC & YOGA FESTIVAL - This Sunday, Dec. 6th from 12noon until about 8 or 10pm at Arnolds Way Raw Vegetarian Cafe' and Education Center, 319 W. Main Street, Lansdale, PA.

I think there is a dance at 8pm. I'll be singing at 2pm and doing a raw food demo at 2:30pm. Call Arnolds Way for $20 tickets 215-361-0116. We're not sure if there will be any walk-in tickets as we are already pretty packed, so call now.

Today i'll be prepping food for the event and Sandy, an Arnolds Way customer, is lending a hand. How nice! Tasting will be kept to the very, very bare minimum.

My plan is to do what i did yesterday. No salt, low fat raw. For a work day, i'll plan salads with a tiny bit of nut butter mixed with water, no salt, garlic, vinegar, agave and nutritional yeast as a dressing (delish); veggie nori rolls, spaghetti with nofat/nosalt tomato sauce, green smoothies, whips. Ahhh, coming home is good.

As you can see, I'm implementing a little restoration so i can look better for the event. My face is full. I weigh 270.5. At the Halloween party i sang at, I was 258. Well, that's pizza and rice and butter and veggie spring rolls and Singapore Noodles for ya.

What i'm doing today may not be a cure for binge eating, but it's a good healthy place to be, and i feel grateful. Looking good makes me feel good. You know what i just realized? Controlling my weight is just as important as controlling my binge eating, if not more, honestly.

Managing my binge eating is what i've been doing all of these years eating raw, and eating spells of lower fat raw have helped to keep my weight from escalating. It's not been a perfect system by any means, but at least i don't weigh 425 again, or even 300, or even 290 or 280.

To make myself feel good this morning, i dressed up for work. I put on a dress, pretty jewelry. Kind of a deflection from the bloated face. Maybe nobody will notice. Actually, i'm sure they will, but gaining weight is not a crime. I feel victorious today instead of ashamed. Thank god for yesterday.

I'm off for a short walk before work because it made me feel so strong and empowered yesterday and i liked that. Feeling like shit and complaining and living in fear and defeat is really not all that fun. This feels much better.

I got dressed in my new walk-in closet room and does THAT ever feel empowering. If i keep this up, heck, i don't know WHAT will be with me, i'll feel so freakin' empowered i won't know WHAT to do with myself!!!

xoxox michelle joy

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes!

Oh, Happy Day!

I'm writing this on Tuesday night. What a complete departure today was from the weeks preceeding was my day today. I felt focused, sure, right, strong, determined, on track, organized, loved. I ate all raw because i decided to. I had thoughts of eating cooked, but i watched the thoughts, and ultimately decided it wasn't the right choice for me. I wouldn't know for sure that it would end where it started, and i'd be bloated again and snoring and continue to gain because i can't be sure i can keep my portions in control.

I decided that though cooked food might make 'intellectual' sense in terms of healing binge eating, it hasn't worked for me thus far as i can control it even LESS than raw food, and it was time finally to make peace with that. I decided that i refuse to gain another pound trying to do something nearly impossible, that's been nearly impossible to me my entire life: controlling cooked food.

I took a hour walk after not having walked for 4 weeks, and it was hard, but the empowered feeling i had afterwards was well worth the effort. If i could do that, i felt like i could do anything.

What a difference a day makes! One day in despair and hopeless. The next confident, sure, strong.

I organized much of my new walk in closet, put all of the sheets in a new place, and all of my clothing in the new organized room. Good, right action is flowing through me. Megan's on a fast, so she's not coming tomorrow, but, i was strong myself and did a good amount, myself. I'm not so hopeless afterall. And actually much stronger than i realize myself....once i "PUT MY MIND TO SOMETHING."

I can't believe how different i feel today than i've been feeling.

My head was spinning this morning and i was afraid to walk alone, afraid i'd jump on the bus and chicken out of pushing myself. Then i remembered i needed to practice my singing and i could fill my head with music to stimulate me, instead of food. Hallelujah. It worked. And made the walk...not only enjoyable and good for me, but productive in terms of my music.

The good, right action continued to flow later. I just had one of THE most amazing singing practices ever. All of a sudden i'm confident and i'm on target for Sunday's performance.

Digging through emotional issues, i don't even think, is the answer. It's a part of it.

But today confirms that EVERYTHING has to do with right THINKING.

I decided to decide to what has worked for 3 years, after trying new ways that ultimately did not pan out as i had expected. I decided to do what has worked for 3 years pretty well, and forget about trying something new. My footing feels sure. I know what to do. I made it work.

My food today was enjoyable because i decided it would be.

God i feel good.

Continue to pray and support me, please.

And I thank you.

xoxo michelle joy