Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Hi folks,

My friend, Jan, sent me this wonderful prayer that she saw on Raw Food Rehab submitted by Penni Shelton. Jan writes, "I thought of our conversation the other day. Just wanted to share this with you..."

Today I am praying for all the members of Raw Foof Rehab and specifically those who are participating in our current 11 Week Go FRESH Initiative. I believe that God has a very special work to perform in each life at this time & I keep sensing that now is the time for deep transformative breakthroughs in many areas of people's lives. I feel a excitement & confidence in this process that I haven't felt before. So I invite you to join with me in prayer for the hundreds here that need a divine miracle in their lives. May it be done according to God's most perfect will. Amen.
_ _ _

I do feel very much on the verge of important change.

I joined the Weigh Down Workshop www.weighdown.com, a class for beginners that began last week, but i jumped in on.

The wdw is a christian org that teaches members to follow their natural god given hunger/fullness signals, to eat small portions of everyday foods, and to swap their love affair with food (thinking about food, planning, dieting, regretting...all thoughts and activities involving food....) to a love affair with God. I like the principle as it's the same as Williamson's book - that overweight and binge eating is a spiritual problem.

My beginner class group leader, Andy Sorrells, lost 250 lbs and his wife, Maggie, lost some 300 lbs. They have kept the weight off for years. They have a website that documents their journey: http://www.550poundsdown.com/

Weigh Down, or WDW for short, teaches that all food has been washed clean by our belief in Jesus, and they cite bible verses for this. I've long heard from Christians uninterested in nutrition that Jesus doesn't care what we eat...something about any unclean thing that goes in you is made clean, but what he cares about are the unclean things coming out of our mouths (what we say). From my understanding, this verse is referring to keeping kosher as the jews did. The Jews, my people, followed and follow dietary laws commanded by God, but after the Messiah came, Jesus wiped away the need for all of that, supposedly.

This is a fundamental teaching of WDW.

I knew this joining and even thought, hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I've been so into the non stop cooked food binges, i thought, maybe i just need to eat cooked food.

So, I watched alot of the free videos by the group on youtube and then had the online class last night where we chatted and then watched a video together, and then had what i thought was a very good chat afterwards.

One of the participants is a vegan of all things, and we struck up a conversation in the online classroom after the video was over and most of the participants had left. We talked about her problems controlling even vegan food. I talked about my history with raw veganism and my chronic binge eating problem. I thought it was a good conversation and in no way detremental to the program.

The next morning I rec'd an email from the group leader, Andy. He wrote a note right after I left the chat, (i was one of the last to go), saying that we should restrict chatting after the films from now on, that satan is ready to attack us then and we are more vulnerable then.

That sounded like a crock o' bull and I found it bizarre his desire to squash conversation, especially around evil raw food, instead of encourage any dialogue. And the whole bringing up of Satan i felt was strange. Is talking about raw food and vegan food satanic?

[I guess it really is something to consider, being attacked by dark forces, and these dark forces are what keeps pulling us back down when we have success. It's not something i ever give much thought to, naming that as Satan, but i guess it is. I just found it curious to have an online classroom where discussion is curbed. I feel very like...fishy about this. I KNOW his note was in response to the topic of veganism.]

The group leader, Andy, didn't seem that intelligent, per se, to tell you the truth. I'm being very judgemental right now, but the WDW is a Tennessee based organization and the majority of the people on the plan are from the deep South, and, uh, well, I think East Coasters are a bit more sophisticaed, especially when it comes to diet and such, and i'm sure they've never seen tasted broccoli before it's been batter dipped and deep fried and had bacon gravy poured all over it. They probably never even HEARD of raw food down there. (I know I sound like a snob! But you just have to hear these peoples accents and you're like...uh...they don't sound too smart.)

Anyway, Andy must be a great man of faith. I totally admire him for his amazing faith. Great faith and intellectual intelligence are different skills. People who have great intelligence AND also faith are REALLY something. Those who go on pure faith are propably better off anyway. They don't have alot to argue and analyze that way. They just accept. They don't question.

Alot of people who come at things from a more intellectual perspective might have some problems with things that the WDW professes.

But, success is what's important, and who can argue with keeping off 550+ lbs, my my, all of that weight, he and his wife, for years now. Eating REGULAR food no less. I would say that they have successfully made the transition from being in love with food - to being in love with the Father, and i admire them TREMENDOUSLY. I give them their props!

And i really see and understand the value in this, making all food clean, making all food legal, because it takes all-all-all of the guilt away from eating. It's such a nice concept, and i've always wished I could do it.

That's what drives me continually back to these types of plans that promise "You can eat anything!"

I think you CAN, obviously, and lose weight, lots of weight, as these two marvelously successful people have done, but it doesn't come without a price, like anything. You have to eat AMAZINGLY small portions.

Not everybody makes it, or has the faith strong enough to be able to do that.

WDW is wildly successful, meaning thousands of people have had success on their program. Probably the most success comes from the people in TN who join the Remnant Church, led by the WDW organization. www.remnantfellowship.org It is STRONG support when everybody in your entire church follows the same style of eating and they're all getting skinny.

From what i've researched, too, there's plenty of pressure applied, too, and lots of guilt. Who can eat the slowest? Who can eat the least?

However, for every person that succeeds, thousands don't. I was able to follow the plan for about a month years ago. Eating such small portions was a RADICAL change from my HUGE portions, and i lost about 30 lbs that month, and i remember being elated to eat icecream sandwhiches and thick creamy soups. Only i ate about 1/4 of the icecream, took 5 spoons of soup, 3 saltines, and that was it for lunch. The only problem was, i soon returned to eating big portions, and without the requisite faith developed, i couldn't figure out how to get back the desire/ability to eat small portions again, and i gave up. Like many, many others, i'm sure. Sinners all of us!

WDW is a big money making business. They're selling classes every 6 weeks for 125$ a pop, and I bought a monthly subscription ($25/mo) for a faith website i can go onto 24/7 that is supposed to help me. I was actually not that impressed with it and will probably cancel. It's called Lifestream, but i'm being open to it. But, that means lots of money for them the more classes you join.

It got me thinking how hard it is to control one's intake of cooked food, and how raw food Is so much easier. Maybe they're selling this thing that's nearly impossible for MOST folks to do, knowing you'll keep falling off and needing to buy their classes? I'm a little skeptical of my ability to have a constant faith in God, enough to allow me to stop binge eating while eating cooked. I kinda see danger signs when i think of that. i fear ending up another one of the failed who bought a class but can't do it. Because of lack of spirituality? No. Because of being a food addict. Raw food is not (generally) addictive. i've had the wisdom today and yesterday to go low fat raw with no salt/oil. i think when/if i do eat those things, i'll really have to tucker down and work that faith muscle to stop at enough.

In fact, the lifestream website was dedicated to those who just couldn't make Weigh Down work for them, they were failing so in their faith. My guess is lots and lots of people struggle on this program.

What's funny is that suddenly, all of the focus on regular food has grown up within me a strong support in favor of raw!

And what makes me leery is that alot of foods are addictive in nature, like drugs, and they or we could be blaming our lack of spirituality for not being able to handle them, when it's really like trying to control Opium.

Last night the vegan girl mentioned she has such a problem with wheat bread and crackers, that she can't stop eating them, and it dawned on me that both are glutenous. She could be a celiac person with a sensitivity/allergy, and not even know it, and they'd be blaming her inability to control herself on Satan.

Anyway, knowing what we know about raw, it's very hard to say ALL food is clean.

At WDW they say that a corn chip is the SAME as corn. And i don't think it is. So much packaged and fast food is so denatured, it hardly resembles it's former pure self. Even corn isn't corn anymore, it's fish gened spiked corn if it's GMO corn.

WDW is probably in favor of drugs to control all kinds of ailments that RAW naturally take away, like allergies, reflux, etc...

Being a raw chef and a former raw foodist, i know the power of raw to heal, to restore, to bring back to life what was once dead...

I think they would say raw food was EVIL because it is disguising itself as THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIGHT. Maybe so, but what about raw food in combination with submitting onesself to God? If all food is clean, than raw food is clean, too. I see no biblical argument that could argue that one.

Anyway, I watched a movie starring John Malkevitch the other night, that was so thought provoking, called "Afterwards." In it, Malkevitch's character stated repeatedly that the day of your death is predetermined by god and that no one, nothing, no diet, nothing can change that. If you change your diet and get better, if you don't die of cancer, you'd just get hit by a car, on the day your number is up.

It's very interesting to think about because Arnold and OHI people put suffering people on special raw diets to overcome disease, to bring the body back into alignment, to purify, to cleanse. Is it all for naught? Are they just gonna die on the same day, anyway???? Well, i'm sure they'll enjoy a richer life, though, if they're healthy.

But, what could be more GODLY than those pursuits? Like Hippocrates stated, 'let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.'

And what about all we've learned about as raw vegans about how the human intestines are formed...to digest raw nuts and seeds and veggies and fruit. We don't have the short intestines of a meat eater.

Didn't God say man could eat meat after the flood because there was no vegetation left? Didn't Adam and Eve have it right, to begin with? What is more GODLY than God's produce and natural foods?

And as i've personally experienced, with my sleep apnea leaving (even though i was at that same weight before with cooked and had it), and also with my snoring leaving as a raw foodist. I've always snored on cooked, but not on raw. And the pains in my back leaving after 4 days. We know there is great merit in raw food.

I think this wdw will be a thing like OA for me where i am grateful for the support, but "Take what you want and leave the rest."

The founder of the program, Gwen Shamblin, is a registered dietician, but doesn't acknowledge any difference in the nutritional value of foods. It is a fascinating viewpoint for her education, and one that MOST Eating Disorder Therapists hold. But, it is hard to take her totally seriously when she has such crazy hair she teases up so high. It doesn't do alot for her credibility.

So, from a raw perspective, intellectually, the wdw is wanting. Shamblin says stuff about how god's animals eat.... 'God's animals don't overeat!' Only I know that God's animals eat RAW food and not cooked food, and that they'd probably become addicted to cheetos also if that's what we gave them, and it wouldn't have anything to do with their spirituality.

But don't get me wrong - what i do - the binge eating and the mindless eating? I have a serious disconnect and definitely am in love with food. This part of the program i am going to throw myself whole heartedly into, making a relationship with God and start living life without thinking, planning, overeating, binge eating, remorseing. I SEE the insanity and the LOVE AFFAIR with it all. I acknowledge what i've been doing as so so wrong.

I also agree when Shamblin says that DIETING does NOTHING to change the sensual desire to overindulge. No, but God can take that desire from us, no matter what we eat. It's not as if eating regular food is the CURE. The whole thesis IS that GOD is the cure, submitting onesself to him, pulling back from selfish desires, restraining onesself for the love of God. You can do this by eating any food, even raw.

Shamblin asserts that we become MORE addicted to food the more we diet. In a way, i really do see that. But, on the other hand, raw has HeLPED me, i think. On every other diet i was ever on, i gained back ALL of my weight, plus MORE. Having had the RAW experience, i've been able to curb that from happening again.

(As i write that statement, fear wells up in me. Am i vexing myself saying that, or am i speaking the truth? I think God knows that i am speaking a truth.)

I have a mind to do what i am told on the program - to eat what i want, but what if what i want...is raw?

I see a future for myself as a writer, who has been through all of the programs..and finally discovers the answer...and the answer will be a combination of what lots of groups teach...and it will be raw based, because it just makes sense, and works.

I had something terribly scary happen to me during the online class. I'd been fasting, waiting on real physiological hunger, a noble cause, and hadn't eaten all day as a result, and I went into an unexpected and frightening diabetic episode. I got hot and dizzy and lightheaded and almost fainted and passed out, but got myself to the kitchen in time, though woozy, to revive myself after a few oranges/grapefruits. With all of the binge eating and weight gain, i've really done a number on myself. I've become a an undiagnosed diabetic. I suppose i should be grateful for the scare. Arnold asked me as much, "What is it gonna take for you to get back on track?" The only reason i'm not that worried about the diabetes is because of what i know from Arnold that diabetes symptoms are "a peice of cake" to cure, and should leave with a low fat raw diet in a matter of weeks, if not days. I believe that.

Am i wrongly placing my faith there? In God's raw food to restore me? I don't think so. So far, i only had those oranges/grapefruits on monday night, and today, tuesday, i've had smoothies and raw veggies with some raw nuts. It's hysterical that after joining this program where i'm supposed to eat fries and burgers, i've had only raw meals, smoothies and fruit and nuts and veggies.

Is this going to lead to a crash and burn? The inevitable fall? Or am i starting something quite remarkable? The return of ME back to ME? i feel very at peace with it, and suddenly, where raw was something i knew i 'should' do, it's become something i 'want' to do, probably because it is so in opposition to the teachings i'm encountering. Go figure!

Something in me says that i know better than wdw, and that i can USE their message to my advantage, but incorporate RAW wisdom in as well. I mean all of this talk about God and everyone of us HERE knows that God's true foods are fruits and veggies and nuts and seeds, so it says in Genesis. Maybe if Jesus were around today to see how the big food companies degrade and denature all of the boxed shit, He'd say all of that crap was CERTIFIABLE TRASH, and if we were wise, we'd eat His Father's natural organic bounty!!!

It goes without saying that HOWEVER one reduces their intake/weight is going to benefit their body and their health in the long run. And that learning to not overindulge in food is KEY. I couldn't agree more.

I don't know if i will eat cooked food AND raw. I'm leaving myself open. I'm going to try to keep raw forefront in my mind and hope to base my meals on it. So far, so good. When i do, or if i do cross over the line again to cooked, maybe i can be blessed enough and remember to use the WDW principles of grace and gratitude and non-greed when eating slowly, savoring, sipping between bites, small bites, no more than a saucer sized plate of food, etc...

Overall, there is MUCH to learn from wdw, but i'm not going to throw away the wisdom of raw. I can't. It's far too ingrained for me to say it's bullshit, that green smoothies are the same as deep fried twinkies. They're not.

Hunger has been an issue. I'm obviously going to be hungrier eating raw, low fat, than chocolate chip cheesecake and cheeseburgers and fries. I'm trusting my instincts today, and trying to await real hunger, the growl, but with an eye on the diabetes. I never got the growl last night and almost fainted. It may be so that with the new diabetes, i'll have to eat regularly.

Please send your healing vibes my way. There's nothing more i want than to turn this all around. Whatever way works.

_ _ _ _ _


Just for clarification of my issues, I was a raw vegan for 3.5 years and lost 175 lbs on that way of life. I still see much wisdom in it. God did give us the fruits and veggies and nuts and seeds in their natural uncooked state in Genesis to eat. There is much wisdom to following such a lifestyle and one could hardly call it ungodly. I understand that all food is made clean by God, but does that mean that we should bash fruits and vegetables as tasteless or negate them by calling them diet food? Everything in the news these days talks about taking in colorful leafy greens and veggies to prevent disease. Fruits and veggies are miracle foods! I still work as a raw vegan chef and people who use such a therapeutic diet heal themselves of diabetes, cancer, so many diseases.

That said, i understand the fundamentals of WDW and am wholeheartedly willing to turn my life over to God, to learn to fall in love with Him and out of food, but if every food is clean, so are fruits and veggies. When Gwen and others on videos call fruits and veggies 'tasteless diet food,' it really perplexes me. There is nothing more delish sometimes than a carrot or an orange or a fresh peach or a cut up cucumber. God made these foods for man to enjoy. when Gwen says that God made brownies and chocolate chip cheesecake, i have to disagree, MAN made those. God didn't make apple pie. He made apples. Man degraded apples into apple pie.

I do see, however, the great merit in taking away the guilt and fear of eating any food. Guilt, remorse and fear DO propel binges. I hope to apply the WDW principles so that i can stop binge eating on food.

It's really not about the food anyway. it's about the heart and our relationship with God.

Restricting portion sizes as WDW teaches IS a diet of sorts, just as restricting food classes IS.

Anyway, the point is to love God with all of our hearts so much that we only eat when we're physiologically hungry and stop when we've had enough. What we eat is not so important, unless you have a real health problem like i now do.

In the last year, i've gained 120 lbs from binge eating on non-raw vegan foods, but i still acknowledge their benefits and my desire to regain a desire to go raw.

If someone were in rebellion and stopped eating small portions of 'real foods' on WDW, it doesn't make 'real foods' the problem. The real problem is the heart. What we eat really isn't the problem. If i stopped eating raw vegan foods, it doesn't make them the problem. It's my heart that's the problem.

Anyway, the idea here is FAITH in God and nothing else and i'm totally down with that.

xoxo michelle joy

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