Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm on day 6 of raw! Woot, woot!

So, last night, Cliff was hungry and I was making him his gluten free pasta with a homemade tomato sauce, and I was honestly feeling envious! What was I going to eat? Truly, i feared i would dig into his pasta, lest I make myself something similar, in a raw version.

Roger Haeske, a raw food teacher, at, said in one of his recent daily automatic emails that if you are in danger of eating something cooked, eat something similar in a raw version, really fill up, even if you're not hungry, and it will get you over the hump, and you'll forget about your cooked food craving.

It seemed like good advice and made loving sense which considered the overall picture that staying raw is the most important thing. In fact, it made a lot more sense than alot of these crazy fear based teachings i've listened to in the past, like don't eat 1 bite past full or you'll go to hell like Weigh Down Workshop taught. (I easily fell into binge eating with so much fear and so many exacting rules hanging over my head). This advice felt easy going and natural.

I was almost out of tomatoes, so i didn't expect much of the sauce i would come up with. Much to my surprise, the sauce i concocted turned out to be one of THE BEST raw spaghetti sauces I have ever made! I enjoyed this dinner with Cliff sitting out on the patio. The whole experience was an absolute delight! I completely lost the craving for his pasta because MY version was SO DELISH!

Below, I used guestimations for amounts. Please, please try it and see if it turns out...and let me know! It was awesome and I hope you like it! I'd really like to hear from you!

I like spicy, so if you don't, use less of whereever i have an (*)

P.S. I used an infused olive oil (that i made over a year ago by adding lots and lots of leaves of fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and peeled garlic to a big jug of extra virgin olive oil. the longer it sits the better it gets.) You may want to go out to a gourmet market and find an infused olive oil with similar flavors, or make your own and let it steep for a few days prior to making the recipe, or just add some fresh thyme and rosemary to the sauce at the last minute in the blender.

P.P.S. Basil and oregano are what i usually associate with italian spaghetti sauce. This recipe included none, but tasted italian from the rosemary and garlic and thyme. The curry powder and ginger faded into the background and added spicy elements instead of making it taste indian when i made it! See how it comes out for you!


2 medium zucchini spiralized for pasta

sauce - in vitamix, add:
* (i like spicy, adjust to your tastes)
1 vine ripened tomato, cut in chunks
2 medium cloves of garlic *
1 good slice of fresh ginger, at least 1/4 inch thick, cut up *
4 shakes of cayenne powder *
2-4 tsp of curry powder *
1/8-1/4 cup of infused olive oil (or use plain olive oil and add a pinch of both fresh chopped rosemary and thyme)
1 tsp agave
juice of 1/2 large lemon
2 small carrots, cut up
5 small (maroon colored) dry sundried tomatoes, no citric acid/salt/brine/oil (avoid the ones that use citric acid and are neon red.)
about 1/2 cup water
good pinch himalayan or celtic sea salt, about 1/2 tsp

nutritional yeast flakes, 2-3 Tbsp
1 tsp fresh chopped cilantro (or basil)

1) Spiralize spaghetti and leave on a paper towel to blot excess zucchini juices. (2 medium zucchinis makes a really GOOD sized meal.)

2) In the meantime, blend up the sauce until it is smooth, about 1 minute.

3) Plate the spaghetti, spreading it out, and pour half of the suce over it. (Save the other half in the fridge in a small tupperware for another meal.)

4) Sprinkle yeast on top of spaghetti as you would "parmesan cheese." (I like a lot so my sauce is practically covered.)

5) Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top. Use chopped fresh basil if desired!

6) Goosh together before eating....and ENJOY!

xxo michelle joy

Sunday, May 29, 2011


We were invited over for a pre-memorial day lunch by Cliff's brother and his wife on Sunday. They were making BBQ.

Normally, that would excite anyone. Yay, BBQ!!!

Back on raw for the 5th day now, I knew it was going to be a challenge.

On the ride there, I confided to Cliff that i was concerned, "Will there be anything there for me to eat? Is this going to be incredibly awkward? Will the chairs they my butt?"

100+ lbs heavier, fitting in chairs has become a concern again.

Cliff patted my hand and answered, "Honey, they KNOW you eat raw. Don't worry about anything. It'll all work out."

_ _ _

I decided, however, to take the reigns of control by bringing my own bag of produce with me, grapes, bananas, citrus fruits and some leftover salad makings.

_ _ _

We did our welcomes and sat down in chairs that fit me. (Whew, grateful!)

A parade of smoked meats came out, each one looking more succulent than the next: smoked salmon, smoked pork chops, smoked ribs, smoked chicken wings, smoked sausages, with a big bowl of brown rice mixed with pineapple chunks. We were all invited to dig in.

My sincerely apologetic notification that i was eating raw again and was sorry I couldn't partake...was met with judgemental stares that soon passed as everyone began to enjoy the BBQ and I began to dig in my produce bag.

_ _ _

As i plopped green grape after green grape into my mouth, I was enjoying myself.

Imagine. Among all of this meat...

You should know, I LOVE MEAT. Love is not even a strong enough word.

_ _ _

The grapes were sweet and enjoyable. But, I can't lie, they made it a little awkward at the small table, but I made fun of myself to decrease the tension, "Man, you guys are so lucky, all of this fabulous BBQ...and all i get are boring grapes!"

They actually weren't boring. They really were good, but no one believed me. They were kinda shriveled and brown from the heat in the car, but they tasted so sweet. Don't judge a book by it's cover. They were good.

_ _ _

You know that insane gurgling of stomach acid that MAKES you NEED to eat the meat, the bread, the cooked whatever? On 100% raw, you lose it. You actually WANT the grapes.

Stomach acid decreases to 1 cup on raw. 2 gallons of stomach acid is released on cooked.

_ _ _

There were a few thoughts about indulging in the smoked salmon. "Smoking meats isn't cooking them, is it?," I thought.

I think i was thinking of low-temp smoking, which takes days and days to cure, or so i thought.

Nope, this was regular old BBQ-ing with wet wood chips added to produce smoke in addition to the heat of the burning coals. This BBQ was definitely cooked.

_ _ _

I oohed andd ahhhed along with everyone else, genuinely, enjoying at least the smell and look of everything, trying to be a part of the crowd in my own way. I'm not a vegetarian today by choice because all of the cute little animals.

_ _ _

With the grapes, food wasn't controlling me. I was in control of the food and able to resist the temptation of the hard-to-resist-grilled meats. It's a pretty powerful state to be in, released from the pull of cooked food.

Unfortunately, others don't "get" it, they don't "get" raw. It's a severe measure to take, saying no to everything "good," like BBQ.

For me, I choose raw to be in control of food. In control of a blessed, blessed, blessed state. Hallelujah and praise the Lord, I'm free, I'm free, thank God i'm free at last.

I've tried moderation for the last two years and the only place it's gotten me is over 100lbs heavier. Eating a little cooked and constantly falling into huge cooked binges, ever escalating weight, and constantly being sucked into a vortex of depression so bad, i sometimes didn't think i could get up from the sofa, i finally surrendered.

_ _ _

During the meal, I fluxuated from feeling glad for my raw choice to feeling pretty ridiculous. I thought, "Just DAYS ago, i was eating meat and fish. Who do you think you are, missy? If you ate it BEFORE, you might as well eat it HONEST with yourself, you LIKE it."

_ _ _

Yeah, i like it alright. So much so, that I felt like a total and complete hypocrite, especially because i am 5x fatter than any of the people at lunch, who all eat meat and fish NORMALLY and have normal belt sizes. The one popping grapes (moi) who's eaten the MOST of it in her life, now won't eat it? All of a sudden, the fattest person who could pack away the MOST, suddenly has gone pious and is rejecting what she OBVIOUSLY loves? I mean, who are we KIDDING here?

_ _ _

The lunch conversation was centered around how great BBQing is and how awesome all of the grilled meats were and how great the cooked food of every culture is and how every culture couldn't possibly live without their specialties.

Cliff reached for my hand often to show support, asked if i wanted to make myself a salad several times. He was there for me.

_ _ _

Cliff's sister in law used to own a restaurant. She is a professional cook and a very fine one at that.

As if to argue against my grapes or to defend his wife's offerings, Cliff's brother energetically defended, pointing to the array of BBQ, "Food is the most important thing! It's more important than a house, than a job, than anything!"

He was showing his support to his wife, a cook.

And Cliff showed his support to me, an un-cook, as he caressed my legs under the table.

_ _ _

I WISH i could eat normally and not binge and gain 200 lbs and not insult and not have to eat grapes when i was being offered wonderful food from a real restaurant chef.

_ _ _

Not only that, grilled BBQ meats are such icons of our American culture.

The thing about raw fruits and veggies is: they are universal. They hold NO cultural attachments. We have little memories from childhood that surround that great head of lettuce or that awesome apple. No, it's Gramma's special apple pie that holds a place in our hearts dearly. Raw fruits and veggies are God's food. They don't BELONG to any one culture or family. They belong to us all. They remove us from culture.

_ _ _

I felt sad i couldn't be normal...and it is kind of rude to not partake of people's food they worked so hard to make.

Didn't Jesus say we should eat the food that people serve us as long as we bless it?

Maybe if Jesus knew BBQ meats cause cancer and addict me, he'd give me the go-ahead to go back to the diet God prescribed for Adam and Eve in Genesis.

Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 29
And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.
_ _ _

I had had a half of a bottle of leftover wine that was in my produce bag. (I enjoy a glass of wine now and again as a raw foodist. We enjoyed it at the hotel with our salads.) When i'd spotted the bottle, I'd asked if anyone wanted any.

Cliff's brother, who is newly sober, declined, explaining he feels so grateful to be off of it. We all chimed in with support for his new state of sobriety and the wine stayed in the produce bag.

The brother's admission struck me. It was very similar to the admission i made earlier concerning my need to return to raw food.

_ _ _

People are so able to understand and forgive an alcoholic for not partaking in alcohol socially, but it is almost impossible to regular folks to understand cooked food as a real addiction worthy of compassion and sympathy. I hope that changes.

_ _ _

Cliff's brother is as DIFFERENT about ALCOHOL as I am about FOOD. He can't drink like everyone else. And i can't EAT like everyone else.

Look at what happens when i try.

_ _ _

The ONLY thing that got me through this challenging lunch was that I knew if i'd have a taste, i'd certainly be binging again on cooked soon enough.

That self recognition saved me this time and is going to save me like it did before. I'm a cooked food addict. I remember, again.

_ _ _

So, I enjoyed my grapes.

And bottled water.

_ _ _

Soon, my ankles were inexplicably swelling.

I considered the swollen feet and ankles with a "whhuuu???" and no idea why they were swelling.

Then i nonchallantly read the ingredients on the Dasani water, which i had just drank 3 bottles of.

Dasani Enhanced Water. INGREDIENTS: water, minerals, salt.

Can you BELIEVE that? They put salt in bottled water now!

_ _ _

We were invited to drive to the lake with Cliff's brother and wife. I didn't really want to go, but we accepted. We went in separate cars, so it gave me a chance to process the challenging lunch with Cliff.

And now we were off to the lake.

_ _ _

When we got to the lake, it was a challenge, too. We had to do a lot of driving around to find a free parking spot instead of a paying one, alot of walking around to get changed into our suits, bathrooms were sparse, and alot of walking to just get from the car to the lake. With the extra 100 lbs on me walking isn't nearly as easy as it used to be.

We had ample opportunity to give up and just make an excuse and say we were going to drive home since we weren't having a good time anyway, but we decided to stick it out. It was hot and the promise of cool water enticed us.

At the lake, Cliff's brother and his wife sat on some benches, while Cliff and I ended up having the most joyous time swimming together in the big Mauch Chunk lake. It was so beautiful, so fun, cool, clean, and i was feeling so in love, my legs wrapped around Cliff's waist, feeling weightless again, gliding through the water, kissing and hugging, feeling proud of myself for overcoming so many challenges today, feeling so hopeful for the future again.

The challenges of lunch were a distant memory. The challenges of changing, of walking were long gone.

We swam. We frolicked. THIS IS LIVING!

_ _ _

The only reason i was able to have a good time was because i was off of my DRUG. Just DAYS ago, i was so DEPRESSED and binge eating and didn't even want to LEAVE THE HOUSE. All i did was EAT non stop and gain and all i wanted to do...was EAT.

Now, i was living, now i was enjoying a holiday and all that this beautiful day had to offer!

_ _ _

I find it so ironic, that when i "give up" the enjoyment of regular food, my enjoyment of life multiplies by the trillions.

Go figure. If i eat like a pig, any fried thing i want, you'd think i'd be happy. Nope. It only brings misery.

_ _ _

The lesson today was: Even though people judge me, look at me funny for choosing raw when it doesn't make sense to them, make great arguments for cooked food, even make lunch and don't consider what i can eat..... Against all of the odds, i CAN succeed!

The other lesson is: Life is SO MUCH BETTER on raw. It really is. Even though it can be challenging, I'm PRESENT for fun again. (AND present to pain, a necessity. No one can escape it.) The point is: I'm alive. I'm not numb.

And, i'm strong enough to overcome the hard times, to press on, and get better and healthier mentally and physically, as long as i stick to raw.

So here is the lesson for you: If you're a cooked food addict like i am, take your day into your OWN hands...bring raw food with you wherever you go. Make your day a successful one, and don't allow others to sway you. The joy that is awaiting a wonderful unexpected romance-filled dip in a lake...or whatever wonderful thing it might be for just on the other side of saying, 'No thank you.' It makes it all worth it. It's like the extraordinary sunset at the end of the mountain climb. It's all worth it.

And p.s. Read the label on your water bottle!!!

xoxo michelle joy



Happy Memorial Day! I'm feeling like a grateful sober alcoholic on my 4th day back on raw!

We felt like a road trip to the Pocono Mountains!

These are my tips for staying RAW ON THE ROAD:

1.) TRUST GOD THAT YOU WILL FIND WHAT YOU NEED ON THE ROAD! If you're really in the zone, you will!

2.) However, my recommendation is to NEVER, EVER, EVER LEAVE HOME UNPREPARED TO STAY RAW ON THE ROAD! These are the following items I took along with us on our road trip
(p.s. those are models in the pic! I didn't lose 200 lbs yet...and Cliff is NOT bald!!!):

-raw salad dressing stuff - you can ALWAYS make an AWESOME dressing anywhere you go from the following ingredients:
+ a bottle of raw vinegar
+ some infused olive oil (i made garlic, thyme, rosemary)
+ a bottle of raw agave
+ a bag of free flowing celtic salt
+ a bottle of nutritional yeast flakes
+ fresh garlic (or a bottle of garlic powder)

- kitchen essentials:
+ 2 forks
+ paper plates
+ roll of paper towels
+ sharp pocket knife
+ bottled water

- salad stuff, and whatever produce you have at home:
+ a bag of scrumptious summer cherries
+ lettuce, tomatoes: enough for 2-3 salads
+ a box of fresh mushrooms

- raw sweet snacks:
+ A container of Superfood Bliss Balls i had made at work, AMAZING!, in 3 flavors Choco-Maca, Goji, Spirulina (Date/coconut/cashew balls with superfoods added in and lots of layers of flavor like hidden ginger, cinnamon, orange rind, vanilla, lemon, awesome!)
+ A container of pistachio walnut date cinnamon filling i'd made for some stuffed dates. A great snack as is!
+ Dehydrated chocolate almond cookies

- raw nuts for salads
+ A bag of sunflower seeds, raw, unsalted
+ A bag of dehydrator-dried toona pate'! Indispensible on the road! Put some in a cup, add water, stir around, and in 5 minutes, you have an amazing toona salad saladtopper! This made the BEST salad back at the hotel! (The dried pate' just so happened to be a pate' i couldn't eat all up in time before it went i dried it at 105degrees in my Excalibur and bagged it up for a day like this!)

3. FIND A GREAT FARMERS MARKET ON THE ROAD! We found Ochs' Farm Market on East County Road Drums, PA 18222 570-788-3163

We bought:

- a bag of fresh spinach

- 2 bunches of RIPE bananas!

- grapefruit and oranges for snacking

- a bag of crisp apples

- an avocado

- celery and carrots

* optional: jarred pickled yummies for the husband's salad:
pickled eggs, beets and 3 bean salad

- 2 jalapenos - not optional! i will NEVER EVER leave home without these again! They added astounding flavor to my salad!!!


They have:

- refrigerators in the room (when booking ask for one)

- 3 prong plugs for Vitamixes should you decide to bring yours

- FREE Breakfast in the morning including FRESH FRUIT

- FRESH FRUIT available all day, along with herbal tea!

- FREE INTERNET...hello!

5.) BRING YOUR SWIMSUIT AND SWIM WITH YOUR HONEY AT THE HOTEL POOL! Forget embarrasment about cellulite and stretch marks! Get out there with your hot babe and enjoy exuberant weightlessness in the cool water (weightlessness is the most transforming state of being for a fat person!), hot sun and cool breezes, splashing romance and falling in love all over again! The best fun!

6.) Don't forget to bring your POSITIVE ATTITUDE along with you! You are BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL, ABLE.
You CAN do it!

xoxo michelle joy

Friday, May 27, 2011


From PopEater:

'Grease' actor Jeff Conaway died Friday at age 60, Radar Online reports and The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The news comes just a day after reports that the star would be taken off life support.

Radar calls it "the end a long, sad road of addiction that made him one of Hollywood's cautionary tales." Conaway, known for his roles as Bobby Wheeler on 'Taxi' and T-Bird Kenickie in 1978's iconic 'Grease,' was a New York native who battled substance abuse for much of his career.

Conaway rocketed to fame in 1978 with his starring role in 'Grease' and in the same year began a three-year run on 'Taxi.' Roles dried up in the 1980s as his addictions worsened...

Conaway, who had no children, was married twice -- once to Olivia Newton-John's sister Rona from 1980 to 1985, and again to Kerri Young in 1990.

In 2008, a disheveled and unhealthy Conaway joined celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky's VH1 show, 'Celebrity Rehab,' to address his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Sadly, his sobriety attempt failed and last year, the actor was injured in a fall while under the influence of OxyContin and methadone.

This time, in May of 2011, it was originally reported that Conaway was hospitalized due to a prescription drug overdose, but Pinsky later insisted the star was suffering from pneumonia and sepsis, a dangerous blood infection. Pinsky tweeted on May 21, "We all need to pray for him. Not doing well today suddenly."

Of his televised problems with addiction, Conaway told THR in 2009, "I think people are just enamored with other people's problems because they have enough of their own, and they want to stop thinking about their own and think about somebody else's for a while. I think that's what television is all about, really."

Earlier this year, Conaway and on-and-off-again girlfriend Victoria Spinoza filed restraining orders against each other. The night before Conaway was hospitalized, Spinoza paid him a visit that ignited controversy within the star's family.

Conaway's sister, Carla Shreve, filed a May 18 restraining order against Spinoza, alleging that after a recent breakup, Conaway feared for his life.

"He had just secured an apartment ... and was calling friends and family anxious to start this part of his life without her," reads Shreve's restraining order request, obtained by PEOPLE.

The magazine calls Conaway's rocky relationship with Spinoza "volatile," noting restraining orders each filed against the other earlier in 2011. Spinoza's friend and spokesperson, Aubry Fisher, tells PEOPLE Spinoza cared for Conaway for seven years and deems the new restraining order "horrible and wrong."

_ _ _

Hi Folks,

I'm saddened to hear of Conaway's passing. I remember him well from Taxi.

The fact the he was an addict who could gain no control over his addiction, and that he succumbed to a much too early death...hits home with me, strikes a nerve, makes me take pause.

I'm an addict, too.

Do i wanna end up like Jeff Conaway?

In my desperation to regain control of my diet, i've turned back to raw food. I feel like I now have got a fighting chance to save my life. If i stick to raw and don't lose my raw "abstinance," I'll not succumb to the same fate that Conaway did...untimely death from a life of self-destruction and illness. Constantly barraging the immune system with crap, drugs, binge foods, is gonna weaken the immune system to the point of no return. Pnemonia is gonna be a given then. Sepsis is what my mother had and she almost died from it. If i look down the road and say to myself, "If i keep doing to myself what i'm doing, what do you think will happen?" It's obvious - what happened to Jeff Conaway.

Conaway was so talented, but he wasn't able to overcome his addiction. The same might be said about me, unless i get my shit together and stay raw.

It sounds harsh, raw, raw, raw, legalistic, rules, regulations, addiction talk, where's all the love? Well, what i've been trying, moderation?, I can't make it work. Maybe if i got a labotomy or took anti-depressants or was brainwashed by the moonies, i could make it work.

I finally came to the conclusion that i CHOOSE raw. i didn't want to try to make it work with cooked anymore. Too much failure. Too much pain.

The last few days of utter hopelessness, I asked God to lead me. I started to do an online search of "Cooked Food Addiction." The more articles on cooked food addiction i read, the more and more i became sure that i am a cooked food addict. As i shared with my boss tonight, I said, "Arnold, I was raw for 3.5 years and managed my 175 lb weight loss. When i began to eat cooked, my weight and my eating spun out of control disasterously." I was an addict, who had forgotten it. I thought, 'maybe i can get away with one bite today... Maybe i can be just like everyone else and get to enjoy the foods of every culture... Food glorious food! Maybe i can just eat a little...'

I couldn't.

When i weighed 425 lbs, I was binge eating on such huge amounts of food, the worse and degraded and fried and fatty and disgusting the food was, the more I liked and craved it.

When i turned to Optimum Health Institute to save me from myself, i was making a very clear determination and decision that i was a cooked food addict and by going away for 8 months to eat raw food, i was giving up my old way of life for a new way of living, which i would need to continue when i got home. And i did. I never took a little taste because i knew if i did, i'd be binging on cooked in no time. For 3.5 years, the most i crossed the line was with Rita's waterice and bottled salad dressings and seaweed salads that i knew had a little fish sauce in them. It felt like i was sticking my toe in the water to test the temperature.

It wasn't until i began to eat beans that i realized i had just crossed a very big line. Everything shortwired to bread and butter and i was back binging on cooked in no time.

Now, on the other side, two years after the first bite of beans, I find myself last week ordering hamburger after hamburger from McDonalds again. Wooo, I haven't eaten hamburgers in nearly 5 years. That really shook me to the core to be going "there" again. At 425 lbs, i routinely put away 5 to 6 hamburgers in ONE sitting. Talk about despair driving you. I was miserable and all i wanted was those greasy livery disgusting sandwhiches. With 2 double quarter pounders in my belly last week, I was on my way to 425 lbs again. I'm not too far away at 370ish.

_ _ _

Jeff Conaway is dead due to addiction and illness. And I am alive, thank God, I'm alive today and able to look at his life and say, "I don't want that!" I still have a fighting chance. He does not. I only pray that i can turn around my ever increasing weight and say goodbye to my beloved drug of cooked food and remain back on track on raw, what worked for me for 3.5 years. ONe day at a time.

I've tried everything else. I've NEVER stayed on a program/lifestyle for a YEAR let alone 3.5 years. I may have still been abusing food when i was raw, yes, i binged on Brad's chips, but i was still relatively in control of my diet. Raw is such that you can even binge on it and gain weight, but the minute you send the fruits and veggies through at the next meal, you on to losing the weight again in no time. I felt a measure of CONTROL on raw that i would probably venture to say i never felt with food before.

The last two years? I gave up control. Cooked food was in control. I was at it's mercy.

_ _ _

The A&E Television show, Heavy, has expressed interest in my 'story.' I wrote to them in my despair for help back in April, for my ever increasing weight and addiction to food.

Heavy offers help to supersize obese people, setting them up with trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, and they track and film your progress for 8 months. After the 8 months, your filmed journey becomes part of an episode in the series, Heavy.

Possibly being on TV scares me and excites me. The chance to actually get down to 200 lbs or even below is quite possible if i sign up with this show.

I will also be bearing my soul and failures to the world. But i do that already here. At least there, i have a real chance to make a big change in my life. It's questionable whether i will follow through here without the proper support/guidance.

I will be responding to Heavy's interest in my story by sending them the required videotape they requested to continue the audition process.

They know i am a raw chef and i am going to request they put me on a raw diet if i am chosen for the show.

Wish me luck.

_ _ _

I was takling with my friend, Jan, about the hidden issues behind food addiction and clutter and finance problems. Reading Jeff Conaway's story reveals some of the hidden issues that drive us to "act out".... If you read between the lines of Conaway's story, you see a man deeply struggling with his identity as an out of work actor, probably struggling financially, the anger he must have felt at an industry that once loved him but now disgarded him, his now apparent bitterness towards his public who once loved him, but only now were using him as an escape from their issues by watching his laid out weekly on the Pinsky show, his despair at failed marriages and relationships, growing fear of and anger with his mate, his certainly depressed hopes about getting clean again after failure-after-failure, his crushed self esteem, his certain feelings of loss of a real family life never having had children, ultimately the despair of being so sick physically with pnemonia and sepsis..."will i ever get better?" fear, lonliness, mourning...

All of the hoopla surrounding "the addiction" masks all of the issues. We addicts don't really want to talk about or face what's really going on with us.

_ _ _

Conaway took PAIN killers. What is food but the ultimate PAIN killer? It feels so good and promises to take all of our pain away.

What do we do with our pain once our pain killer is put down? I have so much pain. I'm gonna have to learn how to manage my emotions without numbing them with food.

_ _ _

I have a lot of issues i don't talk about often, but i talk about my out of control eating ALOT.

It's a cover. Just like a messy disorganized house is. You look at the clutter so you don't have to look at the issues. When it's clutter free, when you're drug-free, you finally have to FEEL your feelings. Maybe it's loss of a loved one, maybe it's loss of who you once were, maybe it's a loss of who you'll never be. I feel that alot. I want so much to be an incredible singer and fall short, crushingly short often.

I have LOTS of issues. Crippling insecurity and self doubt, sadness at the prospect i may never have children, anger because i don't get any sex from my mate, bitterness that my needs don't count, anger at men who only love beautiful perfect skinny women, the crushing judgement i feel from others due to my weight gain, the intense loss of self esteem after gaining so much weight back, the shame in my out of control state, the shame of my dirty house, the pain i feel that i'm not good enough, that i'm not worth it, the sadness at the loss of beauty i once had, sadness in the loss of sexuality, my ambivalence about marrying Cliff, my inability to keep house, the lack of trust i feel for my own singing technique, the anger i feel against teachers who have not guided me correctly, the anger i feel against raw foodists who ate cooked food with me, why didn't they stop me from hurting myself?..., the bitterness i feel for the fact that it is almost impossible to get a job as a 350+ lb person, the anger i feel at my own body's proclivity to holding water, i can't even sit at the computer without my ankles swelling, the anger i feel that what i want, salt, is not best for me, the anger i feel at the temp agencies who used to hire me when i was thinner and wouldn't hire me when i was heavier, which i am again, the anger i feel at men who only want to use you for sex, the anger i felt at the recent proposition i received for sex from someone who says he loves me but doesn't love me and only wants to use me, the bitterness i feel towards people who have nice houses, cleaning ladies, who travel, who have lots of i should have...what's wrong with me? i want the world delivered to me on a silver platter and i don't wanna have to work for it,....the indecision i feel about my career, am i a singer? a chef? my lack of any real sucessful career, the anger i feel for cliff for not fixing the walls and the back deck fence and the floors like he promised he would, the anger i feel that i can't have people over to my messy house because i can't afford a cleaning lady, the anger i feel for not having any money, the desire i have to want to be saved and rescued in my diet and financially, my disinterest in taking responsibility for my finances and my weight, the anger i have at my parents for never teaching me how to properly handle money...

I could go on and on.

And these are precisely the things that i unwittingly eat over. Undercurrents always there. Discomfort always present. And food appears and says, "i'll make you numb and take all of your pain away." But food never fixes any of those issues. it just compounds them.

- - -

I started meditating again. I'm having more awarenesses about what drives me. I'm having more awareness that it's my screwed up attitude and my anger and judgement and bitterness that are destroying me, and that i use food to mask all of that.

_ _ _

I was raw for the 2nd day. i feel hopeful again. And not depressed.

I don't wanna end up like Jeff Conaway on a slab in a morgue somewhere with people saying, "She had such talent, she coulda been so much more."

I told my friend, Jan, tonight, "what will they say on my tombstone when i die? How many pounds i gained and lost? Is that what i want my life to be about? About food and dieting?" Because that's what it HAS been about.

Getting to the core of the issues, admitting them, forgiving myself, forgiving others, letting go of the anger, the pain, and grabbing ahold of my Higher Power, grabbing ahold of abstinance as a liferaft to help me win the fight, and finally making peace again that i am an addict....will save me from the same fate that Conaway encountered today.

R.I.P., Jeff.

xoxo michelle joy

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Food Addiction, Food Allergy and Overweight

By Stephen A. Levine, Ph.D.

Have you ever eaten something- a bowl of ice cream, a piece of cheese, an orange- and felt hungrier than before? Do you have urges for a particular food and find it hard to satisfy your craving unless you eat that particular food?

If the answer is “yes” to either of these questions, then you have a food allergy. If you are also fat, then chances are your food allergy is making you fat.

Food sensitivities may cause allergic people to crave those foods to which they are allergic. Just as a drug addict suffers withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withdrawn, allergic people experience discomfort when they lose access to a particular food.

Obese people can testify to the overwhelming power of food allergy addiction. Compulsive eaters crave and continue to eat those allergenic foods to which they are addicted day-after-day. The obese person has no idea that his daily food cravings or eating habits are based on a physiological need to stop withdrawal symptoms caused by food allergy addiction.

The phenomenon of simultaneous allergy and addiction to both foods and chemicals is now well accepted by doctors specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. These specialists, known as clinical ecologists, believe that many chronic health problems, such as migraine, fatigue, depression, and arthritis are caused by allergies to foods and chemicals and affect approximately one-third of the population living in industrial countries.

It is commonly observed that the same food may cause different reactions among different people. An individual's genetic predisposition to allergies will determine which part of his body will become the vulnerable target organ or tissue. Any major organ may become involved: the symptoms of cerebral allergies include hyperactivity, depression, irritability, headaches, and some forms of schizophrenia: hypoglycemia is a manifestation of pancreatic malfunction frequently caused by allergy; while in other cases, the blood vessels may be the target organ with the resulting signs of vasculitis and edema. The symptoms are compounded and are generally more severe following frequent contact with allergy provoking food.

Water retention, or edema, is particularly common among allergic individuals and is an important contributing factor to obesity. The removal of an offending food will often result in a rapid water loss of five to ten pounds within a week's time, all without the use of a diuretic.

Michael Rosenbaum, M.D. who practices preventive medicine in Mill Valley, California has observed this water-retention phenomenon frequently among patients in his allergy clinic. He found that following the initial water loss, the person tends to lose fat more easily, even without dieting. Rosenbaum states, “Food sensitivities can cause the body to retain both water and fat.” Often, Rosenbaum believes, the big weight loss that occurs when someone follows a low-allergen diet has nothing to do with the quantity of calories in the diet.

The following scenarios by Dr. Rosenbaum illustrate the dramatic weight loss achieved among patients following the elimination of allergy-provoking foods from their diet: “One of my patients who was found to be sensitive to dairy products decided to substitute bread and beer to make up for the removal of milk and cheese from his diet. He was probably consuming even more calories and still managed to lose ten pounds in the first month without even trying. The next time I saw him, his pants were falling off.”

“Another one of my patients, a woman in her early thirties, was undergoing a stressful period when she came to my office. She had sensitivities to wheat and dairy products and adopted a 'what-the-hell type attitude,' continuing to eat these foods regularly. Besides seeing her weight balloon from 140 to 180 pounds, she developed a gnawing depression and irritability.

“Finally, after several months of self-abuse, she stopped eating wheat and dairy products. Her subsequent diet contained the same amount of calories as the diet containing wheat and dairy products. After a few months on the allergen-free diet, she is back to 140 pounds. Her friends have remarked about her wonderful transformation and were amazed at the way the weight had just come off by itself.”

Dr. Rosenbaum believes that food sensitivity exerts its most profound effect on the limbic portion of the brain. This section of the brain houses the control centers of our emotions as well as memory and vegetative functions, including body temperature, sexuality, blood pressure, sleep, hunger and thirst. Food allergies seem to affect most of these vital functions.

This neurophysiological analysis is shared by William Philpott, M.D., a clinical ecologist from Oklahoma City, who has written extensively on the subject. Dr. Philpott speculates that frequent contact with allergenic foods triggers a rise in the brain opioid enkephalin. The enkephalin is a narcotic product produced by the body that is as addictive as externally supplied narcotics.

The primary food allergens are coffee, dairy products, wheat, eggs, and corn. In Oriental countries, rice is a prominent allergen. Among vegetables, white potatoes and lettuce are potent allergens. Marshall Mandell, M.D. of Norwalk, Connecticut and author of Dr. Mandell's 5 Day Allergy Relief System, found that 92.2 percent of hospitalized schizophrenic patients were allergic to one or more common substances. When Dr. Mandell tested a group of patients diagnosed as hard-to-treat neurotics, he found that 88 percent of them were allergic to wheat, 50 percent to corn, and 60 percent to milk.

Charles McGee, M.D., who practices clinical ecology in C'oeur D'Alene, Idaho, and is the author of How to Survive Modern Technology, was asked whether in his opinion, food and chemical allergies could be a major cause of obesity, he replied: “There are so many people who are addicted to all sorts of foods. The ones who are addicted to coffee do not necessarily get fat, but the ones who are addicted to sugar or wheat, they may end up running around with candies or wheat-containing crackers in their pockets to satisfy the craving. What's most important is that it's extremely difficult for these allergic individuals to lose weight unless they ultimately gain control of their food allergies. They must identify the particular allergens, break the craving, and then eliminate the chemical or food.”

To understand both allergic and associated addictive phenomenon we can look at the two conditions, both as aspects of food intolerance. In allergy-addiction, there are three principle stages: the first stage is characterized by an acute allergic reaction to a toxic substance. Recall the first time that you, or someone you know, smoked a cigarette.

Most frequently, the individual will find the smoke distasteful and may even have clinical symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and dizziness.

This acute reaction can be taken as evidence that the cigarette smoke has some toxic effects on the body. After smoking becomes a habit, the symptoms are no longer noticeable. Your body gets used to the smoke and the symptoms are said to be “masked,” or hidden. The masking can be considered an adaptation by the body to tolerate the poison with which it comes in frequent contact. Even though there are no overt symptoms, the adaptation to this obvious toxin takes its toll in terms of chronic body stress.

During this period, the adaptation is so strong that you become dependent on cigarettes, or in other words, “hooked.” You must smoke at regular intervals to avoid withdrawal symptoms. When you try to quit, your body craves the cigarettes: you are addicted in the truest sense of the word and you will experience the addictive aspect of the “allergy-addiction syndrome.”

It is significant that all addictions are similar in this regard- whether cigarettes, coffee, heroin, wheat or milk products. The final stage occurs when the body fails to maintain adaptation and experiences the allergic and addicted symptomatology simultaneously. This is the stage in which chronic symptoms of the disease emerge.

Now just about any clinical symptom can result from the allergy-addiction syndrome. Dr. Ellen Grant reported in the medical journal, Lancet, that 85 percent of migraine sufferers could be rendered symptom-free when they followed a diet excluding the ten most common food allergens. Some of the most provocative agents were cigarettes, coffee and birth control pills. The evidence is also strong for the allergic causation of arthritis, asthma, and diabetes.

The allergic reaction itself can result in a drastic reduction in blood sugar with the accompanying symptomatology: weakness, hunger and irritability. Allergic hunger is pathological in that it does not respond to the normal satiety control center in the brain when food is consumed in normal amounts, so both the addictive and allergic responses to allergy can cause uncontrollable eating behavior.

In one case history a 37-year-old woman who had trouble with many different weight reduction programs, including the HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) diet, the drinking man's diet, the Stillman diet, it became evident that after each partially successful episode of weight reduction she would regain her weight.

The reason for this lady's difficulties was later found to be food allergies. In the 6-hour oral glucose tolerance test, we found a marked hypoglycemic curve: the blood sugar dropped from 220 at 1 hour to 45 mg percent at 3 ½ hours. At this time she experienced severe shakiness, giddiness, nausea, and shortness of breath as well as other symptoms. She was assured that once the food allergen was determined and eliminated from her system, the symptoms of hypoglycemia would disappear.

People who are allergic to sugar experience a craving for sweets. One patient ate 50 twinkies a day and although her stomach would hurt, she would keep on eating. When her husband left for work in the morning she would take a tablespoon of sugar as soon as he was out the door, because it would make her feel good.

She would actually get high on sugar. Three or four hours later she would go into a depression and had attempted suicide several times. Her suicide attempts were prompted by withdrawal symptoms. The woman didn't get well until a conscientious physician wrestled with the etiology of her problem, namely food allergy. Now she realizes that she must read all food labels for ingredients.

Patients afflicted with allergy-addictions will usually experience a sense of well-being after a month on an allergen-free diet. Many individuals lose excess water from their tissues and achieve a weight loss from 10 to 15 pounds.

Dr. Rosenbaum, as well as other nutritionally-oriented allergists rely on other methods besides avoidance of the allergenic foods. Vitamin C and mineral bicarbonates are used extensively in allergy clinics throughout the country. The mineral buffers should not include sodium, which is a hypertensive agent and can make a person more prone to edema, but instead the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium. These buffers will neutralize the acidity caused by the allergic reaction and alleviate stress, thereby inducing symptomatic relief.

As little as one teaspoon of this combination of nutrients can totally knock out hunger cravings caused by food allergies as well as eliminate the withdrawal symptoms caused by exclusion of the addictive foods.

This is symptomatic relief, but works dramatically and also gives a clear indication that the symptoms were caused by allergenic phenomenon. If the nutrient combination eliminates your hunger then you can be sure that your hunger was induced by some aspect of the allergy-addiction syndrome.

Functional food and chemical allergies have been largely ignored by most medical doctors. One reason for this is that there has been no miracle drug that can be heavily promoted by the drug companies, so the doctors would not be encouraged to diagnose the disease and then treat it. Until now there has been no simple easy cure for allergies. Nutritional treatment in the form of vitamin, mineral, amino acid and glandular supplements accompanied by avoidance of allergenic foods offer the critical answer to this problem.

Certain aspects of nutritional medicine can fall under the heading of what the author calls, “Nutritional Pharmacology.” The most striking example of this in regard to food allergies and weight reduction is the success achieved in combining buffers of mineral bicarbonates and Vitamin C. Through readjustment of the normal pH balance in the body one can eliminate many of the symptoms of food allergy, especially hunger. The simple test, using a highly buffered Vitamin C solution and observing whether it controls your appetite is an excellent diagnostic procedure for the determination of food allergies. Patients with multiple and severe allergies are well advised to visit a clinical ecologist or nutritionally-oriented allergist.

Steven A. Levine, Ph.D., biochemist from UC Berkeley, co-author of Antioxidant Adaptation.

Visit Dr. Levine's web sites at and

_ _ _ _

Hi Folks,

That was a long article, but it made a big impact on me.

Reading this article this morning helped me to set my day straight. So much of this binge eating revolves around denial.

Today, I think i'm definitely a cooked food addict.

I mean, after I ate cooked beans two years ago, everything DID eventually go haywire with my diet. Up until then, I was raw for 3.5 years and maintained my 175 lb weight loss fairly well. The most I ever gained was 50 lbs. And that was when i was eating Rita's waterice (definitely not raw) fairly frequently within my raw vegan diet.

I took that weight off once i went low fat raw vegan again, and dropped the waterice, when i was following, eating 1 banana only, and 1/4 of an avocado a day for fat, with the rest of my diet consisting of low fat / low glycemic raw fruits or veggies and no salt.

I WAS binge eating on gourmet at this time and would gain 25+ lbs repeatedly, but always took them off going back on the 811 regiment. To put it simply, i was managing. At least i felt a measure of control in going BACK to the low fat vegan over and over again. And i must say, my weight was 250's - 270's at this time.

That's when i started to write this blog.

Now i weigh 370ish? I haven't weighed myself but i can tell. My butt is too big for the toilet seat now.

I remember when i turned to cooked beans I intellectually thought they were lower in fat than nuts, so i would be doing myself a favor, since so much of the focus had been on keeping the diet low-fat.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. All of the cues I was taking to incorporate cooked were coming from raw friends who were non-addicts and could eat some cooked and still survive it. Then there's me. The addict.

After I ate beans, i felt like i'd crossed a line. And then everything else was open game. Next came bread and butter. Fish soon came back in. Then it was shellfish. And just within the last few months, chicken, turkey and beef began to lure me again. The McDonalds quarter pounders I had frightened me. I was right back to doing what i'd done to weigh 425 lbs. And true to form, in two years of eating cooked food, i gained back 120 of the 175 lbs i lost.

_ _ _ _

After 14 days of raw on this last spell, I went back to cooked, thinking, "maybe i can handle it this time, now that i'm 'clean.'"

Well, that smart idea didn't fair me well. I binge ate the entire past week and laid on the sofa distraught, depressed and utterly hopeless.

_ _ _

I didn't know how i was going to get myself to work at ARnold's Way this morning. The only way i made it was by God's grace.

I meditated in the morning as I really felt completely hopeless and incredibly depressed. I've hit the bottom many times repeatedly over the last weeks. I asked God to lead me, and I submitted to him in meditation.

But i still couldn't find anything cool to wear that fit me, and my face was big and bloated.

I decided to not look at myself in the mirror and do the best i could with clothes.

At work, i was very uncomfortable, very very bloated, and did a medical intervention of taking some diuretics, which helped me feel better immediately. When i am in so much discomfort from water retention, it seems like the only way to get myself over the hump. I know it's not good. But i can't deny that it helps me get through a day at work after binge eating on cooked.

_ _ _

I ended up having a wonderful day at work. I felt supported and positive. I was busy and productive. I received lots of positive feedback. I didn't feel ashamed of myself or depressed. i reached out to friends and felt loved by them.

I ate raw all day at work and when i came home, i decided to eat a raw salad, because i'm an addict, and that's what i need to do for today.

There is hope on the horizon.

xoxo michelle joy


By Victoria Boutenko

Cooked food is a very severe addiction. Can you go to Russia and get all the alcoholics in Red Square to drink carrot juice? You can tell them that it's cheaper than vodka and it has beta-carotene and it's good for you, but less than 2% will switch. For six years I had been wasting my time because people cannot go on raw food without some form of therapy.

100% Success with the 12 Step Program to Raw Foods

In 2001 I created a therapy that is described in my book, 12 Steps to Raw Food and began another class. There were 45 people in my first class. When it was over, I waited 30 days, then I called everyone. I was praying that 30% were still on raw food. What do you think? 100% were still on raw food! Since then, for the past three years, I've been teaching 12 Steps to Raw Food very successfully.

The Four Levels of Addiction to Cooked Food

I have found that cooked food is addictive on four levels:

1. Chemical
All carbohydrates become sucrose when heated. Sucrose or white sugar is one of the most addictive substances in the world. Its molecular structure is very similar to cocaine. When people stop eating cooked carbohydrates, their personalities change a lot. They become calmer and happier and they even go through the same twitches that people go through when they quit taking cocaine. That is why cooked carbohydrates are the basis of all international cuisine. Mexicans eat tortillas, Italians eat pasta, Americans eat potatoes, Russians eat bread, Armenians eat lavash. What about white sugar? Have you ever had just one little candy and thought it was enough? You always want another. Other addictive substances in cooked food are caffeine, chocolate, MSG, aspartame, all of the excitotoxins, preservatives, colorings and flavor enhancers, almost 2,000 different things that are addictive. That's the chemical level.

2. Biological
When we are born, we are programmed to be raw fooders. We never request our mothers to steam their breast milk. We like it raw. However, when we're six months old, doctors tell mothers to introduce cooked foods to the baby. The instincts in our body are telling us to beware, SOS! Mother says "Mmmm", and the baby's body says "No". Baby spits it out, screws up his face. Pooh. They try it again and again. Then the next thing that happens, is a fast and smelly diarrhea. The body says, hey, ouch, quick, out of the body. But because this substance is addictive, it takes three times and the baby gets accustomed to it and begins to like it. We are now programmed to be cooked food eaters.

According to the book, Sacred Wisdom of the Human Body, when the body is programmed to cooked foods, two gallons of digestive juices per day are pumped into the system. When the body is programmed to be a raw food eater, it is only one cup per day. That means if you eat three cooked meals a day, your body produces 700 mg. of saliva, 750 mg. of pancreatic juice, 3 liters of stomach juice and 3.5 liters of intestinal juice. Altogether, two gallons per day. If you put your ear to your belly, what do you hear? Growling. That's those juices pumping. All those juices give you an uncomfortable feeling. You feel tension, light-headedness, weakness, irritability, even depression, hunger pains, headaches and withdrawal symptoms. The only thing that will give you relief is cooked food. You feel hungry, you feel starved. That never happens to people who eat only raw food. They could easily move the time of lunch for two or three hours, even miss it completely, and they don't feel any discomfort.

When we put a good cake or pasta in our mouth, we say, oh, it's so good, it's to die for. My book, 12 Steps to Raw Foods, has been translated into twelve languages including Chinese. In all languages there was no problem finding the equivalent of "to die for". We sarcastically call it by its true name and it does kill people because statistically, people who eat only raw food, never die from cancer or heart attacks, the two main causes of death today. If people who have cancer or heart problems simply go on 100% raw foods, statistics tell us their symptoms will go away. So, that is our biological level of addiction to cooked food.

3. Emotional
The next level of addiction to cooked food is the emotional level. Whenever we experience stress, we like to eat something because eating cooked food makes us sleepy and foggy. Eating cucumbers doesn't help. We need to eat something comforting. It's not that we are popcorn deficient. We don't call popcorn or corn chips nutritious. We call them comforting. When someone is feeling sad, you take them out for some ice cream or give them some chocolate. We don't know how to cope with our emotions, and if we are left alone with our emotions and we don't have anything to eat, it will be very uncomfortable. It could actually lead us to some spiritual discoveries, but we don't do that, we eat instead. So that's the emotional level, but the hardest level of all is the spiritual level of addiction.

4. Spiritual
We are all spiritual beings, and as spiritual beings we are all special. Maybe some of you have been brainwashed to believe that you are not really important, but deep inside you feel special because you know you have a special spiritual mission in your life. And when you don't follow the spiritual mission, you have problems. What would you like to have inscribed on your gravestone when you die? "She had a good credit history"? It looks like that's what we really care about, but if we don't follow our spiritual mission, we begin to develop spiritual pain and we experience this spiritual pain more and more as we get older. That's why the 12 Step Programs are spiritual programs. That's why the last four steps of the 12 Steps Raw to Foods are spiritual steps.

Help for the Addiction
We help you to reprogram your behavior. First, we help people to get out of denial. Food is the hardest case of denial. We don't give six month-old babies alcohol or cocaine, but every single person in the world has been given cooked food at an early age, and because almost everyone eats cooked food, it's hard for us to acknowledge that it's an addiction. Do you ever overeat? Do you feel good when you overeat? You don't want to overeat, but you know that it will happen because it's beyond your control. Your body just takes over and rationalizes, "I will only eat it this time, but never again."

If I can't handle it by myself, I need help. So the second step is to get a sponsor. We divide into sponsor pairs. Then you write down the three main reasons you want to eat your food raw on a business card. Some people say they have fibromyalgia, some are overweight, some want more energy. On the other side you write the cell phone of your sponsor and you carry it in your purse at all times. Whenever you have a wish to eat some cooked food, you have to call your sponsor and you tell them how delicious that food smells, and so you think you're going to eat some. Your sponsor tells you to take out your card and read it out loud. You read, "I weigh 280 pounds, I don't want to be dependent on my children". She says, is this still important to you? You say, oh yes. And then she says, what can you do instead? And you say, well maybe I'll go for a walk or buy myself a flower or a smoothie at the juice bar. Then you say, thank you, and she calls you when she needs help.

Article from Victoria, founder of, author of books Raw Family, 12 Steps to Raw Foods and Eating without Heating. Article found on

xoxo michelle joy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


By Tonya Zavasta

The fact is, almost all of us, are addicted to something. If nothing else, most of us are addicted to cooked food. So pervasive is the pattern that few even think of this as an addiction at all.

Studies show that a child of alcoholic parents is four times more likely to become an alcoholic than is the child of non-alcoholic parents. So consider: What chance do we have to avoid the cooked food addiction, if cooking has been around for tens of thousands of years?

Is it really an addiction? Yes. The sure sign: When the supply of cooked food cut is off, we experience withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal may include dizziness, chills, food cravings, headache and poor concentration—even flu-like symptoms.

Whatever you feel, you feel it almost always because of chemicals released in your body. It is believed that the cause of cravings for food is the presence of a chemical (beta-endorphin) that stimulates the felt need for certain foods. Cooked foods, in particular, because no one craves carrots or celery. Eat sugar in high concentration over time, and your nerve cells will actually alter in a way similar to the alteration seen in cocaine addiction (though different nerves are involved). The craving for cooked food isn’t merely “psychological”—it’s a cellular hunger, a tissue hunger. It’s powerful because it is mostly a physical phenomenon.

If you can be 95, 98 or 99 percent raw, then good for you, it means you are not an addict. It never worked for me. It has been my experience that the best way to stop cravings is to cleanse your body completely and practice complete physical abstinence from your trigger—cooked foods. Abstinence is not a diet. To be abstinent is to avoid any substance that triggers your addiction. We do not “go on a raw food diet,” as if we were simply “cutting down for a while.” Rather, most of us must practice abstinence from cooked foods, foods that in the long run contribute to illnesses and aging.

To find our “cure” for cooked food addiction we must stay “sober,” that is stay 100 percent raw. Once we start eating trigger foods, we crave more. We, the cooked-food-addicted, just like those who are addicted to alcohol, can never safely consume our addictive substance at all. Our bodies will at once take note if we eat any amount of addictive substances, and we may very soon find ourselves falling off the wagon. The sure way for us to set up that craving again is to introduce even a very small amount of cooked food into the system.

If you find that your cook food craving is starting to get the best of you, try substituting something. Often going for intense exercise, such as hot yoga, will center you and clear your head from the food temptations. Or perhaps you still need to include more variety in your raw food diet. Go to a raw food restaurant if one is available, or try out a new recipe. Best wishes!

_ _ _ _

Hi Folks,

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Tanya.

I've not been blogging this past week. I fell off after 14 days raw.

The subsequent days have seen me slip into a terrible depression and predictable reactivation of the cooked food addiction. It was as easy as taking the first bite of cooked. From then on, I was "cooked."

As hard as i try, I cannot get my food under control. I try eating cooked in moderation. I try changing my attitude. Being happy. Accepting myself. Over and over and over again, I fail.

I take these words from Tanya Zavasta to heart.

Please write or leave comments. I feel very alone.

Gotta get back on track because nothing else works, and believe me, I've tried it all.

xoxo michelle joy

Saturday, May 21, 2011


PBS came to ARNOLD'S WAY and shot a segment a few months back, spotlighting the store and it's owner, Arnold Kauffman. The feature finally aired! The special spot also features inspiring cameos of several Arnold's Way customers who have found great success with the raw food diet. It is so well done and so inspirational! Thank you to Arnold for all that you do and thank you to PBS for noticing!

_ _ _ _

The song, "SKIN," by Nicky Sixx of Moetley Cru, from his album, This is gonna hurt, is a very moving rock ballad that i never would have heard if it were not for my friend and Arnold's Way coworker, Dorinda. My birthday was last week, and Dorinda bought me the album, hoping I would love this song, Skin, as much as she does. She told me when she heard the song, it opened up something in her and she just sat there listening to it over and over again, crying and crying. Since i'm doing the same thing!!!, I wanted to share it with you, too, in case you found it moving as well. I specifically relate to the song as an obese woman with stretchmarks and cellulite and hangy skin from losing and gaining weight over and over again. Since I'm also prone to feeling shame, embarrassment, and to hiding and isolating especially when i am in pain and binge eating, the song reminds me that what's important is the angel in my heart, and nothing else. The song teaches me to not let the opinions or judgements of others bother me or to stop me from living, and to not allow my weight or the state of my 'skin' to define who i am. Thank you Dorina, and thank you, Nicky Sixx, for your touching lyrics.

SKIN by Nicky Sixx
Paint yourself a picture
Of what you wish you looked like
Mayby then they just might
Feel an ounce of your pain

Come into focus
Step out of the shadows
It's a losing battle
There's no need to be ashamed

Cause they don't even know you
All they see is scars
They don't see the angel
Living in your heart

Let them find the real you
Buried deep within
Let them know with all you got
That you are not your skin

When they start to judge you
Show them your true colors
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you

Just rise above this
Kill them with your kindness
Ignourence is blindness

They're the ones that stand to lose

Cause they don't even know you
All they see is scars
They don't see the angel
Living in your heart

Let them find the real you
Burry deep within
Let them know with all you got
That you are not your skin

Well they don't even know you
All they see is scars
They don't see the angels
Living in your heart

Let them find the real you
Burry deep within
Let them know with all you got
That you are not
That you are not your skin

xoxo michelle joy

Monday, May 16, 2011


Hiya Folks,

I'm excited to report i'm on day 13 of raw. Life is beautiful. I feel like a sober alcoholic. THIS is my medicine and I just need to do this for me. Binge eating is gone. I eat when i'm hungry. I soak my sunflower seeds to reduce fat 40%. I've lost about 30 lbs. I eat fat, but i guess calorically i'm taking in less calories to be losing. I drink smoothie for breakfast and often smoothie for lunch. My dinner lately has been a big salad with germinated sunflower/sesame seed "dressing" poured over. So delish. Like a big Ceasar Salad. The last few nights i was hungry and had a few stuffed dates. I wake up earlier and earlier. I wanna move. I wanna do. I cry sometimes. Often. But mostly i'm so happy, so freaking grateful to have the food obsession removed again and to be losing and looking pretty in the face again. I sang at a church event last night and brought raw desserts (stuffed dates and coconut balls) and gave a little demo. I'm Michelle, the Raw Foodist again, and i'm so happy to be back. The 2 years i spent "out there" in cooked land became more painful than pleasurable because i couldn't stop. I've made peace today, and even picked the cooked corn out of the big salad i ordered at the Mexican restaurant, just because. Not because i think it would kill me, just because i don't want to cross over the line today. Happy to have a line again, and happy to abide by it.

xoxo michelle joy

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Day 8 raw

Br: chocolate, strawberry, hemp smoothie

Utterly delish! I drank about 16 oz. I could have drank twice that much!

Sn: 1 banana

Hungry at the turnpike stop. I had to drive Cliff to Harrisburg and back to pick up his motorcycle. Long drive! Was excited to get home for a good lunch!

Ln: raw taco boats! 3 romaine lettuce leaves filled with chili flavored germinated sunflower/sesame seed pate; homemade guacamole; homemade salsa; the kernals of 1/3 of a corn on the cob! no salt

Didn't really enjoy my lunch. Had a lot of fears going on in my head, and it didn't taste as good as i expected it to and i was dissappointed. but it was beautiful looking! i don't know if maybe i wasn't hungry enough for lunch yet... maybe that's why it didn't taste as good? Or was it because it really did need a little salt?

Dn: berry smoothie (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, 1 banana); 1/2 cup of leftover lunch taco fillings with 2 sprinkles of salt.

The smoothie was refreshing but i was hungry within an hour. The leftovers i was worried would be dissappointing again so i added a little salt. Whew, THAT tasted delicious! That little bit of salt helped me enjoy what i felt might have been unenjoyable! Still, fighting off and guarding against all or nothing thinking....

_ _ _

I could write 10 blog entries a day and it would never cover all that I go through in a day as a new (return) raw foodist. There is so much i want to say. Sometimes today, I was so flooded with feelings of joy, and love for Cliff, it's a little scary, like a shoe is going to drop and something bad is going to happen. The numbness of compulsive eating has without a doubt lifted!!! I'm living life aware of my feelings now! Or maybe i was always aware that i was feeling 'something,' but i didn't know WHY or WHAT. Well, I'm feeling them, baby! I often through the course of the day find i don't feel good. It'd be so easy to brush it off and say, 'raw food makes me feel bad.' But, so far, i've identified today that these 'bad feeling' episodes have had nothing to do with the food making me feel bad, and everything to do just emotions, feelings percolating to the surface for expulsion. Soon, the floodgates open, my mouth starts moving and i talk to Cliff and figure it out. "Ahah!, so THAt's what was bothering me..." I'm a very emotional person, and thoughts i have, and fears that i notice, affect me emotionally. I have many waves of emotions throughout the day, happy to sad and everything in between. It's kinda intense. Man, i must've been REALLY numbed out before. Today, i felt inexplicably sad again, then i realized, I was feeling some pretty significant fear about losing weight. So many fearful thoughts pass through my head about weight. I hear Carlene's voice from bootcamp. "You can't eat bananas and lose weight!" I hear Dr. Graham's voice. "You can't eat corn and lose weight!" I hear Gwen Shamblin's voice. "You can't eat a second raw taco and lose weight!" No wonder why i didn't ENJOY lunch! They wouldn't let me! Everyone is telling me i'm doing something wrong. Am i? Or am i just learning to follow my OWN lead? It's kind of a scary place to be in, attempting to trust myself, eating what i want, raw, and also what i think is healthy, like germinating my seeds, and other times just eating what i need for pure pleasure, like a few sprinkles of salt. Man, did that do the trick, or what??? Sensual indulgence. I just needed a little. Also, just feeding my own hunger, too, can sometimes be confusing, scary. First i have to confirm what i'm feeling to be real hunger. Sometimes I bypass it because i want to wait for my meal at home. Sometimes I address it right away if i can, like taking a snack. It's not an easy job, it's independant, and scary all at once.

This is me getting over my eating disorder.

xxoxo michelle joy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


One thing Weigh Down Workshop taught me - the value of eating small portions of foods I love.

Now that I'm raw again, instead of denying myself the pleasure of hemp seeds and dates and chocolate in my morning smoothie (like i used to do with radical low-fat or low-glycemic raw approaches like 811 or which i could never stick to and only set me up to binge), today i enjoy a SMALL PORTION of fattier raw foods. This morning, for example, I enjoyed a luscious hempy, datey, chocolately smoothie for breakfast, only a moderate 10 oz serving since that was all i needed before the hunger turned off, INSTEAD of 3 huge 16 oz glasses like I used to drink and then feel intense remorse and frustration because i thought i 'couldn't' lose weight eating fat on raw.

Weigh Down Workshop at least proves that people CAN lose weight eating long as you eat portions that are appropriate to YOUR boday and YOUR authentic hunger.

I always marveled at how Dustin Kellogg lost over 100 lbs eating raw gourmet. He obviously ate an amount appropriate to his body and his true hunger.

I was never successful for long on programs like Weight Watchers that ask you to control "regular" foods, like 1 oz of chips and 1/2 cup of icecream. Yeah, right.

Raw is the first "diet" I could stick to for 3.5 years. Raw removes addictive foods and makes it practically impossible for me to eat at fast food restaurants. A good thing, since i'm a fast food addict.

Eating "small portions of everything" seemed like a dream-come-true idea on Weigh Down Workshop. You mean, i get to eat anything i WANT???? Wow!!!! Even though i've never been able to make it work, I'd thought i'd give it another shot.

On Weigh Down, I was hungry ALL day. My stomach made noises and squirms and yearns and gurgles non stop. And when i overate even ONE bite, the guilt was overwhelming. I'd passed the point of no return and and I was right back in bingeland in an instant.

No, to make it work, apparently you have to move to Tennesee, memorize bible verses all day, leave your husband, listen to Gwen on her streaming video talks 24/7 on your headset, join the cooky Remnant cult and live a life of senseless rules and regulations and fear and and have Gwen embarrass you in front of the congregation weekly disclosing publicly all of your overeating episodes.

Eating raw seems easier than that.

Eating raw, my tummy is surprisingly QUIET in between meals. And i forget about food. Until i'm hungry again.

Eating salt free or low salt (using nutritional yeast) raw has been like an oasis in the dessert. I feel like i've been rescued. This act of giving up salt has eliminated most of my former raw bingefoods, like Brad's raw chips, and raw bread and salty raw nuts. The discipline has offered me a much needed rest.

Eating alkelizing foods also creates almost no stomach acid. When we eat highly acidic cooked foods, like fried meats, our body produces gallons of stomach acid to break down the food.

With raw, the body only produces 1/2 cup of stomach acid to digest the easily digestible fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.

That's why on raw, reflux diminishes. That's why a 'comfy tummy' in between meals becomes the norm.

Would you rather have 2 gallons of acid sloshing around in your belly making noises and making you feel starving and uncomfortable all day? Or a quiet 1/2 cup?

Today, i'll take 1/2 cup.

It's kind of akin to how a drug addict who needs a hit must feel. Being finally OFF of the highly acidifying foods (granted, not ALL cooked foods are acid-forming), my tummy feels so much better.

The other day, though, i was watching a cooking show and I actually cried watching Chef Daisy Martinez taste the delicious cooked food she'd just prepared. I so admire her shapely, trim, but womanly figure, and her passion and love of delicious food. She constantly moans when cooking, "My mouth is watering!" If i could be like Daisy and eat normal portions and not be obsessed with food...

"Why can't i be like her? She gets to eat normally and stay thin! Why can't that be me?," I cried. I literally cried. It was a part of my detox.


Why can't i be 6 feet tall and be a super model?

Why can't my eyes be blue instead of brown?

At the Easter party I was at last month, there were regular people eating regular foods, most of them so full from overeating, but they were normal-weight people, not excessively fat or obsessed with food in real life. Regular people CAN overeat sometimes...and not get morbidly obese and massively lose control of food.

Then there was me. I tasted the turkey Lucille cooked. It was just another food i wanted to experiment with since opening the doors to cooked and gaining 120 pounds back. For the first time in 5 years, I had turkey. It was so mind blowingly delicious, i couldn't get it out of my mind. Every opportunity i had, i snuck over to the turkey for a sneak bite. I was absolutely obsessed out of my mind with that turkey. I was planning on a turkey sub for the next day. Planning on how i could get back over to that turkey platter when no one was looking. The taste, the texture, the aroma. Turkey, turkey, turkey!

I also couldn't find a chair to sit in that fit.

There are people who are obsessed with food like me, who become morbidly obese because of their addiction. And there are normal people like everyone else.

There were also people drinking alcohol, in moderation, normal folks, who imbibe on holidays, like everyone does.

Then there is Bill, the confirmed alcoholic, who was visibly smashed, and who is never without a beer in his hand, anytime i see him.

Bill isn't like normal people with alcohol.

"Why, Why, why?" we cry, before we come to terms with the fact that WE may be different than other people.

"Why, why, me?," we cry, when we can't do something like other people can. Like eat normally.

Or sing.

I can sing. Not everyone can.

Hey, people with Celiac disease can't have donuts for breakfast like everyone else without entering into a state of extreme distress. People who are allergic to shellfish can die if they ingest it. The smart ones don't feel sorry for themselves. They accept. They avoid what makes them sick. And they move on with their lives, never looking back. They don't say, "Let's see if that shrimp will kill me THIS time!," and start munching on it. They don't test the waters. They KNOW.

Some people may not be food addicts like i am. But, maybe their metabolisms are so slow, they may gain weight eating what a normal weight person eats and easily burns off. That guy over there, Joe Shmo, can eat a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, a steak and potato for dinner and eggs and bacon for breakfast, and not gain a pound.

His metabolism is all revved up. He burns it.

And then, there's someone like me, who has gotten so extremely sedentary, she gains if she eats what Joe Shmo can, she becomes so blown up from the salt she can hardly walk, and then so obsessed with the food, she can't think of anything else...

Some people can lose weight on 2500 calories. Some may need to eat under 1000 calories to lose weight. It depends on their metabolism.

The leader of my Weigh Down group, Andy, followed Weigh Down's suggestion (pressure) and maintained a very radically low amount of calories to lose over 200 lbs in one year - 500 cals a day. That's radical. (But he's a part of the Remnant cult, so he gets publicly weighed in at church weekly and publicly humiliated unless he follows their guidelines).

The TLC channel's bed-ridden "600 lb mom" of 6 from Haiti, Dominique Lanoise, was put on a 700 calorie diet and instructed to do calisthenics in bed, which she did in the first episode with the help of her daughters. She can only wave her arms and move from the waist up as she is almost completely immobile, stuck in bed, but she moved her upper body to music and seemed to be having fun. This will help raise her metabolism. Dominique lost over 35 lbs in the first two weeks on the 700 calorie diet, which was mostly water weight her doctor commented, but it was a great start.

The second weigh-in came in another two weeks. Dominique was hoping she lost another 35+ lbs. That would mean she would have taken off 70 lbs in 4 weeks!

No such luck. Dominique's daughters snuck fried shrimp and rice into her room, along with bottled sugary iced tea. Dominique gained 4 lbs during those 2 weeks.

It was estimated that Dominique was taking in only 2,000 calories a day prior to the drs diet to maintain her 600 lb body. 2,000 cals a day is nothing~! That's one McDonald's value meal. That's a SNACK for Joe Shmo. Dominique's metabolism had stopped functioning. She maintained a massive body on the caloric equivalent of a big mac and some fries and a coke.

I suppose I should be grateful my metabolism is in a better state than Dominiques.

Dominique could cry, "Why, why, why can't i eat one huge plate of fried shrimp and rice a day and lose weight????," but her weight wasn't going to move unless she took in under 1000 cals a day, and ate more than once a day and moved in bed to rev up her metabolism.

Weigh Down would take a different approach and instruct Dominique to eat 3 fried shrimp and a half cup of rice daily to lose her weight. For supersize obese people, they "suggest" (pressure) according to some inane bible verse that we should eat 10 oz of food a day. That's the amount of food that would fit on a saucer, once a day. That's how you lose two and three hundred pounds in a year at the Remnant church cult. (But you have to join the cult to do it and be publicly humiliated and degraded when you don't.)

Following the drs. diet, Dominique's emotions began to de-numb. She began to start feeling very emotional, upsettingly so. She freaked out, yelling and screaming at her daughters from her bed. She was livid that the house was messy. I think she was really just in withdrawls from fried shrimp. Dominique called the police asking them to kick her kids out of the house because it was messy.

On raw, you're brought face to face with your emotions, too. But something is radically different. Gone are the intense mood swings, the irritability, the angry outbursts we feel when eating restrictive amounts on cooked. On raw, you're calm, serene, and filled with gratitude most of the time. Well, at least I have been this week. And thanks to the alkelizing effect of the diet, you're not having insane highs and lows, or intense hunger bouts. Sure, you may feel sad inexplicably, but if you allow yourself to cry or talk it out, it vanishes into the ethers and you feel happy again in 5 minutes. (Emotional detox is a given. You must learn to flow with your emotions.)

On raw, i forget about my belly. My gnawing belly was the constant focus of my attention when i was on Weigh Down. Not God, like it was supposed to be. My belly was so empty and gurgled all day, that's all i could think about. My stomach never gurgles and percolates in between meals on raw.

They have Dominique eating broiled chicken and veggies from what i could see for dinner, a cup of soup for lunch, and I didn't see her breakfast. She's probably feeling pretty darned hungry I imagine.

On raw, it's tolerable between meals. I feel so blessed to be back here!

On Weigh Down Workshop, exercise is all but forbidden because it might make you hungry. What kind of insanity is that? As a normal weight 170 lb man, Andy Sorrells, my former WDW group leader, still only eats 1/2 hamburger for dinner, an orange for lunch and 1/2 cup of cereal and milk for breakfast. His metabolism is soooo slowed down, thanks to Weigh Downs teachings and frowing upon of exercise, that he STILL can't take in much food.

If he ate more? Heaven forbid! That would be sinning!

And, I imagine, he'd start gaining if he did.

Andy's metabolism is still slow. Way slow.

On raw, my first time, at the raw retreat, I walked and walked all over town, and swam for an hour several times a week. I so enjoyed moving and being out in the fresh air and sun. All i wanted to do was move. Exercise was wondrous! It was a miraculous time, a time that taught me so much. Jeez, I'm so glad moving is not forbidden on raw! Imagine that.

And having revved up my metabolism, I routinely enjoyed big gourmet raw meals out at local raw restaurants. What a massive pleasure that was! Everything i ate, i ate it without guilt. I believed it was helping me lose weight and loved every bite of it. I was working the Secret and didn't even know it!

I reveled as I ate a bowl of guacamole with flax crackers, a raw entree, a peice of raw pie and maybe a raw chocolate or two for lunch several times a week. And i lost 140 lbs in 8 months doing that. The rest of the time I stuck to a very low fat and salt free raw diet.

My metabolism was revved.

When i got home from the retreat, my metabolism was still revved up, and i used to marvel to my friend, Jan, on the phone, that i ate continuously at Arnolds Way and never gained a lb. For an entire YEAR, i ate like a pig daily at Arnolds Way and never gained a lb. My metabolism was still revved. And i was still exercising.

Later, when I stopped exercising and started eating Rita's water ice (not raw), my metabolism slowed down, and i started to gain.

My body was no longer burning what it was taking in.

_ _ _

I'm so looking forward to this second adventure as a raw foodist.

For today, i wisely stay away from salt, like I did at the raw retreat. But, i won't deny myself going out from time to time for gourmet raw meals that have salt in them. I learned going out could work for me, if my metabolism is revved.

For today, i exercise. I did my first 20 min walk as a return raw foodist and it was amazing! All of my pains have vanished! I feel such gratitude.

For today, i listen to my body, i eat until my tummy says it's satified. At least Weigh Down taught me that if nothing more. I'm positively bristling with energy. I'm happy as a lark. I can't believe i was so depressed and hopeless only a week ago.

For today, i'm patient. I weigh myself once a month. I know i'll get there with weight loss, but it probably won't be as fast as the retreat. That's okay. Weighing monthly will relieve me of the insanity, the emotional rollercoaster of frequent weighings.

I'm smarter this time out!

FOOD TUESDAY, May 10, 2011
10 oz yummy smoothie: hemp, chocolate, strawberry, mint, banana, vanilla, date smoothie

Ln: Berry Smoothie: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, 2 small bananas. SO MUCH ENERGY AFTERWARDS! I think i will save fats for dinner time. I had much more energy with a fat free lunch.

Dn: Beautiful mexican salad with home made salsa saltfree, home made guacamole saltfree made from one small avo, over spring mix with 1/2 ear of fresh corn kernals sprinkled on top. Yummo!!!

Sn: 1 mango, 1 apple and 2 dates stuffed with lime rind, 3 walnut quarters and fresh herbs. Was hungry tonight!

xoxo michelle joy

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Today is my 6th day raw, so why do i feel so bad?






Nope. Social again, getting out!

_ _ _

But, I cry alot.

I'm sad sometimes. Then happy. Emotions feel like waves, and I'm getting used to it. As soon as a grey cloud passes, the sun is shining again.

I'm definitely in an emotional detox, alright.

Today, i respect the uncomfortable feelings and ask them what they want to tell me. I go easy on myself and don't place 'shoulds' on myself. If i feel bad, i ask myself what would nurture me until i feel better.

~ ~ ~

: cantaloupe, strawberry, banana smoothie (i know, bad food combining, but it was yummy!!!)

Lunch: salad with 1/4 cup of walnut pate on top (made with no salt, only some nutritional yeast), 1 stuffed date

Dinner: Cinnamon Apple Smoothie - 1.5 bananas, 1 apple, grapes, cinnamon
1/2 cup of raw tomato soup
3 stuffed dates

_ _ _ _

For followers of the blog, last you heard of me, i was doing my own version of "Weigh Down Workshop." I'd quit the real group outright since I'd discovered that WDW is really a tool used by a cult, The Remnant Church, to recruit members.

The WDW left it's emotional scars, even though i only was involved for a little over a week. My head was messed up something fierce. Today, I'm glad to be free of Gwen Shamblin in my head. Uy, that Tennessee accent...

Weigh Down is supposed to be about loving God so much you refrain from eating. It turns out that Weigh Down has little to do with a loving God, and alot to do with mind control and lots of insane rules and regulations, judgements, fear, falsehoods, and manipulations. Instead of being obsessed with food, Weigh Downers become obsessed with Gwen, follow her twisted lead like little robots, leave their husbands and families and move to Tennesse to worship 'her'.

I should have known she was nuts by that hairdo she wears.

_ _ _

On my own, I did well with my food for a few days, but then things went downhill. With one-bite-too-many of food, i was a "sinner." It was hard to get WDW out of my head. Now I had to fast for 24-36 hours after overeating to repent of my sin. Dizzy from diabetes, and a gnawing starving feeling constantly, I gave up. I'd have to find a new way.

_ _ _

I was beginning to become resigned to the fact that I invariably overeat, binge and lose control with cooked food. I was back to examining my eating from that perspective. It was the only thing left.

What had once promised so much freedom, cooked in moderation, now seemed not only impossible, but like the problem, a dream that I could never attain. It's that 'just one drink" mentality an alcoholic has.

I wasn't making progress on my own and I didn't have money to see a nutritionist or Eating Disorder therapist to help direct me. I also knew she'd suggest I take a multitude of medications for the depression, and be resistent to any ideas about raw. I knew i couldn't get a gastric bypass. I don't have insurance. "I can't make this work."

I went into a pretty bad depression. My mother was worried about me. I even called out of work. I didn't know what i was going to do to stop eating. My chronic and extreme water retention was debilitating. I couldn't bend my legs and could barely walk without feeling intensely uncomfortable. And, my knees were clicking and sending shooting pains, my lower back was in knots, my new high blood pressure and diabetes symptoms were on full force, I was dizzy and woozy often, my snoring kept growing louder, and I couldn't stop gaining weight and certainly couldn't stop eating. I was beyond depressed and hopeless. I'd gained 120 lbs back since going off of raw.

...You have to hit a bottom, they say.

_ _ _

The story of the 600 lb mother of 6 was playing on cable. Her 6 daughters washed her, picked up her wads of skin and scrubbed under them. They also brought her platefuls of rice and fried shrimp. "I love fried shrimp!" the 600 lb Haitian woman smiled as she chewed. I related. I love fried shrimp, too, and look where it's gotten me, too.

600 lb Dominique Lanoise could no longer walk, not even to the bathroom, or sleep without choking from the water collecting in her lungs.

A doctor assigned to her case put her on a restricted calorie diet, one that would help release weight, help release her from her prison of fat.

Dominique struggled on the new diet. She became angry and lashed out at her daughters. One of her daughters brought her fried shrimp and rice so she'd feel better. "I love fried shrimp," she said with that creole accent, smiling.

Dominique was in denial. The moderator observed, "The only thing that makes Dominique happy is to eat. Only it's food that is killing her."

I related. I soooo related.

_ _ _

My friend, Val, from Arnolds Way, and I began emailing each other in the midst of all of this. Val had been raw for a long time like i was, too, and had lost ALOT of weight and KEPT IT OFF, like I did, too. But as soon as she started eating cooked, she began to gain and her cravings for cooked food grew and grew. Soon, everything unraveled. She put it simply, "We're food addicts," she said. "We have to go back to 100% raw."

I still didn't like the idea. "Food is food. It's not the problem. It's my sin state or my emotions. I HAVE to learn how to moderate it!"

My friend, Karen, began emailing me. She'd been over 10 days back on raw. She'd now regained control of her compulsive eating, had renewed hope that the extra weight she was carrying (from going back to cooked) would fall away, was thrilled that the diabetic symptoms that returned with her departure from raw had now ceased, along with a nasty case of chronic daily diarreah that she developed after gallbladder surgery months ago. Raw was taking away troublesome symptoms...and she was relieved, recommitted, renewed.

The success and support of my email friends was opening a door to help me see the light.

_ _ _

I still wanted "it all." I love cooked food and if i could, i'd eat fried fish and fried shrimp like Dominique, and fried anything dipped in butter and mayo, all day, in huge volume, if i could...without gaining weight and becoming obsessed.

No such luck. With my metabolism, my proclivity to become obsessed and addicted to food, the only thing fried shrimp does is excite me, send me on a binge, and make me fatter and fatter.

Believe me, i did NOT want to stop eating cooked.

I cannot reiterate that enough. I did not believe i was addicted. I was through with that 'addiction' model believing it is the FOOD that is the problem. "Cooked food can be healthy!," I cried!

Yes, it can. But, in my present state, with my present health challenges, for today, i gladly give it up.

_ _ _

After the first day back on raw, I felt like i had COME HOME.

Raw was my last hope. I really didn't have a choice. I don't have insurance to take blood pressure and diabetes meds. I needed to heal, naturally, first of all.

....They say, you have to hit bottom. Mine took 2 years and 120 lbs gained to arrive. I started experimenting with cooked in May, 2009. Dominique's bottom still didn't come...and she's stuck in bed weighing 600 lbs.

I told myself i could eat raw for ONE day. I believed it. I made it happen. I wasn't committed to anything more than a day. "After that," i told myself, "i'll treat myself with cooked!," and was excited about what i'd choose! Fried shrimp, baby!

The first day, i drank smoothie for breakfast, had a big salad with an avo mashed with lemon and raw vinegar and garlic and nutritional yeast for lunch, and for dinner, some fruit and a smoothie later. Okay! I did it!!

The next day, i felt so much better, i wanted to stay raw that day, too. I followed a similar plan.

Soon, I was envisioning staying on raw a week! I'd actually followed through and gotten back on raw...! Jeez, louise!

_ _ _

Now that i'm back, I don't WANT to eat cooked anymore. I gladly forego all of those fun, spontaneous trips to exotic restaurants for vietnamese or mexican. The crunch of fried shrimp, the slurpy noodles.

The water retention. The constant dizzyness.

I couldn't handle where it brought me. I couldn't moderate it. I couldn't make it work for me.

Whether it was ME or the FOOD at fault, what i was doing wasn't working. If you walk down a street and fall into a hole, walk down another street.

I've never been able to stick to a diet for 3.5 years like i did with raw.

I don't want to return to out-of-control binge eating like i did on cooked. It's too nice here. I don't even wanna test the waters! I plucked out the chick peas in the salad my mom made me, not because i think chick peas are evil, i don't. I plucked them out because I'm enjoying the respite and peace that raw is providing, and i don't want to take any chances on fucking up and going back to where i was. I don't want to live in a prison of fat like Dominique. If i have to give up chick peas...and fried shrimp to do it, so be it.

My friend, Val, writes, "Be grateful for the past 6 days. The biggest thing is staying on the beach. You were out in the ocean with rip tides and now you are back on the beach. That is a big accomplishment."

I just LOVE that...."stay on the beach."

I don't wanna be out in the riptides anymore.

_ _ _

When and if I decide I want to incorporate cooked into my diet again, i'll find a good Eating Disorders Therapist who can help me gradually incorporate healthy cooked food, a little at a time, like beans, so i still have borders and parameters and don't spin out of control.]

_ _ _

Val said, 'With raw, there are so fewer options for eating. It's so much easier.'

She's right! It's what i needed again. It's a safe haven.

_ _ _

I'd been in so much fear. Having gained, i was afraid to see anyone. My face look awful. Big bloated. I wasn't even "pretty but fat Michelle" anymore. I couldn't stop obsessing about the parties i had coming up, wanting to cancel, the Bar Mitzvah in June, the concert in July.

After i went raw, all of those fears about who i was going to see, and all of that crushing shame and feelings of inadequacy....vanished.

Val confirmed the same thing happened with her, "Yeah, i was in a lot of fear, too. It's lifted also!"

Cooked food is acidic if you eat it like i do, all of the wrong choices in the wrong combinations in huge portions with mayo spread all over it and plopped in the deep fryer. It puts you into a highly acidic state. The overwhelming fear and depression i was feeling....were really chemical reactions from poisening myself.

In 6 days, the lightness and brightness i feel is extraordinary.

_ _ _

Yes, i have to feel my feelings now and sometimes i feel low and down inexplicably, but i observe, i ask, i write, i move THROUGH it.

MOST of the "I don't feel good on raw," fears I occassionally have, i'm seeing, have NOTHING to do with raw. And more to do with repressed emotion that needs an outlet. Plain and simple, I've taken away my drug, and the emotions are uncorked. Positive AND negative feelings start to come flooding to the surface. For people like me unaccustomed to dealing with their emotions, this can be scary to not "feel" good. Thankfully, I've been given enough grace to deal with it so far. I'm thankful.

I cry, I talk, I write. I stay aware. I investigate and question.

Right now, I'm discovering WHAT raw foods make me feel physically better than others. Avocado as a fat doesn't give me gas, but nuts do, i'm finding. And, after nuts, my energy drops.

I'm going to start soaking my nuts/seeds to see if that makes a difference.

_ _ _

Low-salt raw is also helping me stay committed. My face looks like ME again. I only use nutritional yeast and no salt outright (as I have such a tremendous issue with water retention).

Letting go of salt is SO helping me stay on track. I realized that much of my binge eating was in REACTION to the PHYSICAL discomfort i was in, being filled up with salt and water. I was poisening myself with the levels of salt i was taking in.

When i do eat salt in the future, i'll have to really focus to stay in control.

So far, i'm amazed how easy it is to stay OFF of salt, but make raw food taste AMAZING!

_ _ _

You know, the night before I did raw for that one day, i was so packed with fluid, i actually took a water pill because I couldn't bend my legs.

Looking back, it was a medical decision that saved my life.

....It helped me move forward.

And it relieved high blood pressure dizzyness.

Most importantly, it freed me up to feel physically better, so i could DO better. FEEL DO better.

_ _ _

Look forward to exciting low-salt raw recipes, and snippets of my correspondance with both Val and Karen.

I don't know if i'll be raw the rest of my life, or even tomorrow. But i am committed to it, for today. And that's an amazing place to be in.

Happy to be back.

xoxo michelle joy