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

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