Monday, April 30, 2012


Hello there!

Spaghetti at Arnold's Way Raw Cafe'
I've had a very good day food-wise!  No binge eating, only sensible healthy food in a mixture of cooked and raw, eaten when hungry, in sensible meals.  It's very "lifestyle-ish" and feels absolutely wonderful to be on track.  Lots of raw, almost entirely vegetarian, just kind of intuitively driven.  It feels just fine.   This is the 4th day in a row I've done well.

Cliff and I were swimming today and I said to him, "You know, I've had 4 good days in a row!"  He congratulated me, of course, but cautioned me to stop counting days.  "Focus only on TODAY," he said.  "If you count good days and fall, you'll feel dejected, like, i just ruined so-and-so number of days.  If you only focus on today, you don't 'lose' so much if you have a little screw up, and you have less excuse to binge."  It made ALOT of sense and I do DO that, count days and then feel terribly dejected if I lose them.  "Just focus on TODAY and keep looking FORWARD," he said.

I have a such a smart good guy.
Cheeze Burger at Arnold's Way Raw Cafe'
Gorilla Wrap at Arnold's Way Raw Cafe'

I taught a raw cooking class on Thursday at Arnold's Way and the class attendees were so great, it really inspired me to get back on track.  Kathy wrote down my recipes for me and is helping and encouraging me to write my raw cookbook!

One of my class students, Fred, 85 years old and feeling better than ever eating mostly raw, has been such a huge support, too.  He's read my story in Lisa Montgomery's book, "Raw Inspiration."  He knows I was raw and lost a lot of weight and that I have Binge Eating Disorder and fell off of raw and have gained a lot of weight back.  He's compassionate and accepting and so wise and kind.  Fred is always there before class with a pat on the shoulder and a hug and encouragement.  "You'll get it back!"

Fred also offers reminders to take responsibility for myself.  It's a message I never seem to tire hearing from him.  He says, "When you start to feel really sorry for yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'What are YOU going to DO about it?"  And, somehow, when I feel I have no more strength and can never get back on track on my own, Fred goes and says something to nudge me forward...with reminders that no gurus, no retreats, just ME, the man in the mirror has to take charge and make it happen.

And I've needed the nudging.  I've been in a lot of distress over my right leg and foot that have really been bothering me.  With my weight and with all of the hours I stand on my feet cooking, I have serious cause to be concerned with the broken blood vessels I've been watching grow on my right ankle.

I need to lose weight.  And to lose weight permanently, I need to stop binge eating.  And to stop binge eating, I don't think putting myself into boxes anymore is the solution.  A person always fights their way out of a box at some point or another.  "Grey" seems like the answer today with a mixture of raw and cooked.  It takes the FEAR out of food.  I think the binge eating is more a product of my mind than a reaction to what I've eaten.      

Something emotional that usually would have derailed me today, didn't.  My mother is suffering from chronic back pain and numb legs, and the Dr. visit today only served to discourage us further as to her prognosis, and at one point, I felt so discouraged, so hopeless, (but i realized it), and i saw myself start to beat myself up and immediately it made me feel like binge eating.

I heard myself tell myself that 4 days of doing well were not good enough and I might as well throw in the towel and give up.

What was so amazing was that I realized the assessment of little progress and the prompting to give up were just critical irrational "tapes," and the desire to binge in reaction was just purely learned behavior.

Thoughts...are just thoughts.  They have no power over me.  

These thoughts were totally unfounded and irrational and thank God I have the awareness today to label binge thoughts, "obsessional irrational thinking."  Doing so saved me from a potentially destructive episode with binge eating again.  

My Thursday Arnold's Way volunteer, Sunny, a vegetarian Seventh Day Adventist, has been emailing me almost daily and has really been a huge support, too, sending me lots of beans recipes and reminding me to pray.  It's been very very helpful, and I've not only been enjoying my daily can of garbanzos, which are so delish and so very very filling and satiating, but I've been feeling very blessed and very connected to God.

I also taught a private raw cooking class in a students' home Saturday that encouraged me to continue doing well and moving forward.

I feel a lot of hope today!

Hope begets hope!    

xoxo michelle joy   

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Good morning!

Back on raw again. Yay :-))

Last i wrote, I had a solid 7 days raw.

Then things quickly unraveled.

I was at my mothers, with not much interesting raw food to eat and was in alot of emotional pain. My mother was getting ready for ANOTHER surgery. I looked at myself in the mirror judgementally, seeing only fat and not my 7 days of success. I opened the fridge and bagels stared at me. The short answer is: I made the decision to emotionally eat and the binge didn't stop until a few days ago.

What was going on, you ask?

The shortest answer is: I'm a food addict. But the long answer Mom's constant barrage of illnesses have been overtaxing and stressing me out beyond belief. Much of the last two years has been dedicated to caring for her.

MOM UPDATE: Mom has been in and out of the hospital at least 9 times in the last 3-4 months. It's been an extraordinarily stressful time for my mother, and for me.

My mother had been taking high doses of pain killers for YEARS for a chronic back issue (a peice of bone broke off in her spine due to Osteoporosis 15 years ago), and after many failed procedures and surgeries, high doses of Oxycontin and Morphine were the only thing that relieved the chronic back pain. Finally, her body could take the high doses of narcotics no more.

Having recovered from the stomach surgery i talked about here extensively (was that last year or two years ago? So hard to keep track of), she suddenly began to experience spells of unconsciousness, recurring pnemonia, a heart attack, a stroke, and finally lost her memory completely. The doctors attributed all of these to the long term narcotics.

Prior to the next to last hospitalization, moms memory and cognition had deteriorated so, she was trying to go to the bathroom in the kitchen corner. It was awful, to say the least.

She was taken off of all of her pain killers and after a long hospitalization and rehab, she is recovering her memory a little daily.

To say it has been, and continues to be a challenging stressful time with my mothers never-ending illnesses is an understatement. I have buckled under the pressure. Stress shows with me in my eating, binge eating and in weight gain. Weight gain caused self hatred (a choice). Self hatred causes binge eating. It's a vicious circle.

On top of all of this, Mom only began to make serious improvement in her brain function, when it was discovered that the tremendous pain in her knee was a miniscus torn in two areas.

Believe me, through all of this, i have fought for natural means of healing to no avail.

So, my mom was in constant pain, getting ready for surgery, (which she subsequently had), when i lost it to bagels. Emotionally, i couldn't take it anymore. ANOTHER SURGERY? ONE THAT I AM AGAINST? That started a bagel binge that turned into hamburgers and hoagies that didn't end until 3 days ago.

ALone with food, I retreated. I hid out. I went home. Needed time AWAY from mom. I watched TV. I layed in bed. I ate.

_ _ _

Things all conspired to come together to show me it was time to get back on raw. It's amazing how God works.

Out of the blue, Val got in touch. We're both former raw people who gained back LOTS of weight on cooked. Gratitude washed over me. God really DOES work on our behalf.

Having Val come back in to my life as a support made it so much easier to say " it's time to get back under control."

"Does cooked food CAUSE binge eating or does my reaction to my EMOTIONS cause binge eating?"
This is always the eternal question for me, and i'm working on finding an answer.

Yes, If RAW and IN CONTROL are the same, i am still not sure, but going back to raw was a way of saying I'm ready to take control. Actually, on the other side, I count myself very blessed to have this amazing secret of raw and it's amazing ability to rubberband-snap one back into alignment VERY quickly.

However distressing, the idea to eat cooked in moderation still haunts me, and I am not sure if it haunts me because it is an impossibility, .........or because it is very much a possibility that i have just yet to achieve. -The variable is my attitude/state of mind/heart with which i take to the food.

Cooked food eaten in a fearless, loving, non compulsive state does not need to lead to a binge. I've had many episodes where it did not.

However, with a big "H," because of my tremendous addictions to food for comfort, cooked is dangerous territory which needs to be monitored and controlled tightly, if not cut out all together.

Too, one cannot forget the tremendous physical, spiritual, emotional benefits that come with raw, a huge one simply being that raw cuts out almost all former binge foods. Raw IS by nature, a serious deterrant to binge eating.

An admission - This morning, i had a cooked incident. I had just been cooking for Cliff and did indeed decide to have small portions of some vegetarian items i cooked him, rationalizing that I was calm and not being compulsive. I am however, (as we speak), fending off fearful eating disorder thoughts afterwards, and in doing so, i hope I can thusly, avert a binge. So far so good. The more my attitude is of: It is done and over with, the better. I acknowledge that the less and less I emotionally react to what i've just eaten, the more easily a binge will be averted.

And i also acknowledge that the more and more i keep cooked food to an absolute minimum, the better.

I'm excited to go to work at Arnold's Way again today because i get to experience my third day of eating raw! We can forget about this morning. I don't need to go down with the ship. I watched over the last days as my puffiness dissipated, my swelling went down, my feet began to hurt less, and I gained energy.

My new goal is 21 days of raw. Any kind of raw. High fat, low fat, high salt.

With all of the stress in my life right now, it is difficult to stick to tasteless lowfat raw.

Success is failing a million times without ever losing your enthusiasm.

Fall down? Get right back up.

_ _ _ _ _ _

A fun story of "manifestation"
15 years ago during my first visit to Optimum Health Institute (OHI), there was this guy who worked at OHI, let's call him Steven. When i first saw him, i was like, "va va va voom." Tall, dark, handsome. I was IN LOVE IN LOVE IN LOVE..... The only problem was, he never noticed ME.

Built like magnum P.I., muscles, flat belly, pecs for days, dark hairy chest, dark hair, 6foot2, so attractive, tall suntanned drink of water. He walked around daily with no shirt, just shorts and flip flops, flaunting his good looks and hairy pecs, shiny from sweat, from yoga, with his dark tauny sunkissed skin from the San Diego hot sun, all of that chest hair waving in the sun. He eminated sex. Phermones were, like, wafting off of him over to me, daily. God, I wanted to dive into that hairy nest, nuzzling my face in his chest. I fantacized about him daily and tried to draw his attention whenever I saw him. To no avail. Woe is me.

As luck would have it, at the end of that OHI visit, we ended up at a potluck together in San Diego. Now was my chance! Sitting NEXT TO EACH OTHER on the beach eating raw food in a group of others, we chatted. I batted my eyelashes and he showed zero interest in me. I was crushed.

Utterly dejected, my girlfriend, Maryann, later told me she was having an affair with him.

Flash forward 15 years.

Yesterday, this customer comes into Arnold's Way. He's traveling through to NY by way of New Mexico. Says he knows Arnold from when he used to work with David Wolff at Nature's First Law. He's 6foot2, grey, bald, heavyset, doughey, just a shlubby heavyset guy, not particularly attractive, wearing a ballcap and a hunting shirt, and a belly overflowing his pants. He comes up to order some food from me and something in his eyes pierced me but i didn't put 2 + 2 together. I'm making his food and I needed to ask him if he wanted ginger in his Gaspacho. "Arnold," I whispered. "Did you get his name, the heavyset shlubby guy?" Arnold remembered. "Steven," he answers.




STEVEN! Those eyes.

I look over at him, searched through the grey, searched through the fat....

IT was HIM!

HE was the "High School prom king," the one at the "20th High School Reunion" who'd let himself go and gained nearly 100 lbs.

Almost unrecognizable, I introduced myself that I knew him from OHI, he was so pleased, he didn't recognize me, but we reminisced, chatted about Maryann, the one he'd had a fling with, chatted and chatted. Then the furthest thing from my mind happened.

He invites me to sit with him. Studying me closely, he says, "You are so lovely."

bright red cheeks....

"Oh my!"


The guys come ons get stronger and stronger. He spent the entire afternoon at Arnold's Way flirting with ME! He stroked my arm and blew me kisses, whispering, "I want you. Come with me to NYC. Come outside with me now in the bushes..."


WAs i dreaming???? What kind of Twilight Zone episode was i in???

My former-fantasy (who is not so much of a fantasy anymore) now wants ME!!!!!!

He asked me to make out with him in the bathroom.

I had to laugh at the incredulousness of this bizarre event.

Had i manifested this?????

I said to him, incredulous, "What, do you like fat girls?"

"No," he said, "I like YOU!"

Very nice. Very nice ego boost. Certainly helped to have me walking on air for the rest of the day.

Alas, however, I had to let him down. "I'm engaged. I love Cliff."

I was probably only the flavor of the day anyway on his way passing through Lansdale. I joked, "I'm the hottest thing at Arnold's Way on a Friday afternoon, I guess!"

_ _ _ _ _ _

Steven had been raw 6.5 years and fell off and gained weight. It's almost as simple as 1+1=2. Eat raw. Lose weight. Eat cooked. Gain weight. It's my story. It's Val's story. It's Steven's story.

He admitted, grimacing, "Now i've been eating pasta and bread and grilled cheese." Patting his belly, he explained, "It all started in Europe. i started to eat a little cooked and before you know it...."

I could have said the same story, "I started eating a little cooked and before you know it...."

From my own personal story of 'getting gorgeous'-to fatty fat fat again, I SO related to his drastically changed appearance with much sympathy/empthay..... Seeing him was actually a very poetic wake up call. I said to God, 'Thank you, Lord, for bringing me Steven. It shows weight gain can happen to the best of us, even to guys who look like Tom Selleck on raw, and end up John Goodman, on cooked. I'm an addict like him."

(That was before the potatoes this morning, but if i make it through this day raw and not let this morning color my here-to-for success, today will be a success).

Looking at him, i didn't quite look "at" him, i saw him through rose colored glasses, through the lens of how hot and gorgeous he USED to be. Through the grey, the bald, the unshaven, the fat, the shlubby, I recognized the hunk STILL inside of him. The GIFT to be able to do this, whilst never judging him for gaining weight, really impacted me. It was like a love letter to myself, to my OWN potential. It was like looking at a hunk of marble and seeing the Michaelangelo figure sculpted inside of it.

If i could do this for HIM, why couldn't i do this.....for ME?! I'm a hottie stuck inside of a fat body, that's all! Who says I'm not every bit as sexy and hot as he seemed to think I was? Steven certainly hadn't turned off his sexuality or pursual of women...just because he gained weight and went bald. Why should I turn off MY sexy???? Why should i turn to SHAME and SELF HATRED when looking at myself? Why couldn't i see myself as I saw Steven...a GORGEOUS guy who could be gorgeous again...with a little work...that's it!

_ _ _ _

I wrote to Jan who just embarked on a new diet plan, I'm so happy for her. I wrote, "YOU were hot sexy bodatious "Jan, the dancer" at your thinnest, and believe me, i KNOW how sexy you were, because i know how sexy you ARE now at your current i totally have that picture of that girl with her voluptuous womanly her strappy sandles dancing in my head, jumping all around to Israeli folk dancing... You seemd to be, from what i hear, your fullest expression of YOU, the entire beauty of you, fully, joyously mobile, hiking, dancing, lovemaking, etc...then. This identity is still very much inside of you just waiting to EXPLODE out of you. Where you are now is on your way BACK to her. I totally KNOW that. Like all of the illnesses and immobility was a painful pitstop." I wrote further, "Jan, you will make it back. You just have to WANT it. Everyday you and i BOTH have to wake up and ask, 'what do i want?' and answer with: "Our perfect weight. Lovemaking. Dancing. Mobility. Travel. Adventure. Romance. In control food. Sexy curvy bodies! Freedom. Health. Wealth."

Steven will turn into Magnum P.I. again if he gets back on track..... Just like i will get my thinner sexy body back if i stay on track. Just like Jan will be "Jan the dancing queen" very soon! (Just like you will do, too!)

But only if we WANT it. We have to WANT it.

This is the biggest realization of all: We all have the prom king/queen within us."

It was an amazing realization.

It is very very very easy to get caught up looking at "what is" instead of "what i want."

See yourself as you want to be...and you WILL get there. Me too.

"Think of it," i marveled to myself, "just 2 days ago you were going to CANCEL going to work because you felt too FAT and looked too horrible to work. You would have missed the blessing of Steven's visit...."

What an amazing karmic table turn.

_ _ _ _

Have you seen the movie "Young Adult," with Charlize Theron? Extraordinary.

Plot in a nutshell - The overweight High School Geek who is now crippled - actually makes it with the Prom Queen, 20 years later.

Who woulda thunk it? Well, HE must have! They'd shared lockers next to each other, and i guarantee that everyday of High School, he'd dreamed about her.

20 years later, it finally happened.

I think we DO get what we dream about. Manifestation is real.

If i can bring back an old fantasy who now wanted ME, i can bring back my old body...!

And so can YOU!

If you can DREAM it, you can ACHIEVE it.

xoxo michelle joy

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Hello there, raw fans,

Day 6 of my return to a raw diet is almost over and it was a very nice and raw one!

We started out the day back at the Wellness Expo for day 2. I was not working the Expo today, but we were passing it on our way to Lancaster, so why not???

I had to go back for one of Chef Wendy's Buddah Bowls, a raw vegan curry vegetable "stew" over cabbage. Mmmmmm!

Here's Chef Wendy catering an event! To visit her supper club in Hereford, PA, check out The Honey Underground on facebook. You can always request a raw vegan meal that is SURE TO PLEASE!

My Buddah bowl was more delicious the 2nd day - I sensed the zucchini chunks had been marinated in something fennelish, then there was a tomato sauce, and some kind of a seed or nut puree' on top of the shredded cabbage, and the cabbage was yellow, seasoned with turmeric and more curry spices, and everything was topped with a light dusting of coconut flakes. The entire dish was remarkable for it's many exotic spices and it's lack of heaviness. I'd said to raw chef, Wendy,, at the Expo yesterday, "It's so FLAVORFUL, but so LIGHT, it's not GREASY..." She came over from her vendor table to interject. "Greasy? Why would it be GREASY? I deplore oil!" she declaimed.

Oils, she explained, make her skin break out and make her feel horrible, so she keeps them out of her raw food as much as possible. And with all of the many flavors and spices and sauces and differing veggie textures, chunks & shreds, you don't even MISS it.

"I deplore oil," she said. They really seared me, those words.

"I deplore oil....."

Wendy said: "People come to me all the time and ask, 'How can i lose weight on raw?'' I tell them, 'One: Cut out oil, and Two: cut out nuts. Point blank. Just those two things. And the weight falls OFF."

I had to admit, i'd come to the VERY SAME conclusion myself, noting that at OHI we never had oils at all, and were never served nuts. The only time I had these two foods were when I went out for raw gourmet.

Wendy herself is naturally very very thin and very, very lean, but she does not shun all raw fat like some adherants to 811. Rather than oils, she uses avocado and seeds and coconut in her preparations. And obviously freely uses spices, herbs, salt, peppers to create her unique style of asian fusion world cuisine. With all of that flavor going on, believe me, you're not missing ANYTHING.

In her colorful passionate way, she pointed out, "Do you know how many heads of corn it takes to make 1 tbsp of corn oil? 18! Who could eat that many heads of corn? NO ONE! Oil is the MOST concentrated form of calories on the planet. WHY would you want to be eating it?"

I had to admit, with her lean body a real polar opposite to my fat one, the lightness of her raw food and her passionate stance against oil, this encounter with Chef Wendy rocked me. Her message of NO OIL is seared into my brain.

I get it. I get it, God! It's like the universe is sending me a confirmation that I am now on track.

What i like about Wendy's food, too, is that she freely uses VEGGIES....and spices and salt! 811ers who are FRUIT-ORIENTED and deplore spices and salt, would not enjoy her food, and that's OK! More for me!

What's more, it's not only exciting and vibrant and colorful and exotic and's LOW CAL! For an obese person like me to be filling herself up on deliciously exotically seasoned low cal veggies, to actually be getting FULL....but not really to be taking in many calories.....? AMAZING.

This is one BIG BIG clue on the eternal mystery of how to lose weight on raw. Ladies, THAT'S how you do it! NO OIL!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Cliff and I each had a delicious minty green smoothie from Arnold's booth when we first got to the Expo. Cliff couldn't get over how delicious it was, asking what was in it.

MINTY GREEN SMOOTHIE: Just fresh mint leaves, organic banana, collards, ice, water. That's it!

I enjoyed my Buddah bowl for lunch and another serving of Wendy's amazing Carrot Hummus - so good and also oil free, made with raw tahini.

We took a leisurely drive in the country and we started to get hungry. We shared a serving of Chia candies Wendy had made. So good! Lemony sweet treat squares made with lemon rind, sesame seeds, chia seeds, dates & coconut. Mmm!

Cliff wanted a cooked lunch, so we stopped at a roadside diner. Watching him eat didn't bother me again today. I am blessed today with a lifting of my food compulsion. Instead of focusing on food, I be-bopped to the music playing in the dining room as he ate, as if i didn't have a care in the world. The music was great!

Later in the afternoon, we stopped by a great Pheonixville spot, "Strawberry Fields Juice & Smoothie Bar," for a gorilla size raw vegan frozen banana whip with strawberries on top, yummo! This is how you make a banana whip. And this is the website for Strawberry Fields!

Later at home, I enjoyed a nori sheet wrapped around 2 of the raw veggie burgers I'd made earlier in the week, with spring mix in there. It was good and a surprisingly small amount was enough...and no oil!

With some soaking sunflower seeds, i made a raw ranch dressing I'll enjoy tomorrow: soaked sunflower seeds, garlic, onion, lemon juice, raw vinegar, himalayan salt, agave, dillweed, water. Yummy and....(drum roll) oil!

For dessert, I enjoyed a cake pod from Linda Louise! Tiny and packed with flavor. What a GREAT treat because of it's small size but big satisfaction!

I'm happy to be here with you. Writing is fun and it's less calories than eating, and if it helps someone, then i've not only had a great day, you've gotten something from it, too!!

xoxo michelle joy