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19 January 2010

It's the Journey and the Destination...

So, today it's official... I signed my contract, and in a couple of weeks we're going to take a second trip to Humboldt County to begin looking at housing.  Earlier this week, I got an email from a friend coordinating our 25th high school reunion.  How far I've come.

My plan when I graduated from high school:  graduate with a degree in civil engineering, meet my future husband, start a career, have three kids (2 boys and a girl), and build the cities of the future.

Five years later when I graduated from college with a degree in Photojournalism my plan was:  get a job as a reporter, try to get a job as a foreign journalist, meet someone and think about marriage later when I've gotten the wanderlust out of my system.

About five years later when I turned 30, I thought I could probably safely die and feel as though I had led a rich life.  I had been traveling across country to train in Washington D.C. for a demographic researcher position in Mexico City.  I lived in Mexico City for a year and met an amazing group of people.  I had traveled to Europe and Australia, and I had seen parts of the country that I never thought I would.  And, despite some dire odds against me, I actually got accepted to medical school.  Marriage and family was a distant memory... I had things to do.

I don't know that I had much of a plan going to medical school other than to actually graduate. I originally went in with the intention of doing emergency medicine, however when I did my fourth year elective I hated it.  How could anyone possibly want to work with people who did not take care of themselves?  Why did all the cool traumas go to surgery?  Was it too late to change my mind?

I found out it wasn't which is how I ended up doing three years of surgery.  Over that time, though, I found I missed the patient contact.  I missed teaching my patients.  After taking a year off, I went back to emergency medicine.  I got married.  I have three children of the furry kind;  a boy and two girls.  And, now, I have just taken the next step.  We're actually going to be "settling down."  Wow.

It definitely wasn't the destination, but the journey that has brought me to this point.  I can stop and think about several points in my life where a decision I made definitely changed the course of my life.  They're the "what ifs" that everyone has faced from time to time.  I'll ponder them in another post.... might even base a story on them.  But for now, I will relish in the fact that I'm just about to reach my next destination... I don't think it's the final one.  Ask me again in five years...

12 January 2010

Real World Lessons

Thank you for all the comments on the Raw Food way of life that I started at the end of last year.  I thought I would take some time to answer some questions:

1.  To the left is the book that got me started.  It's really a gourmet raw food cookbook, but the authors took the time to research the science behind the Raw Food lifestyle.  In that it was great.  Practically, I can't find most of the ingredients that are listed (although the book has a great resource index at the back), but I am sure that once we move back to the land of fruits and nuts that is Northern California I know we will have a coop nearby and a ton of fresh locally grown produce from the farmer's markets.

2.  No, I don't eat raw meat.  We're not eating any animals at this time.  We are doing about 85% raw at this time because I can't quite give up cheese (Wisconsin raw Monterey Jack, yum) and my hubby needs his cream for his coffee (definitely not raw on both accounts) not to mention we will occasionally eat eggs (soon to be our own;  home-grown from our own chickens).

3.  The best website I have found is this one by Esme Stevens which has a lot of practical advice for newbies.  I also consult the Raw Food Community site and also the Raw Way site.  There are tons of other sites out there for recipe ideas.  Also, I have been collecting some site for finding deals on many of the staples:  nuts, dehydrators, etc.

4.  What do I miss?  At this point over 2 months into it, seriously not much.  I always said I couldn't be a vegetarian because I couldn't give up ribeyes.  Now they don't taste the same (not to mention the assault on my GI system).  Bread - almost like I can taste the processing.  Pasta - it just doesn't have a fresh taste.  There's something about the crisp clean crunchy taste of fresh foods.  After this time, some days I am starving for a big salad, other days I just want a shake.  We've learned to be very creative with different ingredients.  Oh, but I do miss warm things... you're not allowed to cook anything.  But I have popped my Manna bread into the dehydrator from time to time.

5.  How can you go out?  You get creative.  I've eaten a lot of salads with oil and vinegar.  I have eaten grilled vegetables.  And, I allow myself one meal a week that is not completely raw.  I talked on my last blog post about some of the foods I enjoy.  I recently went on a trip to Phoenix for a medical conference and took my bag of dried fruit and nuts for snacks.  I was able to pick appropriate foods, and one night I indulged in some awesome soft corn carne asada tacos .

6.  "I don't know how you do it" - I don't know either, but it took a lot of discipline.  The first week was the hardest.  It does take a certain amount of prep time to get everything together.  You go to the grocery store more often, and spend a little more money, because everything is fresh.  But, after the first week of drinking water instead of Diet Coke, skipping the grill and heading to the salad bar at work, bypassing all my favorite fast food and take out places, I started to feel better.  I noticed I was sleeping better, felt more rested when I woke up, and didn't have a mid-afternoon post-lunch sleepy feeling.  Not to mention the weight loss benefits I talked about before.  Now, I am adding some exercise to my routine keeping the idea of running a five K and wearing a swimsuit by summertime as a goal to achieve.

Not that I expect to convert everyone to the Raw Food lifestyle, in fact the authors of the Raw Food Raw World book have a goal of 80% raw for most people, but I do hope this has helped to encourage you to make some lifestyle changes that will keep you out of my E.D. :) Not to mention help keep you around as my friends for just a little longer.  An easy way to get into a healthier way of eating is to do the "Pledge to be Veg" which I did last year, and which really got me thinking about what I was eating.  Good luck!

p.s. for those on Facebook, these notes are imported from my blogsite:

01 January 2010

In the Raw for 2010

Ok, so for the last month and a half I have been doing the "Raw Food Diet." No, I don't eat raw meat.  It's a vegetarian-based, nee vegan, way of eating that believes in the principle that cooking food destroys valuable enzymes necessary for the digestion of the food, and also decreases the valuable vitamins and nutritional value of the food.  So, I've been eating a lot of cold food lately.
I am happy to admit, about 12 pounds off later, that I am feeling better and definitely seeing the results of a healthier way of living.  Not that it's been easy.  It took a lot, a LOT, of discipline to not nibble on any of the yummy Christmas goodies that were brought to the hospital and laid out for everyone to enjoy.  I sort of miss my daily Diet Coke.  And, I haven't had a Starbuck's Caramel Macchiato since before Halloween.
I have to plan my meals, and the biggest problem I had in the beginning was keeping my sugar levels up. I would get shaky right around 10 or 11 in the morning, and I realized that I could no longer go without eating something substantial in the morning.  Now I pretty much nibble all day long.
I also spend a little more at the grocery store.  But I enjoy seeing the different colors of the foods I am buying... from the deep greens of the romaine lettuce and zucchinis to the reds of the radishes and radicchio, the yellows and oranges of the peppers, oranges and bananas.  I got a box of avocados from my uncle in California for Christmas and am teaching my Southern DH (who had never seen an avocado before he met me) how to peel and prepare them.
I drink a ton of water, and I am learning how to be more creative when it comes to preparing food.
Now, I have to admit, I have a fondness for the lamb hummus from a place called Falafel Bar, and I have been known to eat a piece of chicken here and there.  But, my treat is one meal a week, and to be honest, I don't miss it if I don't have it.
So, my resolutions for the new year:
 - to continue my raw food healthy habits
 - to study and read more journal articles
 - to finally get better on my snowboard
 - to pet a cheetah
 - to finish at least 2 of the UFO's (that's unfinished projects) in my quilting stash
 - and to make it to church more often and thank God for the wonderful gifts of family, friends, and health He has bestowed on me this year.

My best wishes for your new year... what are your resolutions?