Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hello There and Welcome to Plant Strong Israeli

Readers of my other blog, For the Love of Bread, will know that I stopped blogging at that address because I became a Raw Vegan. In the final post, I described a little about how I began my health/food journey and the impact it had on my life. Since then, the journey has had some ups and downs and has veered off into different directions, but one thing was for certain- my life had changed. I am starting to write at this new space not because I want to build a following and hope to inspire people, but rather because I miss writing. Most people who know me know that I was an excellent baker but a mediocre (if that, even) cook. I'm hoping that this space will  serve as a personal journal, of sorts; help me track my progress as a cook and log my ups and downs on this way of life.

Hi, my name is Chavi. I am twenty seven and a half years old and I live in Jerusalem, Israel. Born and raised in New York, I came to this small but beautiful country nine years ago and have never looked back.

How it All Began
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, the fifth of six children. My parents raised us on a very Standard American Diet. I'm unsure of how much nutritional awareness they had back then, but we enjoyed sugary cereals for breakfast and all of the snacks we wanted during TV time. Looking back, I'm kind of surprised that there was no supervision about how much junk we ate, but that's how it was. As a kid, I was definitely overweight. Overall, I don't recall being teased about it, but here and there I do remember lying about my weight when the teachers asked for height and weight, knowing that I was larger than my fellow classmates.

When I got to my senior year of high school, one of my older sisters got engaged. I decided that to look good for the wedding, a diet was in order. At the time, (2005) the South Beach Diet was all the rage. And so it began. I dropped ten pounds, which I was very proud of. I went off potatoes and overall became more health conscious of what I was eating.

The following year I came to Israel for a year of study abroad and then all the weight came back and then some. I felt gross about it but found it difficult to jump start the weight loss and since then have off and on struggled with all that extra weight. An avid baker, I refused to eat anything I made and wouldn't touch anything that contained potatoes in them. Potatoes, for me, were the devil and so I didn't touch anything that had potatoes or any potato derivatives in it. (To be clear, I don't keep track of numbers nor do I own a scale, as I have found them to be addictive. The mirror and my clothing told me all I needed to know.)

How it All Began Again
Almost exactly one year ago, (mid January 2014) I stumbled upon a blog that documented the author's one month trial on a raw food diet. At first, I thought it was crazy. Nuts, in fact. But as I kept reading and researching, I thought it actually seemed to make a whole lot of sense. Coupled with the fact that my nutrition was poor because I was cheap, hadn't eaten a fruit or vegetable in who knows how long, I decided to give it a go. Me, I'm an all or nothing type of person. So I jumped in. At first I was raw until 4 and ate a cooked, even SAD dinner. A few days in, I went 100% raw during the week. As an observant Jew who lives in a community where lots of single people do meals together on the weekend, I found it difficult to eat raw in those social situations and I didn't want the whole world to know, so I didn't worry about it. For a good six months, that's how I ate- raw during the week, and cooked (sometimes vegan, most often not) on the weekends. Usually the SAD diet made me feel icky and I really looked forward to restarting on Sunday.

Although it took some time for my body to adjust to the change, (I was huuuungry!) the results were immediate. My weight dropped significantly. I slept better, I was dreaming vividly. I had lots of energy. My hair and skin had a nice healthy sheen. But then... I woke up one morning and could hardly lift my arms. I did a lot of research and the conclusion I came to was that I was consuming too much fat. In fact, on a raw food diet, people often consume too many nuts and avocado. I sure was. That led me to move on to an 80/10/10 diet made famous by Douglas Graham, which seemed like a logical step as I wasn't yet ready to let go of the raw thing. Once again, I was feeling great. But after a couple of months, I felt that this kind of lifestyle wasn't sustainable for me. Fruit here is quite expensive and I felt like I was eating all the time and not getting satisfied. Definitely not fun for me. Thankfully, a solution was on the way...

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