While I’ve always been slim, I’ve also struggled with body image issues since I was a teenager. I’ve never had a full blown eating disorder but I’ve definitely pushed the boundaries and my body dismorphia has led me to unhealthy extremes and times of despair. I’ve spent so much energy and a staggering amount of my life obsessed about food, diet and my weight. It’s so sad to think about all this wasted time and energy. I’ve tried just about every diet (everything from Zone and South Beach to juice cleanses and low-carb) but nothing would last very long. I’d either have a moment of clarity and think “Why am I doing this? I don’t need to lose weight!” or I’d just be too darn hungry to continue something so restrictive. I’d think “I should just eat like a normal person” (read: the supposed celebrities that can eat one single piece of pizza) but this would never last. The problem was that I was always so hungry and this led to being obsessed with food and ultimately overeating. Then I’d feel bad and decide I should find a new way of eating, something I could stick with.
One of the most recent diets I tried was Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox plan that advocated a vegan diet. I’d have her glowing green smoothie in the morning but I’d be starving soon after. I did lose some weight but I was still obsessed with food and craved sugar and carbs and couldn’t seem to resist the pizza my husband was eating. I questioned whether going without meat was a good idea, especially after my husband pointed out that no known cultures are vegan. Hmmmm…..
I even tried the 80/10/10 low-fat high-carb diet but after two days of eating so much fruit sugar my teeth started to hurt, plus I was still left hungry after meals. This didn’t seem right but Instagram was full of people posting super-slim pictures of themselves in their underwear with slogans like “carbs don’t make you fat”.
I felt so conflicted and was stressed about finding the right answer, the right way to eat. I was obsessed and spent the majority of my free time on the internet searching for answers. Unfortunately, you can find someone who is advocating just about anything on the internet….sigh….
I asked Margaret Floyd Barry about the 80/10/10 diet and she urged my to avoid a low-fat diet, explaining that fat is needed for fertility and subsequently, a growing, healthy baby. This really scared me. At that time Margaret was doing a raw primal diet where she ate completely raw, but unlink the more traditional raw vegan diet, she was eating raw dairy, fish and meat. Margaret felt great and she said (this is the part that really interested me) she was much less hungry then normal.
I used to only be able to go about two hours without eating or else I’d feel distracted and get grumpy. I’d eat lunch and be thinking, “What next?”. Unless I overate I never felt quite done. And I always craved sweets after eating. I felt insatiable.
I watched the interview Margaret did with Melissa Henig, who eats raw paleo-primal regularly. This diet is primarily raw and includes raw dairy, eggs, grass-fed meat and fish, cultured vegetables, green juice, fruit and some vegetables, as well as cooked food such as bone broth. Grains (and therefore gluten too) and soy are avoided. I was intrigued but the thought of eating raw meat didn’t sound appealing.
In February, 2014, I stopped taking the birth control pill and my skin started breaking out. A few months later I met Melissa Henig through a friend and Melissa suggested I should add raw cultured butter to my diet to help balance my hormones. I’d been avoiding dairy for so long that I was really skeptical but I decided to give it a try. Who doesn’t love butter? (Please note: I believe conventional pasteurized dairy is very different than raw dairy and is not advisable so my goal is to avoid it, aside from special occasions).
I started to incorporate more raw dairy into my diet and felt much more satisfied. At first I was eating a lot but over time I began to notice that I could go longer periods of time without eating and that when I did eat I felt very satisfied (no post-meal chocolate cravings) and didn’t overeat. Miraculously, my cravings have virtually gone away (although I wasn’t able to resist the nacho appetizer last weekend when out with friends). I’ll go out to a party and not have the cookies. What?! I’ve never been that person!
I’ve gained a little weight but I’m confident that this will balance out. Melissa says when she first started the raw paleo primal diet she gained eight pounds but once her body was “fed” and nourished, she lost it. This diet is not a quick fix for weight loss but because I’m eating low-carb real, minimally processed food (even something like homemade kefir is technically processed- i.e. not straight from the cow- but I’m not eating hardly any packaged food) so I believe my body will find its healthy weight.
My typical diet these days includes:
homemade raw milk kefir
whole raw milk smoothie with raw egg, raw honey, turmeric/ginger juice and bee pollen
raw cultured butter pie – I like to add bee pollen on top
raw bison or beef burgers with cheese, wrapped in a lettuce leaf
homemade green juice (with a tbsp of cream to help absorb toxins)
raw carrots – I try to eat one organic carrot a day to aid in balancing hormones
Jun, beet kvaas and kombucha (these are fermented beverages)
cultured vegetables, especially when my meal includes meat or fish
raw cheese (I bring a jar of raw cheese to restaurants and add it to a salad with avocado)
raw cottage cheese with honey, sometimes mixed with butter, raw egg and turmeric