Fat Kid Suit


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People are kinda creeped by what I am keeping in my fridge

If you have read FAT KID SUIT lately you know that I recently started over.  One year is plenty of time to get in amazing shape.  Unfortunately it is also more than enough time to completely fall apart and double in size.

This past Saturday was the first time in a year I went to the local Farmer’s Market with the intention of buying almost ALL of my food for the week there.  I forgot just how different shopping for a true plant-based diet is…

 

When you truly buy enough plant calories, there is little room in the fridge for anything else!

Let me give you a tour of the fridge, which friends and family have called everything from “Gross!” to “Insane!”

Top Shelf

  • Hidden from view are amazing local dates and a couple jars of raw almond butter.
  • Tangerines
  • Apples (several varieties)
  • Snap Peas
  • Local Eggs
  • Red and Gold raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Three colors of bell peppers
  • Red cabbage
  • Oranges

Middle Shelf

  • In what used to be the “cheese” drawer is cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Hidden from view under that drawer is a huge bag of oranges, and a big bag of tangelos for juicing.
  • Sitting in water is celery and three types of carrots.

Bottom “Crisper” Drawers

  • The bottom is mostly greens.  Kale, spinach, mache, arugula, cilantro…bags and bags of greens!

In addition to the what is in the fridge we keep several bunches of bananas and a couple bottles of wine on the counter  at all times.  Next to the fridge are some little “dry” pantry shelves…

 

Basic staples I am using a lot of since changing the way I eat back to plant-based and including some cooked vegetables.

Some of the stuff on these shelves are left overs from different things I’ve tried and am no longer really doing.  For instance the powdered greens and greens in pill form.  As you can see from the fridge pics the focus is on fresh.

Why not 100% raw?

I am not wanting to do 100% raw right now.  By not pushing for 100% I am eating less nuts and almost no raw specialty foods.  In addition to the calories I get from raw fruits, veggies, and small quantities of raw nuts and oils–I get calories from simple cooked meals that are comprised of potatoes and other cooked vegetables, tomato sauces, and delicious fresh pesto.  I limit myself to having a few servings of whole grains and eggs each week.  The cans you see are cat food, which since October have been the only meat in the house…

In just a few weeks I have gotten off the coffee ride, am drinking a lot less hard liquor, and no beer.  Done are the nightly pizzas, the garlic bread, french fries, and junk sweets.  And guess what?  The out of control and disgusting acid reflux, which had reached a level where I couldn’t even lay flat to sleep, is 100% gone.  I am exercising almost every day now, and feel compelled to do so.  I will weigh myself soon, but from what I can see in the mirror I have already dropped a lot of toxic weight.  All thanks to avoiding industrial food and doing my best to choose the most nutrient rich foods I can eat.

 

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Back On The Wild Wagon Ride Into Uncertainty

 

What Surprised Me About THE GREAT HEALTH DEBATE
Kevin Gianni

The Great Health Debate hosted by Kevin Gianni was more enlightening than I anticipated.

The “debate” didn’t really follow a debate format. It was actually a series of  interviews with various nutritional heavies.  While there were some interesting ideas presented, I can’t say it necessarily taught me a lot in regards to nutrition.

In fact the “experts” conflicting data was in many ways more confusing than clarifying…

But in an odd way, listening to so many gurus and so much info in one concentrated week freed me! I now see this diet world and all its associated conflict for what is–further evidence that life is unknowable and full of seeming contradiction. It seems that many want to hear stated something that can’t be–unassailable truth. It just doesn’t exist for diet, or anything else.

That realization–more like something I forgot again–was the extra push I needed to crawl back in the red Radio Flyer I tumbled out of a year ago, and really start living again. Whether you are hurrying by mirrors denying the degree of ill health you are in, self medicating your unhappiness with booze and pills, or even denying the sometimes scary awareness of just how uncertain all things are–denial is a powerful thing.

My Favorite Part Of The Debate

I especially enjoyed the perspectives shared on the evening David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis were interviewed by Kevin Gianni.

A quick note: I think these two interviews illustrate what a shame it is that the debate wasn’t a true verbal exchange between the participants.  Much is lost when there isn’t a direct interchange, and I believe Kevin is not only an awesome interviewer but also an excellent moderator more than capable of keeping the discussions, and even arguments, on track.

Wolfe

Why I especially enjoyed Wolfe and Vitalis had less to do with their nutritional insights than their incredible openness and general take on life. Both refused  to talk about people, food, and nutrition in a simplified reductionist light; a path they both admit to once being on.

Vitalis

 

Both men–regardless of how you feel about their advice–strike me as individuals who find things out for themselves, and then share their experience more than their opinions.

As I said in yesterdays post RE opinions, this experential approach to life, which is less about judgement and knowing than direct experience appeals to me. Coming to any table vested in winning an argument means you are not really their to share info or listen to what others have to say.

What Now?

Immediately following the interviews with both David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis I felt inspired to begin yet again on my very personal journey toward healthful eating.  I also felt empowered to do this in small ways, to do it without labels, and without subscribing to any particular guru’s unique approach.

For me that has meant being blatantly honest about which foods I know intuitively after 37 years on the planet do nothing for me nutritionally and in some cases cause harm to my organism.

At my current very low level of personal health and well-being it is clear to me the following  foods have to be eliminated from my diet:

  • All commercial dairy products and all cow dairy regardless of its source.
  • All gluten, all processed grains in any form other than whole, and very little if any of those.
  • Refined sugar in its myriad disguises.
  • Factory farmed anything.
  • Artificial anything.
  • Genetically Modified produce grown with pesticides.
  • Coffee.  Probably the most difficult to give up on this list, but a food that I have a long negative history with.
  • All foods cooked or fried in oil.
  • Added salt.

 

What Does That Leave TO Eat?

A lot actually.  The issue in some ways may actually be less about what to eat, than where to eat it, and where it came from?

During the debate there was a ton of discussion about what humans did or didn’t eat 10,000 years ago.  Most of this was centered around whether humans did, and whether we currently should, eat meat.  This being the primary item debated struck me as strange and limiting.

 

When 'To Eat or Not To Eat?' was the food question of the day...

While Kevin Gianni was extremely fair with all  participants, not once did I hear him try and sway the debates, it was obvious that the debates were the brainchild of a non meat eater, because every question was eventually reduced to one, “should we or shouldn’t we eat meat?”  Not an irrelevant question, and definitely juicy with controversy, but still a question that invariably limited the scope and depth of a discussion about health.

Who Should We Really Be Arguing With?

I can’t help but feel, and here I am proffering my opinion, which I am trying to do less of, that a true debate about health in our time would center much more on the merits of industrialized food VS non-industrial local sources of food.

Healthy meat VS unhealthy.  Healthy vegetables VS unhealthy.  Yes there will always be room to debate percentages and quantities of macro-nutrients.  There will always be a philosophical debate about  killing or using animals for food. But the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and fruitarians are all in the same boat when it comes to the industrialization of our food to the point that it barely resembles food. Have you walked through a modern supermarket lately?  It is frightening.

"cheese" puffs and pepsi

AISLE 9 - Corn Syrup - Aspartame - Phosphoric Acid

Look back at my hit list of foods I want to eliminate from my life.  It is essentially a  list of industrial food.

For me to avoid the foods on that list, it would be difficult to eat in most restaurants, and impossible to eat in many.  For me to source quality fruit, vegetables, eggs, whole grains and meat (if I choose to eat meat again in the future) would require finding a source other than the giant corporate markets.

 

 

 

Mono-crop agriculture and factory farms are the same thing.  A very bad response to ever growing numbers of humans who aren’t prepared psychologically, politically, and technologically to feed the next generation.   Mad Science and greed have taken only 40-50 years to bring us humans down to a frightening level of disease and ill health. Obviously there are healthy people who eat meat.  Obviously there are healthy people who eat no meat.  To argue otherwise is asinine.

 

While we argue (in an arguably entertaining fashion) about how much if any of our diets should come from animals, the state of all of our food is worsening.  Our options are lessening.  Our inherent right to grow food and share it with each other is being stripped away; perhaps irreversibly.

Maybe “You are what you eat” has less to do with which kingdom it came from than whether or not what you eat–plant or animal–was healthy before you ate it?

Will we start arguing with the companies and governments who are ruining our food supply?  Can we channel some of  the energy we use debating food philosophy and branded versions of health into effective change both in our back yards and through legislation?  Because somewhere in our current debate is a form of denial about the real elephant in the room.  And that can’t be healthy.

Either way, thanks Kevin Gianni for doing something!  You obviously worked extremely hard on this project, and in my own way, I benefited greatly from it. The last several days I have taken some concrete steps to better my health, which I will be sharing soon.

Cheers!


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Franken Pigs and other Monsters

In America — Justice Really Is Blind

When Annie and I visited a farm animal shelter for her birthday, we were introduced to some fairly young pigs the size of Volkswagens.

On our tour we learned that they were “rescued” genetically modified pigs.  These industrial hogs were not only unnaturally enormous, but their proportions were all askew. The pig designers work very hard to have the truckloads of calories their investments consume go to all the highest ‘price-per-pound’ spots.

 

The result are mutant pigs who cannot live out a natural life even when given the opportunity to do so, because their bodies literally COLLAPSE structurally while  they are still teens. And remember, the shelter is an environment where they are given no additional growth hormones (like they would at the factory) and are fed natural food!

Shelter staff sadly admitted to keeping them alive as long as they could do so with relative quality of life, and then putting them down once their respiratory system, organs, and limbs are no longer  able to handle their freakish mass.

Regardless of how how you feel about the ethical implications of eating animals, this freak show has to stop!  Take the blindfold off and actually look at what’s on your plate.

 

 


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My blog has a whole new look, now if I could just get one.

Fat Kid has a new Suit

I’ve changed a lot since I began writing Fat Kid Suit almost a year and a half ago, and it’s time for this ungrateful blog to grow and change some too.  Hello, it’s 2011.

For starters you’ll be reading about more than just raw food.  But don’t worry, I’m fat again.  So expect me to muster the courage to give raw another go with requisite candid field reports and embarrassing photos.

Food, Sex, and Self-Loathing

Having said that (props to Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld), my new tag line is “Food, Sex, and Self-Loathing.”

Self Loathing Sculpture (click image to see artist page)

The tag line should also include the word “writing” in there somewhere, but maybe self-loathing sorta covers that?  Several projects, including an unfinished screenplay that hates me for lacking drive and focus, need finishing.  And doing that is going to take energy.  Which I don’t have.  So welcome to perhaps the first ever blog that explores the correlation of  creative ups & downs with what goes in my mouth.

Some posts I may or may not write:
  • I’m getting sick of opinions, especially mine.  I want to share with you my recent attempts at going opinion-less.
  • Here I am again.  Fat, out of shape, and fairly disgusted with myself.  What am I going to do about it?
  • Low Fat Raw Vegan, AKA the “80-10-10 Diet.”  Can I really just eat fruit?!
  • Why cooked vegan just doesn’t work–for me.
  • Channeling your desire for food back into what it really is, a desire for “Sexy Time!”
  • Stories about Tijuana.
  • Pictures of our adopted children, I mean chickens.  Why something as seemingly ridiculous as a farm animal shelter makes more sense than I thought it did.
  • Why it’s not called “Red Wine Dick” and other things that suck about whiskey.

Feedback Needed

If you are considering a serious go at raw foods please let me know!  It doesn’t matter if you are considering a one week raw juice fast, or a longer commitment to vital eating, I am desperately seeking camaraderie and moral support!  I’d also love to feature some other raw stories here.

I’m not sure why, but I am having an extremely tough time motivating myself to take my health seriously.  I really miss the energy and overall good feeling I had when I ate raw.  If you are in a similar place, let’s talk.

Thanks for checking out the new and improved Fat Kid Suit!


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Eating Less Animals

 

Player Haters

If you know me or have read much of this blog you know that I’m all over the map on just about everything, and perhaps especially–food.

I remember being judged–a lot–for that trait growing up.  It puzzled me then and still, why people prefer others to be constant.  Maybe it’s a deep seated fear of death, that big unknown?  Maybe we get complacent and someone else constantly changing threatens that?  Whatever it is, however ridiculous I believe it to be, it’s powerful and at work in all corners of our culture.

In my past life I was a change machine.

That said, the chastisement I received for ever re-inventing myself never really bothered me so much as surprised me.  I guess I always took the disapproval as confirmation of something about myself that I actually really like…contradiction.

 

Why I hate the word VEGAN.


I don't hate the messenger.


Off and on over the years, usually as a result of something I’ve read, I find myself going back to a diet sans animals.  The whole topic is a mixed bag for me.  Why?

My first “attempt” at vegan-ism did not end well.  I got sick.  I got fat.  I got judgmental.  And so did my wife (yes I used to be married) who joined me for almost two years of admittedly vegan junk food binging.  We did it all wrong, and all the while just kept congratulating ourselves on the sole fact that we weren’t consuming (or wearing) any animal products.  We were horrified to go back to meat eating, but after a few months we were “normal” again.

I had other periods of time in my life where I was or close to vegetarian, just not feeling the need for meat.  And slowly over the years, even a “normal” diet for me never got back to my childhood levels of flesh consumption, eating  meat with every meal, every day.  But other than my two 100% raw food forays I’ve deliberately avoided the “V” word.  For many reasons:

  1. “ISM’s” bother me.  A lot.  They fly in the face of true free will, give people a false sense of importance, and almost always for convenience toss the baby out with the bathwater.
  2. I hate faux food.  Along with serious misgivings about soy (health & environment) I can’t stand imitation food.  I don’t want soy nuggets or soy bacon.  A lot of crap is technically “vegan.”  I applaud people who cook authentic real recipes that are what they are and are naturally devoid of animal products (or gluten, or don’t need to be cooked, etc.).
  3. I’m not convinced that eating meat, or eggs, or dairy is bad for you.  I feel great when I eat red meat.  I think a lot of the standard vegan arguments, like the assertion made in Fit For Life by Harvey Diamond that because we don’t want to chase down squirrels and tear them to pieces with non-existent fangs and claws, are silly.  Nature and evolution are complex, why pretend to know any of it beyond doubt?
  4. I think proselytizing about not eating animals just reinforces the majority of others determination to do so.  If you are serious about your desire to limit the atrocious suffering caused by industrial food, much more can be accomplished by a.) getting most people to eat even just a little less commercial meat and dairy, and b.) using consumer pressure to radically change the unacceptable practice of factory farming.  Congratulating people for making better choices goes so much further than chastising them for their bad ones…

 

Buddha was full of seeming contradictions.

So after saying all that, I gotta say that after all these years I’m seriously considering adopting essentially a vegan diet.  Told you I’m all over the place.  But why?

Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals along with some reading I’ve been doing on the Buddha dharma regarding doing no harm are both deeply resonating with me.

Foer makes a powerful argument that right now, in our current food system reality, being a conscious eater who wishes to avoid factory “farmed” “food” essentially means not eating meat or dairy.  Much of the feel good reassurances on animal product packaging regarding the absence of hormones, antibiotics, or cages, is as Foer says, complete bullshit.  Does it really surprise us that an industry so dark and dishonest would continue to lie to us, this time by telling us what we want to hear?

At first I thought Foer should have titled his book Eating Less Animals.  That way, the everyman could find it in him/herself to make a commitment to meatless Mondays and lighter vegetarian lunches.  The net effect of which would vastly eclipse the result of a relative few who give up animal products altogether.  But for days my new title kept making me laugh.  Eating Less Animals–there is something absurd about that to me.  I picture us as these weird Aliens with a depraved sense of entitlement to the flesh of other creatures.  And then I picture a random phone conversation between two perfectly nice human beings…

“Hi Barbara, whatcha been doing?”

“Not a lot.  Just reading this fab new book called Eating Less Animals.”

“Reeeaaaalllly?”

“Yeah, I really need to eat a few less chickens, and pigs and cows Barbara!”

Weird, right?  By the way, read Foer’s book, I think you’ll be shocked at exactly how many whole animals most of us eat in one year, and in our lifetimes!  And I think you’ll also be surprised by his tone and treatment of such a complex personal issue.

At the essence of Buddhism (oops there’s another Ism) is compassion and a whole lot of talk about suffering.  The reason vegetarianism is associated with Buddhism is because of perhaps the simplest teaching…if we cannot help others or be good human beings ourselves, the Buddha said at least do no harm to others.  And guess what?  Others is not restricted to other humans.  It’s others in it’s truest sense, and extends to anything capable of suffering.

But also wrapped up in the often confusing, yet somehow enlightening mumbo of Buddha’s teachings is compassion and understanding toward numero uno.  In fact, at the heart of the No Harm philosophy is a necessary selfishness rooted in simple cause and effect.  It ultimately hurts us when we hurt others.  Whether they have two legs or four.  Whether we think they are stupid or cute.  It just does.  One look at how sick we are as a nation demonstrates that.  We are literally a culture of death.  We mistreat and kill to eat, and it’s killing us.

 

I want to make it clear that I genuinely applaud every single person that is involved in bringing real food to consumers.  That includes meat, dairy, and vegetables.  I hope someday the average person will reduce their overall consumption of animals (see sounds silly again) and insist that those they do eat came from real farms, not factories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For now, I’m going to spend some time not eating meat.  I’m also going to eliminate any dairy except for raw aged goat cheese  & eggs that I buy from a local farmer I trust to not exploit her goats and chickens.

Interestingly (and this is according to the Dalai Lama), Buddhist monks are not prohibited from eating meat despite their profound compassion for animals.  As monks they eat either the vegetarian meal provided them in the monastery or beg food once a day when traveling.  While they would never want an animal to be killed specifically to feed them, out of compassion for their human hosts they eat whatever they are given.  Also tied up in that is a profound acceptance of their reality and a refreshing lack of concern over food in general–allowing them to focus on other things.

So if you ever see me eating a juicy burger again, I hope I’m selfish enough to be eating the flesh of an animal that was well cared for up until its slaughter, and that you will understand that like life, I’m an ever-changing contradiction.


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90 day Natural Fitness challenge: Day 25 DIET VS. EXERCISE

Assuming you are one of millions who struggle with staying lean and mean…which do you think is more important when it comes to keeping weight off…

Diet? Or exercise?

Most of you will now give the pat answer…BOTH!  While I know that both are extremely important to our health and well-being, especially in the long-term, I want to find out what you all truly believe about the impact of diet vs. exercise on your body fat levels.

Diet

Please keep in mind that when I use the word “diet” I almost never mean “dieting.”  When I say diet it isn’t simple calorie counting I am speaking of (how much you eat), instead I am talking about your diet (what you eat).

The reason I am curious about this is because I am now 25 days into my 90 straight days of exercise challenge and even though it feels great to be so active and using my body this way, the results don’t seem to be as dramatic as when I ate only raw foods.

When I ate only raw foods for 60 days, I did very little exercise.  I deliberately wanted to see what effects the food was having on me.  During those 60 days I felt firmer, and the scale testified with an astonishing 37 lbs lost in only 8 weeks!

Exercise

After completing my 60 day raw challenge I had so much new energy that it was becoming impossible NOT to exercise.  When I would go on a long slow hike I’d find myself wanting to break into a run.  That’s when I realized that I had never been a consistently physically active person, and wondered what it would be like to do some form of intense exercise every day…

The 90 day Natural Fitness challenge (aka 90 straight days of exercise) was born.

There is only one rule with my new challenge (which several others have joined me on); do some form of real exercise EVERY DAY for 90 days.  The idea is for it to be strenuous.  Ideally it will get you outside sometimes into nature.  And one day a week it should be light exercise, that way you can give your body a break but still maintain the habit of daily exercise.

This time around I didn’t want it to be about raw food.  Obviously, anyone putting themselves through the 90 day thing is concerned about their health and is doing everything they can to eat right, but I wanted to see what the effects of exercise were on my body…

What I eat now

If you are curious I will give you an idea of how I am currently eating:

  • A green drink every morning (usually citrus and spinach).
  • Snack on fresh fruit, coconut water, LARA bars, and occasionally raw nuts.
  • Some days I have a raw energy shake made with raw cacao, maca, coconut butter, banana, and raw honey.
  • Other days my afternoon snack or lunch will be hummus and blue corn chips, or raw corn chips w/ avocado and hot sauce.
  • I work at night and snack on tangerines, LARA bars, bananas…
  • I always have a very late dinner (which is supposed to be a No-No, but that’s how my life is right now).  I only cook vegetarian meals at home, and because my girlfriend is a celiac, I don’t use any gluten at home.  That means simple dinners like chili poured over baked potatoes, brown rice pasta topped with marinara sauce, quinoa tossed with pesto/sun-dried tomatoes/and raw goat cheese, nachos made with blue corn chips/organic cheese/pintos/fajita veggies/and pico de gallo, or oven roasted veggies & fingerling potatoes, etc.
  • Usually have a glass of red wine with dinner or a gluten-free beer (they actually taste pretty good and are made with fermented sorghum). I sometimes have a (as in one) cocktail when we eat out or I will make myself one at the bar where I work when it’s time for me to close up and clean the place.
  • We eat out 1-2 times per week and if I am somewhere that serves organic beef I might have a burger.  Otherwise it’s fish tacos, sushi, or a vegetarian meal.  I don’t eat meat or dairy out that isn’t sourced naturally (without antibiotics, hormones, and confinement), which is much harder to find then people realize, and which means I have meat about twice a month now.

So I think my diet is pretty healthy and clean.  Certainly much improved over how I ate before I undertook the raw food challenge (I binged on pizza, burgers, mexican food, and drank over 100 adult beverages per week). But I feel “soft”, and my weight loss has slowed since going off the 100% raw food diet.

I know that I am also gaining muscle (Bikram Yoga is a killer lower body workout–very ass rounding), I can see and feel the new lean mass.  But I just don’t have that firm/hard quality I was getting from eating all raw (even with almost NO exercise).

So which has more impact on you?

Some of my friends swear that without exercise they have zero self-control over their eating.  And others, say that if they aren’t watching what they eat, they don’t feel it’s worth exercising.  It seems that often one or the other is the anchor needed to live a healthier lifestyle.

For me, if I didn’t first clean up my diet, I would have never undertaken an exercise regimen and stuck with it. In fact it was important for me to have ZERO expectation regarding exercise when I started raw so that I could focus only on my diet!

I think food is more important and gives greater results in the short-term, and that exercise has a greater impact in the long run…what do you think?

Please comment and let me know what your experience is!

————————————————————————–

Today:

  • Making a big pot of homemade 3 bean chili. House smells great.
  • Will be doing some basic strength-training at home today; push-ups, curls, etc.
  • Started my day with my spinach drink.

Here’s some pics from yesterdays hike–we drove near Joshua Tree so we could play in the snow.


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90 day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 16 Why I’m going back to 100% raw food

Life is an experiment.  That’s how I’ve seen it at least since about age twelve.

And in this oxygenated test tube where trial and error sometimes scintillates and sometimes stings, the only rule is to keep testing…

Many of us enjoy the dance that comes with testing other people.  Sometimes by pushing buttons and outright manipulation, other times via that heavenly connection with another that makes us more aware of ourselves by finding where our edges are; and ultimately aren’t.

But the deepest experiments are those where we are the subject and the observer.  If you look at my recent foray into raw foods as an experiment, then you’d also have to see the years of near abuse with food & drink that brought me to that jumping off point as a kind of experiment too…

And now a new level of experimentation has begun for me.  Now I notice nuance in relation to my body-mind.  Whereas before I simply slumbered, drugged by white processed flours and grain alcohol, now I can literally feel the difference between just OK and fucking fantastic.

While completing my 60 day raw challenge I rarely exercised.  It was enough to take on that new way of eating.  Even without exercise I lost 37 lbs in 8 weeks…

After completing that challenge I committed to a new one–90 straight days of exercise.  For over two weeks  now I’ve been pushing myself and intensely exercising every day.  I still eat very clean (raw until dinner and then cooked vegetarian meals for dinner) and I have lost exactly zero pounds.

Now, I have noticed increased musculature in my chest, shoulders, and legs…so most likely I’ve lost fat which has been replaced by new lean mass…but I don’t feel lighter.  While I’ve still been careful about what I eat, adding “healthy” cooked foods into my life again has left me feeling soft and lackluster.

I miss the clean and almost endless energy that came with all raw…and I miss how succulent and hydrating that way of eating was.

So, I’ve decided to spend at least the rest of January back on a 100% raw diet.  More experimentation and more data to crunch…

The main thing I’m curious to see is how I will feel eating 100% raw again, but this time coupled with daily intense exercise?  Only time will tell.