Hello Everyone, I’m new to Gone Raw and 2 months into raw food (about 75%-95% depending on the day). I have had a long journey with digestive issues that has gotten me to this point! I got a parasite in West Africa, took flagyl (not recommendable but it did save my life at the time) to combat it, and the rest is history…. This happened about 10 years ago and things have never been the same for me! Flagyl killed off every vestige of happy bacteria/flora and one year later I hit the wall with a very bad case of candida. I felt like I had mono but it never went away, and I woke up every morning feeling like I’d been hit over the head by a brick. It took ages for me to get a diagnosis. I was terrorized about the idea that I still had a parasite, but doctors couldn’t figure out anything wrong with me and began to treat me like a hypochondriac! At that point I was 21 and should have had energy abounding! After 6 months on candida diet (no sugar or fruit, nothing with yeast, low carb) I felt great and went back to life as usual. At this point, more than 10 years after battling candida, I’m not so sure that candida was my only problem. I know that I wiped out the candida because I have never had an issue with my energy levels since then, and that was my primary symptom. Every couple of years when my digestion became terrible again, I would embark on a major cleanse for a couple of months, get my body back in order and then go back to my old wicked ways of a western vegetarian diet. Until recently, I didn’t think of my usual veggie diet as wicked, I considered it healthy, though I did know that dairy products are not the best and coffee is a vice, I really didn’t see these things as serious health risks or the reason for my digestive difficulties. my thinking is changing as I get deeper into raw foods. As the years go by, I’ve been finding that my digestion improvement after these cleanses has been more and more short-lived. So, finding myself on the 3rd cleanse of the year, I decided I needed to try something different! I did the Master Cleanser lemonade fast for 15 days. While I was on it, I started reading about a lot of people transitioning from this fast for a few weeks of raw foods before going back. I started reading about raw foods and getting really interested. I told myself I would aim for 2 weeks of raw foods when I broke the fast and just see how it goes! It’s been 2 months now, and I’m still going strong, my digestion is better than it’s been in 10 years, my hair has returned to the texture of my childhood, I’ve lost 15 lbs, and I’ve got the glow on my skin! Not only that, but I have been finding that every yoga class since going raw is a major breakthrough. My flexibility is improving daily! Woohoo! No turning back now!!! So here I am. I’m an American expatriate living in New Zealand! Back in California, I know this lifestyle would be a walk in the park compared to doing it here! I know a Cafe Gratitude fix would definitely keep me from falling off the wagon during a weak moment! Here, I have to come up with my own fix. I don’t know anyone personally who eats like me. I’m finding it very difficult to maintain socially among my friends and co-workers without isolating myself or feeling like an extremist. I am hoping to find support and advice in this community to keep this wonderful trend of better health and commitment to positive change going in my life! I am very happy to be here.