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raw food turned eating disorder

Ive been raw for about a month. It was going well overall. Lots of green smoothies, sprouted buckwheat, flax, and fruit. Getting plenty of fats from avocados and olive oil, but gradually I started eating more desserts, probably to get enough calories. I was perpetually full and sick feeling. Constantly thinking about food and recipes. Then my housemate brought home a huge chocolate birthday cake. After a day of resisting, I ate some. I then felt so gross I made myself throw up, which I haven’t done in over a year. Because I have been so pure by eating raw, the cake was such a shock on my system that I couldn’t live with it inside me. Then the same thing happened the next day. I can’t keep doing this. It seems like it may be better for me to be a little less pure because I’m bound to make mistakes and I can’t just throw up every time I do. I’ve decided just to go regular vegan. (I was mostly vegetarian before starting raw). I’m also really late getting my period, and pale and sickly looking, although other than that I feel good. I think raw is best in a perfect world, but I don’t think its possible for me, at least without a professional chef. That’s all…I don’t know why I’m posting this. maybe somebody has been through this and overcome it???


  • jessca, I feel your pain as I have had similar experiences while raw. I don’t have much advice to offer, but to take things one day at a time. One meal at a time. One bite at a time. When you begin practicing conscious eating by going raw, it is easy to feel frustrated and guilty when you “fall off the wagon”. Just know that being raw is not all or nothing. Anything “bad” you eat today can be made up for tomorrow – just keep working towards optimal health. xo

  • rawlizardrawlizard Raw Newbie

    jessca, don’t suffer too much over eating a piece of cake once in a while; I am sure that it is part of your raw journey and I assure you, it is not going to kill you (so stop gagging! =),unless you eat cake every day, of course. I have had the same problem during my journey, even now sometimes. When I see a piece of chocolate cake in front of me, ocasionally I can’t say no. Little by little I do it less and less though and even if I do it I am feeling proud to be working towards the goal of being raw/healthy. I know it is going to happen for you as well, but the more you gag, the more important it becomes and the harder it gets to say no. Depriving is worse than limiting for many people, so see what it works for you, this is no a religion and you are not going to hell ( not because of the cake, as least =)). Good luck to you.

    By the way, many people here are not 100 raw…

  • 1sweetpea1sweetpea Raw Newbie

    Maybe the solution for you is to drop to 60-75% raw vegan, then try to be cooked vegan for the remainder. If you feel that you are eating too many desserts and sweets to try to get enough calories, you’ll sacrifice your health in the long run. You’d be better off eating some cooked grains or legumes, in addition to raw fruits, veggies and some sprouted nuts and seeds, to meet your caloric needs and keep your body in balance. You mustn’t be so black and white in your thinking that an indulgence here and there is a sign of weakness or failure. Starting a pattern of throwing up when you eat too much or eat something you consider “bad” will lead you down a path to a very unhealthy and self destructive place. Take it from a former bulimic. Don’t open that door. It is NOT a wise solution to a bad meal choice or two.

    Two days ago, I made an awesome cooked vegan Indian meal for three people, but I made enough to serve four. I loved it so much that I ate enough for two people. I couldn’t stop myself. I felt like crap afterward and really wanted to go and throw it up, to feel less uncomfortably full and to correct my mistake. I just celebrated 6 months bulimia free the day before that, so I knew that I couldn’t throw up. I had to live with my decision to overindulge. It wasn’t a fun night, and yesterday, I wasn’t hungry for any food until 2:30 pm. I went with it, then finished my day with fruit then a big salad. What I’m telling you is that tomorrow is a new day. No matter what you did the day before, the next day you can start fresh. Overindulgence only becomes an issue if it becomes a regular occurrence. It’s up to you to listen to your body and feed it only what it needs, most of the time. An occasional “slip” won’t matter whatsoever in the grand scheme of things.

  • Maybe you need to talk to someone about it? Food shouldnt be linked with feelings like guilt and disgust. It seems to me, that maybe youve been caught up in the “pure” feeling. I think it takes a couple of years with cleanses and raw food, to get to the pure state. Maybe the food is only a sympton of something else going on? I agree with 1sweetpea. Listen to your body and accept that sometimes your diet isnt perfect, and that its ok.

  • thanks for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it. I think I probably transitioned to 100% raw too fast and I need to back off a little. Eating totally raw brings on intense food cravings that I’m not ready to deal with. Before I went raw I was on a really high protein diet, and I basically never craved desserts or sugar. Life was pretty good, but after reading the China Study, I realized that that’s no way to eat. I also realized that raw food has magical powers. So now Im in sort of a limbo I guess. It will just take some time to figure it all out. I’m going to try for 60% raw I think, and see how that goes. I am the type of person that feels like a failure if I’m not 100% (a behavior that is synonymous with eating disorders), so being less than 100% is probably good practice for me right now. regarding talking to somebody about it, I wish I could but I don’t really have anybody. I cant afford a good shrink and I just moved to a new place where I am pretty lonely. My only friends here are not that close and they dont understand eating disorders….so this website is the best option, at least its something. it definitely helps to know there are others out there that care and can relate. thanks again you guys!

  • SuasoriaSuasoria Raw Newbie

    First, ((((Hugs))))!

    There is some wise advice here already on eating disorders. I find that for most, going from even a “mostly vegetarian” SAD to Raw is very difficult. It’s easier to go from SAD to RAD (“Revised American Diet” aka vegan) to raw. So I agree with lengthening your transition period by first making sure you’re comfortable eliminating meat, egg, and dairy. I wouldn’t even worry about this or that percentage…don’t set up those expectations, just eat sanely.

    You’re bound to get a lot of advantages from even a vegan diet, and if you allow yourself to consider the environmental, spiritual, and animal welfare benefits of veganism, in addition to physical, it’s easier to stick with it.

    You said you started eating desserts ‘for calories,’ but maybe it was just to satisfy a sweet tooth you didn’t really have before when you were eating meat, egg and dairy, which tend to be comfort foods? Almost every vegan I know is big into sweets, and there are plenty of vegan baking cookbooks out there to prove it! Personally I’m not sure we crave calories so much as we crave foods, a certain taste or texture or aroma or feeling.

    Since you’re somewhat isolated I hope your nutritional and kitchen knowledge is up to speed. Making smoothies doesn’t count…do you like preparing food? Shopping for food? Do you enjoy following a recipe? Adding a twist to it here and there? Making people taste your creations? If you’re going to be a cooked vegan, you need to know how to cook!

  • 1sweetpea1sweetpea Raw Newbie

    Jessca, e-mail me anytime. After 13 years of eating disorders and many more years before that as an overeater, I have much experience with the feelings and behaviours you describe. I finally feel as if I have moved to a better head space. I wouldn’t say that I am completely cured. Life is a process. I’ve made huge strides over the last 6 months, though, and I’m eager to share what I’ve learned, in a friendly, peer-supportive manner. I’m not a trained professional, but I am a great listener and an effective communicator. E-mails are handy because you have an opportunity to say what’s on your mind without interruptions or on-the-spot judgements. It’s also safe, since we won’t be face to face.

  • zinfandelzinfandel Raw Newbie

    I actually agree with durianrider on this one! Haha! I never read the book, but I follow it rather closely. Also, what I do is invest in a high quality fiber from Dr. Natura (the one that’s 30 dollars lasts about 2 months when it’s just supposed to last 1), so when I used to cheat (which I don’t since I started 811 except for a day/2 of too many nuts), it still comes out the other end quickly and efficiently. Dr. Natura products are really great.

  • everyone goes through their bumps in the raw food transition. after so many times of eating something cooked and feeling like crap for 24 hours, you learn to not want those foods anymore. they begin to taste dead. there is NO USEFULNESS IN FEELING GUILTY though. if you want a piece of cake, eat it and try to enjoy it. one cooked meal is not going to set you back much at all.

  • Hmmm. First of all, inducing vomit is NEVER a good idea unless you’re pretty certain you’ve swallowed an eminently life-threatening substance like Drain-o. So if you’re causing yourself to vomit, you’ve got problems other than raw/non-raw. I am saying this not to be mean or to make fun of you, but rather out of concern for your future well-being: if you ever feel the urge to cause yourself to throw up in response to something you have eaten, and ESPECIALLY if you act on this impulse, you have bulemia and need to seek some counseling to help with it.

    One thing that may assist you in combating this problem of yours is vitamin B3. I do not recommend taking it in its straight up form as Niacin, because it can cause EXTREMELY painful flushing of the skin. Rather, find a cheap bulk supply of inositol and take 500-1000mg per day. B3 is critical to the proper function of the immune system, and most of us are woefully deficient in it, which results in major depression and other neurological problems, including poor self-image and food control.

    Furthermore, if you are a bulemic, it may be that a raw foods diet involves too much dietary control and restriction for you to handle properly. The closest analogy I can think of is handing a recovering alcoholic a glass of wine to go with dinner and leaving the bottle uncorked and next to him/her at the dinner table. It is highly unlikely that a recovering alcoholic will be able to master his desire to have more alcohol in this situation. I think you are maybe setting yourself up for a lifetime of emesis leading in short order to esophageal cancer and critical organ failure.

    In closing, I would encourage you to realize that in order to be a healthy raw-foods vegan, you have to eat a VERY wide variety of foods. If you are just limiting yourself to a salad and some fruit with avocado to cover your fatty acid requirements, you are going to come up DREADFULLY short on a variety of crucial vitamin complexes and micronutrients. I do not debate for one moment that God created us to be frugivorous. The Bible is very explicit about this. However, the Bible also says that the Earth was flooded for 40 days and 40 nights. It is highly unlikely that 100% of plant species extant before the flood survive into the present day. As such, a wide variety of nutritional diversity was lost, which is likely the reason that after the flood, many animals began eating other animals.

    I do not propose that you consume cooked flesh. Rather, I suggest the consumption of a select few raw animal foods. The first and best is raw egg yolk. I have written in one of my recipes about the benefits of consuming raw egg YOLK (do NOT consume the white!). The yolk contains a perfect balance of fatty acids and vitamins, and all the alleged “bad cholesterol” in an egg yolk is only bad if you oxidize it to 7-ketocholesterol by cooking it. In its raw, natural state, this is all GOOD cholesterol, which improves your good/bad ratio, thereby helping to prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.

    Another form of raw animal food you can consume very healthfully is raw fish. Specifically I would stick to scaled, finned fish such as salmon, tuna, yellowtail (hamachi), and the like. I would steer clear of shrimp, lobster, eel, and other unscaled, unfinned fish. Two reasons: Leviticus tells us not to eat it, which is good enough for me. But the other reason, and probably the reason God told us not to eat these critters, is that they are either bottom feeders that consume decaying flesh, or they are hanging out in the planktonic layer of the ocean and bathing in petro-chemical soup!

    I still suggest eating fruits FREQUENTLY. In fact, I advocate eating fruits almost exclusively, perhaps pushing for a 90-95% vegan diet. This is a diet called a “Neolithic diet” by folks who believe the Earth is as old as all that. I call it God’s diet. I don’t mean that God consumes the diet. Rather, it is the diet prescribed in the Pentateuch, which should be good enough for both Christians and Jews alike.

    If you want more information on this diet, it is available at www.freeacnebook.com as a 100% legally free pdf called “No More Acne, No More Cellulite, No More Overweight.” It is a highly cross-referenced scientific look at a raw food diet. There is NOTHING recommended by the author that is cooked. Indeed, she explains why cooking food is horrible for you.

    I do not think it is good for you to continue the raw vegan diet if it is leading you to feel constant hunger, to obsess over food and recipes, and to binge eat and then vomit. You are setting yourself for premature aging and probably an untimely death. If you are a woman of any faith at all, I encourage you to pray from the bottom of your soul for the answer, because Jesus Christ can guide you much better than any man or woman in this forum can. I will pray for you this evening in the hopes that you will find the right answer for you. I hope you are well.


  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    David, the raw vegan diet is not making her bulemia worse. ANY diet that proposes a semblance of control in the mind of a person with disordered eating can get out of hand.

    Eggs and fish mean dick to a person with a true eating disorder. This is why there are professionals for them.

  • beanbean Raw Newbie

    Personally, the thought of adding animal products back into my diet induces WAY more panic than anything else. Jessica, I feel your pain, I do- I can binge on pretty much anything, and it wreaks absolute HAVOC on my mind-state, which is fragile at best anyway. 1sweetpea, if you don't mind, I know you offered your email specifically for Jessica, but if I needed to ask you a few questions, or even just wanted to hear a friendly voice, would it be possible for me to send you an email?

  • SuasoriaSuasoria Raw Newbie

    Ditto TomsMom and Bean.

    You've probably heard me say that what someone tells you about food says more about the person than it does about food - and that whole thing struck me as rather creepy and crazy.

  • I just posted a reply to "I need some solid advice..." Perhaps youve had a chance to read it, although it is partially a reiteration of other's advice on this forum. It seems to me that you are already doing the right thing for you and where you are at at this time. Be proud of that, and how far you have already come on this path of your own healing. It also seems that your priorities and insight into your current state reflects maturity and wisdom, and youve grasped the concept that your mental regards to food is more important right now to your wellbeing than what you are actually eating. NOT to imply that what we eat does not affect us, but that there needs to be integratgion of the mental AND the physical for true and COMPLETE healing to occur. This is much more paramount regarding those of us who have battled eating disorders, where we can actually condition ourselves to somehow conceive internally that ALL or ANY food is "bad." This script must 1st be rewritten and turned around to an acceptance of food before we can begin to sort out the question of WHAT to eat- which should be based ideally on the feelings of enjoyment and nourishment/nurturing rather than concepts of "should/shouldnt", "good/bad", "healthy/unhealthy" etc.

    Good that you are reaching out, and please be aware to catch any signs of relapse and be proactive should they occur!

    Take care.

  • 1sweetpea1sweetpea Raw Newbie

    Bean, I am happy to communicate privately with anyone who wishes to discuss food issues and eating disorders. I consider myself well-versed, yet in no way a professional. If anything, I was a professional bulimic -- LOL. I've spent a lifetime struggling with food, either eating too much, too little, or in the endless B and P cycle.

    I think raw is attractive to people with eating disorders, or who are teetering on the brink of falling into patterns of disordered eating. It is both good and bad, for reasons too numerous to mention here, though if anyone wishes me to expand on this in this thread, just ask.

    I created the following e-mail address for the purpose of talking more privately than on these forums. Anyone wanting a little understanding, support and advice is welcome to write any time. jweiser68@gmail.com

  • beanbean Raw Newbie

    Thanks, 1sweetpea, it's nice to hear such a reassuring voice!

  • 1sweetpea1sweetpea Raw Newbie

    Well said, TomsMom. You're always a grounding force on these forums. I love your frank comments!

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