Today we're going to give the WLIR stage to one of our favorite bloggers, Mrs. Debbie Young.
Debbie is a 49 year old work-at-home mom to 3 kids, a freelance journalist, and a full time online community organizer. In April 2007 Debbie was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphoctytic Leukemia, a chronic form of Leukemia tracked by the rise in the white blood cell count.
When Debbie first got sent to the oncologist, her count was 14,000 (normal is less than 10K) then the count quickly went to 17,000 and hit a high of 29,000 just seven months ago. Four months ago, after the successful implementation of a raw food diet, it fell to 16,000.
Debbie blogs regularly at debbiedoesraw.blogspot.com and today she's joining us here on WLIR to 1) talk about what a day in the life of a visit to an oncologist looks like and 2) share some more great news about her white blood cell count.
A Day in the Life: A Visit to the Oncologist
Today was my check up with my oncologist, routine but really, is there anything routine about going to the oncologist? I always try and prepare myself, sort of make a plan of how it will go, how I will act with the Dr and the nurse, trying all the while to stop staring at the enormous elephant in the living room that is my white blood cell count. I have CLL, also known as chronic lymphoctytic leukemia. In an attempt to heal myself and achieve optimum health, for the last 8 months I have been a raw vegan, cutting out all dairy, meat, processed food and refined sugars out of my diet.
When I was diagnosed, I had no symptoms other than a white blood count of 14,000 (normal is 4-10K), that rose to a height of 29,000 7 months ago. Four months ago, it fell to 16,000, less then when I had my harrowing encounter with a giant needle to get a bone marrow biopsy on April 4th 2007. I drink green juice daily, love my green smoothies, eat tons of veggies, some fruit, lots of almonds, hemp seed, spirulina and a few food based supplements. So the litmus test of my lifestyle is the onc visit and blood test.
Here is how I roll:
I woke up at 5:45am, decided that is as good a time as any to get up, I don't use an alarm. Dry Brush my bod and face all over, brush my teeth, do the morning ritual. Wanted to meditate with Rodney Yee, but Sam is sleeping on the couch in the room I use,so I head downstairs and outside. A cool breeze is moving around and the swing beckons.
Make a quick cupa pomegranate green tea , consult with Dali Lama's entry for July 2nd:
'....there is an Indian saying: if you are struck by a poisonous arrow,it is important first to pull it out. There is no time to ask who shot it, what sort of poison it is and so on....similarly, when we encounter human suffering, it is important to respond with compassion rather than question the politics of those we help.' Or question ourselves too much, I am tempted to add.
Malcolm the Wonder Dog
Get boy wonder Malcolm and cross the wet grass to sit zazen on the swinging bench, apropos no? Once there, make the intention to slow down my breath, work on gratitude a bit, then move on to forgiveness, which gets easier and easier every day. Take a minute to think of all the blessing that I have in my life and how I want this appointment to go. I also think that for a moment my Mom might actually have come back as my dog but cross that off as not really probable.
My Life Line aka my email inbox
Time to check email, update my Crazy Sexy Life folks, thank everyone for pulling and praying for me, I can actually feel the love coming out of my computer! Go to my favorite raw food blogs, check out WLIR, GI2MR, leave some comments, spread some love around the joint.
Morning crazies ensue, then the doorbell rings, postman brings a special delivery from Leenda, filled with love and laughter, incense, a bike horn, a beautiful necklace that I don immediately, it says "Live Light" perfect, just what I needed.
The Box of Love from Lovely Leenda:)
Time to juice green, get that plant blood in the old bloodstream.
The Magic Maker: My Omega Juicer
My Daily Prescription
I gather my ammo: aka reading Material, currently loving David Sedaris 'When You Are Engulfed in Flames." Makes me laugh every page, love him and his crazy life.
My Daily Prescription
Double your pleasure, double your fun bike
Choose Your Wardrobe Carefully When Discussing Cancer
Ready to Face the Music ie: Get my Butt on the Bike and see the Dr.
I hop on my bike and get my butt over to the office. I feel free when I ride, like a teenager again, jumping curbs, cutting corners, just plain having fun.
I sign in, sit and ................ wait............................ and then have an insurance issue, clear it up, pay copay and ......................... wait some more .............. trying to read, aware that I look like a crazy bag lady with my backpack, helmet, bike bag, camera, all fumbling all over ........... and I read David Sedaris, he is trying to quit smoking in Japan ........... can't focus............. waiting.............. wait impatiently, consider taking a picture of the waiting room but honor the privacy of the innocent bystanders ............. and finally my name is called. I joke with the nurse that my blood pressure might be high after this, waiting 45 minutes to get to see her. Weight: 126 (same as when I was 16), BP 110/70, pulse 72, temp. 96, mind: calming down and getting ready to ..................... wait....................... this time in the room.
My Dr arrives, asks if there are changes. I say I feel great, I rode my bike over here, like perhaps he thinks that my helmet is just a rouse, a cunning way to fool him into declaring me healthy.
I met Gina and her husband this weekend at our GI2MR Chicago meetup and I kept thinking, "This random couple in Chicago, who aren't medically or scientifically trained, have produced better healing results for Autism than the $100 million + a year Autism research community."
It's very hard for mothers and families to digest the information Gina has to share (because of the attachment to the idea of the disease), but I know as our community grows the word will continue to get out. If you know a family dealing with autism you might consider sending them Gina's post.
Here are a few events happening in the world of raw food this week. Do you have an event you want to post? Check out the GI2MR World Wide Raw Food Events Calendar.
GI2MR (Atlanta, GA)
The Hub for Raw Food (Los Angeles , CA)
Evolve Your Brain (NY)
Health & Healing Festivals - Leeds (UK)
Make Cacao Magic (UK)
One of the challenges with our allopathic medical culture is the lack of action an individual can take to improve the health of others. If your child has autism or your sister has cancer, you are generally left with two options:
Great intentions, but billions of dollars and t-shirts later, are we really any closer to getting to the root cause of disease?
Here is an event that is here to change the game.
The Walk to End Talking
On Sunday September 14th, in Tompkins Square Park NYC, a collective of health educators, celebrities and organizations are getting together to host an event to end all walks.
The day will be filled with lectures, meditation sessions, food, vendor booths, music and dancing.
The organizing team, which is lead by Alexander I.B. of SanaVita and EMU, is finalizing the list of speakers for the day and is interested in having the raw food community represented. Many of us will be at Raw Spirit Festival, but if you're not going this will be a fantastic local event that will provide tons of press and exposure.
If you're interested in more info shoot Alexandar an email at alexandar [at] sanavita [dot] org and tell him that WLIR sent you.
And if you interested in attending we'll be sure to provide more updates on The Walk to End Walking as the date get's closer.
I was checking out the raw blogsphere today and saw that Robin from Rawket Science posted a simple recipe for Kale Chips.
I swear, the only reason I have a dehydrater is so I can make Kale Chips. I don't use it for anything else. Well, maybe a little of Philip's Cauliflower Popcorn, but that's it.
I know Karyn's in Chicago and Alive in San Fran have Kale Chips on the menu, but I wish more raw food spots would carry them. They are so easy to make and a much healthier raw snack for the stomach. The nut + seed based dehydrated snacks taste good, but of course they are much tougher to digest and don't contain as much as nutrition.
Have you ever made Kale Chips before?
Here is my predicament…
I have lost more weight than anyone I personally know, raw or otherwise.
I am in uncharted territory when it comes to comparing notes with others.
Besides my friend Angela Stokes, who can relate, whom can I talk to?
These are the thoughts that go through my head as I decide to peel back the layers of the onion of my life, only to reveal nothingness in the end. Stillness.
What does it mean to live an authentic and transparent life?
A friend challenged me the other day when I mentioned that I deleted an unconscious comment that was left on one of my YouTube videos. In my mind it was a comment that wouldn’t have benefited anyone, but then again - was I hiding? Is only allowing the “pleasant” things being authentic, being transparent?
Why not expose it all?
What is there to loose, except my ego?
As I keep taking bolder and bolder steps into my future I keep finding the light at the end of the tunnel just keeps getting more brilliant, more beautiful, and even more mesmerizing as I bask in the peace of knowing that everything is just the way it is suppose to be, in this moment. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel feels like an oncoming train, where breathing seems laborious and thoughts of stillness seem as far away as the completion date of my autobiography. But in the words of my mother, “this too shall pass.”
Another Onion Peel
# 1 question everyone wants to ask but is always afraid to:
What about weight loss and saggy skin?
I would imagine that anyone that loses 100 lbs, no less 200 pounds, is going to experience a little bit of saggy skin issues at some point in time. Whether it's your arms, legs, stomach, or even your face, it’s real.
What to do what to do? I remember when I first found out about raw I emailed a bunch of the experts and they were all very encouraging for me to jump in, 100%. I was so worried about what I would look like if I lost the 200 lbs I needed to lose. Worry. I was more worried about my “image” than I was about LIVING! At 400 lbs you’re not vibrant, you’re barely alive. Crazy how the image of movie stars with chiseled abs had such an impact on me that I almost considered not going raw unless I was going to be “perfect.”
Perfect. What is that? Perfect according to others? Perfectly beautiful just the way you are? If I had chosen to fall victim to that perfection you wouldn’t have ever met me. I might be already dead.
See my before pics for proof.
Do I have saggy skin? Some. Most of the extra skin is around my stomach area, and some under my arms, and around my upper thighs. But its not really that noticeable, doesn’t bother me, and in the end… who really cares? I am working on it. Skin brushing, MSM, working out, blah blah blah. You know the routine.
Honestly though, this post is less about my skin and more about a challenge - a casting of a gauntlet so to speak...
What do you need to let go of?
My words are my liberation, that is why I blog so freely.
Do you have an outlet?
Are you stuck in your comfort zone or are you challenging yourself to grow?
Either way please share, comment, and let me know.
Your words will set someone else free.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Be a Liberator,
Every time I hear Philip talk about his journey I get a deeper understanding of my own.
Revvell interviews Philip McCluskey
In this in-studio interview, Revvell and Philip discuss how Philip eliminated 200 pounds in two years, on the living foods program. Revvell then asks Philip questions many people who are beginning want to know such as ~ did you go 100% immediately or transition? Did you consume nuts? Count calories? Exercise?
We also spoke about the after effects of eliminating so much weigh/fat in such a relatively short time such as loose skin. How does Philip travel and stay raw?
Big ups Philip! You are a true raw baller. The journey has just begun and I'm totally honored to have you as a friend.
Big ups to our buddy Jason N. for letting us know about this Jason Mraz clip.
Earlier this month Jason Mraz represented his new single and raw power on 'This Morning', a UK morning morning show. He talked about his being a raw foodist, his avocado farm, and a raw chocolate + guacamole dish called "chocomole".
Last week we blogged about the sale of LÄRABAR to General Mills. We also blogged about the concerns that a few community members had about the sale. Will the company change? Will the product change? Is this good or bad news?
I knew there were a lot of opinions floating around, but Lara, the founder of LÄRABAR, was one person the community hadn't heard from directly. So I invited Lara who was aware of these feelings the community had to blog on WLIR about her thoughts on the sale and her vision.
We live in an age where most businessmen (and women) are so distantly removed from their actions that they often have no idea (or choose to ignore) the true feelings of the community that supports their products. I want to go on record by saying regardless of how you feel about the sale, Lara Merriken is not one of these people. She's in touch with her community, with her products (she created the original bars) and she knows the important role her company plays in the growing health awareness that is impacting so many.
On to the interview. I took the best questions I could find on GI2MR and WLIR and sent them to Lara. Below are her answers.
Dhrumil: LÄRABAR is the most successful raw food bar. Your products are in so many stores and you have such a wide reach. So why did you sell?
Lara: I started LÄRABAR because I’m passionate about healthy eating and how it can enrich everyone’s life—not just the lives of those deep-rooted in the raw and natural foods communities. I believe the whole world, people from all walks of life, should have access to wholesome foods.
There is no better company on the planet than General Mills to broaden the access to LÄRABAR worldwide. We feel proud about the job we’ve done growing our business, and we’re equally proud that General Mills has recognized the magic of LÄRABAR and, through its tremendous resources, wants to take us to a higher level and a greater reach that we could have never achieved on our own.
Reaching people is what it’s all about. Natural, organic and raw food should not be a luxury for only a certain group of people. At LÄRABAR, we’re committed to sharing knowledge about positive food choices, improving not only the lives of people who enjoy our products, but also the lives of farmers who grow the quality ingredients that go into our products. That commitment will never change.
D: A few vocal voices in the community have raised questions about General Mills specifically. They feel that their products are not in alignment with the raw food movement and by selling the company to them you're "selling out." What does General Mills bring to the table that empowers the mission of LÄRABAR. Why go to General Mills or why did they come to you? Did you ever consider going to other companies?
L: LÄRABAR, over the years, has caught the eye of a number of large companies. But it was General Mills who really “got it” and “got us.” In the end, the caliber and integrity of its people really won us over.
It’s impressive to consider that General Mills has been around since the 1800’s, and you don’t stick around that long without understanding and, more important, respecting the ever-changing needs of your consumers. In 1999, General Mills launched a new division of its company called “Small Planet Foods,” dedicated to natural and organic foods. You probably have seen its brands in grocery stores: Muir Glen and Cascadian Farm. LÄRABAR will be part of Small Planet Foods, and we’re thrilled to help expand more natural and organic food offerings available in stores.
D: Did you ever have any concerns that selling to a public company like General Mills would jeopardize the LÄRABAR product line?
L: No concerns whatsoever. I believe “stewardship” is a better word than “ownership” in describing the involvement of General Mills with LÄRABAR. This is my baby, and I would not have turned it over to just anyone.
D: Many people are concerned that without your energy the company's mission of "Simple. Pure. Delicious" could be jeopardized. In what way will you be involved with LÄRABAR moving forward from here?
L: Over the last couple of years, my days have been largely spent on the business side of running LÄRABAR. With General Mills at the helm, I’m excited to get back to my roots and re-focus my energy on the very creativity that made LÄRABAR what it is today: Simple. Pure. Delicious. In fact, my new role is Creative Director of LÄRABAR, and I’m as committed as ever in creating wholesome, innovative and delicious new products moving forward.
D: This is the first major sale of a primarily raw food company to a larger public food company. You and your team are paving the way and a lot of people don't know whether they should be happy or concerned because this is all so new. Do you see this as a growing trend? Do you see more mainstream companies wanting to get involved in raw food products? Is this good for the overall health of the country.
L: Consumer awareness about the importance of good food choices really began to grow about a decade ago when retailers—both natural and conventional—started understanding and catering to the wave of the future. And what a great thing! I’m humbled to know that LÄRABAR is truly making a difference in the quality of people’s lives; the more people, the better.
Is this a growing trend with other companies? I hope so!
D: LÄRABAR has been you baby since 2000. You first came up with the concept of LÄRABARon your daily hikes and now you're selling millions are bars a year. I'm sure this has been a wild ride. That being said, what's next in the evolution? What's the goal from here and is that goal any different from when you first started?
L: My mission has always been—and always will be—to inspire people to make positive decisions that better their lives and the lives of those around them. I really feel like the “wild ride” has just begun.
Big thanks to Lara for joining us here. I hope you'll continue to keep us updated on the journey of LÄRABAR. My mom, who eats half raw, enjoys the taste of LÄRABAR and always asks me to pick them up for her when I got to Whole Foods. I know that routine won't stop.
Lastly, before I conclude this post, I have one personal comment I'd like to share on the matter for those involved in the business of raw:
If you love what LÄRABAR is up to and excited about their journey, this sale should make you want to hustle even more than you are right now. If you feel other than happy about this sale, you should still be motivated to hustle.
A perfect storm of the internet, the green movement and the growing concern of disease is creating an awareness about raw food that will soon reach a tipping point. And that means we need everyone to kick up their game. Bring it like you've never brought it before. Like or don't like how LÄRABAR did it? Do it your way and help build a new health paradigm. Focus your energy on action.
The most important thing we can do is continue to share and grow. Community connection is one of the most valuable assets the raw food community has and it's important to continue to encourage that energy to flourish. I appreciate everyone for sharing their thoughts and I'm very honored to be party of such a great community.