Our idea of what constitutes "food" in American culture has become so skewed that it is almost unrecognizable. Our supermarkets are packed with products whose ingredients include unpronounceable chemicals, dyes, bacteria, and growth hormones. They are irradiated without our consent and contain GMOs.It's time to bring back FOOD. Pure unadulterated organic RAW food.This blog is a documentation of my continuing journey on a plant-based lifestyle.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!"

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) Lady Macbeth was referring to a different type of "spot", however, if Lady Macbeth were not a fictional Shakespearean character, I'm positive, she too would harbor the same negative feelings towards 'Aunt Flow' too.

Disclaimer: There's gonna be some serious discussion about the female menstrual cycle. I take no responsibility for any reactions that may come as a result of reading this post.

So, about a year and a half ago I stopped getting my period after being raw for almost 9 months. That's right, it just stopped. And damn was I happy...and admittedly, kind of scared too.

Aunt Flow and I haven't always had the best relationship. She came at 16 like a tsunami during a huge July BBQ that my parents' were throwing and it only got worse from there. I'm talking fetal-position inducing cramps, cold bathroom floors, many pairs of discarded undergarments, spots on coveted blankets, and raging PMS. No matter what I did, within an hour, I was leaking all over the place. And this would last for a minimum (that heavy too) for two weeks at a time. I was miserable. So, my Mim did what any concerned Mim would do - she took me to the gyno who put me on birth control. This did nothing, other than make me gain a few pounds. So, they upped the dosage because of course to conventional doctors when a problem arises it's prescribe! prescribe! prescribe! That didn't help at all either, unless you consider morning sickness, throwing up in the girls bathroom, and passing out in the laundry room working and normal for a teenager...?

After that, I went off the birth control. And my dastardly menstrual cycle continued, unabated for years to come with the same force; even during my reckless dieting phase!

So, one can imagine the surprise/shock/concern one would feel after years of putting up with an unwanted house guest who seemingly just picks up and leaves....and then doesn't return for quite some time...honestly, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel. I mean, society tells us that the female menstrual cycle is a right of passage: Ta-dah! You're a woman now! But, what if that isn't really true? We all know ovulation is necessary, but what if that's all we require to pass into the stage of woman-hood? I mean, if our nose was bleeding for a week every 28 days I doubt we would consider this normal...right?

A hemorrhaging of blood from anywhere can never be normal, at least in my opinion.

Anyway, I went to a local NYC clinic to get my blood tested. I had heard through various sources that often on a raw food diet women do stop getting their period, but since mine happened so soon after starting the diet, I wanted to make sure my hormones were balanced and everything was in check. My blood work came back perfect; now mind you at the time I was eating a modified 811 diet - still eating spices and an occasional raw gourmet meal, but for the most part I had severely cut back on my nut and seed intake.

Once I got my test results back, I was like a woman on a mission: I was going to find out what the hell was wrong with me that I had stopped getting my period. I even went for a pelvic exam to make sure there were no abnormalities on my ovaries or uterus. I tried EVERYTHING to get my period to come back: no fat, low fat, high fat, bikram, no running, raw gourmet, no raw gourmet, eating soy products again, 100% organic, more greens, wild greens, juicing, smoothie feasting, ph-balanced water, vitex, zinc, herbal teas, -- you name it, I've done it. I mean, NYC is a pretty toxic place to live as far as clean air goes. The fact that I could be clean enough to not get my period every month just seemed unreal to me!

However, after a while I started to appreciate the fact that I didn't have to deal with Auntie Flow anymore. Ahhh, bliss. No more forking over the cash for organic tampons and pads. No more PMS. No more spots and discarded under-roos. I felt great physically and mentally so I kind of gave up on my mission. Inwardly and outwardly there seemed to be no visible sign that anything was wrong or that I should be concerned simply because I wasn't bleeding every month. [Since 16, every time I was about to get my period, like a week or so before, I would get a sharp pain in my ovary. And I was still experiencing that same feeling despite the fact that I wasn't physically getting the period -- that's how I knew I was really ok.]

While on my mission I read several thousand articles on women and their periods and how necessary or unnecessary it really is. Some say that the period is like any other detox through the body; toxic blood essentially releasing via the womb. You should read these two articles if you are curious about more concrete information: The Bloody Truth and Diet and Menstruation.

I wasn't sure how true all this was until it happened to me...

If you all recall a few blog posts back I talked about all that cooked squash I was eating...and the hummus..and the diaya cheese. Sometimes I would gently melt the diaya cheese over zucchini in the oven...that month I had more cooked food than I had ever eaten in two years.

And what do you know, the very next month after nearly two years without a period...Aunt Flow came a knockin'!

It was one of the worst periods I had ever experienced, much like those from my teenage years - full force and lasting almost two weeks. And that doesn't even include the two weeks BEFORE my period where I was extremely exhausted, felt weak, lack of appetite, nauseous, etc.

At first, I was entirely confused. What the hell was I doing wrong now that could bring my period back!? Nothing about my diet or routine had changed since moving from NYC to CA. As mentioned, I am pretty OCD about consistency and I simply couldn't figure it out. I was also a strangely befuddled because I had spent so much time and energy trying to figure out how to bring my period back and here she was! And then, one night while on our way to Mother's for snacks, it clicked! The only thing that had changed for me since moving to California was the fact that I had been incorporating the cooked food into my diet the previous month. Ah, ha!

Now, you may be thinking, "Don't blame your period on a couple baked squashes and some hummus! That's crazy talk!" And while you are entirely entitled to your opinion, the proof is in the [raw] pudding, as they say.

This week, I was supposed to get my period again. And while I did feel the pangs of ovulation, I am successfully without period, once again.

My diet has been nearly all raw with the exception of yummy Coconut Bliss ice cream...and hell will freeze over before I would ever consider giving that up.

So what does this all mean? For me, this means, that if I ever want to suffer for a month straight I should just eat cooked food! No, really, this just proves to me how toxic cooked food is to the body. That I tried absolutely everything to get my period back for the longest time, EXCEPT eating cooked food, and all it took was in fact, the cooking of the food. This is not to say that I'll never eat a squash or a sweet potato again. (When I am el prego I plan on going straight to east side bagel on the lower east side and ordering an everything bagel with tofu cream cheese. Yes, you heard me.) However, I'm not going to make a meal of it...or eat it for two weeks straight (my consistency habits be damned).

So you see, the connection between food and body and our toxicity levels really is legit. We experience such a heavy toxic load daily from things that are completely out of our control via the environment or people who don't share the same conscious beliefs that we do..like the woman in line at the grocery store who apparently can't/doesn't leave the house without bathing in her eau de toilette that smells like cucumber melon and nursing home....so why would we want to further pollute our bodies when they already have enough toxicity to process everyday?

So, ladies (and maybe gents??) if you feel a craving for cooked food coming on because you are stressed or pmsing read some raw food blogs to stay inspired and maybe throw together a raw food dessert...or just something tasty...

Like:

Almond Cookie Dough Balls
Or...

 Cinnamon Pecan Doughnut Holes Rolled in Cinnamon-Pecan-Coconut Flakes


*** My dear friend Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga requested the recipe for these super yummy doughnut holes and I am never one to deny good friends, good food. Unfortunately, I am not one for exact measurements...I just kind of make a list of what I think something should taste like and throw it together. Also, I make BIG batches for clients and what not so you would have to seriously adjust anyway.

Doughnut Hole:
2 cups soaked almonds
6-7 coconut date rolls
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pecans 
2 cups coconut
1 T cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Blend in the food processor until you have a dough. Make sure not to over process as you don't want the 'batter' to be super oily. You just want to make sure all your ingredients are incorporated. Form into balls and set aside.

To make the oustide layer:
1/2 c pecans
2 cups coconut
1 T cinnamon
pinch sea salt

Process until you have a powder with little bits of coconut still visable (gives texture). Then roll your doughnut holes in your cinna-pecan-coconut flour mixture.

I keep these in the freezer until I need to use them so that they stay fresh. However, you can eat these straight away (obviously) and if you are going to be serving them with in a few hours of making them you can just keep them in the fridge. These last a LONG time.

Enjoy!




Or maybe even some homemade Cashew and Walnut Butter on top of Cinnamon Raisin Brazil Nut Bread....




Hell, why not some Cheezy Curry Kale Chips??


Or... Walnut Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms too!



Because honestly, I can't think of anything better than never having to deal with Auntie Flow..