My Life for the Next Decade

Me in Margaret River, Australia, 2005


I am about to turn 40. Regardless of how I look and feel, this is a lengthy amount of time in life, and I don’t want to waste any more of it. I am motivated by dying.

My 30s were a definite joy. This came with overhauling my health and lifestyle practices – nothing is more important to me than that, but it is first nature to me now, and though I have found that my dharma is to be a health advocate, my passions in life still need tending to, and a couple of them have been neglected for far too long.

My 40s are going to be all about surfing and writing, wellness and survival. Most of my life, I have wanted to be a surfer. I did have a stint of time living on the coast, and partaking often, but I never really improved, never fully dedicated myself to it. I was distracted by boys, I was curtailed by low self-esteem, and plagued by self-doubt and ill-health, mostly mental. I wish I had really focused, gotten private lessons, had the proper gear for my level, been fit and healthy in general – but I wasn’t, and I didn’t. The best I got was at paddling and I could do only the very basics.

This isn’t good enough for me, as I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say, “Wow, I really wish I had spent more time surfing, I never really gave it a good shot, even though I love it more than almost anything else.”

I don’t ever want to be that person. “I wish I had done that. I wish I had eaten better. I wish I had loved more. I wish I was kinder. I wish I had seen more of the world. I wish I had wasted less time.” I never want to say those things. I want to live fully and never miss beautiful opportunities when I have them, because life is precious and rare. LIVING is precious and rare. Most people merely exist. Not me. No. I have a wild heart and I will battle my way through anything to achieve what I want.

It isn’t to impress anyone, it is only for myself, to fill my soul and to see what I am capable of, because I know it is so much. We all have the capacity, we just need to tap in and believe it.

I never believed it when I was younger. I do now.

I want to share my journey because the journeys of others inspire me. I want to share triumphs and failures, because that is what life is. I hope to inspire you to be healthier and to never limit yourself for any reason, particularly age. It is not too late, there is always a way.

Life is NOT about giving up and zoning out. It’s not about avoidance. It’s emotional and vulnerable. I am not myself unless I am healthy and free. I am not myself unless I indulge in the things I love, and help others do the same. All I want is freedom, love, and health, and to help others have the same.

Finding Passion and Freedom in All Forms

I go through long phases of hard-core dedication to blogging. Schedules work for a while, but then I just want to rebel.

I have a different perspective on what I want this place to be. I don’t want to make it completely about advice or inspiration from a “Do this” sort of perspective.

I want it more to be about how I am going about living my life and living in a way that is free, passionate, and bold.

Share how I’m doing it. How I’m making my way through muck and bullshit and money problems and still paving a way, in whatever way I can dream up.

Yeah I’ll still write some inspirational stuff, too, but not because I have a weekly schedule, but because I really feel like writing it.

You know? I don’t like anything to feel forced. Feeling forced feels disgusting. Forced, or fake, or whatever – no. I believe in everything I say and suggest, but I don’t want to plop myself down and say “Okay inspire people.”
People will be inspired or not – it’s not something I can predict.

I’d rather people be inspired by what I do – not what I say.

And sometimes, honestly, I want to lie around and read. I want to go for a dip in the lake. I want to laugh at stupid videos. Sometimes I just want to daydream, or float in the river, or draw elaborate drawings while listening to music or podcasts.

For the last few months I have been overwhelming myself with information, and while I love doing that I eventually need some time to EMPTY myself. I get too full. I need space. And so, while I am dedicated, I can only do that for so long before I need a break to actually integrate that info and then make room for new stuff.

If we get too full of outside information, it doesn’t leave room for our own thoughts and ideas. And that’s where I am at right now. The emptying phase. The time where I cultivate. And the ideas and creativity are alarming. I can’t keep up. I write it all down and want to do it all. It’s crazy – and so much of me is like AGHHH because I just like to chill out in nature and read books. I’m easy to please. I want to eat delicious plant food and write.  I want to go on road trips and dip into swimming holes and go surfing on the coast.

That’s all I really want. Freedom.

Freedom is my #1, it’s my only real goal in life. To do whatever I want – because this is how we are meant to be. We aren’t meant to be tied to anything, we aren’t meant to slave away and grind.
And so this blog is going to be about passion, yes, but really, it’s about finding freedom in all forms.




Officially Fall

Me at Playland, 2012

Now that autumn has arrived, and I have enjoyed a good chunk of the summer, I am more inclined to write, sit inside, and read.

This summer included some wonderful new habits and revived my love of others…it took some time. I generally go through years-long phases of being social vs. being solitary. A visit to Vancouver Island and a group of friends has brought me out of that shell, and even tempts me to move back over there.

I’ve never had a strong friend-group for a long period of time – there was my friends in school, but it was not common for us to hang out in this group outside of school as we all did not live very close together, and our parents had different levels of strictness.

There was a group of gothy types I had weekly parties with in my late teens, but my social anxiety and strange inclinations took over, I felt paranoid that I was being used for my age (to get booze) and my car, and I retreated.

At my last jobs, there were amazing gaggles of people who would hang out together, but when we left one by one, the gatherings got lesser and lesser, and my interactions seem to be one-on-one (still my favourite), and not the grand jigsaw of all us coming together.

And then there were my island friends, all of whom I met through my first time on IRC, a friend named Allen who knew so many wildly funny and eccentric, goofy, and kind people on the Island, and I very much fell into those people, loved them all, and went as often as I could.

So many of these people moved around, and many are now again in one place – some have moved on, but we all have this connected, group-feel, and it is the only one where I feel completely at ease. Groups have always intimidated me and if there is a large gathering where I only know one or two people, or no one, I completely panic. Large crowds? Don’t even go there. The Olympics in Vancouver 2 years ago…the epicenter was right outside of my work, and I had panic attacks daily.

I would spend every weekend on the Island if I was not saving up for my winter vacation, but I love that a 2-day excursion has revived me. THE FEELINGS.


Other things I’ve done this summer:

+ Read about a billion graphic novels and other books.

+ Beach running.

+ Beach gathering with many raw foods.

+ PLAYLAND + a ride that swings 70 kph at 218 feet in the air (overwhelming).

+ Swimming at the pool with my Dad.

+ Much running with my dog.

+ Fruit, so much fruit. I bought well over 100 lbs of blueberries in a couple of months, and ate them all.

+ Blackberry picking.

+ Waking much earlier than usual, and sleeping more.

+ I actually went out to a club  for the first time in years.

+ Many visits to the farm market, to visit the cows, goats, and donkeys (and buy food).

+ Pet-sitting.

+ Beach jaunts with my dog, who loves to run on the sandbars. She is a Chinese Crested and ends up looking very drowned afterward.

+ Another visit to the island to visit my friend and her son (before her new baby was born). I proceeded to eat much of her garden.

+ Fund-raising and walking for the SPCA.

+ Reminiscing and reliving many moments from teenagedom, and planning out a comic based on those years.

+ So much dog-park.

+ Zombie-walk.

+ Went to see the DJ Richie Hawtin with my boyfriend.

+ Much, much lying in the sun.

AND NOW, it is fall, and still beautiful out. The night is colder, but the days are still bright and bloom with happy. I have many ideas and jaunts planned for fall.

Always make the most of the weather, your friends, your time, your health. It’s so easy to say “You only get one life” and not really reflect on that – this time is not endless, as much as I wish it was. I want to live forever.

Dark Vs. Light

Before I went raw, I was a gloomy little shit.

But about 10 days later, I was lifted into the sky, a sweet angelic hippie, a twinkling orb; I wanted to heal the world, i felt so happy. Was this the real me, underneath all the toxic crap? What about the gothy-girl who loved darkness and morbid skull-blood-nastiness?

I still struggle with this dichotomy. 

There is a half that wants positivity and light, caravans and vast expanses of green lands to grow fruit trees and house vagabonds, dreadlock my hair and never wear make-up, make love in the weeds and raise children in nature with my perfect soul lover, surfing in the morning light and being gypsy-creatures in a commune.

Then there is that side that wants partially shaved hair, lip rings and tattoos, latex and nights in the club with strangers and making out with androgynous beauties, raucous evenings, the part that wants to just dive into blackness alone and eat musty tasting mushrooms and then laugh at the trees. This part of me that admires defying death, the part that sees beauty in zombies and ghouls, the scowling, raven-hair-dyed, red lipped vixen. That part.

I am split in half – is one half me, and one not? Or are they both me? These sides are so different and it seems insane that they can co-exist within one brain. I don’t want to deny either side.

I find in the raw food community, everyone is all about au-naturale and eschewing anything perceived as negative or dark.

I like to embrace both sides. I respect and see beauty in both worlds. There is a divinity in shadows.

There is a huge part of my life that has been dark – but not necessarily in a bad way. I have found so much inspiration and loveliness in spooks. Even now I am drawn to creepy things, just as much as rainbows and sunshine.

I don’t think you need to deny the shadow self, at all. Embrace it when it comes out. There is beauty there. When you close off to one thing, you cannot learn from it, be inspired by it, or appreciate what may come of it.

So many of us have risen from the depths of a black abyss – it has birthed us. Don’t forget where you came from.

Raw Food Diet TIPS After 4 Years Raw!

So, guess what!

That’s right, I have been on a raw food diet for FOUR YEARS!

Amazing. Hard to believe! Well, not really.

When I first started on this journey, I had a deep feeling it would be for life. It was one crazy epiphany, you know? And I asked the universe to show it to me! Show me my answer, please! And there it was! Under my nose, so simple. Fruits + veg. Nature. Sunshine. Wow.

So here are the most important things I have learned over my years as a raw foodist .

I am still learning all the time, and will never stop. I consider this few years as my baseline – I only just now think I am starting to know enough to be able to lead others in the right direction.

1. If it seems daunting, read up, and go at a pace you can handle.

I read for a couple of months before I switched to raw. Seek out some books at the library, your local bookshop, or find some blogs you enjoy. There are so many out there – way more than when I started. Find one that speaks to you.
Don’t think you need to do it overnight, though you can if you like. For me, I started out for 2 months as a vegan, cut out refined white sugars, and then slowly cut out things over that 2 month time-frame.

Have a farewell dinner to your favourite junk foods – and make sure you have something similar to replace it with at first. Your tastebuds change pretty quickly – about 7-10 days, and then you will crave whatever it is that you eat the most of.

2. Set dates for your transition.

This is important so you can work towards something specific.

3. Expect detox.

This will depend on what your current health and diet is like. I was a vegetarian and did not eat a ton of junk, though I did eat a lot of candy. I didn’t think my detox would be very bad because of this – it wasn’t – I did get huge pimples and lethargy and diarrhea, but that was about it. If you eat a lot of animal products, meat, coffee, etc – you will probably have a much worse detox, and it doesn’t necessarily happen right away. The animal foods can stay with you for a long time, so expect a harder detox – things can still show up months later.

4. Be patient.

Don’t expect to be a glowing beam of light within a few days. You very well could be, it depends on your current lifestyle. Things will change, just give it time. Most people are malnourished and toxic. These things need to time to come out, time to absorb and replenish. For me, I felt amazing after 10 days.

5. Expect miracles.

They will happen. Your chronic issues will vanish, your moods will improve, your weight will drop + stabilize, your attitude will shift, your life will change in numerous ways.

6. Keep the carbohydrates high and the fats low.

Take note of this one especially – it’s the mistake I made and most raw foodists make – don’t worry about it TOO much at first, just eat as much raw food as possible. As long as it’s raw, eat it. But once you are used to eating all raw for a couple of months, start to really lower your nut + seed intake and ditch oils – up your fruit intake BIG TIME. Keep track of your calories and make sure you are getting a good amount. Your body needs carbs. Eat tons of fruit + greens right away. You might be able to eat copious amounts for a while – when I started i could eat 2-5 avocados a day, along with everything else – now I eat 1/2-1, and not daily.

Fat slows insulin in your blood. If the insulin cannot bring sugar into your cells quickly (we need those sugars to live on! our bodies run on glucose) then our blood sugars will rise. High blood sugar will cause a multitude of issues (candida, diabetes, etc). This is not the fruit’s fault, it is the result of too much fat. How much is too much? Keep your fats to about 10% of your total caloric intake. Put your meals into and you’ll see how much fat you actually ingest. If you go a bit over, don’t worry too much – it is consistency that is key. If you hit 15%, that is fine, but try to keep it around 10%.

I would actually prefer people to eat a partially cooked vegan diet that is high carb, low fat, than a high-fat 100% raw food diet. Potatoes, quinoa, rice, etc. It is not optimal, but it is your second best choice if you cannot fathom eating so much fruit. Complex carbs, however, have no taste, so do not slather them in fats and salts – find something else that will add some flavour instead of fats. You also want to avoid too much salt, but if you do use it, avoid table salt at all costs!

7. Gorge on fruit + greens = do not be afraid of overeating.

Fruit will not make you fat. If you have been starving yourself, you will gain weight – this is normal. For everyone else, you will lose weight. Your body needs glucose, your brain will probably be having a party once you start eating raw food. It will be so excited it will be insatiable. That’s good. Eat as MUCH as you can. If you crave calorie-dense food like animal products or starches with lots of fat added, you need more calories, not dense ones –  more fruit is needed. It is the calorie source raw foodists need, without the mass amounts of fat.

8. Fresh, ripe, raw, organic is best.

Fresh = something that can grow in the ground or on a plant. Like it was just picked. Ripe = depends on the fruit. Most people don’t know what a ripe piece of fruit looks like, because it is not sold in stores. Bananas for instance, are not ripe until they have some spots. Pineapples never ripen once picked, and are never picked ripe unless you are getting them in Hawaii or somewhere similar. I’m not saying never eat pineapples, but know what a ripe piece of fruit looks like, because that is when it will have the most benefit to you. Raw = not heated over 115 degrees. Preferably never heated at all. Organic = grown without pesticides, herbicides, larvicides, fungicides, GMOs – “cide” means DEATH. Avoid conventional whenever possible. Failing that, at least eat organic when you are eating the skin of the fruit, or greens.

A lot of people eat a ton of dried fruit and dehydrated treats when they first go raw – that’s okay at first, but work towards these four particulars as the main components of your meals.

9. Health care is more expensive than eating healthy.

People who whine that eating healthy is expensive need to think this way – your health is gonna go to hell unless you eat properly. It just is. You may feel “fine” but for how long? Do you want to live an unhealthy lifestyle and pay the price later when it might be “too late?” The people who live to be 100 and still smoke, etc – what is their quality of life like? Are they still thriving? Are they on medications? It is likely. If you take care of your health NOW, then you will also be taking care of yourself LATER – degenerative diseases will not be a worry for you. Spend the money now (it’s a lot less than healthcare will be later) – it’s worth it. Make your health a priority. I went raw when I was making minimum wage at a part-time job.

10. Only listen to people getting results you want.

There’s plenty of people out there talking about their version of a raw food diet – are they vibrant, glowing, slim, fit, healthy, and actually interested in your health instead of their bank accounts? Make sure, or you could get swindled into things you don’t need.

11. Question the people trying to sell you supplements and expensive “super” foods.

A good way to look at vitamins + minerals is something I heard via Dr. Douglas Graham. Can you fit more gas into a gastank than it can take? No, it would just spill out. The same is true of your body + cells. Why is more of something a good thing? If you are eating something with 1000 times the vitamin C of an orange, do you actually absorb and use all of it? Nope, you probably pee most of it into the toilet. Also, when you eat a food in its whole form, any nutrients in that food are likely working together with other nutrients present in that food – refining something down to one vitamin, or one mineral – sort of useless. For instance you cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D present in your body. So you could take 10000ui of calcium – without vitamin D, it all gets pissed away, literally.

Fruits + vegetables do not make a lot of money for people in the health movement. But supplements sure do. They will tell you all sorts of nonsense to make you believe you need their product. Don’t listen to them. What you need is real food. There is only one vitamin out there that is difficult to get, for many reasons, and if your health was absolutely perfect, and our world was pristine, it would probably be a non-issue, and that is B12. I’ll talk about that later.

12. The simpler, the better.

The simpler you keep your meals, the better your digestion will be. That means, the better everything will be absorbed. It will also save you a lot of time. Raw food does not have to be a hassle. You could spend hours in the kitchen, or you could spend minutes. I like the latter. If I want something fancy, cool, but I know it’s not necessary.

13. If you fall off the fruit truck, just get back on and don’t make it a big deal.

I’ve had times where I went off raw food, briefly. I ate a little when I was in Europe with my family, and I had some potatoes when I was stuck in Seattle when I had a choice between Denny’s and a whack of fast food restaurants. I did when I had my heart broken, for a day. Did I berate myself, and give up? Er, no. I realized it was just a blip, and I took it as a blip.

Some people are super addicted to some foods. If you are a food addict, then be very careful if you have to eat something other than what is in your best interest. For me, I know the things I need to avoid, always. However, if I am stuck and very hungry, I know I can have some potatoes or rice and I won’t be too damaged. I’ll get a runny nose the next morning and back to fruit I go. if I eat bread, though – bad news. It will be very hard for me to stop myself, so I just avoid it forever. Know what your trigger is and avoid it like the plague.

14. Learn as you go.

You don’t need to know everything to start. Just grasp the basics. I am giving you the basics right now! Yay! Keep reading as you go and you will learn an amazing amount of information that is not widely known. This information is kept from the masses on purpose. Keeping the population sick and submissive is good for government, good for corporations, and how things typically work. We are all slowly waking up.

15. Shut yer yap unless questioned.

Let others see the changes in you – you will feel so amazing and youthful and ecstatic that you will want to run around yelling about raw food, and you might want to tell people they are killing themselves by eating whatever they are eating. Don’t. It doesn’t work. Let them come to you – they will.

16. Take advantage of your new energy.

Once you feel vigor again, use it. You might feel so great that you don’t know where to channel your energy – exercise! Your body wants to move. It needs to. Move it or lose it.

17. Join a forum, get support.

If you don’t have people around you for support, then an online forum is your best bet – even if you DO have people around you that are cheering you on! The more you are uplifted by others, and the more inspired you are, the better you will do.

18. Socialize with people doing the same things.

When I first went vegan I started going with someone to a restaurant where I met some new friends. I also started to go to raw restaurants and associate with other people in the lifestyle. I knew no one else before that – I knew a couple of vegetarians and that was it. I pestered my way into working at the raw restaurant, my vegan friends had raw potlucks – I made it easy for myself. I invited other people to eat with me at raw places, which they were totally fine with. Don’t make it a huge deal and it won’t be. Most people like yummy food no matter how it is prepared.

19. Find a physician who works with you and supports your lifestyle.

If your doctor is telling you this lifestyle is bad, consider that most doctors have no nutritional training, are parroting what they learned in school and that they get subsidies and are controlled by government and pharmaceutical companies. In many places it is illegal for them to suggest a lifestyle or dietary change. Society is a mess of greed and tactics to keep us sick and under control. The people trying to do this want our money, and they want us easy to manipulate – they control the masses, the doctors, everything – don’t let them. If you need to see a doctor, make sure they are cool with what you are doing, even if they didn’t suggest it themselves. Find one who will work with  you, not against you. Eventually, you won’t really need a doctor unless you have an emergency.

20. Supplement ONLY with things you cannot get via raw plant foods.

This would be vitamin D and B12 – vitamin D is best received via sunshine, or a proper tanning bed in small amounts, with low pressure lamps and UVA+UVB rays. There are vegan D3 pills available now – the regular kind are not. D2 is synthetic and possibly no good. B12 must be the proper type – methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin. Get it in a liquid sublingual (under the tongue) form, or get injections.  If you take pills they will most likely not absorb. Have a doctor test you via blood test AND urinary MMA test. Stay clear of cyanocobalamin, as you cannot absorb  it (most types in stores are this sort). The types of B12 in seaweeds is also analog and cannot do you any good – it also blocks the right type from getting to you.

21. Share information in a kind, non-confrontational way.

No one likes to be badgered – people have strong opinions on food, because everybody eats. Mind your own business, allow people to question you, THEN share your answers and opinions.

Don’t preach. I share videos sometimes, and even that can get me some drama. The most effect I’ve had is by just doing my own thing, and getting a few people to watch EarthlingsThen they make up their own minds.

22. Put yourself first.

The only person you can control is you. If you don’t believe you are worth it, you will never change, and then one day you will think “Damn, I wish I’d done that.” I could have waited four years to start eating healthy – then I could have said, “Wow I wish I’d done that when I first learned about it.” Do it now, you are important. If you are healthy + vibrant, then you will be a happier person to be around, have more energy for others, and you will be able to better care and be there for your loved ones. You first, always!

23. Bring things with you.

I bring everything with me, wherever I go. I take a bag of food to work, I take my own food to family functions, and if I go to the movies, I have something in my purse – raisins, dates, dried apples – whatever. It’s easy to bring your own stuff, no one will mind. If someone has a problem with it, just say “My doctor put me on this diet” – you don’t have to tell anyone your doctor is YOU.

24. Tell yourself it’s easy.

A lot of people think that eating healthy or raw is hard. If you go into this with that attitude, then yeah, you will make it hard. If you think it is easy, it will be easy. And it is. Nothing is simpler.

25. Podcasts are your friends!

If you have a busy life, then podcasts and audiobooks are for you. I listen to them constantly when I am doing other things – when I work alone, when I drive, when I walk the dog. These are all opportunities to learn more, and so I take them. There are lots of raw podcasts to download for free.

26. Surround yourself with health + ditch the crap. Now.

Go through all your cupboards and throw everything out. If it’s salvageable from the trash, spray it with Windex or something, then you won’t be able to dig it back out. Give cans to the food bank. TOSS it, get rid of it. Then go and buy lots of luscious fruit. If you get hungry, that’s all that will be there. Eat it, savour it!

27. Use what you’ve got.

Some people think they need tons of fancy equipment to be raw – craziness! I had a really junky blender and a food processor that was given to me, plus a simple juicer. I used the blender most. You actually don’t need any of these things, but if you want to have something to start, get a blender. Get a cheap one, thrift one, or ask for one on You don’t need a Vitamix, even though they are ultra awesome and worth every cent. I used a cheap blender my first two years raw – at the end it was being held together with duct tape. It still did the job.

28. Garden, forage, freegan.

Still think it’s too expensive? Plant seeds, learn to forage around your neighbourhood, go in to the forest. Along with that, check the dumpsters behind organic shops and groceries – you’d be astounded at the quality of stuff they throw away.

29. Keep inspiring yourself.

One of my favourite things to do is to read and listen to stories of what a raw food diet has done for someone – there are countless stories of transformations out there – massive weight losses, terminal disease turnarounds, “incurable” problems overcome. If there is a problem you have, guaranteed someone has turned it around via a raw food diet.

30. Ditch the people who vehemently oppose you.

There are always going to be people who don’t like what you’re doing. Most likely you are just making them jealous or they feel bad about their own lack of dedication. Put those people in the compost, find new friends. If your family is the culprit, ignore them and do what you want anyway. If they see how much you improve, they may change their minds in the long run. If not, well, move out, avoid conversations about food, etc. Put you first!

31. Enjoy yourself.

Don’t look at raw food as a restrictive diet. There is a huge amount of variety out there amongst “fruits and vegetables” – it seems like only 2 things, but really, it is thousands. I probably eat more variety of food than everyone I know, combined. It’s also a wonderful chance to try new things you never would have eaten before. For me, it was durian, sapodilla, horny melon, longans, kelp, daikon, jicama…on and on! I don’t like everything I’ve tried, but I sure have broadened my horizons.

Also, you can make some pretty amazing concoctions – gourmet raw is fun for treats, but not every meal. Even with the low-fat options, there is some amazing stuff you can do. It’s fun! I used to hate cooking, but I enjoy preparing!

32. Keep track of your progress.

I wish I had kept a better log of my first months of raw food. I have a few things written down – it’s odd that I don’t have more, because I tend to write everything out that happens to me. I could go back to it now and see how far I’ve come. To track diet, sleep, moods, and all of those things – that can be the key to success, so if you have problems, you can look and see the days where you felt the best, and what you ate and did.

33. Stay hydrated.

Just because you are eating lots of water-rich foods, does not negate the need for water on its own. You probably won’t need as much as someone eating cooked food (why do you think people are told to drink 8 glasses a day? It’s because they get no water in their food, it’s all cooked out!) but you still need it. Spring water is best, if you can get it. Otherwise filter it, or drink distilled. Failing that, tap water is better than nothing at all.

34. Get enough sleep.

Overlooked – sleep until you wake up. If you sleep 12 hours, that’s how much you need. You cannot oversleep. The body will not sleep if it doesn’t need it. Some people feel awful if they sleep “too much” – most likely they are just in need of massive detox, then wake up and feel the aftermath. Sleep is a healing time. It’s when everything repairs. If you are sleeping a lot, waking up still feeling gross – that’s why. Sleep as much as you need, ditch the stimulants. They just make you more tired by pumping you full of adrenaline and overworking your adrenal glands. This will eventually cause things like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Just sleep!

Food does not give you energy. Think of your body like a car. You can put in a full tank of premium gas, but the car will go nowhere without a charged battery. Your brain is the battery and to recharge, it needs sleep. To run, it needs fuel/food. You don’t get tired when you run out of food, you get tired when your battery is depleted. So recharge as long as you need to. Go to bed earlier. If you have more energy, the hours you are awake will be more eventful because you’ll be energetic enough to enjoy them. The earlier you go to bed, the better – your hormones and melatonin are linked to the sun and the rhythms of nature – just because you like to stay up late (I do, too) does not mean you are exempt from nature’s laws.

35. Keep your thoughts + wording positive.

The happier and more positive you are, the more good things you will notice – about others and about yourself. The more you accomplish, the better you will feel about yourself and then you will believe you can do even more. You can. Make it all easy on yourself. Believe it can be done. Believe you can afford it, stick with it, and make your life better.

36. Consider the produce section the only part of the grocery store that is actual food.

Your brain will eventually realize certain substances are not food anymore. You will not regard them as such. I walk past things I used to eat and I don’t even notice them – these are things I used to eat 3-5 times a day. Now it just looks like cardboard + poison (because it is).

37. If you’re an extremist you will get extreme reactions. Be prepared.

Not everyone is going to understand. Sometimes it’s best to keep things to yourself. If someone asks, that’s fine, but a lot of people will feel threatened by your changes. It’s funny, because it’s just fruits and vegetables. If someone is offended by what you do, keep doing it and shrug your shoulders. Don’t start drama. If someone has a question and you don’t know the answer, be honest. You will get monotonous questions. “Where do you get your protein” will be #1, guaranteed. You can answer with a studious reply (if you think they actually want to know), or you can say, “I don’t know, but I seem fine, and my doctor isn’t concerned, either.” (again, they don’t need to know your doctor is you!)

38. Get enough calories.

On a raw food diet, there are two sources of calories – fruits (carbohydrates), and fats. Protein is a non-issue. Don’t even worry about it! No matter what you do you will not be getting the majority of calories from protein. Don’t even think about it. There is no such thing as protein deficiency – only starvation. Some people try to live on green juice and lots of nuts. The problem with nuts is that they are acid-forming and are mostly fat. Yes, they have protein, but so do greens, fruits, and all other foods. You just have to eat enough of them to get what you need. Greens and vegetables are very low in calories, so in order to have enough glycogen to burn, and enough nutrition to thrive – fruit is where it’s at. Copious amounts of greens are also necessary for minerals, but the calories in greens are so minimal that you’d have to eat an insane amount to feel like a normal human being. Anything below 1500 calories is a starvation diet. Aim for 2000 calories if you’re a female, OR MORE, and 3000+ if you are male. This is a lot of fruit, yes, but think about other anthropoid apes – we are like them. We have the same anatomy and biology. What do they eat? Fruit and greens. A lot of them. Until they are full. One kind at a time.

39. Realize all the ways you are helping yourself, the environment, animals, other people.

This diet is great for your health, but it is also the most sustainable way to live. No animals need die for your meal. If all the land used for livestock was used to plant fruit trees, this world would be a happier, sweeter place. Everyone would have food. It’s a win-win-win-win situation. Win for your health, win for the animals, win for other people, win for the earth. The only things that lose are the multi-trillion dollar corporations that profit off of your ill health. You think they’re gonna give that up to tell you just to eat some simple fruits + veg!? Ha!

40. Love yourself!

To stick to a diet like this, you need to feel you are awesome. You need to feel that life is worthwhile. Feel it! Some of the most inspiring people out there were once completely depressed, suicidal, and had no self-worth. I was one of them. Every being on this planet is worthwhile, it’s just that most of them do not see it within themselves. It is so easy to become jaded.  We are brainwashed every day to think we suck! There is so much awful stuff out there, but there is intense beauty, too! You must first love yourself before you can love another, or the world. It doesn’t make sense until you feel it, man. So feel it. Do it. This is the best, and first way to loving yourself. You will feel so good that you can’t HELP but love yourself and everyone around you!

Here are my top personal health benefits from adhering to this lifestyle!

1! Acne is gone!

2! Depression vanished in 10 days!

3! No more bladder infections (used to have chronic ones!)

4! Sleep very deeply, easily, and vivid dreams.

5! No flu, or colds! In four years! Worst I have had is a runny nose if I ate cooked food.

6! Lighter periods!

7! Self-empowerment!

8! Candida/itchy skin gone after switching to low-fat!

9! Mental clarity like no one’s business!

10! More energy to do stuff! Woo wooooo!

11! Attitude shift! People who knew me before were like whaaaaaaaa?? especially my parents.

12! Delayed aging! Can you guess my age? I’m probably a lot older than you think.

13! A lot less irritable + more patient!

14! Lost 20 pounds with no physical effort.

15! Hair is glossier and thicker. It also grows very quickly.

16! Improved dental health (except for a stint eating raw honey).

17! Brighter eyes.

18! I don’t burn in the sun anymore (I do not use sunscreen).

19! I recover more quickly from any physical exertion, especially since lowering the fat in my diet.

20! I don’t have to worry about being smelly!

21! Healthy blood, no worries at yearly check-ups, and no medications needed.

22. No cold sores.

23. Perfect digestion.

24. Calm, positive attitude, but also very happy and excitable in general. I used to be a gloomy, cynical mess. I can still get that way, but it’s not as common, and usually due to winter and lack of vitamin D!

These are just some of the benefits I have experienced – many of these are typical, but people with worse problems have also healed.

So try it out! Don’t knock it til you have. I originally started a trial of 30 days, but deep down I knew it was for life.


Kick Seasonal Depression in the ASS

If there is something I know a lot about, it’s being utterly morose. And if there is something I know more about, it’s how to get the hell out of it.

I’ll begin with my personal journey, and then list an action plan to ninja-kick sadness in the booty.

My first battles with depression started at about 5 years old. Well, it was more anxiety than actual depression, but it started early. I couldn’t bear to go to school, I was inconsolable when my mother would leave to go to work, I was reluctant to do anything alone.

Eventually I dealt with it – I am an only child and got used to entertaining myself, even though I was close with my parents. I didn’t have a lot of friends around and always felt  that I liked everyone more than they liked me. I still think this way, actually. I’m not  exactly sure where it stems  from.

I was still a pretty happy kid, until I started getting harassed on a daily basis. The first  time started in grade 4, when I was teased mercilessly by everyone for emulating Harriet the Spy. I was 8 years old and wanted to drop out of school. I wish I had (for many other reasons). It stopped suddenly one day and the most popular girls started being nice to me.

For a couple of years I was drama-free, and then in grade 7, I started  getting pummeled with insults. I was an easy target: seriously sensitive, no defense, easy to make cry – bulls-eye. Target practice for insult-slinging. False rumours were spread. Without going into detail into what was said to me, this was the real beginning of my mental decline.

I lived a block away – I rode my bike to and from class, and every lunch hour, to get home as fast as possible. I would spend recess around the back of the school with my one friend, who mainly did homework. I would read Lord of the Flies repeatedly.

I got hassled everywhere but during class time – before, after, at home. Phone. Mailbox. I’m sure if the internet had been around I would have had endless shit through that, too.

The one time I went to camp was right before high school. No one from my school attended, but I did go with a “friend.” How awesome that I was harassed there, too – different reasons, luckily, but it was never-ending. I loathed camp.

Grade 8 started out well. I was still a good student, I had new pals. After about a month, everything  bad started up again – at least this time I had some other people to be with. We were all a bit on the fringes, even though there were not typical cliques in my school.

The bullying was worse in high school, of course. The same rumours from elementary school spread amongst a much larger amount of people, and now taunting happened during class time, too.  I started to skip, a lot, and I started not to care. My friends were all too busy, or too far away to hang out after school. My self-amusement came in handy, and I started to relish it. I was lonely but kept myself well occupied. I slept a lot, watched cartoons, wrote in my journals, wrote stories, drew, redecorated my room constantly, and most importantly, I had my music. I read a lot, but music overpowered everything else, as did obsession with males and sex.

Writing got me through everything. I am still amazed that I did not get into drugs or anything like that – it just wasn’t around me. My friends were not the type, and even though I had a couple of experiences with drugs, it never became a coping mechanism.

I became more and more withdrawn. I started to like dark things. Around 13 I finally became interested in my appearance, and models. I lived within magazine pages and music videos.

After a couple of years, I had hardened. I was the lone weirdo in the entire school. After about one week of trying to conform, I was disgusted with myself and embraced being an outsider.

In grade 10 I started to snap back at people. The frustration from constant comments and rumours finally built up and I exploded. I was able to rage. I had never blown up at anyone. The first instance was in grade 8, when someone I sat with was going to tell my guy friend that I wanted to fuck him. I didn’t know what to say or do. As he got up to wander over, sneer on his mouth, I wound up and slapped him in the face. Everyone’s head spun around. Someone said, “Did she just SLAP you?” Everyone was shocked, especially me.

Instead of answering them, he slapped me back, twice. The teacher had not arrived yet. I stood there, triumphant – it was the first time I had not cried over being hurt.

Being able to rage felt great. Other rumours spread, this time true ones. I started to look intimidating – my face was in a perpetual scowl state – something I still have trouble with to this day. I wore dark clothes, dyed my hair black. This is so commonplace, now, but in small town BC in the early 90s, I was an anomaly.

I did not have much in common with my friends anymore. Had I ever? We all got along well, but I drifted elsewhere. I made a couple of other friends in lower grades, but was more or less on my own. The older I got, the sadder I became. I vilified the sun. I stayed indoors with the blinds drawn. I obsessed over industrial music and A Clockwork Orange. I got boyfriends via record stores or chat lines. I only ever dated one guy from high school, a snowboarder in my art class. I guess I was too intense for him.

I was a spitfire from the day I found some internal power – maybe from the first 15 years of being silent. It all roared out. Good and bad. I was always told that when I looked at someone it was like I was boring a hole into them.

I was terrible at keeping my feelings to myself, and awful at pretending to be happy.

My last year of high school was not so bad – people had started leaving me alone after realizing I was now going to fight back. My clearest memory was shaming a guy in my French class after he was calling me a certain name – calling him something back – and he never bothered me again. It was completely awful which is why I don’t say what it was, but it did the trick. I was not a cruel person and never wanted to be – but at the time I had no other conceivable option, so I took the low road.

I felt like I might have been bipolar and went to see my doctor, who after asking only a couple of questions, asked if I would like to be put on lithium. I was looking for easy answers, but the fact she did not even try to find out anything deeper put me off –  this was the first time I really  questioned the
medical industry. I decided to try antidepressants (Paxil). I felt weird at first, but gradually a bit better. Not much.

After high school I had a bit of an up. I got into modeling, only to throw it aside to be more outrageous looking. I felt free to be more wild. I was more into music than ever, and felt I’d found the boy of my dreams.

Every break-up felt like the end of my life, but I would find someone else to swoon over – easy for me back then – 90s boys were so my type – it got harder and harder to find guys I was attracted to as the years went on.

I tried to go off of antidepressants and got seriously sick. I wasn’t even on a high dose. I had migraines so terrible that I stayed in bed most of the time. It affected my first job, resulting in me being canned.

I started to dip. I became more erratic. Once I started working, my natural defensive attitude was detrimental to retail work and I got fired many, many times. Increasingly over the next 10 years I became convinced I was too crazy, too fat, too ugly, too miserable – no one would want me for long, I couldn’t keep a job, I lived at home, I was dependent, I was pathetic.

I stayed on the antidepressants for a couple of years and finally weaned myself off. I realized that retail was not meant for me and went into work with animals. I was still alone – my longest relationship was only 10 months and that stayed a record until recently.

Not long after I’d gotten off the pills the first time (a year or two), I had a huge mental breakdown. I had moved to Vancouver Island to be with my boyfriend at the time. We eventually broke up, but still lived together for several weeks after. I got fired again. My grandmother died. My pet rat died. I had to move back home again. I was on welfare. I had finally met some friends in that city and then had to leave. This all happened within 2 months. So I went back on medication, this time Celexa. It numbed me in a scary way. I was on it for 3 years, terrified to go off of it because of the previous issues I’d had with withdrawal.

When I eventually did go off of it (they never worked for long), I did it exceptionally slowly, and it was okay, but when I finally ditched it completely, I again got very sick. Luckily I had just left  a job so could avoid that issue, but again I had my heart ripped out, had the beginnings of an eating disorder (I stopped this behaviour soon after), and was moving away from a place I loved (Tofino) and moving back in with my mom.

After 2 days of moving home I decided I wanted to go back to the island, and also wanted to go overseas on a working holiday. I obsessively planned and saved. I moved back but focused on work and not guys. I also worked out a lot, rode my bike, and quit eating sugar. I felt better than I could ever remember, but when I went overseas, this all changed as I was around someone very negative. I also started to eat all sorts of horrible stuff for me – lots of candy and chocolate bars I’d never had before, canned spaghetti toasties (a New Zealand thing), Nutella on white bread (road trip food), and other such things. My clear skin got bumpy (I blamed the heat) and I gained back more weight than I had lost. My mental state plummeted, and I blamed it all on the guy I was with. He did have a huge influence on my mental state, but I chose to stay with him, even though all I thought of was leaving. Guilt made me stay – he’d come with me to another country (Australia), was young, and I felt responsible.

When I went back home, I did end the relationship. I decided to go back to school. After I finished, I moved to the mountains. I was still medication-free. I worked at a vet clinic. I dieted often – mostly on foods high in fake-sweeteners, microwave dinners, and stuff like that. I looked great but I started to have some weird health issues. My hands started to ache all the time , all the joints in my fingers were in constant pain – I was tested many times for rheumatoid arthritis. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t work, and I could barely even hold up a book. I laid around watching youtube for a month while I recovered. I was frightened and bored. It was winter and I had nowhere to go – I couldn’t drive to the city with my hands in the state they were, so stayed in, getting more and more depressed. I started eating garbage again.

After a month or so I felt better, but then got laid off. I immediately moved back to the city. The mountain town I lived in was not somewhere that made me happy – I only had met two friends outside of work, and every weekend I drove down to Vancouver to go clubbing, as I had nothing happy to keep me in the mountains.

I had been single for years, and even when I did occasionally meet someone, they were taken or only interested in me briefly. I moved in with a girl I met on craigslist, and lived on EI for as long as I
could. I basically spent half a year lying in my bed, eating crap, and watching downloaded tv shows. I read a lot of blogs.

I ate more chocolate than I ever had. I felt completely useless. I started feeling angry, and very paranoid. I’d walk around looking over my shoulder as I walked my dog. I’d yell at her. I’d hold my keys between my knuckles in case anyone wanted to harm me. I cried a lot. The only thing I really did for myself was obsessively clean and lift weights in my room.

I snapped one day. I did not want to go back on medication. I was so horrified at my mental state that I was open to anything. My post on my transformation has already been written, however I want to reiterate the steps I took to conquer my depression, and why it worked.

1. I eliminated all processed foods. This left only plants in their natural state. Since I was not consuming anything with weird chemicals, or anything altered by heat, my brain chemistry was able to return its normal state for the first time in my life.

2. With increased energy, I became more active. I didn’t work out for a long time, but I played. I went into the park and hula-hooped. I went for hikes in the mountains with new friends and my dog. I bounced on trampolines.

3. I slept soundly. Along with my mood changes, I was just radiating good vibes. This attracted different people into my life, happy ones, healthy ones. I got along easily with everyone because I was calmer. My defenses went down.

4. My self-esteem went up – I was doing something wonderful for myself, first off, but also my body changed, my skin changed – everything did. I looked fantastic, which made me want to take even better care of myself.

5. I gravitated to the outdoors. I understood how important daylight and sunshine were.

6. I started to move towards more positive things. This included people, outlooks, events, work, books.

It was long chain-link. One good thing led to the next. Even when upsetting things happened, I only got knocked down a little. It was easier to get back up.  I was mentally clear, and able to focus on the things that kept me well.

When I was depressed, I never really noticed the effect winter had on me. I was already in a drab state. I mostly avoided the sun in my life due to scary propaganda and a preference for pale skin. So I was always in this low state – and I started to notice it last year.

My first year raw started in the spring. Later that year in winter, I was dealing with a break-up and so any sadness I was experiencing would automatically have been attributed to that, and so I did not notice any seasonal depression.

The next winter I took a vacation to Hawaii, and so also had no major reactions. I was still on a raw diet and doing very well, convinced that was all I needed to be happy. I was in my first good, long relationship, working at a job I liked, and everything was generally peachy.

The next winter (last year) was when I really started to notice how it affected me. It was a LONG winter and very gloomy. I was in a new home, small, and noisy. I was unhappy at work. I had not changed my diet but still felt lethargic, I had gained weight, and was feeling crazy, like I had prior to diet changes. I attributed this to lack of B12, and probably vitamin D. I really focused on the B12, so started researching it and supplementing it. I felt a bit better, but not really.

When the sun came back…that is when it all changed. I felt a complete turnaround within a week. All my enthusiasm came back, I was happy, active, and jubilant. I still felt a bit low due to my living situation, and unhappy at work – but this changed – I quit my job and lived off of a bit of money I had for 4 months. I found a quiet place to live, and then much more suitable work.

January is around the time I start to notice a decline in my mental state. I started to notice it again this year, and expected it. I want to go on vacation, but am more interested in fashioning a lifestyle where I can go on  lengthy vacations every winter instead of just short ones, and so decided to forgo a  quick trip so I can make a long-term goal manifest.

After doing a lot of searching and experimenting, this is my fool-proof method for combating seasonal depression.

1. Make sure you are getting vitamin D. Regardless of your diet, this will be the kicker. A supplement is okay, but if you are in ANY way able to go on a vacation somewhere sunny for 2-3 weeks in mid-winter, this will help you a great deal. Failing that, and especially if you are a vegan (D3 supplements are not vegan, though there are a couple available now – here and here) get into sunbeds. I know there is a lot of controversy about them, but if you go to a proper facility with beds that have both UVA and UBA, low-pressure lamps, and go for short periods of time (5-10 minutes or based on your skin colour, etc) you will be fine. This is what I have chosen to do and it has made a massive difference.

2. See as much daylight as possible. I work in a place with no windows (the back of a store) so I go outdoors as much as possible on my break, and on days off.  If it’s yucky out I make sure I sit in front of a bright window while I write or read. If you live in a very grey place, a full-spectrum light will help, too. These will NOT generate vitamin D, though. Get to bed early and get up early, or you will suffer in darkness.

3. Food – the lighter your diet, the more plants you eat, the less processed your food is, the better you will feel. Cutting out all processed and animal foods will be best, but keeping your diet based in whole foods, and keeping it LOW fat (10-15% of calories) will do wonders for you. Eating “comfort” foods like chocolate and other junk foods will actually FUEL your depression. When I made this connection it made all the difference. It does not help. It worsens.

4. Get your bare feet on the earth as much as possible. Our bodies are electrical conduits – we are separated from the earth in many ways – our shoes, primarily, but also our homes and lifestyles. When is the last time you had your feet ON THE GROUND, for a period of time, let alone your whole body? This is a free practice, and works especially well in the sea. Here is a link about bare-footing, with a video by the beautiful Shakaya Leone, a woman I deeply admire and respect.

5. MOVE. Especially if you have a sedentary job. I have a pretty physical job but I am pretty sedentary at home in winter, and I also drive. I love to read and write, so have to make sure I do some other activity. I choose hula-hooping and biking when it is nice out. I walk my dog. I lift weights if I feel like it. Choose something you find FUN – if you enjoy the gym, awesome. I do, too, but I want to save my money for travel. Otherwise I’d be going because I do really like it.

6. Get ENOUGH sleep. How much is enough? When you wake up and feel like getting up instead of rolling over. We are so over-stimulated and chronically underslept. Get rid of your coffee – it actually makes you more tired by making huge demands on your adrenal glands. Set your alarm to GO to bed. Make sure you sleep enough – this means all year, not just in winter. You cannot oversleep. If you sleep a lot, it means your body is trying to heal itself. All of the repair the body does takes place during sleep, so the more toxic you are, the more sleep you will need.

7. Human touch. If you don’t have a partner, hug your friends. If you feel weird about it, just tell them you need a good hug! If they are your friends, they will happily hug you. If you are in a new place with no friends, invest in massage. This will tide you over until you have comrades to embrace.

8. Fruit. No matter what you eat, delight in bright, luscious fruits. The colours will perk you up, remind you of the tropics, and nourish your body. Also winter fruits are bursting with colour – citrus, pomegranates, persimmons – really devour these things. They will illuminate you.

9. Colour – surround yourself with it. Dress in rainbows, drape yourself in neons. Greens and bright blues are the most important as these tend to be the colours we really do without in winter.

10. Companions. Whether it be human or animal, make sure you give and receive affection, have as much fun as possible, and really enjoy what is around you.

If you are surrounded by snow, then cultivate a love of snow-sport, or snow-play. Build snowmen. Play with your kids in the snow, or if you have no kids, then babysit some! Throw snow at your dog so he tries to catch it. Make snow-smoothies.

If you are in torrential rain, get some rain gear and get outside anyway! I used to bike daily in the rainforest and it didn’t phase me because I had the right clothing. Get galoshes and splash in the puddles. Bundle in the warmest things you have and enjoy storms on the beach.

If you live somewhere that is just cold and grey, write out a list of everything beautiful you can see, and don’t stop. There will always be something worth appreciating, even in the most “ugly” landscape. You can always add your own beauty to the area, too. Coloured lights, bright winter berries and plants – brainstorm ways to enliven your surroundings. And get the hell out of the city as much as possible.

I know what it’s like to live in a perpetually grey surrounding for the majority of the year. You do not need to suffer through darker days. You don’t need to suffer through lighter days. Medication is totally unnecessary if you live a natural lifestyle. I am quite aware a lot of people are unwillingly to make that sort of commitment, but even small amounts will help. Focus on the things you CAN do for now, and work towards a stronger goal. Make daily goals instead of longterm. Can you commit to eating all raw foods for one day? Great! Then make a new goal the next morning.

Learn all you can. Rely on yourself. It is the most powerful, esteem-boosting thing you can do. To be entirely self-sufficient, self-healing – there is no greater gift to yourself.


Pix found mostly on Pinterest, except the ones of me (the one of me in plaid was me at age 15). The one of the girl in the yellow coat is from here.

Lament of an Eternal Youth

I think I know what my “problem” is.

I love everything, way too much.

I flit back and forth, grasping this, snatching that, inhaling this, devouring that – I want to know how everything feels, tastes, smells, sounds like, looks like. I cannot ignore the bad…but I also see the riot of exquisite delights everywhere.

Sometimes I want to rebel against my own “rules” – really my “rules” are just preferences and specific things I want to accomplish, until the Desire Monster attacks me.

I have never liked rules. What a stereotype, huh? “Girl who hates authority!” – well, I don’t hate authority, I just prefer to rule over myself. I am my own kingdom. I set my own path. I do what I wanna do. And if people don’t like it, or say I can’t – well, I will find a way and prove them wrong.

I do not set out to fight any system – I just behave as if I am entitled to my freedom. This used to lead to me losing jobs, friends, etc – but now because I see it as a positive thing to have freedom, I never fear losing things. And so I never do. I can’t lose anything because I know nothing belongs to me (or I can have everything because everything belongs to me).

The orgy of things I want to do, read, see – the list is endless and glorious. I am obsessed with my teenage years. I want to relive them with the attitude I have now (and this is basically how I conduct myself). Damn what a time it would be. It was still good, despite the heartache and acne. I wrote my way out of the angst. I mostly kept to myself. I drowned myself in music. I yearned for long-haired men (I still do).

Not much has changed, except I feel powerful now instead of weak. My aesthetics and passions have not changed. I still want to be a surf bum. I still want to make music. I still want to write out every detail of my day, every character I concoct, every interesting thing I learn, every turn of phrase that makes me swoon.

The voracious need for constant stimuli has not waned. I have always been interested in every facet of life. How can anyone be bored? Read a book about the universe or something!  Bloody hell.  I roll my eyes at boredom. Even if you watch TV all day you can be excited by things . I miss the days of late night alternative music shows, which was the only way (other than magazines) at the time I could discover anything special. My Saturday nights were not party nights. I was a lone teen with green-streaked  hair, Doc Martens, and purple plaid flannel. I read Poppy Z. Brite and yearned for Trent Reznor in the Closer video, hanging from the ceiling in his black latex gloves (the pinnacle moment where I transformed into a goth).

This show was my weekly blast of splendor – then every week I would trek to the city to sit in my favourite music store, stare at the cute, grungy, blonde employee, yearn for his butt, and listen to CDs of the bands I had discovered.

I do love the internet, but it has replaced true exploration. Last year me and my (long-haired) boyfriend were watching a new music channel on TV – it was a freebie for a month, and yet again, I had the joy of discovery like I used to. Oh how I was sent back to those days! The difference being that I could go home and listen to it right away, for free. Nostalgia prefers the record store.

Discovery is still my favourite of all things. This is why I lament my teen years – it is much harder to have that particular sensation – things now are so overwhelming and so accessible. I still get that ecstatic pulse from music, and especially from literature – I gorge on these things until I explode.

But there are so many things I have not done and want to do – I keep searching for that flutter of delight. I do feel it far more often than most people do.

The youthful minded stay young. It is the best anti-aging potion out there.

Me First: My Transformation Story

I will always put myself first. It is crucial, because I refuse to be a victim, and I refuse to allow anything to get in the way of the things I love. I want to feel blissful, to be happy, and to get every morsel of joy I can in life.

Excuses are for suckers.

Stories of how I have changed my life:

My Transformation:

This all began at the end of 2007 when I was depressed, suicidal, paranoid, anxious, bored, unemployed, chubby, binging, irritable, self-conscious, quick-to-anger, cynical, and all-around negative. I had always been really low in spirits throughout my life, and every time something bad happened to me, it was never my fault. People just didn’t understand. Poor me.

That year, though, I was at my all-time worst in terms of mental state. In the past I’d been on anti-depressants twice, which only numbed me and then did nothing except addict me for years, and even though I knew they weren’t working, I was too scared to wean off of them because the withdrawal was so debilitating and painful.

I did not want to go on pills again. In the fall and winter of 2007, I would obsessively clean, read blogs, and eat. I lifted weights for exercise. I tried calorie-restrictive dieting and end up binging on cookies and was eating about 4-5 chocolate bars a day. When I’d walk my dog and she would take too long to go to the bathroom, I would lose it and scream at her, yank her around and storm home, where I would immediately collapse into a heap on the floor and cry for how I’d treated her.

I would immediately loathe myself – in fact, I couldn’t stand myself in general. I was the type of person I hated, instead of the kind, animal-loving, creative soul I knew I truly was. What had happened to that person?

This went on for a while and I finally had my ultimate breakdown, again triggered by anger at my dog , who had done nothing wrong. I kept asking myself how I’d become such an angry person, and how I’d become so paranoid, walking around with my keys between my knuckles, always looking over my shoulder as if being followed. Neither of these things had ever been something I’d done before. I either wanted to die or change completely, but I didn’t know how.

I did notice that the more sugar I ate in a day, the more anxious and paranoid I’d be later on – this connection was not lost on me, but to give up my precious chocolate bars was not something I really WANTED to do – they were my comfort and pleasure where I had little else at the time. I knew that I had to, though, and I also was chubby and my skin sucked. I bought Skinny Bitch, hoping  for diet tips, and ended up getting a slap in the face. This book was the catalyst to my change, though, as it is a cleverly disguised vegan book which catapulted me back to 1999 when I first went vegan, reminding me of all the ethical reasons to change my ways. I knew I wanted to do it again, but I was fearful because when I had done it before, I was the fattest and most unhealthy I’d ever been.

One night I had another anger outburst. I felt horrified at myself and cried, “Okay, universe, I’m open. I’ll do anything. I am open to ANYTHING. I am tired of being this way! I do not want to go back on medication, show me another way.”

I stayed open. I kept reading blogs, though I never implemented the advice they gave – too regimented. I would try things here or there, but I would always just want to do my own thing. The things that helped me most were stories, and within a few days of my mind opening up, on the last day of the year, I read a little article called 30-Days Raw by Steve Pavlina. I’d been reading his blog for a while, and he had good advice, not given in a typical manner. This was his own trial, and the things he wrote about in this article really captured my attention.

I was very attuned to my own manifestations. I decided to believe the law of attraction really worked, though it never had before (or so I thought at the time) – and since I was SO taken with this article, something really clicked. He wrote pretty much every day about this trial and I would read the articles ravenously, waiting daily for updates. Within a couple of days I KNEW I’d found the answer to my universal plea.

I vowed to go vegan and transition into this way of life as soon as possible. I wanted to make sure I did it right, so gave myself a time-line. February 1st, I would go vegan and give up refined sugars. I had a “farewell to cheese” dinner on January 31st.

Deep-fried brie with plum/mango sauce – fond memories.

During this time I looked up other information and took out a couple of books from the library. One was Raw Family: A True Story of Awakening by Victoria Boutenko and her family. It was a very small book, only 109 pages, but riveting. The health metamorphosis these people went through was astounding. This tiny book was more inspiring to me than any self-help book I’d ever read.

I recalled a few years prior picking up Green for Life by the same woman at the library but never reading it. I wouldn’t have been ready for it back then, but I do remember being very intrigued by it and I was not one to read nutrition books at the time.

Me February 6th, 2008

After a couple of months of reading everything I could find on the subject (blogs, The Sunfood Diet Success System, Eating for Beauty, Eating in the Raw, 12 Steps to Raw Foods , Raw Food Life Force Energy– I’ve read many others, since), I knew more or less the basics of what I had to do – I educated myself as much as possible, and CONTINUE to do so – the information I was learning was so illuminating – when I realized what certain things were doing to my BRAIN instead of just my waistline, I didn’t WANT those things anymore. Things like candy and pizza and chocolate bars had no allure for me anymore, especially once I found out there was raw chocolate – and even if there hadn’t been, I would have given it all up anyway, because I wanted to feel good – for REAL good. I did not want to be a lump crying in my bed anymore, I wanted to shine, and I knew that I had to heal myself from the inside out – that pills were just a cover-up, that it did not heal the cause, and that it was all up to ME.

I knew that it would change everything in my life – including how I socialized and that I might come against opposition from people – I didn’t care. I put myself first. If anyone had a problem with what I was doing, I would tell them “Just watch.” Luckily I had nothing but support, but I still had a lot of people question what I was doing and I did my best to answer them.

April 1st was my decided date for 100% raw. Over February and March, I had cut things out one by one – rice, tofu, potatoes, any treats like Luna Bars, and the hardest to give up, to my surprise, was bread. But I did, and as planned, I went 100% raw the 1st of April, 2008.

Again, the night before I’d had a Farewell to Cooked Food dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Guu, in Vancouver:

I knew what to expect – I knew I would detox. I hoped it wouldn’t be too terrible and I figured it wouldn’t be since I’d done things at a decent pace and I had been vegetarian for a long time and at least did not have to detox animal flesh from my system. Even dairy and eggs had been out of me for a while, and white sugars, but even if detox was harsh, I would take it.

I worked at a coffee shop at the time (though I had only had coffee a couple of times, ever) – there were lots of gooey treats and gross sandwiches, and I still went raw while working there. I worked alone, mostly, and worked a block away from home. I brought everything I needed to work – a big bag of greens, vegetables, fruits – whatever. I brought my massive Sunfood Diet tome with me and when it was slow I would read. I didn’t make fun of anyone who bought the food there, but I really hated serving people that garbage. I always answered questions about my enormous salad bowl. I felt tired and spacey, but knew what was happening.

I got massive, deep pimples in the first week – I was lethargic and constantly in the bathroom. This was as bad as my detox got. I really monitored my moods. I was expecting a miracle, from what I’d read, and embraced change. I did not want to be the “depressed girl” anymore – I was willing to give up that identity, that victim mentality. I wanted to be strong.

After 10 days of raw food, I could not sleep. I WAS TOO HAPPY. I was in tears of joy. The difference in such a short time blew my mind. I didn’t even care about my weight or anything – THIS was reason enough to do it. I had not felt such joy since I was a child – being in love was similar, but to feel bliss for no reason other than being alive was the most amazing experience I’d ever had. I felt like I was on Ecstacy. When I did sleep, though, I slept WELL.

After three weeks I wrote this journal entry:

I have honestly never felt so good in my life.

+ I sleep like the dead
+ I am always happy
+ Nothing really bothers me anymore
+ I have insane amounts of energy
+ I haven’t been depressed at all
+ I look fucking radiant and slim
+ I actually look forward to my day when I wake up
+ Things are more vibrant
+ I realize I can heal myself
+ I am really calm, even if something is irritating me

Um yeah so…this rules.

I knew this was something I would do for life. Initially my plan was to do it for a month and see how I felt – the first week and a half, I never wanted to turn back – why would I?!

I believed whole-heartedly in the law of attraction at that point. While lying in bed that night when I was too happy to sleep, I was actually crying to myself saying, “I get it, I GET it!”

I noticed other things changing. I started attracting new friends into my life. I had a ridiculously beautiful love story happen to me (that’s a whole other story – it didn’t work out, and despite massive heartbreak I still kept to my goals and did not let it ruin me), and I lost gobs of weight.

My four month transformation:

I went from a sun-fearing goth girl (I am still kind of gothy) to an active, hiking, hula-hooping dynamo. I loved to lie in the sun. I was sick of my job and when I was being treated unfairly, instead of whining, I just quit on the spot. I knew something else would come up, and it did – much more suited to me (book-related work). In the time I had free I spent a lot of time outside and enjoying the energy I finally had.

I sought out raw food restaurants and the first one I found, I pestered for a job for two years – I now work there, as well as a bookstore.

Through these places I have made countless, positive friends, and my first long-term boyfriend as well. I used to hate cooking, and suddenly enjoyed spending time in the kitchen prepping food.

One year – notice the skin difference, too!

It has now been almost 4 years, and with a few minor slip-ups (a couple during the heartbreak [one time with alcohol and pizza! ugh], winter soups, trip to Europe with family – I still kept vegan and mostly raw) I am still convinced this is the way to go.

Other notable things that changed: I used to have chronic bladder infections, and I never have them anymore. I have zero wrinkles.  Zero cellulite. My sinuses are always clear (I have had issues with this my whole life, especially as a child). My dreams are ultra  vivid. I don’t need to use deodorant. I am very in-tune with what is going on in my body.

I am now on a slightly altered path because after about 3 years I started to decline a bit. I wasn’t sleeping well (I blamed cacao, so gave that up, mostly), my teeth were starting to erode (I blamed raw honey, which I gave up – it’s not vegan, anyway), my skin wasn’t as great (confusing), I gained back about 10 pounds (weird) – I had heard about a high-carb, low-fat raw diet which was mostly based on fruit and greens, and yet again was very taken with the idea.

Back in the early months of 2011, I was very depressed again. I was confused at why I felt so low because I was still eating my wonderful diet – I’d done nothing differently, yet I was almost at the point I was at PRIOR to all of this – suicidal thoughts, insomnia, extremely irritable. I chalked it up to B12 and vitamin D deficiency. I researched it and got my blood checked. I immediately started taking a LOT of liquid B12 – my count was quite low. I ate a lot of cacao to at least bring my mood up and get through the day. I waited impatiently for summer.

Once summer hit, I threw myself on to the ground and laid in the sun for as long as I could take it. Within one week, I felt like a new person.

I tried doing the 80/10/10 Diet that I’d been reading about – in the summer I did it for a week. I was sleeping great, and my skin was improving and I dropped some weight (most likely since I was only eating a pinch of salt in a day). At the end of the week I binged on a cup of cashew cheez and could NOT fall asleep. I knew then my problem was high fat, at least so close to bedtime.

I didn’t do that diet again right afterward though I did increase my intake of fruit and was making a lot of kale chips. When I started having weird skin issues (rash, acne, skin discolouration), I blamed eating too much of one type of green (toxins), too much sesame (allergy?), or maybe nuts (a lovely mixture of ground cashews or almonds, mixed with raw honey and cacao) – I stopped eating all of these, yet I still found no answers.

My deep knowing of internal health kept telling me to press on – and really I had the answer under my nose the whole time, but I was so adverse to giving certain things up, just like I was before. To simplify my diet even more seemed like deprivation – I wanted to enjoy myself and be free – it was restricting enough!

In December I went downhill a bit and was eating cooked vegan food for the first time in ages – the catalyst was my work’s Christmas dinner, my family’s Christmas dinner, and then I had the urge for more. I started eating baked fries with miso gravy, and other baked root vegetables, and soups – even with tofu! I still mostly ate fruit but at the end of the day I would crave the hot oily carbs.

I knew that all of these things happening to me were again, my fault, and if it was important enough to me, I would change things.

SO I have. I am now watching how much fat I eat, making sure I get enough calories, eating mostly fruit and greens, and lots of water. I have not cut out salt completely but plan to, and what I still have been eating is barely worth mentioning (maybe a couple of pinches).

It’s been just over a week and the improvements in my skin have been great. My mood is up, despite the rainy weather. I expect to see grand improvements!! And if not, I will keep searching for what works, because I know life, and my body, want me to thrive. To be unhealthy and diseased is a choice, to decline and age quickly is optional. My physical and mental well-being are completely my responsibility.

WITHOUT these things, and without putting myself first, I would not be able to do anything at my best for anyone else. I would be a shred of who I really am. My true self was hidden under a chemically laden brain. If I had decided that I was a “depressed person” and clung to that, always wanting sympathy, I would still be an empty shell.

Other ways I have changed my life:

I consider the diet changes to be the most important thing I’ve done because it changed me at a cellular level. My brain chemistry was #1 priority, and because I can think clearly without any chemical changes, and the proper body fuel, I naturally feel good and clear and happy. As long as I have all the right nutrients, I feel and look my best.

This has led me to require the best in my life. I insist on having a healthy living environment (if somewhere I  live is inadequate, I will leave – my last place was insanely noisy, so I left), a healthy working environment (I quit jobs if they become too stressful or affect my mental state or make me angry or bored), a healthy relationship (for the most part, mine is good, though it can be difficult at times – however there are things I will not put up with), healthy friendships (I will cut out people if necessary), and I make sure I get what I need.

If I need time alone, I’ll take it. I have no qualms about changing plans anymore if I do not feel up to going out, and I get a lot of time to myself, which I need. I need sunshine and know that winter/lack of daylight affects me a great deal, so now have plans to travel every winter to somewhere tropical. This will be the one year where I don’t, because I am saving my money for a big trip at the end of the year.

I have made it a priority to write every day, because it is important to me. I really miss surfing, so I may in fact move back to the island following my trip next winter to live by the sea.

I only get one life. If things get in the way of what I really, truly want, I will have to shift everything. There is always a way. You just have to believe there is. Get to the root of the problem. What is stopping you from your achievements? Is it your mental state? Stop asking doctors for advice and seek out information from people who are not out to take your money while compromising your health. Do not follow one self-appointed guru either – everyone has some good information, but I can tell you from experience, a high-fat raw diet is not the answer, at least in the long term. Low fat, yes – better to be low-fat cooked vegan than high-fat raw, though it is good as a transitional diet!

Health is #1!! You can not have good mental health without good nutrition, and to focus on getting good health, you need to want a fantastic life. You have to believe you deserve it. It’s a bit of a catch-22 – you may be so depressed that you think “Why bother?” when it comes to doing something for yourself, but I promise it is worth it. Rock bottom can help, but make sure you go back up and take strength from it. Seek advice from people getting results that you want. Surround yourself (in person or online) with people who are supportive and glowing with health and vitality.

I am showing you my physical changes because I can’t SHOW you my mental changes -you will just have to take my word for it.

My parents say I am like a different person, which is saying a lot. ANYone who knew me before my changes can attest how much I have changed.

You can change, too, if you truly want to. But know that it is ALL up to you – this is EMPOWERING information! To know you have the power to heal yourself!

Another way I have helped myself change is by questioning my thinking. The Work of Byron Katie has had a lasting impact on me and how I view other people and myself. If there is any book I recommend above all others in terms of changing your thinking, it is Loving What Is. This can help you on the path to health, as well, if you don`t think you deserve it.

Go forth and be healthy. There is no other way to live.

For raw food books I recommend, take a look at my Amazon store.