health is wealth

A few weeks ago something clicked & I finally managed to change my diet for more than um, 4 days. I’ve struggled for years to give up sugar and wheat, even though I have celiac disease and a number of other autoimmune issues. You’d think constantly feeling sick would be enough to switch my brain, but no. It hasn’t been.

So I was reading this Crazy Sexy Life page that I stumbled on somehow, and her example of the WORST DAY OF EATING EVER was literally what I’d eaten that day – coffee for breakfast, cheeseburger (organic at least) and fries for lunch, a glass of wine and mac (gluten free) and cheese for dinner. While I know and have known that’s not good food to cram down your gullet all the time, I just kind of snapped. I realized how sick I felt, and sick I was of feeling sick. Say that 3 times fast!

So, the last 4 weeks have been focused on an alkaline (my body runs REALLY acidic) diet, keeping the 80/20 alkaline/acid balance. No coffee, no sugar, no wheat, no soy, no dairy, no alcohol. No processed foods. Limited grains, except quinoa. Lemon juice in water nonstop. I don’t know what made me change my tune, maybe just being 35 and tired and scared that I was poisoning myself. But I think it was really the right choice for me.

Beet burger with chipotle aioli and asparagus

The first week I lost 6 lbs, without exercising, and it’s stayed off. The first 2 weeks were BRUTAL with headaches, but now I have loads of energy and feel great. I’ve been having some cravings, but Cafe Gratitude has some wonderful raw, vegan, no-sugar treats, and a tiny square of dark chocolate goes a long way too. Making amazing tasting food has been easier than I thought, and every time we go grocery shopping and I look into a cart that’s all vibrant and gorgeous fruits and veggies, I actually get emotional.

We’ve been eating loads and loads of kale, spinach, asparagus, broccoli; things I used to hate eating. I don’t miss cheese. I don’t miss coffee. I’m finding great recipes from Color Me Vegan, Vegan Soul Kitchen, and the Post Punk Kitchen.

I want to try to eat this way as long as I can.

Falafel with spinach, sprouts, quinoa, carrots, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, hummus, tahini.

Now that I feel like the painful detox phase is over, exercise is next on the list to tackle. I went from being super biking-climbing girl to zero exercise, mostly because my vision made it dangerous to do those things. My eyes are healing, and I have a few videos (Tracy Anderson the crazy gnome, The NYC Ballet Workbook), but would love more tips for good ones. Maybe I’ll even work back up to having a gym membership.

(&, has anyone seen the Forks over Knives movie?)

(& sorry about the iPhone shots in this post! Not the best, but you get the idea.)


  1. I read Crazy, Sexy, Diet a few months ago and came away with the intention of changing some things in my diet (I run acidic also and have a dairy sensitivity) and then life got in the way. Thanks for the reminder to do something!

    1. If I had a dollar every time I read something and was like “yeah. gotta do that” & then kept on totally not doing it, I’d be a trimilisosioosnnaire. I don’t know why it worked this time, and I have no idea how long it will last! But it feels better, and while my willpower’s deciding to work for once, I’ll keep up with it!!

      LIttle changes! Try it!

  2. I didn’t realize you were Celiac. My husband is and so is his mom and sister. He did a total elimination 7 years ago and it was SHOCKING how many thing were diet related for him. He is a different person.

    I’m so glad your feeling better. I need to find my balance. ASAP. I have felt so icky for weeks.

  3. i think this is amazing. ever since you posted that photo of the beet burger i have been dreaming about having one, it sounds so good. so much so that i may just have to purchase that cookbook post haste. it helps that i quite like colleen’s other cookbooks.

    it is not easy to give up things you enjoy but it’s so good to hear you’re feeling well and doing good things for your body and health.

    it seems the most fun exercises are ones that are more activities than exercise. hiking perhaps? hula hooping?

  4. I cannot believe I have never seen that crazysexylife website. Oh my goodness, I just read about that lady who completely cured her fatty liver and I am floored! Though…I think I’ll skip the coffee enemas, thanks.

    I too have been obsessing about those beet burgers every since you first mentioned them; I shall definitely have to get them a try this weekend. Brava for all these amazing wellness changes – you are very much an inspiration!

    1. That lady was a little wonky. “Get to the ‘bottom’ of things” – so gross. Like those 60-something hippie ladies who like to call everything “juicy.”

  5. Regarding exercise, it’s not very fun but resistance bands are REALLY convenient. They fit in my purse so I take them to work and tie them to chair legs or door knobs and get in a few minutes of resistance training when I can. I don’t know what exactly you do at work but assuming you’re at a desk, it’s something you could easily do while reading, taking a phone call, etc.

  6. I know the Beau and I are always dedicated to trying to find balance in our lives, cut back on the crap (which we’ve gotten better about… we’re pretty much high fructose free, white flour/bleached free), but at the same time it’s easy to fall back on bad habits when we’re tired, stressed, and overworked. This past year has been so bad– I’ve been sick more in 5 months than the past 3 years. It’s ridiculous.

    It’s become one of my goals to get us both on track, happy, healthy by the time I turn 30 (so about 2 years from now)… and in a permanent place of where it’s routine and easy for us.

    After reading for so long on LJ all your trials with health, I’m glad to see that something clicked and you’ve found something that works!

    If your Veganomicon needs a home, it has one here! We’re always looking for tasty ways to incorporate more vegan and vegetarian meals in to our diet….

  7. I suspect that my husband has celiac; he has so many unexplained health issues and he pretty much lives on wheat, soy and cheese. He doesn’t even want to get tested and refuses to try going without wheat for a couple weeks – I think he’s afraid that he’s going to find out that that’s what it is, and feel forced to make drastic changes to his diet (he is really, really resistant to change). I think I might pick up one of these books and just start quietly changing what I buy at the grocery store, and sneak in more and more healthy wheat-free dishes. You certainly manage to make what appears on the surface to be a very limited diet sound very appetizing!

  8. I picked up the Crazy Sexy Diet book upon your recommendation! Even though the writing made me want to put my eyes out, I am on day two of no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, vegan. I discovered gluten-free bread is not worth eating, but brown rice couscous is heavenly, as well as baked falafel chips. I don’t (think) I have a gluten or lactose sensitivity, but when I stress I am all carbs. A sweet treat every day, eating everything with bread or pasta. No! I just feel like I need to hit the reset button and remind my body how healthy I used to be. I worked in a raw/vegan restaurant for two years! I miss not having unhealthy options, but realize I need to create that for myself.

    Keep posting your recipes/ideas! They are inspiring to look at.

    1. Have you tried Udi’s? It’s in the freezer section of Whole Foods. I made a gluten-free stuffing with it this past Thanksgiving and no one noticed.

  9. Also, if you haven’t already, check out Gracias Madre next time you are in the city–it’s from the same owner of Cafe Gratitude, and it is essentially a vegan, gluten-free taqueria (with no soy!). It will make you cry it is so good.

  10. Mmmm, this all looks so yum. In my quest to cut out most all processed foods I have found myself eating more and more like this (as in , all the food I prepare at home). I shudder to think of the amount of raw kale I have consumed in the last four years. Still, I haven’t intentionally cut out anything specific like dairy or meat and I don’t plan to. I do feel my body crave it every once in awhile, I am just psychotically picky where it comes from. I like the Michael Pollan rule “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    My mother has celiac and is always encouraging me to get the test but I have never bothered since I seemingly have a stomach of iron. I think I do not want to know!

    P.S. I guess you’ve made it through the hard part of kicking coffee but I found out I can actually do decaf! Who knew. God knows I would have never tried it if not out of necessity (breastfeeding) but I really, really love my morning decaf + (homemade, raw) almond milk.

    p.s THIS STUFF:

  11. I am so, so, so proud of you for doing this – and for sharing it here, and inspiring so many others (including me!) to make similar changes. It’s time.
    My diet has just gotten ridiculous, and my body reflects it. I know I have to alter how I’m eating, how I’m living, but it’s so hard to take the first steps. Seeing you go for it gives me strength to know it can be done, and can be done beautifully! Thank you dearheart, for this.

  12. oh, thanks for this post. I have had Crazy Sexy Diet on my bookshelf for months, and am inspired to pick it up. I’ve been a vegetarian for 13+ years but yeah, my days are also more like that “WORST DAY” than not.

    if you have that spare Veganomicon, I would totally take it. I can paypal you shipping costs or something too!

  13. Awesomazing! My applied kinesiologist (who I think you would LOVE) has quite the anti-grains rant. I’ve gotten to the point where I eat grains maybe once a week, and I don’t even really want to do that. Eating enough veggies is the hard part for me too… I have been focusing so much on getting 20 grams of protein per meal (which is not that difficult! 3-4 oz. of cheese or meat/fish will do it with plenty of room to spare) that I haven’t thought enough about veggies.

    1. I have skates (from when I lived in that huge loft with concrete floors) but I can’t street skate, I’m SO clumsy!! I’ll go to a rink, though!!!!

  14. “every time we go grocery shopping and I look into a cart that’s all vibrant and gorgeous fruits and veggies, I actually get emotional.”

    I actually felt this way last week – just thinking about the way our cart used to look, comparing it to now. It just made me feel like we were actually DOING something to take care of our health instead of talking about it. Of course, there always seems to be more we could do… but baby steps. 😉 Cutting out coffee was mentally painful to me – I love the idea of coffee even more than the taste, as weird as that sounds. But I’m on week… 3? of just green tea. And I DO feel better.

    Also? I would eat everything you photographed – looks delicious! I need to try those beet burgers… am stocking up beet recipes for when our CSA starts.

    Love your attitude! Inspires me.

  15. Congrats on sticking with it! I am allergic to wheat and dairy and that one is easy for me to do since I get very painful and uncomfortable side effects, but the coffee, booze, and not eating enough veggies always gets me. I was vegan/gluten free for about 3 years and at first my health was awesome but then I started losing my appetite (gluten free vegan is hard! and I was too busy to to keep it interesting) and losing weight pretty bad. I started eating meat again infrequently which was really felt defeating. I’ve started getting respiratory stuff again so I obviously need to detox and start fresh but I’m terrible with the excuses! When I first did a super drastic elimination diet (which start my vegan/gluten free years) I just did it because I was tired of waking up in pain every day. Now I’m just kinda sick so it’s not as motivating.

    One thing that helped me get going on a healthy path many many years ago was Eat to Live by Dr Joel Furman. It’s a really wonderful book and goes into awesome detail about nutrition and our bodies needs. It’s the kind of book I buy and give to people again and again. It’s really good reading and keep you going!

  16. Thank you for totally inspiring my lunch plans for today! Last night I made quinoa “falafelly things” (taste great but don’t look like falafels) with asparagus. Different elements from both the meals you pictured!

    1. Look into seaweed or seaweed supplements! I don’t know if it would work for you, but it’s a good natural source. (I eat seaweed constantly!)

  17. I love you for doing this.

    such a dramatic change- but obviously it is working so well for you!
    super proud of your motivation.

    and it sounds like you feel amazing, too!
    which is so cool.
    thanks for sharing!
    your food looks yummy :)

  18. so, I made that falafel dish last night – added some grated beets and cucumber to the mix as well. it was fabulous! thanks for the inspiration! not only was it super tasty, I also felt very satisfied and light after, like my body was dealing with the food in the most graceful way.

  19. This is super inspiring. I’ve been trying so hard to make the transition over to gluten-free (allergies) for about six months now, but I keep getting caught up in how much my brain wants vegan cookies from Trader Joe’s. Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I feeding myself something that hurts it? I need to practice some mega self-love and just cut it out, along with the eggs and dairy.

    I want my body to last forever so I can do all of the things I want to do with my life. I should probably start healing it now.

  20. i didn’t know you had celiac, this is really crazy timing. my sister (emily) is in the process of getting a diagnosis for celiac disease, and while she hasn’t received her results yet we’re certain this must be what’s going on because for the first time ever, her life, everything she’s ever gone through and struggled with actually makes sense – which is absolutely huge. it’s mind boggling how life-altering a diagnosis like that can be and what an impact something like nutritional health can have on your OVERALL well being. i’ve been reading about people previously diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia making “full recoveries” and being able to go off all medications after they were properly diagnosed with celiac and eliminated gluten (etc, etc) from their diets.

    okay, i’m rambles. but yeah, this is all new to me, and it’s so overwhelming to think after all these years there is some hope, finally finally finally. i am going to send her all the links in this post as soon as i’ve hit send on this comment!

    i’m so so glad you’re finding your bearings with the diet changes, kitten. this is amazing and inspiring and you deserve every ounce of wellness this transition gives you! i’m so excited for you. xx!!

  21. I was raw vegan for quite some time.. I miss it! I’ve really fallen off the horse. My cooked/processed food to raw fruits&veggies is completely out of proportion! It’s not easy finding the time to make creative meals, but you’ve inspired me to start trying again.

  22. Bravo! Adjusting to a healthy diet cranks up the quality of life so, so much. I switched to a raw diet for a while and lost two pants sizes without even trying. Now I eat mostly raw with a couple of exceptions (some coffee and some brown rice and every now & again a day where I just let myself be all-the-way-rotten).

    Since you are focused on alkalinity, I’m going to link you to my friend Suz’s old blog which is peppered with good info and recipes and encouragement :)

    Be well ♥

  23. I am so glad to hear this! Congrats. It takes an epiphany to really change your lifestyle, and that’s what happened to me, too.
    Another great recipe book is Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo.

  24. My favorite workout website/video is – Zuzana is insanely fit and it inspires you to get your ass in gear. I love that her workouts are usually about 15 min long, so they don’t take up your whole day, and you don’t need much or any equipment, just your own body weight. I have been following the videos for two weeks now and my legs are noticeably stronger, which really helped me to lengthen my daily runs from 2 to 3 miles. It’s also a free website, which rocks!

    Eating healthier is just one of those things that takes a couple weeks to get used to. It’s a whole different way of living, not just a different way of eating- because you need to adjust the types of things you buy at the store, find new recipes, plan ahead, eat out at different places that offer healthy choices, etc. And the cravings for crap don’t go away for a while, which makes it tough, but they DO go away, and your body learns how to crave the GOOD stuff. It’s amazing how awesome you feel after you have rid yourself of the nasty crap!!!

    Congrats on pulling through and good luck!!

    1. Damn, that lady is too hardcore for me!! I’m an old lady with arthritic knees!! Need to start with some stretches and yoga…

      Changing my eating started out easy (not many cravings) but has gotten harder & I’ve started to feel worse. I’ve lightened up a little because it’s changing my hormone levels too fast and it’s not good. Too much change at once!! So I’m seeing some doctors and taking it from there.

      You’d think giving up everything bad would be 100% amazing, but it’s like kicking drugs!

  25. being that i have had so many issues regarding my health (last year alone, i went to the ER about seven times for pains in the chest and stomach that they can not determine what it is from) and needing to lose like 30 plus pounds, i really needed to see/hear this. i’ve tried dieting and exercise back and forth but it’s like my body looooooves holding on to fat and i’ll lose just to gain it right back. i know i need to make a permanent lifestyle change. i’m going to have to try this one, even if i still have to cook something different for almost every one else in this house. thanks for posting tamera!

    1. Caveat! It’s definitely been an adjustment, revealing aches and pains that I’ll still getting checked out. You MIGHT want to take it easier than I did since you’re already having some issues – drop one thing at a time, not all at once.

  26. The falafel dish looks terrific!!! Great job! Crazy question – but where did you find the Kerr jar? Someone gave me a set and I broke one and really wanted to replace it. Thanks! Blessings.

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