Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Anatomy of Anorexia

Up the road to Schloss Hohenschwangau. It was bitterly cold, but beautiful as anything in your dreams.

Today, I felt that twinge that many women in recovery from anorexia speak of: that insatiable urge to just give up, give in and starve again. To let the demon I call Anorexia take over again and to let her decide how my life will go from day to day. No worries; there doesn't need to be any deviation from the planned day. If I just follow the plan, it'll be fine...

And I feel that I might have misled my readers into thinking that starving is just a feeling of power. It's not. It's really not. While thinking that you are "above base desires" like food (and you'll notice that, for many women talking about it, anorexia has an almost religious significance to it) does cause the feeling of strength, invincibility and invulnerability, calm, containment and power, it is not simply that. There's more to it.

See, when I was still actively eating disordered - rather than actively fighting it - and following "the rules", I didn't have to be afraid anymore. It wasn't just a feeling of fearlessness from starving... it was knowing that you didn't have to worry about your day, about your year, about your life if you just did everything right. That's why I call anorexia and eating disorders like it a "safety blanket". It's about control, yes, but only insofar as all our decisions are about control. Anorexia is so much more complex than that. Anorexia is about buffering the world's pain and influence on us; it's about making sure that we don't accidentally hurt anyone around us because of our perceived failures; it's about, in a sense, not having to deal with the consequences of our actions. It's about gaining approval because we're following the rules. It's about taking this tiny-yet-large facet of social acceptability and refining it into a science.

Fundamentally, it is about following the rules and trying so, so hard to make it so that others will see us as good people because we hate ourselves so, so much that we couldn't ever accept ourselves as we are.

This was my weekday when I was actively eating disordered:
7:00-8:30 Wake up. Weigh myself, clothes off, after going to the bathroom. Get stuff ready for school; make sure all the tea is in my backpack.
8:30-11:00/12:00 Find an empty room and sleep. If there are no empty rooms, go to class. (My school usually has empty rooms, and all of them have couches.)
12:15-1:00 Drink tea, preferably caffeinated to keep hunger pains away. Journal in my "ED diary" about how I'm a worthless pile of shit.
1:00-3:30 Go to classes.
3:30-6:00 Go home. Take a shower. If possible, take a nap to keep from eating. Eat only every 2 hours until 6:00. If calorie intake reaches 200, no more. If more than 200, exercise.
6:00-midnight Stop eating, only drink water. Weigh myself. Grimace and poke my body in the mirror. Also examine body to see if there is any noticeable change. (There never is.) Weigh myself again. Go to bed.

Naturally, because I had more access to it, on weekends I would weigh myself after every time I ate or drank anything but water and every time I went to the bathroom. My life literally revolved around my weight. In the beginning of my eating disorder (as opposed to disordered eating), if my weight was up in the mornings, I would loathe myself for the rest of the day. If it was down, I would experience a sense of euphoria and confidence, a feeling that became progressively shorter the longer it went on.

It went on for two years.

Admittedly, it's not as much as some and - I hate to admit this - I used to (and still do, to some residual degree) envy the girls who were hospitalized, who were diagnosed, who were watched over, who had been eating disordered much longer than I had. I used to envy them because, in my mind, they were more worthy of help i.e. respect and care and love. Because I was just a fatty. I thought that if I told anyone that I was starving myself, they'd laugh me out of town or just tell me to keep on doing whatever it was, because it was working. And you know what? They probably would have.

Besides, I told myself, I've made enough stress and problems for my family. I've always been the problem child, the largest cause of stress for any of them. I mean, fuck. I wasn't going to be so selfish as to heap more trouble and worry on them. So I stayed silent.

To this day, I haven't told them. I told my mother once, in a fit of tears, that I starved myself under 200 calories a day "for three months". She said, "What?" and to this day I don't know if she really heard me.

And you know, today, like all days since then, I have had Anorexia's voice in the back of my head, whispering that they won't have to worry, that they'll stop worrying, that they'll think I'm great instead of thinking I'm an invalid, that someone will finally... I dunno. Love me? That someone will love me enough to be there, and touch me.

Days like this, I'm silently screaming I want to be thin I want to be thin I want to be thin IwanttobethinIwanttobethinIWANTTOBETHIN inside my head. Because being thin, for me, means so much more than being a different person as noted in this post on Shapely Prose. It means that everything will be perfect like it never was. I won't just be a different person... I'll be a worthwhile person.

And it's just not fair that I can't stop thinking like that, like the world will be perfect when I'm thin because I'm thin.

That's why weight loss scares me so fucking much. THAT'S WHY. Because I am so fucked in the head that, if people start complimenting me again, it'll be another dose of a variant on that drug and I'll start starving and fasting and I will start hating myself again.

I just want to be happy without feeling like happiness = not eating. Because I know it isn't intellectually, but everything else tells me that it will, it'll be fine as long as I keep losing weight. That I'll only be worthwhile if I lose weight. That the world will only keep on turning as long as I lose weight.

I guess it's a little bit of arrogance to feel like that, but I can't help it. I can't help feeling like I need to be the one to save the world and that I'll do it when and because I'm thin. And tonight I really can't help that voice telling me that it's all true, that all the fucking lies of Anorexia are true.

God, I don't want to go back to that place.

I'm going to go get some cacao.

And a note: I do not claim to have had anorexia at any point because of the fucked-up medical standards used to identify it. If anything, I would have been diagnosed with ED-NOS, though my eating disorder was identical in all meaningful ways to anorexia.

Tips on Green Smoothies

Apple & Tomato Acrobatics, courtesy of yours truly.

So, I haven't always been a fan of green smoothies. It wasn't really the green color; veganism helped me to love most green things, excluding cooked spinach, steamed asparagus and, of course, mold. Instead it was more the idea of drinking greens and, for some reason, that just seemed... well... grosssssss.

But, at the point I transitioned to raw foodism, I figured that because I have such a hard time getting down large amounts of raw green leafies, I'd give it a shot. After all, it couldn't be bad for me - it's greens for chrissake!

Nevertheless, I approached green smoothie-making with the wariness of a four-year-old towards broccoli. That is to say: I was quite, quite sure that I would not at all like it.

And actually, that's probably why I chugged it the first time: I was so sure I wouldn't like it, I didn't give myself a chance to taste it. I also chugged it the second time. And the third time. And, well... until Tuesday of last week.

That Tuesday, I was halfway through my green smoothie when suddenly I realized, "Hey... this tastes like apple juice." (I'd used kale and apples.) It didn't taste like greens at all, despite how it smelled. After noticing the pleasant flavor, I had no trouble whatsoever slowly sipping any green smoothies made with apples - bananas, however, are an entirely different box of shoes; I can't stand to do anything but gulp smoothies with bananas. It's the texture, I think.

Anyways, I thought that I'd give any newbies who wander across this page a few tips on how to make green smoothies taste better.

First a warning: don't start off with lacinato kale - the very, very dark green kale you find in health food stores. It's so healthy it'd blow your head off (um), but it is far too bitter for a newbie and honestly, the bitterness seeps through the flavor of the fruit. With most green smoothies, the flavor of the fruit you add will wholly eclipse the flavor of the greens, but that isn't completely so with lacinato kale.

Second, choose your greens wisely. Aside from lacinato kale, most types of dark leafy greens, as well as romaine, are viable. One exception is red chard - it's so salty that you can literally eat it on its own and have it taste a lot like chips, so don't even go there unless you like some serious saltiness in your smoothies. Other than that, try collards, curly kale, romaine, spinach, and plain ol' Swiss chard in your smoothies (not rainbow chard!) - all of these have a distinctly sweet or fresh (lemon water-y) flavor with just slight underpinnings of bitterness. You can avoid this by consuming mostly "baby" greens - that is to say, greens that haven't been grown to max size.

Third, choose your fruits according to what you like - sure, I like bananas, but I'm finding that they're not so hot in smoothies, and I use them only when I don't have anything else. You may be confused by the constant shout of, "bananas in green smoothies!" from the raw foodies, but it's not true that you have to have them - they just give a smoother... more smoothie-like texture. I also couldn't stand bananas for the majority of my life. So whatever fruit you like, throw it in! Just remember to take the seeds out and peel it first if it's citrus - otherwise it will be veeeery bitter.

And fourth, add any additional things you may like in it. I'm talking fresh-squeezed lemon or lime or even grapefruit juice - or even cacao nibs, MSM, etc. (I love Emergen-C's lemon-lime MSM, by the way. It makes my smoothies so... fizzy!)

Blend it all up, ya got yerself a green smoothie. Hooray for you! Soon, the love for green smoothies will take over the world and raw vegan cupcakes, too. ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Miscellaneous Stuff

My mother is a gardener; she loves amarillis flowers. Me, they always remind me of the Italian song, Amarilli, Mia Bella, so I certainly don't have a problem with it!

I'm reminded, as I traipse along in my life, just how driven towards eating disorders women are. I went with my Foodology class to a Wild Oats about fifteen minutes away from school and went on a sort of "scavenger hunt" thing of the store. We had questions to answer - mostly about the marketing strategies that the store used (and I have to say, use of the free-range myth is big amongst health food stores - and it probably does work by deluding people into thinking that the animals really were happy. Feh) - and a list of items to find the brands and prices for. I decided, about halfway through, that no, I just was not going to go into the "happy meat" section and hear all about how the animals they slaughter are given massages in open fields blah blah blah blah blah.

But that's not the point of this. The point of this is that one of the younger girls in the class picked up a can of iced tea and was regarding the nutrition facts label with suspicion.

"That's a lot of calories," she said.

I peered over. Three servings, 70 calories per serving. When I was actively eating disordered, that would have been cause for exercise purging; it would have summed up a little more than what I tried to eat any day. She had no idea, thank god.

"It's only 210 calories," I pointed out. "On a scale of 1,700-2,000 calories per day, just about anything you eat will be negligible."

"That's true!" she said, smiling at this. "It's not so many calories. I'll take it."

There. My good deed done for the day. But the thing is, a little while later we were strolling by the ice cream section and she pointed out the Ben & Jerry's there and how it was, "so good." And, perhaps completely undoing what I had said before, I remarked absentmindedly, "Yeah, but the Rice Dream has less calories."

Gah. I have to wonder: what is up with me today? I've been so... spacey for some reason. I think it's just a mixture of caffeine from the cacao (makes me hyperfocus and lose track of other things) and plain ol' stupidity/brainwashing. I'm just glad that she got one of those So Good vanilla soybuddies later and enjoyed it immensely. She almost went back for another one, but we had to go.

So I went to the store today and got:
1 lb. organic raw walnuts
6 lbs. organic braeburn apples
1 pkg. mellow white miso (also organic)
1/2 lb. organic dried chickpeas (for sprouting)

I swear, I am in love with Vitamin Cottage. (For those of you that don't know, it's a Colorado-based health food store that has the most amazing produce section ever, and it's all organic - in other stores, you'd occasionally find wilted produce or produce otherwise past their prime. NOT here.) It's just so... good. That, right there, is food for five or six days, combined with what I have already - I spend about $30-$40/week on groceries, and as a raw foodist, I eat LOTS. Vitamin Cottage is literally the only place I can find organic apples that are not red delicious for $1/lb. or thereabouts. The root vegetables, tomatoes and squash tend to be a bit expensive, but what'cha gonna do? At Vitamin Cottage, they're $2.49/lb. while at King Soopers, they're $5 for six organic roma tomatoes. And as I implied, the produce is always better at Vitamin Cottage.

One of the things that is going to hinder me in later life is the fact that I am allergic to conventional fruits. I don't mean I'm allergic to the pesticides (though it's probably that, too); I am actually allergic to the beeswax that they wax conventional fruits with. It makes my lips swell up and burn and hurt horribly. Not pretty and not nice. I know it's the beeswax because, when I was just a baby vegan, I grabbed my mother's chapstick without thinking and smeared some on and I got exactly that reaction. (Only nowadays I get a really sore throat, too.) And I may be wrong, but I certainly can't find any link other than beeswax between the conventional fruits, the conventional chapstick and the organic beeswax-laden chapstick that I picked up out of a "vegan lip balm" box. (Fucking liars! Ow!)

Sounds weird? I once knew someone whose boyfriend was allergic to oranges. Yeah.

I'll end on this note: I find that one of my "favorite" binging times is late in the evening, when either nobody's around or I'm too tired to care about them seeing me eat and eat and eat. Of course, naturally, when you get somebody who's been phobic of food before and still retains a bit of that now, what follows a binge is purging. So, in order to cut that cycle short, I find that I have to - have to as in have to breathe to keep living - stuff myself with raw foods to keep myself occupied.

And you know what? I am so fucking happy that I don't have a problem with doing that, because they're all "safe foods" to me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Food = Love

As much as some may want to deny it - with the whole "eat to live" mantra going around - food is associated in the minds of many animals (not just humans - think about dogs and cats, for example!) with love, comfort, and companionship. True story: my dog is so very polite when it comes to food that, even if she doesn't like the taste of the treat, she will take it, wait until whoever gave it to her walks away, and quietly deposit it in a corner. She knows that we, her pack/family, give her food because we love her. (If you're squeamish about the idea of animals knowing what love is, 1. get over it and 2. substitute "care for her" instead of "love her".) As such, she won't refuse it, because to her that would mean refusing our love - and dogs, like humans, are extremely social animals. (Cats are too, but that's a post for another day.) Only in the most extreme circumstances will we refuse love, i.e. food.

One of those circumstances is when we have been told that we are so loathsome that we do not deserve love i.e. food. That, my friends, is what fat bigotry, sizeism, etc., is all about - it's about starving the fatties of food/love so badly that they end up "acceptable".

It's rather cruel, when you think about it. (Okay, even if you don't think about it.) We'd call doing that to average-sized kids abuse - and yet we think that doing it to fat kids and fat adults is a-okay! Amazing what you can justify if you just blame even a tiny portion of society's ills on a particular group, even if that group has done nothing in particular to warrant it - other than being born into a body with the wrong genetic codes. (Fat people, women, the mentally ill, animals, etc.) No matter who it is, we'll find a way to punish them for being born into the wrong body.

And you want to know the really funny part? It was dieting that made me permanently (?) fat, just as it was for many other people. My mother put me on diets, starting with Weight Watchers, since I was 11 (or 12, can't remember precisely) out of worry from my medicinally-induced BED. I'll admit that she was right to be worried: it's not healthy to gain a large amount of weight in a short time - and I gained about 70-100 lbs. in six months. Still, if she wanted me to be "acceptably thin" - and if this planet were more reasonable about fat people (but wouldn't that rule out the concept of being "acceptably thin"?) - she wouldn't have put me on a diet. The diet was what made the weight gain "stick", so to speak.

But, as I've mentioned before, my mother is (covertly) eating disordered; not a day didn't go by when she saw me eating something tasty and said something along the lines of, "Ooooh, that's bad." So I grew up with the concept of "tasty" foods being "bad". (Fortunately, that's one of her neuroses that I've never really internalized. I'm a complete and utter hedonist at heart, and usually on the outside, too.) My mother has been a chronic dieter - I know, this is really starting to look like the classic eating-disordered family, isn't it? Well, my dad's not eating disordered, though he does have low self-esteem from being 30 lbs. over the recommended weight (note, not "overweight"), so you won't ever hear me talking about how men aren't affected by fat hatred at all.

Thing is, I normally didn't start diets on my own - they were a family effort and one that I usually managed to cheat (note: "cheat" as in "cheating death") by, well, sneaking money to school and buying lots of treats. It wasn't hard; at my middle school, they regularly sold pizza and foot-long hot dogs. (Which, you must admit, is a bad idea if you're trying to get a well-behaved set of students ready and willing to learn, as the additives and animal products themselves directly hinder concentration and clarity of thought - ever felt that "sedated" feeling after a meal of animal products, where you just want to sit and stare? Yeah.)

I remember, quite clearly, sneaking home some Li'l Debbie's brownies when my entire family was "supposed" to be on Atkins and gobbling them because I just could not stand it anymore. I lost a bit of weight on that, then gained it all back and more. And the really fucked up part was that I felt so guilty for it - like I was... well, cheating.

That's the essence of binge disorders, I think, and also a large factor in binge/purge cycles and disorders. It's where you feel so guilty about eating that first bite - because again, you believe that you aren't worthy of love i.e. food - that you say, "fuck it" and start binging because if you're going to be corrupt and guilty, you might as well be fully corrupt and guilty. (It's the eating disorder's equivalent of "foot in the door syndrome". Actual psychological term!) Then, if you decide to purge, it's because you either feel so sick or you feel so unworthy that you have to reject it. All of it. Purging is, in religious language, penance for your sins. Purging says, "I didn't deserve that food! I'm sorry. I wasted it on me already, but that doesn't mean I have to benefit from it." (A lot of anorectics, when they binge and then purge, purge out of fear. Exchange "benefit" for "use" and/or the entire sentence with "I don't need it, really!")

That's fucked up.

All I have left to say, really, is that we punish ourselves and our bodies in ways that we do not and that no one could ever deserve by engaging in eating disorders and eating disordered behavior - and it's because we feel we do not deserve love i.e. food if we are not "good enough". "Good enough", for a person with an eating disorder, can and will be anything - usually whatever they feel they're not "good enough" in or for will provide the immediate reason for the eating disordered behavior. And it's because we're told that, if we don't please everyone, we're not good enough.

It's so, so sad that we don't realize that we need only please ourselves and those who would be pleased by us anyways.

Weight Loss & the Eating-Disordered Mind

Zeke and Cleo, who is just the sweetest thing ever... when she's in a good mood.

So, I've been having trouble with weight loss. I don't mean that I haven't been losing weight or something; the problem is that I have been losing weight. Anyone else would be overjoyed. I'm just afraid that it's going to cause me to slip back into my eating disorder.

Because, y'see, I have a confession to make: I still weigh myself every. fucking. day. I'm learning to cope with what it says on the scale - but even so, weighing a pound more than I did yesterday will send me into an irritable, easily teared-up state for the rest of the day. Because of one. fucking. pound. (Usually not even that; what really matters is whether or not the last number is one higher.)

I've recovered to the point where I can remain calm if the number on the scale doesn't change, but it still kind of freaks me out. I guess that, to me, it's sort of like a magic mirror or ouija board from which I can take my cue on how the day will go. If my weight is down, it'll be a good day. If my weight is up... well.

That's fucked up. I know that more women than just me do that, too, even if they don't have full-blown eating disorders. It's still fucked up, because we're basing our entire day, our entire lives on a number that no one else will ever know if we don't tell them. Basing our lives on a number instead of...

My mind's gone blank for what we could base our lives on instead. I actually have to reach for an answer: on what we accomplish, on what we create, on the beauty we see inside and outside of ourselves every day. I have a feeling that it's not just me who would be lost for an answer on this subject - and that the vast majority of people who would be lost for an answer are women. Why are women not being taught that their self-esteem should be based on something meaningful - not a number?

The only answer I can come up with, for that question, is that a suffering populace, taught that their suffering is necessary for The Good Of The Nation, is a compliant populace. A hungry populace is too distracted by wondering when and where they'll get their next meal is a compliant populace. A deliberately hungry popular, told that they are better off for it and they are disgusting and selfish and lazy and hateful if they do not continue to be hungry... is a populace with all the compliance of the very best lobotomized patients.

I beg you to remember that women are slightly more than half of the populace. And that we are, largely, starving for anything that will sustain our souls in a climate in which we are considered soulless and therefore negligible. Food. Justice. Love.

But back to me, because y'all know how it's my favorite subject and all. I haven't thrown out my scale for some amorphous reason that, as I said before, has more to do with me feeling lost without it than for any meaningful reason. For a while I made excuses, weighing myself multiple times a day (supposedly while "in recovery"), you know, "just so I can see where I'm at" and "because I'm interested in seeing how low I can get again how my body changes on different diets." You know the shtick.

And it was useless, and it always made me feel worthless. It doesn't have quite that pull on me anymore, because I'm refusing to let it - and getting enough nutrients is surely helping, too. (I mean, hey, if you're eating a diet of primarily fresh fruits and vegetables with a good helping of nuts and sprouts, you're going to get something out of it.) So I recently - about two months ago - stopped weighing myself multiple times a day, and settled for one.

It's disturbing, however, the amount of mental wrangling I had to do to get that inner voice whispering, "You have to be thin again. You have to be thin again at any cost," to shut up. I told myself that it wouldn't show my actual weight if I weighed in later in the day (true), that it wouldn't mean anything because the "extra" weight would be gone by tomorrow (also true) and, of course, that it was just plain inconvenient to rush upstairs, take off all my clothes, and weigh myself every time I ate something or peed (also true, damn it). So I won that battle.

Even on days when I don't weigh myself (which come rarely, but more often than they used to) I feel a sort of weird hollow in my mind all day. A kind of question: how am I supposed to feel about myself if I don't have a number to base it on?

That's fucked up. Dude, that's fucked up.

And partly, it's because I want to know how others see me... I think I base the result of the number off of that, rather than off of an internal guideline of "goodness" or "badness."

So I'm going to try to cut down on my way to throwing out my scale altogether; it just isn't healthy for me and it's another portal back to Disordered Eating Land that I'd do better off without. I think what I'm going to do is, first, stop weighing myself so often - try for once a week... and when I go in for a shower in the morning (since that's usually when I weigh myself) I'm going to spend as much time beforehand as possible until the water gets hot before going into the shower - there's my weak point.

Any ideas of what to do with the scale? I read the section in Fat!So? on dealing with scales, but honestly I liked the "magic scale" best and yet the scale I have is digital.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Binge/Purge Cycle

Sox, who passed away late last year due to horribly metastisised lung cancer misdiagnosed as pneumonia. He's both healthy and happy in this picture, however annoyed he may look.

So, February 1st, 2nd and 3rd I was caught in a binge/purge cycle. I wanted salt, I craved it and I ate cooked foods (though I wouldn't call it a binge on the level of most with actual binging disorders; I'm talking maybe 1/4 a loaf of bread and some Earth Balance, then refried beans and Triscuits), but it never gave me the satisfaction I was looking for. So I ate more until I figured, "fuck it, I've already ruined today." (Yes, I know, that's a major sign of eating-disordered behaviour - expecting perfection and sabotaging yourself in a more obvious way, for me vomiting aka purging, when you can't live up to it.) Bread, beans, toilet. Bam. Just like that.

And it made me start to wonder: is raw foods really all that good for me, if I react this way every time I don't follow exactly the instructions? I had to ponder that one for a while, wondering if maybe I should try to comfort-ize myself with cooked foods instead, so that this doesn't happen.

But I came to this conclusion, and for me it's absolutely true: if I went back to cooked foods now, after tasting raw foods in all their glory and feeling amazing and actually not feeling guilty about feeding my body what it needed (!), I'd go right back to the starving/fasting cycle I experienced. Because it would just be too much for me to take. There's something to be said for introducing someone right into raw veganism when they're ready to start fighting their eating disorder - it's all safe foods. All of it. Even raw nuts and seeds are safe foods, after a little, because you see people talking about how they ate such-and-such raw dessert chock full of nuts and you figure, hey, they look healthy! Like I've said before, it's mind-bogglingly stupid that the eating disorder clinics - especially those for teens - force all of this upon such delicate, sensitive minds as those women and men with eating disorders. (And it's also a fucking crime that I still think of eating disorder clinics as only for "thin" people. Of course, we usually just call the "clinics" used to "cure" BED "fat camps" or "weight loss centers". Fuckin' A.)

And I came to another conclusion. If you're not starving yourself - if your body is getting all the nutrients it needs and you feel good and you get out of bed easily in the morning and you're not diabetic* etc. - then the diet is working, at least for the time being. And I might note, I've never seen someone on South Beach for decades, but I have for raw veganism. I'm not starving myself; I'm eating what I want, when I want, for the first time in my fucking life. I'm happy about myself for the first time in my fucking life - sure, I have my days, but they're much better than they ever have been.

All in all, I figure it comes down to the fact that I was eating a lot of chard (not good for iron absorption) and not a lot of other dark green leafies and not taking a multi (only B12), so I was probably edging back into anemia - which has nothing to do with my veganism (I was never anemic when I was eating enough on veganism, my tests were all fine), if you want anemia then the best way to get it is anorexia or something close to it - and I've upped my intake of pumpkin seeds (approx. 20% iron for 1/4 cup), which I eat with raw agave nectar or maple syrup and which I do not feel guilty about at all.

After all, it's a safe food for me.

I feel kind of weird, though, about having to designate foods as "safe foods", but there really is no other way for me to not relapse every time November 17th comes around. I know a lot of you are going to be asking: so are you really in recovery if you're restricting your food intake so drastically?

Well, on the semantics front, it's not "drastically", considering that, as an ethical vegan, I eat everything that I did when eating cooked foods, it's just that I eat them either sprouted or raw. And then I ate maybe four things less than most omnivores - meat, dairy, eggs and bee products. 'Cause really, no matter what flavorings you put on them to make them taste differently, they're plant flavorings and I can get them easily without wasting them on something that inherently causes pain.

On another front, there's the fact that, again, I am not starving myself anymore. (Well, not willingly - I forgot my lunch at home this morning. Good thing I'm going home early!) There's the fact that, with raw foods, I do not feel guilty about eating - either for pleasure or to sustain my body. Sure, I still have some slips - as this and the last post shows - but I'm not doing as badly as I was. I'm doing much, much better.

Would I be doing better on a cooked nonvegan diet? Hell no. I'd be going against the ethics that are the very core of my soul - it's wrong to hurt someone just for pleasure and no one is here to be what is, in essence, a slave - and as a result I'd be completely neurotic and probably go wildly into my binge/purge cycle. Like I said, tried it with cooked foods, can you imagine what would happen if I dashed my ethics to the wind, too?

And if I'm not doing well, there's no point in doing it. That's the crux of the matter.

But then, I am an ethical vegan. And despite what the ever-sexist PETA says, veganism is not a diet.

*I just feel the immense urge to shout this whenever I go into a size acceptance thread. Raw veganism can cure diabetes - really, and it doesn't matter a whit if you lose weight or not. Go to and watch the trailer there (documentary's not out yet), though they're also fucking fat-haters. Argh.

Some Review

My dearest Kiki, who has precious little time left at 12 years old and battling lymphoma - though she doesn't seem to notice most of the time. *grins*

I was reminded on the 3rd, the day this was written, just how easy it is to slip back into an eating disorder without really realizing it, how seductive it is - and how insidious, no matter how on-guard you are from it.

Today, I felt strong, invincible, like I didn't need anything. All of you recovering and suffering anorectics will recognize this feeling, the feeling of being invulnerable because you do not need what "normal" people need.

I felt that today, and I almost gave into it. I almost didn't eat that apple I had gone downstairs for. Why? Because my family was having pizza. And something about the smell of that just triggered this feeling of "superwomanning" for some reason - I'm not quite sure why. I think it must be because my family ate pizza and cheese a lot when I was actively eating disordered and I just felt... like I wasn't like them. I didn't feel superior. It's not like that. But I did feel amazing, like...

Like you don't need anything.

That's a false feeling, right there. No one's invulnerable and there isn't anybody who needs nothing at all. (Geez, how many negatives is that in a sentence? I feel like I need to apologize to Mrs. Bauer, my second grade teacher, now.) No one is really like that; it's an illusion. I used to dream a lot - about how one day I'd be perfect and to me, perfect meant that I didn't need anything or anyone. Not food. Not appreciation. Not love.

All of you that are reading this in a clear state of mind can see immediately how fucked up that is.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. What had triggered my eating disorder, the cycle of full-blown fasting/severe restriction of calories, was a bad breakup. Not as bad as some; I'm still alive, after all. But it was... bad. Don't let anyone ever tell you that lesbians have an easier time of it, especially when one of them still buys into Patriarchal religion and the Patriarchal belief systems. So not needing love? That sounded right up my alley at the time, spending most of my time crying hysterically and all.

Honestly, I'm amazed I got out of that without attempting suicide for a third time. (Who knew that two bottles of Excedrin PM would attract attention before it killed me?) Anyways.

Yeah, so I felt that. I felt that taste of what it's like to starve yourself so badly that you lose grip of reality; I guess I hadn't eaten that much today, mostly because of nausea from what I assume to be either withdrawal (I was on a binge/purge cycle for the past two days, more on that later) or menstrual cramps.

I hesitated, just for a moment, with my hand on the refrigerator door.

And very slowly, I opened it and took that apple. I almost put it back, so tempted was I by the idea that I could have that feeling again. Those of you who have never been that close to the face of Anorexia will never understand just how powerful you feel when you're starving yourself. You feel like Superwoman.

I took a bite of the apple, and it went away without residual guilt or shame - a sign that I'm on the right track. If I can resist that feeling and eat without feeling unworthy, then it's a sure thing that whatever I'm doing, it's working.

But I just want you all to remember, all of you that are struggling out there. You can resist. You can, with help, make yourself better, even if you feel so very lost now. Because I know; the longer you do it, the more you hate yourself, and the more you feel like getting "better" just means getting thinner. It doesn't. It means, very much instead, happiness.

Rawness & Eating Disorders

That's Zeke, by the way, the little rat bastard who keeps distracting me by snuggling up to me.

So I was talking to a vegan friend of mine online and she told me that she relapsed into her eating disorder again. She put it like so: she'd gained weight at college, people started noticing, and so once she went home she figured that it would be a chance to become thin before she went home for college. And it's not like any of us can do anything half-assed.

Really, that's just fucked up. Well, okay, so several things about it are fucked up: first things first, that she even developed an eating disorder in the first place. Let's face it, we are absolutely neurotic about women's bodies. Be thin but not too thin! Be light-skinned but not too light-skinned! Make sure you eat but not too much! Exercise but sweaty and muscular women are gross! Etc. etc. etc. etc.etc.etc.

Women are faced with the choice to eat or not eat every day, and the praise goes heavily to those who choose not to. When I lost 30 lbs. in less than a month through starving myself, the praise was endless. "How did you do it?" and "What's your secret?" and "I'm so jealous!" up the fuckin' wazoo! There really wasn't an end to that shit and really, this is the way eating disorders begin - or continue. If being thin weren't, as Marya Hornbacher called it, "considered a strange state of grace", then perhaps she - perhaps we both - could have chosen a less deadly way to keep, as I have called it, a "safety blanket".

Something you must understand is that eating disorders do not appear in a vacuum. Eating disorders appear where there is at least the public condemnation of desire - and when it comes to desire for food, women have loads of that to spare. Women's appetites are overwhelmingly condemned: slut, pig, whore. If you're female, you know the shtick. (Pornography, by the way, contributes to this by making a subliminal connection between "women who desire" and "women who deserve punishment" through the massively and largely brutal lines of films featuring, as their main attraction, women being hurt because they desire. Just because they
act like they like it doesn't mean they actually do.)

It's amazing, really it is, that more women aren't becoming anorexic, since it seems such an
easy way out. But we are also put into a materialistic culture, one that demands rather than asks for excess consumption of all things - whether it's gadgets or food. This is paired with a cultural neurosis about fat (which is, actually, relatively harmless). The result? Massive epidemic of eating disorders.

I'm not talking about anorexia and bulimia anymore, or any eating disorder (commonly dismissed as ED-NOS, or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) that covers exclusively or largely the symptoms of those two. I'm speaking about all eating disorders: we have a cultural neurosis about women's bodies and that is causing women to flee in hordes to the safety and relative comfort and security of eating disorders.

Because you can't control that jackass on the street who just called you a fatass. You
can control what you put into your mouth. Or, rather, you can't control all the people who tell you, "fat is unhealthy YOU'RE GOING TO DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!!!!11!1" (yeah, shows a real big concern for my health, practically gloating in the (false) idea that I'm going to die an early death from being fat). But you can make the feeling of being utterly hated - by yourself or by others - go away with food... either by refusing it or gorging on it. (And I am by no means saying that fat people get to being fat because they gorge; usually they do it by dieting.)

See, here's the thing. It's not just fat people they hurt with this fat-people-must will-die rhetoric. It's the thin people, too. They're literally causing girls to become eating disordered because they are projecting so much of their own fucking appearance-insanity upon
other people.

That's fucked up.

Now, I don't have any Ph.D. in psychology, but I do have one thing that most of them don't: I lived it. I lived in that hell for two years, plus many more when I wasn't overtly eating disordered. (Of course, that brings up a question for myself: wasn't I? My mother is quite obviously eating disordered, now that I know how to look for the signs.) And I have one more thing that even
more of them don't have: I got out.

I got out through veganism and raw foods. Like I said, I'm no Ivy League grad, but I do have that. And I do know that if you're ready to let go of that safety blanket - ready to let go of the eating disorder - then you've got to do it slowly, but make sure you keep progressing so that you don't slip back into it. I know that you'll have good days and you'll have okay days and you'll have very, very fucking bad days, but you've got to keep going.

Because, let's face it, being unhappy when you're in recovery doesn't even come close to the shit that goes down when you're unhappy and suffering quietly under your eating disorder. Face it. You know it's true, because if you've been there, if you've been in recovery, then you have tasted, just for that one little glimpse of time, the kind of hope that it would take to pull you through. And that little bit of hope can sustain you for a long, long time - we know that, too. We know that because we continue to watch the scale stay the same and we try drinking only broth and eating only vegetables or doing 2468 and we continue to hope even through our pain.

The hope of recovery is a better kind of hope.

See, the logic of eating disorder clinics is completely backwards. They make you gain weight
first, then make you focus on how the food is just food. That's just bizarre. If you haven't made peace with food, how can you ever hope to not freak out when you see yourself in the mirror? It's so... off, I mean, they push you way past your limit until you just can't wait to get out of there so that you can relapse in peace. It's a weird, unintentional kind of reverse psychology. And I can't imagine why more doctors don't get that.

So, when you're ready to recover - when you are really, truly ready to give up that safety blanket and
deal with the world on a shared set of terms instead of merely your own - when you are really, truly ready to get your personality back, to feel healthy, to feel good, to feel HAPPY! then you need to do these things, gradually.

You need to throw out your scale. This may come later or it may come sooner, but it is absolutely necessary.

You need to stop getting into material that triggers you. Really. Stop watching ANTM. Stop looking through fashion magazines. Throw out your TV if you must. Just STOP HURTING YOURSELF WITH THESE THINGS.

You need to start eating right. I'm biased because of what raw veganism has done for me, so of course I'm going to say that's best. But if it's not, you need to decide that for yourself.

You need to start going to therapy. Not group therapy; that just makes you feel like you're not "sick" enough or it gives you pride in being the sickest one there. Cherry-pick your psychologist so that you KNOW they have experience and expertise in treating eating disorders and, if you have BED, then someone who won't hold up weight-loss as your ultimate goal.

You need to find someone who will understand, who is already in recovery and won't let you slip back in. If you want me to do this, don't hesitate to ask me, because I've been there.

You need to throw out all your "thin foods" or your "binge foods", the foods you use to make yourself hungry or tide you over when you're starving/binging, and you need to
never fucking touch them again. Life is too short for celery sticks. It's also too short for processed cookie crap that you don't really taste. I mean it.

You need to develop a healthy eating plan (note: NOT A DIET) that will allow you to be full without being too full and that will allow you to progress slowly towards your goals of healthiness.

You need to never go on a diet.
Ever. Going on diets will merely trigger your eating disorder again. Do not starve yourself in any way.

And finally, you need to listen to your body. It deserves better than punishment from you and, let's face it, an eating disorder is punishment both for you and for your body. You may
think you feel better, but it's a false kind of "better" and furthermore, you deserve to feel better all the time - not just when you're starving or binging. Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you're satisfied, rather than sedated. On special occasions (defined solely by you), feel free to eat more than you would otherwise, because that's animal nature - food is not just fuel, it's love.

Thank you and goodnight.

Picture Post

Here's a picture from a long time back when I was first raw. Looks delicious, eh? I ate all that in about two and a half days (well, most of it, anyways) and yes indeed, it was
delicious. Lessee. I got some raw agave (which, I found out recently, isn't really raw), pink lady apples, zucchini, tea, rosemary, plums, limes, frozen raspberries and blackberries, kale, cabbage, grapefruit and a jalepeno.

One of the best parts of being raw, to me, is the food. It's excellent; I have rather simple tastes, and too much intense flavour can actually overwhelm me and make me feel uncomfortable. (I find that this happens in the mornings a lot, when I need milder fare. And to think that I used to eat bacon!) However, I can sure pack out a punch with food when I need to; y'all should try my
Deviled Mushrooms sometime. (I'll post a recipe as soon as I get a picture.) It's awesome; pretty much everyone likes it.

But back to raw food. At this time, I mostly eat really simple stuff since I have no dehydrator (my family, like many others, is in debt because of medical bills), that is to say, fresh fruits and vegetables with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds and sprouts when I don't manage to kill 'em. (I'm not totally useless at gardening. I grew basil once... !) Yum.

One thing you notice when you go raw is, about four days in, it's like your taste buds have suddenly acquired the ability to
taste. I'm not kidding, it sounds funny but it's true! The depth and complexity of raw when you're not eating cooked foods or animal products is absolutely amazing. My girlfriend remarked on the phone to me last night that she's started noticing that different green leafy vegetables have different tastes. And you know what? It's absolutely true. Red chard has a distinctly salty flavour; green chard is milder, and a bit sweeter. Kale is both sweet and bitter, with bitter dominating the flavour for me at the time being. Collard greens are amazing, too, because all the sweetness collects in the stems, whereas there's just a little tinge of acidic bitterness in the furthest corners of the leaves. Romaine is almost lemony, but a bit fresher, like water with just a squirt of fresh lemon juice.

And so, don't believe anyone who tells you that raw foods aren't tasty or are "boring". You'll get away with that from some people, but not with me (with me, you'll get a sharp rejoinder of, "stop poisoning your tastebuds with animal products and cooked foods and you just might get it," if you phrase it like that). Raw foods truly are amazing, and I can really see just how pre-recorded history humans could survive on a diet of raw foods, perfectly content.

Oh, and here's a more recent picture of my food intake, by the way:

Looks delicious, ใช่หรือคะ

First Post!

At this time, I have been officially raw for two weeks. Awesome! I didn't post that video I made, even though I should, but I am just way, way too shy to let myself be seen like, bending over and stuff to people on the internet. Ya know? I have a lot of previous experience with that, mostly bad, as I came to raw from the (extremely fat-hating) vegan community known as the Vegan Freaks Forum. (And I rarely go on there anymore; I don't feel like it mostly, because the place is bad for my mental health. Contact me here!)

That's something that I really like about the raw community. While they assume that you'll lose weight if you're doing raw "right", they won't come into every motherfucking size-acceptance thread and go, "I lost weight! You can too! Cut calories McDougall blah blah blah." In terms of hating fat people, most of them are just like the omnivorous population: "FAT SLOB, EXERCISE MORE! YOU CAN'T BE EATING THAT LITTLE. IF I COULD DO IT, YOU COULD TOO. IF YOU'RE NOT LOSING WEIGHT WHILE YOU'RE STARVING, WELL YOU MUST JUST BE

And that last little part - implicit if not explicitly stated in these posts - is that you're stupid for not "doing it right." Thing is, it's
not just calories in/calories out. I tried that. I fucking tried that, okay? I tried that 'til I got a fucking eating disorder (and I have never had anything but medicinally-induced BED, which partially but not wholly caused my fatness, and I did not lose the weight after getting off the medication and beginning to eat normally). Let me tell you something: calories in/calories out does not work. It doesn't. If it worked, there would be no fat people.

"Oh," I hear you say. "But that's because most people intend to do it for the short term!" Um, no, they don't. They intend for it to be a lifestyle, and then blame
themselves when they can't take STARVING for the fucking REST OF THEIR LIVES. No. That's just fucked up. If you support "lifestyles instead of diets", you are promoting eating disorders. Fuck you. You're the reason why even thought of restricting my calorie intake to under 200 a day. So fuck you. I'm not going back to that place even if I gain a hundred zillion pounds. No praise feels as good as healthy tastes.

Okay, so let's save the rest of that rant for later and get with the introductions. I'm vegan. I'm raw. I'm vehemently feminist (i.e. pro-reproductive rights and anti-pornography). At the time of this post, I'm 19 years old. I'm interested in whatever ways my body is going to change during being raw.

Why am I raw?

I'm raw because I want to heal from my eating disorder. It may seem kind of backwards to restrict your food intake (well, the
types of food, anyways) in order to heal, but hello? There's a fucking reason why so many women with anorexia relapse after treatment, and it's called "too much, too fast". I've seen this with my own eyes. I've seen girls freak out because they can't take eating so much so fast. The medical industry is failing anorectics, big time, by forcing them to do far too much in far too short a time. (And yes, I understand that a lot of it is because the insurance providers of the women won't pay for a long stay. That's fucked up, and one reason why we in the U.S. need universal health care.)

To clarify: by the severely fucked-up standards of the medical industry, I was not anorexic. I just had all of their behaviours and mental fucked-upness.

I'm raw because I'm interested in how my body is going to change. I've already noticed some changes: my skin has gotten clearer, my eyes are losing their dark blue ring around the outside of the irises, and I feel really good. That's what matters: that I
feel good. I've already noticed some ways that I relate differently to food, too: I no longer feel guilty for eating enough to sustain my body. I guess that's what happens when you start getting enough nutrition for your brain.

Now, some promises:

I will not talk about calories on this blog, unless it's specifically for a class I'm taking (Foodology) or talking about my eating disorder.

I will not post numbers (again, other than above).

I will not put down myself or my readers (unless a troll) and I refuse to allow anyone else to put down themselves or my readers, either.

And I
will do anything I can to make myself feel the absolute best I can.

Sound good? Good. As for all of you who think I should apologise immediately for being fat, fuuuuck youuuu.