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Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

Eating out, however, has become less fun for me. When my face gets flushed it becomes so hot that it's kind of painful. The hives are itchy, and the headaches keep me from having as much fun as I'd like to have. Most of the time I wake up the following morning with a stuffy head, slightly puffy eyes, and a general feeling like I didn't do something good for my body. Even when I make sure I'm eating something without garlic or Nama Shoyu in it, I still many times get reactions. Is it because the foods aren't organic, because some of the ingredients aren't truly raw, or something else ?

I wonder about my raw food diet as the years go by even more. Will I become less sensitive to things when my body becomes even cleaner and healthier? Or, will my body become even more sensitive to things that aren't truly healthy for me? One day I hope to live off the land, eating from the plants and trees whenever I'm hungry for food. Until that time, however, I need to either put my body through stress when I eat raw foods others have prepared, or decline eating things when I don't know exactly what has gone into them.When Kevin was here he only ate what I had prepared for him (Phase 1 of Gabriel Cousens' diet, 100% organic). He had no reactions and he fully enjoyed the meetup without food being a big issue for him.I'm beginning to think that I'd rather eat only what I bring and be able to enjoy the gatherings more, without feeling the burning flush in my face and start of a headache.

On a positive note, my body is able to much more clearly (and quickly!) alert me when I'm eating something that's not good for me. Within fifteen minutes of eating something that's not food for me, I have a reaction. My body is working much more efficiently and I am thankful for that! Many people eat foods that aren't good for them, but their bodies are too busy doing damage control to manifest symptoms to alert them that they're eating something unhealthy. That's why so many people think the foods they eat aren't truly bad for them.

What about you? Do you experience reactions to foods that you sometimes eat

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On January 21, 2009, T wrote:

aww wendi -- sorry you're having so much trouble -- i can pinpoint one of the discomforts you have with nama shoyu -- it has wheat in it -- maybe if you switched to tamari? i find i can ingest that with no plm :) -- have you broken down the recipes for a single ingredient like a nut? it is possible to have reactions to nightshade veggies too -- or possibly honey? if you can factor it down to a few possible ingredients then you can test each on separately to find the culprit -- here's wishing you a speedy answer hugs T

On January 21, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:

Thanks for the comment, T!

Yes, wheat is definitely not a good thing for me. Tamari does it too,
however, so I'm suspecting it's the soy. I've switched to good quality
salt in recipes that call for Nama Shoyu (including all the recipes I've
created! LOL).

It's funny you mention nightshades. I used to be VERY sensitive to
nightshades before I went raw. The cleaner my system got on raw, however,
the more easily I could eat them. Now I have no problems with nightshades
and eat them in mass quantities and feel fantastic! I can also eat
coconut, which I used to be very sensitive to as well (it used to make my
throat get all itchy and close up a tiny bit).

The biggest reactions I ever had were to eggplant. In the more than three
years of eating raw foods, however, I haven't had any desire to consume
eggplant. So, I have no idea if I'm still sensitive to it, or not. It just
doesn't appeal to me like it did when it was cooked with lovely Indian
spices! ;-)

I'll continue to keep an eye on what causes reactions in me, since I
really want to give my body a break from stress after living with constant
stress my entire life from either food or mental/emotional issues. My body
deserves to be pampered and cared for. I think I'm completely giving up
eating anything that is questionable in the future.

Thanks, again, for your comment! It's nice to see you over here on our blog!

Lots of love to you,


On January 21, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

ahh, the complicated raw food issue.. I love to eat out and eat lovely raw foods.. but.. digestively, I pay a price usually. I know that flax and me are NOT friends.. it gives me terrible trouble..
Have you read Raw Success by Matt Monarch? that may answer some of your sensitivity questions...
I keep it simple and my bod " runs like a top" !
love deb

On January 21, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:

Thanks for commenting, Deb!

Yes, I've read Matt's book. It's probably true because the cleaner I eat,
the healthier I feel. We just aren't meant to eat things that don't grow
directly on plants and trees, it seems. :-P

*blows kisses*

Lots of love to you,


On January 21, 2009, Tara wrote:

Hi Wendi,

I also noticed my reaction to food served at raw food potlucks and initially responded by eating only my own dishes. Now I do not attend at all.

I believe it comes down to many factors you touched on, as well as the energy of the people preparing the foods that gets transferred, food safety issues (proper refrigeration & cleanliness of kitchens, how fresh the prepared item (was it made the night before or early that morning or 2 hours before the event), and the amount of non-raw condiments that people put into raw recipes (we had raw recipes books to thank for this misguidance). And the biggest reason people have at potlucks is...they eat a little of everything...a food combining nightmare.

One thing I have suggested in our community is non-food related activities such as hiking or urban walks where people bring their own food or they meet somewhere for salad after their activity.

On January 21, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:

Thanks for leaving a comment, Tara! :-)

Yes, food combining isn't a good thing if you don't have an iron stomach.
;-) When I do mono meals I feel so wonderful!

For our community, it's important to keep the focus on the food. Not too
many of the members are raw for long, and many are just learning. To have
a variety of different dishes to sample can open up their eyes that eating
raw foods can be as wonderful as eating cooked foods. If I was hanging out
with a bunch of raw foodies, however, I wouldn't want the focus to be on
the food. I love your idea of doing activities, instead!

Thanks, again, for your comment!

Lots of love to you,


On January 21, 2009, Errigal_lass wrote:

Hello, Wendi! Sorry I was not able to come to last week's function, but just wanted to comment that "I hear ya!" And I have, also, heard the same from many raw foodists. From what I do know, the cleaner you get the more reaction to something that is not good for you. Stay organic and stay away from mainstream restaurants. This has significantly altered my social life........but that is okay by me. I do believe we are on the right what I do now with friends is invite them over to eat at my house, if eating is to be a social thing. Esp. when I have my own garden, that way I know that it is organic and fresh.

And yes, your body does deserve to be pampered and cared for.........that is why we are doing this right? So go with what your body tells you as it is most intelligent.

Love and hugs, Tracey

On January 21, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:

Hi there, Tracey!

Thanks for stopping by. I was sorry to not see you at the event, but I'm
sure I'll see you again before we move.

Rumor has it there's going to be a big gathering here at the end of
February (shhh...I haven't said much about it, yet, to anyone). ;-) I wish
I could say it's because we've sold the house, but that isn't the case

I love, love, love fresh veggies from my garden! That's one of the reasons
I'm moving to a warmer climate--so I can have more fresh veggies

Lots of love to you,


On January 22, 2009, sheryl miller wrote:

Hello Wendi,
Great looking website!
The colours are very eye catching!

It is good to see that you have acheived a major goal- life saving one!
Thanks for all your words of encouragement and confidence for total stangers!
But as the saying goes "Strangers are just friends you havn't met yet!"

I got you website link from the renegade health show!

I look forward to reading your newsletters and blog often!
Keep moving forward!
Sheryl Miller

On January 22, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:

Sheryl! Welcome to our site! I'm so glad you have found a place that you
look forward to visiting again. We look forward to seeing you around here.

Thanks for your kind words. Many of us are, indeed, all friends who
haven't met yet! One of my goals is to create a space for us to become
closer. So, I look forward to getting to know you better!

Lots of love to you,


On January 23, 2009, Dave Higgs-Vis wrote:

Hey Wendi!!

I definitely sympathize. I've been raw for about a month, and I can't eat anything cooked at all anymore without getting sick (indigestion, trouble breathing, fuzzy mind). With this in mind, I've started eliminating the more processed raw foods from my diet, since I expect I'll begin to get reactions to those as well. I'm aiming for a diet as close to the fruit of the earth as possible, with little to no processing, except juicing/blending. I Love green drinks!

I pray that you find joy in all you eat, and that you are successful in letting go of foods that aren't good for you. Peace and Love!!

On January 23, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:


Thanks for such a sweet comment. It's all a learning process, getting
reconnected to our bodies more after years of being disconnected and
dulled by cooked foods. I'm glad to go through these experiences, however,
because I can then better help others who experience the same things.

I love your goal for yourself!

Lots of love to you,


On January 23, 2009, Lois_workingtowardsraw100 wrote:

HI everyone. I am new to this blog. I learned about it from the Renegade Health show with Kevin and Annmarie Gianni.

I don't have anyone to meet up with and share raw potlucks with, but I do notice when I eat cooked foods, I become more and more sensitive. My sister keeps trying to tell me I shouldn't cut out cooked foods because I won't be able to eat them (like that's a bad thing!)

On January 23, 2009, purejeevanblog wrote:


Thanks so much for finding our blog. It's wonderful to "meet" you here. ;-)

Many people seriously feel that if raw foods makes people sensitive to
cooked foods, then they shouldn't eat raw foods. It's a valid concern if
someone hasn't thought through the entire raw food lifestyle. If someone
is eating raw foods to simply lose weight so that they can go back to
cooked foods, it's probably not the best route to travel. However, if
someone sees the inherent beauty and truth in eating raw foods as a
lifestlye they will realize that reactions to cooked foods is a very
positive thing! Not many can understand that, however. ;-) It sounds like
you, though, are definitely on the raw path for the long term!

Lots of love to you,


On January 23, 2009, Lois_workingtowardsraw100 wrote:

Hi everyone. I have just signed up for this blog. What a nice resource. I am working towards being 100%. I notice now when I eat cooked foods I have more and more bad reactions and right after I eat too! My sister tells me to stop doing only raw food because I will be too sensitive to everything. Like that's a bad thing.