2008 Raw Essay:
an excerpt from something I wrote in February 2007. I
think it tells my story pretty well. I'll intersperse
this text with a few pictures from my life, as I did in
Twenty-nine months ago, I was working on a
proposal one morning when I became overwhelmed with
a feeling of dizziness and a possible oncoming loss
of consciousness. Unsure of what to do, I began
pacing around, and it more or less ebbed. Then it
returned again -- so I paced some more. Eventually,
I found myself wandering around the parking lot
wondering what in hell was wrong with me. A few
coworkers were mildly concerned. Around 3:00 p.m.
(yes, I'm disgusted to admit, after I'd finished my
proposal), I decided that something might be
seriously wrong with me. So, I drove to my doctor's
office and, though I had no appointment, asked if
someone could check my vitals. Turned out my blood
pressure was 180-something over some other scary
number, and my resting pulse rate was upwards of
130. Yep, we had a little problem.
long and short of it is that I went on a common pill
called Atenolol, a beta-blocker that chills out your
heart, lowers your BP, etc. Man, going on those damn
things was one hell of a change. When you're used to
life whizzing by at 120 beats/minute and then you
suddenly downshift to 60 beats/minute, you tend to
feel like you're at death's door. But then, as with
most other pharmaceuticals, you get used to them. In
no time, I was functioning as normal (with a ticker
that remained at exactly 60 bpm pretty much all the
time) -- all thanks to prescription drug companies.
I know we tend to view these giants as evil and,
yeah, in many cases, they are. But, they also do
save lives in the process, and we shouldn't forget
that important fact, IMHO. I'd probably have been a
goner if it weren't for whatever company
manufactures that tiny little heart regulator.
Here's a picture of me circa 1989,
before any weight issues emerged. I
was pretty much a full-on carnivore
in those days.
while, I just chilled out -- made some necessary
changes like getting more sleep, trying to reduce
things that I felt were stressful, cutting out
caffeine, etc. In fact, I'm pretty sure a newly
developed sensitivity to caffeine is what set it all
off. That day, I'd downed two huge mugs of the black
stuff (on an empty stomach) in preparation for that
proposal work session. I used to be the "I'll make
another pot" guy in the office and, to tell you the
truth, it was a pretty nice work environment. We
used to take turns walking around our little enclave
refilling each other's mugs all day.
Kicking coffee was tough. I was all about
Starbucks and/or any other coffee house. In fact,
call me whatever names you want, but I'll admit to a
long-term love affair with the grande cappuccino.
Not only that, but life without iced tea has proven
miserable at times. I used to drink enough of that
at lunch time to make myself visibly fidgety. But,
over time, it got easier. I eventually found
substitutes (lesser substitutes, of course, but
half-way decent ones like herbal teas containing
chicory and carob). Celestial Seasonings makes a
blend called Roastaroma that almost tastes
coffee-like. (Ironically, I'd be lying if I claimed
not to miss java, even though I currently regard it
as a poison.)
time, I came to like the beta blocker lifestyle.
Kick back and let the pharmaceuticals do all the
work for you, you know? Sleep, especially, migrated
from generally refreshing to genuinely peaceful. I'd
lie down, close my eyes, and wake up in almost the
exact same position 8 hours later. I think I dreamed
less as well, though I'm not sure. I definitely
slept deeper, though. Whatever side effects I had
(again, minimal stuff like occasional drowsiness or
dizziness) seemed livable; whatever concerns I had
about long-term effects on my body and/or life
expectancy seemed like things I could deal with some
By 2000, I'd
ballooned into Jabba the Hut,
weighing in at 230 or so. (Actually,
it's tough to say, since I avoided
scales.) A few years at this weight
is all it took for the high blood
pressure to set in.
learned that beta blockers are sometimes prescribed
to treat anxiety. And, again, everything made sense.
I was chilled out, relaxed. I recalled that, every
so often in my past, I would wake breathless at 3:30
a.m. or so in a cold sweat, my heart pounding, my
brain trying to come to terms with some vague notion
of hopelessness that I'd been struggling with in an
unremembered, recurring dream. That no longer
happened. (Still hasn't happened again.)
yeah, I'm a mental case; now you know, okay?
then, for whatever reason, I decided to start
running. I ran all the time, and still do. The extra
weight didn't come off at first, but I did feel
better. Pants loosened up a bit, my face got a
little thinner, etc. I think I became a bit upset at
my lack of weight loss after training for my first
10k race. That helped me step things up a bit in a
few areas. Not only did I begin to run longer
routes, I also adopted some of Wendi's nutritional
reading up on what she was doing, I decided to try
to increase the percentage of enzyme-rich foods in
Wendi eats 100% living foods (which
basically translates into raw produce, nuts, seeds,
etc.) -- which is probably viewed as pretty
hard-core by most people. I don't think I could ever
do 100% like that, but I figure I'm at 80% or so,
and have been for a couple of months. (Still have to
have my bagels on the weekend, and the occasional
Steak -n- Shake burger. But, suffice it to say that
we eat a lot of salad, which is fine, since we all
really like salad to begin with.)
So, I started running
religiously in 2005 (and still do!),
but couldn't get under approx. 220
pounds no matter how much I ran.
When I weighed in for my first 10k
in '06, I'd managed to get myself
down to 217, but still needed BP
result? I went to see my doctor again today. I
figured it'd be the usual -- take my vitals,
re-write me another year on the beta blockers. But
not this time. He said, "How're you doing?"
said, "Let me show you," then hopped off the table
and showed him how my pants are at least 4 inches
too big at the waist. One might even say -- and,
this is really weird for me to type -- that I'm
J's eyes grew wide. "Well, damn, you're healthy!
It's time to get you off that shit." He actually
said that. Then I got one of the coolest lectures
from a doctor that I've heard to date. "You know,"
he said, "there are two ways to deal with this
disease -- the easy way [i.e., simply gulping
pills], and the hard way [i.e., making the lifestyle
changes your body is calling for]. You did it the
hard way, which few people actually do."
should stop taking the pills?"
wean you off them," he said, outlining a plan to
reduce the dosage down to zero over a month. He said
it'd keep my body from freaking out from such a
major change (which is good, as it wasn't pleasant
going on the damned things).
Late summer 2007.
Here's me a month or so before my
second 10k, at which I weighed in at
186 pounds. No more pharmaceuticals
when do you want to see me again?" I asked.
time you're sick," he said.
I'm feeling overwhelmed right now, and, for some
reason, more than slightly apprehensive. Damn near
two-and-a-half years of treatment, and I've got a
new prescription in some handwriting I can't read --
except for the final word, which says "stop." Life
without meds... Imagine that!
writing that, I've slowly increased the percentage of
living foods that make up my diet. I'd say I'm at 90%
currently, with the occasional cooked meal at office
functions. I also keep noticing perks of this
lifestyle, which are very enjoyable to me. For example,
when we receive big gift baskets of cookies at work, the
staff devours them in mere hours. If we receive a fruit
basket, it lasts for a week (usually because it takes me
and the other few fruit-loving people that long to eat
it all). Or, at office functions, I've noticed that I
can take enormous plates of salads and fruits because
there are always leftovers of these things.
Finally, I have no intention of ever returning to a diet
that I'm certain was responsible for my weighing 230+
pounds and relying on beta-blockers to prevent my body
from having a full-on heart attack. I'm not anywhere
near as knowledgeable as Wendi when it comes to most
things raw, but if you're looking for a guy who can whip
up a mean nut dip, drop me a line.
Update: Wow, that story is even more
interesting to me now, as it outlines my transition from
health-crisis to general health. Since then, I've
discovered that it only gets better(!) the longer
you live this lifestyle. With years of living
increasingly high-raw and a long span of 100% raw now
under my belt, I have much more to say on this topic! It
wasn't until 2008 that I began to experience many of the
profound non-physical benefits that Wendi and other raw
foodists often describe. But, whoa... This "diet" will
surely change your life in ways unimaginable. The
physical stuff -- releasing your extra weight, removing
your reliance on pharmaceuticals, restoring your
vitality, rightsizing your body -- is only the first of
many changes you'll experience. If you're overweight,
take my word for it that losing the weight will be the
I'll update this page more thoroughly in the very near
future, as we have a total redesign planned for
PureJeevan.com in 2009 as we head out into the world to
teach others about this miraculous way of life.