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From: Julie (76.17.37.172)
Subject:         mom wanting to start family on raw foods - LONG
Date: July 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm PST

Ok, help please! I am a homeschooling mom in Georgia to 2 boys, ages 7.5 & almost 2, & I want to start my family on raw foods. I've been searching online & I'm so confused. I don't know where to start. I want to ensure that I feed my family well, but also, that they'll eat what I make. I have heard about how wonderful this lifestyle change is, & I really want the long-term benefits for us. I became a Christian 2.5 years ago & just truly believe the foods the earth provides are what feeds our bodies best, but(!) I don't have a clue where to start! Being in the deep south, when I mention raw foods, most people look at me like I have lost my mind.

Here are some of our family's challenges. (I am hoping if I'm really honest here, I'll get some support & direction, because I really need it!)

1) My 7.5yo will actually refuse to eat *all day* (I've tried him) if he doesn't like what's offered to him. For the first 4 years of his life, he spent a great deal of time with my parents (I was a single, working mom) & his diet was the typical standard American diet. He is used to burgers, fries, chicken nuggets... OH! And my dad introduced him to COKE of all things a few months ago. What 7yo needs to drink COKE?! He's really rebelling against eating healthy because it 'doesn't taste as good.' We were out eating together one day not too long ago & when a stranger engaged him in conversation, he couldn't wait to tell them that he was 'going to be a Coke drinker' when he grows up. (I wouldn't let him have a coke with his lunch.) He does not know his paternal-biological family, but they are immensely unhealthy - over weight, heavy drinkers, with high blood pressure & heart problems. I don't want him to have to face the same kinds of health issues. (He is also very opposed to becoming 'fat')

2) My almost 2 year old loves fruits & vegetables & doesn't really care for meat, which is delightful, but he does have one heck of a sweet tooth. He asks for Popsicles all day long & has developed a strong liking for ice cream & chips.

3) My husband LOVES beef & is naturally very thin. He is at his all time top weight right now - 160, & is 6'1". He will eat anything he can get his hands on in an attempt to gain weight, regardless of its nutritional value. He loves that fast food restaurants post their nutritional content, so he can base his order on which foods pack the highest punch. (Scary, no?) He doesn't like the way unhealthy foods make him feel, admittedly, but he feels helpless. We ate 'clean' last year, & he dropped a serious amount of weight.

4) I became a vegetarian at 12, & vegan at 14, but knew very little about supplementation or nutrition & basically used the vegan diet as a way to rebel against my unhealthy eating family. That only lasted until my senior year in high school when we moved, I started a new school, & didn't have the follow-through to continue. I gained weight rapidly that year, even though I was a competition cheerleader. My weight continued to rise through my freshman year of college. I was raped towards the end of my freshman year, & moved home at the end of the semester. I never told anyone about the ordeal, & ended up starving myself back down (& below) my vegan weight. I became pregnant the end of my sophomore year, & after my son was born(2004), dissatisfied with the rate of my weight loss, I went to the doctor to get Adderall. I became eventually addicted to Adderall RX, taking twice the legal limit, until my (now) husband took me to my doctor & demanded something be done (early 2007). I ended up in in-patient rehab where I was (while going through withdrawal) diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar 1 with mixed states. I was put on 1200mg Lithium (that's an enormous amount), various anti-psychotics, etc, & was thrust into eating disorder & group therapy. I went from a size 0 to a size 18 in 2 months. I was under medical treatment for about 6 months, until my boyfriend (now husband) was brave enough to tell me I was actually much sicker on all of the current medications than I was abusing Adderall RX. Against the advice of my doctors, I weened myself off the medications, & in 2009, my husband was actually able to have my bipolar diagnosis over turned! All of that to say, I have not been very kind to my body & am right now, unhealthy, overweight (about a size 8-10, but I'm 5'3", so that's larger for a short girl) & sick a lot. I need a change, & want something that lasts. I'm all in, but I need help.

5) Our budget. We are debt free & I stay home & homeschool, so our budget is CRUCIAL. I used to buy all organic foods & was spending about 900$ a month, & I really depleted our savings. Right now, we have 400$ we can spend a month on food, with 20$ for eating out. I've been really great at coming in under budget, but we aren't even eating fresh foods, much less raw. Is it possible for a family of 4 to make it raw on 400$/month? I want to start a garden here soon, so that will help, yes?

Thank you guys SO much in advance for helping our family!

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