I've reached my 2 year high carbohydrate, low fat raw vegan anniversary. For two years prior to this lifestyle I followed a high fat raw vegan diet and experienced wonderful benefits when I made the switch to fruity living.
This past year has been one of learning. I've come to realize that I must make health my top priority. I went through a lot of trouble and discomfort. But what a year it has been! Be patient, this is long.
2011 was off to a great start. I was working a job I loved, creating my own hours and helping people with their health and fitness, until the job started to go sour and I got an eerie feeling, a restlessness, feeling that something terrible was going to happen and that I needed to return to Japan for the dolphins, a premonition of sorts. I left my job, spent two weeks fundraising and left for another Taiji campaign. I was in my element. I love activism and action.
Through a series of events I ended up in Northern Japan the midst of a 9.0 earthquake, surviving a tsunami by 40 seconds that ravaged the coastal town killing thousands. We were in Otsuchi to document the slaughter of 15,000 dolphins annually and ended up documenting the worst earthquake to hit Japan in over 100 years. It was a shock, to say the least. We witnessed carnage that I'd love to forget. We hiked through damage beyond conceivable. Death, burning, explosions. We were helped by those who had lost everything. I was forced to eat cooked food for the first time in over a year, vegan energy bars, but it had no negative effect.
I spoke with my partner and family back home, them finding out after 24 hours that we were alive. I laughed nervously as over 200 aftershocks rocked the hotel we were staying in. At that point I felt it was all a dream. I returned home and spent days crying...For the lives lost, the young woman we couldn't save, the pollution released in the ocean, for surviving. Our group developed a bond that will never be broken. I developed an intense fear of anything touching my neck that I haven't been able to shake. Writing this now I realize that I still haven't dealt with my emotions over the event.
Day of Tsunami
Life slowly returned to normal, as it always does. One positive event came after the tsunami, being a part of a documentary on nuclear disasters. I was able to share my experience, receive funds and share it with my friends, fellow survivors.
Summer followed and I returned to my normal self. I was having a blast on Vancouver Island, enjoying the life that I was so grateful to have. I decided to go overt fat free for the summer, hoping to feel the same lightness and energy that I had the previous year. It didn't happen as planned. Instead of feeling wonderful, I experienced my first symptoms of detoxification since becoming vegan three years earlier. I went through a three month period of detox, experiencing intense waves of constipation and diarrhea, body odour, breakouts, dry skin, a white coated tongue, 10lb water retention, cellulite, and dehydration no matter how much water I consumed. During this time I experienced my receding gums healing very quickly and an intense migraine with hallucinations. I decided after this period of time to introduce overt fats back into my diet and all symptoms ceased within a matter of hours. My digestion improved and I shed the water retention.
I spent the summer fundraising to return to Taiji. I rode my bicycle pulling a bamboo trailer built by the inspiring Derek Howlett to collect bottles door to door and off of highway sidelines. I purchased watermelons, sliced them up and sold the slices by donation. I sold my artwork and raw energy balls at events. Each day I followed my passion and educated others about marine conservation. I received love, donations, and criticism from some. After a few months I had raised enough to return to Taiji and continue on to Australia to volunteer on the Sea Shepherd ship.
On my way to Taiji my wallet was stolen, along with access to money. Luckily my fundraised cash was kept in a different compartment. I spent a week documenting another 35 dolphins slaughtered and another 10 taken for captivity. I ate an abundance of fresh local citrus yet my digestion completely stopped. I was extremely tense. I hated watching as dolphins died, knowing that I couldn't do anything to stop it. I had to leave because I didn't have access to any additional funds. I broke down at the airport on my way out of Japan. Pent up frustration, sadness, and a deep hate for the killers.
I arrived in Sydney Australia to meet with Ryan and we went straight to the Bob Barker ship and started work. I knew I needed relaxation, but I couldn't afford to slack. I needed to prove my dedication to the oceans and cause. We spent two weeks in Sydney and went out to sea for a voyage to Hobart. By that time it had been almost three weeks with no bowel movements. I was extremely bloated, over worked, undercarbed, under slept, and stressed. We encountered a pod of around 200 dolphins, swimming with the ship and bow surfing. It was such a beautiful moment. I broke down sobbing. It meant so much to see them alive and free. The pain of 235 dolphins dead and 110 taken for the slavery industry caught up with me.
We worked hard in Hobart. 10-12 hour days. 30 minute meals. 4 days off in 5 weeks. We spent every minute preparing the ship to sail to Antarctica. It was the hardest work I've ever loved. The crew were amazing, the experience unforgettable. But I made a decision to place the cause above my health and I suffered for it. I went over 1 month with no bowel movements. I consumed some salt. Acne, bloating, and body odour returned. I was desperate for a solution. I tried aloe vera, fasting, juice fasting, chia seeds, extra exercise. Nothing worked. I was too tense and stressed I was only able to get out a few painful bowel movements after repeatedly hitting my stomach. 30 bad was here with me throughout it all. I became extremely sick during my last week on the ship. I got the flu, and badly needed rest. I took one day off and then ignored my body's signals to rest. I was dizzy, weak, had headaches, and almost fell down the stairs to our room. I was caught by one of the Animal Planet crew. A few days later I started to vomit continuously.
I gave up an opportunity to go to Antarctica, a long standing dream. There was no doubt about our dedication. I was told that if I was willing to follow a cooked vegan diet I would be accepted. I declined, determined to be apart of an ocean campaign while staying raw. We left the ship at the beginning of December, our friends sailing away to protect the whales.
I spent the next two weeks eating during the day and vomiting all night. I had bad diarrhea. I felt weak and sick. We were staying with friends in Melbourne. I could hardly get out of bed. I felt that I needed food, but each time I ate I couldn't stop the vomiting. I made the decision the day the vomiting stopped that from then on my health would come first. I couldn't help the animals or oceans while being sick.
For the past 2.5 months Ryan and I have been living in working in Torquay, Victoria. I spent the first few weeks resting and began to feel like a new person. My bowel movements started to become normal around mid-February. My scaly skin became soft and clear again. I'm hydrated. I'm fit and toned again. I've been biking an average of 50-100kms per week, and have been running 3 days a week for the past month. I work for a small organic produce company and have access to beautiful, local and organic fruits and vegetables. I'm taking some time off activism and focusing on my health. I feel alive for the first time in a while. I've been feasting on figs, bananas, dates, mangos, sugar plums, grapes, and watermelon. 3000 calories or more. Sleeping 9-11 hours per night.
Here are two pictures after much needed rest and relaxation. The first one is after the vomiting stopped, getting adequate sleep, food and water.
Working in the Vineyard
Throughout these experiences you've all been here to support me. I couldn't have gotten through it without 30bad and raw foods. Fruits and veggies are important, but they can't work miracles. I've come to realize how important sleep and adequate rest are.
I once thought that I could sacrifice my health for activism and now realize that it's not possible. I need to keep myself healthy to ensure that I can fight for their rights.
It's been quite a year, but I wouldn't change any of it. I learned the greatest lessons while at my worst. I've learned that I must get enough sleep, water, fruit, rest, and exercise. If any of these key ingredients are missing, this lifestyle will not work! If they're followed properly, health and happiness will be abundant.
What a truly inspiring story you have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it.
Big massive juicy LIKE!!!
I have great respect for the Sea Shepherd people... something I can't put into words, just so so so much respect.
You are amazing :) xxxxx
I share that thought :) Thanks Apollonia!
What an inspiration. You are a beautiful soul :)
Wow you are such an inspiration.I admire you.It makes me feel that there is still hope for my raw food journey even if I fail.Your words are just what i needed to help keep me going as I have been struggling.
There is always hope! If you can make it through the toughest times then you can make it through anything!
Its vital to have back up plans. When I take cycling newbies out up a big hill I get them to ride as far up as they can and then instead of crying and going home when they have to stop, just stop, get your heart rate down and then go again and take as many breaks you need to. This works in teaching the person the importance of pacing.
Having back up vegan carb foods teaches on the importance of carbs and low fat. Instead of going back into the valley of SAD aka primal paleo then people can still play in the high mountains as they are always getting enough carbs with the direction that fruit is the best but the reality is that any whole food plant carbs is better than grease.
Oh Tarah you are so beautiful inside and out! You are such an inspiration! We just adore you! :)
Ed n Shell
Aw Shell :) Thank you so much! All of these comments are so wonderful!
The love is right back at you!
Where are you in B.C Lorra? I'd love to meet up when we return. We spent the past two years on Vancouver Island. We'll be returning to the Island in late September and then heading to a year long house sit in 100 Mile House.
Wow, Im glad I came across this post. What an experiance you have had over the last two years.It was really good to read, thank you for posting it.
The thing that really stuck out to me was your time detoxing back home after returning from Japan. You mentioned that your 3 months of detox and consequent symptoms began when you stopped consuming overt fats and stopped after resuming them again. I have not consumed any overt fats for over 2 months now and I have been experiancing many symptoms similar to yours. Do you think that in your case it was all down to the fats? If you do, why would this be? is it due to the clean fule supplie and hence more time and energy for the body to begin cleaning up?
As the same with you I have had this constant headache for quite sometime now, so I would be really keen to hear your's or anyone else's thoughts? Hmmm... might go and get me an avo or coconut and see if that helps.
Once again thanks for sharing your story, although some of it would have been unpleasant I'm sure mixed along with all the good times you sure sound like you have had a great adventure. Life's quick, good to see you making the most of it.