The story of the month for April 2009 comes from EarthMother of In The Raw.

EarthMother has been a frequent visitor to from its inception in March 2008 and has often contributed her own valuable experience where health and wellness is concerned.

Her personal wellness journey is very real and applicable to so many of us today. We know we have too many people today, suffering needlessly from various areas of poor health, based on lifestyle choices. Some people are fed up and seek change, others don’t, while yet others may not even realize that a change to good health naturally, is possible. This is where EarthMother’s inspirational story comes in! I feel it can be the hope, the motivation or the wake up call that someone out there needs, to make the choice to walk away from poor health by embracing the world of living and natural foods.

Please welcome EarthMother sharing her story with us:

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

The short answer? I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, all the time. I thought, “I am just waaaay too young to be feeling like this.” And, I knew what was potentially down the not-too-distant road for me if I didn’t make some big lifestyle changes – diabetes, heart disease, arthritis…pushing up daisies.

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

While at the local library, a book on the “New Arrivals” shelf jumped out at me: Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr. What possessed me to check that book out, I’ll never know, but I am so glad I did. Kris’ story of being diagnosed with an extremely rare, incurable cancer and her journey toward health and healing is so inspirational. A big part of her healing journey has been adopting a raw foods lifestyle. The back of the book is loaded with resources and I started checking out websites and other books.

The more I learned about eating raw, living food, the more sold on the idea I became. Do you realize that we are the only animal on the planet that cooks its food? We are living beings, yet we consume food that is dead, or cooked.

It was when I read The Raw Food Detox Diet: The Five-Step Plan for Vibrant Health and Maximum Weight Loss by Natalia Rose that I thought, “I can do this!” She lays out a very simple plan(s) that anyone can follow, no matter where on the continuum they are presently eating. For me, that meant beginning to eat food in its natural state, not refined, not processed.

Today, I consume a primarily plant-based diet, consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. Nutrients and enzymes are heat sensitive and destroyed at temperatures above 118 degrees. So, the bulk of my plant-based diet is uncooked, or raw. By choosing to eat this way, I am infusing my body with live enzymes.

It’s been a big change for me. BIG. I grew up in a Hungarian household, where I was weaned on chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage. Vegetables were potatoes and corn. Not too many salads, because Dad thought “they taste green.” As I grew into an adult and began living on my own, I couldn’t be bothered with cooking. Convenience was key – get more, faster. So, I ate food in packages and racked up frequent flyer miles at the drive-thru windows. I thought the four food groups were Starbucks, cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes.

There was the whole emotional component around food too. I’ve had to change my relationship to food. I used to live to eat. Now, I’m learning to eat to live.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

The changes to my health have been amazing. Gone are the debilitating headaches, the fire-breathing dragon heartburn, the constant fatigue, the edema, the chronic depression, the joint pain…oh, and over 90 pounds! My energy level is through the roof. I sleep like a baby at night. My skin is smooth, clear and radiant.

I have a mental clarity today that I have never experienced in my life. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it feels like I have broken a long-term drug addiction. It feels almost like I was walking around before under the constant influence of alcohol, and then suddenly becoming alcohol-free. The thing is, I had already been sober for 18 years!

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

I’ve become a walker. Every day. 5K in the morning and another 5K in the evening. I was out there, like clockwork, even during this horrendous winter we just had. Several times a week, I’ll do another 5K in the afternoon, hiking through the woods. I used to not be able to walk to the end of my driveway without getting winded and wincing in pain.

I’d like to start roller blading this spring. I saw some kids doing it and it looked like great fun!

I’ve begun checking out pools in the area that offer open lap swims. The water’s really been calling to me.

Something I’m really excited about is planting my first organic vegetable garden this year. Imagine walking out the back door and picking lunch right out of the earth!

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

Start where you are. Begin now.

It doesn’t have to be traumatic. You don’t have to change your lifelong eating habits overnight and go 100% raw or vegan tomorrow. Just eliminate the refined and processed foods. Begin adding more fresh fruit and veggies into your diet.

Put away that scale! Don’t make the focus be on the number. Put the focus on how you’re feeling. Look, we live in a society that craves the quick fix and wants instant gratification. When you start to feel and look so much more healthy and vibrant, it’s a great motivating factor.

Educate yourself. Enroll in the University of Google and go wild! Visit your local library and start reading. Knowledge is power. When you feel empowered, you’ll find the courage and inspiration to take charge of your own health and wellness.

Connect with other individuals for support. It’s a small world, thanks to the wonders of cyberspace. The blogosphere is loaded with folks seeking health and wellness, and writing about it. Attend a meetup in your area. Participate in online forums and communities. I’ve found a wealth of information, inspiration and support amidst many of these.

Keep it real. Remind yourself daily why you embarked on this journey in the first place. I wrote a letter to myself so I could remember what it was like when I weighed 300 pounds and walking up a flight of stairs made me winded. Anytime I felt like giving up, I’d get out that letter and read it. If seeing your children or your grandkids grow up is your motivation, then by God, carry their photos with you at all times. Paperclip them to your car’s sun visor and whip them out the next time you’re tempted to pull into that drive-thru window.