a RAWky road

Food, health and fitness advice while vegan in a sad, S.A.D world.


Post-Injury Blues

sad puppy

If you’ve never been there, then you’re lucky. I’ve got a passport filled with stamps from Sprained Ankle-ton, Tendonitis-ville, and most recently Broken Toe-town, among others. It sucks! As of late I’ve been throwing myself a pity-party, where whine and sulk are appropriately featured on the menu.

The simple fact of the matter is that physical harm and suffering associated with a serious injury can often have an impact on mental health. The emotional trauma of a sudden and severe injury can increase the risk of a person developing anxiety, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. A person’s mental health can be further affected when serious injuries result in a loss of skills (I miss running and cycling and just being active) and opportunities (I had to cancel my much-anticipated ballet course); being unable to participate in everyday activities such as work (meh… I’m lucky I currently work from home), study and socializing; worries about finances and the future.

Be that as it may, I’m trying to get myself out of this funk and I’ve devised a little post-injury do’s and don’ts list to help:


  • Laugh! It’s the best medicine.
  • Snuggle with a loved one, human or fury creature.
  • Try to exercise in whatever way you can – even if it’s just stretching.
  • Reach out to others for support and distractions.
  • Concentrate on brightening someone else’s day.
  • Use your down time to do that thing that you never have time to do… finish that book, start painting, learn a new language.
  • Write in your journal… or blog, case in point.
  • Attitude of gratitude. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.
  • Read a little bit of an uplifting book every day – I recommend Igniting Your Life by John McCabe.
  • Make sure to hydrate and carb up.
  • Rest. You need to heal!
  • Meditate.
  • Light candles. Play soothing music. Turn your home into a healing atmosphere.


  • Sit around moping and feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Compare yourself to others and assume everyone else is having the best time ever.
  • Isolate and ignore emails and phone calls.
  • Sit around analyzing your life.
  • Focus only on what’s going wrong.
  • Give up on moving your body at all.
  • Enter a media coma.
  • Think about all of the things you’re missing out on.

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Fitness Library – Get Inspired and Drop The Excuses While Dropping The Weight

For me it’s important to be stimulated in various ways (books, movies, videos, magazines, blogs, etc…) in order to be consistent in regards to my goals. These books have been tremendously helpful, great resources and inspiring reads. If I had to choose one book to recommend to anyone interested in upping their fitness, running, ultrarunning and vegan athletes, it would be Eat & Run by Scott Jurek.

I’m interested in getting a few books on ballet, but that’ll come further down the line. Please, if you have any suggestions on the subject I would be delighted to hear from you, as well as other books on running, cycling and/or hiking.


Eat & Run – Scott Jurek

“In pursuing the mental side of endurance, Jurek uncovers the most important secrets any runner can learn.”—Amby Burfoot, author of The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life

For nearly two decades, Scott Jurek has been a dominant force—and darling—in the grueling and growing sport of ultrarunning. Until recently he held the American 24-hour record and he was one of the elite runners profiled in the runaway bestseller Born to Run.

In Eat and Run, Jurek opens up about his life and career as a champion athlete with a plant-based diet and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Full of stories of competition as well as science and practical advice—including his own recipes—Eat and Run will motivate readers and expand their food horizons.

“Jurek’s story and ideas should easily manage to speak to and cheer on anyone seeking to live life as fully as possible.”—Denver Post

“A shockingly honest, revealing, and inspiring memoir.”—Trail Runner

A Life Without Limits – Chrissie Wellington

In 2007, Chrissie Wellington shocked the triathlon world by winning the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. As a newcomer to the sport and a complete unknown to the press, Chrissie’s win shook up the sport. A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS is the story of her rise to the top, a journey that has taken her around the world, from a childhood in England, to the mountains of Nepal, to the oceans of New Zealand, and the trails of Argentina, and first across the finish line.

Wellington’s first-hand, inspiring story includes all the incredible challenges she has faced–from anorexia to near–drowning to training with a controversial coach. But to Wellington, the drama of the sports also presents an opportunity to use sports to improve people’s lives.

A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS reveals the heart behind Wellington’s success, along with the diet, training and motivational techniques that keep her going through one of the world’s most grueling events.

Born To Run – Christopher McDougall

Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – by Christopher McDougall is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Biking Portland – Owen Wozniak

As anyone who’s ever rolled two wheels into the City of Roses knows, biking is an undeniable part of Portland’s identity. So what better way to explore a city celebrated for its green parkways, bike culture, and one-of-a-kind geography?

Your guide to the area’s best routes is avid cyclist and bike commuter Owen Wozniak, a Portland resident and former researcher for the city’s bicycle infrastructure. Wozniak’s done his homework to bring you Biking Portland: 55 Rides from the Willamette Valley to Vancouver, offering 55 must-bike routes from downtown Portland along the river, into the greenways of the Tualatin basin, through the Clackamas countryside, and across the Columbia to destinations like Cedar Creek and Cape Horn.

Features include a detailed map for each route, 75 photographs, a keying of each ride by type – residential, urban, rural, non-motorized and public transit directions to the start of all 55 routes in addition to standard driving directions. Each cycling route features turn-by-turn descriptions, mileage logs, photos, maps, and elevation profiles, while sidebars throughout the guide showcase Portland’s rich biking heritage with fascinating anecdotes. Rides range across skill levels with a balance between easy, moderate, and strenuous here you’ll find routes for families, Portland newcomers, and seasoned Oregon road warriors.

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles – Paul Gerald

Updated maps, new hikes, even more rankings and categories, fresh photography, and useful backpacking options make the newest edition of this authoritative guide to Portland’s best day hikes the most exciting yet. 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald profiles 60 select trails that give outdoor adventurers a little of everything there is to enjoy around Portland: mountain views, forest solitude, picturesque streams, strenuous workouts, casual strolls, fascinating history, fields of flowers, awesome waterfalls, and ocean beaches. Whether readers want a convenient city bus ride to the flat and fascinating Washington Park, a bumpy drive to Lookout Mountain, or the thigh-burning experiences that are Kings and Elk Mountains, this book lets them know what to bring, how to get to the trailhead, where to go on the trail, and what to look for while hiking.

Going Long – Edited by David Willey

For more than 40 years, Runner’s World magazine has been the world’s leading authority on running—bringing its readers the latest running advice and some of the most compelling sports narratives ever told. From inspirational stories such as “A Second Life”(the story of Matt Long, the FDNY firefighter who learned to run again after a critical injury) to analytical essays such as “White Men Can’t Run” (a look at what puts African runners at the front of the pack), the magazine captivates its readers every month.

Now, for the first time, the editors of Runner’s World have gathered these and other powerful tales to give readers a collection of writing that is impossible to put down.

With more than 40 gripping stories, Going Long transcends the sport of running to reach anyone with an appetite for drama, inspiration, and a glimpse into the human condition.

The Complete Book of Running for Women – Claire Kowalchik

More women than ever are discovering the unique benefits of running — for stress relief, weight management, endurance, and self-esteem. Women’s bodies are not the same as men’s, and though we can train just as hard and with the same passion for excellence, we have certain special concerns. Finally, there is a comprehensive guide exclusively for women who experience the pure joy of running, or want to.

It’s the simplest, fastest, most accessible way to fitness and good health known to woman. You don’t need a partner, equipment, or even much time. Now, Claire Kowalchik, former managing editor of Runner’s World magazine, answers every question about the overwhelmingly popular activity that builds endurance, melts fat, and even prevents illness. In this total running book for women, you’ll learn:

  • How to get started and stay motivated
  • What to eat for optimal nutrition
  • How to run during pregnancy and after menopause
  • Why running is the most effective form of exercise
  • How to prevent and treat injury
  • What to wear — from sports bras to running shoes
  • How to prepare for everything from a 5K to a marathon

Authoritative and friendly, The Complete Book of Running for Women is a sourcebook for both beginners and long-time runners. Along with wisdom drawn from the author’s personal experience, you’ll find advice from the experts: coaches, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, doctors, and other women runners. Including question-and-answer sections and a complete list of resources, The Complete Book of Running for Women tells you everything you need to know to be off and running toward better health and richer living.

Finding Ultra – Rich Roll

The incredible true story of the author’s remarkable transformation, at the age of 40, from out-of-shape average Joe into one of the world’s best endurance athletes

On the eve of his 40th birthday, Rich Roll was in bad shape. His days were filled with work, stress, and junk food, and his nights were spent on the couch, remote in hand. Taking out the trash was the closest he came to exercise, and, at 50 pounds overweight, a walk up the stairs left him winded. He decided it was time to make a change.  After undergoing a diet detox, adopting a vegan lifestyle, and pushing his fitness regimen to undreamed-of heights, he was profiled by Men’s Fitness as one of the world’s 25 fittest men. Among Roll’s many jaw-dropping athletic feats: he completed the unprecedented “Epic 5”–five back-to-back Ironman-distance triathlons on five different Hawaiian islands in under a week–an achievement many said was impossible. This is the story of that remarkable transformation, a complete physical and spiritual rejuvenation that proves that anyone can “find ultra” if they know how.

Cycling Science – Max Glaskin

Cycling Science tours readers through a wide variety of topics, from tire rolling resistance and the difference between yield strength and ultimate strength, to the importance of aerodynamics and the impact that shaved legs have on speed. Each chapter explores a different subject—fundamentals, strength and stability, materials, power, aerodynamics, and the human factor—and is organized around a series of questions: What is the ideal frame shape? What is the biggest source of drag? What keeps a bicycle from falling over? How much power can a cyclist produce? Which muscles does cycling use? Each question is examined with the aid of explanatory diagrams and illustrations, and the book can be used to search for particular topics, or read through for a comprehensive overview of how machine and rider work together.
Athletes have much to gain from understanding the science of their sports, and Cycling Science will be a must-read for cyclists of all stripes—professionals, recreational riders, and anyone seeking to enhance their enjoyment of cycling.

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Ballet Classes At 28

This just in: Cakes has signed up for ballet classes at Bodyvox – fashionably late at 28?

By now you must be aware of my love for being active. I love to run, cycle, hike and dance. I recently got into ballet via the Ballet Beautiful dvds and I’ve loved it so much that I impulsively signed up for classes. Now, let’s not beat around to bush, I’m old. Most people take their first ballet class before their  teeth start falling out, but the class I signed up for is catered to adults that have never studied ballet before. Eitherway, I’m not going to let my age stop me from doing something that I love. #babysteps (I still don’t know what hashtags do on Twitter #loser?)

Absolute Beginning Ballet Level 1

BodyVox-Absolute Beginning Ballet-Christopher Peddecord

If you have never studied ballet, this is the class for you. Developed for beginning adult dancers, Absolute Beginning Ballet focuses on the basic movements and foundations of ballet technique. This session will be a perfect refresher for those who have taken class before or as a great jumpstart for the complete beginner.

Classes start next month and I’m a little nervous. I really hope this is a true beginners class because I’m a total novice and I don’t want to slow everyone down. I don’t know the positions or steps and what on earth do I wear to class? Are we expected to show up in leotards (I’ve got that covered, check out my recent haul here) and tights or is it more of a yoga/ Pilates outfits kind of vibe? Barefoot or ballet slippers? I’ll give them a call come Monday with all my questions.

It’s been ages since I took a dance class… I believe it was belly dancing three years ago, which btw was super fun and highly recommended.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but I like it. I’m doing something active everyday to get that blood circulating and heart pumping. It feels so good, I feel so alive, life is good!

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Devil’s Rest

My husband and I went for our first hike of the year last weekend and what better place than the Columbia River Gorge? We wanted to do a moderate hike that would take at least 3 hours and decided on the Wahkeena/ Multnomah Falls Loop. Mid-way through we chose to head up to Devil’s Rest to extend our hike and had an absolute blast!


We began our hike by parking at Multnomah Falls and walked over to the Wahkeena Falls trailhead. Being a beautiful spring weekend in the Pacific Northwest it was rather crowded around both the actual falls, but for the most part there were very few hikers.


I wish we had taken more photos to showcase just how beautiful Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls are, but if you’re curious (and you should be) just google them.

It was breathtaking to see the river from up high and some of the trees are so tall and gorgeous, just imagine how many hundreds of years they’ve been alive. 

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We took a lunch break at this cliff where my husband is standing in the photo above. We brought loads of dried fruit, watermelon juice and plenty of water to keep hydrated. We could feel the breeze on our faces and hear the it through the trees. It was so lovely and peaceful.


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Honestly, it was challenging to get all the way to Devil’s Rest. The elevation was the highest we had hiked to date and it took a toll on our calves on the ascent and our quadriceps on the descent, but it was totally worth it!

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By the time we got to Devil’s Rest and took a breather from the long ascent we were so proud of ourselves. It was tiring and at times we debated turning around, but we stuck it out and accomplished something most people don’t even consider doing to kill some time with their loved ones on a weekend.

I’m so grateful to have someone in my life that wants to get out there and do things and I’m lucky that my backyard is a nature lovers’ wonderland.

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An Account For My Hiatus

A week is not a long time to take a break from posting on a blog. However, a RAWky road is my outlet and I’ve missed it, so let me account for my hiatus.

After my food poisoning I decided to go raw to clean out my system and it worked. The problem was that our fruit wasn’t ripe yet so I couldn’t carb up as much as I wanted (don’t worry, I was still eating). Consequently, I was rather tired and moody, as well as struggling with cravings and I just wasn’t inspired to write.

I had forgotten how amazing bananas were. I plan on reintroducing them as a staple to our diet because they really turned my digestion around and I am so thankful. It’s actually impressive how healing they are and I might even dedicate an entire post to them here pretty soon.

I’ve also been busier than usual this past week. I decided to challenge myself for the month of June and do some sort of activity everyday of the month. So far I’ve cycled 24.5 miles, ran 6.9 miles of trails, hiked 9.9 miles and done Ballet Beautiful (I’m hooked, review coming at some point) twice.

I’m a bit sore already, but I’m also not trying to overdo it by going all out. I think it’s important to be active everyday and after yo-yo exercising and multiple running injuries over the years I know my limits. I’m immensely proud of my first week as I had been quite sedentary March through mid-May and I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the rest of the month.

I do expect to get back into the swing of posting more regularly, but first I have a small backlog of posts from last week that I intend on posting either today or tomorrow… stay tuned.

Hope you all have had a great weekend and remember: sleep, sugar, water, sweat!


a RAWky road

I was folding laundry today and I realized that I haven’t really given myself a proper introduction. My “About” page is swell and all, but I feel that it really doesn’t fill you in on the nitty-gritty. I want to make sure that I provide my readers with an honest representation of myself, because even though I am on a personal journey of self-improvement, I’ve loved myself and will continue to love myself every step of the way.

I don’t know where exactly to begin my story, but I do know that I don’t want to start too far back. How about I begin when I fully committed to becoming vegan?

May 2nd, 2012 was the day I stepped out into the light and I knew my life would never be the same again. Now, I’ll leave the full story on how and why I came to this decision for another time as it is lengthy and I’m sure this post will be long enough. I was 5’4, 140 lbs and very unhappy with the way that I looked. I battled acne everyday and everyday the acne won. I would pack on the makeup to the point were I looked unnatural and reapply every few hours just to make myself feel presentable. I have a long history of issues with acne, best left for another time. My hair was beginning to thin and it was freaking me out. I remember that my clothes were feeling tighter on me and my feet were always swollen. I pooped on a weekly basis and it was often a struggle. I lived a sedentary life, glued to an office chair in a windowless room for 8 hours a day and rarely performed any physical activities. I was moody, dramatic, impulsive and detached.

I still remember my last sad, S.A.D. meal, it was vegetable pizza and while consuming it I had no idea that the following day I would swap to a completely cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle.

I tossed everything in the fridge and cupboard that wasn’t vegan and started fresh. I was doing this for me, for my health and I wasn’t going back. I recall the first month we ate mostly smoothies, salads, grains, beans and grilled or stir fried vegetables. I tried to stay away from gluten (mostly because it was the trendy thing to do), salt and processed foods. I was restricting my calories, but I wasn’t counting them. I winged it and thought I was doing a stellar job because I slowly started to see a change in my waistline.

I had so much more energy! We would go for long walks and we’d go to the park and play frisbee. I know, not the most vigorous exercise, but it was a start and I was beginning to feel really good. It was exciting times! We bought our Vitamix, we began exploring local farms (nothing was in season yet) and we were experimenting with the many vegan restaurants in town. It was during this period that we discovered FreeLee and Durianrider and raw vegan seed was planted.

I first became high-carb, low-fat, raw vegan on June 12th, 2012 and we immediately dove into a 12 day banana island. If you don’t know what this means, it’s quite simple, I consumed only water and bananas for 12 days straight. This may sound extreme to many, but I was consuming plenty of calories (about 3000 – 3500 per day) and it truly opened my eyes to just how amazing I could feel on a clean, raw vegan diet. I never felt as alive as a did during those 12 days, all my senses were heightened and I felt as though I had discovered a miracle. Why didn’t everyone know about this? How could I get the message to more people? I was hooked and I loved every second of every moment I lived.

After banana island we were strict 801010 raw vegans. We took down massive banana smoothies for breakfast, a huge mono meal for lunch and gigantic salads for dinner. On average I consumed about 3ooo calories a day, we “went to bed like Buddha and were waking up like Gandhi.” Our energy skyrocketed, so we bought bikes. We began to lose weight, fast. At first it was water weight (about 5 lbs the first week) from eliminating salt from our diet, but then it was fat and lots of it. We weren’t even exercising that often, maybe an hour-long bike ride once or twice a week and at a medium pace. I was losing weight and beginning to see my body’s true shape, an image I thought I lost my first year in the U.S.

By the end of August I was down to 118 lbs and spiraling into a calorie obsessed whole. I thought I could cheat the system. I was convinced that by cutting my calories down to about 1600 per day I would reach my goal faster and be victorious. Looking back, all I really wanted was a slender figure, I wasn’t committed to becoming the healthiest version of myself. I was beginning to plateaux, so I restricted even more and soon enough I was starving and craving everything!

We broke on September 3rd, 2012. We gorged at lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant and later gorged again at a Thai restaurant for dinner. We ate dinner (enough for 4-5 adults) every night for 5 days in a row at that Thai restaurant. For the following 3 months we ate out almost everyday and I began to put back on all of the weight that I lost. By December I was 130 lbs and, though not pleased about the number on the scale, I didn’t want to return to my raw vegan diet because the weather was getting really cold and most of the produce was shit at this point. I had an all or nothing mentality and consequently, I fell off the wagon and felt like a complete failure.

The next year was a roller coaster ride. I had made so many attempts to be fully raw, or even just incorporating an 801010 vegan diet but I would fail over and over again. It was quite disheartening, but I managed to maintain a weight of 130 lbs because I was active. I ran 15 – 20 miles a week but then I’d get injured, I healed for a couple of months (I’d ride my bike instead) and then repeated the cycle. This was also quite disheartening, but I knew things would get better, I always know things will get better. We always knew what we needed to do to get back on track, but we kept making excuses and they were catching up to us.

We got married last December and leading up to the wedding we both experienced high levels of stress caused entirely by my family. I’m not going to get into the pain we were put through because it still hurts, but we no longer talk with them and I suppose time heals all wounds. Once the whole thing was over and everyone had left, our spirits were broken and we spent months bingeing on “comfort” foods and alcohol (I hate booze, but it lulled me into a daze, which I felt I needed to suppress the sadness). I tried running because running has alway calmed me and slapped a smile on my face, but I developed planter fasciitis and had to stop. I made excuses everyday to not exercise and to comfort myself with fatty foods. Needless to say we put on even more weight and soon enough we weren’t fitting into our clothes.

So here we are now. I decided to quit fucking around and get my shit together. It’s been a few weeks now and we’ve adopted a raw ’till 4 diet that you can see in my “What I Ate Today” posts. I’m trying to get more calories in, but I’ve settled comfortably in the 2000 – 2500 range and plan to increase it with time. I’m still very bloated and I feel I may not be digesting the rice and potato bowls too well, but I really enjoy having warm foods at night. I think I need to experiment a bit with what foods work well for me right now in order to deflate. I don’t own a scale, so I have no idea if I’ve lost any weight, but that’s just a number to me and I’m more interested in improving my overall health and fitness at the moment. I’m also not as active as I’d like to be, but I am working on it and I know in time I’ll be putting in the mileage because nothing makes me happier (with the exception of my husband) than running. I’ve dusted off my bike in anticipation of the drier summer days of the Pacific Northwest and I invested in a few workout dvds to do at home.

It’s rather intimidating for me to post this because it’s such an intimate portrait of the past couple of years of my life. I just wanted to show that I’m not perfect and that life isn’t perfect. We all struggle in life with various things, but we need to always love and respect ourselves. Being healthy is the most valuable thing you can give yourself and it’s a choice. I made some bad choices, but I know the right ones and I’m choosing a better life, for me and for my husband.