It Begins

April 1, 2011


Normally I don’t have too much to say about what you are doing. Radically changing your diet doesn’t sound good to me. Why fix what isn’t broke? You are mentally and physically super. You are a college champion in your freshman year running. Did you accomplish all the things you have on a poor diet? One of your emails mentioned how much you like and how well you run on banana, peanut butter, & oatmeal. You have been very successful as a student, musician, and athlete.

I have been strong & healthy all my life. I am not going to make such a radical change in what I fuel my body and mind. I just would like you to try the diet this summer or after graduation or never. Give it some thought. Do you want to fix what is not broken? You are so special. I hope you don’t mind me giving you my opinion. And that is all it is – my opinion. Have a good, healthy, productive day.


This was no April Fools joke. I was about to start a diet of only raw food.

I felt as if I had come to my breaking point. How could I continue eating the way I was eating for the past year? Everyone seemed to admire my speed and the way I ate. I was racing the best times of my life. But I was sick of what I was doing to my body. I hated the strict food routine I was in.

I went day in and day out counting calories, trying to cut back, feeling guilty about eating over the amount I deemed “right.” Raw food would allow me to eat as much as I want and feel full. That’s what I read in the books.

I had always had a high belief in fiber–it was magic to me. That was the key to feeling full, I thought. I ate mounds of vegetables in the cafeteria alongside my measly portions of chicken.

I believed that raw food would give me the chance to not feel like I had to consume dairy and meat, a reason to get rid of those high-calorie food options and not feel the need to “have” to have them to be healthy. I could eat lots of fruits and vegetables and feel full all the time, knowing I was still getting in the necessary nutrients without meat and dairy products. I would be able to eat all the fiber I wanted and feel full on the lowest calories possible.

So after looking into the raw food diet for a freshman research project, I decided to do it. It would be a risk, but I was at the end of my rope. If I wanted to continue losing weight each year, I could not continue the way I was going already. The bingeing had already begun—I was reaching for food I wouldn’t normally eat, food I could often resist in the past. I remember buying Poptarts from the dorm vending machine and eating them in the laundry room in the dorms, hiding from any onlookers. I jumped with fear when the door into the room swung open and a girl found me eating them. Honestly I don’t think she cared, but the shame I felt in her catching me in the act felt awful.

I was convinced that raw food would help me to lose more weight and still feel full. I could finally feel content. I believed everyone around me could eat normally, but I had to go to extremes to achieve my goals.

In my journal entries over the summer going into my freshman year of college I had written, “I can’t stop thinking about food. I want it to stop” and “God, please help me to stop thinking about food. I don’t know what’s wrong.” I didn’t realize that behind those words there was more going on. I wanted to stop weighing myself twice a day, to stop feeling guilty about eating the “wrong” things, to stop calorie counting and measuring and falling into something that was controlling me more than I was controlling it. I never thought that I might be falling into an eating disorder. Don’t “those people” hate food? I loved food.

I replied to Dave:

I know it will be a radical change for me, but I’m going to take it slow. For now I’m going to stick with my normal breakfast of oatmeal and everything, but I want to eat more raw vegetables and get more fruit in throughout the day. I don’t plan on fully transitioning until summer, where I can take some time to experiment for a week or two. I figure that if I feel better than normal, or if everything just goes well, I might try it out longer. But if I’m not happy with it, there’s nothing that says I can’t turn back to what I feel is right.

From what I’ve researched, the information I’ve gained makes sense to me. And I don’t want to look back someday wishing I would’ve tried this–sometimes I feel that it’s worth it to take a little risk. I know that it may not turn out like I think it will, but if it doesn’t work, then I am happy to eat “normal” again too.

I feel it’s best to try it early-on–sophomore year in the summer, out of season. I think it’s better than doing it my junior or senior year of college, which are the years most important to me.

I appreciate your input–its good to get different opinions. I agree with much of what you’re saying, and I’ll keep your words in mind. Thanks again for giving me your thoughts!



2023 Reflection: If I had known it at the time, seeing a registered sports dietitian would have been the best way to help me with my relationship with food. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that seeing an RD would have been the answer, and no one recommended it. If anything, as I fell deeper into the rabbit hole of raw food, the more I was convinced an RD wouldn’t understand this “cure.” This situation highlights the importance of talking about disordered eating and how so many athletes could benefit from seeing a registered dietitian. You can find one in your area at, or check out additional resources in this blog post:

This blog post shows how helpful a registered sports dietitian was once I did finally see one:


5 replies
  1. Tamara Steil
    Tamara Steil says:

    It takes guts to share such personal musings re food – so proud of you for sharing – will most likely help others with the same issues. Amazing journey.

  2. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Totally agree with your mom. The way you write this you had my eyes glued to the screen and my heart glued to your story. Way to have guts! Keep it up baby girl.

  3. Chris
    Chris says:

    Following this with much interest, Rachael. Love you, proud of you. Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

  4. Giovana Barreto
    Giovana Barreto says:

    It was both admirable of you to stick to your guns in wanting to try the raw food diet and also scary because you were willing to change your food routine in order to feel comfortable in your own skin. I can only imagine how sick you were of feeling unhappy with your body and wanting to make a huge step into the unknown world of dieting. I understand what it’s like to feel out of control and wanting so badly to fix yourself. I don’t blame you for wanting to follow through with this.

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