No Cheat Days Allowed

lorra fae wildfire tells you why cheat days are not good for you try to avoid a cheat day to better your life so you can create success and health and become your best self

I don’t have cheat days.

The whole idea of creating a lifestyle change and then damaging it with cheat days is bizarre to me.

When it comes to health and prosperity, why cheat? The changes made are for the betterment of the self, not to deprive oneself of anything.

Cheating on new habits is cheating yourself, and nothing more.

I find an all-or-nothing approach works the best. Give it 100%.

Without a cheat day, there will be BETTER results than expected. If there is competition involved, there will be a advantage. If there is health involved, vibrancy will expand even higher. If there is exercise involved, strength will be taken even further.

Results can only be bigger. Success can only be more imminent. Strength can only be greater. Life can only be better.

Cheating is a lie to oneself. It’s saying, “You’re not good enough to stick with this completely.” It’s saying, “You don’t really want to be doing this. What you really want to be doing is that…and you’re depriving yourself of it.” Deprivation breeds rebellion, and not many people can resist that for long. It’s also a tempting, naughty reward – something to look to the future for, instead of focusing on NOW.

We’re addicts and easy-pleasure seekers – it’s ingrained in us. Our ancient brains tell us to take the easy way, the comfortable way – and with all the choices around us and all the lies we’re fed from every direction, it’s so simple to get overwhelmed and say Fuck It and go for the easy route.

Dreams are not easy. They require complete dedication, not cheating.

Cheating is for people who don’t want the best results. It’s for people who don’t want to be the best possible version of themselves. It’s the opposite of dedication, or obsession.

Obsession is a good thing when it elevates who we want to become. We can’t cheat life, and we can’t fool our bodies, or our minds – so let’s throw the cheat days in the incinerator where they belong, along with all the bullshit that keeps us from being the most galactic versions of ourselves.

We need to remove the locks from the cages that hold those versions in, and we will never get there by cheating – we need to focus on the exact methods to set ourselves free.

~~~

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How Your Diet is Linked to Your Passion

Do you know what you want to do with your life, but you just waffle away your hours doing bullshit? Twiddling around, staring at screens, blubbering on about nothing, scrolling comment sections that are bombarded by trolls who do nothing with their lives? Why are you doing those things? What is stopping you from doing what would make your life spectacular?

Is it:

Lack of energy?
Fear, anxiety?
Lack of self-confidence?
Fear of failure?
Pathetic drone-like existence?
Ennui?
Mental health issues?
“Trapped” in corporate slavery?
Capitalism?

It could be one, all, or a combination of these – but when your passion burns bright enough, you can go for anything, no matter what your situation is. You will find a way.

However, if you are taking shit care of yourself, you will not likely have the vigor, the enthusiasm, or self-love that is imperative in actually going for it. Your brain clarity is fogged – when you can CLEAR it, and see everything as it is – pristine, obvious – you can find ways, options, and paths that were not noticeable before.

When you clean up your diet, and you are eating the way your body is designed to, abundant energy is freed up, and this blindness you’ve had forever is suddenly gone. The paths appear.

Diet and lifestyle are crucial to everything in life, if you want it to be as stellar as possible, and this includes being able to pursue what you truly love. Some people can do this anyway, regardless of how they treat themselves, but for the vast majority of people, this just isn’t the case. Most people are numbed out – by distractions, by chemicals in their “food,” by monotonous brainwashing they have heard their whole lives – telling them to be realistic, telling them what they want is not feasible. Eventually people become so jaded that they settle into a boring trap they never envisioned for themselves.

Eating only raw foods is like taking a truth serum.

You can’t hide from yourself anymore. You become too sensitive – if you ignore your true passions, you become depressed, so much so that you will eventually explode and become a firebolt heading in the direction you need to go.

You absolutely CANNOT ignore your desires anymore – you can’t deny yourself what you truly love. Because, now, you will love yourself.

Feeding yourself pristine food and nourishing your entire being is the ultimate act of self-love, because it frees you up – it frees you from the worry of illness, it frees you from lethargy, and you realize how much you’ve been lied to, and how much you’ve lied to yourself.

If you feel like you’re missing something, you likely are. A one-way ticket to getting where you want to go is to put yourself first and focus solely on what you physically and mentally consume. Raw plant foods, and positive input only. Ignore the gossip, ignore the comments sections, ignore media if you have to, and only take in what is going to propel you forward.

What’s the alternative? Being held back, being stuck, being unhappy, sick, depressed. Who wants that?

The bullet train to euphoric passion is raw, fresh foods. So simple, but for those who’ve tried – you know. You’ve found magic.

Are You Actually Healthy?

Health is subjective – you may feel totally fine, be active, and then one day just drop dead. So were you actually healthy?

I see and hear this all the time – “I feel great!” or “I’m fine.” Yet these people take prescriptions for something or another, or they get the flu and colds every year, or they have never felt what it is like to be exceptionally healthy – and herein lies the issue – if you’ve never felt it, you won’t know what is possible. Most people have to become very ill in order to make a significant change – most people have to be desperate. Maybe they’re losing their minds (as I was). Maybe they are given a death sentence. Maybe they’re obese. I don’t know – but most people don’t find an actually healthy LIFESTYLE that works until they’re faced with dire consequences, if they find one at all.

Most people wonder, why change if nothing is wrong? Well, you don’t necessarily know something is wrong. We are led to believe that it’s totally normal to get colds and flus, and to have bowel movements once every few days, and it’s not. We’re led to believe that aging means gaining excess weight and losing our energy, becoming stiff, wrinkly, and covered in cellulite.

But it doesn’t mean that, at all.

I saw a great video recently that talks about common sense. There is really no such thing – the guy in the video is right. Our common sense – the COMMON thought, is that certain things are healthy for us when they are not. The common lines of thought are ludicrous when it comes to health.

People want a simple answer to fix them, because health is “complicated.” Health is actually simple – once you know all the factors, it’s completely simple, but UNLEARNING everything we’ve been taught our whole lives is the complicated part.

I’ve been studying health and well-being since I was a teenager, but specifically raw foods, living foods, plant-based foods for almost 8 years now. I have had an interest in it almost my whole life, and the more I learn, the more I see it pointing to a simple formula. And it all comes down to this: We have completely forgotten our nature.

You can’t unlearn everything in a day or a month – you have to be patient and learn with time. Start with the most simple things. I still am learning constantly after years of living this lifestyle – I have tried many different things, some work, some do not – I don’t beat myself up over it. If something comes up, I question what I’ve been doing differently. I question what I am not doing. I learn, EVERY day, about something new, whether it be nutrition, physical movement, something about brain chemistry – with our access to the internet and libraries (even if your library doesn’t have something specific, you can ask them to get it or do an interlibrary loan!), we really have no excuse not to learn all the time. Even when I am driving, I’m learning, from podcasts and audiobooks. While hiking, walking – whenever.

The key to learning is to develop an intense curiosity and dedicate yourself to YOU. If you put yourself first and become amazingly healthy, you have all the energy and vigor to help others. To help others you have to have compassion, and to have true compassion you must take into consideration ALL living beings (including yourself).

So to start simply, what can you do?

  1. Remove all animal products from your diet. These are acid-forming, cruel, unnecessary, mucus-forming, and detrimental to your health. They are hard to digest, also. If you are concerned about protein, don’t be – if you are eating enough, you will get enough protein. You just need a wide variety of plant-foods. To develop muscle, you need to move your muscles. Eating protein-rich animal products will not grow your muscles – moving your body will. If you are really concerned with getting more protein, simply eat more plant food. There are also raw vegan protein powders, which are not necessary but they are available.
  2. Get your body out in nature, fresh air, and get your bare skin on the earth (walk barefoot, on sand, dirt, anywhere natural), and your skin must get sunlight. I don’t mean baking in the sun, but you MUST get sunlight on your skin, and NO sunscreen. Your body will not get vitamin D through your face or hands, or even all year unless you live certain areas of the earth – the sunlight must hit your torso, back, arms, legs – this is where most vitamin D is produced. Do not wash your skin with soap except where necessary, like your butt, under your arms, etc, but you can actually wash off the vitamin D you’ve received – it takes about 48 hours to absorb into your blood stream. If you can’t get sunlight on your skin year-round the next best options are to take a vacation every winter to somewhere that you CAN get it, move somewhere that you can get it year round, a sunbed used sporadically (not to tan), or a vitamin D3 supplement. There are vegan versions. Still get daylight and sunlight even in winter months, as much as you can, as it helps regulate hormones. SAD lamps help with this as well, but will not create vitamin D.
  3. Avoid acid and mucus-forming foods. This includes animal products, grains, cooked oils, processed foods, and more. Seeds are better than nuts – almonds are the one non-acid-forming nut. You don’t have to avoid nuts completely but seeds are the better option on a regular basis.
  4. Focus on omega3-6 ratio. Omega-6 is inflammatory – and while we need some of this as protection, we need the omega-3 to balance it out. Things with a good ratio are hemp, flax, chia, walnuts. Most nuts are too high in omega 6. Leafy greens are also very high in omega 3.
  5. Eat your plants locally and in season as much as possible. Go to farmers’ markets and learn to forage the wild foods in your area. These are much better for you than the wilted produce at the grocery store that was probably picked weeks ago.
  6. Choose your water source wisely if possible. I am lucky to have well-water where I live. Otherwise invest in a good filtration system or at the very least get a good water filter. Avoid plastic bottles. Use glass.
  7. Move your body as much as you can. Stop SITTING all the time. Sitting is killing us slowly. Sitting also puts kinks in our body. I saw a documentary the other day about parkour, and one of the people in it said that when he observes a city scene, everyone is doing one of three things – walking, sitting (including driving), or shopping, and it’s true. I guess eating is another thing, but people are either sitting and eating (generally garbage), or walking and eating, which is mindless.
    There are ways to sit that are not as harmful, check out the Movnat website for their free ebook which includes good sitting postures. Sitting at a desk all day, or on the couch playing video games, are not included.
  8. If you have smoothies – CHEW THEM. We need to have saliva mixed with our food to help with digestion and avoid bloating. Chew everything until it is MUSH. This will allow your body to digest better and reduce bloating.
  9. Choose a type of movement that you adore. You don’t have to “work out” – for movement, it has to be something you adore or you will dread doing it and end up sitting again. I do martial arts. I love it so much. I have interest in learning parkour and natural movement. I hike all the time around my home. Even just walking in nature in general. You don’t always have to be doing something that gets your heart rate up – but MOVE. If you can’t think of a way to stop sitting, clean. Listen to something motivating, or something you learn from as you move. Stop driving everywhere – walk, take the bus and stand up the whole way, switch your job to something that isn’t stationary. The more you move, the better.
  10. SLEEP. Apparently the best hormone regulation happens between 10pm-2am. Even if you can’t get to bed at these times, make sure you are sleeping enough. 8 hours is always recommended, but I think that is a bare minimum. Your brain just can’t function at its’ highest capacity when you are tired.
  11. Stop cooking your food. Focus on RAW foods as much as possible. If you’re going to cook any foods, steaming is best.
  12. Focus on FIBER. This means PLANTS. Focus on CARBS. This means PLANTS. Avoid oils. Salt (unless unrefined in TINY quantities – the best way to get sodium is from plants, seaweeds, etc, and not refined, but depending on your situation, you might not be able to get all you need this way, so a very small amount – 1/4 tsp of unrefined salt will help you). You should be having bowel movements many times a day, and easily. If you can’t poop in about 10 seconds, you’re constipated, and having that stuff stay in your system is a bad sign.
  13. Question EVERYTHING. If you take advice from someone and it doesn’t work for you, really delve into why. Keep your mind OPEN. It’s like jumping out of an airplane – if you don’t open your parachute, you will crash. Same with your mind – when you keep it closed, you will be on a collision course to nowhere.
  14. Take what makes sense and eliminate the rest. We can learn from everyone. Listen to your gut and your intuition (which becomes very sharp when you’re truly healthy). When that lightbulb comes on, you are on the right track. When I read about raw foods I just KNEW to my VERY CORE that this was my answer, and I was right. It made so much sense. Everything else was a struggle.
  15. You have to WANT it. This is the most important aspect – if you don’t truly want health, you won’t get it. As I said at the beginning…it usually takes something really awful to get you to undertake a massive change in lifestyle. Most people practically have to die to really start living. Do you want to get to that point? Because even if you’re not there now, based on the state of health of most people, you’ll probably get there, a lot sooner than you’d think. That’s the direction most people are headed. So even if you don’t change now (CHANGE NOW), remember these words. Accept that you are not a victim, and take charge of your own health. You have that power. You have to believe it.

These are just simple things to START with. There is an unlimited amount of info out there. A lot of it is conflicting. Listen to your intuition, though – what makes SENSE to you, and what doesn’t?

Considering our world now, we might need to compensate with certain things. B12 is lacking in our soil, therefore we lack it. Don’t kid yourself and think it’s abundant in meat – those animals you are eating are likely getting a B12 injection as well. Magnesium is lacking in our soil. We are in a constant state of receiving toxins from the air and our environment. We can do the best we can in modern times, but these 12 steps I listed are a great START. You do NOT have to do things overnight. It is an OVERWHELMING task to unlearn all the crap you’ve learned your whole life. But you CAN. Just star where you are.

Even after all this time, I do have issues that come up sometimes. With enough investigation and patience, I always figure out the CAUSE.

Usually EXCESS is the cause of our health issues. You can guzzle green juices forever but there won’t be much use unless you can absorb those nutrients. Your health issues are almost ALWAYS caused by something YOU are doing.

A lot of people feel like victims of their circumstances and health problems. I was one of them. And I’ll tell you right now  – once you realize that you are in charge of your health and that you can heal yourself, it is SO so so empowering. This is not about blame or shame – it’s about empowering yourself. This is YOUR body – why give your power to someone else? YOU can heal yourself – and actually, it’s when you get out of your own way that the body HEALS ITSELF. Just like a cut on your hand will heal with no help, or your bones will mend on their own, so to will your internal organs and the rest of your body heal when you take away the things causing those problems.

Empower yourself. Learn constantly. Don’t settle for “here’s a pill” (unless it’s temporary or something nothing to do with food, like Lyme, or Rabies…you get the point, there’s always exceptions – I am talking about typical, chronic health issues).

Don’t listen to common sense. COMMON sense isn’t working for people. Do what MAKES sense – it’s far more beneficial.

15 Lessons I Have Learned From Raw Food, 80/10/10, and Raw till 4

Raw pesto pasta at Giva, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2013

After 6.5 years of eating an extremely high raw diet (100% for months at a time, usually a bit of cooked food in winter, nothing major) and following and learning from a multitude of sources, I am no beginner. These are the lessons I have learned:

1. Any version of a raw food diet is going to make you feel amazing at first.

I was on a high fat raw vegan diet, almost exclusively, for the first 3 years. I deviated very rarely and always stayed plant-based. I felt amazing, was radiant, and slim as a whip.

Higher fat raw foods are great transition foods, and when I ate them I followed no caloric recommendations, I just ate everything raw.

I know people on low fat raw, high fat, low calorie, high calorie, all natural, people with plastic surgery, thin, chubby – some look amazing and some look like shit. The important thing is to do raw or high raw in the way that you can stick to, and that makes you feel your best!

You must be patient as you will will probably have some detox symptoms to begin with, but they will pass and you will understand why people are so passionate about this lifestyle.

2. 80/10/10 is a good basic guide, but not a rule book.

This diet has basic good macronutrient ratios and outlines just-as-important aspects of true health. (note – my answers in the link are from 2.5 years ago and have changed greatly).

A low fat, high carb diet is excellent for mood, energy levels, and athletic endeavors. I don’t agree with all of the book, as it excludes things that I think can be beneficial (juice, herbs, certain supplements, seaweed for iodine and sodium for example), but in general, it gives good basic guidelines to follow, however, tweak the suggestions to work for you. Take what makes sense, and toss what doesn’t.  Eliminate the non-essential.

3. Raw till 4 is misleading and incomplete

This diet is better than the majority out there, but I disagree with some aspects of it. When I followed this a couple of years ago, I felt really good but still feel better being all raw.I was also bloated and rashy.

The idea that you can eat unlimited calories, and need to stuff yourself, is ludicrous. You need to take in enough. There is evidence for failure on this diet everywhere, as well as successes – generally the people who are successful are very active and have been for a long time. Newcomers that gain a ton of weight and are confused by it are going to be disparaged and either continue to gain or fall off completely. Activity level must be on par with the amount of food calories you take in. Movement is essential for health.

Restricting calories is not the way to go, either – but restricting is not the same as eating just what you need.

Another problem is lack of greens and vegetables (and variety of them). The majority of vegetables being eaten are cooked and so are devoid of most minerals that would be available otherwise.

The addition of processed food is one I disagree with. Whole foods like root vegetables, beans, and even grains (depending on what kind) are much better choices.

Lack of fat is another issue – the phobia of fat that is being perpetuated is nonsense. Most people who follow 80/10/10, or 90/5/5 and struggle are often satiated by a bit of fat – we do NEED it, but not in excess.

I do agree with getting in mostly carbohydrates because it improves your mood and your energy levels. However, macronutrients are not the only aspect of health! MICROnutrients are VASTLY important and need to be addressed far more often. Sodium is also higher on this diet (but still low) which may explain why people are so drawn to having some cooked food as sodium is required for proper health! This is one other thing I like about Raw till 4.

4. Don’t treat your teachers as gods

No one knows everything. If you start treating your teachers as gurus and leaders, or idolizing them, you will ignore your own intuition and continue to do things that do not work for you.

5. Your results should not take years

If you have greatly abused yourself for a long time, then yes, it may take longer for your body to heal – but the important thing to focus on is feeding your body the healthy amount of VITAMINS and MINERALS, and making sure that you can absorb them. Be patient and focus on feeling good first. Consistency is really the key.

6. Raw food can make you lose or gain weight

Yes, 2000 calories of raw food or whole food is going to be dealt with much differently than 2000 calories of junk. They are not the same. However, taking in more calories than you need is hard on your body and also hard on your finances. The only need for excessive caloric intake is if you are extremely active. You have a basal metabolic rate – which is how much energy (calories) you burn while at rest. For instance, for my height and weight, I would require 1300 calories just to keep me alive and functioning properly while lying bed doing absolutely nothing for the entire day. Then you need to figure out how much energy you expend while moving through your day. If you eat more than you burn, you may gain weight, unless you are regularly active and have a high metabolism.

7. Lower fat is the way to go, but protein, minerals, fat, and sodium need to be taken seriously

The main issue I had when going low-fat raw is that my skin got very dry and I had a bumpy rash on my cheeks for 2 years that mortified me. My skin was beautiful on high-fat raw. I was convinced my problems were from salt, but no matter how long I avoided it, nothing changed. I went without make-up for ages, no change. When I had a blip in my diet last winter and was questioning raw, I was eating mostly cooked for a little while and my skin got amazing. It was then that I made the correlation between lack of sodium and being dehydrated. Too little sodium will make you unable to hold on to any water you take in.

A low fat raw vegan diet is VERY low in sodium, particularly if you are eating mostly fruit and not enough greens (and you need a LOT, especially if you are eating low fat and not getting minerals from nuts and seeds). A better way to get sodium, if you are not consuming enough greens to do so (the bare minimum to live healthfully is 500mg a day, and should be below 2000mg per day) is from living foods such as miso, or the highest quality unrefined salt you can find, and a very small amount (no more than a teaspoon a day). Celery and greens are the best natural sources of sodium, however they still do not provide enough for excellent health.

Protein is to also be taken into consideration. Low-protein is touted as best, but people do get quite a lot of protein if they are eating a vast amount of calories. If you are not an athlete and do not require a lot of muscle re-building, this isn’t something you really need to worry about. If you do want to build a lot of muscle, you either have to eat a huge amount of calories (which will give you a lot of protein, yet it would be a small macro ratio) or eat a higher protein food (like beans, or grains, or raw vegan protein supplement). For instance, if someone eats 50 bananas, there is 64 grams of protein right there. But 20 would give you 25 grams. That is not conducive to building muscle mass. It is also 5000 calories vs. 2000, so it all depends on your fitness goals and personal aesthetics.

Having too little fat makes the diet more difficult to follow and makes it less satiating. You have to eat a lot more fruit to be satisfied and it might be much more than you require or want. By the end of the day I can’t wait for my savory meal. Fat is also important for a lot of functions in the body. People who eat low-fat raw, especially who avoid overt fats, will lack omega-6. If you do not eat enough greens, you will also lack omega-3. You also need certain fats to absorb certain nutrients. You do not need a lot of fat, but you do need some.

8. Cooked food is not poison, but you need to be careful what it is, and expect consequences

Living foods are superior to cooked foods, but not all cooked foods are created equal. Steaming is going to be better than any other cooking method, but even that does minor damage and should only be done for short periods of time.

A living food is still full of enzymes, probiotics, and other helpful nutrients, as in fermented foods. Sprouted foods (grains, beans) are also good, though they may be harder for you to digest – experiment.

There are some cooked foods I am still okay with, but keep to a minimum. These must be whole foods only – nothing refined and no grains unless sprouted and you feel okay with them.

I still feel better 100% raw and you may also. If I eat cooked food as a choice, it will be small amounts with large amounts of raw salad. If I start to neglect my fruit and salads and get bingey on cooked foods, then I know I have to cut them out again. It’s best not to flip-flop – either stick with raw or stay partially cooked.

9. Food combining does matter

You can experiment with combos that work for you, but this is especially important when it comes to combining fats and carbs, and also raw with cooked. You can see a good food combining guide here.  Improper food combining causes havoc on digestion and can cause bloating, gas, and improper absorption of nutrients.

10. Supplements are not evil – put health before diet dogma

If you are lacking something and cannot get it through your food, then supplement. If you are in a colder climate, or want to stay pale, take vitamin D. If you are low in B12, get supplementation in sublingual pills or shots. If you have specific body-building goals and follow a strict regime and require more protein yet want to limit your calories and fat intake, then by all means supplement – there ARE raw vegan protein powders available. If you lack zinc, selenium, or any other mineral that is available through small amounts of nuts, but are allergic, eat more greens or take a green powder like Vitamineral Green. Or simply take a supplement for whatever you are lacking – you can track on cronometer.com. You can tweak and figure out ways to get all the nutrients you need with whole foods (which is always best) but for whatever reasons you cannot eat certain things – location, allergies, previous health issues/surgeries, whatever – there are other options to help you!

There are a lot of options to allow you to reap the benefits of eating raw without falling back to cooked.

11. Exercise should be studied and taken seriously as well

Study the correlation between movement and diet, as well! So many people come to raw, or high carb, whole food veganism, and neglect the exercise part. You must have a method of aerobic movement, as that is what burns fat. Study physiology and basic exercise principles.

12. It is entirely possible to do while traveling, socializing, or on holidays with family

 With enough planning and care for oneself, this can be done easily. I have gone traveling both prepared and unprepared, and guess when I was successful? There are lots of resources online to help you, especially places like happycow.com – if you struggle with family or socializing, then simply don’t socialize with these people around food. There are many other ways to be with other humans than chowing down. I rarely go out to eat with people and when I do, I invite them to raw and vegan places. Everyone so far has liked it, and if I am invited out I bring my own food and if the person doesn’t know I eat a strict diet, then I tell them! If people make fun of you, then question how good of a friend they are.

13. No scene is devoid of drama and being pushy doesn’t work

There has been a lot of drama in the raw food movement in the last year, and it can be off-putting. Don’t allow the arguments of others taint what speaks to you. The most important thing is that you focus on your health, basic nutritional needs, and your own intuition.

Pushing your dietary beliefs on others will never be taken well. Wait until someone asks. Living your life will speak volumes more than being a raving fanatic.

14. You MUST MUST MUST think for yourself and do your own research

This is the most important point. Never take the word of anyone, even the people you think have all the answers. NO one does. I have learned so much from a multitude of people, professional and not, over the last six and a half years of daily study. Some information is monumental, and some is destructive. Some is fear-mongering, some is money-grubbing, and some is even in the pursuit of power.

If something does not ring true for you, tweak it and question it. Consider all angles and do a lot of research, on the actual science and on the person advising you.

15. A rigid, extremist viewpoint will be more detrimental to your health than anything else

Fanaticism will get you nowhere. If any of these methods work for you, CONTINUE DOING THAT, and if that changes, tweak it and question what you could be lacking nutrient wise or taking in too much of. Keep your ethics in mind as they are extremely important – plant foods are always the way to go for the benefit of yourself, animals, and the environment.

On an end-note – don’t take my word for it. I don’t know everything and do not claim to. These are simply my experiences and important things I’ve learned on my journey. I continue to research and tweak where needed. I know health is best on a plant-based diet, but I also know that health is much more than just macronutrients. There are tons of resources – documentaries, books, and ways to be raw. Do what makes sense for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. Drop the dogma, and embrace the pursuit of health and knowledge. Question everything, and don’t take any shit.

Recommended Reading:

The 80/10/10 Diet

Becoming Raw

Green for Life

Creating Healthy Children

Nutrition and Athletic Performance

Thrive

Thrive Fitness

The Raw Cure

The Pleasure Trap

Could It Be B12?

The Vitamin D Solution

Eat to Live

World Peace Diet (for ethics)

Healthy at 100

The Food Revolution

Diet for a New America

Raw Family

The China Study

Whole

The Starch Solution

No Happy Cows

The Raw Secrets

Raw Food Controversies

The Detox Miracle Sourcebook

Recommended Watching:

Forks Over Knives

Earthlings (for ethics)

Foodmatters

Food, Inc.

Eating

The Diet Wars

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead

Vegucated

Supercharge Me: 30 Days Raw

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Healing Cancer From the Inside Out

Hungry for Change

Existential Crisis: The Purists are Doomed

Want to be pure?

In a perfect world, a purist lifestyle would be the best, whatever you think “pure” means – pure of heart, pure of mind, pure body? Everyone has a different definition of this, too. “Pure”  is subjective.

We do not live in a perfect world – in fact, we live in a toxic, messed up, fragile world, one that is rife with catastrophic events and violence, no matter how much we want to ignore it or hope that it will vanish. This is an idealistic viewpoint, and I much prefer to live in reality, even if I happen to get swept off in a fantasy ideal sometimes. I always come back down to earth – I always get an anvil to the face in some way, making me wake the fuck up and look at things from ALL sides, take into consideration ALL views, all potential consequences.

And what have I realized lately? That obtaining purity is impossible, of course, but that the more extreme and sensitive you are is likely not going to prolong your life – it will likely hinder you from it in our current circumstances.

So, if you subsist solely on fruits and vegetables and have done so for a lengthy time, and suddenly are in need of a potato, or soup, or even the dreaded animal product, and you get violently ill from it…how the hell are you going to survive if there is a flood/earthquake/drought/hurricane/war/zombie attack/etc and you don’t have access to anything you normally eat? (Just kidding about the zombies…sort of. There are a lot of zombie-like people out there).

I dunno about everyone, obviously, but the reasons I find most people go on a raw food diet are to feel better from being ill, to get slimmer, or to increase their longevity – but has anyone actually thought about how it could HINDER longevity, in terms of a bleak possible future? I like to be positive, but I also like to be realistic, and most places in the world have their particular weaknesses – for instance, I live in an area that could quite possibly be devastated by a massive earthquake – what if I suddenly had to subsist on canned stuff and donated processed foods? I know I am gonna get pretty sick – and I am not even the “purest” eater out there – and actually, because of some deep thought about it, I don’t really want to be so sensitive.

Do I want to be as healthy as possible? Of course. Do I want to be able to survive a dire circumstance? Yes. Why? To get back to the good stuff and live! It’s our only chance – whether you believe in an afterlife or reincarnation or whatever – this is your only time being YOU, NOW, in THIS life you’re living.

I find this hippie mindset of how everything is beautiful and an illusion and just focus on the GOOD can be very damaging – to have a positive attitude is VERY important, yes, but to completely push the idea out of your mind that something bad could happen is foolish, ignorant, and will possibly cost you the life you love so much.

By all means, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, but if you are a realistic person, don’t focus on purity too much. It’s ridiculous. In a survival situation, it is the people who are more toxic that will be more likely to survive. Ironic, isn’t it?

I have been having an existential crisis lately – I am questioning a lot of things, especially my dietary dogma. Do I still think raw is best for health? Yes, to some extent. Do I think a fruitarian diet is the best? NO. A high-fruit diet, yes. A high-greens diet, yes. A diet that includes plant-based fats? Yes. I am more and more open-minded, but still will not eat animals or their secretions. If you do I won’t judge you for it, but I hope that you will expose yourself to where it comes from, how it is obtained, and the cruelty involved, and make kinder choices.

Will I always be this way? If I have a choice, YES.

I have had a very long fascination with survival – it all started when I saw Lord of the Flies when I was 11 years old, which then led me to reading the book several times. I have never lost this obsession, and honestly the only thing that has kept me from taking a survival course is that I don’t want to kill anything.

Now that I am taking martial arts, I am thinking about survival in many other ways – including how my diet could hinder me from doing getting through some heinous shit.

Yes, I want to thrive – but I also want to live.

I read a story recently about a guy who was hiking in the canyons with his yellow lab. They were about 2 hours into the hike and his dog overheated. He was a fruitarian guy at the time. His strength failed him in getting his dog out of there, and within an hour his dog died. The guy couldn’t put on a lot of muscle no matter how hard he tried, for years, on the diet. Who are we to say he could? Clearly it didn’t work for him and he shouldn’t be mocked for it. It’s his life, his choice.

How sad is that? Can you imagine not being fit or strong enough to save your dog, your child, your friend? Or fast enough to get away from someone chasing you, or any sort of situation that would rely on your fitness to escape quickly, or strength to lift you up? Can you imagine not being able to lift yourself into a tree to escape an animal that wanted to eat you? Can you imagine falling and hanging on to something and not being able to lift yourself up? Or to be able to help someone else?

This story about the dog gave me a huge shift in how I view fitness. Taking martial arts (which I have been doing sporadically only within the last year, more often lately) has also shifted my mentality towards survival and even somewhat my views on diet.

The infighting amongst the raw food community lately has led me to question everything I believe, who I trust, what actually makes sense, and to look at all sides of everything, even if I don’t like the other side. Several of my views have changed. Do I think I need more protein? Yep! Do I think YOU do? I don’t know. Do I think we need TONS? No. (I want some more because I want to get a lot stronger, but believe me, I don’t think I need a ridiculous amount, just some MORE – for a sedentary person who isn’t looking to build muscle, I wouldn’t worry about protein too much). Do I think overloading on fruit calories to “carb up” is a smart idea? HAHA, NOPE! Do you need sufficient calories? Well yeah! You don’t need to eat more than you use! Do I think vegetables and greens are even MORE important? YES. Do I think fat is important? YES. Do I think cooked food is poison? NO. Do I think you need animal products in small amounts? I don’t know, but for me it is a question of kindess, so you will have to decide for yourself and think ethically. Do I think salt is bad? No. Do I think it should be limited? Yes. Do I think supplements are bad? Not necessarily. Do I think Western medicine is bad? Yes and no…it depends what the issue is!

I am so happy to be shedding this dogmatic thinking and looking at a bigger picture. That being said, there are raw foodists who I deeply admire, love, look up to and respect. Do I think they’d survive a catastrophic event? I’m not sure, but guaranteed they’d feel really fucking sick!

I am currently playing with how I eat, especially since it’s the holidays. I have ideas about how I am going to eat and work out in the next year. I want to get STRONG, and FAST. I know the bonus will be that I will look awesome, but this time that is not my focus (just like my mental health was my focus when I went raw – the bonus was I looked amazing!)

Part of the reason this came up in my mind is that after the raw food community went haywire recently, I just thought “Fuck this!” and started to eat some cooked, simple food. And it didn’t take long for me to feel utterly crappy. I was like, “God, if potatoes make me feel so awful, how would I survive in a shitty situation?!”

Sigh…it’s hard to know what to do! I am deeply grateful for what raw foods have done for me, but as there is a good and bad side to everything, I barely thought about what bad things it could be doing to me, or could do in the future.

I will continue to learn, grow, and maintain my personal ethics without dogmatic thinking or cult personalities influencing me, and I want to maintain a very open mind. I will NEVER claim to know the “true diet of humans” because NO ONE knows, and if someone claims to, they are an egomaniac to some extent. What is the best diet for them is the best diet for them. We have a lot of clues to what is best, but no one KNOWS 100% FOR FACT. Humans and domesticated animals have a lot more weird idiosyncrasies than wildlife. I read a great quote recently by Gabrielle Reece (who I love) – “The problem with other people’s diets is that it’s another person’s diet.” This is true – some people thrive on a particular diet and others will not. This is why I think it is important to keep an open mind and not follow one person blindly. Take what makes sense for you and work around it. Learn from everyone. And go by how you FEEL more than how you look (though that can give clues as to what is working for you, too, of course!)

Please never take what certain people teach as 100% true. Try things for yourself, see how you feel, and if things change, shift your thinking and learn more. Question everything and everyone. Go with your intuition! If something seems weird or wrong, there is a REASON for that! Listen to it!

Life is a very fluid thing, and if you are unable to adapt, how will you thrive? It’s no good to throw out a good message, but mold it to fit your personal lifestyle, your needs, and your beliefs. Good luck!

Crawling Out of the Gloom

I know it can be easy to fall into a slump when the weather gets gloomy, and it’s dark out early, and sometimes shit just happens.

I’ve been in this state a little lately since something rotten happened to me, and it’s  been hard to perk back up from it, especially in this rainy, foggy, cold weather.

Once you’re stuck in that murky place, and you’re not sure where to grasp, or what to do, it’s common to just drown in your own negativity. You know what is good for you, but you just feel so crappy that you don’t care. You don’t feel worthy of self-care. You just want to bundle up with blankets by the fire and eat cake and watch TV. You don’t want to exercise out in the cold. You don’t want to do errands. And you certainly don’t want to go to work.

I have still stuck to my raw food diet in this time, but higher fat foods have crept back in because they feel more comforting – they can really squash down emotions, especially more than fruit which makes you feel so clear and feel everything more intensely. And that can be hard, especially if you’re used to dealing with your feelings by eating (or drinking, smoking, playing video games, etc – anything to get out of your head).

But I know that it’s not good for me, and even though it can bring short term pleasure, eventually it makes me feel worse.

I know what I need to do in order to feel my best. And so do you.

The best thing to do when you’re in a slump is to write down EVERYTHING you can do that will make you feel better. All of it. Write a list of it, and look at it every time you wake up.

And just follow the list. Don’t even THINK about it. Just do what it says. Treat it like your job. Keep the list with you all the time.

If you still have issues getting going, just break those things into tinier steps and follow that. Like, do you want to go for a run but don’t even want to get out of bed? Don’t even think about the run yet. Think about sitting up. Then think about putting on socks. You can do that! And those micro-steps will eventually lead you out the door, if you break it up small enough.

So what are the things that will make me feel the best? I have written a list – and I know I must follow it, because the winter months are the worst here, and I don’t have a big trip to a warm place to look forward to this time, so I have to get through to spring somehow!

Steps to Feel Better:

1. Low-fat raw vegan diet.

This is the most important. Having to many fatty foods in the gut just makes you feel slow, heavy, and I want to feel light and vibrant.

2. Daily exercise.

And really, I mean playing. Fun stuff that makes you move. It’s hard to get excited about going for a run in the rain, but you can have a dance party in the living room, or go to the swimming pool, or have a martial arts lesson.

3. SUN

Or a tanning bed if a vacation is not an option, and you don’t live in a place with year-round warmth and rays. Minimal tanning is a great option for Vitamin D. You can also get an SAD lamp (though that helps with hormones, and does not create vitamin D). Also there are now vegan D3 supplements, so getting those can help too, especially if you don’t want to spend money on tanning.

4. Massage

If you can’t afford it, do mutual massage with your partner or a good friend. Do it as a trade.

5. Sex

I mean, duh. Connecting with your partner in this way is going to make you feel even closer, more loved, and flood you with gorgeous happy chemicals. If you don’t have a partner, give yourself some love.

6. Water and Lots of it

We need to flush our systems! You will get a lot more fluid in your system from eating mostly fruits and vegetables, but considering we live in toxic environments, we need a lot more flushing out!

7. Exquisite Physical Self-Care

Treat yourself beautifully. Treat your skin and your hair and your teeth with utmost care – don’t drown yourself in products – simplicity is good.

8. Belief Questioning

If you are having a hard time, write down everything about what’s going on – be pissed off. And then question those beliefs à la Byron Katie. It works wonders.

9. Gratitude

Even if everything is going shitty, I bet you can find some amazing things in your life to focus on instead.

10. Media Boycott

We get way too caught up in things like Facebook and Youtube and whatnot these days. Take a break from them – spend the time doing things you used to do before the internet took over everyone’s lives.

11. Reading for Pleasure AND Learning

Related to the media boycott – instead of reading what everyone else is doing, read something someone has actually created. Or even better, learn something new.

12. Writing in a Journal + Creative Writing

I think I should have put this higher on the list, though everything on here is important. For me, writing encompasses both journaling AND creative writing, though I can get sucked into the internet and regret wasting my time doing that instead of working on my own stuff. As for journaling – if you are writing, and have nothing to write about – that is a sure sign your life has gotten pretty dull. (Actually, this was key to me realizing my former relationship had made my life boring! Time to get out! Thanks diary!)

13. Specific Goal-Oriented Work, Daily

I ain’t talking about your day job. I am talking about things you want to accomplish. You can do something to get closer to those goals every day. Even if you have tons of goals, you can do SOMETHING every day to reach them, even if it’s something tiny! Tiny things add up, too!

14. Stop Wasting Time

No more Farmville for you. Close your laptop. Go outside. Play with your animal friends. Jump on your partner.

15. Do Fun or Exciting Things Every Day

Even if it’s minor. You could die in 5 minutes – or less. Have fun as much as possible. I rode a PlasmaCar the other day, down a long wheelchair ramp. Twice. It made my whole day.

16. Pay Off Debts

Agh, this is huge. Money is the most annoying thing people worry about. There are ways to get out of debt – even if it’s huge amounts, there are probably a lot of creative ways you can get out of it. I’m lucky I don’t have a huge amount, but it still weighs me down, even though I don’t think about it a lot – it’s a nagging anvil on my carefree heart.

17. Be Creative Every Day

In some way. There are ways to put a flourish on anything.

18. Clean Environment/Minimalism

Your environment is a reflection of your mindstate. Too messy = chaotic mind. Clean = calm mind. Spotless at every single moment = obsessive mind. You get the picture.

19. Time With Animals

Do I need to explain? Having a sweet animal friend helps keep you calm, gives you unconditional love, and gives you a purpose and focus for YOUR love, too.

20. Sleep – Early Nights (Usually)

As much as I love staying up late, I know it’s not the best for me. Going to bed between 10 and midnight is a really good idea – even earlier if you can. A lot of things I enjoy happen late at night, though, so I think as long as I go to bed early as a usual, I can stay out later sometimes – as long as I still get enough sleep. How do you know it’s enough? You wake up without any alarms, and you are ready to sit up and stretch. If you want to curl up into a ball again, you need more! (unless you’re just cold and want to stay cozy! I get it!)

21. B12 Test/Injections

This is one I gotta check out – it’s been a while since I had my levels checked. I have been taking a sublingual for a long time and want to see if it’s making any difference. If not, stab away! This is one nutrient that is hard for EVERYONE to get, not just vegans and vegetarians. It’s an extremely complicated vitamin.

22. See Friends More Often

I can tend to hide away and get too introspective – even if I don’t feel like going to see someone, I never regret going. Or rarely!

23. But Have Alone Time More Often, Too

If I’m around people TOO much, then I don’t have enough time to work on my own stuff. A lot of what I do takes solitude. Also, for other people, alone time is important to BE introspective. So many people hate being alone – why? You must really not like yourself. Why not? Spend some time alone and figure it out, then fix it!

24. Written Goals/Vision Board/Book

Writing shit down is so important. There are so many times I remember thinking “Nah, I don’t need to do that, I already know what I want to accomplish” – but until I actually wrote it down, it didn’t really happen. Having a beautiful visual is great, too! I did some awesome boards on Pinterest – but be careful with that site, it can become a distraction.

25. Martial Arts + Hoopdance

For me, these things are fun and at least one is practical. Both boost confidence, especially martial arts. I highly recommend trying a martial arts class – they all generally let you do the first lesson for free – if you want recommendations for the best kinds, shoot me a message. As for hoopdance, it’s fun, challenging, creative, beautiful, and great for your body.

26. Plants and Nature

Another little thing that can help your mood is to have plants around, and lots of them – ESPECIALLY if you live in the city. Getting out in nature is going to be even better – do that as much as possible – the more time spent outside (in nature) the better. If you live in Cold Ass Frozen City, then get some tropical indoor plants and pretend you’re somewhere else by sitting by the heater. But still…get some awesome thermals and a parka and epic boots and go out in the snowy forest if you have to – it’s worth it.

~

Hopefully some of these tips are helpful to you – I’m sure your own list will be somewhat different, however, there are a lot of things on this list that are useful to everyone, so please incorporate them, and feel happy 🙂

No WHAT Without WHY

Wants are going to fizzle out, or go nowhere, without WHYS.

What do you want? Why do you want it?

I always wanted to be happier, healthier, fitter – but I never stuck to it until I had a real reason, and one that was really important to me – or even a life or death thing, like changing my diet.

I had no degenerative disease (that I know of, but things percolate for years before showing up, usually) but I was so mentally distressed that I was at a point of wanting to kill myself, which had never crossed my mind before. I didn’t really want to die but sometimes it was so incessant that I really believed I did.

So there was my reason – I wanted to live, and in order to do that, I had to get healthy, and I knew my diet was the place to start.

But now, my goal is to be even healthier. In fact, last night I realized my goal was to be “Healthy as FUCK.”

But why? Why am I suddenly able to stick to an exercise routine, especially jogging/running which tends to bore me after 5 minutes? I can push past it now and enjoy it.

This is a really good thing to break down for ANY aspiration you may have – be like an obnoxious toddler and ask WHY until you get to the DEEPEST reason.

I already know why I want to eat well. So, why do I want to be fit?

To be healthier, leaner, stronger, more youthful. For longevity.

Why?

So I can live longer to experience more. So I can say YES to anything and be able to keep up. So I can look great for a very long time. So I will be self-sufficient and mobile until I die. So I can escape people who want to harm me. So I can be capable and independent.

Why?

So I can experience more. To be happy. So I can take part in more things without getting tired. Self-confidence.

Why?

So I feel like I am really living.

Why?

To feel free.

Generally all my goals come down to the same thing: Freedom.

And why do I want freedom? Because I want to really live – this flips back and forth: really living, freedom, really living, freedom, etc.

So I know those are my base reasons for doing pretty much everything.

I learned this method a long time ago in a little class I took, and we ended up writing our “Why” words on wooden boards (mine was Freedom), and then over a half hour we revved ourselves up and learned how to break the boards with our hands. Once you do that, you feel like you can do anything! I kept that board for years, and it was a good reminder that my ultimate goal was freedom, so I can do all the things I REALLY love to do.

I am not completely free – true freedom in North America is a complete illusion – but I am definitely on my way, and I have a lot more freedom than most people I know, because I focus on it.

To know the WHY is a good way to figure out if your desires and pursuits are even worthy of your time. Your base reasons may be completely frivolous and you won’t even know it – you may realize that you want something for such a backwards reason – like buying shoes because you want to be loved, or wanting to go sky-diving so people think you are brave, but those are not really things you want to do for your SELF.

So what is your WHY?