Raw: A Guide to Chaos

If you have trouble sticking to a raw food path, you may be lacking in other areas of your life.

It’s very important to be fulfilled in all the ways that are important to you. You might not even know you’re unhappy.

Are you getting enough nature, affection, touch, sex? Are you totally bored at your job? Do you have interests at all?! Do you read books, see friends, go dancing, get hugs, create beauty? Are you excited about living on a regular basis? Are you learning things, or just being a drone and wading through life?

Don’t wade: it’s much better to dive right in.

Food is such a constant thing – we eat it so often, and it can be soothing, even if it’s as simple as having something warm. But food will never fill any other gaps – any holes in your life will not be filled by “comforting” foods – those holes must be filled with WHAT THEY ARE MISSING.

I have noticed over the last couple of years that whenever I slip up, it is because I am lacking something else important to me. This only became apparent to me recently – and so I am writing about it in case you haven’t made this connection for yourself.

In the most basic of ways, you may simply be lacking nutrition – this is why it’s so easy to devour immense amounts of processed foods – your brain is not satisfied because there is zero nutrient value. So it keeps being hungry, and you’re only full when you are literally stuffed.

You need to feed yourself with everything beautiful, with food and life, with everything important to you. Don’t settle for less – if you do, you will either lead a very dull life and regret it at the end, or you will be so repressed that you will explode all over the place. The second choice is better, but the best choice is to notice what you are missing, and go looking for it.

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Going Off Raw – Not Worth It!

Crazy Date Monkey

So here’s a confession!

Sometimes, I eat cooked food. And when I do, it’s like an addiction. It’s not good. I act weird. I avoid certain grocery store people who know me as “that raw food girl.” I make sure my landlord doesn’t see me in our shared kitchen. I have one bite of something and then later on drive around like a psychopath looking for a grocery store that is open late so I can have another fix … and then do that all week, until I feel so gross and moronic that I finally stop!

AND THEN, the real horrors…DETOX!

Now lemmee tell you, going through detox over and over again ain’t fun. This is why I’ve never understood drinking alcohol until you get smashed. I have had a hangover – ONCE. YES, I AM THE PERSON WHO MEANT IT WHEN I SAID “NEVER AGAIN!”

On the occasions that I have gone off raw, I always go back. These periods of time don’t last long because I know what I am doing is not in my best interest – there is always something that prompts it, usually a stressful situation, or a winter-deep depression around February (thank Gad for Thailand/Australia trip coming up in Feb. 2013) – and so I set a day for myself and I always stick to it (this is key – set the day, give’r the night before, and say your good-byes!).

Normally I have the same detox symptoms – zits, snotty nose, cough. It’s like a cold. Starts with a tingly throat and there it is. This time, because I was a moron and ate pita bread with hummus for a week, all that gluten had it’s fun with me and I was blowing blood out of my nose. GREAT. If that’s not a sign of bad news, what is?

Other than that, I have had no cold symptoms. My skin got BETTER. What?

Want to know my new secret? I am eating the thing I love most – when I craved something cooked (mostly it was dolmas), I ate something I never, ever tire of – DATE PASTE. Yes, delicious medjools ground up together in a food processor.

I worked extra shifts so I could afford to eat more of them. That is how dedicated I have been – usually I rely on bananas, but I don’t love bananas – so this is key for you, people! Make sure you have the raw foods around you that you LOOOOOOOOVE. In summer it is blueberries, but alas, they are all gone.

This week, I have had the nastiest detox symptom – cold sores. I have not had them in years, ever since originally changing my diet, and this binge of mine at the end of summer (which ended just a couple of weeks ago, though I was still 90% raw), plus a lack of sleep = low-immune system. Couple this with stress and crazy living…yup. Thanks life!

But actually, when I look at it this way (profound insight by writing right this second…?) it’s a blessing. It’s a reminder! Take care of yourself, girl! A big gross reminder that I cannot ignore.

And so, now if I feel the urge to try a bite of bread, or a slurp of soup, I will remember how I feel right now, and I will reach for my box of dates, and devour those instead, knowing that my body will be very happy.

And then I’ll take an effing nap!

Eternal Youth

Secrets to Youthfulness!

1. While you are actually, chronologically young, don’t poison yourself with dumb shit every week. If you must experiment, do it rarely, and be wary of what you choose to try. Be vegan. Eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables.

2. Do this when you are older, too. What you put in your body has the most influence on your energy levels and how quickly you age (physically AND mentally).

3. Get sunshine, but not too much.

4. Sleep. A lot.

5. Value free time + relaxation over money, and have a job or lifestyle that corresponds to that.

6. PLAY. Keep your youthful attitude. This doesn’t mean being immature in your responsibilities, but avoid becoming “serious” just because you’ve grown up.

7. Explore, as much as possible.

8. Be curious about EVERYTHING. SOAK up information – if you are in school, get the hell out and learn on your own. Your passion for learning will increase x 1000.

9. Work as little as possible for others and spend your time doing the work you are meant to do, whether it be painting, skateboarding, or activism.

10. Move. Your. Body. I don’t mean exercise, but find something you love that makes you use what you’ve got.

11. Have as much sex as possible with someone you LOVE (or at least totally adore!)

12. Have animals around you to cuddle.

13. Partake in things like waterslides and amusement parks.

14. Make sure you have a hobby that originated in your childhood. There’s a reason you loved it – don’t lose it.

15. Keep playing with your appearance. Don’t conform, ever.

16. Hang around other fun, playful people. Toss aside the boring ones, or force them to go do crazy things with you.

 

 

 

Project: Full-Body Regeneration

This is now to be my mindset, my full-attention, my real health journey.

It has been a very swell, continuous journey for 4.5 years. I’ve had bumps, and frankly I am tired of them.

Have you ever heard that all the cells in your body are replaced every 7 years? Well then, I should be well over half-way there, and so clean and wonderful I would have a staggering level of health. I see this in the long-term fruit-lovers, the raw darlings who really do things the right way and barely sway, or do not deviate at all. And this is my true aspiration.

My bumps have been few up until the last year or so, and they’ve been more frequent, and I am fairly sure I know why – there is a lack of pleasure elsewhere in my life, something I am working on – filling myself up with more friendship, passionate fun, and dancing in the moonlight on rocks by the beach, lightning hula-hoops and vibrations from others all around me, long meandering walks in the dark. I am filling myself more, giving myself what I really need, and not holding back. If I feel compelled, I follow, and I am finally unencumbered by anxiety. The last couple of months, pushing through it and having good experience after good experience – this has released me, and I am feeling fuller, more myself, and less inclined to fill a hole with things I know are not ideal for me.

Victoria, BC, Sept. 2012

Once I came to this conclusion, I knew that it was the real reason that I’ve been tempted, because for my first two years of raw foodism, I really never had any desire for cooked food. It was unappealing, it brought me down. But over the last 2, I have had more lapses, because I have had more down moods. I always regret it – the gut-ache, the disappointment in myself.

However, even being very, very high raw, and high-carb (I’d say I am 100% raw, 95% of the time for the last year), my mind has been very clear, and I am able to dig deep into my head, especially once I get it all out on paper. Obsessive writing, documenting, dreaming, hoping. This revelation, of filling other needs with “bad” foods, just came to me a couple of days ago.

Sometimes you just need the right situation, the right JAB, to wake you up, and bring a real spark back to your eyes.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, moving your body, sleeping soundly (and enough), copious hydration, loving touches, hugging, friends, dancing – all of these things will keep you young, vivacious, vivid – and most importantly, will allow you to live, fully, instead of just existing.

Never ignore your true needs, whatever they may be. And so, I want to know what sort of joy and bliss I will feel if I am 100% raw, 100% of the time.

Over a period of 7 years, you truly become a new personwho will I be? What will I be capable of? What about you?

What is your highest potential?

I know I want to reach mine, and I only have one life to do it – same as you. Don’t waste it!

Raw Food Will Not Make Your Life Perfect

Raw food should come with a warning: This is fleeting.

(and this post comes with another disclaimer: it is still worth doing).

At first you will feel so good that it is utter insanity. The trees will hug you, the birds will serenade you, you will wake up with panache, an appetite for life like you’ve never known – better than childhood – in fact, you feel like you did as a child, and who doesn’t want to feel that? Your body is celebrating, you have so much to compare it to – your previous misery has lifted and WOW, life is AMAZING now!

After a while it just becomes normal to be happy, merging with your former self, just feeling better physically, calmer, better looking. But your expectations of always feeling 100% astounding will be dashed, and like the junkie, you will be searching always for that next ecstatic high-on-life, and many people will try to sell it to you, especially if it makes them a lot of money. The next superfood, the next  amazing concoction.

I’m not saying that you will never feel that ecstasy again – you will. But it ebbs and flows. I get it all the time – but the parallel is when I get low, it is also extreme. Not as long lasting, like my previous days, but life feels overwhelming – not the act of living day to day, but just BEING ALIVE. Everything seems so poignant, so crushing, so impossibly beautiful, so damning, so frightening, so easy, so hard. Everything is magnified by thousands, and I just want to numb myself – so easy to do with food, and so many people do – though now I stuff myself with berries instead of Skittles. The overwhelm affects my ability to fall asleep, though I am a corpse when I do succumb – completely gone into the land of my brain, where dreams have become an even crazier landscape.

So am I missing something? Am I just not “doing it right” according to some self-appointed experts? I don’t know – I am doing everything I know to do, and no matter what, I still get depressed, I still get submerged into oblivion, and then I feel lame for being dramatic. And then I don’t care. I share, and will always share – it has always been the way I exist – the introvert that dresses herself in sequins and green braids, the loner who goes clubbing, the sensitive target with the leonine roar.

The last thing I want is to focus all of my energy on what I eat – I’ve done that for years now, and yes it is important to eat well (and I still believe raw is best, and what is keeping me sane), but I am at a point of just letting go, to some extent – the perfectionism, the strictness, the one-dimensional streams of neurons that could be creating meaning in my life, a purpose – they are all centered on food. I don’t want my brain to be thinking about these things anymore. I think I need a “food-thought” fast. I never used to think about food – but since it had such a profound impact on my mental health and general well-being (and my looks, too!) it has become an all-encompassing obsession. How can I make it even BETTER? I continually ask myself.

Eating raw is second nature to me now – I don’t have to “think” about it – but to worry about calories, and percentages, and all that – no thanks. I know to eat mostly fruits and greens, I know not to eat too much fat, and I know to keep well hydrated and get exercise. I know to get sunlight and B12. I know to be vegan. What else do I need to know? I think a while of being concerned with what to nourish yourself with is HEALTHY – but after four years, I am more concerned with other aspects of life that I have been NEGLECTING. No wonder I feel insane.

Depression Confession

Despite my lovely lifestyle, I still get hella depressed at times, sometimes to the point where I do not want to go on, I see no point, and I get anxious over the simplest things.

I thought these days were over, and for a long time, they were.

Last year when depression resurfaced I really didn’t understand, but then the sun came back and I left a situation I was unhappy with (a job) and then I started to feel perky again.

This time around, I am up and down on a daily basis – sometimes going from complete desolation to exhilaration. I often have to force myself to do things, even when I am freaking out inside. I fall apart over looking bloated. I get terrified to do things that make me the most happy. I lose myself in other worlds in print and onscreen.

Imagining what I would be like if I did NOT eat how I do is SCARY AS HELL. I don’t even know if I would be alive. I would definitely not be working, or in a relationship, or lithe, or youthful looking, or motivated. I would be a gloomy curmudgeon buried in her blankets in bed with boxes of Tim Tams and Reeces wrappers, ordering cheap pizza so I wouldn’t have to leave the house. I would be a snarly, snappy succubus. I would probably be on anti-psychotics, always weeping, with dark circles and wan skin. I’d hide from the world, be on welfare or disability, and I would be a screamer, biting heads off everyone.

That is basically how I was before I hit my turning point, and I can totally see myself getting worse – I cling to my lifestyle now because I cannot go down that road again. I have periods of glumness, but they don’t last long. My moods ebb and flow like moon tides, and I know there is a smiling beauty behind the stern glower in the mirror. I know there is a ball of flames behind the clouds. Having clean blood and strong energies move through me helps negativity detox more quickly, and my anti-depressants are cherries and hemp seeds. Instead of seeing enemies everywhere, I see beauty in human flaw. I am the nicest misanthrope you will ever meet. I love people and hate society, and that makes me able to see the world as complicated instead of just a complete disaster.

I know that when I am happy, it is real, and not from a manufactured substance. I know it’s because my brain is getting the sugar it needs, and my body is fresh and clear with nourishment from the earth – when it all runs properly, happiness is natural.

And when I just can’t feel it, I have some raw chocolate. I don’t have it too often, but on occasion it can really help me get out of a funk. Better than Xanax!

From a rainy, grey July in Vancouver, I send you hope.

5 Most Important Things to Do BEFORE You Go Raw

1. Learn what detox is.

Seriously, I think this is the MOST important thing to do before switching to raw foods. Why? Because otherwise you will think raw food makes you sick, and that you can’t “handle” raw foods. That it might work for other people, but not YOU.

It’s garbage. You have the same internal organs as every other human (unless they were born with a genetic defect or had something removed beforehand).

You cannot expect to go raw overnight, or even within a week or a month without having some crazy “symptoms” – which is just your body cleaning out all the old crap you’ve put into it your whole life. This is a process!

I was eating some cooked food over the winter – not even anything “bad” – just potatoes, and steamed veggies! I went back to all raw at the beginning of June and had no problems, until a few days ago – then I got the same symptoms I always get if I eat cooked and go back to raw – sore throat (acidic, mucusy crap getting ready to heave!), a small cough, then mucus to cough up, a sniffly nose with more mucus to come out, and lethargy – I get light headed and very sleepy. Oh and I get zits. Yay.

All this from a few months of having a little cooked food.

Now imagine what will happen when you go from eating meat, or processed foods, or whatever else you have been eating your whole life? You will probably have a NASTY time and think that raw food is making you sick – actually, it is making you BETTER. It is not actually the food making you better or worse, though – it is the removal of everything that has been making you sick. When I first went raw I was HAPPY to get “sick” because I knew my body was cleaning out. I had read a lot about what would happen so I was like “Gurl, okay!”

I went about it over a course of two months and cut out things one at a time. I hadn’t had red meat or poultry for 12 years, fish for a year, and in those two months up to going raw I had zero animal products. So my detox was not so bad, but if I had not known what to expect, I may have blamed the food and gone back to what I had always done and just medicated myself forever. Booooooo.

If you have had a history of eating a diet with a lot of animal products, I can imagine you will get pretty “sick” so go slowly. You may even want to get colonics or do enemas at home. If you have a degenerative disease, you may want to look into supervised water fasting.

There is a lot of info out there about detoxing via raw foods, so look into it. Ignore the “detox” crap out there that is just looking to make money off you (the stuff you see in stores) – why detox to retox? You have to completely change your lifestyle otherwise you are wasting your time. Once you get through the crappy feelings, you will emerge a DYNAMO. Seriously. Expect miracles.

2. Be prepared.

Make sure you always have a bounty of food around you – fill your fridge with fresh produce. Fill your counter with fruit. Fill your garden with seeds! Fill your cupboards with bowls (you should not have much in your cupboards because you want fresh food – if anything is in your cupboards it should be nuts, seeds, seaweeds, dried herbs if you want. Nix oils, vinegar, salt.

Also be prepared to spend more money on food. You will save money in the long run on doctors, medicine, make-up, etc – you won’t need it. Invest in yourself.

Also expect to eat MORE. Raw foods have less calories than you may be used to, so the volume of food you will be eating may seem excessive. Eventually it will seem normal. Eat as much raw food as you want – the more fruit + greens the better – take it easy on the nuts and seeds (though at first, don’t worry too much – eventually you will not want so much of those things. I was eating 4-5 avocados a day when I started, now 1/2 is enough for me).

3. Toss out everything you won’t eat anymore, or donate it.

This is self-explanatory – but if it’s around you, you are more likely to have a weak moment and indulge, especially if you are not eating enough carbohydrates (FRUIT).

4. Have constant inspiration.

Read as much as you can, and watch videos. I do this daily and have for almost 5 years now. I never get bored of it, so find some good raw inspo. Here are my favourite blogs + youtube channels:

Youtube:
Fully Raw Kristina. My favourite! She is beautiful, eloquent, passionate, and exuberant!
Tannyraw! Excellent advice and a wonderful, peppy attitude.
Tim van Orden. He is the most INSPIRING guy! LOVE him.
Megan Elizabeth. A sweet slice of raw pie, this one! Great recipes and humour.
Blogs + Websites:

The Garden Diet. A long-term, raw food family.
Natalia Rose. She has some AMAZING old articles, check them out.

Books: All listed here.

5. Have an ethical stance.

Getting cravings is normal – you will have memories of  certain things tasting amazing, or things that calmed you down, comforted you, whatever. Some of these things may be foods that come from animals or are animal flesh.

Without an ethical stance behind your decisions you may be tempted to eat these foods again. Make sure you know what goes on behind the scenes and burn those images into your brain.