To go raw and stay 100% raw I had to learn all my little mind-tricks that I play on myself. I learned these first when I quit smoking at 24. I started smoking at 14, and it took me years of trying to quit smoking to learn all the little tricks that I would play on myself to get myself to start up again. But when I got wise to them once, I wouldn’t fall for them again.
Some of the tricksâ€¦.
1. I’ll just finish the pack
2. I’ll just bum cigarettes, I won’t buy them
3. I’ll buy a pack, just smoke one, then throw it away
4. I’m not addicted anymore, so I can smoke just one easily
5. That worked, so now that I’m not addicted I can just smoke a couple a day/week
6. I’m addicted again, but it will be easy to quit again next month / week / tomorrowâ€¨ etcâ€¦.
What finally helped was two friends saying they believed I could do it, that I was too good to smoke, and they would help me if I needed someone to talk to. Just knowing they were there for that and wanted me to quit was enough. Also, bumming cigarettes was too demeaning. Plus, I had started smoking at 14 to gain access to the social circle I wanted to be in, in Toronto. But in California, almost nobody smokes, so I quit for the same reason I had started; peer pressure.
Going 100% raw, I used the same strategy of getting to know my mind games and getting wise to them. And this has helped me to stay on the 99.5% – 100% raw path for the greater part of the last 18 years.
Some of the mind tricks that derailed me from time to time:
1. Its too dogmatic to be 100% raw. I’m going to allow myself to eat some “healthy” cooked foods in moderation, on occasion.
2. I don’t look or feel as good as I should on raw foods. Maybe I need something else. (After a few times, I noticed this one would only happen after I had been cheating or eating borderline raw foods like Larabars or agave, or toxic raw foods like Braggs Liquid Aminos or raw cacao).
3. I can’t do this diet in the cold. (We moved to Canada for 5 years. When I did commit to eating 100% raw I was able to eat raw in the winters no problem).
4.Â Some people are able to eat 80% raw and thrive, I’m going to try that too. (I always started out eating “healthy” cooked foods in moderation, but over a few months would descend to eating “unhealthy” cooked foods and not in moderation, and un-health would set in).
5. If I say I have to eat 100% raw maybe I’m making that true. (quantum physics says we create our own reality with our thoughts). Maybe I should try to create another reality (same results as above, see 4).
After I learned all my little tricks, and got over my raw cacao addiction (see previous blog posts), I was able to stay 100% raw for a year, after eating 99.5% raw for 8 years previous to that, and the 9 years before that were 100% raw alternating with 75% raw.Â And then an entirely new trick surfaced!
Raven started eating some cooked foods this past summer, and I started nibbling occasionally on her food. And I noticed none of the un-health symptoms that I used to experience when I cheated! Dairy no longer digested through my face (previously any dairy resulted in instant acne). And previously if I cheated a few times within a week or two, my candida symptoms would return. Now, I could cheat without any noticeable un-health! My body had healed on such a deep level, from nearly 20 years of eating a predominantly raw vegan diet, that my candida was wiped out, and the dairy allergy I’d had all my life was cured. So now it seems that I can eat cooked food without any un-health. But I know that is just an illusion! It is just a matter of time before all these years of hard work and dedication and healing are undone! So, I’ve been playing with the edge of addictionâ€¦testing my new limits.
â€¦.And I’ve been through a period of questioning: Should I go back to a 100% raw diet and keep the seal on for good? Should I limit my cooked intake to one “healthy” cooked snack a week and if I can’t stick to that, then go back to a 100% raw diet? Should I just go with the flow and accept whatever my body/being wants to do and honor it and trust that I am all about my greatest good and my health and well-being in the long term? Should I try to find some 80% / 90% raw / vegan balance?
I know what I’d tell someone in this situation is to be gentle with themselves, to honor and love their processes, to pray, to meditate, and to search their soul for what they truly want to do, for what they truly believe is right, and then commit to that and believe that they can do it, that the Universe will make a way. Focus on their soul’s inner journey, and the rest will follow. And I think I’ve been able to take my own advice.
Although I’m definitely maturing, able to keep the cooked food in a healthy balance more than before, I’m still seeing signs of my gnarly old food addictions creeping back in, and so I believe I need to recommit to the 100% raw vegan diet for now. I’d love to say that I’m not so dogmatic any more, and that I can be like these balanced older wise women who are able to honor their bodies without any strict rules about eating, but I know who I am, and this is just too dangerous of a game for me right now.
Storm calls addictions “demons”. And it was almost like a demon lying in wait for me for 18 years…waiting until I was healed and didn’t need to stay raw for healing purposes any more…waiting to tempt me. It is almost like there is always this shadow side of our being, who wants us to be miserable, who tricks us into unhealth and unhappiness, skillfully, with new tricks up her sleeve all the time. Some say we have to face the shadow and merge with the shadow in order to be whole. I don’t know.
My answer to the questionsâ€¦
– Am I 100% raw? — I’m back to my “100% raw with cheating” lifestyle, but aiming to get back to “100% raw with the seal on”
– Do I want to be 100% raw? — Yes! I really think it is the best way for people who have food addictions to stay on the wagon. I’m hoping that a level of maturity will set in, in which moderation may finally be a possibility, and I won’t have to stay on the 100% Raw Wagon! But this hasn’t happened yet for me.
– Do I think that 100% raw is important? â€¦.For healing, yes. For those who want to live to be 120 – 150 years old, yes. For food addicts, yes. By food addict I mean one who eats in a way that hurts their body.
– Is 100% raw a cure-all? — Yes, but not on its own. It needs to be done in conjunction with regular vigorous daily exercise, and a spiritual / religious / or inner journey for well-being on a mental/emotional/spiritual level.
– Can healing, rejuvenation, and longevity be achieved without a 100% raw diet? — I think if you have these other areas wired – exercise and mental attitude / spiritual well-being then you can afford to be a little less vigilant about your food choices. Perhaps it may even be healthier to indulge in cooked foods a little now and then. There, I said it! Storm would vehemently disagree with me, but isn’t that a lovely thing when we can live in harmony with people with whom we vehemently disagree!
– Is the 100% raw vegan diet the healthiest diet for humankind?Â — In my very humble opinion: “Yes”!Â But to believe that it is always the right thing for every person on earth to do at all times right now seems to me a very artificial construct. It seems to enter in to the world of dogma.
For instance, having a bit of cooked food has been a part of my journey in understanding how to best teach the art of overcoming addiction. It has also made me feel more connected to humankind on the planet right now, which was important for me on many levels, including my work, and connecting more in to my friendships outside the raw circle from which significant spiritual sustenance was drawnâ€¦
Also, for another instance, the sparing and strategic use of stimulants (cooked foods, sugars, cacao, chocolate, MSG) helped jump-start a higher activity level in my work-outs. Ultimately I know that working out is the correct stimulant to help us lead a more energetic life. But I was stuck in the doldrums of inertia due to overwork addiction and I justified eating raw cacao – really I was doing it because I was feeling low – but I justified eating it by saying I would use it to kick-start a more vigorous work-out habit, and that actually worked. This was my way to turn an addictive behavior in to a positive habit. (not a safe thing to do, not something I’d recommend, unless you are already addicted to cacao and could see this as a way out — use the energy to transition into a serious workout regimen — and then instantly get off the cacao…while you can! Eventually cacao can deplete you to the point you may not be able to get up the energy to work out…as complete adrenal failure is a common result of long term raw cacao addiction)……Another strange situation is that raw cacao has a much worse affect on me than cooked chocolate, so for me the healthier of the two evils is the cooked chocolate!
I’m also of the opinion that Emotional Eating is not always a bad thing. When nursing babies as long as I have, one notices that mother’s milk is not just for nourishing the body, but also for pain relief, comfort, and bonding. Isn’t it wonderful that good food can do the same for us adults! If it is used sparingly as needed and not abused, I think Emotional Eating can be healthy, especially if raw vegan comfort foods are used.
There are a million different factors in considering health.. Health is so complex because it isn’t just the body, which is complex enough, more complex than the most advanced super-computer on the planet… It isn’t just food, which is highly complex also, so complex that scientist are still discovering more things in fruits and vegetables such as the recent discovery of phyto-nutrients like electrolytes….But humans are also made of mind, emotions, and spirit, which are collectively and individually so complex as to be almost completely unexplainable in scientific terms! Add to these individualities and uniquenesses the variations in each person’s hereditary and genetic makeup, evolutionary level, environment, lifestyle, needs, beliefs, experiences, goals, intentions, dreams, attitudes, energy levels, and the fact that we are all constantly changing, and it becomes highly unlikely that one particular diet is going to suit everyone at every time.
We try to simplify things, to make them black-and-white, in order to have easy answers. Well, the answers can be easy, for ourselves, if we embark on a conscious journey of awareness of our health and well-being, if we seek to live according to our highest light, and if we can through spiritual practice leading to some kind of relationship with a higher power and/or oneness consciousness become aware of our inner guidance system. But to say that we can do that for someone else seems folly. Does this fly in the face of our work in raw food education? I don’t think so.
Our tenet has always been to share our own experiences, as there is not much unbiased scientific research done in to health and diet and food and nutrition, so we are all experimenting on ourselves, out of necessity. And I think it helps if we all share our experiences. As we have had some success with eating raw vegan for long periods of time and bringing up children raw, we felt our experiences might be valuable to some. But I think in this sharing, our failures may be just as important as our successes, as we all trudge our individual paths towards truth, light, understanding, balance and wholeness.