Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Embracing the Journey

Sometimes I feel like the whole world is vibrating on my frequency.

Okay, that's a bit of an overstatement. But I can't help but notice that as my raw food journey continues, and my thoughts regarding this process evolve, that people with similar views and ideas just seem to pop into my life. Is this synchronicity, or is it simply a natural instinct within me seeking out the likeminded?

I refer specifically to a recent blog post by the awesome Raw Diva Tera, announcing "The 90-Day Don’t Be So Obsessed About What You Eat Detox." Wow, has she been reading my mind? And on the same day, I discovered the group A.C.E. (Accepting Conscious Eaters) on the bangin' forum Give It To Me Raw. What these guys are suggesting is that maybe there are many ways to eat healthy. And maybe it's more important to relax a bit about what we're eating and put our energy towards various creative endeavors. I, personally, have come to this same conclusion, but would like to take it a step further and suggest that we actually embrace the confusion, the difficulties, the ups-and-downs of the journey as we move along our personal raw (and general life) paths.

Part of my personal raw journey is this insatiable appetite for knowledge. I visit all of the forums, read blogs, check out books, try recipes. I try to keep an open mind, but sometimes this learning can be frustrating. Just as in the non-raw nutrition world, there are so many conflicting ideas out there! Is cacao good or bad? How much? What about supplements? Superfoods, or green smoothies? Avocados and coconut oil, or 80-10-10? And suddenly, instead of loving my food and feeling 100% confident that what I'm eating is good for me, I'm feeling stressed out. A little voice in my head is saying, "Oh no, you're eating too much cacao, too much fat, gotta go on a juice feast." And yet I don't desire to fast at the moment. And I feel unsatisfied without the fats. Am I doing something wrong?

This is when a little voice in my head starts to tell me to relax. Anxiety over food choices is causing all this stress, which is about the most harmful thing I can do for my health! So here's my answer:

Enjoy the journey.

The thing about transitioning to raw foods is that it involves undoing not only my own lifetime of less-than-ideal eating patterns, but also those imprinted in me by my parents, their parents, and 4 or 5 more generations who grew up eating largely processed diets. This is going to take time! It's unrealistic to expect that after just over a year of raw eating, I'm going to feel perfectly healthy and satisfied living off of greens and fruits. Yeah, in an ideal world, I'd eat like a chimp. But chimps didn't grow up eating mashed potatoes, pasta, and -gasp- hamburgers. So, a bit of patience as my body catches up to my high-minded ideals, please.

This doesn't mean I'm going back to cooked foods. But it does mean that I'm giving myself time - as much time as it takes. Probably a number of years, though I'm not putting a number on it because I just don't know how my journey is going to progress. What I have decided is to stick to an entirely vegan diet (except for honey, which I have particular reasons for eating, more on that in the future), because I feel that the stress on my body of the occasional meat, fish or dairy is too great. I have also noticed that in general, my body naturally prefers raw food. Even eating out at a vegan restaurant, I feel heavy and sluggish the next day after consuming rice and tofu. I don't really WANT to eat cooked meals, but I also don't want to put pressure on myself in social situations. So, for now, a few cooked vegan dishes here and there is a decision that I can feel comfortable with.

The next decision is to be okay with my relatively high fat diet. Long term, yeah, I want to cut back. But I just don't feel ready. What I can do, though, is make sure the fats I'm eating are lovely raw fats, like avocados (miracle food), coconuts, olives, flaxseed oil, etc. I wonder if, in time, I will begin to desire fewer fats. I have already noticed that I crave greens like crazy, and I eat salads and green smoothies or juices every day. So perhaps the abatement of my love for fats is something that will happen naturally as well.

About that juice feast - this is something I do highly desire to accomplish within the next year. But again, it doesn't feel like the right time. Sometime soon it will be. No rush.

Realizing that transitioning from a cooked, omnivorous diet to a raw one is a long process is a huge relief to me. I am, by nature, a perfectionist, and this realization allows me to see that what I'm eating now is exactly perfect for where I am now! Everything I consume is intended to nourish me on some level, and therefore it does. What a wonderful gift to give myself. And to whatever forces in the universe or within myself brought these great people with similar ideas into my life at precisely the crucial moment, thank you!


Dave said...

"Everything I consume is intended to nourish me on some level, and therefore it does. What a wonderful gift to give myself."

This is so wonderfully true. Thank you!!

Kristen's Raw said...

Great post.

I'm a big fan of listening to my body, staying flexible, having fun, and not stressing about it. I feel awesome and I'm happy :)


Mandy said...

I feel the same way, I have been all over the web and it is easy to get swept up in each individual's ideals. I did have to finally step back and just breathe. Yes, It's an incredible journey and we should just enjoy it, It's SUPPOSED to be FUN!! Everything else is just a bonus!!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for mentioning A.C.E. :-) Just to let you know, we have started a new forum called Accepting Conscious Eaters and hope to continue our work of spreading sensible open minded healthy practices :-)

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