I have the hardest time keeping myself from indulging in cooked food when it is available to me. Friday night James and I ventured over to Whole Foods for some things, and we investigated their prepared food section. There was a tomato/basil soup that didn't have anything too harsh looking in the ingredient list. So we bought some of that, and I got some raw veggie spring rolls with a rice wrap and a peanut sauce. The soup tasted great, and I enjoyed the warmth it provided my body, but after eating a small amount of it my mouth began tingling, so I stopped, thinking that if my mouth was tingling from it, that the rest of my body probably was too. I spent the rest of the night experiencing a swelled head. The soup seemed to have a lot of salt in it, which I haven't had since I decided to begin eating raw 2 weeks ago. The salt was very dehydrating, and the onion and garlic seemed to add to the intense body high that I was feeling. I'm glad I stopped eating it when I did. Saturday AM I was back to fruit & drinking water.

Saturday evening James and I were invited to a BBQ, and decided to go. I packed up a savory salad with guac dressing, and James prepared some steamed carrots with some maple syrup on them. I stuck mostly to my salad at first, but once I was finished with it the rest of the food began looking rather tempting—lays potato chips were the hardest for me to resist. Steamed carrots and some soy beans were also rather tasty… there was also chocolate cake… which I sort of felt obligated to indulge in. To be honest, it was dry and not very sweet, but I ate it anyway. Upon leaving the BBQ I felt heavy, but nothing too terrible. My body handled it pretty well overall.

It really helped me appreciate that I've been away from tempting situations these past 2 weeks. I thought I would be able to be satisfied with just the salad, and not tempted by the other, familiar cooked options. However, it was more challenging than I thought it would be. So far today I've been back to fruit and salad. I'll continue to just take it one day at a time, and not think too far ahead. I was doing great with not having any cooked food cravings, and I think I got ahead of myself thinking that I was beyond them. These past 2 evenings have been a helpful reality check, and I'm thankful for them.

What I consumed this past week:

• 56 bananas
• 18 grapefruit
• 15 apples
• 3 dates
• 2 zucchini
• 1 cucumber
• a cup or so of dried grapes
• 2 limes

Veggies:• 1 pkg of spring greens
• 3 leafs of romaine lettuce
• 2 leafs of kale
• 3 celery stalks
• 1.5 bags of chopped carrots
• 7 baby bella mushrooms

• 4 avocados
• 4.5 pure bars
• small amount of peanut butter
• .25 cups assorted roasted/salted nuts
• tiny handful of macadamia nuts
• a few small scoops of macadamia nut cheeze

A Raw Journey

I've been working toward eating a raw diet (on and off) for about 2 years. The first time I tried transitioning to raw I scoured the internet searching for gourmet raw recipes that would help satisfy my cravings for cooked foods. I used my magic bullet and dehydrator religiously and could never keep up preparing enough food to keep myself satiated. I never was one for successfully following a recipe, so raw recipe's were no different. Nothing ever really came out very good, and I was eating a lot of oil and nuts. I tried for 100%, but there were a lot of temptations—dinners with family & James was still eating a cooked diet including meat. After a short while I gave that up and tried to eating a mostly vegetarian cooked diet—with eggs, dairy and fish still included. Some raw foods carried over—I was still enjoying chopped apples mixed with banana and cinnamon for breakfast, but the transition was feeling forced and I couldn't handle the pressure.

After not *trying* for a month or so, I decided to try again. I had stopped eating meat (chicken, beef, turkey…) but I kept my idea of raw the same—gourmet & complicated. So, again, I struggled and gave up after a short time.

Then I began slowly transitioning. I would eat fruit before noon, then I could eat anything I wanted. This worked really well so long as I ate plenty of fruit in the morning—enough to satisfy me until lunch. I would occasionally bring a savory salad to work—often with gorgonzola cheese, pecans, dried cranberries and spring greens. This lasted for a while. I enjoyed this process of slowly incorporating more fruit into my diet. I read that it gives the body the energy it needs in the morning to cleanse from the previous night, and starts off the day with a nice, smooth energy boost. I kept the "fruit before noon" mentality for a long time. Some days it worked, some days a bagel with butter and cream cheese would scream my name first thing in the morning, and I couldn't resist. Over-all though it seemed like a healthy approach toward transitioning to eating more raw food. It didn't feel like I was forcing anything.

Then I began going to a hot vinyasa yoga studio and eating more raw foods began to feel a lot more natural. Some cooked foods had been naturally falling away from my diet since I began. Ice cream was gone, meat was gone, dairy in general was beginning to make me feel crummy each time I ate it, so it was being eaten less and less often.

Things in my life began shifting—my consciousness began opening to more and more possibilities. In March 2009, around the cosmic new year, I let go of a lot of things. I stopped peeling my fingernails, which I had been doing since I was a child; James and I, and our friend Kevin all began striving to eat a vegan diet—no more eggs, no fish, no dairy. Of course that had its challenges as well, and it gradually removed many of the cooked food addictions I often struggled with while trying to stay raw.

Dairy had a strong emotional hold over me for a long time. I used it as a form of self destruction. I knew it didn't treat my body well, but there were times when I needed to become emotionally numb—so I'd eat something heavy with starchy carbs and butter and cheese. It hurt my body to digest something like that, but it preoccupied me from thinking about any emotional pain. It was very subtle, and it took me a long time to recognize that it was what was happening. Denial can be a very strong thing, and unless we're willing to really open up to the truth of what is happening in life, often times we can be self destructive in simple little ways that seem innocent.

Around that same time—March 2009—I began reading more about nutrition. I read the 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug Graham and the China Study by T. Collin Campbell. Both of these books changed my life. I was done with dairy, and fruit was my new best friend. James and I both experimented eating a high-raw 80/10/10 diet, and we were more successful than we'd ever been. The fruit seemed to be the answer to maintaining a raw diet. It kept our calories high enough to feel satiated, and it didn't take forever to prepare, like many gourmet raw recipes. We then began changing many things in our life—we moved, many times, began building a tiny house. Basically chaos ensued, and we went back to eating a cooked vegan diet, with a lot of fruit during the day and a cooked, heavy dinner. With this new year I'm hoping to continue this journey and continue to be as healthy as I can be.

These past 2 years I've spent weaning myself away from the addictive habits I developed throughout my lifetime. There was a lot of greed and delusion involved with my relationship with cooked foods. If I had something I enjoyed, I really didn't want to share it with others. I'd be selfish internally, although on the outside I'd share it anyway. I didn't really WANT to share it. It was as if I'd never get to have it again.

I deceived myself into thinking cooked foods—starches and dairy particularly—were *simply* comforting. They were comforting, but in the way that a band-aid is comforting over a wound. It doesn't solve the root issue—whatever emotional problem that might have caused me to need the band-aid in the first place. That's what I'm learning now. Food is not a band-aid. Food is fuel—the energy my body needs to survive. It's not something to be used as a drug. If there's an emotional problem that needs addressing, I should be addressing it, and not shoving it under a big bowl of strawberry ice cream. That's why yoga is so important. Not just the physical yoga, but the yoga of daily life. Being in each moment, experiencing what is actually happening by being aware of when my mind creates stories that may or may not be true. I've been learning to listen to my body—hearing what it needs, when it wants water, or calories, or nutrients. When we can listen with an empty mind, we can allow our body to have the things it truly needs, rather than giving it things to continue hiding the truth from ourselves.

It's been an interesting journey, and it's certainly no where close to over. I'm continuing to learn a lot about myself and my relationships—what's healthy and what's toxic. Removing toxins from my life is much more than just food related. It's a slow process of accepting that things I'm accustomed to, despite how much I've grown attached to them, can often be toxic to my well-being—physically, mentally or spiritually. Then willingly allowing them to drift away. This is a wholesome adventure—involving not only my diet, but my entire life.

Things I get asked a lot:

Why do you eat so much fruit? Isn't it really high in sugar?

Yes, fruit is high in sugar. That is exactly why I eat so much of it. Every living cell in the human body is fueled by glucose. Before our body can utilize any food as a fuel, whether it's a carbohydrate, fat or protein, it must first be converted into simple sugars. Of the three, carbohydrates are the easiest for our body to convert. The sugars that are in fruit are already simple sugars, and thus can be absorbed directly into our bloodstream through the intestinal lining, without the need for conversion. There are other types of carbohydrates with short-chain or complex sugars (rice, corn, potatoes, yams, carrots, beans, etc…), that need to go through a complex stage of conversion before they can be utilized by the body as a simple sugar. To do this uses the body's energy and is therefore not efficient or ideal. Many of these more complex carbohydrates also need to be cooked to be digested without extreme difficulty, which is another can of worms I'll get into at another time…

Simple sugars can also be found in many processed *junk foods*, such as cakes, cereals, cookies, soda, etc… So when a human body doesn't get the glucose it craves from a natural source, we are often drawn toward other sweet foods—junk food. Now, don't think that eating tons of cookies and cakes will be just as good for you as fruit—that's entirely the opposite of the truth. Junk foods have had their sugars refined, and anything healthy and nutritious about them have been removed. That means other than satisfying our sweet tooth, there is nothing good for us in processed, refined sugars.

Fruit on the other hand, is a 100% whole food—containing the perfect ratio of sugar, water, fiber and nutrients. Nothing has been removed or added—it is precisely as mother-nature intended it to be.

What about protein?

How much protein do you think the human body needs in a day? I often hear that people think protein (especially animal protein) gives their body energy. If you read above about what was said on fruit, you'll know that our body is fueled by glucose—that is what gives our body energy. I'm not sure where the idea came from that energy comes from protein. Think about it for a second—how do you feel after eating a big steak, or turkey dinner? Are you full of vibrance and ready to go run around the block? No, I didn't think so. You're ready to sit still for an hour or so and digest. If anything I'd say that eating animal protein depletes the body of energy.

That said, how much protein do we need? Despite the advertising from meat and dairy industries, humans require a VERY LOW amount of protein. A human mother's milk provides a growing infant with 6% of calories from protein. An infant has the highest need for protein per calorie of all humans, as their growth rate is amplified. The US National Academies' Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council suggest that eating 10% of our total calories as protein is sufficient. The average American eats about 21% of their calories from protein.

So let's say that 10% of our daily calories should be from protein. I'm not going to get into discussing the difference between plant proteins and animal proteins, as it's a lengthy topic. However, it's interesting and fascinating stuff—I suggest looking into it. I don't eat animal protein, so how do I get 10% of my daily calories from protein? Fruits and veggies contain amino acids, which are the building blocks our bodies need to create proteins needed by the body. Many fruits and veggies contain the required percent of protein or more than what we need. Here are just a few examples:
• Apricots 10%
• Bananas 4%
• Tomatoes 12%
• Watermelon 7%
• Broccoli 20%
• Spinach 30%
As you can see, it's easy to obtain 10% of the daily calories while eating just fruits and vegetables.

Too much protein is associated with all sorts of health problems, yet we rarely hear of any health problems associated with eating too little protein. Protein based foods (especially animal based proteins) form an acidic environment in the body, thus leading to depleted calcium levels—causing osteoporosis, as well as premature aging, impaired liver function, kidney failure, etc… Take a minute to read more about acidic vs. alkaline foods. Reading it could save your life.

An insight to my addiction…

A new year—and with it comes a bright outlook and a more healthy style of living.

I've been eating very high raw for about 6 days now. I love how sensitive my body has become to different foods—how I know how each food makes my body feel. Throughout the day I stick mostly to fruits because I know the my body needs the carbs, and calories from them, and they feel the best to digest. But come the end of the day I feel flighty, and somewhat out of touch with my body.

I find that I miss feeling my body when I eat mostly light, easily digestible foods. The feeling of energy being used toward digestion is such a nostalgic and comforting feeling—the feeling that would continuously drive me toward eating dense, heavy cooked foods. When our bodies digests a large, dense meal it makes us heavy and numb. I've realized that it's that feeling I crave—not the cooked food—and I can seek other RAW ways of getting that nostalgic, comforting feeling of my body digesting.

I began thinking of the different raw foods that give me that digesting-feeling—mushrooms, onions, avocado, dried fruit (raisins, dates), nuts, etc… Then last night when I began craving something heavy, I made a big salad with a small amount of onion, some mushrooms & a whole avocado. I also ate a Pure bar (chocolate brownie) for dessert. It really seemed to help. I noted that after I ate the salad & the pure bar that I could feel my body tingling and slowing down, and I really did feel more in touch with the physical reality. It felt comforted.

This is interesting for me to notice—as it helps me realize that it's not the *cooked foods* that I have an addiction to. It's the feeling that comes from eating cooked food. I don't need to eat cooked foods to get that feeling, it can come (in smaller, and healthier doses) from heavy raw foods.

The past 6 days have gone well for me. I've been sticking to fruit throughout the day, then eating a heavier salad at night. This seems to be working for me right now. I haven't had any cooked food cravings, and the heavier feeling I'm getting from the salads at night helps me to relax and fall to sleep easily. I think I'll stick to this system for now, and just keep watching.
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