From Successfully Raw Issue 100:
"Dear Karen, I really enjoy reading your eZine and especially the recipes. Here is my dilemma and I know I'm not the only one: no support. I don't think there are any groups that meet to give tips on how to survive a raw diet in a family that dislikes everything about it. That drags me down and then I don't feel like trying to eat healthy. Let's face it, it's easier to do as the Romans do than fight it. Any tips or suggestions? I know when I was strictly raw I felt absolutely fantastic!!"
Well, what a common question this is. I really do feel for anyone who is surrounded by negativity as this used to be my story too; not so much in my own home, mind you, but I have been around enough sceptics and naysayers to know that it ain't fun and it ain't often pretty.
So here follow a few of my tips, resources and practical ideas. These focus on the external; next week I shall address the internal. While there are certainly many more external options out there (which is why I am posting this article on my blog so those of you with additional ideas and resources please do post them here), this hopefully will give you enough to get going with. I hope they help...
1) If your friends/family/colleagues are disapproving, negative and outspoken (but you consider them a fixed entity in your world) then at the very least convey in a balanced harmonious way the way you would like them to behave around you. E.g. "While I know you do not agree with the way I eat, I respectfully ask that you do not share your opinions with me or in front of me because when you do so you make me feel [fill in the blank]". Bottom line: If someone really cares for you they will respect this request and appreciate it. If they refuse then why would you choose to stay around someone behaving in this way to you? NB: Exception - if they think you look unwell then ask others for their unbiased opinion. I have known of people doing raw food "wrong" who have looked truly malnourished but have not seen it because they didn't want to see it. Occasionally some people lose weight in the face and body first and then regain it, but this is not always the case. So, in this situation others input, however upsetting, can in fact be useful.
2) Ask yourself, "Is there anyone around me AT ALL who is in any way interested or supportive of healthy eating?" If yes, get to know them better or hang out with them more, maybe start socialising with them or swapping lunch dates etc. Chances are that anyone trying to eat more healthily in their life is also going through the mill with others in their world (sad but true).
3) Join online chat groups. As far as I know the most popular place to be on the web right now is www.giveittomeraw.com and www.rawfoodtalk.com is also popular. But there are many many chatgroups out there which you can find by searching on Yahoo! or Google. Here in the UK there is Debbie Took's RawFoodUK (sign up here). These are all a great way to learn more, hang out with likeminded people online and hopefully find others who live near you in the process.
4) Attend an event local to you (or even on the other side of the Atlantic!). This has to be one of the best ways to connect with likeminded people because you have the face-to-face situation (and thus chemistry) that you don't usually get online. I have had people come on my Raw Coach Trainings who have ended up not just hanging out together but even working together! (One is even about to relocate from the East coast of the US to the West as a result). These events, by the way, can be anything from an evening lecture through to a long residential retreat. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.
5) Talking of events, if you're serious about raw then there's only one place to be this year (and this I REALLY can't emphasise enough - plus you'll find me there too) and that's the Raw Spirit Festival. It's a totally life-changing event, please take my word for it. If you're support deficient, this event will put you among literally thousands of like-minded people as well as a huge number of world authorities on the subject, and will most definitely give you a booster shot that will last at least half of the next year; I am still high from the last one which happened last October!
6) Have you ever visited a raw food cafe or restaurant? This one is going to sound a little cheeky, but how about you take yourself off to one and then ask the waiting staff if they can point you in the direction of someone into raw foods who they reckon would be happy to chat with you/ help you make connections or make a new friend? (Only for the outgoing, possibly!)
7) Check out Raw Food Meetup - this is a web site where you can search for a local raw food group anywhere in the world (and hey, if there isn't one then why don't you start one?! Go on, make things happen! - especially you raw food coaches out there...)
8) Attend a local vegetarian or vegan group meeting. There may not be a raw food one yet but at least this will get you into the same space as like-minded people and there may just be a closet raw foodist in there too!
9) Ever heard of a raw food coach? : ) I sure hope so! Even within the most confined and limiting of life situations there are now quite possibly hundreds of raw food coaches around the world who are only a phone call away. Even if 1:1 calls are out of your budget (these typically cost upwards of £35 per hour ($70 US approx)) there are a fair few great telephone groups about to start up which are hugely exciting and supportive, and will cost a fraction of the price you would pay for the same amount of support you get 1:1 (plus you get to meet others too as it's a phone group). Check out my blog over the weekend for more information about two groups like this that are about to start as well as more about other exciting new offerings coming through from coaches I am currently working with. Find more raw food coaches here.
10) And finally, consider turning your passion into your vocation. Yes, I know this may sound a tad extreme, but seriously, if you choose to make a career out of raw food as I have done then you are definitely going to get the support you need simply by being around other raw food fans (plus you get paid for it!). Shameless plug for my Raw Coach Training I guess, but it really is a viable and exciting solution. One participant on the Training last week shared "This has been the best money I have ever spent on myself" while others consider it "life- changing" which it really is!
I hope these all help and look forward to other resources being posted below by all of you helpful guys and gals!
© 2008 Karen Knowler
WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com.