When you first got into raw foods, did anyone tell you that your world might be completely turned upside down?
Yes? No? Kind of...?
Well, no-one told me and it has been one of the biggest (and most enjoyable) surprises of my life!
In this week's article we'll be discussing this, one of the lesser talked about aspects of going more "raw". It's not only an article but a mini coaching session, so I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and a quiet space to really get the juice out of all that this week's coaching feature can bring! By the end of the session you will feel clearer about the reasons why you may have found it so difficult to stay "on the path" to date, but ultimately feel empowered to move through it and create vibrant health and a life that reflects the real (raw) you. Are you ready?!
When I first made my foray into raw food eating many moons ago (the spring of 1993) my understanding was that it was no big deal really; just a case of improving my diet slowly but surely and adding more fresh foods in until I was eating mostly raw food - and feeling and looking great, of course. And while this was and still is in part largely true, it wasn't very long before I realised that "going raw" was about much more than simply what I ate.
In fact, within a matter of weeks I found myself feeling such energy, such excitement about how I was looking and feeling that I felt like the old Karen was being replaced by one much more alive and exuberant than her predecessor - and while that wasn't a bad thing, it was certainly a surprise and not something I felt very prepared for. The best way I can describe it is that it felt very right yet very strange all at once.
At the time I didn't have the perspective on it that I do now. I was young, it was new territory and I had no frame of reference from which to work. I just knew that it felt good and that I had the energy to go swimming before work, work hard all day, come home at 6pm, go back to the YMCA to do a circuit work out or some other energetic activity, come home at 8pm feeling next to no hunger (so I didn't eat) and to retire upstairs to read about all things inspiring for the rest of the evening before watering my sprouts and falling into a blissful sleep!
Looking back now, it is with a mixture of complete awe and gratitude that I came across the concept of living foods at such a young age; most people are not as fortunate, but most people don't seek until something goes wrong. For me nothing was wrong per se, although there was a nagging sense that somehow all was not right, but not in any major visible way apart from more cellulite and wobbly bits than any 19 year old female should have! Those of you who know my story know that in fact it wasn't long before I discovered that there was actually something quite seriously wrong (severe cervical cell abnormalities) but through using a 100% raw food diet including wheatgrass and visualisation I healed myself, thus avoiding surgery.
But this session is not about me, it's about YOU. You are here because you sense that there's a better way for you to live and feel and you are quite correct in assuming that. There is always room for improvement no matter where you're at. Even when your diet is "perfect" there are always going to be other areas that could be improved upon, such as your quota of fresh clean air, sunshine, rest or exercise.
Going raw ultimately is about embracing a way of living that is more authentic and real, more natural, more honest and much more liberating, I have found. As the comfort foods are replaced by healthier alternatives, aspects of ourselves are revealed to us, no longer clouded by the toxic burden of processed junk foods, excess sugar and overeating. Free of the gunk and stimulation of food and drink that really is better off in the waste disposal, our true self reveals itself like the sun emerging from behind a cloud until we come to look at it squarely in the eye (the ultimate "raw" experience!) - and it's not always what we might expect.
This aspect of raw foodism could in fact fill a whole book, and may very well do so one day, not least because it's the aspect of going raw that I'm most passionate about. Enjoying a delicious plate of fresh organic live food is one thing, but experiencing life in a different way on every level is entirely another. To be honest, if going raw was just about eating healthy food and being virtuous, I wouldn't be here now.
Because of this passion I want to inspire you in this session to really explore what raw food can give you outside of the obvious things such as weight loss, clearer skin and so on, because knowing what I know about addictions, temptation, social pressure and all those things that conspire against us, I really think you need more reasons to pursue this goal than simply to say "It makes me feel better". If you don't have some decent depth beneath your foundation of simple cosmetic or basic needs, I can practically guarantee that your dream of going raw will topple sooner rather than later, because those outside influences can be mighty powerful!
Depending on how new you are to the subject and how far down the track you are experientially your thoughts on today's subject may range from "This all sounds a bit odd to me! It's only food..." to "Goodness, she is so right!" However my guess is that, if you've got this far, you already have an inkling of what I'm talking about and are game for a little expansive thinking!
So before I get to asking you those thought-provoking questions that will give you that depth that will keep you on your chosen path, I feel a few examples and explanations are in order. As my own early experiences are still alive and kicking in my memory, these are what I'll use to illustrate this, although I can assure you that my experiences are not at all unique (speak to anyone who has been raw for a year or more and you'll be amazed at what they have to share with you - further evidencing the fact that this is a raw food phenomenon and not just me being weird! - And yes, for years I did feel very weird, but hey, it was better than my experience of life and health before, so I thought I'd see where the road led to...).
So, to go back a decade or so... Although I cannot remember how many days, weeks or months it was until I became very aware that something more than simple physical changes were afoot, I do know that it was early into my experimenting, which I hope you find encouraging. Examples were varied and numerous but the most memorable ones were:
1) An insatiable appetite for acquiring "higher" knowledge - i.e. trashy books and magazines no longer hit the spot. They did not nourish me in any way, and I now needed that. Instead my attention turned to raw food books, self-help/personal development books, spiritual teachings, and so on. Yet another world was opened to me and I couldn't turn the pages quick enough!
2) An awareness that my actions were not who I was and that I could change any aspect of myself (habits, behaviours, choices, environment, responses to things and so on) at any time - except my essential nature. Going raw made it much easier for me to see the difference between the two, and helped me to firm up which elements of me were real and which were merely "clothes" I had chosen to wear (unknowingly at that point, of course).
3) My thoughts changed. I started asking bigger questions - of myself, of my food, of my choices, of my work, of my life - of everything in fact. (Abundant energy and wellbeing gives us this ability which is why most people do not think too far outside of the box). My thoughts were clearer and easier to disentangle than ever before. A fog, previously unacknowledged, lifted and my clarity became mind- blowing. Yikes!
4) My feelings became more stable and less stable by turns. As I became more in touch with who I really was and what was "real" I became more at peace with life yet simultaneously, while questioning my choices and current life situation and my past, I also became less stable as my mind took on new beliefs and dropped old ones at the drop of a hat and I immediately wanted my life to change to reflect that - NOW! Quite turbulent at times!
5) I felt more connected to others on some levels (sensing that "oneness" that spiritual texts speak of) yet also simultaneously felt more different and apart from them as my energy increased and their energy dropped or stayed the same.
6) I found myself exploring life and all it had to offer in a much more inspired way. For the first time in my life I truly believed that I had the power to create whatever life I wanted. Now I just had to figure out what that was and get the courage up to do it!
Although only six examples of how I changed the more "raw" I went, I'm sure you can see that the vastness of the changes are more than enough to be getting on with! Although I think I had the benefit of youth, time and freedom on my side, I do believe that anyone can feel this, whatever their age or circumstances - providing they are starting from a platform of relatively good health (the body will always put energy into healing first, before embarking on growth). In its simplest explanation, all it really comes down to is the cleansing and detoxifying of the body via live nutrition and movement (and for some, employing other complementary practices such as intestinal cleansing, enemas and so forth) and to allow the process of physical, emotional, mental and (for some) spiritual detoxification to happen naturally in its own sweet time as a by-product of getting internally clean.
The question is: Does this inspire you or scare the living daylights out of you?!
As I said, this is a subject I could wax lyrical about for days, but alas I do not have the space here to do this. The only other key observation I would like to share with you is that when people "fall off the wagon" on their way to healthier eating, it is usually not about the food at all (we can ALL learn to love the taste and feel of healthy food no matter what our dietary history) but the changes going on within us that are much more subtle yet are quietly freaking us out!
My questions for you today then are:
1) What experiences similar to this have you already had since changing your diet? (List as many as you possibly can)
2) How did you feel about each of these experiences/changes when they happened?
3) How do you feel about them now?
4) What are your fears around "cleaning your house"? What will you "have" to do as a result of stepping into your authenticity? What pain are you trying to avoid? (Again, make this list as long as you can).
5) What is the worst thing that could happen if you pursue your path to vibrant health?
6) What is/are the best things that could happen? What are your greatest goals/dreams?
7) Which option do you prefer?
8) If you had all the courage you needed to proceed, what would you do next?
9) What support do you need to give you the courage or knowledge that you now require?
10) How are you going to get it and when?
These questions will set you off on your exploration of the bigger issues as you become more "raw", but there are plenty more to come as we are continually given the opportunity to step into our "realness" the more alive and sensitive we become to our body and its needs.
Keep enjoying the journey... it's just amazing!
© 2011 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.