In this issue the topic du jour is the not-often-talked-about issue of emotional, mental and spiritual detoxification and how going raw affects us on every level – not just the physical.
The reason why I’ve decided to cover this topic is because this particular aspect of going raw, the whole person transformation, is my own personal most-compelling reason for choosing to eat raw and it soon engages many others.
Even though at times it may be challenging to eat raw (socially) the benefits far outweigh the negatives – in fact so many times over as to be laughable!
So, here’s my spin on what really starts going on when you start to eat more raw food… (You have been warned!)
When you go raw – or even dabble a little - you do two things: you eat differently and you start to think differently. Thinking outside the box is, after all, what brought you to raw foods in the first place! And as the raw food begins to work its magic, as your body cleans out, your blood chemistry starts to change, and your cells come alive, you genuinely begin to feel differently too. It may be subtle at first, but there’s definitely something going on and it feels kinda positive! And then, as your body begins to rejuvenate and renew, finally (but still usually pretty quickly) you start to look differently with your face toning up, your skin clearing and feeling softer, and your nails getting stronger, and so on. And so the process of raw transformation has begun.
Usually, when people first experiment with eating raw food to any marked degree, the first stage of awareness is noticing that we respond differently to raw foods than we do to cooked. Somehow raw food feels genuinely more nourishing. I often say that when I eat raw I have the deep and real knowing that I am “really feeding my cells” – raw foods simply go way beyond taste-bud tantalising and INTO the body, where it really counts. The first stages of awareness are also characterised by noticing that after eating cooked foods there is a heavy bloated feeling in the belly. The food feels like it is sitting there rather than moving. Cooked food flavours also start to taste synthetic, cooked fatty foods taste and feel overly greasy, and spicy foods feel overly stimulating, and so on. It’s actually very common for people also to talk of feeling “hungover” after eating cooked foods having dabbled with raw for a while – this is sometimes referred to as a “cooked foodover”! In fact, I could definitely go so far as to say that quite soon raw foods begin to feel “right” and “how it should be” - and when that happens confidence and excitement to continue is the inevitable result.
One step beyond this, as a growing awareness of “self” deepens, is an awareness of how our emotions are affected by what we eat. We notice that we feel more tired/hyped up/sedated/strung out after eating our old favourite cooked foods and/or processed drinks, and yet when we choose raw we feel more calm, balanced, peaceful and more happy than perhaps ever before. Again, there follows the feeling of “rightness” which can only lead to yet more fascination with “the diet” and an increasing urge to pursue it – even if does still feel a little odd compared to what everyone else seems to be doing!
Further down the rabbit hole comes a deeper understanding of how eating pure fresh food affects us mentally too. We start to think more clearly, we start to question things we previously held as “right and true”, and we start to ask questions of ourselves, our life, and even our own personal place in the grand scheme of things. A very common question that pops up seemingly out of nowhere is, “If eating natural food makes me feel so good, why would I want to do x, y or z in my life anymore?” - and this is where things like drinking alcohol, chasing unnecessary material gains, and trying to go bigger, faster, smarter and meaner tend to lose their appeal as the promise of much greater rewards – such as increased peace, inner contentment, vibrant health and boundless energy to live life to the full - present themselves as a very real possibility to us.
Once this process has begun, it’s really quite difficult to turn back. It’s not impossible, but forever remains the memory of how “life on raw” felt – even if it was a fleeting glimpse. I know this 100% because I have tried many times to turn back and convince myself that I was deluding myself as to how good I felt on raw, but each and every time I went back and forth between the two worlds I learned over and over again that raw makes me feel fabulous and cooked makes me feel like I’m living a half-life in a half-alive body. Simply no question.
And so, before we know it we have already experienced: A growing sense of vitality and a deeper experience of very real aliveness; more harmonious and positive emotions; clearer, more meaningful and insightful thoughts, and finally, after we have cleared out our body, mind and heart enough to let some air in, many start to sense an awakening to what can only best be described as that of a spiritual connection.
How this shows up varies from person to person. It can be as subtle as sensing a stronger and deeper connection with nature through eating natural foods, or it can be as profound as feeling an ever-deepening connection to the whole of creation and whoever or whatever created it. And of course it can be everything in between!
And all of this just through eating raw food? “Unfortunately” yes! I use the word lightly because in the early days I really didn’t want to believe it was true and I also didn’t want to make the changes necessary to eat raw, but when I started seeing, feeling and knowing what was possible through ditching the trash I was eating and truly respecting my body and cleansing and rebuilding it with fresh, natural living foods… well, it all started to seem oh-so worth it.
And has it been worth it? Well, I’m now many years down the line in my raw food journey and I’m still jumping up and down about it like I was at the start, so yes, it’s been worth it!
Every single moment of stress endured from people pointing and asking questions as I ate my lunch, every strange look or sceptical comment, all the hassle and criticism I took over the years and so much more besides has been a very small price to pay for finding the level of health, happiness and sheer pleasure I have for being alive in this body at 39 years of age, when at 19 I felt as if my life and my body were over before I had even begun.
Yes, going raw is a whole person journey, and the person who embarks on the journey is always a very different one to the person who comes out the other side – and that’s a very good thing indeed.
© 2012 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.