For many years I have been playing with various thoughts in my mind around the “real” nature of food.
Without a doubt, getting from eating a mostly cooked diet to a high or totally raw one takes a great deal of patience, attention, courage, self-love, self-respect and so much more, but what next? Does the journey end at "all-raw forever"? Is one huge ticked box (labelled RAW) all that it takes to be truly healthy and vibrantly alive?
The more I have “studied” foods, and I mean this intuitively rather more than intellectually, the more I have come to the conclusion that raw is really only half the story – if that.
Now, I don’t want to freak you out if you’re already thinking, “What…..???? Do you mean to say that if I go fully raw I’m missing the point? Are you saying that I’m wasting my time?” No, not at all… In fact, what I’m about to share with you may actually be of great comfort and even speed your journey to raw foodism up, so here goes with what I’ve been thinking…
First of all, you may already be familiar with my over-riding philosophy about our bodies and our food choices. And that is, essentially, that WE are energy and our FOOD is energy and when the two meet, there is an alchemy that can either enhance our physical experience or upset it. This, of course, can be said for anything that we take into our body, from the water we drink, to the toiletries we use, any drugs we may take, cigarettes, alcohol and so forth. Basically, when it all comes down to it, we are a walking-talking chemistry lab!
So the great thing about raw foods specifically – for the most part anyhow – is that these foods, being the pure, unadulterated, very clean and straightforward foods that they are, is that when they come into our body, because their energy is clean and vital, they ultimately tend to enhance our physical experience. Obviously a good thing!
Now, beyond this lies some very important fine tuning, because as you may or may not know, there is definitely a way to mess up on raw foods, where health can deteriorate rather than improve (this is for another article entirely) and so we learn that raw food in and of itself is NOT enough.
So what is?
Well first of all, starting from a purely modern-day nutritional standpoint, we already know that the foods grown today, generally speaking, are substandard compared to what they were even a few decades ago. The topsoil has gone, intensive farming has meant that the remaining soil has become nutritionally depleted and this would certainly account for the rising popularity of superfoods, both in the raw food world and the mainstream as a whole – quite simply part of these foods promise is to deliver a huge amount of nutrients in a very small but perfectly formed package that isn’t farmed as commercially (and/or hasn’t been commercially farmed historically for as long) and generally isn’t usually available in your everyday stores.
While I am neither wholly for or against “superfoods” per se, I do see that they have value, but no matter, I still think we are looking at the glittering periphery rather than the deeper, more timeless wisdom that truly surrounds our food choices.
But one more thing, before I share where I’m going with this.
Over the years many people have asked, “Are cooked foods really all that bad? I know a man who is over 100 years old, they eat hardly ANY raw food, and they drink alcohol regularly and even smoke the odd cigar, and they seem as fit as a fiddle! How can you explain that?”
Well that’s a very good question. And traditionally I have seen it answered with replies such as “Well, they just have great genes” or “Well, they’re the exception rather than the rule”. Both of these are perfectly likely to have some truth behind them, and are fair answers indeed, but if cooked food is so “bad” then how could living beyond even 50 and appearing (or being) healthy be possible?
Well, first off, you won’t ever hear me saying that cooked food is “bad”. It is “different” indeed, by the very fact that it has been heat-treated, but each food absolutely needs to be marked on its own merit.
For example, which do you think is healthier – a baked potato in its skin or a handful of raw macadamia nuts?
(This isn’t a trick question!)
Well, first of all it’s not completely black and white. There is some investigation required!
Sure, the potato is cooked and the nuts are raw. That’s one up for the nuts for a few different chemical and nutrition-related reasons…
The potato is likely to be:
Locally grown, it may be organic, it is cooked simply, it may be eaten alone or with a large fresh salad or some steamed vegetables. In and of itself, assuming it is organic, it is actually a very simple, “honest” kind of food – and if it is local, then it’s air mile free, and probably pretty fresh from the ground, depending on when and where it was purchased.
Next up, the macadamia nuts.
Well, unless you live in Australia and can handpick them straight from the tree, then most of us here will likely be getting our macadamia nuts after many thousands of air miles have been accrued, and very likely those nuts are already shelled (more likely to go rancid and have been manhandled many times over), they are not so likely to be organic and they probably haven’t been refrigerated (which is best for nuts once shelled). I could go on…
Add to that the fact that macadamia nuts in particular are very dense foods (barely any water and contain a HUGE amount of pure fat) and eating them can often lead to nut binges or craving lots of fruit or dried fruit to “balance out”…
…so perhaps the humble, albeit cooked, potato is not looking like such a bad guy anymore?
This is just one example, of course, and even then, fairly shallow criteria compared to where I’m about to go, but I hope you get the gist.
(And of course, if it was the potato versus the freshly-picked sun ripened mango straight from the tree, or the freshly harvested greens lovingly hand-selected from the organic garden then there is really no competition! Not on the surface, anyway…)
So, this is where the lines of raw vs. cooked start to soften – it’s not quite such a black and white affair as many would have us believe – or not yet…
Where it softens further still is when we take a closer look at the energetics of the foods, which is where this article began.
Without a doubt, raw foods from the purest sources, harvested in the right way, at the right times, and grown in the right conditions etc. etc., are absolutely going to be the best fuel for your body, BUT… still there’s more.
And that more is:
What foods work best for YOUR body?
And by this, I mean, what foods, RIGHT NOW work best for your body, because what works well today may not be so perfect tomorrow. And here’s where we’re going…
If we are agreed that your body – just like everything in this amazing Universe – is composed of energy, and that food is the same, and that the two together is alchemy personified, then we can start to ask more profound questions, such as:
“What energetic state is my body in right now?” (As opposed to: “How healthy am I?”)
“Which foods will work best for me in the energetic state I am in now?”
“Which foods will work best for me now in relation to the energetic state I wish to reach?” (Whew! Can you see how wide open the potential is?)
You see, in the raw food world I come across a LOT of guilt around eating non-raw foods when people are trying to go raw. Not only do I see it and hear it all the time, in my early 20’s I lived that experience extensively myself for many years – but I didn’t have the understanding then that I have now.
Sometimes, that slice of bread or plate of rice might be exactly what you need for reasons you might not even know about.
And before the cries of “Hang on….!!!” begin, I’d go on to explain that…
Just as our body and food are energetic in their form, so too are our thoughts, feelings and intuitions and ALL of these have a place in our individual human experience. Each one sends a different kind of energy rippling through our body – quantum physics has already shown us that. In fact extreme stress - a supremely negative energy – can affect our physical body far worse than even the worst junk food, which is definitely “food for thought” in the context of what we’re talking about today.
As a result, sometimes we choose to eat for physical reasons, emotional reasons, intellectual reasons or even what we may consider to be spiritual or intuitive reasons - and depending on where we make our choice from, our physical experience will mirror that.
So what this means is this:
If you are going through a rough time now and are struggling to go or stay raw, take a few moments to take a closer look at the foods you have chosen to label “bad” and that you see as the ones that are de-railing you.
The bottom line is this: You are choosing them for a reason.
It’s now your assignment to find out what this reason is.
And here’s a list of possibilities to get you started:
1) The most basic level: You are addicted or allergic/sensitive to it (so it’s like a drug in your body which is why you crave it)
2) You have a nutritional need that is not being met any other way, which is why this food is appealing to you.
3) You have fallen for the “idea” of the food - i.e. The “brand” energy of the food - that is the concepts/ideas that the mainstream has attached to that particular food – e.g. champagne is luxurious, chocolates are sexy, decadent, “treats”. This can happen consciously through commercial branding or unconsciously through old wives’ tales, family tradition etc., etc.
4) You have come to equate that food with a certain way of feeling, or a habit, or a happy memory or something obscure that has – really and truly – nothing whatsoever to do with the actual food. The energy of that food, to you specifically, is therefore “imaginary” (which is why it doesn’t stop it being attractive!) and you will eat it because you believe that what it symbolises is what will manifest for you.
5) You have read somewhere that eating a particular food is good for you and therefore it’s attractive to you because it sounds like a good thing to do. This energy is “thought” energy and the real effects of that food on your body may or may not back up what you have heard, depending on if this food is a good fit for YOU.
6) There is a certain philosophy or mode of eating that you want to eat according to. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is if your real health is compromised as a result.
7) You are attracted to the food because it just appeals to you, and you know FOR SURE that none of the reasons above apply. There is something about its scent, or its colour, or its shape or size, or even something less obvious that is just telling you to eat it. You don’t necessarily know WHY but you just feel quietly and sensitively drawn to eating it. This really is advanced alchemy 101!
Needless to say, the latter is, to my mind, the highest way that we can possibly make our food choices – but it can take a very, very long time to get there on a consistent everyday basis.
And sometimes those choices just might conflict with an intellectual choice we have made – especially the one we’re discussing here – i.e. raw versus cooked. This can feel very disconcerting when we’ve put so much time and energy in to “being raw”.
But one of the great things about this raw food journey is that things don’t always make sense - and this gives rise to our spiritual and intuitive growth. There is so much we still don’t know – and that’s both individually and collectively. Still so many mysteries about who we are and what we’re capable of and why we are here and why we do what we do.
So, the bottom line is this:
If you find yourself meandering on the raw food path, especially when you thought you had it “licked” then please know this:
1) Your food choices will ALWAYS be an external manifestation of what’s going on inside for you. (I.e. if you are choosing foods that you know don’t work for you energetically but you keep eating them, then chances are that you are also making other choices in your life that also knocks you off an even keel). NB: This is not a “bad” thing - sometimes it is the best thing for us to feel off-kilter so that our drive to get on track is sufficiently strong to make it happen.
2) Sometimes, just like homeopathy, we need a little “kick” of something to make us give it up for good or to spur us on to the next level of integration.
3) Sometimes, for reasons not always known to us, we are drawn to eating a certain colour of food for days on end. Look up the meaning of that colour and you will no doubt then understand why that colour and why now. Subconsciously you are trying to embody more of what that colour energetically delivers.
4) When you make a food choice that is emotionally driven, what you are really hoping for in eating that food is for whatever emotional need you have in that moment to be met. So that chocolate bar is really not really AT ALL about the fact that it’s cocoa blended with sugar, milk and whatever else, or that it has a good dose of magnesium or whatever. What it’s really all about is that it’s the best or easiest way you have so far found to ingest the love/comfort/peace/decadence/acknowledgement… or whatever else it is you feel you are needing in that moment. (Fill the need in some other way and suddenly you have no hole to fill with food).
As far as my own personal modus operandi of “raw foods forever” is concerned, the reason why I can say all of this without feeling out of integrity is this:
When you reach a place in your life where you have “all your ducks in a row”, you will automatically have reached a place internally where you make ALL of your choices from a very intuitive and evolved place. (You wouldn’t have reached that place had that not been true!). As such, when you see people who have been HAPPILY raw for decades (happily being significant – there’s no brownie points here for suffering for the art!), look a little closer and you will likely find that they are at peace in every place within themselves and equally at peace within their external world too. This is why they choose the energy of peace in their foods. (And raw foods, the purer ones specifically, are very much “peace” personified.)
Did they meander just as you are doing or have done in the past? Absolutely yes, I’m sure.
The ultimate destination of this journey as I see it, is energetic alignment in all four bodies – not just with the food choices we make, but with the thoughts we choose to think, the emotions we choose to feel and the belief system we choose to take on board and live by. When all of these things are in place, when we are supporting ourselves on all four levels by the habits and choices we embody, we no longer need to choose foods that “jump start”, “realign” or “supercharge” us. We simply are automatically drawn to the most simple, more pure, most perfect foods for us – and they may be cooked or raw (more likely raw) – but our criteria is that we consciously choose simplicity and peace - in everything. And by choosing to pursue this path above all others, all of the intellectualism, criticism, judgements, hang-ups and so much more besides, have long since fallen away. Those opposite energies simply cannot co-exist.
THIS place, this perfect place of peace, where labels are irrelevant and so-very-not-the-issue, is, in my humble opinion, the true destination we are ultimately all seeking when we “go raw”.
© 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.