Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More Than Food

Since I started my examination of the role food has been playing in my life, many different things have been coming up. Unrelated things, obvious things, subtle things, etc. While I read a lot of blogs on raw food, what I am searching for are people's interior experiences; what happens to their perspective; how they change how they interact with the world (if it changes at all); what new things they find out about themselves and whatever else.

Most of the blogs go over what people eat day-to-day. What I find meaningful and encouraging is how people's lives are changed so I figured I should probably do/be what I want to see.

How I Got Here
I've been eating raw and living foods in increasing amounts since mid-February of 2007. I originally started out by simply not eating chocolate and sugar. I wasn't concerned with going raw initially. I simply realized that sugar and chocolate were keeping me and my energy down. Before that, I came to the realization that eating in general was beginning to be a problem and I needed to pinpoint the things that were weighing (oh, the puns) me down. Refined sugar and chocolate (how the two are so intertwined!) were my big weaknesses.

Over the holidays my office would have boxes and tins full of cookies, candies, cakes, pastries, etc., and I would casually walk by and snag a few pieces. A few turned into one too many when co-workers started noticing me constantly traveling into the break room for a nibble. I didn't need any more signs to figure out I had gone too far. My office life had become unmanageable!

So I attended Overeaters Anonymous in hopes of finding some relief and camaraderie in my exploration of my relationship with food. I attended more than six meetings, which is what OA recommends to see if the OA program is for you, and I decided, that while the program seemed to work for others, I was not drawn to it. Here is my short blog about that experience.

The meetings did provide me with new ways of looking at my "problem." First and foremost, I affirmed that it wasn't about the food. It was ultimately about my relationship with the Source, Higher Spirit, God. I knew I was ignoring my relationship to God only because I felt empty, bored and asleep to the wonders of the world that I had experienced years earlier while living in the Findhorn Community.

Let's be clear. I don't mean that I wasn't attending synagogue enough or praying at night enough. I simply wasn't in touch with all the Universe had in store for me, nor was I really paying close attention.

While I started to bring my spiritual life into alignment with my day-to-day life, I began to seek more and more clarity and purpose overall. Simply abstaining from sugar and chocolate was not enough. I knew that sugar wasn't good for me, but I felt that my over-consumption had taken a significant toll on my physicality and I wanted to stop craving artificial sweetness so as not to repeat the offense. I wanted to feel what it was like to enjoy my body, the space it took up, and to feel appreciation for my energy in the world.

I started off by reading the Fat Flush Plan because I wanted to detox the sugar and fat that I had put on. But that plan was heavy into fats, meat, and overall daily practices that were NOT enjoyable (even though I did it for a while, drinking cran-water with ground flax seeds was just not pleasant, therefore unsustainable). I lost a few pounds but I did not feel much better/differently.

Then I ran across a book called Raw Food Detox Diet. I knew about raw food from a previous cleansing/fasting experience I had a few years prior. I didn't read up on it then because it seemed way too extreme and not that appetizing. I enjoyed the food I had at Chaco Canyon, a raw and vegan restaurant in Seattle, but it seemed unrealistic for me to prepare that food myself.

In the Raw Food Detox Diet, author Natalia Rose explains that transitioning is really important when going from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to a raw food diet. While some raw foodists encourage an overnight transition, Rose says that if you start where you are, then it will be easier to stay raw as you progress. I read the book in four days, devouring the ideas and recipes that seemed unbelievably simple and enjoyable. Upon finishing, I went with my husband to a conference in Florida at an unnamed Cartoonish Fantasy Park and was able to, based on my transition level (3), eat raw until dinnertime. Even in a place that screamed "Consume! Sugar! Over-stimulation!" I was able to stay raw until dinner (which was the recommendation based on my prior eating habits). I had tons of energy, stayed hydrated, and in general made the best of the worst situations I've been in on vacation in recent memory.

Oddly enough, I also got the opportunity to write a feature article for Conscious Choice magazine on raw food while on this little trip.

When I got home I started to connect with raw friends, participate in raw community potlucks, and read as much as I could about this new lifestyle. A whole new world was opening up and I couldn't wait to take it all in.

No comments: