Friday, May 11, 2007

The Urge to Lead

As I was getting ready for work, sun already shining bright, I had an idea about getting together people I knew who were interested in leadership. Whether that was within their community or a larger community didn't matter. I simply wanted to start hanging out with inspiring people who are making a difference in the world.

Wha-what??! Who is this person? I don't know if it's the clarity or the sunshine or what, but I haven't felt this motivated in a long time. I really enjoy community efforts and get-togethers and collaboration and maybe that's just what I'm supposed to move toward.

I enjoy leading. I have always had a bit of hesitancy because being a leader means that people look to you and I don't like being wrong, so I don't want to lead people astray. But I also know that I have a lot of passion and good energy and when I don't lead, I feel some disappointment. I know that if I could do anything without fear of failure, leading others would be top of the list. Not because I am egotistical, but because I don't like to wait to implement a good idea. I go to community events and promote good causes and feel passionately about a lot of things but when it comes time to lead, I fade into the background and hope no one asks me to volunteer. It's a shame and I really ought to ignore my fear of failure and move into any leadership role I can.

My creativity has also been flowing very easily and it's great to feel that again. When was the last school? Yikes.

A few times that I have wanted to lead or at least motivate, I have felt self-conscious and a few misguided comments made me back away from it. How can I lead without making it into the Becca Show? I believe that God has given me leadership qualities, but they feel a bit rough around the edges. I suppose they won't get refined stuck in a drawer somewhere. How can I learn what to change if I can't see it outside my own mind? Good point. I believe that I'll be guided to the best path.

I heard on a podcast that you are who you spend your time with. Look at the closest five people to you and you can see yourself. I like that. Just like eating raw food makes me crave more raw food, hanging out with inspiring people makes me crave more inspiring people. It's a good cycle.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


All this talk about abundance has got me feeling full! So full that I notice I feel really appreciative lately. More than usual.

I am SO appreciative of the people and experiences in my life that I could spend all day talking about it. But instead, here's an exercise:

Think about something that you're struggling with right now: debt, parents, kids, co-worker, war, etc. Hold that person, thing, or experience in your mind. See it as having its own energy. Notice all aspects. If it's a person, write a letter to that person listing all the things you do appreciate. If you're having trouble, you might try "I appreciate gaining the awareness about what I can and cannot tolerate in my life" or "I appreciate the way you help me learn about myself." You can send it or not, but at least you know what you appreciate and can start to hold some positive energy about the person.

For example, debt. I see it as this monthly reminder, a path to freedom, a burden, etc.

If I listen to what debt has to tell me, it says "I'm not all bad. I allowed you to have an experience you couldn't otherwise afford and now you say it was the best experience of your life. I am temporary and you can pay me off as fast and as soon as you want. Sometimes I think you like having me because you feel you can relate to other people better. You have an excuse to not pursue your dreams. You can keep your energy low and not feel obligated to serve others."

Touche. Very good points. I have gotten comfortable associating with debt in a negative light, when it's true that I only incurred the debt to enjoy my Findhorn experience to its fullest. Our wedding was amazing and now we're still paying it off, but it was a phenomenal experience. Being able to pay it off in smaller increments has served us. Now we want that money and energy for something else, so we're going to pay it all off and pursue our dreams.

So in line with this new appreciation of debt, in addition to paying my bills, I am going to write each credit card company a nice letter (maybe I'll even decorate it!), appreciating the chance to have these amazing experiences and turning the energy into positive energy, instead of negative. The closer we get to paying it off, the better we will feel and each month we have a chance to appreciate it more.

I often think that when I share some mishap or negative feeling that I am "being honest." I dramatize an event to show how wrong it was and spend hours and hours justifying my nasty attitude (my friends can vouch for this). It's okay to have feelings, but when those feelings start to take over, I rarely feel better after getting them off my chest. My friendship doesn't heal, the situation doesn't improve, and I don't feel any better. Maybe more justified, but I can't confuse that with better.

Time to bring in Appreciation! Even appreciating a small thing, is a good place to start. "I appreciate my anger for showing me that I am passionate."

The more I appreciate, the better I feel. It's good for me to pull back from things and people and really appreciate their presence in my life. Sometimes, it's hard to feel, but when I do, it changes my whole perspective.

I love my body!

I love my body now, though over the course of my lifetime, I haven't always loved it. As a kid, it seemed to fail me more ways than I care to recall. I think I just accepted that bodies are weak in general, and my genetics dictate my health so there's nothing I can do about it.

I was sexually abused as a kid but I did not know there was a correlation between the abuse and how my body reacted. I had constipation that hospitalized me. I didn't even know it was constipation, I just knew that when the stomachaches came, it was the equivalent of a migraine. I couldn't do anything and it would plague me at the most random times. I needed my stomach rubbed pretty hard to relieve the agony that I experienced. Castor oil, Metamucil, and tons of carrots did not help. Even bran cereal didn't help enough.

As I got older, the stomachaches went away, and I never thought about it. When my mom told me that my cousin suffered similar constipation that was from sexual abuse, I put two and two together. Wow. So that's why I was constipated. Whatever protection I created for myself ended up being physical as well. I was so protected that nothing could get out, either.

I also wet the bed for a while as a kid. Again, I never thought to relate it to the fact that I didn't cry very much (I wanted to be strong!) but I read in a self-help book that kids who don't cry have a good chance of being bed-wetters. Who knew? I guess it has to get out somehow.

I have always felt that my body had a lot of resilency and I did not feel limited in any way. I played soccer for 10 years, lugged furniture all over the house (I like to move furniture around), biked, and was generally athletic and healthy. I rarely got sick, I only broke my nose in a car accident and my finger in a car door (darn cars...), and felt pretty good.

When I was 21 and working full time in AmeriCorps (mostly a desk job), I began to feel twinges in my back. I knew I had bad posture, but had NO idea what the twinges were (spasms) and I figured I just needed to be in better shape. I went to my naturopath at the time and he said I needed orthotics because my back was weak. $175 later, I felt no relief.
One day, while in a yoga class, I had overextended my back muscles and my back went into complete spasm, with no release. I couldn't move my legs or even sit down. It was the scariest thing to not have control over my legs.

Long story a bit shorter, I had to be picked up in an ambulance and later found out I had herniated my L4 L5 disk. Yikes.

I began to look more closely at the way my body was communicating with me and I began to see health a lot more holistically.

Fast foward eight years, I feel stronger and healthier than I have in my whole life, I have completed a Danskin triathalon, a 200 mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland, and my back no longer bothers me.

I did realize, along the way, that I needed to pay MUCH closer attention to what my body was telling me and not wait until a neurosurgeon has to tell me I won't be able to run or carry a backpack again (thankfully, this was not actually true). I am so grateful that my health has become a top priority in my life and it has paid off.

Being raw has been another component of refining the way I listen to my body and it feels good to simply sense something or feel clear about my decisions in taking care of myself. While I still seek support sometimes, I am realizing more and more that I just need to listen better. My body is quite capable of healing itself and I just need to get out of its way. I love my body so much! I feel more confident, creative, adventurous, and strong.

Subtle Emotions

I've been mostly raw for about 3 months. This doesn't seem like a long time, but so much has been happening physically, mentally and emotionally, that it feels like several lifetimes.

My issues come up in cycles. When X triggers Y, I react by Z. For as long as I can remember, this is the way it has been. I have changed, of course, but rare is the moment that I look to my diet as the cause. Sure, I knew that eating badly made me feel badly, but since I was so focused on the negative aspect, I forgot to look at the opposite effect: eating well makes me feel well.

Added energy, enjoyment of my body, and weight loss are all important aspects of my raw life but it didn't stop there.

Things have been coming up recently that are a bit random. Interactions with friends, family, in my office, etc., are challenging me to reexamine my patterns with a different perspective so that I may be able to change it this time.

My dad passed away when I was six and while I've mourned his death and done a lot of personal work around it, when it came up recently, I felt different.
I was crying about missing him, but the tears were not from this dreaded, dark, hopeless place. They were simply tears of sadness. I just missed my dad. It felt lighter in my body, like it wasn't as heavy and it didn't come from the depths of me (I have a history of suppressing and repressing energy). It was an acknowledgement that someone I loved was gone, and I missed them. As I was crying, I noticed this difference and it felt weird to stop crying before I sobbed my eyes out (my usual method). I heave and breathe shallowly and feel alone in it. But this time, I just shed a few tears and then moved through the emotion.

I shared this with my therapist and as I talked about the sensations, it dawned on me that eating raw food would of course bring things up like this. My deep-seated pattern was to hold it all in, let it fester, and then explode in gut-wrenching emotion (tears, anger, etc). And now I could feel the tears, observe them, love them, and watch them go away. It's not like I felt less sad, either. It's just that I am expressing sadness differently.

Not having sugar in my life to suppress my emotions means they can come more freely and with less intensity.

I also find myself crying very easily at little things that happen in my daily life. They are tears of joy and connection. I read something yesterday about a woman who thought she was destined for divorce and when she did some personal work, her relationship changed and all was good, no divorce. I had to shed a few tears. Redemption is so sweet. I don't care if people see me, either. I stopped caring a while ago. I'm not afraid of crying and I don't feel uncomfortable. I can cry and still live my life.

Anyway, so this subtle change in emotions and the expression of emotions is really interesting. I feel softer and also stronger. It's exactly the way I imagined I could feel eventually.


Abundance is a popular buzz word now but it doesn't mean I have a good relationship with it, or until previously, any idea how to 'get' it. I've tried feng shui, affirmations, budgeting, saving, harassing my husband, working more, etc. I think I simply maintain to the best of my ability and pray that checks don't bounce (they do anyway) and that we can eat. Not the most abundant way to live, I realize.

Eating raw food seems to have prompted me to shift in these subtle ways, and recently I feel a lot different about my relationship with money and abundance. My habits aren't reflecting it, which is the frustrating part, but I am now aware of them and I am interested in observing and changing the patterns to align better with my life. Eating raw foods creates a higher vibration in my body and I am getting tired of watching myself do things and act in ways that don't feel right anymore.

When I went to therapy on Tuesday, I didn't know what I wanted to talk about. Lots of things were in need of examination but nothing stood out. So I asked myself what was on my mind a lot and lo and behold, it's money! I went in and said that I wanted to talk about the role money plays in my life and how to have a better relationship with it. It was one of the best sessions I've had (and that's a lot of sessions!). I was pretty charged to begin with, having had a money talk with Josh days prior. It was "another talk about money" and even though I was feeling more comfortable talking about it, I still didn't feel really positively connected to money. And of course, by now I know that there is no way for money or abundance to feel comfortable in my life if I always have bad associations with it.

My therapist and I talked about how I give money for services (completely disempowered, if I give it at all), how I sense the energy of money (cold, like an empty hallway, grey), what it feels like to interact with it (a Tasmanian devil, wreaking havoc on all who encounter it), and what I WANT it to be like. Wowee!

I want money to feel like a solid piece of beautiful wood, smooth to the touch, valuable, and worthy of exchange. I want it to be taupe yellow or rust-colored orange. I want money to feel like a member of my family. Not up in my face, but always supportive and present in my life, encouraging me to pursue my dreams. I want to offer money with my full integrity. I want to look people in the eye, give them hard-earned money, and feel great about the exchange.

There was something sad and pitiful about how I dealt with money in the past. I felt like I was clutching onto it like it was my last dollar EVERY time I paid a bill, wrote a check or gave a dollar to someone selling Real Change. I would balance the purchase or donation against a list of questions, mostly about worth and sacrifice. "We can't afford that" would roll off the tongue too easily. Everything was about dollar signs, no matter what. Getting money was a burden because I knew that I would immediately have to give it away to someone or something. I was not enjoying any abundance. We had short-term (read: For Fun Times) savings, but even that felt like a drag when I weighed every option, shopped endlessly for the best deal, and went over and over whether it was a "good use" of money.

I also discovered that even though I believe that self-care is the most important, it somehow wasn't worth spending "good" money on. I always wanted to qualify for low-income so I could pay low on the sliding scale, and not overdo my scant budget. I created a special kind of energy around myself, which involved a lot of examining and defining and scrutinizing. Was my self-care important at this time? Did I deserve (or sometimes, did they deserve) to get this item? Was it "necessary" or could I live "without" for a while longer? <--This question is good for simplicity programs and lifestyles, no doubt, but it can be a double-edged sword when there is a mentality of living without=being a better (righteous?) person. My sacrifices had me feeling superior! Yikes.

My therapist and I role played how I give money at the end of our session. It was a little thing, but I was nervous each week about how awkward it was to hand over my check. Did I look her in the eye? Did I look at the check as I was giving it to her? Did I subtly slip it onto her desk while I was leaving? Each session I was basically plagued by this interaction. I did both of us a disservice when I didn't see the check I was writing as an equal exchange of energy. I earned this money at work, so that I could take care of myself and here was someone who valued me and my personal work and provided me with a safe, comfortable space in which to grow. That was so valuable! And I was treating it like it wasn't any more valuable than any other thing.

From these beliefs, feelings, and interactions with money, I could easily see how I dealt with my energy, or energy in general. I didn't see energy as the exchange it is. I knew it was, but I didn't ACT that way. I undercharged for services, took additional work just to have an extra buck (I think I ate very similarly--whatever was available to fill my belly, I'd eat), tried to hold onto my energy for as long as possible and only gave what I was obligated to give or the least necessary. No wonder! My interactions with people in general are somewhat stilted, I attract very similar folks, and I regularly don't feel a constant flow of energy in my life. "What's in it for me? Will this inconvenience me? Do I have enough energy for the likes of YOU?"

I believed that I only had so much energy (very limiting since I tended to believe most infinite intangibles were finite: love, energy, gratitude, etc). Instead of seeking more, I sought to keep what I had and I would only work on getting more, if I was incredibly depleted (sick, lonely, depressed). Then I would try getting it with this downer, pathetic, and overall unattractive energy. "See, I'm so sick and exhausted, will you give me some energy?" Asking in this way meant that the other person shouldn't expect to get anything in return since I had none to give back. Talk about an energetic vampire!

When I did give energy, it was willy-nilly. I gave too much, to the wrong people (those who did not intentionally and consciously ask for it), and never asked for any in return. A sure-fire way to deplete myself! I thought that by virtue alone, I would be rewarded. This is nice thinking, but the Universe likes direct requests. I know that I like when people ask me for EXACTLY what they want from me. That way, there is no confusion or soured expectations or disappointment. If I can't give them what they want, then I say so, without guilt. Above the table.

When I encountered other people I felt protective. Not because they had a history of taking my energy, but probably because I had a history of giving it away to the point of deficit. As a kid I felt that it was my duty to simply serve others endlessly, without caring about my own needs. That habit is dying hard, for sure.

After my therapy session I felt so much better! Just talking about my past patterns, perspectives, and beliefs about money let me get them out so I could examine them, one at time, and let go of the ones that didn't serve me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


I know I am front-loading a bit in these blogs, but honestly, it's just because so much happens and has happened in the past that I want to be sure to keep up.

Part of eating raw for me has been about seeking support. I pride myself on my independence and while of course I can survive on my 'own' in terms of necessities, I find that that is a lonely path and limits my energy flow considerably.

I have been to a handful of potlucks in my area and found that it's a great way to connect with others. While the event is based around food theoretically, I find that conversations lead to other things (rather than at cooked food potlucks, when I bring my own raw dish, we talk about eating raw...) and I can let the food 'complication' go (because it's not complicated!). Our potlucks have around 20 people, give or take, and it's such a pleasure to see old faces and then new faces and know that everyone is on their own raw path. Being with like-minded and like-bodied people has helped me see that I don't have to just go along with a crowd of people to be social. I love my close group of friends, but it's nice to go and be with other folks who do different work in the world.

Another thing I do is READ. Lots of prepared food books, lifestyle books, different systems of being raw, etc. I read blogs, listen to podcasts, read magazines, and generally let my curiosity guide me. This is such a pleasant way to live! I feel like I am back in school, only I can decide exactly what to learn, how much, with whom, for how long, etc. It's the best education I've had so far!

There are days when I wish I could shout what I've learned from the rooftops but I know that because I am ready and open, the education comes to me effortlessly. It's not necessarily my job to educate others against their will. I know many raw fooders feel similarly. They simply go about eating the food they enjoy and only when asked do they talk about raw food. I am learning patience (with myself and others) and while I always feel I have a gift to offer, it's important to not be pushy. Adopting a raw food life can be challenging and while it's been more than pleasant for me, it could be different for someone who is not really into it like I am.

The down side of support is when you don't get it.
When I first started eating raw, I was proud of myself and was eager to share. It seems that the more weight I lose (from 160 lbs to 135 lbs), the less inclined I am to share. My weight loss, although desired and welcomed, is not the point of my going or staying raw. And I'm aware that some people may think going raw is an underlying eating disorder. It's tough to hold to your values if people think you are starving yourself (even though you simply aren't craving food) or worry about you. Society pressures run rampant because some people may not want to examine THEIR eating habits, they'd rather judge and criticize yours. Not to mention, Americans and other well-fed (or over-fed) cultures simply look different. Eating raw food changes bodies fundamentally and it can look 'unhealthy' to people who are simply not comfortable with a slimmer body.
And we're back to support. Find folks who understand, appreciate and are knowledgeable about raw food. I also find it helpful if I don't point out my cooked food beliefs to those who don't care. It doesn't make the interactions any easier.

My friends and family have the grace to support me, but when it comes time for sharing food, out comes the elephant in the room. It's a small one, and possibly imagined by me, but I know that since I don't enjoy eating cooked food anymore, we have less occasion to go out to eat, and therefore hang out. On the flip side, it does allow me/us to think about other ways to interact with people and that's great since I need to flex my creativity muscles more.
Food has been entertainment for me for so long, that it's challenging to not rally 'round the dinner table every time I hang out with friends. But it's much cheaper and a lot more fun!

Also, it can be hard to eat raw with a partner or family that isn't raw. Josh and I are differing levels of transition, and I'm okay with that. We tend to eat when we are hungry, which is not at the dinner table mostly, but we are finding other ways to share each other's company instead, so I don't worry too much.

Another thing I like to do now is listen to raw food podcasts. I go to iTunes and search raw food and download whatever seems interesting. Raw Vegan Radio, Celebrating The Potential, Rawkin Radio, and several others have caught my attention. Interviews with lots of well-known raw fooders are interesting and continue to help me find out the specific ways I can interact with my raw lifestyle. Lots of podcasts aren't even about food, but coincide with eating raw food and the changes that one can experience.

I haven't gotten into YouTube as much, but there are lots of videos on there. Check out Raw Vegan Channel as well with the Talifero family.

The fact that there are magazine articles, restaurants, film festivals, food festivals, podcasts, websites, blogs, workshops and books means that we can get support for our lifestyle and therefore make it easier to stick with it.

More soon!

What is the Meaning of Health?

As my body goes through layers of detoxification, I realize that parts of me are starting to come out that are usually in hiding.

For instance, I initially made appointments to see a dentist and a naturopath to make sure this transition to raw is going okay. I wanted to keep on top of it, in case I wasn't aware of any side effects or in case my doctors had some knowledge to impart that I had skipped over.

There's my first moment of learning. I assumed that two people I had never met prior to my first appt. with them would know MORE than I knew about myself, having 29 years experience in my body. While of course doctors go to school to learn medical skills, I had spent 29 years studying myself (and I don't mean that lightly, I really got into my own health). They could tell me what they learned, but could they tell me what I KNOW already? Not likely.

I didn't realize this little tidbit until I had sensed their disapproval or lack of knowledge around my life and attempted to heed their advice or. My ND, although not overtly concerned with my raw diet, told me that I had a chronic yeast infection and to take this and that for this long for this many days. I listened, despite my initial aversion to so much incoming stuff. I usually don't like supplements because they are hard to remember to take. But maybe my body just knew that I needed a change in my diet, not an addition to it.
I heard someone on a podcast say "My friend who's a doctor said, 'If you don't want any medicine, don't come and see me.' " That makes perfect sense. I see doctors so that they tell me something. It would be silly if I went and they didn't tell me everything that they thought I should take a look at, no matter how good or bad it was.
Turns out, on a whole, I am fine. I'm a bit low on Vitamin D (most folks in Seattle and other northern states are) and I had too much yeast in my body. I am working on both of those things (as raw as possible, with little to no supplements at this point).

The important part is that as I start to get more clear physically, that same clarity is coming emotionally and mentally. The idea that I doubted my health, is one way to weaken my health. I know I feel better. I know my body really enjoys raw food. I know that the weight I've lost was weight I don't need anymore. I trust my body to tell me things that most doctors won't be able to tell me. I know when my cycle will begin, I know when I am stressed, I know when I am hungry, I know when I am grounded, etc. My awareness isn't just a nice tool to pull out in therapy, it's a tool that I can use any time I want, for anything.

The meaning of health is so personal. Everybody has had a different history with health and their journey will continue to be just as unique. So I don't worry so much about RDAs and doctor's recommendations. I listen to my body and see what it has to tell me. Most times my health isn't even about nutrients or the physical part, it's about my attitude and sense of self.

Raw Books

  • Nature's First Law
  • Spiritual Midwifery
  • Unschooling
  • Eating for Beauty
  • Zero to Zillionaire
  • Ode Magazine-European bent, but very cool, very progressive, and very interesting

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Beginning

My friends Monika and Michale were going raw for a while before I actually committed to my own raw journey. Monika is the executive director for Raw Network of Washington and she invited Josh and I to Raw NOW's first fundraiser. When I was first invited I was supportive of the raw food lifestyle, but still not entirely convinced it was something I needed to pay attention to.

The auction was fabulous and well-attended (there was a waiting list!) and I heard Victoria Boutenko speak about the history of raw food and the health benefits of eating uncooked foods. Monika's mom also spoke about healing from cancer and added a very personal touch to the event.
The food that night was delicate and delicious, but I was still put off by the work involved in preparing it. Not everyone can have their own personal chef!

I planned on writing about the event for the local alternative/sustainable magazine, Conscious Choice, because I wanted to help Raw NOW reach more people. The raw community in the Puget Sound was active but small and I simply wanted to provide some media coverage.

Once I was asked to write the feature for Conscious Choice on raw food, I started interviewing all these awesome, inspirational, and all-around great people!

Each person I interviewed encouraged and inspired me to go further in my pursuit of health via raw foods. The article was a nice way to talk to each of these folks and really get to the heart of why, how, when, what about raw food.

By that point I was hooked. I had already started noticing big differences in the way I felt, how I looked, what I wanted to eat, and the way I lived or wanted to live my life.

I'm an avid reader and I've been reading as much as I can about the raw life, while also keeping up on several blogs, websites, podcasts and the movement in general.

I hope to review the books I've read so far, so that others have some more resources to consult.

Now We Dive In

Let's not forget the purpose of this blog. The inner work. The stuff that happens in between banana smoothies and dehydrated meatloaf (which is so YUM by the way!).

My desire for spiritual connection was obvious. I knew that the Higher Power I had been in previous contact with wanted me to hear more, but I was too busy, tired, bored, or preoccupied to hear it.

As I started to incorporate more raw and living foods into my diet, I started to feel more energetic, lighter, and clearer. When I meditated, it was easy to sit for 20-30 minutes without the urge to leap up and go do something. I didn't feel like I needed to be or do anything special to hear the still small voice within. I just had to sit down and be quiet.

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.