As you know, many people tend to go on and off the wagon with raw foods for many different reasons. This article shines another light (or two) on why this can happen, and offers guaranteed ways out of the mire that can affect us all at various points along the way. No matter what diet you eat right now - raw or not - I'm sure you'll find this article of interest when it comes to assessing why you may slip on and off your own ideal way of eating from time to time and how you can get back in the saddle and enjoy the next leg of your ride with genuine enthusiasm and gusto! Read on...
Back in mid-November 2005, I went back to eating 100% raw vegan, after two years of “dabbling” – with both raw foods and cooked, having previously been on exclusively raw vegan foods for 5½ years. After months of asking myself “why can’t I go raw again even though deep down I know I want to?” I finally realised that somewhere along the way my “why” had changed – and not just a little, but a heck of a lot.
Allow me to explain...
When I first got into raw foods, way back, like most people it was all about the benefits I was looking for, namely weight loss, a glowing complexion, stacks more energy and increased joie de vivre. Just these four things were enough to motivate me for the first few months and beyond, and by the time I had attained all of them I had discovered that there were infinitely more gains to be had and that kept me moving forward excitedly and at a pace for many more years to come!
However, as with all things that initially excite us, inevitably there comes a point where things begin to feel stagnant for whatever reason. Perhaps we have caught up with ourselves and ticked all the boxes that we set out to tick – it seems as if we got all we came for and though the desire to continue is still there (as we know to go back would un-tick those boxes just as quickly) the appeal is nowhere near as strong or compelling as before and so things naturally tend to “relax” a little.
Why? Well that’s the big question I’m about to address for the benefit of everyone reading, because my story will no doubt be your story too – if not today, then potentially one day a few weeks, months or years from now.
As already outlined, our reasons for going (or staying) raw do tend to evolve over time. There is no way of predicting when or how; as with life itself you just can’t predict what’s going to happen when and the person you’re going to be when that happens, so we just go with the flow.
This is all fine, until... until we find ourselves looking at other options in life (in this case, foods) that previously we felt we had outgrown and yet we don’t feel pulled enough by the other "higher" options that we know had accelerated our growth. What has happened quite simply is that we have outgrown BOTH options, and it’s time to up the ante.
At that time when I realised that I needed something more compelling to get me back onto 100% raw foods again, I had a bit of an epiphany. I realised that some of the things that had kept me on raw before were now repelling to me, and some of the things that had previously inspired me now were no longer of any great importance. I also realised that apart from a deep yet subtle heartfelt desire to return to what felt like a state of grace to me (which is how I feel on raw foods), there was not a lot else pulling me through - and so I stayed where I was.
Realising this, now I had to dig deeper. I feared, at first, that there wouldn’t be anything else left that was attractive and new to inspire me. Having been into raw foods for 12 years by that point I really thought maybe this was it for me; a “happy” medium of some cooked, mostly raw that would see me through, perhaps, for the rest of my life. But I was kidding myself and I knew that right away. The thought of never returning back to all raw foods just didn't feel right, and that frustrated me. Now I felt like I was between the proverbial rock and a hard place!
So knowing that I couldn’t look back, now I had no choice but to set my sights forward. What did I have to discover or acknowledge about myself – my newer, more up-to-date self - that would help take me to the next level?
The only way I could find this out, and this will likely be true of you too, was to ask some very direct questions of myself and be brutally honest in my answers.
What I discovered first was one of the most interesting and useful realisations. And this was that I had rebelled slightly against being all-raw because it was “expected” of me, because it was seen as my “job”. This made me smile, but I knew it to be true. I didn’t want to be labelled by what I ate, and didn't want to feel that my diet defined me, and so I broke out of the box in order to say “I am not a raw foodist, I am Karen!” Did this benefit me? Not really! But what it did show me was that I had to go back to basics and find out my own personal reasons for being raw, and to do it for me, and only me.
It wasn’t very long before I realised that really I was now only going to go raw if it took on a higher, more compelling role. That meant that it had to be more about heart and soul related issues, and not anything to do with the physical or mental considerations so much, as these didn’t really mean that much to me anymore. And so it was that I realised that it really was just something very intrinsic to my whole being – to be raw. It made me feel more me, more authentic, more connected. So all I needed to do was to relax into it and not make any big deal out of it, just know that I was following my heart and allow myself to start to grow again in ways I know I can only grow when I fuel myself on live foods. And that of course, is what happened - until summer!
So, what happened? Well, first of all, to be clear, I don’t have negative judgements around myself - or anyone - eating cooked foods at all; it’s just a choice, ultimately, and we never stop learning. Of course, what I learned, as you may well predict, and not for the first time, was that regardless of whether my mind, heart or spirit has any issue with raw vs. cooked foods, my body quite simply doesn’t like it and doesn’t respond well to it, beyond the taste. So no news there, but it’s always interesting to be reminded! So again I found myself asking the same question: “What is going on?” and again, I realised that I had simply outgrown the “whys” that I had felt very happy with just 13 months previous!
It was time to up my game again. And I had yet another really major realisation along the way: The degree to which you eat raw is determined by how low your lowest vision of yourself is and how high your highest vision of yourself is.
That sentence is worth re-reading!
And as with all things in life, often our habits will settle on or just above the lowest setting, as we all seem to be programmed that way. So, what I have learned and what I want to pass on to you, is 1) Get very clear (and excited) about what your BIG WHY is. I also like to refer to this as your “Squealicious Vision” – so-called because it should be so juicy and delicious that it makes you literally want to squeal! Your BIG WHY should feel much bigger than the person/life that you are currently experiencing today and, the longer you’ve been into raw food, the more “out there” your vision is likely going to need to be.
2) Become aware of the lowest vision you hold of yourself (for example, do you still think of yourself as overweight and as if that's always going to be the case, as I did for many years?) and your highest vision too. Bearing in mind that your “setting point” will, in time, if not already, be hovering around your lowest marker, it’s time to raise both the bars – and your subconscious will work with you at many levels to help you match up to your new “lowest” as soon as possible (so make your “low” high!). Try it – I think you’ll be seriously amazed!