Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Assessment of My Raw Journey Thus Far

Roooth (love the name!) suggested I recap my adventures after seven months on this raw food odyssey. I thought that was a good idea. After all, I've made it past half a year and haven't quit yet! For the first time in my life, thanks to my mostly raw diet, I feel I have almost total control over my eating. I won't say 100% control - maybe 98%. I thought I would take a Body, Mind and Spirit approach to my assessment.


I started 2006 with high hopes of losing weight, lowering my cholesterol and blood pressure, getting back into the gym after losing about 100 lbs, and experiencing a general improvement in all things physical. I've done all these things except reach the 100 lb mark- but I'm getting there. My quality of life has gone up quite a bit as my weight has gone down and allowed me to be more mobile and pain-free. The most important body issue is the connection I can now make between what I eat and what happens to me physically. I can see my complexion roughening up if I eat a certain food. I can see that my skin is much less dry and flaky when I drink enough water AND have enough oils. I can tell the difference between hungry and thirsty and between hungry and bored!

Many people who eat mostly or totally raw have talked about wonderful mental changes that occur- more alertness and a sense of vitality, for example. Better memory, too. None of those things have happened to me yet. However, a major improvement is that I fall asleep more rapidly, sleep more soundly, and stay asleep for a longer time than I have since the early 90s! I used to dread waking up in the middle of the night because oftentimes if I managed to fall asleep again, it would be hours later. These days, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I fall asleep again within minutes. I also don't linger in bed all groggy in the morning. I'm usually ready to get up right away (even if I don't want to!). The depression I suffered before going raw lifted pretty early on. I still have plenty of worries that cause me stress, anxiety and chest pains, but I don't have that depression where I felt completely helpless and overwhelmed. I guess that means I feel more energized or motivated or something- my mind is stronger!

I haven't had that spiritual awakening that some raw folks talk about; no miracles have happened and I don't feel closer to God (sorry, Mom) but I think that those who have experienced that are very lucky people and I am truly happy for them. I used to study Buddhism and got into vipassana meditation, but strayed from it a couple of years ago when I felt I had reached an impasse. Lately I've been working my way back to it. In fact, I wonder if my healthy eating habits will make meditation easier- one of the things I struggled with.

Since my weekend of fast food and ice cream, I think I feel more aware of the immense change I've made in my diet and the positive effects the changes have had on me since January. I think I feel more in tune with my body, as if it isn't my enemy the way it used to be. In other words, now that I'm taking care of it, I'm feeling more of a union with it. I still hate the way it looks, but I realize that this is more about my not possessing society's idea of attractiveness than anything else. On the other hand, I don't strive to a be a beauty- just a healthy person! Being overweight or having bad skin are simply reminders that I'm not totally healthy yet, so that's what I have to focus on. Getting back into my Buddhist studies helps me to remember to not get attached to superficial concerns like beauty anyway.

So that's where I stand in the second half of year one. I'm thinking that I can eat this way indefinitely, with a few treats here and there. I know I'm not "cured" of my past eating disorders- I sincerely believe that the monster is lurking and can be awakened if I overdo the foods that are wrong for me. When I'm extremely bored or very worried (about exams, paying bills, etc.) I want to eat, eat and eat some more. But I envision my future as one featuring a mostly raw diet, regular physical exercise, and a calm spirituality. I know that mind, body and spirit are all connected, so I plan to carefully tend to each of these areas and to not flog myself when I screw up. Everything has been a beneficial learning experience so far, and I've got much more to learn.




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