Whew, I write this post a day late and with some difficulty. It shouldn’t really be all that hard, considering the topic headline, but still theres that lingering fear. What of the judgement or the criticism, what if you the reader loose faith or respect in me and my message? With this threatening my calm I remember that if I have learnt one thing in my raw lifestyle journey, the only persons judgement that matters is our own. No matter who you are or what you do people are going to judge you and your actions, some with positivity and some with negativity. We ourselves hold the keys to how that judgement may or may not effects us. While giving power to others judgements can cause us much stress, doing the same to our own judgements of ourself can very well determine our physical and mental health, feelings of self worth, level of stress or lack there of, and general sense of content.
If you haven’t caught on, out with it, for the first time in well over a year I slipped on my 100% raw lifestyle.
Yes I too am human ahahhaha, although that sounds quite silly to say it helps that we all remember that about ourselves from time to time. We all have times of weakness and may slip up at one time or another. While we may wish to shoot for “perfection” its ok that we don’t hit the mark in all aspects all the time. I have actually come to learn this lesson by failing to learn it more than a few times in the past.
In my first 2 years of going raw I put so much pressure on myself to be “perfect”. I equated so much of my self worth and my level of personal success with being 100% raw with no exceptions that when I did slip from my ideal I actually hated myself and went into a few days to a week of greasy fast food and junk food bingeing. After having been vegetarian for more than a few years, later moving to vegan then raw vegan, I felt like such a failure in falling back in my beliefs and ideals. By adding in my own harsh self judgements when I slipped I not only felt physically beaten down but I also found myself slipping into a depression as well, a double whammy.
In retrospect I can see that I took part in some of the most common ways to slip as a raw foodist. In those first years I often was eating the wrong foods as staples, because of that I was drastically under eating total calories and over time I found myself with intense cravings. Other times I couldn’t deal with the emotions that were rising as a part of my physical and emotional detox, as I grew up comforting myself with food, I found myself falling back into that behaviour. Another common mistake I have fell into was over eating fatty foods (nuts, seeds, avocado) which can lead to poor absorption among other problems, often while using spices and garlic which can also trigger cooked food cravings.
From my perceived failings in the past I have learnt to overcome these common pitfalls and grown in success with the raw lifestyle. Through under eating I have learnt to eat more caloric dense foods as staples, namely sweet fruits, and in doing so I can easily and enjoyably fulfill my caloric requirements. I also found that through eating adequate amounts of greens (average 1-2 lb a day) with green smoothies salads, soups and stews, cravings for salty or “spiced up” foods becomes a thing of the past. Through truly facing raw emotions/emotional detox I have found attempting to fully feel in the moment without judgement, and in turn acknowledging and releasing the energy is a much better outlet than succumbing to numbing with foods alcohol or anything else. Release through exercise, deep breathing, meditation, hobbies and/or talking them out with a close friend/family member has brought me great results, this something I find to be a ongoing process. Going over it all now I must say that the most important lesson I feel I have learnt is that harsh self judgement has no place in my life and its only use was in learning that its not what I wish to experience anymore.
This brings me to may latest slip.
In the last few weeks I have found life to be a tad bit more challenging and stressful that usual. About a week ago I started having a craving for one of my past favorites, nachos. Instead of giving in I focused more on what i was doing and preventative measures. I upped my exercising, focused on eating more caloric dense foods, and was sure to get my greens in. While this helped release my cravings and brought increased calm, I still had a lingering desire. Through experience and study I have come to see that stress can be just as real a cause of dis-ease as diet, coming from this I have tried to lived by the motto “follow the path of the least stress”. While I have said more than a few times and believed that “I can eat anything I want at anytime”, in practice it seemed I was showing myself the opposite. On halloween when my cravings were trying to get the best of me I told myself “just one more day, if tomorrow you still want the nachos go ahead, no judgement”.
The next day, I exercised, ate more than enough calories through enjoying some of my favorite sweet fruits (persimmon, plantain, and mango), but at the end of the day still craved the nachos.
So guess what, I went and ate them.
While I enjoyed eating them and felt a release in allowing myself to do so, I now am really excited to let go and start again. In the end it isn’t our slips that define us, but how we react to them, if we get up and where we go from there. I cant wait to say its been years since I’ve had a bite of cooked food, but I know it need not be a race, nor is beating myself up over it conducive to health or happiness.
After all we are all human.
I hope this was helpful to you,