This month has really been an interesting month for me. I would have to say it has been definitely the most challenging since taking on the raw lifestyle 10 months ago, but also the most reflective as I have learnt a great deal more than just another series of raw meal ideas.
So what have I learnt, and where to begin. I think the title of this post explains it all. Its like I have taken 2 massive leaps into the raw food world and taken it on whole hearted for 9 months, filled with enthusiasm, energy, excitement and total commitment to living an ideal 100% raw lifestyle.....and then things changed, and I have now taken that one step back. Stepping back and finding a more sustainable way to enjoy a raw lifestyle, one that can be easily obtained and sustained long term.
I don't think it was really just one day or one thing that allowed me to take that step back, just an accumulation of moments, circumstances and factors that have forced me to take a look at everything and reevaluate life.
This month I have seen a major shortage of fresh organic food available in our coop, due to members being away on holidays for school and products just not being available such as basic essential ingredients like tomatoes and zucchinis, and the summer fruits have still not arrived, so my weekly small organic fresh food order has not caused any reason to be enthusiastic about food at all! There is only so much interest I can create with the same selection week after week - hence the complete lack of new posts on new raw creations this month. Chia pudding has become a regular standby on the dinner table each night much to the disappointment for the kids who had just had it for breakfast!
Other than the lack of motivation to create with the same regular ingredients daily, I think the biggest revolation of the month was when I discovered just how distant I had become from my friends due to my 100% raw lifestyle. For the past 9 months I had been literally consumed by the excitement of the wonders of raw living and sharing with everyone I spoke too and became oblivious to the slow demise of my social life. It really hit me hard when I found myself intentionally being left off the invites list of a friends birthday celebration. It was after this that I began to reflect on just how much I had excluded myself and the children from the general community and our friends. I realised then that our social life had haltered the moment we began our raw journey. My friends were uncomfortable around me as they felt I would not approve of their 'conventional' ways so preferred not to include us and assuming I would not be interested in attending gatherings that did not revolve around raw food. While on the other hand, I began to feel judged by everyone, feeling the restrictions, daring not to eat anything that was not raw or I would be caught out as a fraud! I had a profile to maintain as a raw foodist considering all the preaching I had done over the last year on how great raw is. How could I be holding a raw food workshop one week and then eating out with friends on cooked dinners? I soon realised just how controlled my life had become and restricted....and most of all I realised that I just wasn't completely happy. After a week of eating chia pudding for dinner and browsing through photos on Facebook of my friends enjoying a party that I wasn't invited to, I hit a low point and that's when I took that one step back.
I have since heard about life happening like that. When someone jumps into a completely new lifestyle in one massive leap overnight whole heartedly, they follow that lifestyle for awhile, until one day, something happens and then they have to do a reality check, and settle for a middle ground. A lifestyle that can be maintained and continued happily long term. It is that 'middle ground' that 'balance' between conventional life, friends, family, happiness, and raw food that I have to find.
So instead of following my 'daily raw achievements' chart on the fridge this month, I have instead began to seek my middle ground, my happy medium that will keep my family and I happy long term and still feel connected with my family and friends while living a raw lifestyle. And the way to do that is with compromises. I found this month being a month of compromises. I actually cooked our family the first fully cooked meal in nearly 10 months. It was either going to be another bowl of chia pudding for dinner or a serve of sweet cooked mashed pumpkin grown by my lovely friend in her garden with spinach paneer made from homegrown spinach from another friends garden. Though it was not raw, it was wholesome, it was tasty and it was enjoyed by us all. I have since made a few meals that I call 'hybrid meals'. Meals that consist of a high raw portion with a small cooked portion, just to bring some enthusiasm back into the kitchen. I have also attended our first 'kids' birthday party in a long time, and I helped myself to some sweet home baked goods that were on offer. Just allowing myself to be in the 'moment' and enjoy what is on offer is such a huge relief to let go of. Allowing myself to say that life can be about high raw lifestyles, and allowing just a little wholesome cooked foods in a 'moment' can actually be beneficial as takes away the stress of maintaining a very difficult ideal and making life a little easier which is more important. Happiness is the key to the greatest health..not just raw food.
Raw Harmony - finding a harmonious balance of raw living.
A friend posted this link to me after I spoke to them amidst my confusion about life and it helped a great deal.
Why I say I'm 95% Raw
By Victoria BoutenkoThis month my family celebrates our 16th birthday as a Raw Family. Raw food saved our lives and I love every aspect of my raw life except for one. It becomes increasingly uncomfortable to feel the separation of us "purists," (100% raw foodists) from anyone who is "below" that standard.
January 9th, 2010
January 9th, 2010
I first experienced this unease four years ago. I visited my relatives who eat a standard American diet, when suddenly my 9 year old nephew confided to me that he decided to become a vegetarian. He asked me if I would teach him to cook a vegetable soup. I froze, thinking. "How can I do that? I am a 100% raw fooder!" Yet, after looking into Sasha’s excited eyes, I went ahead and helped him cook a soup, which he loved.
Soon after this episode, I participated in a weekend workshop with
Since then I noticed feeling progressively more sensitive when talking to people who were struggling to stick to a 60%, 70%, 80%, or whatever % raw diet. All of a sudden, I realized that my book 12 Steps to Raw Foods (first edition) contained fanaticism about 100% raw foodism. Soon I completely revised this book and published the second edition, which I find to be a much kinder book, and perhaps more useful because of that. I shredded and recycled the left over copies of the old edition.
I have noticed that when I was telling other people about myself being a 100% raw foodist, it came across as if I was claiming to be a better, higher, more spiritual person. I felt so uncomfortable that I repeated in every lecture, "I am just a woman in a green dress. Please don’t put me on a pedestal."
We are all pioneers, still in the beginning of our research of the human diet. Nothing is set in stone and our bodies continually change. For example, while I enjoyed gourmet raw food in the beginning of my raw journey, for several years now, I have completely eliminated food prepared with nuts. In recent years I have decided that it can be healthier, to eat a bowl of cooked green vegetables than a whole jar of raw nut butter.
While I believe with my whole heart that, when done correctly, a raw food diet is the optimal way of eating for humans, and my present diet is almost exclusively raw, I prefer to resign from a "100% raw" position.