Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Days 4 & 5

I have made it 5 1/2 days at 100% raw.
This stuff is hard. But I made it... with my hubby's help again.
It's not really the food part, although that certainly takes a lot of adjusting...
The hardest part is all emotional!

I was definitely aware before that, under stress, I craved certain foods for entirely emotional reasons.
  • "I've had a bad day, I need some chocolate."
  • "I'm so tired, let's just order pizza."
  • "Work has been so tough this week, I want breadsticks and nacho cheese."
Now, being so deliberate in my food choices, I am finding myself realizing how MUCH I reached for food for emotional reasons. Here are some of the more subtle examples I've noticed.
  • "Hm, I'm so hungry, I don't have time for something complicated. Spaghetti sounds good."
  • "I want to relax. I'll read a book and have hot cocoa."
  • "I've had dinner but I'm still hungry. I'll have some gluten-free cookies, those are healthy, right?"
By themselves, spaghetti and a lot of other foods are pretty innocent. But something may be "healthy" or you may be "hungry," but that is NOT why you are eating it at all. And I did not realize before that these really were emotional cravings, habits, and addictions until now! Not only that, I did not realize how often I really truly thought I was hungry when it was just an emotional craving.

Over recent months, but strongly highlighted for me this past week, I've come to realize that what foods appeal to us - what sounds good for dinner, what we pick at a restaurant, our favorites foods - are rarely a matter of choice OR a matter of listening to what our body needs and wants. Mostly they are from
  1. What we are used to.
  2. Smells, tastes, and textures associated with (usually unconscious) positive memories
  3. Addictions to things like wheat, cheese, sugar, etc.
I have tried hard for years to eat what my body was telling me it wanted me to eat, so that I could guess what I might be missing nutritionally, and make sure to get it. I realized a while ago that my cravings for sweets and salty foods were not good messages - they were addiction-inspired cravings! Now I am realizing, much to my chagrin, that though I thought I was aware of what my emotional cravings were, way more of the food I would choose is from emotional cravings than I thought! I'm pretty bowled over by it all, really. And it's overwhelming.
Honestly, I had this thought (perhaps a horrible one) that I couldn't be using food to hide from emotions, because if I was, surely I'd be eating way more sweets and I'd be much more overweight, right? I had it in my head that only *really fat* people had issues with using food as a major emotional block. And while I'm not as slim as I'd like or could be, and I have days where I feel fat, I know I'm not really fat. So I couldn't have any serious food-emotion problems... right?
I feel so dumb... it's very humbling.
And now I realize that if I was/am doing it... so are most people, probably!
I've seen Valya Boutenko call part of this the "Food Imprint." The food imprint happens when we are young. Whatever solids we are fed early on by our parents, our bodies associate with health, nutrition, and comfort. Evolutionarily speaking, this is so we learn to crave those foods that our parents - who have our best health in mind, of course - would naturally feed us. We crave foods suited to our environment and suitable to health.

Except, you know, most of us aren't getting weaned onto green smoothies and fresh ripe fruit. (With some inspiring exceptions!) In American and many other industrialized nations, we are mostly weaned onto over-processed crap.

Wow, it's just a lot for me to think about. And damn, day five was HARD. I was overtired from lack of sleep and stress and I just wanted bread and cookies, chocolate and tortilla chips...
And wheat, dairy and corn are all extra bad for me (and many people). They are some of the most common allergens out there, period. They are also in everything! (Which is why they are common allergens!) So it is hard to avoid them all and easy to crave them!

I think I'm detoxing hard. I have had a headache for a few days and intermittent nausea for three days. It is NO fun. I am debating whether I need to pull back a little and eat 90% raw for a while instead... but given all this emotional stuff I am uncovering, I want to be careful not to make that decision for the wrong reasons. I really need to listen to my body. Mostly I think my body is saying, "lay off all the fatty foods, yeesh!" I need to eat more fruit, I think.

Day 4:
~40oz green smoothie
chocolate mousse (this is so amazingly delicious and healthy too!)
flax crackers with nut pate
nori rolls with apple, avocado, lettuce, and raw honey (YUM!)

Day 5:
~35oz. green smoothie
salad of mixed greens with sliced tomato and avocado
herbal tea
collard wrap with carrot, zucchini, onion, avocado, kale, and portabello mushrooms

Lots of delicious food!

No matter where I go from here, I am proud of myself. Every day, every hour I stay 100% raw is another day/hour longer than I ever have before. And so even if I don't make it through a whole month at 100% raw, I've still accomplished something. I know I can eat way more raw food than I thought before!


  1. Wow, that's a great thing to realize! Knowing that, even if you did go back to eating all cooked foods, you will have much more awareness about why you're choosing the foods you choose. Great job digging deep to find that out.

    I've been transitioning to eating raw for about 2 years now, and it's taken me that long to wean out all the cooked food cravings, and I've learned a lot about myself in the process. It is challenging and I'm certainly not done learning. You've made a huge leap toward health and you're doing awesome. Keep up the hard work. It'll pay off.

    If you feel 100% is too much too fast, try eating a baked potato, or some rice without anything on it to slow down the detox process. It may also help with the emotional food cravings to have something somewhat familiar. Don't overdo it though—starches (even cooked starches) can be hard to digest on a body that hasn't had them in a little while.

    And yes, fruit is the absolute best thing you can be eating on a raw diet. I recently posted something on my blog about fruit, if you're interested:

    Best of luck!

  2. My biggest challenge has been cheese, especially on top of a pizza. We grew up very poor, so Pizza Night was a Big Deal. I definitely associate cheap pizza with the excitement of being able to eat something Unusual. Even eating a very strict vegan diet, I struggled with cheese and/or pizza. I've found it easier going raw, but the cheese samples still tempt me in the grocery store. I think "It's just one tiny cube, right?" But I don't actually WANT to eat it, so I'm doing my best not to.
    Great job delving deep, and thanks for sharing!
    Oh, and I found that upping my fruit intake has helped with the detox process.

  3. More fruit, check!

    SbutterAMfly: Yes, that is very helpful! That makes a lot of sense. I will definitely start eating more fruit. It is still one of my blocks - I keep thinking I just can't eat that much fruit, but I know that's all in my head. I still remember being told as a child that I shouldn't eat too much fruit or it would make me sick. Specifically I remember someone telling me not to eat more than one apple in a day or else I would get diarrhea! It's weird to think of that now, but I still seem to think of fruit as something to be eaten in moderation.

    Alyce: Boy do I understand that. I've known for years that I am lactose intolerant, and for about a year that I am gluten-intolerant, but all through last year I would still break down and have pizza, or more often breadsticks with cheese sauce, whenever I was really having too much emotional stuff going on. Have you read Victoria Boutenko's "12 Steps to Raw Foods"? There is a section in there that explains *why* salt, cheese, wheat, and other common foods are actually biochemically *addictive.* I was amazed, and yet... it made so much sense as to why those foods are so hard to kick!