Not too long ago, I think it was last year sometime, I had to fast in preparation for a medical procedure. If you have never done it, fasting is very, very hard! Since I could not escape the process and just had no choice in the matter, I chose instead to listen to what my body was telling me as I avoided food and most drinks. It turns out that my body had a lot to say. One thing it said, loud and clear was, "This feels really good! Please do this again sometime in the future! Once a year might be nice!" I found that, when I was not distracted by the sensation of hunger--a very strong distraction--I experienced a feeling of lightness and mental clarity. My energy actually seemed better,and I felt so clean.
I used that time to think about my relationship with my food--Why I eat the things I eat, the content of what I eat, and the reasons I eat. Not surprisingly, I was not always eating only when I was hungry at that time. I'm not too much of an emotional eater, except when I'm under stress or very busy (the body looking for energy--any energy). I'm a boredom eater, or at least I was at the time. I've gotten much better about that since then. If my mind and body are not occupied, I look for snacks, and usually not the good kind. It was good to learn these things about my eating habits, because now I am working on fixing them.
I started to think about how raw foods make me feel when I eat them, even just a carrot straight from the garden or a few leaves of chard. After my procedure, whenever I would eat something raw, I would tune into my body and notice how I felt after eating these foods. Like with fasting, I find I feel light, refreshed, energized, clean when I do so.
Later in the year, when we were grocery shopping one day, my boyfriend and I picked up a book on raw foods. It's a basic volume on the health benefits of raw foods and on the best raw foods from which to get certain nutrients, and it talks about different people who have laid the groundwork in this area. I'm currently in the middle of this book, but the whole thing has affected me pretty profoundly, and I'll be seeking out more information, for sure!
Fast forward to this week. On Sunday, I started a raw foods cleanse as a first step in my transition to raw foods. It's not my intention to go completely raw; however, I do want to up my raw foods intake to 1/3 to 1/2 of my total diet. The cleanse is not a fast. I am eating the things I normally eat while taking the supplements for the cleanse. It's a cleanse derived from organic, natural, raw sources. It is food, not chemicals (though it is in powdered form.) I am only on Day 3 of my cleanse, and all I can really say about it at this point is that I feel tired. Today, I'm noticing greater mental clarity, though, and overall, I feel good. Because the supplements are food based and create quite a bit of bulk, I am eating less. (There's just not enough room in my gut for everything.) I'm eating full meals as always, but they are smaller.
Our next step will be to get a juicer. A "for real", heavy duty, somewhat professional-grade juicer. I don't actually like the idea of fasting in the sense of going without anything other than water and clear liquids, but I can see doing a juice fast about once a year or so.
So far, our raw meals are simple: We add in salads here and there. I eat raw foods as snacks. We forgo cooking vegetables we have as sides. I intend to explore more, though, and try new recipes and new foods. You have to start somewhere, though, and you really should start small. After all, you don't want to shock your system.
While weight loss is a goal of mine, it is not what is driving this exploration. What is driving this exploration is, as with anything else we do at Little Stone House, to continue to live in close harmony with Nature, to reduce my footprint, and to become as healthy as I can. I don't see myself completely giving up a good veggie burger or vegan cupcakes (the horror!), but I definitely want to do better by my body than I have in the past.
As always, I'll be sure to post new recipes we try, so check back often!