Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here goes, one more raw food blog...

You know what, it's time to just do this. Stop waiting for a moment of brilliance or deep insight or even having my shit together. I want to start putting myself out there, getting plugged into something greater. Yes, that means exposing myself a little. So the title "Rachel Raw" seems appropriate here in more than one sense.

But the primary reference to raw here is that of my diet. I've been doing a raw food diet since the beginning of September 2007, so over 2 months now. I've been pretty close to 100% raw that whole time, although some of the store-bought "raw" products I've been eating are questionable such as Blessing's Raweos (are the cashews in there really raw?), and some of the food at restaurants such as Karyn's may have some iffy ingredients (Nama Shoyu, etc.) as well. But I've pretty much embraced the raw diet all the way; I've just taken to it whole-heartedly. David Wolfe inspired me in the Sunfood Diet Success System when he said that in going 99% raw he reaped 99% of the benefits but in going 100% raw he reaped 1,000% of the benefits. Whatever that means; it sounded good to me.

Before I became raw, I was vegan for a month and a half, and before that, vegetarian for a few weeks. It's been a rapid progression; one thing just kept leading to another as I began reading online about vegan and raw diets. The original impetus for this whole journey was the person I dated back in April-May 2007 who was a vegetarian and an inspiration to me in many ways. He reawakened me to a more spiritual worldview, one that I had explored as a religious studies major in college (Rice '04) but then abandoned when I began studying social science and evolutionary theory in grad school (U. Chicago '07). This person's openness to spirituality and his vegetarian philosophy deeply appealed to my inner idealist, and over a period of months, I began to evolve towards those ideals. Still, my studies of human evolution remain integral to my worldview today, and I am struggling to juggle the scientific perspective with a more intuitive and spiritual approach to life. As a result, I'm in a major transition right now.

The raw food diet has been a huge part of my transformation. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started! Even if people had warned me, I don't think I would have fully understood them until I experienced it. Matt Monarch's book Raw Spirit is a good description of the changes you experience on a raw diet, and I really related to it when I read it about one month into the diet. Quite simply, this diet makes you wake up. It forces you to be real, to be true and authentic and not numb yourself to the beauty and pain of life any longer.

Not long into the diet (literally within one week), I started feeling this change inside me. It was as if the layer of insulation I used to carry around myself had been stripped away. My senses of smell and taste were more sensitive, and I just felt more. This was not necessarily good. My job, which had been less-than-satisfying for quite some time, suddenly seemed unbearable. I was a research assistant on a clinical trial testing a pharmaceutical drug for smoking cessation. Sounds cool, but really it was just a glorified office job with the added loveliness of working in a hospital, handing out pills and nicotine patches every day, and pipetting urine into test tubes (oh yeah). How could I work in this soul-stifling atmosphere now that I was purifying my body with raw foods? I just couldn't; every fiber of my being said no.

So, after a few weeks of under-performing and feeling depressed in the job, I had a meeting with my boss, told her I was unhappy and wanted to move on, and we mutually agreed it would be best for me to go. So, 3 weeks into raw food and I had quit my job. Great. Nobody told me that would happen! I was happy to be free but freaked out at the same time. What now? This is a question I still haven't figured out.

Throughout this time, I've experienced the various highs and lows of raw foodism. There have been the moments of inexplicable joy, wonder at the beauty of nature, random tears upon watching a mother and her baby (and wanting babies myself--oh dear!). And of course, there have been the physical improvements--a little weight loss, skin clearing up, improved sensory experience, increased energy and vitality. Nothing sensational, but I didn't have any major health problems before, thankfully. But, on the down side, there has been the overeating, randomly and ferociously rearing its ugly head and resulting in a good amount of guilt (and gassiness, haha). Well, supposedly, the overeating gets better as you become a more seasoned raw foodie--I'm waiting.

So, here I am. I haven't figured out what to do job-wise. I like writing, and I've started journaling more, but I have too many thoughts and not enough discipline to write them all down. Then there's the ever-increasing urge to become a mom and raise a wonderful raw family on some nice piece of land with a garden and fruit trees and...hello, I am single and live in Chicago. Oh well. For now, I've continued my part-time job teaching GRE test prep and also started working part-time at a raw food restaurant and health spa here, which pretty much involves answering the phone and giving rich ladies spa treatments. We will see how long that lasts.

I have so much to say about my experiences and feelings on this journey, and I also really want to get connected to the raw food community on a deeper level. That is why I'm starting this blog. But I don't want this to be just about raw foods. I want it to be about life, about the awakening to a richer, fuller life experience that I am experiencing because of raw foods. We'll see how this goes. Thanks for reading.



lenettenakauchi said...

Love it girl! You're on the fast track, for sure. A great writer too ;)

Doug said...

Wow. Great story. Thank you for this!