Friday, May 15

The raw trials

A friend recently commiserated with me about how it makes her feel depressed when she gives in and eats cooked stuff, either through social pressure, or because it is there, or simply because her cravings get the better (or worse) out of her. I am totally same that way. So many times I do not resist, so many times I end up with achy tummy and tell myself not to do it again only to let it happen next time.

We all have our weaknesses, I suppose. Mine is travel. One of the joys of travelling to different countries, at least for me, is tasting the local food. Also, as I most often travel with Cooked Husband, it is nice to take it easy and share whatever he eats, taste each other's food, that kind of thing. And I am not even bringing into the picture other people and their opinions...

My body definitely always lets me know that I didn't follow my best rules or guidelines or knowledge. I don't feel great, my energy level starts to drop, my skin looses its luster and often I get spots ... but the hardest thing of all is what my mind does to me. It tells me stories about how I am living a lie, it tells me how I failed myself (and others) and how depressed I am now that I stuffed my face with a cooked feast. It really can makes me feel low, depressed and a failier. This is terrible. It is a bit like slipping on a banana skin, twisting your ankle and then beating your head against the pavement as a punishment for not seeing and avoiding the banana skin in the first place. Basically making the pain worse and the damage longer lasting.

And so this is what I said in an email to my friend. I wrote it at work, just really quickly, and this small droplet of wisdom flew through me. Here I share it with you, and at the same time I am hoping that I will take my own advice. Eat raw as much as possible, if pleasurable, but do not make it a religion.

"I am sorry you are feeling down because of what you ate. I do it all the time, too, and it is a bit pointless, don't you think? We want to eat raw to feel good about ourselves, not to feel bad when we don't manage to stay raw. Does that make sense?"

How do you deal with your raw lifestyle slip ups? Let me know, every little helps!

Tuesday, May 5

Uncooking for Cooked parents

I believe that one of the challenges of being succesfully raw and living in peace with all other people never mind what they want to eat is in not pushing your raw ideas on them. When I first 'discovered' raw 15 months ago I could, as every raw fooder there will know for themselves, not believe that not everybody out there didn't want to hear what I learned and how much sense it made. So I talked to people, gently, but still, letting them know about this wonder that simple unheated and unprocessed food is.

I am not so new to eating well. I have been an avid healthy eating / nutrition / alternative almost anything reader for over two decades now and have acuired some knowledge in the field. And yet even for me the journey to raw food took a long time. I have read Norman Walker's books first time 18 years ago, and although they resonated deeply with me I have totally missed the point that he was a raw foodist! It just was not a concept I was ready (or perhaps willing) to understand. I have also met several raw foodists a few years ago while living in Canada and working in a lovely yoga centre Rama Lotus. Back then I have began to understand what it meant to eat only raw food, but I was not yet ready to believe that it was the perfect way. Especially not in Ottawa where the temperature in winter regularly drop 3o degrees Celsius below zero. It simply did not make sense to me. Not yet. I must confess that even Luke's amazing raw chocolate truffles left me rather clueless... What a shame!

Anyway; when things fell in place and I was finally ready to start eating this way, I have remembered my own slow process and I did my best not to impose on people by only sharing my diet habits when asked about it. When told I looked amazing, I would mention that it must be the  benefit of my raw food diet and smile. Lots of people found this interesting, some people said to be careful and not to make myself ill, and a few probably thought I was crazy, but this is not a new concept to me and left me unchallenged.

One of the more gentle sceptics are my dear Cooked Parents in-law. They do their best to be supportive and even stock their house with lots fruits and veggies when we are visitting. I could not be more lucky,really,  I could not have a more loving Mum in-law. But I think sometimes she is worried about what it is I am doing.... It seems so strange to them, strangely, to eat only stuff that has not been cooked. We are all such creatures of habit, we do not question why we do what we do, but we will question when we see something new, unexpected, radical even. 

With myself, I find that the more raw I eat, the less I am actually willing to cook certain things, and mostly I do not want to work, touch or eat meat. And so when my cooked in-laws came to visit last time, I have given up my role as an exclusive chef for the evening and asked Cooked Husband to prepare the main meal, as he wanted somthing cooked. I have, as usual, prepared a raw starter, which you can see above. Cooked husband named it 'The Trafic Lights Salad' and it was created from red, orange, yellow and brownish tomato, yummy ripe avocado, basil and pinenuts based pesto and extra splash of olive oil. It was delicious, everyone loved it, and we even had a 'which tomato do you like best' contest.

One more way to bring more raw food onto people's plates are the side veggies. You can steam carrots, green beans, mange touts and brocoli for just a minute to warm them up very very gently, or you can even steam a half and then leave the second half raw, letting people to help themselfs from whichever bowl they prefer. Presentation is the key, and dressing the veggies in a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of pink himalaian salt will help as well. Also I find that during a dinner party the focus in as much on a conversation and having fun as it is on food, so your guests  might not notice so much that the carrots are a bit crunchier then they would make them at home.

After Cooked Husband spent a sleepless night last time I made a raw chocolate cake, I was a bit worried to make it again, and as I found my raw larder a bit empty, I ended up making a regular non raw desert. I was surpriced to not like it as much as I used to, finding it clogging and overly sweet, so it is my plan that from this moment onwards, in this house, there will be raw starters and raw deserts at every dinner party. This might also mean Cooked Husband's bigger participation in preparing the meal, which I found left me strangely unstressed and collected, having all (t)his help. So now I have two reasons. And who knows, as I get more confident and practice and play more with my raw recipes, I might one day serve a completely raw meal to a definitely cooked unsuspecting people and have them coming for seconds, perhaps even without knowing how much good this is doing to their bodies!