I didn’t know it was possible to feel this good.
I woke up not long ago thinking, “This is the craziest thing: I’m in my 50s and I feel sensational.” I knew it was what Arnold Ehret 100 years ago called “Paradise Health,” physically and emotionally.
I’ve been on a pretty good path for a long time, but it didn’t start out that way. I spent the first thirty years of my life bingeing and dieting. I was always gaining or losing weight, and conversely losing and gaining a very flimsy self-esteem. I finally got so tired of that un-merry merry-go-round that I gave up the fight and was open to recovery from the inside out. I chronicle that experience, and how others can do it, too, in my book The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, and Joy.
Once I wasn’t eating for a fix anymore, I was able to move toward a plant-based diet, ending up at profound, committed veganism. Even though I did it, as Gandhi once said, “for the health of the chickens,” it was a pretty decent diet for my health, too. It was easy to stay thin and avoid the heart disease and diabetes that plague both sides of my family of origin.
But about a year-and-a-half ago, something started urging me to go raw. Not 100%. Not
slavishly or fanatically (as a compulsive overeater with a daily reprieve, I don’t do well with fads and tangents). But my soul or my cells or something deep inside me pressed me to take this turn. I experimented with it for several months and enjoyed it. Then a late spring cold snap sent me back to the comfort of hot soup and creamy chai tea with soy milk. But later, the urge to return to raw came again, even more gently this time. I woke up one morning and didn’t want cooked food. And I didn’t the next day either. And it’s gone on like that for quite some time.
I’m still not 100% and I’m not signing any pledges. I like being able to have steamed veggies and brown rice with my daughter at her favorite Chinese place and, yes, there will be hot soup in my life this winter. But for days at a time I’m all raw, and on the days that I have something cooked, it’s just that, something, one thing–a baked potato, a Chinese entree–and for a week or two or longer, I’m all raw again.
The first thing I noticed after making the switch was how happy I felt. My default for contentment had gone up a few notches. People used to say, “How are you?” and I’d say, “Okay,” and that was accurate. I was perfectly okay. Now I’m more apt to say “Fabulous!” and mean that. The fog has lifted. Happiness came even before energy and strength and clarity, but those have come, too.
I eat (and drink) juices and fruits and salads and smoothies, raw “bread” and raw treats (these are dehydrated; I buy them at the health food store), and lots and lots (and lots) of greens: green juices, green salads, green smoothies, marinated greens. I don’t worry about fat. I use nuts and seeds in recipes and occasionally for eating; I have avocado three or four times a week; and I usually use salad dressing that has some olive or hemp oil in it. I know I’m not getting too much, because I feel balanced and nourished and never have that stuffed, too-much-fat feeling. Besides, after going raw, ten pounds left me that I never intended to lose. If some of it comes back, that’s okay.
I also don’t worry about sugar. I eat fresh fruit, and put bananas in smoothies, and make desserts with dates and a touch here and there of maple syrup or agave. I know I’m not getting too much of that either. Only one time, when I made grape-and-celery juice but the ratio was too much grape to too little celery, did I get the telltale sugar headache. Now I know. It’s all good.
Someone told me when I was first recovering from binge-eating: “You can’t do this with fear.” I feel the same way about raw.
Strangers comment on my skin, my “glow.” And people who want what I have are showing up, as clients in my holistic life and health coaching practice, and as friends. I have no desire to convert anybody, but when someone wants information, I’m thrilled to share it. I mean, why keep anybody out of paradise?