This past year has been one in which I’ve embarked on a deeper journey of self discovery than I have ever experienced before. That’s not to say I wasn’t working on myself previously, I only say that because in particular, the last 6 months have presented some incredibly heavy obstacles or rather I’ll say difficult choices. The challenges they brought have truly tested my ability to overcome and allowed me to embark on a practice of moving forward one step at a time. What does this have to do with the eating raw you may be asking? In order to approach the challenges I was facing, in a healthier more productive way, I made a very natural commitment months ago to begin cultivating my holistic curiosity fully. The aim was really to help release blockages in the body and focus on my energetic vibrations within. Over the past months I’ve been getting curious and trying out some woo woo practices as some would call it, I’ll be posting on what I’ve been experimenting with so if you’re at all curious about meditation, journaling gratitude, connecting with the universe, moon manifesting, or breath work, you’ll want to stay tuned throughout the coming weeks.
The most recent practice I’ve taken on is a 7 day raw food cleanse which was sparked by my desire to clear out as many toxins as I could and free up internal space to make it easier for me to connect with my body and do one of the simplest things that many of us fail to do fully and that is, to actually feel. I recently read something incredibly interesting in the book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow which talks about happiness as something that we physically feel inside the body. I always believed strongly that happiness was felt inside ourselves and was never a result of external situations however, I seemed to think it existed in the mind and it wasn’t up until I became more curious with the idea that happiness was actually physically felt in our bodies that I began to realize, the mind has less to do with happiness than I previously thought.
Stay tuned until the end if you’d like to know how going raw has helped increase my sense of what it is to be present
7 Days Raw
The first thing I must admit about my week of experimenting on going raw was that I literally did nothing else this week then focus on my eating habits. On a productivity scale, I’d rate myself as a -10 but on a personal development scale I’d say the week was incredibly beneficial & productive.
Tip: If you want to get the most out of a cleanse, for those who are looking for a deeper internal personal experience, I would suggest clearing your schedule completely for the duration of the cleanse or as long as your workload allows. Fully committing and focusing your entire attention on just that, will allow you to experience the cleanse throughout your body and provide time for you to analyze the changes you notice. I know in our busy schedules it can be hard to make time for ourselves fully but it’s so incredibly important to do and should be a non negotiable in our lives. When you make the time and space to fully to commit to self, you’ll be able to more deeply focus on the experience, this alone will allow a greater sense of awareness.
Some would say 7 days is not enough to feel any changes in the body from a cleanse, I challenge you and say that 1 day is more than enough to feel a change if you’re in tune with how your body responds and reacts to different triggers. With that said, here are some of the raw realizations I had throughout the week.
1. Raw can be exciting, easy to make and oh so fucking delicious
2. We eat wayyyyyyyy too much! The same portion in volume of pasta vs. spiralized zucchini noodles to give an example; each fill you up almost the same, one leaves you feeling bloated and lethargic while the other energizes you, is a low reactive food and helps promote positive gut health.
On this note, at no point during the week was I feeling hungry after one of my raw meals; I was completely satisfied and full, not just in the moment but throughout my day.
3. Not every thing we think is raw is actually raw. For anyone that claims to consume a 100% vegan raw diet, I’m sorry to say but unless you have a garden, are making your own products, consuming beverages that are unpasteurized etc etc, then raw doesn’t exist. Literally everything you buy in the store has undergone some sort of pasteurization, fermentation, or roasting process before it is packaged and placed on the shelve. After the first day of shopping for my raw cleanse, I realized that I wouln’t be able to go completely raw but I would do my best to eat as raw as possible with the reasources I had around me.
4. Raw isn’t always better. Sometimes when we cook certain foods, they actual provide more nutritional value than if we were to eat them raw. Also, many foods will have a negative effect on the gut and can actually be toxic, at high doses if eaten raw (Take potatoes for example, or kale).
5. Preparing raw doesn’t take any more time then preparing a regular cooked meal. The main difference is that raw requires a heck of a lot more creativity if you want to be enjoying tasty treats. I wouldn’t recommend anyone who wants to try raw, simply to eat salads all week. You’ll not only be left unsatisded but you’ll probably end up breaking the raw diet early on.
6. Invest in the tools. Unless you’re as stubborn and frugal as me, you’d probably see the benefit of investing in the tools to prepare your meals, or you may just end up saying to heck with it and give up, if you don’t have the proper tools. It took me until about day 4 to realize, the investment of a blender and spirilizer would save me a lot of hassle. Let me just say, yes it’s entirely possible to prepare raw sauces, smoothies and other purée style items with a potato masher, if you’re commitment level to your cleanse is as high as mine was but seriously, make your life easier and just invest in the tools you need.
7. Raw isn’t expensive. If you plan to eat out every day, every second day or even every third day during your raw cleanse, you’ll most likely bust your budget rather quickly. Looking for a little midweek inspiration, I searched out a raw restaurant here in Barcelona so I could sample one of their offerings. What did my little adventure prove to me…for starters, raw meals are priced higher than a standard meal at a restaurant and the food isn’t out of this world delicious. The raw vegan sushi I made the day before was a heck of a lot tastier and well presented more than the beet vegetable purée I had at the raw restaurant.
Eating raw shouldn’t cost you a fourtune but it will if you don’t plan your meals ahead of time or fail to cross utilize the groceries you have bought.
8. Coming off raw can seem a bit scary. I know right, sounds crazy but it’s so true. I was actually fearful for the first day following this cleanse.
As I write this, I have just finished consuming a vegan sandwich of guacamole, tomato, and ricola and a cortado from my favourite cafe, yes it was satisfying, but I can say it was no more satisfying then the raw food I’ve been eating over the past 7 days. I haven’t put anything into my body this week that has undergone a heating process or fermentation and honestly I was a little nervous to even eat a piece of bread and have a coffee. My body has felt so incredibly clean this week and I began to really feel my internal self. It was absolutely incredible.
Day 2 off my raw cleanse had me consuming a coffee and sandwich the morning before I headed to work. Although the cafe I went to was double the price than the other cafes I was use to going, the coffee and sandwich there wete for lack of better words, shit. I only consumed half of both, and to be perfectly honest, it set me off for a good part of the day. This ties into my next realization.
9. Raw can be convenient too, if you make it a priority. After my horrible food experience this day, I thought to myself, literally the typical diet of someone includes countless meals throughout the week that provide absolutely no nutritional value, but yet we continue to consume them. Why? For convenience. We walk around saying, yes I’m committed to my health but yet we drink low quality coffee with oversteamed milk, eat sandwiches of white bread with flavorless and over cooked fillings; all because of convenience. We believe that as long as we put something into our bodies, it will fuel us enough but let me ask you this… Would you put standard grade fuel in your car if it calls for premium? Of course not! So then why are we treating out bodies worse then our cars? Our health and wellbeing must be a #1 priority and more than just thinking it, we must make actionable steps to put oursleves first.
More importantly then the 9 raw realizations of my raw food cleanse, I am feeling such gratitude towards this week as it has opened me up to a deeper experience of self. The biggest change I’ve become aware of this week has been the observance of where my presence has been. Very quickly I noticed a shift in myself while doing this raw cleanse. Typically, I am in a million places at once, trying to focus on them all in the same moment but during this past week, it was as if I couldn’t physically or mentally do more than one thing. If I was walking I was walking, without my phone in hand, if I was writing I was doing so in silence, without music, and if I was speaking with someone, I was fully present in every moment, not putting my focus anywhere else.
It may seem like a boring example but the experimental data I’ve collected from it is far from boring. Here’s a day’s event from last week, mid week, that displays where my presence has been. On this day, I experienced a forgetfulness that was definitely not typical of my nature at all but one that left me thinking, damn this is beautiful! Forgetfulness can seem anything but beautiful but hear me out. It’s the way I forgot and remembered things throughout the day that was truly interesting to me and I’d like to share it will you. Here’s the order of events that occurred… As I was running errands during my day, I decided to stop into a shop to buy a specific item. It was raining, so when I came in, I left my umbrella at the entrance, walked in, saw the shampoo/conditioner, picked some up, walked around the store and then headed to the checkout. I paid for my items, was about to leave and in that moment realized I had come in for a specific item and completely forgot it.
Following this, I headed out to meet a friend. As we were about to leave their place to go for a drink, I realized I didn’t have my umbrella with me. Forget something once ok, but it is definitely not typical of me to forget two things in one day unless I was completely exhausted, tired, and not focused at all but this wasn’t the case this time. I laughed to myself about the experience, we went back to grab my umbrella and off we were. After two hours of a great catch up I grabbed my purse and made my way to the supermarket to pick up a few things before going home. I paid, walked out and that same second I thought, oh shit, I left my other bag which had the things I bought earlier, at the place my friend and I had just left. Seriously I thought ajaj. Something was up. I was more in amazement than irritated or anything else with the series of events. I coupled these events to the fact that I had been so incredibly present in my moments throughout the day that I didn’t have any space to think about what I needed to remember 5, 10, 20 etc min from any given moment.
In addition to my forgetfulness that day, there were a number of physical changes I noticed in my energy all week and how it seemed to be moving through me more freely. The past week of raw has really allowed me to clear space in my body and help me become more aware of where my blocks of energy were. The aim of this whole experiment was to see whether I could begin realeasing these blockages by simply cleaning up what I consumed so that I could feel more of my being, and allow my energy to flow more freely.
Going back to beginning where I spoke about happiness, and how it’s a result of what’s physically felt in our bodies, I think that many of us find it difficult to sustain a healthy form of happiness because we’re typically checked out of our bodies and living too much of the time in our minds. Due to all of this, it’s difficult for us to distinguish were we feel things in our bodies when asked. With that said, I invite everyone who’s reading this to practice being more present throughout their days and ask themselves on a daily basis, How do I feel? Where do I feel it? Becoming more aware of self will help not only release internal blockages but will help the flow of energy within. For me, going raw for 7 days, was a way to adopt more fully the practice of presence.
Now it’s your turn, what are you doing to practice being present?
Share your comments here or find me on IG @soul_essential_travel and let me know your current practice. I’d love to connect with you!