Monday, August 3, 2009

HOW TO STAY RAW...AND TRAVEL!

Hello dear folks,

It's another gorgeous morning in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio :-)) The back door is open. Birds chirping. Cool breezes. Bright sun. Blue skies. Low humidity. Gorgeous again! Our 4th beautiful day here. Cliff is outside playing with Walter, ruff, ruff. Ken is relaxing watching some TV. Debbie is still asleep. And i have the opportunity to connect with you a bit :-))

So, how does one stay raw when traveling?

Well, first of all, it has to be A1 priority. For me it is. To stay raw.

YOU NEED A COMPELLING REASON TO STAY RAW
Things got pretty bad with me. I was so heavy, 425 lbs, i could barely walk anymore and was demoralized in that i could almost no longer reach my bottom to wipe myself on the toilet. I couldn't fit in the bathtub. I couldn't wipe myself in a stall bathroom out. I had to turn sideways and stand up to wipe. It was AWFUL.

I hit rock bottom for me and NEVER want to nor intend to go back. For me, the raw vegan lifestyle was a life line, a way OUT of the hell of constant binge eating on fast food, constant out of control weight gain, constant morbid obestiy, constant hopelessness.

WHAT'S YOUR COMPELLING REASON TO STAY RAW? For many it's cancer or lupus or arthritis. For me, it was compulsive eating. I still struggle as you know, but it's 1/100 of what it used to be. You need to know why YOU need to stay raw.

STICK WITH WHAT IS WORKING
In my days growing up, i went on EVERY diet, trying to find the perfect one. I yo yo'd up and down in my weight after each new diet fad.

This won't seem related, but it is: When i found my voice teacher, Badiene, something clicked with the METHOD she was teaching me. It began to make sense to me the longer and longer i studied with her. She was my 4th voice teacher in all of my studies, but the one i made the MOST PROGRESS WITH the fastest. I stuck with her BECAUSE IT WORKED, because she had a vision for me, because i believed her.

Sure, i got frustrated often. Sure, it was a process. I made progress, then reverted often. But, i believed in her. I believed in what she was teaching me and i stuck with it.

Having tried every diet under the universe and finding no long term success, i had reached my wits end with cooked food. I determined it was TOO HARD for me to control. I knew about raw. I experienced freedom from cravings. Freedom from binge eating on it. So, I sent myself away to the raw retreat two and a half years ago. They taught me how to eat. It worked. I lost weight, fast. I lost my cravings. THAT for ME was the clincher. I was handed a BRASS RING. No more cravings for hamburgers. And i have decided NOT TO LET GO. I KNEW there were other diets out there.

But, I was DONE LOOKING.

This was crucial to my success staying raw.

I remember i went to 3 voice teachers while i was working with Badiene to see if there was AN EASIER WAY to a perfect vocal technique. I got injured vocally from one teacher. The other i left lessons hoarse. The third gave me a book and asked me to learn 50 NEW vocalises, very different than the ones i had been working with now for years. I looked at it in exasperation and i said, 'forget it.' i'm sticking with what's working. If it's hard, i'll do the best i can, and soon, it'll get easier. And you know what? It did. I'm now totally committed. I even teach singing lessons in the method i was taught by my teacher. (If you're interested in our method, check out Badiene's website, www.voice-teacher.com)

Find what works and to COMMIT to it. I am totally committed. No one can do this without being totally committed. Committment to raw is necessary to stay raw. If you find can't stay raw, you're not committed to it. Ask yourself why? Find out what you CAN commit to. No one said you have to be 100% raw overnight. Everyone's issues are different. Don't feel badly about being weak. Maybe you don't NEED to be 100% raw or even WANT to. Examine your heart, your intentions, what you believe in. And commit to something.

COOKED FOOD IS ADDICTIVE FOR ME
When i read Victoria Boutenkos book "12 Steps to Raw," this sealed the deal for me. In it, she states that MEAT has the EXACT SAME addictive components as OPIUM. I heard that and it resonated...deeply and profoundly.

You see, I could literally NOT STOP eating hamburgers before i went raw. I would drive by a fast food restaurant and bam. It drew me in. I HAD to eat a value meal. I was literally under the control of fast food. I would often eat 5 value meals from different restaurants IN A ROW. I was OUT OF CONTROL with meat, with bread. I felt like a drug addict. I don't know if it was the chemical components of the trash food, but i was HOOKED. All therapies to release myself emotionally failed. For me, it came down to changing my food. Everything else, the emotional component, the spiritual component have followed and will continue to evolve. Raw for me was a way OUT of the hell of addiction.

I saw Morgan Spurlocks movie about McDonalds. Watched him puke his guts up from overeating McDonalds, yet still CRAVE it. And i knew. THIS was ME.

I believe i am a cooked food addict. That is why i don't START. Because i believe i won't be able to STOP.

If that is the truth or not, i am not entirely sure, but it has been a guiding belief during my 2.5 years raw.

I do believe that steamed veggies, baked potatoes, maybe even beans and rice may be healthier for me than eating a pound of nuts in one sitting. BUT, i'm a little afraid to GO THERE. For fear of liking it TOO MUCH, of opening a door that i won't be able to shut. I leave it open if someday i will incorporate these cooked foods into my diet. I'm not there yet. I'm not even contemplating that now. So far, this is working. I'm happy with it. I'm sticking with it. But, i might consider it in the future. Carlene Jones of www.rawfoodbootcamp.com is now working with women who are adding back a little cooked food to their diets in an effort to maintain a high raw diet for a LIFETIME, and she is finding they are having GREAT success at this. It is a possibility for me for the future. Just not right now.

To stay raw, I had to come to a determination that this diet is beneficial for me. Not even beneficial, crucial. You can't stay raw long term unless you do that.

TRAVELING RAW
For me, staying raw is paramount. So when traveling, i do whatever i have to do to ensure i stay raw. That's the only way to do this.

TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY DIET
I always say to people, "You have to have a REALLY COMPELLING REASON to STAY raw." Cooked food is EVERYWHERE. It can be nearly impossible to find raw food OUT if you don't make it your TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY to ensure you have RAW FOOD with you WHEREVER YOU GO.

Sure, it was a wonderful surprise to find gourmet raw at the 2nd Street Market, but you can't COUNT on things like that happening. You can't throw caution to the wind. Well, maybe if you're as spiritually attuned as Jesus, you could. If you can go long periods without eating waiting on God to provide, you could do it, but most of us would give up before then. I had 6 bananas in my purse that i had brought with me to the 2nd Street Market because this is what i DO. I take food with me EVERYWHERE. Why? It's MY responsibility to STAY raw. How do you STAY raw? You take raw food with you EVERYWHERE. Let that be your mantra.

Total responsibility means no more excuses. 'Well, we went out...and there wasn't anything raw on the menu.' This is the victim in you talking. You take food WITH YOU. If there happens to be a salad on the menu or a fruit plate, how wonderful, but if not, you have your food with you. Many a time i have taken a container of nutspread with me in my purse out to a restaurant. I get a salad, plop the nutspread on top, ask for lemon wedges and olive oil, and oila, a delicious salad. If you go to mexican, you can always get avocado. Beware of dairy in the guac. Always ask.

LITTLE FUDGES DON'T BOTHER ME
If i have to, out, i'll use regular vinegar. Regular vinegar is cooked, but there are certain things that i am not fanatical about, and vinegar is one of them. I have cooked vinegar maybe 1x every 3 months. No biggie. For me, i ask myself, "Will this make me addicted again?" If i feel it's a safe fudge, i'm okay with it. I'll talk more about this later.

So, having established the #1 RULE to stay raw: TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY (Take food with you wherever you go), let's see how you do that.

HAVE IGLOO WILL TRAVEL...and other crucial equipment
Okay, how do you stay raw on a 10+ hour car trip?

"Well, there was nothing raw at the rest stop, so i had to buy a hamburger."

Sorry, that's the victim mentality again. It's not the REST STOP that is at fault. It's YOU!

I take a BIG red igloo with me wherever i go for longer than a few hours. I pack it with fresh ripe fruits, any kind of raw snacks i have, raw stringbeans for snacking, raw almonds, fresh grapes, cherries, corn on the cob, nutspreads if you've made some, lettuce, a bowl, a fork and knife, tomatoes, raw dressing, whatever. As long as it's all raw. THAT's called RESPONSIBILITY.

Invest in those BLUE freezer icepacks. They will be your friends.

The other day we went out here in Ohio with our friends. I didn't know if i'd be caught out for hours without food so, yes, i take bananas in my purse, but i also packed up the igloo with whatever i had fresh and wanted. Turned out we were back soon and i didn't need any of the food in the igloo. OKAY! No biggie. Just unpack it!

On our trip here, i also took some other equipment. My VITAMIX blender. My FOOD PROCESSOR. My zucchini spiralizer.

I recently sang a wedding in Maryland and stayed in a hotel. We chose the HAMPTON INN because a) i know they have mini refrigerators in all of the rooms b) they offer free breakfast and always have fresh fruit c) they have a mini bar on top of the fridge that has a plug for a 3 pronger like my vitamix has.

With the vitamix, a smoothie is only seconds away. With the cuisinart food processor, a nori wrap or a chopped salad is only seconds away. With the spiralizer, spaghetti or a pretty decorative salad is only seconds away. You just have to WANT this. And it's EASY.

A FOR EFFORT
Sooo much effort you say, so much prep, so much to think about.

To me, raw is EFFORTLESS EFFORT. What is faster than a banana? No, an apple or a peach is even faster (no unpeeling!)

Because i WANT to be raw, the effort needed to stay raw is EFFORTLESS. It's not drugery. It's not hard work. I don't feel sorry for myself. It's SELF CARE that i am happy to do. It's SO MUCH EASIER FOR ME than Weight Watchers. I could NEVER control cooked food. I can control this, for the most part. You'll find, too, the heavier you eat, the more you crave it, so the more i control heavy fatty raw food (nuts, etc...), the easier raw is.

FOODS I TOOK WITH ME THAT MAKE RAW EASIER AND A DELIGHT
-celtic salt or himalayan salt
-raw vinegar
-agave
-head of fresh garlic
-olive oil
-nuts
-cacao
-coconut flakes
-hemp seeds

I know i can always have a decadent chocolate smoothie anytime i want. First thing i did when i got here to Ohio, to our friends house, is buy 10 pounds of bananas.

And I know i can always make myself a salad..i have all of the fixings for a fabulous dressing (olive oil, raw vinegar, agave, celtic salt). simple. delicious. add some garlic. some onion. fabulous.

BLACK/WHITE/GREY
While on vacation, if you overdo nuts or oils or salt, so what. It's vacation. Don't be black and white and give up. Learn to live in the grey. Learn to be forgiving of yourself and not a hard ass. Learn that doing the best you can, is good enough. There's always tomorrow. Even things like vinegar or regular mustard (i put a little in my dressing yesterday) or regular salt or cooked honey instead of raw. There are things that are not raw that i may choose to eat once in a while if i don't have another option and i know i don't do it everyday, so it's okay with ME. If it would become a problem, that would be bad. So far, so good. This may sound contradictory to what i've written previously, but really for me it's not.

FIND - YOUR - LIMITS
Know what YOU can do. What YOU can live with. I don't eat cooked veggies because they are SO delish that i won't want to stop. Once you start eating cooked veggies, somehow raw veggies don't seem as appealing. So i NEVER go there. But regular honey? Every once in a while, it's not going to kill me. Vinegar? So, i'm killing enzymes. I'll make it up with my next meal. Condiments to me is not a huge deal. But, everyone MUST determine what is RIGHT FOR THEM. This is okay with me.

RAW IS A CHOICE - DEALING WITH OPPOSITION AND CONFLICT
Eating raw you WILL face opposition. You will be noticed. You MAY cause conflict.

This is how i deal with it.

"You can't eat fish? It's so delicious. I feel bad for you."

I say: "You know, it's not that i CAN'T, i COULD if i wanted to. (this is my favorite saying and always releases me from feeling badly). But, what i'm doing is working for me. I know it's radical. But i was pretty bad before. Maybe someday i'll eat fish. But not right now."

Who knows, maybe i will. Maybe i won't. Eat fish. But not today.

I feel most comfortable not causing too much conflict.

I don't say, "Eating fish will kill you. You're going to get cancer! I feel bad for you!"

God forbid. I don't think i'd have any friends anymore. Let OTHER people do what they will. ACTIONS speak LOUDER than words. If friends see you happy and healthy, they'll be convinced. Personally, i take care of myself and don't really try to convince others. This is my style. I share my story with people willingly, but i don't push the raw food diet as what everybody SHOULD do. It's MY personal decision. I feel it's a very personal decision.

I do, however, SHARE raw food with friends and family. I've done that this trip. Because i make something for ME...to be responsible...and i make enough for them should they desire to TRY. They may not. They may.

On this trip, they did...and they LOVED it!

Ken and Debbie both LOVED the zucchini marinara i made. And Ken chowed down on my raw germinated slightly salted Almonds all last night. I went to put them away, and he stopped me, "Oh, no you don't!" He told Debbie, "if they're better for you, plus they taste pretty good AND they're crispy, why not open your mind to them?" Ken has cancer. I share. But i don't push. Everyone elses diet is THEIR responsibility. I SHARE food. I SHARE info. Everyone must decide and act for themselves. There was a time i felt like a zealot, trying to change everyone. I started eating cooked food again out of frustration. This was years ago. Put the focus on YOU. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

Everyone also loved the raw salsa and guacamole i made last night. They ate it with tortilla chips. I scooped it up with fresh raw zucchini slices. Delish! i put enough zucchini out for everyone, but no one else wanted it, except for me. More for me!

I try not to make people feel badly. That's just me. If someone is really urked over my eating raw food, i apologize, "I'm so sorry if it upsets you. I know it's radical. It's just something i do for me."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, folks, everyone is up and about and i'm going to get started on my day.

I hope this was helpful.

I think all in all staying raw is NOT HARD if you really want it. The old addage that you can do anything you want to if you set your mind to it is really true.

The SECRET says if you set your mind to something, remain positive in your goal all the time, meaning talk to yourself positively (i can do it, it's easy), focus yourself on your goal (i want this), you can and WILL succeed.

Mental conditioning, overcoming emotional pitfalls are are parts of this, for sure.

We can talk about that another time. Meditation, therapy, examining your past...all crucial. Getting out of the victim role and taking responsibility for your life, BEYOND crucial. Irresponsibility and the victim mentality show up in how we deal with food. Take charge of your food. Take charge of your LIFE.

For now, just put one foot in front of the other and MAKE IT HAPPEN. You CAN do it. Look, if i can do it, i was SOOO hopeless, YOU can do it.

xoxox michelle joy

4 comments:

James said...

What great travel tips! I am glad you are having success with your raw food lifestyle.

To Your Health!
James Reno (editor)
Raw-Food-Repair.com

Anonymous said...

Is Agave the Raw Food world's high fructose corn syrup?

Scamp said...

I so appreciate your Inspiring - Motovating - Wisdom

Anonymous said...

Awesome post!