Raw Food Psychology

Everything is Relative, Including Food

If you’ve been following my journey on the Master Cleanse, then you know I’ve been fasting for 9 days so far. Today I decided to end my fast and eat something that didn’t taste like lemons.

Before I get into it, I wanted to share a little story about my “food relativity” theory.

It all Started with Climbing The Great Wall of China

Nathalie at the Great Wall of China

In October of 2008, my boyfriend and I visited China. My boyfriend being from China, happened to know the cure for jetlag.

No sleeping during daytime.

Hmm, works in theory, but if you’re trying to switch over your internal clock from 3am to 3pm, you’re going to want a nap.

No problem! My boyfriend decided to do one of the most exciting things that does not allow time for naps.

Climbing the great wall of China, of course!

So here we are, climbing this massive and might I add very steep wall… and getting hungrier by the minute.

We ate some fruits before we started the climb, but by the time we reached the top we were completely famished. (The top is also a relative concept. The Great Wall keeps going and going, much like a certain bunny.)

Luckily, this story ends well. With a little forethought and planning, we were armed with two ginormous peaches.

When I sat down to take a bite of that peach, it was pure heaven.

I’d wager it was one of the most delicious peaches I’ve ever had, if not one of the most satisfying meals.

Actually, the peach was so big and satisfying that I could only eat half.

The First Thing you eat after you Break a Fast

Today I experienced a very similar feeling when I ate some solid food for the first time in days.

I’m pretty sure it’s not that I picked the best cucumber, or the best banana in the world.

It’s that I hadn’t eaten, and I was really looking forward to these fruits and veggies. Coincidentally, I felt great chewing and eating that banana and those cucumber slices.

My Food Relativity Theory

After looking over these two experiences and many more similar ones, I’ve come up with a theory.

“The work out and anticipation before you eat determine how good your food tastes.”

If you’ve just swam 30 laps, that post workout smoothie is really going to hit the spot.

After a fast, those few bites of food are going to feel like the food of the heavens.

This can work both ways though. If you just ate a nice full meal, but really want something else… that extra snack might not be as satisfying, or tasty.

I’ve also had the experience of devouring food that I didn’t really like (read: health-nut food) because I was so famished. That was before learning about raw food, now all my “healthy food” tastes pretty darned good.

I truly believe that our body is great at sending us signals, and this whole “food taste/experience” relativity is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce!

Have You Ever Experienced This Before?

I’m curious to know if you’ve ever had a similar experience. Whether you were amazed at how satisfying something was, or you just didn’t like that 6th chocolate chip cookie, let me know!

Love, Nathalie

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7 Illogical Reasons for Doing a Fast

Okay, I have a confession to make. I’ve been teaching people about raw food, detox, and alternative healing for months, but I’ve never fasted before.

smiley-faces
Photo by Bu

Honestly, I feel like I should post a note that says “I’m not an expert” somewhere on this blog. If only for this reason.

Luckily, my friend Elizabeth P.W. reminded me that it’s okay not to have all the answers. She voiced what I’ve been noticing around the web: people trust those who are honest with them, even if that means admitting faults or problems.

For me that means letting you know that I’ve never done a real fast before. Well, unless you count that time where I decided to eat nothing but apples for one day. (Didn’t do much!)

But that’s all going to change…

I’m about to embark on my very first real fast! I’m going to do the lemonade fast, also known as the Master Cleanse.

I’ll be posting about my experiences here on the blog. I will be as honest and transparent as I can be, without sharing too many of the gory details, if you know what I mean.

It’s funny because before I went raw I always thought fasts had to be for an ulterior motive. Like a 24 hour fast for charity. Or for spiritual reasons.

My rationale for doing this 10 day cleanse is a lot less righteous. Here are a few of my thoughts and reasons:

  1. Winter is coming and I want a strong immune system, so giving my body time to heal would be good.
  2. I’ve been working hard on my Cure Cravings Forever program, and I could use a boost of energy.
  3. I realized that there’s never a perfect time for a cleanse. I was going to do a juice feast in the summer, but somehow the timing didn’t work out. Now or never, I say.
  4. It would be great to know what it’s like to experience “crippling cravings” again so I can really delve deep and share my insights in my Cure Cravings Forever program.
  5. I’m very curious about the reported benefits and I want to know whether to recommend it to people or not.
  6. This master cleanse will be an interesting way to build up my self confidence, and willpower. When you commit to something like this, it’s transformational. (Or so I hear.)
  7. I want to see how much yeast vs. beneficial bacteria I seem to have gathered over years of being on birth control pills and taking antibiotics.

Oh, food cravings…

I’ve gathered a lot of craving busting tricks up my sleeve over the past few years.

I go into all the details in my new program called Cure Cravings Forever. I wanted to let you know that the program registration closes on Wednesday November 4th at Midnight, Eastern time.

So if you want to hear my advice on cravings, without the “high and mighty” voice (I’ll be just as bent on cravings as you during my fast!) then this is your time.

I look forward to working with you on kicking some craving butt!

Love, Nathalie

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Food Cravings: Why They Haunt You, and What To Do About It

One of obstacles that creep up when we decide to change the way we eat is the dreaded craving for that kryptonite food of yours! The cravings, they are hard to deal with.

What are Food Cravings?

Food cravings can show up in a number of different forms. They can be all consuming, taking center stage in your mind for large parts of your day. Appearing in your dreams at night, and haunting you.

They can also be a little more subtle. That pint of ice cream you didn’t intend to buy that somehow ended up in your grocery cart. Your finger punching the speed dial number of your favorite pizza place.

Usually cravings are just that. Your body trying to deal with the changes you’re making to your diet by reminding you of the way things used to be. There’s nothing wrong with you and it’s not your fault that you crave your old favorite foods.

Sugar is Addictive

Sugar is one of the most addictive substances of all. Worse, it’s not just straight “sweet stuff” sugar, but foods that convert to sugar soon after you eat them. Like bread, pasta, and potatoes.

The reason that sugar has that extra addictive pull is a little more complex, because it has to do with your beneficial intestinal flora versus the possibility of yeast developing. Yeast doesn’t just show up in the form of feminine yeast infections, it also shows up as mucus in colds and other “side effects” such a poor digestion.

The more sugar you eat, the more you feed this yeast. If you suddenly stopping feeding the yeast by reducing your sugar intake, you can bet that the yeast is going to let you know it wants to be fed. That can come in the form of cravings.

There’s a lot more science and details to this delicate digestive balance, but that’s a whole other post to itself.

food-cravings-yum
Photo by Pawel Loj

MSG & Other Addictive Substances

To make matters even more complex, you’ve got to fend off the addictive effects of processed foods. Many times the reason we find certain foods to “taste good” is through some added manufacturing processes. And a combination of MSG and “taste enhancers.”

Foods with MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) actually cause your body to react by salivating, and releasing feel-good hormones in your bloodstream. Soon enough, your body gets into the groove of responding to foods this way.

If you start eating whole fresh produce and foods, you’re not going to get that stimulus. Your body will start to look for this response, and if it doesn’t find it, you can be sure that you’ll get signals to go back to the foods that gave it to you.

Get a Consultation to Learn how to Stop Your Food Cravings

One of the skills I’ve been honing for the past few months has been the ability to control and even eliminate cravings. Because I know that we all fall victim to cravings, and I personally would rather have a tool or technique to rely on rather than just caving in each time.

If you’d like to talk to me about your own cravings, and find out how I can help you reduce them, leave a comment here or send me an email via the contact form and we can schedule an informal chat.

What is Your Strongest Food Craving?

Now I’m really curious: What is your strongest food craving for? Let me know below in the comments, I want to know what’s hardest for people so I can help you.

Love, Nathalie

P.S. My biggest craving tends to be for anything chocolate related, with cinnamon rolls being a close second. (Though I know of a few good raw recipes to take care of these, and with my craving spell I’ve got it covered. ;))

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Why It’s Easier to Go Raw Than To Become Vegan

Is it possible that including more raw foods into your life is actually easier than going vegan? Let’s look at some comparisons to find out.

Raw vs. Vegan Imitation Foods

Although both raw foods and vegan foods provide so-called imitation foods, raw foods tend to be very different from their cooked counterparts. When you’re eating vegan chips, it’s very different from eating celery sticks.

That’s not to say that Raw Food doesn’t have any foods that mimic your favorite cooked foods. The difference is that vegan foods tend to resemble your old time pre-vegan favorites.

The reason it’s so much easier to go raw on some level, is that you’re not trying to trick yourself. You know you’re eating raw food and exactly what it is, and you’re not lying to yourself.

Less Tofu and Soy Products

For a number of years soy based products have been touted as a health food, and many vegetarian and vegan “fake meat” products are made of tofu. Soy can cause all kinds of issues if eaten in large quantities.

Soy causes hormonal imbalances, that can surface as less masculine males, and mood disorders for females. Soy is also an allergen for many people, and can cause all kinds of issues such as thyroid problems and lowered immunity if eaten in large quantities.

Asian countries generally did not eat a lot of soy, they fermented it for 3 years and used it as a light condiment. I am often surprised by how little we know about other cultures that supposedly eat a lot of soy in their diet.

One thing to consider is that although soy is very common in Asian countries today, consumption has changed a lot in recent years as advertising and manufacturing changed.

Raw Food Energy

In terms of energy, Raw Food cannot be beat. Since you are eating fresh raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds your body knows how to digest these basic food groups. So you get the fuel from it immediately.

Raw food also places an emphasis on food combination, which helps people to digest quickly without taxing their system and experiencing a dip in energy.

Raw Food Going Mainstream?

The more people who include raw foods in their diet, the more normal it will become. The same thing happened with vegetarianism. When “regular people” started ordering vegetarian meals, it became acceptable to be vegetarian.

A vegan diet high in Raw Food is also a good alternative, if raw isn’t right for you.

It is easier to include more raw food in your diet than it is to eliminate meat and dairy. That’s because you’re starting with a blank slate, whereas veganism and vegetarianism focus on removing certain foods.

When going raw, you are straightforward with yourself about what you’re really eating, you avoid soy and all of the common problems associated with it, and you increase your energy levels.

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Go Raw or Die Trying?

The other day I came across a Facebook group called “Go Raw or Die Trying”. Since when did going raw become such a do or die situation?

Go Raw or Die Trying
Photo by Bram Cymet

I believe we should be nice to ourselves and our bodies. That means not killing yourself trying to reach the idealized concept of being a 100% raw foodist.

Be Gentle With Yourself

A lot of people when they first learn about raw foods, decide to commit to it completely. That’s exactly what I did when I first learned about raw food.

I chose to be 100% raw or nothing at all. And while I think it’s important to give yourself a 30 day trial on raw foods, I don’t think you should kill yourself trying to be perfect.

After all, we are only human. We have moments of weakness, and we all have things to work through. We all have issues with food that we probably didn’t know we had, which tend to surface when we start eating raw.

Eating raw foods really brings up all these old emotional patterns, whether they have anything to do with food or not.

There’s No Raw Food Police

That’s why I always say there’s no raw food police. I think that raw food is great as an ideal to work toward, but being at 100% raw and killing yourself is much worse than the alternative.

If you can eat 75% to 90% raw, without the guilt trips, without pulling your hair out, and without causing too much trouble in your household, isn’t it much better?

Raw Food Police
Photo by Nik Worthley

Whenever we choose to make changes in our life, we should understand where we’re coming from. If you’ve been eating a highly processed or standard American diet for the last 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years, how can you expect to go raw overnight?

You have to give your body and your emotions, time to catch up with your newly adjusted mental model.

Oh, and by the way food definitely has an impact on our emotions. So you’ll want to make sure that you’re not so hard on yourself.

All Or Nothing vs. A Commitment

Sometimes it’s better to transition into raw foods slowly. Just like you wouldn’t try to run a marathon after years of inactivity without practicing first.

You wouldn’t want to overburden your body with the task of taking out the trash (all the toxins you’ve been gathering over the years) overnight.

When you go raw, there are so many different things that take place.

You’ve got to make different choices in your everyday life, and that’s going to bring up some resistance for yourself and for the rest of the people in your life.

You’ll also experience different physical changes. You might start losing weight, you might be bloated or gassy, you might sleep better or wake up in the middle of the night. You might have cravings, feel hunger pains, or lack energy.

All of these things are perfectly normal, but if you’re taking the stance of needing to be in this 100% raw, you might decide that it’s all too much at once and give up.

Going Raw At Your Own Pace

You have to understand that you’ll still be here in a year from now. So any small changes that you make right now will benefit you in the long term.

So even if you can just cut out coffee, and replace it with a green smoothie or green juice in the morning, you’re doing yourself a great service.

Building up small changes over the long term is a great way to include more raw foods into your diet, without causing you too much emotional stress.

Not to mention that taking it easy, is better for the people in your life. You don’t want to scare them or make them think that you’re going all crazy extremist on them, when they still enjoy eating steak.

What you want is to come up with an action plan that you will follow. You can do a 30 day raw trial, because that will give you motivation and results right away.

Your skin will get clear, your eyes will be brighter, you’ll lose weight if you have to, or gain weight if you need it, you’ll have more energy and you’ll sleep better.

But if you decide that after 30 days it’s going to be tough to keep going, then ease back to maybe 90% raw or 80% raw if that makes you more comfortable.

Because aren’t we all doing this raw food thing for a few simple reasons? We want to be healthier, and we want to live in a safe and healthy environment. So don’t make your environment more toxic by trying to go raw or die trying.

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