In a conversation with a friend today, we spoke about how fast and extreme our transition to raw foods seemed. For me it was abruptly moving to the Tree of Life-Raw Food Rejuvenation centre in Patagonia, AZ last year and for him it started with a long Green Juice-Only Fast. Fortunately, for each of us during this time we felt we both had a lot of support. The question remains; Is there a healthy, approximate transition time to a Living Foods diet, for the average person who wants to ween off non-organic meat, dairy, wheat? And what can they expect along the way?
As I scanned back over a year ago prior to eating this 80% raw vegan and 20% vegan cooked diet, I recalled my healing time 5 years beforehand. I had been so despondent from the pain in my back that I explored as many alternative ways to heal my body inside and out as I could to before resorting to pain killers and surgery. I had already been a vegetarian since the age of 12 so changing my diet more at this point didn't seem to be the obvious answer. Instead, I choose to do parasite cleanses, kidney cleanses, heavy metal detoxes, colonics, as well as worked with healers, naturopaths and educated and trained myself in the healing arts and in herbal remedies. I switched from caffeinated to decaf gourmet coffee (still enjoy that taste of Full Cup Flavor decaf coffee) as my last resort. I often hear that other people began similar journeys because of desperation, pain in the body or life threatening health ailments. (I think God knew suffering was a good motivator!) During this healing time, I would say I felt the least connected to my community. These were definitely my hardest healing years. Fortunately, the back pain subsided and I felt like I had cleansed myself from the inside out. I still hadn't heard much about the Raw Foods movement.
When I moved to Dr. Gabriel Cousens' center (Tree of Life) last year on a whim, it was because I saw what an amazing living, working community and healing raw foods centre it was. I knew it was a superior bonus that they embraced a spiritual practice and philosophy which supported it's staff and guests and complimented this raw, vegan diet. It was definitely the next level in health and wellness. Since nutrition had always been a lifestyle for me (who I hung out with, where I ate, where I lived), I immediately embraced this community and was ready to take my diet to the next level in bio-genic, life-enhancing foods. I began doing the juicing for Dr. Cousens' 7 day spiritual juice fast retreats. As a staff member, I was not supposed to fast myself while I was working, so I just supplemented my meals with lots of green juice. Just being around so many gallons of juice each day (about 20 gallons) was uplifting! Drinking it, gave me added energy and made me feel great! I wondered why I hadn't heard of green juice before! It was then I coined the term Juice Fuelling, whereby you drink at least 1 green juice a day, to supplement your current meals. Juice Fuelling still offered many of the benefits that guests were receiving on their fast. Again, I thought more people should be doing this and then recalled back when my mother used to juice and even gave me her old juicer.
While the Tree of Life offers guests support in conscious eating and juice fasts, sadly I realized most people are still without such great information. Just then I recalled a portion of a free you tube video by raw food chef & PureJoyPlanet.com founder, Elaina Love. When considering Live Foods, she recommended trying one new Raw Food recipe a day, or incorporating at least one raw food on your plate at a meals or having 1 green juice a day. She also emphasized the importance of starting from a place of non-judgement for yourself and for others. So, no matter what someone chooses to eat, their individual food journey would be able to come to fruition on its own. Many diets and health trends require that we be extreme about our approach to make healthy changes. On the contrary, Juice Fueling asks that we begin by simply -supplementing in- that which may help to optimize our lives.
In Yoga we start taking beginner classes and then delve into the deeper practice as we are ready. Moving into any diet is similar and requests that the student be ready. Being ready comes from learning to "listen to our bodies", like we used to say in yoga classes: "Listen to your body! It will speak to you in a language called sensation." In other words, start with what feels good and stop when it doesn't feel so good. Similarly, if you feel good eating something-EAT IT. If you don't feel good after eating it-DON'T EAT IT! (Of course, tuning into the body to know what feels good or not takes time and practice and lots of green juice!)
Whenever I drink green juice, I always feel my best - clean, clear and full of energy. Pure coffee power but completely more nutritious. I challenge you with my 30 day Juice Fueling program, 1 green juice a day for 30 days in addition to your meals. I will be doing it also, and will give you lots of great ideas for juicing on the go, travelling, juicers, as well as techniques for juicing, juice condiments and recipes. My hope is that this challenge will enhance your life and help you find peace, as well as fun and creative ways to explore healthy, best practices for living and eating. Let the juicing begin!
By the way, did you know Juicing is very environmental. There is no easier way to "Go Green, than by drinking green."