Anyone who has been to one of my Embracing Life! Retreats is likely to be familiar with what I teach and what I stand for – and that is not necessarily a 100% raw raw vegan diet – but one that continues to evolve and develop over time as people learn to move to healthier whole food options.
Some people love to just jump right in, clean out their pantry, fridge and freezer and “go raw”, but for many people who are new to this concept, eliminating some of the worst foods and replacing them with healthier options is enough to start with. Such as taking out the white bread and replacing it with dehydrated flax crackers or using lettuce leaf wraps or nori sheets. Some of these changes can take a bit of getting used to, and one step quite often needs to become fully integrated and comfortable, before the next change can take place.
Which is why I love what Victoria Boutenko, developer of the modern version of the Green Smoothie, has to say on her choice to rework her book “12 Steps to Raw Foods”
“This month my family celebrates our 16th birthday as a Raw Family. Raw food saved our lives and I love every aspect of my raw life except for one. It becomes increasingly uncomfortable to feel the separation of us “purists,” (100% raw foodists) from anyone who is “below” that standard.
I first experienced this unease four years ago. I visited my relatives who eat a standard American diet, when suddenly my 9 year old nephew confided to me that he decided to become a vegetarian. He asked me if I would teach him to cook a vegetable soup. I froze, thinking. “How can I do that? I am a 100% raw fooder!” Yet, after looking into Sasha’s excited eyes, I went ahead and helped him cook a soup, which he loved.
Soon after this episode, I participated in a weekend workshop with Byron Katie about self-realization, along with 500 other attendees. That was the very first non-raw food event that I had been to in more than ten years. I remember feeling different, weird, and completely out of place. In addition, and contrary to my expectation, those people did not look particularly unhealthy. I did a lot of thinking at this workshop about why I felt separated and the importance of happiness in one’s life.
Since then I noticed feeling progressively more sensitive when talking to people who were struggling to stick to a 60%, 70%, 80%, or whatever % raw diet. All of a sudden, I realized that my book 12 Steps to Raw Foods (first edition) contained fanaticism about 100% raw foodism. Soon I completely revised this book and published the second edition, which I find to be a much kinder book, and perhaps more useful because of that. I shredded and recycled the left over copies of the old edition.
I have noticed that when I was telling other people about myself being a 100% raw foodist, it came across as if I was claiming to be a better, higher, more spiritual person. I felt so uncomfortable that I repeated in every lecture, “I am just a woman in a green dress. Please don’t put me on a pedestal.”
We are all pioneers, still in the beginning of our research of the human diet. Nothing is set in stone and our bodies continually change. For example, while I enjoyed gourmet raw food in the beginning of my raw journey, for several years now, I have completely eliminated food prepared with nuts. In recent years I have decided that it can be healthier, to eat a bowl of cooked green vegetables than a whole jar of raw nut butter.
While I believe with my whole heart that, when done correctly, a raw food diet is the optimal way of eating for humans, and my present diet is almost exclusively raw, I prefer to resign from a “100% raw” position.”