Just recently I was privileged to have a short holiday with my friends Brian & Alora from Soul Fire Spirit Journey Sailing Adventures, aboard a catamaran in the beautiful Hervey Bay, touring along the pristine Fraser Island, laying in the sun, communing with the most magnificent whales, swimming in the ocean – and eating the most amazing food.
Throughout my adult life (from the age of 15 actually) I have experimented with food and how it makes me feel. Out of a sense of curiosity first, then as a drive to see how healthy I could be – until a passion for healing blossomed that led me to investigate and explore the many facets of healing and ultimately study to become a naturopath. During that time I tested out pretty much every type of healing diet known to man – Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, raw food, macrobiotic, blood type, paleo, Weston A Price, vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian – I even did some time where I ate ceviche and carpaccio (raw fish and beef) – all in the name of finding the ultimate program for healing.
The one thing that all of these programs have in common, is that they all use whole foods for healing – whether some are cooked or not, whether there are small amounts of animal products or not – they all have a lot in common, and that is that they shun processed, packaged and fake foods, and embrace a whole foods lifestyle. Which is why they all get positive results for different people at different times. One of my favourites of course, is the raw vegan program for detoxification – however, it is not necessarily a rebuilding program and that is where I like to mix it up a little following a cleanse. If you are healing from a terminal illness or some other severe chronic illness, I have witness the miracles that occur with the raw vegan protocol. Within that program we can also bring in elements from other healing regimes, such as raw warming foods and herbs from Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, to complement and expand into those principles, whilst still adhering to the raw detox.
On the boat, I had the opportunity to be catered for by Ayurvedic practitioner and chef, Lorien Waldron of Wholesome Loving Goodness. Having just come off hosting three of my eight day Embracing Life! Detox, Healing & Raw Food Retreats within six weeks, I needed to just rest and be nourished, which is exactly what happened. I took off my raw hat, and totally enjoyed immersing in the cooked Ayurvedic food that Lorien lovingly created. And it was a revelation. Having been mainly raw (those who know me, know that I choose not to subscribe to a 100% anything mind-set), my body thrived on the whole, warming foods provided during the duration of the whale adventure.
Having adrenal and thyroid disorders, my body is carrying more weight and fluid than I find ideal, and Ange, who assists me at the retreats and is well-versed in Chinese medicine, and Lesly, an amazing colonic practitioner I had some healings with in Bali, have been urging me for quite a while to increase my warming foods to “burn out” the cold and damp in my body. Being incredibly busy, I kind of let that slide, even though I knew they were right – being busy meant that I kept into a routine with my foods, not having the time or energy to think outside my habits, which although good, were not necessarily taking my healing to another level.
However, being in the space where Lorien created warming dishes for us three times a day, plus teas and snacks, (a mixture of raw and cooked wholefoods) I did notice a marked difference in how I felt. Yes, it was also resting, being on a boat, being near the magnificent whales and taking time out to focus on myself, but I know my body very well, and the warming herbs and spices did have a very positive effect on me physically.
If you are committed to being raw vegan, great, but don’t throw out the principles of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as well. Bringing in warming foods such as your root vegetables, beetroot, sweet potato, pumpkin and carrots; herbs such as ginger, garlic, cayenne, cumin, cardamom, coriander and peppers, can bring that fire and heat into your raw food diet. And if you are open to mixing some cooked with your whole foods, then exploring Ayurveda with it’s quinoa, brown rice and lentil dishes can be a revelation in your dietary experience.
I like to keep open-minded when it comes to food and healing regimes, as long as the program is using organic whole foods and is mainly vegetarian – do you stick by hard and fast 100% rules, or are you open to experimentation?