The age thirteen must have been a very pivotal age for me. This is when I wanted to become vegetarian. I just didn't like eating meat, but my parents were not supportive of the idea. It was also at this age that I had my first yoga seed planted.
I continued to have fleeting thoughts about becoming a vegetarian until at the age of seventeen, when I did. The day I gave up meat is still very clear in my mind. Let me paint the picture for you.
I was with a girlfriend and we were hungry. As most American teenagers do, we opted for fast food. We went to Rally's (for those outside of the US, it is an even greasier version of McDonalds). I ordered a hamburger of some variety with spicy fries and a shake – an absolute picture of health.
We took the food back to my house and, sitting on the couch, began to tuck in. I took one bite of my burger and it was literally the vilest tasting thing I have ever had to date. I threw the burger back into its greasy wrapper, looked at my friend and vowed I would never touch meat again. She just looked at me like a deer staring in headlights.
As a young vegetarian, I thought I was eating better than most. At that time I was eating vegetarian just as much for vanity as for animal rights. I often avoided mentioning animal rights because it was just too controversial for my demeanor. Most of my friends paid little attention to the fact I didn't eat meat, but this was probably because I was eating all the other non-meat junk they were eating.
Then at my first yoga training, when I was twenty, we were given a vegan diet. I really enjoyed it. I felt the benefits in my body immediately. Leaving the dairy out really seemed to alleviate any heaviness or congestion in my body. I was working like a well-oiled machine.
Since I am one for refinement, I decided to take the next step on my food journey and became vegan. I can't really remember if it was challenging, but I do recall all the calcium comments from my dad.
I continued along happily being vegan. I felt I must be doing a really healthy thing for my body, even though I was eating few fresh vegetables and having lots of highly-processed packaged vegan foods.
Once I moved to New Zealand, I saw how horrifically I was in fact eating. My flatmate was a real Earth woman. For the first time I saw how to prepare and eat fresh foods. With a vengeance, I became a vegan cooking warrioress.
During that time I was able to deepen my understanding of whole foods. I was learning incredible amounts about food, health and healing. At that point in my life I was eating the most nutrient-dense, organic food I had ever had. But I was feeling rubbish. I was lethargic, depressed, my endometriosis hit an all-time high in painfulness, I was also the heaviest I had ever been and generally unhappy. Obviously, there were other factors at play, too. Looking back, I can't ignore the fact I was eating a diet that totally did not suit my body.
It was during this period that my then-boyfriend had mentioned a raw food diet. He thought it could help with my endometriosis (painful periods). I didn't feel like I could just eat raw foods – how would I stay warm? How could I give up all those delicious foods I just learned to prepare? And how could I afford to eat only raw foods? The idea was shelved.
Back home in the US, I was undergoing monumental paradigm shifts (this is the same time that I discovered Anusara). I was ready to shed who I thought I was for a more sparkly version. I was finally in a position where I could start experimenting with raw foods.
Those early days consisted of a lot of fumbling around. I would have green smoothies, kale salads, raw nuts, nut butters, BIG green salads and cooked food here and there. I didn't really know what I was doing. But felt it had to be a step in the right direction.
Then I met Claude at a yoga retreat in California. He was vegan at the time, but also toyed with raw foods like me. It was so electrifying to have such an intense connection with someone on a similar path. We began our lives together being vegan, but knowing that we wanted to head in the direction of being raw foodists.
It was May 2007 that we decided to consciously try raw. I wasn't too tied-up in the all-or-nothing approach. We ate mostly raw at home and cooked vegan socially. However, there have been a few points where we felt more passionately about being 100% raw, but have since released that ideal. It just has felt so much more liberating not to concentrate on percentages. Although 99% of the time we choose raw, we don't beat ourselves up if we eat cooked vegan.
I still feel like I am in the early stages of being raw. I am still waiting for all of the immaculate clarity, boundless energy, and radiant skin! The first six months were really difficult. I think we both looked like hell from all the detoxing. But slowly we are beginning to reap the benefits of raw foods that are so often touted.
We knew that eating raw would be the healthiest way for us to move forward as a family. As many people before us have experienced, going raw is a whole life shift. Everything changes. The cleaner you become the more profound the shifts.
But my greatest challenge with being raw has been feeding my toddler. There just doesn't seem to be a great deal of support available, which is one reason for starting this blog. I desperately want to give him the most nutritious food on the planet, so he can be a shining example of health and love.
Below is my photo story.
Photo 1: Mostly cooked-vegan, dabbling in raw, age 25
Photo 2: Cooked vegan, pre-pregnancy size, age 26
Photo 3: Raw-vegan 2months, age 27
Photo 4: Raw-vegan 4 months, age 27
Photo 5 & 6: Raw-vegan just over a year, age 28
Click to dance to:
My Yoga Journey
My Raw Toddler
Thai Yoga Therapy
Yoga - Benefits
Yoga Class Schedule
Yoga - Private Sessions
Yoga - What is it?