Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Concluding One Year on the Raw Vegan Lifestyle!

It's unbelievable - I recently completed one full year being ~70% raw and vegan! =) Okay, a little more than a year - 14 months, to be very precise. There is contentment that it wasn't a health condition that compelled me to overhaul my dietary preferences; there is gratitude for having stumbled on a path that brought such positive changes to my whole being; there is hope that this lifestyle will steer me clear of all major health problems of the day as time passes.

Talking about the passing time, there have been many 'Aha!' moments in the last 14 months - as and when I realized how small things had shifted and made big differences in the grand scheme of my life. I wrote about several benefits I reaped from green smoothies alone in March this year. Some of them were near-immediate effects, like increased energy, focus, and vitality and others were longer term like the shedding of ~22 pounds. It's time to talk more about the still longer term benefits in this post.

Without doubt, my body has increased immunity. As I moved out after spending close to three and a half years in an oceanic climate to a Mediterranean one in Fall 2011, I found myself catching cold very often! As the temperatures varied largely between day and night and from day to day, by Spring 2012, I had 'fallen sick' almost 4 to 5 times, once every couple of months on an average. Very atypical of me to fall sick, I began loathing that moment when I needed a jacket but didn't have one on hand...

Guess what, I still haven't quite gotten into the habit of keeping that jacket on hand :p. Yet I haven't caught a cold since end of Spring '12, pretty much ever since I started eating raw. My revised food preferences took care of my cold. It's like all the warmth that the fruits and veggies absorb from the Sun keeps me warm (and immunized against germs and bacteria) ;). In case you didn't know, sunlight is a very powerful disinfectant; that's why ancient cultures still prefer to dry clothes and blankets in the Sun. Add to this the fact that food has the most nutrient density when it's in its natural form. Immunizers are nutrients too.

Several months into eating raw, I also realized that skin and hair care lies in the food that grows in the 'dirty' soil, not in the 'natural herbs' handled with gloved hands, packed in bottles neatly laid out on the supermarket shelves. All my soaps and face washes and shampoos still being the same, how should I explain the significantly clearer skin and texture? Folks that haven't seen me in a while can't help but mention the 'glow'. I tell them it's NOT Olay :p. I am not sure what else explains the growth of new hair on my scalp either! I very much need those new hair, BTW ;).

There is also a reduced need for taking rest and sleeping. For several years on my standard cooked food diet, I needed more than eight hours of sleep a day or an afternoon nap for a few hours every other weekend to complete my sleep quota and recharge batteries. It was quite an Aha! moment when a friend pointed out I hadn't been sleeping extra for several weekends in a row. I don't anymore. Sure, when the digestive system does not need extra energy to completely digest what we have ingested, the spare energy stays with the brain to keep it wide awake and alert. The body gladly follows the signals sent by the brain...

On a more abstract level, there has been a kind of spiritual upliftment. There is more contentment about life in general, the thoughts are happier, there is kindness, acceptance, and love for people around me. There is a pursuit of peace and harmony and bliss for the world, even when certain outcomes in my own life are not quite as desired. Feeding oneself with exactly what Nature provides without harming other living beings who share this Mother Earth with us has a whole new perspective of gratitude and co-existence attached to it. It plays out in the day-to-day life very subtly, yet very profoundly!

No, I won't exaggerate and say I was sold on going raw and vegan right as I took notes in the introductory un-cooking class. It grew up on me - from my first green smoothie to my first raw vegan dessert. It is still carving its niche´; one lifetime isn't enough to make and taste every dish that can possibly be prepared. The choice here is as diverse as Nature itself, simply because it comes directly from Nature. It's with Nature's help that our species has been thriving for millennia; not by man-made machines - or food.