Soon I’ll have the 4th month anniversary of my raw food diet. This has been an exciting time for my body and mind and I think it’s only the beginning. The positive effects I outlined in my other posts describing the health benefits are going steadily, while the side effects, like detox simptoms are slightly fading away. My weight is constantly at the same level and my focus periods are getting better and better. I’m able to work more and feel more relaxed at the same time. To be honest, I barely know what a headache is and I haven’t been ill since this raw food diet started. My emotional flow is constant and even if I’m experiencing emotional detox from time tot time, it’s going better every time. After each emotional detox period I feel stronger and balanced.
There was however, a quite resistent aspect of this diet that concerned me a little and that was about cravings. I wrote before about that and I will write even more today, as I think I found a way to overcome those cravings. Keeping a raw food diet for a month or two is a manageable thing. But after you start to overlap some yearly eating habits, after you enter into a different season, for instance, your body will try to recall what it knows it’s eatable at that time of the year. Since I was taught for almost all my life that in winter we eat a lot of meat, for instance, my body is starting to ask for more meat. The actual needs of my body are easily met with fat rich raw foods like seeds or nuts, and I eat plenty of fat rich raw foods these days. The need is at a psychological level. There is an emotional link between a certain type of foods and my psychological reaction.
It took me some time to understand that. And a little bit more to decide how to break this. And this is how I started to do it.
The Power Of Example
I feel fantastic on this raw food diet, I really do. It’s one of my best periods in terms of health and lucidity. I don’t think I felt like this from my teenage period (when I was doing a lot of exercise) and now I write every day. I feel gorgeous.
But sometimes I tend to forget this. I mean I feel so good that I can’t really imagine how it’s like to feel bad. I’m not tired at all and when I go to bed I usually fall asleep in less than 3 minutes. I sometimes monitor people around me and notice some visible spikes in their energy levels, followed by long periods of apathy. The spikes are mostly related to stimulents like coffee or cigarettes, they last for several minutes, while the apathy can last for several hours. Those intervals are so clear to me, I can really grasp how the other person is feeling. This empathy boost must be related to the diet too. So, when I see how other people are doing around me, I remember that I used to do the same. I lived the same life and I was convinced that there is no other way of living.
But despite the fact that my health is fantastic and my mental abilities heavily boosted, I tend to feel some cravings. Those are food cravings, I’m not after stimulents like coffee or cigarettes. During the last week I started to quit caffeine and it worked quite ok so far. Just one or two cravings for coffee, mainly when Diana is making the morning coffee, but after that I’m detached from caffeine for good, I don’t need it anymore. But the food cravings are still there.
And I tried a little trick. If the cravings were mostly mental cravings, then I had to use another mental trick to break them. I felt the need for some food not because the food benefits, but because in my mind it was linked to some positive emotion. It was a sign for a comforting or pleasuring event. Like you know, celebrating something or feeling comfortable. So, knowing that, I tried to eat some cooked food that I craved, but knowing that I will feel a little bad after that.
For instance, I tried to eat one or two cookies and monitor my body responses. It was an instant rejection activity: headache, low energy and uncontrollable focus. Like those apathy periods I noticed on other people. So, I used my fantastic health level as a contrast background for what cooked food can do to me. I de-linked the positive emotional link from cookies in my mind and re-linked to the bad effects I felt after I ate them again. And it worked.
Must sound a little masochistic, to eat something that you know it will make you feel bad, just in order to avoid the craving for it. Masochistic or not, it worked for me. And it worked very well. I first started with same ready made vegetable salad with mayonnaise I used to eat a lot when I was vegetarian. At that time I felt good because I thought it was a good thing to eat, even if the salad had a lot of chemical components that were actually poisoning me. So, I went to the supermarket, I bought and then ate some of those salads again. That night I barley slept, I woke up at 4 AM and felt drained of energy. My stomach could feel the acidity inside and it took me the whole morning to get rid of the bad feeling. Once recovered, my body was balanced again and it only took several hours. I was feeling good again.
And the most important thing was that the craving was gone. It worked! Next time I was at the supermarket, my emotional impulse to get those salads was gone. It was not linked to a positive emotion, but to the bad effects I experienced when I ate that. I tried again with some salted tofu. I tried to eat half of a box and I was again completely down. Like having some concrete ball in my stomach. Just a few months ago eating that tofu was a pleasant experience for me. I didn’t actually know the bad effects on my health because my whole body was in a dormant state. But once awakened and healthy, my body rejected that type of food. Guess what? No more tofu cravings for me.
Yesterday we went out and wanted to celebrate a little event with some french pastry. Needless to say that months ago I was a pastry addicted. This time I ate just two french tarts. I felt the headache coming while I was still eating those tarts. The feeling was completely mixed up. The taste was still considered good by my mouth while my brain started to unlink that feeling and re-link it to the nausea and lack of focus that I started to feel. No more pastry for me, sir!
When To Stress Test Your Cravings
That’s a good question. This type of stress test craving might not be for everybody. In fact, it might not work at all. But if you decide to try it, I recommend to do it after quite a long interval of 100% raw food. This is necessary in order to build a healthy body and a constant state of health and balance. You will use that state of balance as a contrast background to the bad feelings experienced by the food you crave, but you must have this state of health and lucidity.
I don’t think it’s good to mix raw food and cooked food in the first two months just to avoid cravings, because in the first two months the body will still try to readjust to this new way of eating. Mixing raw food and cooked food during this period will send mixed signals and your body wouldn’t know which path to choose.
But if you managed to keep a raw food diet for more than 2-3 months and still experience cooked food cravings, give this trick a try. It might work for you too. It certainly worked for me.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.