You are what you eat: an epiphany

healthy food

 

Juice Master Jason Vale’s “World’s Biggest Juice Detox 2013” is coming to town, and what impeccable timing!

Like many people, I’ve over-indulged over the Christmas period. I’ve eaten all sorts of crap that a few months ago nothing would have persuaded me to touch.I’ve spent too much time sitting on the sofa doing online shopping, playing computer games and watching TV. I’ve basically turned into Waynetta Slob.

In fact, this is a slippery slope that I’ve been on since the end of August; over the past four months I’ve dropped a lot of good habits and replaced them with bad ones, and I’ve noticed the difference in not only my body, but in my personality too. I don’t like what I’m becoming, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually too, so it’s time for a change…

If, like me, you’ve ever read anything by Shazzie, Kate Magic or any of the other movers and shakers in the world of raw food that talk about ‘high vibrational foods’ and the effect that a raw lifestyle can have on your personality and spirituality, and thought “what a load of hippy-dippy bollocks”, I’m here to tell you that it turns out they were right. Stupid, stupid Debs for not sussing this out sooner.

I’ve always known – or at least suspected – that what I eat affects my mood quite dramatically.

There was a period a couple of years ago when I had a lot of personal problems to deal with. The biggest of these was money, and without going into too much detail I’ll just say that money was so tight for a while, we had to feed ourselves as cheaply as possible and couldn’t afford to eat as much fresh food we should. I won’t go into a rant about how disgraceful it is that it’s cheaper to buy processed crap like chicken kievs (which contain very little chicken anyway) than it is to buy fresh meat, fish, fruit and veg; that’s a different blog post in itself, and I have quite a radical theory about it which I’ll share one of these days. Suffice to say that of necessity we were eating all the types of food that I have always loathed, and it really affected me.

To cut a long story short, my diet was appalling, and I was miserable. I was worried about money and my other problems, certainly; but deep down, I knew my misery was mainly the result of eating badly. Intuition with a dash of common sense told me that what I was putting into my body was affecting my mind and spirit. A poor diet is known to be connected with depression (it’s well documented; do a quick search and see for yourself), but I’d say it actually goes deeper than that… in terms of personality, I think you really are what you eat.

Let me explain that.

During the ‘lean years’ when my diet was, of necessity, very poor, I was miserable and could burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Dewi (my husband) and I argued a lot, over the stupidest things. I was grumpy, moody, sarcastic and snappy. I was unpredictable; my mood could change in an instant. I’d lost so much of my former sparkle (I’d always been really bubbly before), I hardly recognised myself any more. I really disliked myself, what I’d become, but felt powerless to do anything about it.

During the middle of 2011, things started to get better financially. Around this time I started seeing Heather, a local homeopathic practitioner, for help with my uterine fibroids. With a little more money in my pocket I was able to start improving my diet, reintroducing all the fresh produce I’d craved for so long, and I gradually started feeling better. Heather gave me loads of really useful advice about diet and lifestyle, and it was through her that I first heard about raw chocolate. I was fascinated, and as is my wont I did a ton of research, and discovered that not only was there such a thing as raw chocolate, but a whole lifestyle based around raw food, superfoods and natural supplements.

I became really immersed (perhaps a little obsessed) with raw living, and between January and August 2012 I amassed a ton of ingredients, kitchen equipment, books, online resources and friends that would see me through eight wonderful months of living a roughly 50% raw lifestyle.

Here comes the part where I actually explain what I said I was going to explain (sorry, I have a tendency to ramble!).

Yes, I noticed that my health was much improved while I was eating so healthily. My skin looked fabulous, I had tons of energy (and let me tell you, I am one of the laziest people I’ve ever met – so the extra energy was a real eye-opener) and I felt like I glowed with health. I stopped getting headaches, my menstrual cycle became a bit more reliable (remember, I have uterine fibroids so my cycle has a mind of its own), and I felt on top of the world physically. My weight was also becoming more controllable: I lost about a stone and a half (20lbs/9kg) and kept it off.

But the biggest change I saw was not in my body, but in my personality.

It’s not easy to explain, but I was generally a nicer person. I don’t think I’ve ever been downright horrible, but that’s not for me to say I suppose. I did notice however that the more raw I ate, I became more positive than I’ve ever been. I was kinder, more patient, more loving, extremely cheerful and upbeat, rarely argued with Dewi, never snapped or made sarcastic comments, and generally felt more connected to every living thing on the planet. This, I think, is what the raw gurus are talking about when they describe certain foods as being ‘high vibrational’ – they affect you spiritually, making you a better person. I saw it in other people in the raw community; something that really fascinated me about all these people living a raw lifestyle was how incredibly nice they all were, and I started to feel that perhaps I was becoming like them.

Since the end of August my raw/superfood intake has declined very steeply, and I’m noticing things about myself that I really don’t like.

I didn’t necessarily notice the changes while they were happening (it probably happened gradually), but the other day I had a bit of an epiphany.

Dewi and I were in the car, driving home from a shopping trip, when I suddenly made the connection (I can’t remember what prompted it – I think perhaps I was talking about my intention to join the juice detox for the sake of my weight). I turned to him and said: “I’m going to go back to eating a lot of raw food in the new year, because I’ve just realised that I was a much better person when I was 50% raw. I’ve started to be snappy and sarcastic again; I’m becoming moody and grumpy, dissatisfied, selfish, materialistic and impatient. I am, aren’t I?” And Dewi said, very quietly: “Yes, you are.”

Far from upsetting me, this was actually all the confirmation I needed of what I already knew, deep down: I am a better person when I’m eating well.

I feel very fortunate to have been given this chance to make important changes to my lifestyle. I can’t describe how glad I am that I have been able, without any prompting from anyone else, to recognise that my diet is again making me into a person that I dislike. The universe has thrown me a lifeline, and I’m going to grab it with both hands and be the person I want to be; not just for my sake, but for the sake of those around me.

And that’s where Jason Vale comes in.

On Monday 7th January 2013 the World’s Biggest Juice Detox begins, aiming to get 20,000 people from around the world spending a week supporting each other as they flush the rubbish out of their bodies and replace it with the best nourishment the planet has to offer.

I’ll be taking part. I know it will be difficult; I did it for a week last year, and found it very hard – but I came through it, and I’m sure my body was grateful to me for having the willpower to stick it out.

And after that, it’s back to eating only raw foods during the day, and eating as much healthy stuff (cooked or raw) as I can in the evenings. Goodbye fried food, takeaways, cakes and crisps; hello maca, purple corn extract, baobab and camu-camu. We’ve been apart far too long.

I’m planning to blog every day during the detox; if you’d like to follow my progress and share your own experiences please do pop back here next week, or join the Raw Curious UK Facebook page.

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4 Responses to “You are what you eat: an epiphany”

  1. Hey Debs, I came across your blog from you leaving a comment on Emma’s Facebook. I can see so much of me reflected in that and came to a similar realisation over the holidays. Thanks for sharing your story, I hope you share your juice detox experience too :)

    • Hey Sarah, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by :) I’m glad it’s not just me that’s noticed this… because there’s always a danger nobody else will understand and people will just think you’re crackers! I also read an interesting article on Kate’s Magic Bubble this afternoon (after I’d written this post) saying how so many people eat raw because it makes them happier – and it’s so, so true. I was definitely happier when I was eating more raw and less crap! Anyway, yes, will share the juice detox experience (warts and all!) – looking forward to catching up with you again! D xx

  2. Awwww! My heart broke a little on the car conversation part… Good for you for picking this up again, and what a great blog post.

    It’s funny, isn’t it? We know what makes us feel good, and we know what makes us feel bad. Yet we forget, or we deliberately choose crap food, and sometimes it takes an epiphany to get us back on the right track. I’m looking forward to being inspired this year! Raw food; bring it on!

    • You know, I think it saddened me more to write it than it did to hear it. I’m just glad Dewi was honest with me, in his own quiet, understated way. And I’m glad, for his sake, that I’m taking the necessary steps to change what I’ve become.

      Already it feels like a huge burden is being lifted from my shoulders. I could genuinely weep with relief!

      Glad you’re ‘raw curious’ too Jen – I can point you in the direction of some fantastic recipes and resources :) xxx

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