Some people learn about the healing and cleansing power or raw foods and never look back. I was not one of those people, and I actually don't recommend for most to go cold turkey because one can go through a really severe healing crisis. Instead, I've found it to be much more realistic to ween off some foods and start replacing them with raw living foods a few at a time. We will start to feel as vibrant and alive as the beautiful foods we are choosing. That's when the miracles start to occur.
I began on my quest for wellness back in 2008, and I've gradually changed along the way. With the exception of holidays, birthdays, and special occasions, I first cut out dairy, wheat, processed sugar, and non-organic foods. Packaged and fried foods came next. After that, meat and eggs were eliminated. Eventually I cut out all grains, including rice. Then I stopped all beans and legumes. I started limiting nuts and seeds. Then I started to limit cooked vegetables and roots. Now I'm almost completely raw, with a good balance of fruits, veggies, and greens (with a little bit of nuts and seeds). If it doesn't grow on a plant or come from the earth, I don't eat it. That has taken me seven years, and I'm the happiest and most vibrant I've ever been.
Now that being said: What about those holidays, birthdays, and special occasions? For me, anything goes! That's my time to partake in things that I do not bring into my life otherwise. What I've learned from this is that it's a great way to participate in cultural events. I still like having candy on Halloween or cake and ice cream on my birthday. Well, I'll say that I like it sometimes, because a lot of the times this food gets me sick.
I tend to spend my special days in bed or in the bathroom vomiting up the food. My body completely rejects it. My family has actually gotten use to me getting ill on vacations or holidays. If I didn't make these mistakes then I wouldn't learn anything from them. This is what I tell my lifestyle clients as well, go ahead and try all of the foods that you're craving, because it will be a learning experience. It's better to get it out of your system and have the treat to see what it does.
One of three things usually happen. One, is that nothing happens and the craving is satisfied. This usually makes it easy to go back to healthy, wholesome foods quickly afterwards because the mind has been calmed. Second, is that nothing will happen but the junk food will taste awful and completely different than before. The taste buds have readjusted to prefer natural foods, therefore, making other foods unappealing. The good foods will taste so much better. Then there's the third, and normally the most usual response, and that's that the food will make you feel unwell in some way: Sleepy, lethargic, bloated, gassy, dehydrated, constipated, nauseated, feverish, irritated, low energy, etc. Pain, not pleasure, will be associated with these foods, and one will begin to learn that it's not ideal or fun anymore. That learning lesson is vital for everlasting change.
Then there are the mental aspects of food as well. Most people couldn't imagine Thanksgiving without a turkey or a trip to Italy without the wine and pasta. If that's the case, and one is feeling a sense of loss or stress, then that can be even more taxing than the food! Negativity and stress are serious issues, so if one is truly envious of others when they're having "all of the fun", so to speak, then severe acidosis can occur and cause the body more harm than the food itself. If it's a chance of a lifetime to eat something special, and the mind tells you that it's in need, then it's okay; especially if the stress of missing out would cause the body more harm than good. A few special rare treats a year is fine. It's up to the individual to know when it's happening way too often and is not in their best interest any longer.
Take other forms of toxicity: Would you live in the country all your life and not travel to large cities because of pollution? What about wearing polyester or any other synthetic fabric that would harm the skin? Hell, shoes are a modern device that deform the feet and people don't even think twice about it. What about staying inside all day long and not getting any sun? Working all day and stressing to buy stuff we don't need to impress people we don't even know or like? The point is that we are not perfect, and that's understandable. Ideally we want to do the best we can, and continue to grow along the way.
There are some amazing people out there that have returned completely to a natural raw food diet. Some of them are at peace with it, because they're truly happy and are not in need of anything else. Then there are others that live 100% raw just because they believe they have to. They feel forced, and the stress from that makes them sicker than the foods they choose to avoid.
Overall, you know what's best for you. You know where you are, and only you can make changes. It can be as slow as you need, or as fast as you like. Everyone is different, but we have to be responsible for our choices. Deep down we know when we're doing well or are in denial about having a problem. Enjoying candy once on Christmas can be a nice thing, but maybe not if candy is consumed once a week. We all know when enough is enough, and our bodies will tell us in whispers before they start to scream. Get to know your body and its needs, and then after awhile, you truly will not crave and need the junk food.
Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living.