My Journey to Optimal Health: The Beginning
I have been on a lifelong (or so it seems) journey to attain optimal health. As a baby boomer, I grew up in a culture where convenience foods were emerging as the modern way, and the use of chemicals was considered science at its best.
My parents were instrumental in shaping my healthy lifestyle. When I was in junior high school, my father gave me Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to read and I became a budding environmentalist, developing an understanding of interrelatedness of life and a reverence for nature’s way. So it was with a foundation based in natural foods and environmental awareness that I entered adulthood.
I considered myself vegetarian for most of my adult life, although my concept of vegetarianism changed over the years. At first, I abstained from eating the flesh of mammals, but for some unknown reason, birds and sea animals were acceptable to me, as well as the secretions from animals (namely cow’s milk and eggs.) After several years, I stopped eating poultry, but continued to eat fish, eggs and dairy.
It wasn’t until the 90s that I started to consider becoming vegan. I was learning the principles of Buddhism, and the phrase, “Harm None” particularly resonated with me. I continued to eat my version of a vegetarian diet, but that changed abruptly one night while watching “The Perfect Storm.” I clearly remember the scene – a swordfish hauled on board the fishing vessel, thrashing about, struggling to breathe. Horrified by such suffering I decided to stop eating fish.
But my dairy habit persisted. (Later I learned that my habit was actually an addiction.) After all, I needed calcium, and was concerned about bone density. Then one day while waiting in line at the health food store, someone noticed my calcium supplements and cheese in my basket, and told me if I was concerned about bone health, I wouldn’t need the supplemental calcium if I avoided animal protein. He went on to explain that dairy creates an acid environment in the blood, leaching calcium from the bones, and that the best way to improve bone density would be to adopt a vegan diet.
Not one to believe everything I hear, I researched this theory, and ended up at the PETA website where I became painfully aware of the suffering dairy cows endure. But I was so addicted to cheese that I wasn’t ready to make the shift. So I did my best to remain in denial, justifying my food choices by the fact that the animals are not killed for their milk or eggs.
Taking the Next Step: Supporting the Life Force
My journey to optimal health has taken many turns, and it wasn’t until several years ago that, like a perfect storm, three compelling reasons to be vegan converged into my consciousness: the environment, my health, and my compassion for animals and the people who “process” them.
Well, it’s interesting how the Universe lines things up when you’re ready for them. I received an email from a local raw food chef who was offering a class the following week. I signed up on the spot, and started drinking green smoothies the day after that first class. I still ate a few cooked foods, but I was committed to learning as much as I could about raw food, and started buying books and taking more classes.
The transition to raw vegan was a logical direction for me; having already resolved to become vegan, it was just the next step. That said, I admit that the shift wasn’t easy. There were times that I strayed, times when I craved non-vegan foods like salmon and succumbed to that craving.
That was several years ago. I have since maintained a high raw vegan lifestyle. By high raw, I mean more than 80% raw. Actually the only time I eat cooked foods is when I am out and want more than a salad. At home I covered my stove with a 30-inch butcher block and use that as a cutting board. It’s wonderful to have the additional counter space.
For me my biggest form of support is my strong resolve and how good I feel after shifting my diet to raw vegan. I gained back the energy I was lacking and shed about 25 pounds of adult padding. I actually felt so great that I decided to “rewire” from my teaching career to pursue my lifelong interest in health and nutrition. I was ready to share my new lifestyle with anyone who was ready for boundless energy and improved health.
And so, recognizing that we have strayed so far from a natural, healthy lifestyle, I decided to help others.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your health challenges and to learn more about the benefits of raw food cooking.