A Raw Journey
By Dr. Wilco
One of the many intriguing capabilities that we as ‘Intelligent’ species have access to is the process of ‘Reflecting’. To think or reminisce about a personal ‘Momentum’ in time. A memory that is held special, or on the contrary, one we would like to erase forever. Either way, I enjoy this, and the many other features of the brain. I have learned that one should never have regrets in life, whatever the outcome was. This is not always easy I must say, but when one realizes that a thought or action of the past (even one of a few seconds ago) is only a figment of our imagination – it all becomes less important then in a way.
So, when I reflect back on my personal ‘Food Journey’ a whole collection of ‘Figments’ in all shapes and forms enter my reality. My RAW food journey has been an interesting one I feel and it has become an adventure that continues to this day.
My o my, was I ever so confused in my younger days. About 20+ years ago I was in ‘Love’. I Fell in love with Jane, and Jane was a – Vegetarian. As I was eating a chicken burger one day at our workplace I was asked by her: ”If I knew what I was eating”? Before I knew it I was heading home with a classic (now it is) under my arm. The book: ”Diet for a New America” was the pill I had to swallow, the cold water I had to jump in. You see, I had no intentions of reading this book as I was not really interested in the topic to say the least. But the evening arrived and I suddenly started to realize: OK, if I want to impress her then I should know at least the premise of the book, so that she will notice that I care. The plan was to read the first few pages, maybe glance over the rest and then prepare some nifty comebacks, so that I could ‘Woo’ her into liking me. I indeed did start to read the first few pages, but before I knew it, and to my own surprise, I pretty much read the whole book. This book in the end became the game-changer for me. “I saw the light.” I set out to help to change the world, – I would become a Vegetarian too.
It is funny when I look back and reminisce now about the thoughts and feelings that went through me in that moment. I ended up dating beautiful Jane, but not because I read the book I think (maybe my charms did it in the end). Anyhow, I made my first step towards a better planet for me, my friends and family, and of course the rest of the world. It felt great to be a Vegetarian. It was in those days still a bit of a ‘Taboo’ word and you would fall under the ‘Weird’ section, but I did not care. I always loved to be different, never wanted to be a sheep that follows the herd. Rebel with a cause I was, I always said jokingly.
Little did I know that my first diet revelation was the on-start of a life filled with questions, research and studies of the human diet. I became more and more intrigued as in what we as a human species are suppose to eat. It was very soon after, and several books later, that I became a – Vegan. I felt even better naming myself a Vegan, because it was a huge step away from being a Vegetarian. It was more controversial, which rebels love, and it raised more questions in social circles. You become a curiosity when following a diet that goes against the mainstream of society.
And as my stroll down memory lane continues I remember feeling pretty great. Of course I decided to become Vegan for the planet and its animals, but I really did not start yet to think about my own personal health (being still young and all). I gotta say that I felt pretty good throughout those years.. Had a lot of energy (always had that though) and felt that I would recover from a night of drinking a lot faster and better than I used to do. I was still partying back then and I was good at it.
After some time I remember that I was subconsciously redirecting my hunger for diet books to ‘Spiritual’ ones, they really intrigued me. I slowly started to realize who I was. Sounds funny, but we all are on a journey to self-discovery of course and I felt after some time that I had found my – ‘Self’. I knew instinctively that this link between spirituality and healthy eating would become my road. I learned about energies, past lives and Souls. I discovered the connection between all there is. I felt different and weird, as many people already confirmed for me, but it was great, it was a necessary transition. I needed to find a new direction in life. Away from skeptical people that just do what everybody else is doing. I had to set out to become a diet specialist of some kind.
I do not know what weight heavier on my conscience while back-packing the globe for a year and a halve. If it was the cruel local animal cuisine that I encountered in various parts of the world or the naive and sometimes stupid attitude of my fellow backpackers. But I became very motivated to try to change peoples minds and outlook on life, and diet of course. It infuriated me, in my younger preaching days, that people believed that the animals that walk our planet are here for one purpose only, – to be eaten by us. I had to do something. I had to help change awarenesses within the mind concepts of these fellow humans. It was not often that I met a like-minded person on my travels that believed in living in harmony with the animals, but sometimes our paths would cross and then the conversations would explode (in a good way). It felt like meeting somebody from the same planet. A conformation was also shared that we were not mad.
So, after traveling through San Francisco I became a whole food chef some time later. Trained to make ‘healthy’ meals for Yogi’s and Yogini’s, and I loved it. Everywhere I worked my food was classified as Vegetarian, but I prepared only Vegan meals, as my quest to make the world a more peaceful place was continuing. I felt that I found my ultimate health path in life.
Then one day while I was preparing a ‘Rustic Tomato Soup’ in the jungles of Costa Rica a client of the retreat walked into the kitchen. Commented on the amazing smell of the soup and practically dove with her nose into the goodness. After I offered her a cup, she replied; “O no, I could not eat that, I do not eat anything cooked”. I was baffled. I heard about this ‘Raw Fad’ but I never before met a real ‘Raw-fooder and felt immediately that they were a crazy bunch and that they were physically and psychologically starving. I had no time for that type of insanity and brushed the incident off like it never happened.
But of course the universe works in mysterious ways, and it never takes a day off, so I had to receive this unexpected gift from a guest. A raw book was given to me and as I learned about manifesting energies, I saw this gift as a predestined sign and I had to read it. Needless to say that I swallowed it up and became RAW. It all suddenly made soo much sense. All the animals in the world consume their instinctive foods; ‘Raw’ and so why were we not, – we the human race.
This long road I had been on took me to Spain one day. One beautiful evening, while walking the beach, I suddenly expelled a frustrating scream towards the universe asking for my direction in this confusing world of diets. That everybody claims a different theory of philosophy as in what we need to eat to be healthy became over the years a frustrating part of my research. I realized that I needed to shape my particular quest to my own desires. I needed to find my own path within this chaos, a direction that would resonate with me so I could then educate people and truly help them to heal naturally through their life-style. I got delivered what I ordered. ‘Natural Hygiene’ landed on me and it all became clear.
I did my Ph.D on ‘Natural Diet and Lifestyle’ and finally found my truth. I got my recognition to what I believe in, what I was searching for. Logic in diet and life-style. The Natural Hygiene approach was all that and more. Because how can you find a much greater truth then nature itself?
I have been a Raw Vegan for four years now. But even in my 14 years as a cooked Vegan I ate much raw already. As a ‘Hygienic Doctor’ I live my life as simple as possible. Avoiding the dangerous ‘Toxin’ build-up that threatens every persons health. To live the hygienic lifestyle one leaves many food addictions behind, like salt, spices, flour, alcohol, artificial sweets and so on. Nothing that is fabricated by mankind. I call them ‘Frankenstein’ foods. They only please the pallet, and do not nourish you in any way.
But people around me are still puzzled and see me sometimes as a threat to their food addictions. It is like trying to take away the heroin from a addict, – tricky move. So, you learn over time to not say too much about the diet unless you are asked. The world around me likes all this food that pleases in so many ways. Emotional eating is one of the most challenging parts of helping people to leave certain foods behind. I understand the enormity of the addiction that exists everywhere, but luckily the awareness is growing. The raw food movement is definitely growing and it will become a accepted lifestyle. But at the moment we are a very small minority that even within has many contradictions and beliefs as in how somebody has to eat RAW.
It is all good I guess. This is Human Nature. This is a natural reaction of the process of letting go of the addictions. And it sure is worthwhile going through these withdrawals, because I know that this diet has helped me tremendously. I always say that ‘Energy’ is the most valued asset that we all possess. Energy and health, that are closely linked, are our true treasures. I am also personally determined to gain years gracefully with no ailments or worse, that would take the fun out of life. I love it that I have a lot of energy and that I never fall ill to any unpleasantness, (only wish that raw food would grow back my hair).
Socially, the raw food diet is a challenge. A certain form of ‘Alienation’ will take place when trying to mingle with the cooked-fooders. Although I always tell people that going out for dinner is not about the food, but the company, you still get at times locked-out because of your diet choice. My view on that is that you make them feel bad, guilty even. A lot of them know that their diet choice is not good, that they should change. So to avoid these confrontations they prefer not to sit with people like us, its easier. And although I always make it a personal rule to not talk about diet choices, – it always comes up.
We have entered the month of December. The month that is filled with festivities and holidays in many cultures allover the world. This month of gluttonous behavior is extra challenging for healthy dieters. The temptations – all these temptations!! Even the ‘Regular’ folks out there know that they have to take it easy because the excess of food and drink could create more weight or health problems. And then there are the people that really do not care about holding back and give name to the word: ‘Gluttony’.
To be a Vegetarian or Vegan in these days of festivities is a challenge, but doable as you can buy some great ‘Fake’ meats and ‘Turkey’ meals made out of tofu and other substances. But for us ‘Raw-Fooders’ it is a different story. To eat simple, organic, fresh and whole, is a daunting task because the world around you is not set up to provide this for you at all times, and specially not around the holidays. Wow, imagine a world where we would have a type of 7/11 stores (a chain-store that is open 24/7) where you can buy fresh organic fruits and veggies and other health items at all times of the day, of the week. Unfortunately this ‘Utopia’ is far from reality. But luckily the trend to grow it yourself in your garden, on the roof, community garden – is growing rapidly.
The biggest challenge for most raw-fooders is, believe it or not, – their own family. I met a guy that told me that his family expressed to him that he can come back to the family when he has become “normal” again. This is an extreme example, but they happen. My last Christmas with the family was two years ago, and I sat there with my bowl of bananas, mango and greens, and oh yeah, a date sauce, blended to perfection. My family almost does not say anything anymore, they are fortunately supportive and know that I pursue what I believe in. Relationships also fall in the category of ‘Diet Conflicts’ when one side supports the healthy lifestyle while the other eats crap. Many of those in the end do not last. Love is sometimes not unconditional. People make their choices with diets, lifestyles, – and partners.
More and more people are adapting the new approach to the holidays. And that is to be grateful to have each-other, your family and friends, and to have food on the table. More families are taking it easier on the gifts as-well. The times have changed. Economies have changed. People are still going hungry allover the world and to be more respectful towards this fact has become part of this new Christmas spirit, as they call it.
I personally do not like it too much because it is still too one-sided for me. But I will undoubtedly have a gathering with friends or maybe my family this year. I love the interaction with people you care about. It is truly very special. Food is an ingredient in all cultures that brings people together and that is great, but what a person eats should not be on the table, so to speak. I enjoy to be different, to set an example to how we all can find a direction that helps the environment and all its living creatures. I had my preaching days and I have learned now what is the most powerful approach, it is to set – an example.
If you believe that what you have learned or feel instinctively is your path then – ‘Stick with it’. Stand your ground with two feet. Do not let any person take from you what you believe in. It is all about mutual respect. So, when you prepare that bright green salad with all the other fresh raw ingredients while surrounded by Christmas tunes, – I suggest to stay strong. Your holiday meal will give you life and energy and promote a healthy planet at the same time, well, how can somebody disagree with that. With that thought I always sit at a dinner party or Christmas dinner. Let them see how delicious you can eat when eating the goodness from the Earth. And when somebody suddenly asks you to pass your salad bowl, you then know that you have triggered a natural instinct and maybe have won one over and the only thing to do then is to pass it on with a big smile on your face.