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I'm baaaaack

I couldn’t stay away. le sigh

You know I’d thought I’d quit doing the raw thing because I’d become obsessed with percentages and and and… it pulled me too close to my old eating disorders for comfort, and I found myself sliding into obsessive behaviour and unhealthy body image.

However, since dropping the raw thing (early October)... I feel like crap.

I look like crap.

My skin looks like crap.

Oh… and I’ve put on weight. Like, not a little.

Keep in mind, compared to the SAD I’m still eating ‘super healthy’...

So here I am again, because, really and truly, I feel way better eating raw.

I’ve been two days raw, adn already the stomach swelling has gone down and I feel more energy.

So my question is… how the heck do I do this and stay healthy, mentally????

I’m looking for solid advice here, especially from those who have struggled with an eating disorder in the past.

How do you avoid obsessing over percentages of raw vs. cooked?

How do you avoid slipping into your old patterns of thought and behaviour?

What helped you and what was danger territory for you?

Oh…and I’d love to be welcomed back into the fold with open arms, please. I’ve missed you guys.



  • Your experience should help you to make the decision to eat raw. You don’t need to worry about percentages, just eat as much raw as you can. That could mean different things to different people. It isn’t a hard and fast rule to eat all raw, just transition into it. You may discover that raw is the only way you WANT to eat.

  • Hi there. Isn’t this site the best?
    Just as with every other healthy habit, eating raw is easier if it’s…well, a habit. It helps to start every morning off with a green smoothie or a few fruits. This way, you’ve at least started the day off right.
    I’m sorry about the eating disorder. Never had one, so I can’t think of any advice.

  • I’d say to just focus on how good raw tastes and how simple it is, instead of thinking about what you’re missing on cooked. Also, it’s better to let yourself have a cooked meal here and there, rather than trying too hard to be 100% and then just abandoning the whole diet. Go by the rule of thumb that more raw = better and focus on applauding yourself for when you eat raw, rather than being upset with yourself if you eat cooked. To avoid slipping back into old behaviours just make sure you have everything planned out, so it’s easier to find a raw snack than a cooked one. Make a list of recipes which are quick to make and very tasty, then maybe put a list of reasons why you want to stay raw on the fridge door.

  • check out the book “12 steps to raw food”

    theres also another classic, i think its just called “raw eating”

    both describe cooked food as addictive.

  • Jinjee over at gardendiet has this to say today..
    If you are trying to eat a 100% raw vegan diet, but you are feeling like giving in to cooked food cravings, here

  • Hi poemomm, Welcome back. There are plenty of open arms here!

  • Percentages with raw food?? such a thing shouldnt even exist. just be well educated on the subject and limit your nut intake.

  • I know this is a bit of a controversial topic because so many people are like, “duh! You’re supposed to do 100% raw, silly!” – but it’s that obsession with percentages that scared me.

    And I HAVE read 12 Steps to Raw. In fact, I was reading it, about 14 days into my 30days 100% raw when it suddenly hit me that my mindset was scarily similar to when I struggled with anorexia. And (I’m truly not trying to offend here) the book wasn’t really helpful along those lines… I understand how the author feels, but that sort of all or nothing, cooked food is eeeeeevilllllll was the sort of thinking that Leads (inmy case, not saying for others, but for me…) really disordered thinking.

    And that was just not an option. I’m not going back to body dysmorphia and fear of food.

    I mean, I KNOW raw apples are better than cooked apples, enzymatically. Duh.

    But I’m so determined not to think “Cook apples. Evil. Now I must punish myself for eating cooked apples. Now EVERYTHING is as waste. I destroyed my little enzyme body. I’m a loser…” NO! I just can’t do it – I won’t go back to obsession.

    So I stepped away for a while.

    But the truth is, eating high-raw IS healthier and having felt so good high-raw, I reallllllly know what it is to feel good. And feeling bad doesn’t cut it. So I’m back.

    There are people in our community who are balanced and healthy. I want to follow in their path.

    There are people in our community who are strident and pseudo-religious about their eating. That’s scary for me, because of the behaviours and thought patterns it triggers.

    I’m trying to walk the path of health and balance, not extremism.

    I’m so thankful to Raw_Chocoholic for really sound advice.

    Let me clarify: It’s NOT hard for me to stay raw. It’s NOT hard for me to forego cooked food. It’s NOT tempting for me to go back to my old WOE.

    I’m NOT exhausted from trying to do too much too soon.

    That’s not my concern.

    My concern is that I maintain a healthy mental mindset while I eat this way. My concern is that this remains a WOE, and not a WOL —I have another religion. I stopped making eating (or noteating) my god a long time ago. I’m just concerned that while learning to do this, noteating or eating will take too much precedence in my life again.

  • poemomm, I really appreciate your openness. It is so important to us here at Gone Raw that people feel good about themselves whether they are eating 100% raw or incorporating raw food into their lives. Eating raw is not a wagon that I am off of and then on again. Instead, every meal is a chance to enjoy eating in a more and more positive way and perhaps a chance to myself that much more love.

  • i am TOTALLY with you poemomm. i can be a very “all or nothing” person and i’ve learned that in order to be healthy i need to have compassion for myself and this journey and not set super-strict limitations on myself that i HAVE to obey. when i first started i read all those websites and books that were like “cooked food is poison!! go 100% right now!!” but i couldn’t do that. i would try to go 100%, then i’d mess up, and then i’d go completely crazy in the OTHER directions (“well, i messed up. might as well REALLY mess up and start new tomorrow). and THAT’S not healthy!

    i know that 100% raw is probably the healthiest thing to do, but i’m not at that point right now—i’m probably not even 75% raw! but i know i’ll get there someday, and i’m just going slow so i don’t freak out and sabotage myself for not being “perfect.”

    i made my goal to “eat as much raw food as possible” instead of “restricting all cooked foods.” i really believe it’s how you look at it. and when i do eat cooked, i don’t hold any judgements about itit might not be AS healthy as raw, but that doesn’t mean that a bowl of soup will destroy my body. and i really DO try to notice the difference i feel when i eat raw food, that way eating raw becomes a gift i give myself, not something i am forcing myself to do. i really try to appreciate raw foods—their beauty and vitality and life-energy they give me, and i notice that in doing this i tend to be more attracted to raw foods. however, when i eat cooked foods i do the same thing: i recognize the tastes, textures, how they make me feel, and i just log that away in my brain for future reference instead of making these black and white “good” and “bad” distinctions. don’t let other people in the community who are super strident or strict throw you off of YOUR path on this journey for the best health. they are doing what they believe is the best for them and you need to pay attention to what is the best for you. i really don’t believe there is ONE way to do this raw dietand like everyone says: “it’s a lifestyle, not a diet”—which means that it’s going to change and evolve and that’s a good thing!

    above all else, i really believe being GRATEFUL and APPRECIATIVE and MINDFUL of the food we eat (cooked or raw) is the absolute BEST way to put positive energy in our bodies, minds, and hearts, and, in doing so, to be the happiest people we can be on the journey to the best health ever!

  • Poemomm, I really understand what you are going through. I’ve wandered away from raw food several times now for precisely the same reason. I keep returning, though, because raw food works for me physically, even if my thought patterns can make the lasting lifestyle adjustments problematic. Anorexia really dies hard, doesn’t it? It’s been 16 years since I began recovery from anorexia, but I still feel the aftershocks constantly. And for me, the emphasis on going 100% and “cooked food is poison” is a huuuuge trigger for the kind of thinking that frankly, I just absolutely refuse to do anymore.

    Let me just say that I am no model of perfection in raw eating. But there are some things that have been really helping me to make the transition, and to help me heal my thinking patterns at the same time.

    The biggest thing has been to not use percentages, and to resist the urge to label myself by what I do or do not eat. And this is a constant temptation for me. (I just fought the urge to do it in the previous paragraph!) I know that this language is part of how we interact with others in the community and those outside the community. However, I just don’t allow myself to do it. Even in my mind. Whenever these thought patterns crop up, I just force myself to replace them with this statement: “I like eating raw food.”

    It takes constant effort, but it is a great solution because it doesn’t allow me to identify myself with something I don’t do (“I don’t eat cooked food”) or even something I do do (“I eat raw food”). It connects me to the pleasure of eating raw (because it is such a pleasure!) and helps to break the habit of defining myself in concrete terms by one action (eating) that I take every once in a while. Most importantly, it helps me to eliminate the “achievement” impulse in my eating and thinking patterns (which was a cornerstone of my anorexia).

    And when other people ask me about my diet, that statement is exactly what I tell them! This makes some people very uncomfortable, because I think people have a natural tendency to look for labels that can help them to understand the world. But I won’t do it. And the best part about this statement is that people can’t argue with it! I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the barrage of questions and arguments people will give you when you say you’re a vegan, or a raw food eater, or whatever. These questions can be frustrating for everyone, but as someone with disordered thinking about food, they really reinforce my tendency to view food choices as an avenue for judgement and validation of who I am. This is really damaging to me! But no one can argue with me that I don’t like something when I say I do! So I just leave it at “I like eating raw foods,” and I generally don’t say anything else on the topic. That’s how I choose to identify myself, both in my own mind, and to others. Perhaps eventually I’ll be able to go into more detail, or take more of a stand for raw foods, but this is where I am now, and it is working great for me.

    I reinforce this idea by trying to always connect to the fun of eating raw. When I eat something delicious like a fresh mango, I always try to really explore that pleasure in my own mind. I take the time to actively say to myself (sometimes I even say it aloud!) “Yum! This mango is great! I love eating this mango!” I use the word “yum” a lot in my mental dialogue. It may seem corny, but it is really effective! I guess it kind of functions like an affirmation, really enforcing that this is a pleasurable thing that I’m doing in eating raw, not a chore, an imposition, or a path to some sort of food-ordained salvation.

    I have a lot of other thoughts on this topic, which is all too close to my heart, but I have to rush off to work. I’ll try to check back in later!

  • thanks, sososo much kandace and holidayatsea! Great advice.

    And thanks to everyone else, too – you’ve been soooo helpful. What I think I’m hearing is:

    1) Concentrate on the blessing aspect of this WOE, not make it into a negative or rule based regimen.

    2) Don’t categorize or place judgments on food, but rather cut myself a little slack… when I choose to eat cooked, it’s a choice, not a horrible-failure-sellout,

    3) Continue to be positive in choosing raw options when I plan my meals, but allow it to be a PART of my life, not my whole life.

    Simplistic, I know, but really a blessing for me. I came back with a lot of trepidation, but hey – I learned to get over anorexia with cooked food. I’m sure I can conquer anything that tries to sneak in with raw.

    Keep me accountable, though, all right? If you see any strident-unhealthy mindset type talk coming from my keyboard, please call me on it.

    Cool beans??

  • wow. just….wow

    Jenny, thank you soooooooo much!

    You’ve no idea what your post meant. I’ve reread it a number of times and will probably go back and back and back to it.

    Thank you. thankyouthankyouthankyou.

    I’m only about 12 years out from admitting I had anorexia, but what you said about aftershocks and achievement mentalities rings soooo true for me.

    When I’m being unhealthy I feel a false sense of ‘righteousness’ or ‘guilt’ about myself, based on my actions. Instead, I’ve learned over the years to separate who I AM from what I DO.

    Your post just…. wow.

    Thanks for being open – and keep me accountable, eh?

  • Someone directed me to this article:

    Orthorexia nervosa

    Fascinating. And way more eloquent than I’ve been.

  • Poemomm, I was introduced to raw foods exactly one year before I ever started eating raw. The reason it took me a year was because of the person who introduced me. She was OBSESSED with eating raw. I was staying at a place she ran in Mexico for a week. I don’t think we had a single conversation that didn’t revolve around how much healthier she was than I because of her diet. She weighed everything, wrote everything down in a journal and studied it afterwards. It freaked me out!

    Surprisingly, later on the same trip, I visited a cousin I hadn’t seen in a few years. He and his wife are high raw! I went from never having heard of the movement to meeting three people in it. I ate dinner with them and we had some really frank discussions about it. They were so opposed to the obsessive behavior. They were laid back and happy about it. We went to a market and they both had deep fried chile rellenos while I watched with my mouth open. “It’s a once a month treat!” They both still love the taste and don’t care that it doesn’t fit in perfectly with the dogma. It’s THEIR diet and no one elses. They decide what to do and don’t beat themselves up for doing it.

    I’ve just started raw (right after Thanksgiving). I know that I won’t be able to avoid cooked foods over the holidays, so I’ve “given” myself permission to eat cooked foods at the two holiday dinners I’m going to. I won’t feel like a failure because I know that I’m going to do it. This MY diet and don’t need to be obsessed – I can do what I WANT to do!

    Good luck!

  • Naomi, you’re so welcome. I got kind of choked up reading your response, because I really feel like I’m only just starting to come to a better place with all this myself. It’s so interesting to me that so much of raw food enthusiasm comes from its potential for healing the body—I never would have expected it to bring up so many emotional questions. I suppose we can think about what we’re going through as “emotional detox”!

    Anyway, thank you, too, because just thinking about these things and sharing them makes it so much easier for me to deal with them. I’m so grateful this site exists so that we all have a place to work these issues out!

    And that article is fantastic!

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