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Addicted! Help!

I'm trying to eat more raw foods, but I can't seem to get past the addictive processed foods I've been eating for 33 years of my life (all my life). I tried going raw summer 2008 and I lost about 10 lbs but then I got sucked back in by the 'black hole.' I want to go through my cabinets and throw out all the processed food in my house, but I know my husband wouldn't like that. He's supportive about what I want, but there's certain things he won't live without (like soda). I only drink water or organic juices so having soda in the house isn't a big deal for me. However, I LOVE cookies and I gobble them up if they're just sitting around. The fresh produce in the stores here (Illinois) sucks in the winter. It's usually already going bad by the time it gets to the store. It's easier for me to eat healthy in the summer because there are more options. Ugh! I'm so frustrated! This is probably what a drug addict or alcoholic feels like when they really want to get off the drugs or alcohol but can't because the chemical has such a hold on them. I really want to be free from sugar and processed foods, but it keeps reeling me in. I feel like a failure because my willpower isn't strong enough to stop me from eating that crap. I feel like the chemical dependence is too strong.

I guess my question to you is how did you overcome the addicting processed foods? How long did it take you to get over them? Do you ever trip up because you remember the way it made you feel and you end up eating something you shouldn't? What can I do to overcome my processed food addiction? A couple things I thought of were to throw out everything in my house like I mentioned before and to have my mom do my grocery shopping so that I don't buy things not on my list. Thanks for your help and advice.


  • Hmmm. The first thing I want to say to you is to stop comparing yourself to a drug addict or an alcoholic. Yes, cooked food can be compared to these things in that it has an overall degrading effect on your body, but you do not have a "problem". It seems to me that you are using negative connotations to describe yourself, and so disabling the beautiful self that is trying to appreciate and take care of itself.

    I think that both of your solutions seem to be powerless acts of desperation. Part of raw is taking charge of your life through positive thought and action. Shopping and making positive choices for yourself is very fulfilling. For example, when you choose to splurge on a papaya instead of a pint of ice cream. Just making substitutions like that can feel very good.

    The so-called "addiction" fades over time, as your body and mind relax and readjust to the new lifestyle. To me now, certain foods that I was emotionally attached to such as ice cream and chocolate taste like burnt air. I did not overcome them, they simply were revealed to me for what they really are, which is a lot of nothing. Sometimes these things still come to my head, and then I ask myself, what do I want from them? I realize that what I want is not something I can get from ice cream or chocolate.

    I suggest that you start slow, and start with love. Don't tell yourself "I can't have that, that is bad. I am bad for wanting that". Instead say, "I deserve more than that".

    Have a lovely day,


  • It's a different journey for each individual who chooses to go RAW and you should not fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others who have been RAW for years. Whenever you fall into cooked food eating, don't beat yourself up--take it as a learning process and find out what the lesson is. Congratulate yourself for good days (even if they are not 100% RAW). Pick yourself up and try again when temptation overtakes you. You cannot expect perfection just because you know what you should be eating. Like you said, you have 33 years of BAD habits to overcome.

    I too have family members that tolerate my unconventional way of living. They drink pop and eat cookies (I love cookies too!). When I first went RAW in Nov. '07, I ate mostly green smoothies, fruit, and salads. I slowly started to add more recipes to my diet. But at Christmas I ate some turkey, mashed potatoes, and ice cream besides the huge salad I'd made for myself. After that, I ate alot more cooked food--mostly sneaking stuff. I could eat up to a cup of regular peanut butter on the sly, cookies, bread with loads of butter and whatever else was around. But I kept my commitment to RAW. Sometimes it seemed like a losing battle. Going out to restaurants embarrassed my 17 year old son because I made so many demands (hold the cheese, bacon, eggs, dressing etc.). But I couldn't see myself going back to my former life--it is so wrong on so many levels!! I stuck with green smoothies in the morning and every day as much RAW as possible. Sometimes I did great, but I hardly had a day with 100 % RAW. For the past few months I've been overdosing on nuts, not always RAW ones either. But it's still better than meat. Although I still love cookies, I now just acknowledge they taste good but I really don't want to eat them. I'll have a fresh, enzyme rich piece of fruit instead--sometimes it seems that I am capable of single-handedly depleting the world's supply of bananas. It's getting better but I have a long way to go. After 46 years of SAD I'm trying to be more and more happy each day.

    Like Parsley says, start slow and don't expect perfection from yourself. Forget the negativity and enjoy the journey. We're rooting for you!!

  • Hi cargirl0699,

    Great to read your honest account of your struggle. I think Parsley said so many good things in her reply.

    I still struggle with eating non-raw things, not so much processed foods, but sometimes. I found a helpful thing to keep saying over and over to myself when shopping is "if it isn't raw, don't buy it". This is helpful, in that if I happen to get into some old crackers or whatever in the cupboard, I don't condemn myself, just figure this is the last of that thing I'll be eating, because I won't be buying any more. If you stick to that, and keep your husband's "must have" stuff in a seperare, sort of quaranteed spot, you won't be getting into that either, and eventually your food sources will be "clean". I say that because just gutting it out with "will power" doesn't work for me, and I think it doesn't for most people. I still have some beans and grain stuff that I will probably cook and eat over time, but I'm only buying quinoa and mung beans and lentils to sprout, so it won't last for very long. This has been a good transition strategy for me.

    Maybe start by going through the cupboards with your supportive husband and elicit his help in getting the stuff he really wants to consume into one area of the kitchen that you will just avoid, as not yours. Hope this helps

    best wishes- osoniye

  • Hi cargirl0699,

    I know EXACTLY what you're going through!

    Do you know what helped me out of that "black hole"?

    A book called "12 Steps to Raw Foods - How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Foods" by Victoria Boutenko

    (check it out at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/12-Steps-Raw-Foods-Dependency/dp/1556436513/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234273692&sr=8-1).

    It is absolutely amazing, I can't even tell you how much I LOVE this book!!! I felt so understood and it helped me on ALL levels to get over cooked foods. After all there's so many different reasons we all are addicted to cooked foods and Victoria talks about all of them and how to solve them.

    I can only recommend for you to buy this book, you will not regret it!!! :-)

  • i worked with my naturopath, not in the direction of going raw but cleaning out my body. I started with a mild cleanse that started with two weeks of cutting out sugar and processed foods, dairy, salt etc. A month or two later i kept with the same diet (because i felt so much better) and then went back to see him and he put me on a five day fast. A month or two later i went back and did a liver cleanse, three weeks of cleansing. After this i chose to start eating raw because a friend asked if i wanted to try it with her, i made the transition easily without cravings. I found getting to this point easier because i was working with someone and i was paying them quite a bit of cash to help me, if i'm spending money i'm less likely to "cheat". because i'm paying for it. Maybe that's another option for you? :)

  • cargirl- the main thing that helps me stay focused on a raw lifestyle is my health. i only want to put the best things in and on my body, and if i know it won't help my body, then i don't want it. i look at my body like a machine. i want it to work efficiently, so i give it the best fuel i can get.

  • Cookies and other junk food are high in carbs, which may be what your body NEEDS!!!!

    The best way to get carbs on a raw diet is to increase fruit consumption.

    I would suggest reading 80 10 10 diet, and signing up to nutridiary.com (It's Free).

    Try to determine how much raw fat your eating and how many raw carbs you are eating per day.

    You don't have to do this for more than a week.

    Once you boost your raw carbs you won't crave those nasty sweets, since your body will be satisfied.

    The other problem people face with raw is not enough calories. Your calorie intake may also be too low, again this can be determined by keeping a diary online for about one week.

    Some people on here will tell you that you need your own diet, and that everybody's body is different. Just keep in mind everybody needs carbs for energy and everybody needs calories. That if you eat a well balanced diet, you will never be deficient in any nutrient.

    Good luck!!!

  • i think it's extremely important to take transitioning slowly. if your body is raging for chips, cookies, etc, choose brands that are more healthful than the average Doritos or Paul Newman's. For example, you could try Guiltless Gourmet chips, Joseph's cookies, or sprouted grain bagels, tortillas and bread. As far as your husband's addiction to soda, do you think he'd be willing to switch to Kombucha (like GT's Kombucha, which is so fizzy and sweet just like pop, yum)?

    Natalia Rose has a great section in her "Raw Food Detox Diet" book about the importance of transitioning slowly -- in other words, honoring where your body is at RIGHT NOW -- and offers a long list of transition foods that will help you begin to move from SAD to transition foods to raw foods. But remember that such changes will happen successfully not when you force your body, but only when your body, mind and spirit are ready to joyfully embrace them. Your husband does not need to be right there in your journey with you. (Of course if he were, it'd be very helpful.) Re-organize the food in your kitchen so that his SAD stuff occupies one area, while your transition foods occupy another shelf. That way, you're setting up clear divisions between your foods and the foods your husband eats (i.e. food not fit for human consumption). Do the same in the refrigerator. As far as produce, where do you do your shopping? I live in Chicago and think the produce here is pretty great, with lots of options for CSAs and green markets if you're not into places like Whole Foods, Stanley's or Hyde Park Produce.

    As for my own transitioning, I started my raw journey about two years ago. I ate lots of raw gourmet and went through periods of ordinary SAD eating both at home and at restaurants. It's taken me a while to learn how to ignore friends' raised eyebrows when I go to restaurants and detail to the server exactly what I want and don't want in my food. There was also a period of time when I needed a weekly cheat day to eat SAD. And then there were the holidays. Anyway, my point is it that even though my raw journey often felt like a losing battle, ultimately it's been one step back, two steps forward. Two years after I started, I'm now at a point where I feel very peaceful when it comes to food. I eat very simply, and love my food, but also excitedly make room for dining out on special occasions like Valentine's Day or an anniversary. Some people transition super quickly while others take years and years, possibly even decades. And honestly, I think any amount of time you need is fine, as long as you're not wrestling an unwilling body into accepting any kind of dogma.

  • Thanks to all of you for you comments and advice. I'm printing all of this out so I can read it when I get frustrated. Thank you so much for your support.

  • Reading these comments have been very inspiring to me. This is a direction I am heading into. I still struggle not because I want other things but because I don't know how to prepare interesting meals with raw foods. They tend to be boring My family is not protesting when i prepare somthing interesting and tasty BUT I am limited on recipes and how to put it all together. Any Helpful hints for me.....will be GREATLY appreciated! THANK YOU, Raw n Lovin It

  • I have been raw vegan for 5+ years and I still get "the call of the SAD wild" once in awhile. Especially during stressful situations, or just plain boredom.

    The way I am able to handle it, is to put the label, sickness and early death in front of the SAD item.

  • malchusmommalchusmom Raw Newbie


  • Blue_EyesBlue_Eyes Raw Master

    Beany, I also try to label sad food, when I first found out that gluten was causing my pain I worked in an office that's main passion was eating, there were donuts and snacks being brought in ALL the time. I just started labeling it as RAT POISONING!!! that helped alot. The hard thing was my desk looked right into the break room table where all the dieseased food was taunting me.

  • Thought I would throw in my two cents even though I am new at this.

    I live in a household with seven other people than myself. My husband loves his junk food and gatorade. We have four teenagers and two younger children. Throwing out all the cooked and dead food is absolutely not an option. But what I have done that seems to have really made my transitioning seem easier to deal with (I also LOVE home made cookies and crackers) is to clear off a shelf in the cabinet and filling it with things that I can eat. I put everything we had that I could eat on that shelf including the raison box. I also went online and bought a few cases of raw food bars or mostly raw food bars to give me an indulgence when I need one. I also claimed a drawer in the refridgerator for my stuff, fruit, salads, seeds, and have filled it with containers of things like raw almond butter/coconut balls, sundried tomatoes in olive oil (the oil is solid when cold but is liquid again in minutes) and other stuff like that. I have just found that really having some sort of ownership in the kitchen has helped. I still need to cook food for the others most of the time but it doesn't really bother me this time because my food is there too. Also it is fine with me if the others forage through "my stuff", good for them, just as long as they save me some!

    In a so called perfect situation we all would go raw together and be one big happy family. But as for today it doesn't seem to be in their cards- not yet...

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