Monday, 10 October 2011

Guest Post: Real Food Diets: The Raw Food Challenge, by Russell James

This last year I have been trying different ways of eating to try and regain some of my balance, energy and overall health since bearing and rearing our 2 tinies. Over the next few months I'm bringing you a whole host of wonderful guest posts on a variety of Real Food Diets, from Raw to Paleo. Join me in this series and find the best real food for your mind, body and soul.

Our first post comes from the wonderful Russell James, a.k.a The Raw Chef.

Maca Ice-Cream & Cacao Crackle Sandwiches
You know the drill: You realise there’s more options out there, there’s a different way of doing things. You embark on a healthier lifestyle, you embrace the lifestyle, you even think it’s a great idea to tell all your friends; you can’t understand why everyone doesn’t know about raw food, “it’s like, the answer to everyone’s problems, man.”

At work/college/home you start getting questions, and lots of them, followed by some very confused faces. The questions turn into a ritual dinner-time ridiculing, things start to get a bit uncomfortable. You find yourself compelled to start defending yourself, but you don’t; you just keep doing what you’re doing because you see the truth in it. You just know it’s right.

Like yourself, I’ve been the subject of some ridicule from other co-workers because of all the fruit and salad I bring with me everyday for lunch.

Sure, sometimes you may fall off the ‘wagon’ and get caught by the Food Police, to be told, “but you’re not allowed that, are you?”. But generally, you’re pretty ‘good’, people can’t help to notice that there might be something to this raw food thing.

Then the questions start to change, they become a little more genuine, people seem intrigued by what you’re doing. Not in a patronising way, but in a respectful way. You may even start to get compliments.

Imagine this: I’m standing in the queue for tea at where I used to work. I’ve just come back from a 1 week detox fast and I’m eating mainly raw foods. I’m queuing for some hot water for my peppermint tea, and I’m behind another manager I work with. This guy is a man’s man; he’s all about beer, women, football and the pub. He has a cigarette behind his ear, ready to light for his ‘fag break’ (I think the word ‘fag’ in this context may be an English colloquialism, so for the record, it means cigarette). So he turns to me, clutching my herbal tea bag and box of salad, looks me right in the eye and says, “your skin’s looking good, Russ”. It was the least most likely thing that guy was ever going to say, and I was amazed, if not very amused.

So what happened?

I have been inspired to write this blog post after a conversation with a new friend. My new friend had read, and commented on, my story and how he had experienced a similar scenario as I had, with his colleagues. I have to say he’s not the first to mention it either, so what’s going on?

A curious thing has happened, however, in that now many of them come up to me asking for dietary advice.

We’re tested everyday, no matter who we are and what we do. We’re tested by the Universe (or however that shows up for you) to see if we’re ready for the next phase, we’re tested by potential and current partners to see if we’re up to the job – to see if we’re ‘the one’. Hell, we even test others in this way too, c’mon… I know you do.

When you make the change to a different lifestyle, you are setting an example, so you will be tested to see if you walk your talk. Yes, we know that everyone would benefit from eating at least a little more raw foods, and most people that hear you talk about it know this on some level. That’s why it causes so much interest, but people want to see that you believe in it first, before they take it on board properly.

They want to see it’s not a fad, that it’s not a phase your going through. Raw food isn’t a phase, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not something you can un-learn when you know about it, even more so when you’ve experienced it – you can’t forget the energy, how much better you look and feel, how much more inspired, connected and loving you feel. That stuff’s with you for life.

My manager, in fact, comes up to me on a daily basis and asks if what he’s eating is alright. I try not to be too strict with him, but there have been a couple of times where I told him that what he was eating was atrociously bad, and he actually threw the entire thing out in the trash.

So when you walk your talk, when you’re non-judgemental (as much as you can be), and when you follow a path that people may not see the truth in (yet), you give them a gift. You give them the gift of example, and you make it easier for them to see the doorway, ultimately leaving it for them to decide whether they want to go through or not, because you can’t save someone who’s not yet ready to be saved – I’ve learnt this first-hand recently.

Kinda shocked me that my words could have such power, that another person would actually listen and believe the things I say.

You’re a pioneer, you’re maybe in the top 1% (that’s a generous estimate!) because you dare to be different. You’ve dared to ask questions of your own and you just won’t settle, you won’t settle for mediocre health, not for you or the people you love. That really is an amazing thing.

Russell James is The Raw Chef. Since turning 'raw' in 2004 he has become a passionate pioneer for raw food, it's enormous potential in revitalising body, mind and soul, and the endless possibilities it offers for a healthy, nutritious, delicious - and sometimes naughty food-lifestyle. Here he talks about the challenge of turning raw and what it means in the grander scheme of things...

Russell can be found on his websiteblogTwitter and Facebook. The above article originally appeared on Russell's blog here.

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