Whoa, Pure Jeevan's Back?!

2016 update: Aha, you noticed?! Welcome. Yes, we wanted to bring the site back online again, mainly because it's so packed with articles and information. It will be a work in progress for some time, as we changed web platforms and all sorts of tech stuff. So, a lot of links are hard-coded to old Wordpress-style links... just awful. But, in time we'll get all of it back in shape. For now, enjoy clicking around and reading!

Jim here... Wow, did you read yesterday's post ? Wendi is away for a month starting today. That's like a year in Internet time, right?

So, I guess I have the blog to myself for a while. So strange... I mean, I helped her set it up back in late '07, contributed numerous articles and a lot of behind-the-scenes time along the way, and then got really involved here (regularly -- daily, even) about a year ago. But, I never "had the keys" all to myself for a long spell. I feel as though I've been entrusted with something important, you know ? I must control that strange compulsion within me to, you know, run a silly cat video or something. But, I'll resist and keep things on-point. (LOL)

Thanks so much to everyone for the well wishes directed at Wendi. Trust me: She appreciates it SO much!? While she's away healing, I would invite any of our readers to ask me anything they want about raw foods, a guy's perspective of a raw issue, how to transition your husband, or whatever you want. I do love answering questions!? Aside from that, I suppose I'll just cover all sorts of raw topics, as usual.

For example, the other day I was trolling Facebook and happened across someone's posting of Philip McCluskey talking about what he calls "Fathead Syndrome."? It's a great video for anyone who's lost a lot of weight. The funny thing is that, in a list I keep online of future blog post topics (yes, we do plan ahead here!), I had written two simple words of my own as one bulleted item: "phantom fat."? It's very similar to some of the points Philip makes in his video, so I figure now's as good a time as any to continue my own meditation on that topic.

* ??? * ??? *

If memory serves, I first encountered the term "phantom pain" during a M*A*S*H episode. It usually refers to the phenonenon whereby an amputee feels sensations (usually pain) in a limb that has been amputated. So, phantom pain is when you feel pain in a part of your body that does not exist!? Similarly, I coined term "phantom fat" almost jokingly, after noticing a similar phenomenon in a highly pronounced way.

I'd gone home to make lunch for Wendi and KDcat a few months back and, upon serving the food in the dining room, sat down in my chair as normal. I suppose I had some sort of oddly fitting shirt on that day or something, as I suddenly felt a very real bodily awareness of a "spare tire" -- that infamous ring of abdominal fat often known as "love handles."

The problem is:? I don't *have* a spare tire any longer!? (Well, not that this is a problem, exactly; ?rather, it's a very good thing!) But, seriously, I had to take a minute and actually reach down, putting my hands on my waist to check. Because of the odd sensation I'd just experienced, it was confusing to feel my waist leanly angling inward and not laden with the fat that was there for so many years. How strange, though, to experience that old sensation again.

You see, when you lug around 70 extra pounds for so many years (as in literally decades), you develop kind of a mental projection of what your body looks like. I mean, you see it every day, and you feel your clothes hugging your bodily countours every single day of your life. And, trust me, when you're fat, you're hyper-aware of that clinginess -- and, well, it just sucks.

It wasn't so bad in the fall and winter, when I could wear extra layers to conceal it all. But, throughout the spring and summer when fat was not so easily hidden, this was certainly part of my daily awareness. This was always also part of what I hated about the corporate world, btw -- always having to wear tuck-in shirts (which reveal fat all too well). I can tell you that, throughout most of my 18 years in the corporate world, one of the first things I would do upon exiting the office building at 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. was to un-tuck my shirt. I always felt an immediate sense of mental relief doing so. That was my experience, anyway. And, thin as I am now, my work shirt is still usually untucked by the time I get to my car in the evening.

I know there's a lot of advice out there about accepting yourself and learning to be happy about being a "plus sized" woman or a "husky" male, but I could never get to that space while I was overweight. I was always conscious of it, at least to a certain extent. I think during times when I wasn't so conscious of it, I was actually deluded about it -- and that's probably worse.

What I mean by that was that I actually adopted a mindset at 235 pounds that I was a normal-looking person (size-wise). I didn't think I stood out all that much, and used to just scoff any time a coworker made joking reference to my having extra "girth" (yes, that's a quote).Psychologically and emotionally, this denial served as my own warped version of self-acceptance -- especially when no real solution to my weight problem ever presented itself. I see now, of course, how this inner-frustration really held back the development of my spirit, and even informed my sometimes cynical view of the world at the time. I still see that cynicism in my coworkers.

?

Looking back at the old pictures, though... I clearly wasn't very normal. I was on heart pills, for crying out loud!? So, regardless of whether my psychological outlook was healthy, I don't think my physical reality was doing me any good at the time. The weight simply needed to come off -- only, I didn't think it was possible. Maybe I'd just accepted my "fate," as it were.

I'm hesitant to discuss this here any further, even though it is my own truth, because I'm now highly conscious of what others are going through with their weight -- the soul-crushing frustration they're feeling inside (even if they're not showing it, and even if they're unaware of it). Worst of all, I fear that my discussing it may make some people regard themselves in a negative way, and that's not my intention at all. Some may think, "Oh, sure, it's easy for you to say since you already lost the weight. But what about me? What about people who are still struggling "

?

Well, for those of you who are still struggling, my #1 take-home message is: "Stop!"? Stop right *here*. And, by "here," I mean specifically raw foods. It works. Raw works -- and it works for all of the right reasons. It's not gimmicky, dangerous weight loss like Atkins or other fad diets. It's just 100% pure health food, eaten 100% as it comes from Mother Nature. And that goes for most ailments, above and beyond obesity.

Raw is immediately intuitive, as well. What could possibly be better for you than raw fruits and vegetables? (Deep down, you already know that the answer to that question is: Nothing!) So, eat salads, read raw food sites, meet other raw food people. That's my message... So, if you're still struggling, that's what I want you to do. Just adopt raw foods and give it a good honest run.

?

So, when I talk about fatness and so forth, know that I'm not coming down on those who are still struggling with weight. In fact, I'm your most hyperly-enthusiastic fan, a crazy raw food jester jumping up and down with more energy than you can imagine, waving you into the circle of renewed health and vitality. You've got to want it and feel worthy of it, of course (and that's actually a pretty big psychological hurdle for some -- a topic near and dear to Wendi's heart, I know). But once you truly want it, it's here for you.

?

You see, the thing is... both "lasting weight loss" and "dramatic revitalization" of the human body and spirit are really rare things in the world -- generally speaking. Most popular diets simply do not work, or only work temporarily (resulting in the yo-yo lifestyle). Most exercise regimens, in my view, also aren't enough for all people to maintain health.

However, in the raw food world, these incredible transformations are kind of commonplace. I'm astounded by the number of people I've met who have adopted this lifestyle and turned their lives around 180 degrees -- and I sometimes feel like we're all just preaching to the choir on some of this stuff. At the same time, though, I know that a lot of our readers here at Pure Jeevan are new to raw, or have just found our site through and internet search, or maybe a Youtube video. So, I like to speak to different audiences from time to time.

?

This "phantom fat" -- or "fathead syndrome" or whatever you want to call it -- is probably a bit of an advanced topic specific to a lot of people in the raw food world. ... Why ? Because the diet actually works. We lose the weight, and we actually keep the weight off. So, we actually GET to experience it. If you're on a yo-yo dietary existence, you never get that far. So, it's a good sign, in my opinion!

And so it's no wonder these experiences are apparently common among raw foodies. I find it incredible, by the way, how so many raw foodies are really tuned into many of the same ideas and premises. It's living proof that we all experience the same phenomenal results.? So, I encourage you to read as many raw blogs as possible, and you'll begin to notice the same kinds of experiences, the same common denominators, the same vibes running throughout the scene. To me, that's proof positive that it works.

Anyway, as far as phantom pain goes, it's recognition that's key here. Since we're really talking about a psychological / emotional / spiritual phenomenon here, I think the experience invites us to broaden the metaphor a little bit. If we're capable of phantom pain, what else are we capable of ? For example, are we capable of phantom fear Or other phantom emotions ? Can can one trigger the other?

I bring up fear in particular because, as I've lived this lifestyle longer and longer (and I'll concede that this could be a coincidence, although I don't think so), I've noticed more and more behavior in others that seems to be rooted in and driven by pure fear. For example, I was forwarded by email just a week ago, from a well-meaning and concerned friend, containing a lengthy manual designed to enlighten me on how to survive the end of the world. I realize there are practical reasons for being prepared (such as keeping some extra supplies around during the winter in case of a power outage). However, the cover of this manual depicted a mushroom cloud, gas masks, and other terrifying imagery.

That cynicism I spoke of, and that fear, and so many other negative emotions... they're really part and parcel to my own pre-raw existence and, I suspect, to the lives of so many who are unknowingly under the influence of physical, emotional, and spiritual malnourishment. What is the meaning of reliving these emotions? I don't know that I have a good answer. ... I don't know, that is, that I have a single answer right now. But I do have theories. It could serve to remind us that others need help still. It could mean we're merely experiencing a past emotion based on some triggering event. It could mean there's a lesson for us to learn still. Or something else. But, it's important to at least recognize it, meditate on it, and keep the experience in mind for future reference.

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On October 15, 2009, sherylmiller wrote:

Hello Jim,

I am sure you will provide lot's of valuable information about all sorts of subjects.
I can't wait to hear all about Wendi's healing journey, if she wishes to share!

Thanks Jim for todays post I guess you need to beleive in your self and follow your intuition as we are all different.
I am begining to appreciate the wonders of fresh fruit and veges as at the moment I am on a fruit and vege cleanse that Frederic Patenaude is running.
It is easier than I thought but Ineed to well organised with fruit and veges as if I don't eat enough I get cravings.
I don't know if I would want to read a manual about "How to survive the end of the world"
But anyway I must get organised as usual school is nearly finished and the kids need picking up!

bye
sheryl miller
canberra
australia

On October 15, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Hey Sheryl-

Oh, I didn't read that "end of the world" manual. LOL... I deleted it, in fact. Still, I know the gesture (of that guy sending it to me) was, oddly, well intended. The person even paid a lot of money for it! But, it's just not the kind of thing I want to invest energy into. In the reality of those who live in fear, my existence is often viewed as irrational and idealistic. They view their living in fear as being practical, and as such do not recognize it as fear at all.

So, you're on low-fat raw vegan now? That's super! I'm heading back that way myself. My main meal lately is a huge smoothie of 2 oranges, 2 dates, about 4 huge stalks of kale, some grapes, about 1/4 of a lemon, a little water, and some frozen berries (strasberries and/or blueberries) to cool it off. Delicious! Sometimes I try to limit the dates, figuring I don't really need them in there, but for some reason, I usually plop a few in there for the heck of it.

Best,
-Jim

On October 15, 2009, Patricia wrote:

excellent post, jim.

On October 16, 2009, Karmalily wrote:

This is a really interesting post. I turned 22 this year, and I was overweight until very recently. Overweight to the point of weighing 200 lbs when I was a junior in high school. I'm now down to a normal weight for a person of my height (which I was happy to get too during this past summer), but I still feel fat in my head. I first realized it when I was trying on clothes not too long ago - I automatically reached for clothes that would conceal added pounds, like I wore when I was big. It's still taking me a long time to get past that and to acknowledge that I'm no longer unhealthy and overweight.

On October 16, 2009, Theresed wrote:

Hello,,,Please help me. I am a raw food want to be in a BIG way. I was 100% raw for 3 months, lack of money and a non supporting boyfriend is why I am not still raw, He is now a ex boyfriend, but money is still an issue.

I am 50 lbs over weight, I have colon problems, the doctors just wants to cut me open and I will not go for that. I have not been back to a doctor for it in years. Raw helped, I went to the optimum health institute to get started back then...I am no longer able to afford that. I get bored with salad and am unable to always have a big choice in my house...I need more than salad...Time is another factor. I need easy to prepare and TASTYmeals, for a new raw fooder I make raw crackers when I have time and do green smoothies when I have the fruit in the house and of course the salad with my raw dressings I am a all or nothing person I realize that now...any This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On October 16, 2009, Auntie Patricia wrote:

theresed, i'm so sorry you are stymied in your quest for wellness. i'm glad you won't let the doctor cut you open. cutting is SO barbaric. i would encourage you to make sure you have what you need to be truly healthy. surgery costs far more than green smoothies. when i first started eating raw, i ate as much fruit (only one type at a time) as i wanted for breakfast, either fruit or salad for lunch & a bit salad with 'something' - nuts? seeds? usually tahini - for dinner. 'the beverly hills diet' helped me become raw... many years ago. it's helpful to learn about enzymes. and i make sure i have lots of ginger & garlic daily to help keeps myself healthy.

On October 16, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Thanks, Patricia! :-)

On October 16, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

I think this issue of shedding the old ways of thinking deserves more attention and thought. I'm sure the shadow of these things lingers for years. However, there is also a purpose to it, as it allows us to more easily understand the pain that others are in, and help them through their struggles.

Congrats on your achievement, Karmalily! I assume you did this all via raw foods? Would love to hear your "raw story" -- encourage you to check out http://tinyurl.com/rawguidelines !!

On October 16, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Welcome Theresed! I feel you... Here's the secret: Your desire to be healthy needs to be BIGGER than your boredom with salads or your money issues or your desire for easy meals. See what I mean? You gotta work on that one thing, and then it'll all fall into place for you. Get yourself to a mindset where that particular DESIRE is the #1 thing out of ALL that stuff that you mentioned. And take action on it NOW. Ask for advice and direction, yes, but realize that YOU have the power already to make a decision right now. Just say it out loud, "I decide that raw is the path to optimum health for me." Then take action. Find ways to make it work. Read and learn how to do raw on a budget. Read about all of the variety of recipes out there. Find fast and easy recipes for salads, smoothies, and other quick dishes that'll work for you. And if you can't find an answer to a problem, craft your own solution and then share it with others. But, you have to take action, responsibility, and make health your #1 priority, and the rest will fall into place. I can't do it for you, but I'm more than happy to show you the way -- and the way is by reading this blog top to bottom and all of the other raw books, sites, blogs, and communities out there. Best of luck to you & keep in touch!

On October 16, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Great advice, Auntie Patricia. Thanks! I agree 100% that a lifestyle change is absolutely preferable to surgery! So many people these days think of surgery as the easy way out (tough to imagine anyone thinking that, but it's definitely true). But, the more we write and talk and spread the word about raw, the more people who will hear about it and make a better decision.

On October 16, 2009, d2quilter wrote:

When I decided to go Raw and began losing weight I experienced a weird phenomenon that I never had on any other diet. I began losing weight and I began to feel my "skinny" self under the fat. It was like I was a skinny person in a fat suit. I felt skinny and was just waiting for this fat suit to melt away and there would be the real me. I wasn't extremely overweight, but had carried around an extra 25 pounds for quite sometime. It was an amazing feeling to finally feel the real me under the fat. I knew the fat wasn't me!!!

On October 16, 2009, Auntie Patricia wrote:

i hope so, jim. i hope that people will want to know what they can do instead of being cut on... and do what they need to do to get healthy.

theresed, i have to agree with jim. when you make your health the most important thing, then you will do what it takes to be healthy. and you have had a good taste of it at the optimum health institute... now you can find fun ways to make things you love to eat. if there is something you crave, just do a search on the www for a recipe for that... you will find it, i guarantee you. raw food chefs are geniuses when it comes to duplicating comfort foods. or just throw something out here... maybe someone here will have an idea for making things you love, only with raw ingredients. i wish you radiant health!

On October 17, 2009, Theresed wrote:

Thanks...and you are right, its all about willpower and maybe some days food will be boring and some days it will by yummy as long as i stay with it things will work...wish me like here i go

On October 17, 2009, Auntie Patricia wrote:

theresed, willpower sounds so difficult and dry. there's a book - the beverly hills diet - that 1) educates you about non-foods so that they are less appealing and 2) helps you appreciate the beauty of real food. it was published, i believe, in the 1970s and is a classic. got me started eating and appreciating raw food.

luxuriating in raw food is more fun than willpower. :)

On October 17, 2009, wrthliving wrote:

Jim,

This may be too big a query, but what are your thoughts on the problem of eating to "stuff" emotions that are deemed unacceptable or frightening? There is a particular type of food well suited to this action....anything greasy, salty, sweet, and/or cooked. I was raw for about 3 months in 2004, and never felt better, felt really phenomenal, but it wasn't enough to stop me from eating "at" my anger and fear, using horrible food choices to do so. Now, I'm almost 300 pounds again, and I've been following your blog for a while hoping to go raw again, but I'm afraid I'm not really able to comply.

On October 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Well, yes and no... Certainly, there are days when willpower comes into play a little. It can be especially tough, for example, if you're around a lot of delicious-smelling cooked foods. If you work in a cooked food restaurant, going raw would likely be really difficult. BUT, if you change your will, then you won't need to overpower it in the first place. See what I mean? That is really what I was getting at above. If you actually make that desire for health your #1 priority, then that alone is usually enough to steer you in the right direction most of the time. So, willpower won't even be necessary because your *will* will be to be healthy. Once I reached that level of commitment, and all of my coworkers, family, and friends realized how serious I was, I was able to overcome all sorts of things that would have tempted me before. I always was able to recognize, in those situations: Why am I raw? Why am I doing this? Why am I not going to eat that pizza that everyone else is having? ... The answer: Because I'm happier being fit than I am in indulging in temporary physical sensations. I'm happier not having to take heart medicine. I'm happier with vibrancy in my life. I'm happier with full access to all of my emotions. From there it's so easy. There's no temptation at all. No willpower necessary!

On October 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Oh, that's such a perfect comment for this post. It definitely works both ways, and that's a huge benefit of going raw for people who have weight issues. You definitely DO begin to feel your "skinny self" (or, perhaps more on-point here, your "healthy self").

On October 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Oh, I think it happens every day all around the world -- sometimes *constantly* with some people. Many people are just blessed with genes that do not express themselves by producing a 250, 300, 400+ pound person like it did for you, me, Wendi, and so many others who really lost a lot of weight via raw foods. But, those millions of junk food addicts out there who *aren't* showing morbid obesity are likely just as unhealthy in other ways, whether that's high cholesterol, diabetes, numerous other chronic diseases, or even something that hasn't shown up yet. I mean, it's rare that a person can live a perfectly healthy life if they're really eating a lot of junk (with the exception of a lot of young people, say well under 30, who haven't yet begun to pack it on). Others can live a long, realtively healthy life on a general cooked-food diet. But, then there are those of us who simply cannot.

Back to your point, though... When you're raw, you're not stuffing emotions down, as you said. So, things come to the surface and you're going to have to deal with them straight away. If you have anger and/or fear issues, I really think you're going to have to face them. Sometimes that may mean introspection, journaling, research, reading, various activities (e.g., meditation, yoga, hobbies perhaps). Other times it may mean seeking professional counseling. Counseling is a real hoot... You go in there all weirded out because you're a self-proclaimed "nut case," and then they bring up all of your anger and pain, and you leave feeling miserable... and this cycle goes on for a while, and then at some point you're just over it, and you move on with your life. What a weird process! (LOL). But... the cool thing is that, you deal with this stuff, and you get healthy, and then you're ready to stay healthy going forward. You become more yourself, too. For some people, that may mean that they won't get themselves into that angry or fearful space any longer. Radical changes make this possible.

Going raw can literally change the course of your life. Suddenly, you've got your life back, and you may realize that you're on the wrong path -- and being on the wrong path has contributed to that anger and fear. So, you decide to re-do your life from the ground up. You make major changes in your lifestyle, living style, friendships, maybe even relationships...

Now, I don't want to portray raw foodism as some kind of eternal state of bliss where reality never comes into play (although, hey, I think it CAN be!). Like it does for anyone else, life happens to raw foodies. There will be tough days, things to make you mad... Hopefully, the transformation you've gone through will enable you to deal with these things in a healthier way. But, there are certainly opportunities to "emotional eat" while raw. And that's okay... it's better to chow down on some raw chocolate now and again than it is to eat a bag of Doritos or a couple of Big Macs, right? So, one thing is just learning the basics, and then adapting your emotional eating accordingly as you transition.

What are you angry about? What are you afraid of? You don't have to answer here if you don't want to. But, those are critical questions.

On October 17, 2009, wrthliving wrote:

You know, it's not so much what the anger and fear are about, as it is that I learned from a very early age that it's not ok or safe to express them. I'm attending ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) and learning to say what I feel. Actually, I'm just learning to RECOGNIZE when I feel. I'm hoping this will give vent to the ancient stuff and give legitimacy to the current stuff, so I won't have this critical mass of pain to keep contained anymore, and I can give up the childish food choices. I believe if I can learn to heal my emotional self that the sky will be the limit on what I can do. Plus I already have all this expensive raw kitchen equipment (lol). :-)

On October 17, 2009, Theresed wrote:

I worked all day today, Had to rush out at 8am and didn't have anything prepared from my busy day the day before...So went all day using willpower because all i had was a avacodo and a kumbucha....I got home at 9pm and was so tired, i did not feel like�having�a salad , and making it seemed like work, but I��was starving...Those are the days when its hard to stay raw...I did it, but went to bed HUNGRY!!! I just pray that god will send me money and time to be able to have choices in my kitchen.� Thanks everyone for all the support. Tomorrow is another day like today....Wish me luck!

Therese

On October 18, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Yep, that makes perfect sense as to why raw didn't work the 1st time around. Those ACA sessions sound like they're really hitting some critical areas for you -- and I know that the sky is *truly* the limit for you. Sounds like your journey has begun ... what an exciting, auspiciuos time! (And the fact that you have a lot of raw kitchen equipment is a huge bonus. You're totally primed for amazing results!) -Jim