Whoa, Pure Jeevan's Back?!

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Jim here... This post is for anyone who has turned to raw foods in an attempt to become healthy -- to lose weight, lower cholesterol, to lower blood pressure, to beat diabetes, or perhaps to overcome something even more serious. Let me ask you something (rhetorically): Have you ever, in your journey toward optimal health, looked at someone else -- someone else who eats "worse" than you do, yet who appears outwardly more healthy -- and thought, "Why is it so hard for ME and yet so effortless for that person "

Have questions run through your mind such as: ?How can that other person eat all of the wrong things, and yet look healthy? ?Why is it that I eat better than most people, and yet I'm the one facing a health problem Why is it that some people go raw and their issues clear up so quickly, and yet here I am still not feeling and looking 100% healthy? Why is it that physical health is not always bestowed on those who really deserve it?

I call this kind of thinking "Health Jealousy." And, if it sounds like I'm finding fault with that kind of thinking, you're absolutely right; I am finding a little fault with it! However, if it sounds like I'm being critical from some grand, lofty, self-enlightened perch, you should know that I'm basing these observations on personal experience. ?Oh yes, friends, I'm as guilty as anyone of this kind of negativity, and probably more guilty than you are. So, don't beat yourself up about it, okay !

Actually, let me rethink something I said, above: ?I don't know if it's exactly negativity at work here. After all, from an evolutionary standpoint alone, there is some merit in what we commonly think of today as negative emotional thinking.Things like anger and pain and fear all have their roots in the primal development of the human psyche.

If we feel angry about something today, it may very well be experienced as a powerful emotional issue to us in the here and now. But, to our bodies, that emotion is signalling the release of certain chemicals long-associated with the emotion -- chemicals that, over the span of many thousands of generations, functioned to save our lives. Without the human feeling of fear, we would never have made it to this point. Instead, we'd have simply served as tasty lunches for carnivorous predators many millennia ago.

Let's dig in a little closer: ?In this context, the word "jealousy" is really referring to envy, isn't it ?-- envy of another's physical appearance. So, when you see this other healthy-looking person, you're really coming face-to-face with your desire to exist in a healthy state yourself. You see this person and you think, "Now that is how I would love to look." This is a complex issue, though, because there are probably both healthy and unhealthy ways to have this thought. On the healthy side, for example, you could be thinking that you'd like to look like that person because you regard that state as physically fit, in some ideal way. In my view, this is healthy because attaining optimal physical health is certainly a noble goal for everyone. ?On the other hand, it's easy to imagine that motivations for such envy could also be rooted in superficiality.

So, I think Health Jealousy can be (1) basically healthy and productive, assuming that you recognize and channel it well, or (2) destructive. Let's look at those two scenarios:

1. "Healthy" Health Jealousy

Okay, so you're feeling down and/or frustrated because you've observed someone else who follows a poor diet and/or is considerably less active than you are, and yet that person's outward appearance is healthier and/or more vibrant than yours. Let's look at some possible productive conclusions we can draw from that:

  • It could be an indication that your expectations are unrealistic. How long have you been following your chosen protocol (be that raw foods, an exercise regimen, or something else)? Is that realistically a long enough trial after which you should have seen some concrete results? ?If not, maybe you need to stick to your program for a longer period. (Patience, my friend!) ?If your trial was clearly long enough, skip to the next bullet point.
  • It could be a wake-up call that you need to modify your diet and/or exercise regimen. The frustration you're feeling could be an indication that something needs to change. Maybe you've given your current diet a true, long-term trial, and you're still not getting results. Well, if that's the case, maybe it's time to make some changes. If not, go back to the previous bullet point.

Here again, in either case, you've recognized what's going on, acknowledged it, and are now attempting to learn something from it. The tough trick here is knowing which bullet point is for you. I suspect that, when it comes to raw foods, quite a lot of people would fall into the top bullet. I honestly do not believe that most raw foodie aspirants give raw a fair enough shot, or a long enough shot, or a deep enough shot. So, for many, many people, my personal advice is to amp up your percentage of raw, if possible, and to go longer. On the modification side, it could mean altering your percentage of fats, proteins, or carbohydrates -- and/or changing up your exercise routine.

2. "Unhealthy" Health Jealousy

Above, we looked at some ways that comparing yourself to others could actually be productive. Here are a few ways in which this can be counter-productive:

  • When your goals aren't in alignment with what your conscience knows to be healthy. I'm purposely leaving this one somewhat vague, as it represents all of the unhealthy ways in which one might look on another person (e.g., wishing them harm, wishing to have their life instead of your own, etc.). Because none of these things are productive for you, it's important to examine your goals and motivations.
  • When it becomes an obsession. If you find yourself engaging in Health Jealousy constantly, then it's not going to be merely unhelpful, it's probably going to be harmful. You could be flirting with depression, with binging, with "giving up" -- or worse. One good way to overcome obsession is to recognize what's going on, to consciously decide to stop it (without judging yourself), and then to simply go on with your life. Ever read about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)? ?I'm not much more than generally knowledgeable about it, but I do know that two words often come into play during the therapy: "even though." Basically, the technique involves tapping specific points on your body while reciting affirmations and self-directed sayings such as "Even though I'm jealous that Joe Smith eats the worst diet I've ever heard of and still looks like a supermodel, I accept who I am and that I'm still a good egg." I'm not sure if people use EFT to overcome obsessive traits, although I suspect it's applicable. My point is to simply recognize what you're doing and to accept that about yourself, and not to beat yourself up over it. I suspect that this, alone, can help you surmount the problem.
  • When you're waiting for the phone to ring. Realize that diets and exercise regimens take a lot of time, and that we all have our own pace. I'm not a big fan of weighing in on a daily basis. In fact, all while I was losing weight, I almost never stepped on a scale. Wendi did, though. I believe she weighed in rather regularly. But, she was seeing a lot of progress with raw and was encouraged by the weight loss. I suppose the lesson here is: ?If you're discouraged by the bathroom scale, then stay away from it.
  • When you DO weigh in, you're not allowing your body to take things at its own pace. Comparing yourself to others might be a good way check yourself against your fitness goal from time to time, but in the end you have to recognize that your body is going to work at its own pace. And a lot of that is specific to your genetics -- and there's nothing you can do to change those. So, you must ultimately accept your body's pace. Keep the faith.
  • When you cannot recognize unrealistic expectations. This last one is a bit tricky because the topic of unrealistic expectations also appeared above under "healthy." I suppose what I'm thinking is that this one can go either way. If you're able to recognize a goal as unrealistic, then a check against that goal can be healthy. But, if you're unwilling to face the unrealistic nature of your goal, I think it can lead to long-term frustration and disappointment. The issue is doubly tricky, though, because determining "how realistic a goal is" is itself an enormous issue. I certainly would not want anyone to give up their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. But, at the same time, it seems clear that this issue should be listed here. So, we'll leave it here, and just mark it as highly subjective and a matter of personal decision.

Final Observations

On the more spiritual side of this issue, I would also add that another possible reading of what's going on here is that there's more to your situation than you know. This experience in you could be an indication that you're not ready to change (e.g., that there's an emotional issue holding you back), that the Universe is not ready for you to change yet, or perhaps that your struggle could mean that you're to be a compassionate teacher or guide. That last one really hits home for me. Having this experience myself allows me to pass along to you that (1) it's normal, and (2) it doesn't make you a bad person. So, again, don't beat yourself up for having these thoughts.They're not necessarily ?"acidic" or "negative" or "bad karma." They're simply normal, human emotions. The trick is to realize what's going on, and recognize what's healthy and what's not so healthy. Keep the baby; throw out the bathwater.

Update: An astute reader pointed out to me that, while I admitted to personally experiencing Health Jealousy, I failed to note whether I'd partaken of the healthy or unhealthy variety, as defined above. Of course, the answer is: ?Both. "The truth is ... I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd." ~spoken by Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.

Original Comments

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

On September 1, 2010, debbiedoesraw wrote:

food for thought Jim! I have to say, this is not the exact thing I go through.. but I DID go through this while trying to conceive.. and having three miscarriages.. then seeing others who did not even WANT a baby, who were unhealthy and just blantantly bad parents, have babies instantly.
It hurt.
and I suppose now that I have CLL I wonder who others who seem so much 'less healthy' don't have cancer.. but the truth is.. I know that bad habits will lead eventually to a crisis of some sort.. not that I wish that on ANYONE! just makes it so I don't feel envy, just pity that they don't enjoy my level of health which I enjoy so much, with cancer.
LOVE you guys
deb

On September 1, 2010, debbiedoesraw wrote:

re reading this I realized that I said they will eventually get sick.. but really, many won't. and some who are very aware and health conscious will. Some things just are in the hands of a higher power than all of us! I have read about many 100 yr olds who like their cigs and liquor!

On September 1, 2010, Ceciann wrote:

Matt Monarch writes that people who are not where they want to be should try colon cleansing. He says this often is the block for people on a raw lifestyle, which releases so many toxins into the body. He says the body needs help releasing those toxins because detox takes a long time. This is where colonics will help, he says.

On September 1, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

Sure, I could see how that could be true for some people. While I'm not an active advocate of the whole colonic scene myself, I'm nonetheless sure that the practice belongs on a list of ways to break through such mental, emotional, and physical "blocks."

On September 1, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

Hey Deb- I think sometimes I try to over-generalize some of what I write here. In fact, when I was writing this, I was really focusing on obesity and self-body-image more than overcoming other conditions. So, it doesn't surprise me if you'd never experienced this *exact* phenomenon. However, in a general way, it sure does apply to other types of envy -- whether it's conceiving, or health status (as you mentioned) or other things. I remember when I was younger, sitting on a hillside in D.C., waiting for a bus. I was watching thousands and thousands of cars roll past me & thinking, "Jeez, everyone and their brother has a car here! Why don't I ?"

On September 1, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

True... It sometimes comes down to genetics, grace, providence, luck, what-have-you. But, I do like the fact that, if we're conscious about our diet and lifestyle, we can at least optimize our own experience here. "Chance favors the prepared mind." (Ironically, that was a quote from Pasteur, who we all in the raw world consider kind of a "bad" guy -- lol.)

On September 1, 2010, debbiedoesraw wrote:

Ok this is going to sound wrong.. but without saying too much about my experience, Have you looked at Matt
that's all I have to say on that.
No more colonics for me. They just caused me pain and cost me tons of money.