It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).
Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.
One obvious question that arises from all of this is: ?If someone may be overweight for non-dietary reasons, then why might we suggest that a raw food diet (or a high-raw diet) could improve such a person's health? In other words: If diet isn't their problem, then why might it be their solution? ?I'd like to offer a few different answers / opinions, based on the examples we covered earlier.
1. For those overweight as a defense mechanism, and those with "hungry souls":
While therapy would be a great recommendation here, I've nonetheless come to view the raw food diet as kind of a functional "override" for many. Whatever the reason for obesity, the reality is that it's not an optimal physical state for long-term health. So, it's something that deserves addressing, no matter what the cause.
The beauty of the raw food diet, as compared with so many others out there, is that the chances of being harmed by it are nearly nonexistent. So, it's not going to make anyone's situation worse. At a minimum, it's a detoxifying protocol, and that's usually a good thing.
We've talked many times here about how junk foods can "push" psychological and emotional issues down, away from your conscious focus. Thus, if one eliminates these mechanisms, one may be forced to deal with issues that arise from the detox, without leaning on junk food as a crutch. That, alone, could be the impetus needed to force a person to deal with an issue long after it perhaps should have been dealt with, or even to finally experience a realization (for the first time) that one is troubled by something that had gone unnoticed.
Along the same lines, let's acknowledge that our minds require healthy brains in order to function properly. Brains are physical organs that run best when they're supplied with the proper nutrients, the proper blood pressure, the proper blood oxygen, etc. It's a fair assumption to me that a person who feeds the body best will in turn supply their brain in the most beneficial way possible. ?And, even if the effects of this are highly subtle, you'll want to have at your disposal your fullest, most clear state of being to think through those "hungry soul" issues.
BTW, I'm not suggesting that obese people are less mentally capable than physically fit people. (I actually accomplished quite a lot during my heavier years!) However, I would wager that, at a minimum, a physically fit person may have an advantage in terms of sheer physical stamina, and possibly in the area of mental clarity as well. Of course, I'd hoped to develop some super-human mental powers upon being raw for an extended period of time but, to be honest, that never happened -- although I did notice some surprising physical improvements beyond the weight loss.
But, one thing that we've surely witnessed time and time again with raw is a return to vibrancy, which can be tough to classify as solely physical or mental, but is more or less characterized by a certain ineffable "glow." For me, it also played a starring role in my realizing that there was much more to life than the corporate ladder. So, based on all of the above as well as my personal experiences, I'd recommend it for those in these situations.
2. For those who are worried about being overweight:
This is a tricky one that goes back to the Law of Attraction and The Secret, as discussed earlier. ?If diet truly does not matter, as The Secret asserts, then you have just two options: (1) truly convince yourself that diet does not matter, or (2) find some other dietary regimen to believe in. The problem with the former is that the notion that "diet does matter" is so ingrained into our beliefs at this point that there is, in my view, almost no hope of changing this belief. Almost everyone I can think of (myself included) believes this. Raw vegans believe it, paleo-eaters believe it, frutarians believe it, and even Standard American Diet eaters believe it.
So, if you subscribe to the Law of Attraction and are overweight, then you need to believe in something else for diet -- and, hey, why not raw foods? As you can see, you're currently reading a blog that has, as of this writing, 791 articles extolling the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits such a diet has to offer. In our opinion, it's an easy belief to latch onto. It's backed by solid nutritional science, clearly good for you (as you're eating food directly as nature has provided it), virtually without risk, environmentally friendly, detoxifying, devoid of ethical dilemmas, abundant with stories of healing and transformation, and above all absolutely delicious!
I hope I've answered the question well enough, and hope this week was thought-provoking. I think I'll head back to our kitchen renovation now and let Wendi take the reins for a while. :-)
Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On June 3, 2011, wrote:
I have been obese for many years even though I had eaten a very nutritional diet, counted calories (averaged 1900 daily), and walked at the mall 3 times each week or more. Eventually I developed sleep apnea also and then had a massive stroke in 2007, and was hospitalized 2 1/2 months between four different hospitals.
I had just started eating vegan after reading Victoria's book when I had the stroke. It took a few months afterward for me to remember about the new way of eating, so I had my husband stop bringing me the cooked foods and just eat primarily raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
I was finally able to lose some weight, going down from 224 to 171. Then was hospitalized again this February with heart failure. Now my weight is 185. However, I am no longer using the medications they wanted me to as I know pharmaceuticals are not healthy and found info from Dr. Johnathon Wright on using vitamins and minerals which has brought my weight down from 190 to 185 from using their drugs.
It was stress that caused the weight gain to begin with and I am sure it is doing that again. I have tried everything I can find that is not pharmaceuticals to help me regain my health!
On June 3, 2011, wrote:
Since you've identified stress as the cause, I'm just wondering whether you've tried (1) therapy and/or (2) some form of meditation? Or some of the other things that I mentioned this week? (Sounds like you have, but I wanted to ask nonetheless.)
Unfortunately, I can't claim to have all of the answers (though I certainly like to think about finding such solutions for people) -- and also I realize that, in some cases, it's extraordinarily difficult to surmount a non-physical problem (such as stress, emotional trauma, grief, etc.). But I do feel that these things *can* be transcended, if only we cross paths with the right resources.
Also, we're generally very conscious these days of wording articles especially carefully in that, while we're huge proponents of raw foods and raw or high-raw diets, we also believe that, in the end, health comes down to what works for each individual. I think that bio-individuality is the true future of where this whole field is going and, as such, I realize that raw may not work for 100% of the people out there. Our series on "Nadi Balance" gets into a lot of this type of discussion, and may interest you. ( You can find that here: http://rawfoodblog.purejeevan.com/ cat=994 ).
On June 11, 2011, wrote:
Jim- This series of posts has been really well-timed for me. I'm trying to deal with some "fear of success" and "hiding under my weight" lifelong issues that I think have had a major effect on my weight loss efforts. I'm eating 10xs better than I was a year ago, (80-100% raw on any given day for 6 months + added exercise 3-4x/week), but I don't seem to be losing any weight. OK, I released 8 lbs the 1st 3 months and there I've stopped. I am still obese @ 240lbs & 5'2" tall. I've been doing a lot of soul searching & therapy recently, which I believe came about by moving to RAW and simplifying my diet. I've done less "numbing myself out" with food. :) I keep thinking that once my mind gets going in the right direction with 100% clarity of purpose, the weight will release. Getting it there is the battle though! Still having lots of fear. Thanks for putting this out there! -Brandi Jong
On June 12, 2011, wrote:
"I keep thinking that once my mind gets going in the right direction with 100% clarity of purpose, the weight will release."
I think you're heading in the right direction there, for sure -- and it's great to hear that you're hitting 80+% raw for such a span, plus exercise! Having a supportive health care practitioner partner couldn't hurt you either, of course, as well as getting all of the testing and so forth that would help direct your individual physiology! But, it really sounds as though you're doing super. A few additional points to consider: (1) Your body could be busy attending to other issues more important than weight at the moment, so that would indicate that sticking the course is a good thing, (2) You may want to take a look and re-evaluate what kinds of raw foods you're eating. For example, even if you're 100% raw, there are many ways to achieve that. If you're highly athletic, then you may respond well to a lower fat raw vegan regimen such as 80-10-10. Or, if you have sugar issues, you may do well on a Rainbow Green-type protocol. Another thing (3) could be a problem similar to what Wendi is going through at the moment -- some digestive trouble. Human beings are so unbelievably complex... it's tough to pin down such issues. But, I really do believe in a holistic approach, and am glad to hear that you're working it all out in this fashion. I envision great success for you! Looking forward to hearing updates on your progress. :-)
On June 24, 2011, wrote:
Sharon, Jim replied to your blog comment, but it didn't get posted underneath your comment. So, I'm not sure if you received a notification about it, or not. Here's what he shared:
Since you ve identified stress as the cause, I m just wondering whether you ve tried (1) therapy and/or (2) some form of meditation? Or some of the other things that I mentioned this week? (Sounds like you have, but I wanted to ask nonetheless.)
Unfortunately, I can t claim to have all of the answers (though I certainly like to think about finding such solutions for people) ? and also I realize that, in some cases, it s extraordinarily difficult to surmount a non-physical problem (such as stress, emotional trauma, grief, etc.). But I do feel that these things *can* be transcended, if only we cross paths with the right resources.
Also, we re generally very conscious these days of wording articles especially carefully in that, while we re huge proponents of raw foods and raw or high-raw diets, we also believe that, in the end, health comes down to what works for each individual. I think that bio-individuality is the true future of where this whole field is going and, as such, I realize that raw may not work for 100% of the people out there. Our series on ?Nadi Balance? gets into a lot of this type of discussion, and may interest you. ( You can find that here: http://rawfoodblog.purejeevan.com/ cat=994 ).
On June 25, 2011, wrote:
Hi Jim & Wendi- I just saw Wendi's repost for Sharon and it reminded me that I hadn't thanked you for your reply. I DID see it and I did appreciate it. I just received a copy of Angela Stokes-Monarchs "Raw Emotions". I'm hoping to find some sparks of wisdom/inspiration through that reading as well. It's so incredibly frustrating to know that I am eating & moving so dramatically differently than I've done in years past & yet have 100 lbs to lose that isn't budging. Being honest, I haven't been 100% raw every day (5-6 out of 7 days) and have often had 1 truly SAD meal/week over this last 6 months. Could that one SAD meal "undo" 6 days of raw? Am I eating too little for my large body? Too much? I know in my heart if I persist I'll eventually have a break through. It's just hard for me to read about others who "seem" to have weight consistently dropping week after week when it isn't happening for me. I cannot go backwards though. I've changed too much & many things have become habit now. P.S. I'm approaching hour 19 of my 1st attempts at a 24 hour water fast. I need to prove to myself that I can go 24 hours without food and I won't die. I'm struggling today. Thanks for being here and for "listening".
On June 27, 2011, wrote:
Hi Brandi! Today's post may help you. It's about PCOS and Insulin Resistance. Many women have an issue with insulin, to one degree or another, and this makes it very difficult to release the excess weight even when we are eating healthy foods. So, check out today's post to see if you feel any of the information may be helpful for you.
Congrats on the positive changes you've been making! For the 100% raw question, we posted some information about that in a recent blog post, as well. The issue may not necessarily be that you're not 100% raw, it could be what you're eating that's more important (for the cooked foods, are they overly processed, junky, filled with colors, flavors, etc. If so, that could be part of the problem).
Fasting can sometimes cause more issues with weight, since the body will want to store fat after the fast. So, be careful with how many fasts you do, and for how long. I do fasts from time-to-time, as well. I'm not saying to stop fasting...just saying to be careful if you have excess weight because it may make it a bit harder to release the weight for the long term.
I think it's great you are continuing to move forward. You will definitely find a way that works for you...just keep trying different changes with your diet and lifestyle and you'll find *your* way. :-)
Lots of love to you, Brandi!