I recently had a follow up with a client who has been doing very well on a food elimination diet in order to heal her immune system. For months now, she has been diligent about her plan, taking her supplements and making sure she got regular exercise. This time however, at the start of our session she said “I’m feeling like I am struggling and having a hard time sticking with the diet. I’m craving cheese for the first time in this process and I’m afraid I am heading towards abandoning the whole thing.”
These were discouraging words to hear. I felt terrible for her because despite what she was saying I could also see that she desperately wanted to continue on. She never felt better or had more energy and was experiencing some of the best health of her life. She did not want to be defeated by her cravings or her mind. As we talked further, more of the truth emerged… her plan had fallen into a routine of not eating certain foods, rather than embracing eating well. Although she cooked some, most of the time she ate at the same places week to week, choosing the same dishes that were allowed for her eating plan. Distilled down, she had grown bored by the similarity of her meals and wanted something more. Due to past associations with food, in her mind, the “something more” became cheese and had we not talked about it and gotten down to the truth, she may have well had some cheese, then perhaps pizza followed by ice cream, abandoning her efforts and taking her down the path of self sabotage. But through talking what emerged was that what she wanted was variety and the sense that she was getting pleasure out of her meals. And here we hit upon a not uncommon problem on the path to a healthy body: repetitive, monotonous eating, will take you away from your intention to eat well faster than a chocolate covered donut. Trust me, I can relate.
Here I am, at exactly the half way point in my raw food journey and I feel… well, a little bored. Although I feel physically well, energized, inspired and very much alive, I find now, three months later, that I have fallen into an eating rut. Every day I say good morning to a delicious and filling smoothie that is loaded in nutrition and bursting with nearly seven servings of fruit and vegetables. But I worry about soon getting sick of it. And ask myself; ‘will this be sustainable in colder weather’? Probably not. In fact I think the reason I still enjoy it is because it makes this unbearable heat wave we are experiencing a little more bearable. Lunch is often coconut water or a random raw taco at Free Foods NYC or a homemade gazpacho soup. Dinner is an enormous salad. As delicious as it all is, it is not creative. And it is definitely repetitive. Good news is that my appetite is a fraction of what it was so at least I don’t have to be thinking about what to eat all the time. All the same, it is definitely time to branch out.
Like my client, I sometimes feel the boredom of monotonous eating chipping away at my resolve. Although I am fully committed to this process, I also find myself having less than focused thoughts about the whole thing because, truth be told, I want to eat amazing delicious food all the time, just like everyone else. But what I understand is that delicious food doesn’t have to be cooked. It also doesn’t necessarily come in a bag or even at a high-end restaurant. Some of the most delicious and nourishing foods I eat come from my kitchen, and my intention.
Nearly all of my clients who eat on the run and don’t make time for cooking get to this point in the process. They are tired of their options at Whole Foods or their local take-out. And it is at this point that I encourage them to begin trying simple recipes at home. Start with salads made with a twist or grilled vegetables tossed with brown rice pasta. It doesn’t have to be gourmet, just healthy and creative.
Cooking for yourself is a delicious, dynamic way of reinforcing your commitment to your health and wellbeing. It is an act of love towards yourself and the people you care about. Taking the time to prepare wholesome, scrumptious foods is a reminder of your intention and can help keep you focused on your path, all the while enjoying a variety of tasty foods.
In the spirit of creativity and renewal towards intention, my client and I committed to creating one new dish a week (for me a raw dish, for her a dish that reflected her new style of eating). I will be posting the raw recipes I make for all of you to try. Posting it with you will help to keep me honest. Committing to creating them will keep me motivated. I encourage all of you to branch out and try some of the recipes you’ve been ripping out of magazines over the years but never quite got around to making. You might be surprised at how fun and easy it is.
So lets begin… and let’s see if we can help each other. If you have a raw food or healthy recipe that you love or have tried with success, I would love for you to share it with me and my readers. You can post it in the “comments” section at the end of this blog post. Your contributions may make a difference for someone that is out there struggling to stay on their path. I look forward to hearing from you and trying out some of your recipes!