Friday, September 4, 2009

The Courage to Be a Raw Vegan

For people who know in their souls that a raw vegan lifestyle is for them, this is for you all. You may not practice it everyday, but because of your positive experiences with raw, you know, with deep conviction, that raw is the best way to eat, for you.

I've thought about this post for months. In my own struggle, I've realized that going raw is, at its core, about letting go of what no longer serves me. I want to move forward, rather than remain at a standstill.

Going 100% raw means releasing my past. The way my immediate and extended family ate was a classic Black American soul-food diet. Either ham, turkey, ground beef, chicken, deer, rabbit, bacon, barbecue pork, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, or sausage links were the centerpiece of the meal. Surrounding the animal protein were a mix of potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans with bacon, macaroni and cheese, and candied yams. Breakfast was either pancakes and sausage, or cinnamon rolls, eggs, and sausage. Friday was pizza night. I have a vivid memory of eating a breakfast of fried chicken, eggs scrambled in butter, and coffee with my maternal grandmother.

It was all love though. Food is fuel. With human emotion added, it really is love. My family nourished me with their love of food. And if anyone has at least one grandmother, you don't turn down your grandma's food. I didn't know any other way, so I ate everything on my plate.

But eating soul food does not work for me anymore. Soul food has a rich tradition in the United States. But let's be real. It's roots are in slavery. Chitlins...scrapple...pig ears...those are the pig leftovers. According to the Soul Food Advisor, my ancestors "used large amount of fat, sugar, and salt to season their foods because it was cheap and readily available. Salt was also used as a preservative since there were no refrigeration or other methods to keep food cool."

Black folks still use a large amount of fat, sugar, and salt to season their foods. But I don't see any slaves working on plantations. Thanks to my parents, I am well-versed in Black History. I know what slaves endured. Out of their horrific pain came gospel, blues, poetry, soul food, and much more. A major American cuisine was born from the darkest period in our country's history.

I say discard the food our ancestors had to eat. Rather, embrace their spirit of resilience, creativity, and faith to move into a new era of healing. (Two excellent cookbooks which remake soul food are The Vegan Soulfood Guide to the Galaxy by Afya Ibomu, and Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. They are wonderful.)

Going 100% raw also means releasing past relationships, or current relationships that no longer work. This could be ex-boyfriends, friends, and family. With my ex-boyfriends, I need to accept that I was who I was when I was with them, and that's okay. Rather than be ashamed or embarrassed, I thank them. I now say, "Thank you for having been in my life. I wish you the very best." Cords cut. I've moved on.

I only keep positive friends. Long-time readers of this blog know about my in-laws. Because of their insanity, my new mantra is, "I don't do crazy." Crazy has no space in my house nor in my life.

Going 100% raw means I let go of the need to struggle financially. The past eight years have been rough, but that was my own creation. I always had a fear of being poor, and guess what? I've experienced poverty. It sucked. There was nothing romantic about being broke.

Going 100% raw means letting go of the need to be like everyone else. This was my most recent realization. I'm public about being an Intuitive. (I hate the word "psychic." It sounds so otherworldly. I'm pretty darn grounded.) I've been shunned by people. It hurts, but it's part of the package. I've also experienced blatant hostility and rudeness. That's worse. If I can live with those negative emotions being hurled at me, I can withstand the insane looks and comments that come with saying, "I eat an uncooked plant-based diet." (Insert the WTF looks..LOL!)

In short, embracing a 100% raw vegan lifestyle means embracing the best. The best food. The best life. The best energy. The best the world has to offer me. When I've been raw for at least one consecutive month, I have felt my best. I want to feel my best all of the time. I want to be connected to my Higher Guidance all of the time. I want to be the best wife and mom I can be all of the time. I want be the best daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and niece all of the time. I want to be the best Althea. And that requires a courage I never knew.

I am ready.


Eugenia said...

Congratulations on your courage, Althea! As one who's taken this journey, I can vouch for all of the MANY rewards.


Evelyn Parham said...

I enjoyed reading your post, it really hit home. :) I am inspired!

Angelique said...

Althea -- your courage inspires me! THANK YOU for sharing yourself with the world.

Tahisha said...

I *LOVE* how you put it... it's about "embracing the best. The best food. The best life. The best energy. The best the world has to offer me." So many people think in terms of 'restriction','doing without', and even being 'up-ity' when it comes to tailoring your diet and lifestyle. But you're so exactly right! It's about what you're EMBRACING! Thank you for your courage!

τreciä said...

Well written. i'm inspired to try. I want to understand for myself what this whole feeling better is all about. now the problem how do i start? or would a better question be- where do I start?

Kasi S. said...

Very inspiring - thank you. I have been resisting going raw for months now, and you are right - it is about letting go, and I'm just not ready yet. Thank you for sharing your courage. I hope to be ready in time... hopefully soon!

Anonymous said...

Your articulation about the raw food lifestyle makes me smile and be happy about my own raw lifestyle decisions :)

Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

Wonderful and insightful post!
I can relate and that is inspiring for my own journey.
Thank you for sharing!


Green Tee said...

Thanks for this awesome post. I've been looking for an "Angel" to guide me towards my inevitable journey into raw foods. I think I've found her. Your words are helpful, insightful and warm/fuzzy.


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