Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Raw Food: Oh, The (Emotional) Places You'll Go!

What an emotional roller coaster! I am sick AGAIN with an upper respiratory infection. Since I'm coughing up yellow-green stuff, it's certainly a viral or bacterial infection. It wasn't killed back in August, so it's been dormant for the past month and a half. Repetitive illness is a clear sign that I have some emotional issues to deal with.

The lungs are part of the Heart Chakra. When working, the Heart Chakra is the seat of love and compassion. You can give and receive love freely. When not working, the Heart Chakra has trouble giving and receiving love, for a variety of reasons, usually trauma. The lungs, specifically, are the seat of grief.

(Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Body and You Can Heal Your Life are two good references. We are body, mind, and spirit beings. No illness can be looked at as only a physical issue. You miss a lot if you do not go deeper.)

Between 2006-2009, I had more upper respiratory infections than I can count. That was the height of my caretaking days. This year, I've had four. I'm clear on a few issues: I miss my extended family; I feel a sense of isolation as a stay-at-home mom; I am overextended in my obligations. I'm working on all three of these.

I have turned to food as comfort. If you're wondering what happened to my Raw Food Cleanse back in September, here's the deal: I was doing well. Both myself and my oldest son were consuming a quart of green smoothies a day. Then I got the STRONGEST cravings for my childhood foods. Ham, mac and cheese, mac salad, pizza...I wanted it all. The intensity and longevity of the cravings surprised me. I wrote Victoria Boutenko. My question was, "Can green smoothies, and/or raw food, release cellular memory?" I haven't heard back from her, but I think so.

So I started making cooked vegan versions of those foods. The first couple days, I felt okay. The emotional need of wanting to see my family was being met by the food. I had even told my friend Amaadi that I was thinking of changing my blog's name to The Vegan Mocha Angel.

Then I got sick as hell. Not upper respiratory sick. Whole body sick. My back hurt like sin, and still does (how I need my chiropractor). I didn't injure myself. It's like my back is inflamed. I couldn't think straight. I lacked mental focus. I just wanted to sleep all of the time, but couldn't. Premenstrual cramps flared up. Everything internal went haywire.

I thought, is this cause of our Western illnesses: the food? Could it really be that simple? In my case, yes, it's that simple. I do not carry the mantle of Raw Food Dogma. But what is clear is that cooked food absolutely lowers my immunity, energy, clarity, and connection. A poison if you will. Strong language, I know. But I must call it like I see it.

Me and Raw Food have had a love-hate relationship. This relationship is musically exemplified by Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's Rumba on Season 5 of Dancing With the Stars.

In seriousness, I've been thinking about this a lot. I realized I have to feel I deserve perfect health. Eating things that make me sick is crazy. Also, as a mom, I put others needs first. But if I'm in a cooked food haze, then how is that helping my children? My health must come first so I can be emotionally present for my family.

I also have come back to my yoga roots. I've been seeking a spiritual foundation. I've had one in yoga all the while. Yoga is not about the poses (asana). Asana is the third rung on an eight limbed path. The eight limbs of yoga are:
Yama : Universal morality
Niyama : Personal observances
Asanas : Body postures
Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana
Pratyahara : Control of the senses
Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
Samadhi : Union with the Divine

My focus is on Ahimsa, the first Yama principle. Ahimsa is defined as non-violence. No harming of another living creature. In other words, honoring the life in all things. But as I read on Atma Jyoti, there is no talk anywhere of Ahimsa toward the SELF:

Though the subject is oddly missing from every commentary on the Yoga Sutras I have read, the practice of non-injury in relation to the yogi himself is vital. That is, the yogi must do nothing in thought, word, or deed that harms his body, mind, or spirit. This necessitates a great many abstensions, particularly abstaining from meat (which includes fish and eggs), alcohol, nicotine, and any mind- or mood-altering substances, including caffeine. On the other side, it necessitates the taking up of whatever benefits the body, mind, and spirit, for their omission is also a form of self-injury, as is the non-observance of any of the yama or niyamas. It is no simple thing to be a yogi.

It is no simple thing to be a yogi (or yogini, for women). No, it's not. But there is more to life than satisfying the five senses. The sixth sense, the intuitive self, longs to feel the connection to the inner self, others, and the Source we call God. I am looking into Ashtanga Yoga as my path. Why? Because the asanas are incredibly difficult, and will take me a lifetime of serious study to master. The Eight Limbs are core to the practice. That is what I want.

So the Raw Mocha Angel will remain The Raw Mocha Angel. I've been all over the place emotionally, but feel that I have found a home in Raw Food and Yoga. To live the 12-Steps to Raw Food, and to be honestly featured on my own blog as a Healthy Vegan are my goals. Thank you for remaining with me on this healing journey.



hopefulfoodie said...

...and this is why you are AMAZING!

Caramel Bella said...

hi Althea! Great post. So honest and refreshing. As a striving yogini, I can relate to all that you said. Keep writing and keep us all along for the journey!

xx, caramel bella

Althea said...

Thank you hopefulfoodie and the always awesome Caramel Bella! Your words are deeply appreciated :-).

Jennifer said...

Wow! Althea, your brutal honesty is amazing and shows how truly introspective you are. Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration.

Althea said...

Thanks Jennifer. {{hugs}}

bitt said...

I'm glad you stuck to veganism to satisfy your cravings. I'm going through some of the same stuff. I think it makes sense when you are in the raw food thing for the long haul, the levels of raw may change.

Hang in there!

The Duo Dishes said...

You're a Carolina grad? We both went to college there. :)

Althea said...

I just like the Carolina shirt! My family (the Hughes side) are from North Carolina, so that's why I like my shirt. But I'm a University of Georgia grad.


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