Raw Foods for the Rest of Us: How to Eat Better Without Being Perfect
by Cassendre Xavier
In the last 20 years or so it has become widely known that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables can create wonderful and lasting changes in one’s health, appearance, outlook, and productivity. Some have taken it to an advanced level, consuming a diet of 50% or more raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These folks, raw vegans, are the picture of health, commonly reversing debilitating and serious illnesses, and looking decades younger than their actual years. 100% raw vegans often go into business for themselves, often with their spouse or sweetheart, or going in with a few friends to co-house or even relocate outside of the USA to where they can grow their food year-round and maintain their alternative dietary lifestyle.
But what about the rest of us? What of those folks who are not ready to make such major changes in their diets, employment, and residence? What if you want to increase your health, improve your appearance, and extend your longevity, but have a difficult time staying raw? What if you want to lose weight, but you have emotional or survivor issues that become triggered when you begin to lose weight on the raw food diet? What if you have a lifelong eating disorder or food addiction that makes it difficult to keep to any eating plan? What if money is an issue, and you find all the equipment needed for a full and varied raw vegan eating experience cost-prohibitive? What if you live in a neighborhood in which high quality, organic produce is not readily available? What if you’re on the east coast and every winter you fall off the raw wagon, whereas your raw friends on the west coast and in tropical countries enjoy their super-healthful and delicious organic produce year-round, and at easily affordable prices? What’s a hopeful, yet challenged raw vegan to do?
To address these and other issues facing imperfectly practicing raw vegans (such as myself), I began in September 2014 doing workshops and classes and writing about raw foods for the rest of us, and how we can learn ways to eat more healthfully while still facing the various challenges of our lives.
It is my dream, my hope, and my intention, that this series will assist all those on the path of the Living Plants, receiving blessings, healing, light, and transformation from them and Where They Come From.
3 Real Life Examples of Challenges and Solutions for Eating More Raw Vegan Foods
1) Challenge: “I have a very low income – I’m on food stamps, receiving $189 per month for myself, and produce is so expensive!”
Solution: Ask around and find places where produce is sold very inexpensively. Many produce stores have “dollar bags” of fruit and vegetables, as well as generally low prices year-round. In my city of Philadelphia, there is OK Produce in the Reading Terminal Market, and around 45th and Walnut Streets in University City are a few produce vending trucks that are also very affordable as well as being easily accessible via public transportaion. Avoid the big-name supermarkets, as their produce tends to be most expensive. Have you heard the joke “Whole Foods, Whole Paycheck”? For folks with low income or on a fixed budget, that joke kind of fits!
Also, many farmers markets now accept food stamps, and they’re usually priced somewhere between “crazy expensive” and “dirt cheap”. You don’t have to buy all of your produce at farmers markets, but they’re a nice accent every once in a while, and you deserve to treat yourself!
2) Challenge: “I can’t always get organic produce. I’m concerned about what the pesticides may be doing to my health.”
Solution: Don’t worry, be happy! Relax and focus on all the good you are doing for your body by consuming a high volume of fresh fruits and vegetables (and nuts and seeds, etc.). Regularly stock vegetable/fruit wash (Trader Joe’s “Next to Godliness” is wonderful, affordable, and has all the same ingredients as the major brands do), and wash all of your produce that isn’t organic. Do this in a relaxed, happy spirit of love, and send out the intention, desire, request, and visualization that all the nutrients find where they can be of most use in your body, and visualize and intend that any residual pesticides, toxins, or other unwanted substances are neutralized by the washing, and by your strong and healthy immune system!
3) Challenge: “I can’t seem to find anything good to make. I just end up eating salads – savory salads with vegetables and salad dressing, or fruit or green smoothies. I want more variety in my raw vegan diet, but lack the time and initiative.”
Solution: Commit to participating in a raw vegan potluck at least once a month. This will nudge you to get creative with your raw food prep. Seek recipes online, at places like www.rawfoods.com, and on YouTube. There are hundreds of wonderful raw vegan entrepreneurs who started out just like you, just wanting a better life for themselves insofar as their diet was concerned, and they developed recipes and other tools for their own lives and now are sharing with others. Preparing one attractive and somewhat sophisticated meal for a raw potluck once a month will assist you in expanding your raw culinary repertoire and daily menu. You can slowly increase the amount of potlucks you attend over time, but once monthly is a must for a beginning or challenged, aspiring (and inspiring!) high raw foodist.
There are many more examples of challenges with their corresponding solutions we each face on the path to raw vegan-infused health and vitality.
I look forward to sharing them with you here, and on my website www.cassendrexavier.com.
Until then, be faithful and gentle with yourself on the journey, and may you continue to be blessed abundantly by the Living Plants and Where They Come From!
Upcoming “Raw Foods for the Rest of Us: How to Eat Better Without Being Perfect” classes/workshops:
Description: Raw fruits and vegetables are a well-known and powerfully effective way to vibrant health, and longevity. But it’s not so easy when you have serious challenges like a tight budget. Learn how you can experience the benefits of a partially raw diet and lifestyle without having to go all raw or vegan. Relax and heal your relationship with food, while using techniques including meditation, guided imagery, dietary adventure, sports (vs. exercise), and community support.
Sat Nov. 8, 2014 – 11:00am (until 1:30pm) – Part of the fall classes of the Mt. Airy Learning Tree. Location: Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119. $20 course fee + $5 materials fee payable to the instructor. For the full class description, please visit http://bit.ly/Y20ZmG, or go to http://mtairylearningtree.org
Sun Dec. 7, 2014 – 3:00pm (until 5:00pm) – Talk/lecture, with perks! Arnold’s Way Raw Vegetarian Cafe & Education Center, 319 W. Main St., Lansdale, PA 191446, 215-361-0116, http://www.arnoldsway.com. $20 admission includes: a 16 oz. delicious organic green smoothie, and 20% off all food at the cafe!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR/PRESENTER: Cassendre Xavier trained at Arnold’s Way Raw Vegetarian Café & Education Center in Lansdale, PA, is the author Expanding Your Capacity for Joy: a Raw Vegan Comfort Book, Sourcebook & Journal, and the co/founder of support groups for raw foodists and survivors of abuse who also suffer from eating disorders. She has been an imperfectly practicing and increasingly healthier raw foodist since 2005. Cassendre hangs her internet hat yonder: http://cassEndrExavier.com but most of her raw community loves to be at The YouTubes yonder: http://tinyurl.com/CXYouTubeRaw.