Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Raw in Reno~Special Guest Contributor~ Courtney Pool

Emotional Eating and Raw Food
By Courtney Pool
Switching to a raw foods diet should be a piece of cake (raw cake, of course), right? It’s simple. Make different choices. Buy different items. Just put different food in your mouth. For many of us, introducing a partially or all raw diet into our lives is not such a simplified choice. If you’re anything like me, this choice brings up the realization that we have emotional attachments to certain foods and the feelings they give us.
Emotional eating and emotional attachment to food can be a challenge in changing your diet and your life; and is a subject I have worked with a great deal. Here, I will share with you commentary on emotional eating, and share tips that have helped me to let go of the bread, cheese, meat, and any other foods you are choosing to give up.
I have seen it in my own life and others’. People often haven’t realized they have attachment to certain foods until they choose to let them go. Thus, I have found it important to understand the role that foods can play in our lives, and to develop alternative ways to get what we are looking for.
We can use food to numb, calm, distract, and occupy. We can use it as an apparent substitute for love, attention, comfort, or whatever else we have needed but haven't yet formulated a way to get, aside from eating. Food can ground us when we’re stressed and nervous. It can bring color and passion to our lives. It can serve as your best friend and lover.
When I first began eating raw, the items that stayed the longest in my life were carb/sugars. Things like muffins, cookies, pies. Why? For me, these were my ‘comfort’ foods. They’re called ‘comfort foods’ for a reason, after all ;) They were the panacea for anything that was going on in my life. The magic remedy for all ails. Raw food is less effective at playing the roles I’ve described than cooked food of any kind is. Why? Because it’s not physically addicting and because it isn’t as heavy. When you eat light, you become lighter on every level – emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and so your ‘issues’, simply have to come up. They can no longer be held in your cleansed and light vessel. This can be uncomfortable, and for some, terrifying.
So, what to do? Here are some suggestions that have helped me and my friends. You may be interested in only a percentage of raw, rather than all raw. In that case, please adjust the recommendations below to suit you:
Understand that you are going through the same thing many of us do and have when adopting raw foods. I myself took an entire year of back and forth between 50% and 100% raw before I became nearly all raw and lost my attachment to cooked food.
Make peace with your process. Find your own balance between determination/perseverance and patience/compassion. Your transition to raw will be unique, just like everyone’s is.
If you choose, allow yourself to eat heavier foods in the beginning. It is better to eat a half a pound of nuts because you need something to weigh you down, than to deny yourself and eventually give in to a piece of cheesecake.
Learn to make your comfort foods in a raw version. Then, make them! You can make raw ‘cheesecake’ and bread and pizza and pasta. Yes, at some point you may be content living off sprouts and algae and berries… and for now, do your best to satisfy cravings with raw versions.
Forgive yourself immediately if you ‘fall off the wagon’. Just because you ‘fell off’ five minutes ago, yesterday, or a month ago, does not mean you have to go on a cooked food rampage for the next hour, day, week, or month. All is not lost if you eat something cooked.
Learn about your own individual physiology. I highly recommend Gabriel Cousens’ books for this, which will help you determine your ‘dosha’ and whether you are a “fast oxidizer”/”slow oxidizer”. These help you know the ratio of protein/carbohydrate/fat (all raw), that works best for you. For me, I found out I need lots of protein, and since have been consuming large amounts of spirulina, and that protein satisfaction has in turn greatly increased my feeling of satisfaction on raw foods.
Be conscious of behaviors that can trigger cooked food cravings – such as high sugar intake.
Incorporate habits that can help calm cravings. For me, I have found that the following help:
o Drinking LOTS of water (I drink 2.5 – 4 quarts per day)
o Drink herbal grounding tea
o Eat lots of GREENS and SPROUTS
o Eat highly mineralized superfoods and green powders
Write down all the positive reasons you can think of for going raw, big and small. This will help your persistence when you have your ups and downs, because you will remember the big picture. Remember, this is a lifestyle change that you may choose to exercise for the next 10, 20, 60, or 200 years of your life ;) and it all you have to do is keep going.
Next is a list of things I have chosen to do when I have what I call ‘food panic’. This is the moment of intense craving and compulsion to whatever food seems that it will fill the role you need it to. At those moments, I have found the following to help (I invite you to find many more which work for you):
· Call a friend
· Take a bath
· Take a hot tub
· Read a book
· Ask for a hug (a long one)
· Exercise
· Cry, scream, or whatever else is coming out of you
· Drink grounding herbal tea, or take other grounding herbs
· Put on calming music
· Drink a quart of water
· Do 10 minutes of yoga
· Lay in the sun
· Go for a walk
· Find somewhere in nature to be - nature often resolves most of my issues more effortlessly than my own brain :)
· Breathe reeeeeally deeply for several minutes
· Paint, draw, or do something creative
· Meditate (for me, this happens AFTER I've done something else to let out the emotion I'm dealing with)
· Watch a movie
The Opportunity
By eating lighter and purer, your ‘stuff’ will come up. This can be an opportunity, if you choose. It is an opportunity that invites you to face yourself head on. Unresolved, unneeded baggage can now be recognized and let go of.
Eating raw foods has been a fantastic tool for me to discover myself. Underlying my emotional use of food, I have discovered my fears, my gifts, and my potential. I have taken action on brand new and different things. I have discovered more harmony and balance in my life. Every time I choose to see what is truly going on with me instead of using food, I can transform myself. I can discover what it is that I’m truly asking for, truly needing, truly craving, and choose to address that. I have come to deeply appreciate the space that a lighter diet can bring me to. It is a wonderful opportunity for us all to become more of who we choose to be; a greater expression of who we really are and a feeling of contentment and connectedness.
Yours in compassion and joy,

Courtney Pool is a community member and staff member of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, founded by Gabriel Cousens MD., since 2006. She has been a student of natural health for 4 years, and has been eating living and raw foods since 2005. She has worked on the staff of Omar’s Raw Cuisine, a raw restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT. She has juice feasted/fasted for over 100 days, including a consecutive 60 day Juice Feast, and is currently on her second Juice Feast. She coaches Juice Feasts with David and Katrina Rainoshek, and currently blogs at


Rawkin' said...

What a beautiful article! Thank you for your insight.


@gcrush said...

this is exactly what I need to read at this exact moment!

breathing so freely right now :)

thank you for your great network and your love!