After several days of less than ideal, cooked, vegan fare, I find myself feeling rather icky, sluggish, gassy (I know, TMI), and questioning. Naturally, anytime what I’m doing makes me feel poorly, I question why I’m doing it and begin looking for a way out. I’m so accustomed to jumping back into a diet mentality (calorie restriction and obsessive exercise), but I know in my heart this is not what I want. What I want is to feel good and the way I’ve eaten these last few days is not doing it (french fries, chili, chocolate, nachos, french toast, roasted almonds…etc). When I eat those things, even though they’re “vegan”, the following occur:
- slowed digestion (gas, abdominal pain, bloating)
- headaches (I have one right now)
- puffy hands, feet, and face (thank you, salt)
- sinus congestion
- dry/itchy eyes, skin, and scalp
- aching muscles and muscle spasms
- foggy brain
- mood swings
- blood sugar fluctuations
- fatigue, but unable to sleep well
- unquenchable thirst (again, thank you, salt)
What I put into my mouth matters a great deal to my physical well-being. All of these things (and more) vanish after a few days eating low-fat, raw vegan (notice, I did not say “low-calorie”). So, this brings me to the question, “to challenge or not”. In the past, I’ve done challenges for various reasons; However, because I’ve most associated them with weight-loss, I’m struggling to determine if doing another raw challenge would break my “no-dieting” resolve.
I’ve mentioned numerous times that I long to convert completely to a low-fat, raw vegan lifestyle (notice, I didn’t say “diet”). I don’t want to do this lifestyle to “lose weight” though. Sure, I care about my size, but not like I did even a few months ago. I care about it in regard to health and fitness. I’m aware that’s difficult for some to understand, especially those of us who have focused so much and for so long on our appearance or “looking good”. I clicked over to weight-loss mode at about the age of 12. Trust me, I know what a grip that obsession can have. Appearing healthy and actually being healthy are two very different things though. I’m reminded of those anti-aging commercials that say they reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They might make you “appear younger”, but you aren’t actually younger. Being thinner made me appear healthier in the past, but after the joy of fitting into some coveted article of clothing wore off, I was left with the realization that I didn’t feel the way that I thought I would – full of energy, life, peace.
As I sit here physically feeling quite miserable, and I realize it’s been days since I sat alone with God, I know this goes even beyond the physical, it’s also about the mental, emotional, and spiritual desert I enter when I worship food. I am well aware that this stronghold isn’t entirely about food either. If my craving for french fries was truly about a need for french fries, then finding a healthier alternative might fit the bill, or dare I even say, I could take care of the issue by eating one of them instead of an entire plate. No, it’s about my relationship with those kinds of foods, because they certainly aren’t serving me nutritionally. It’s frustrating that I must continually process my motivations like this, but if not, I end up falling back into the pit of disordered eating, one seemingly innocent thought or action at a time.
If I do an “official” low-fat, raw vegan challenge, it won’t be like my traditional challenges of the past. It will be about abundance, not restriction… abundant Love, abundant Joy, and abundant nutrition.
Anyone else thinking they might like to challenge themselves to take a step in a healthier direction… mind, body, and/or spirit?