Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Food, communication and relationships.

During reading week back in March I think it was, I did have a bit of break from work and spent quite a lot of time watching David Wolfe videos on youtube! There are so many of them you could actually watch all day. I remember being more than happy doing some therapeutic cleaning of my kitchen and just listening to him talk! (Actually David Wolfe is coming to London in October and I've bought a ticket to his lecture!! I just couldn't not. I am extremely excited!) There was one video in particular I found really interesting which I just found again on youtube.

3 Keys to Good Health:

These things are food, communication and relationships. It makes perfect sense to me. I have done a joint literature / language and communication degree and find human communication fascinating. I've said for ages now, I don't know the meaning of life, but I know that life would be meaningless without other people, because without being able to relate to them through communication we would have no idea how to make sense of our own existence. I am not attempting to sound as knowledgeable of David Wolfe of course!! But the amazing thing about so much of all this wisdom is that it is like stuff all humans know anyway, like innate knowledge we are born with. It just seems hectic materialistic societies create the perfect conditions for forgetting it all.

I also went to the Farmers' market and bought a bag of mixed leaves which I thought looked really pretty.

And I added some sliced pepper which looked a bit like hearts : )

I have more loads more to tell and will blog more tomorrow!


I have been taking pictures of things since February, they just haven't made it on to the blog, so I have some catching up to do ...

I think I mentioned in some earlier posts about going abroad with my family to the Algarve for 4 days - we were very lucky to be taken away by my Dad to celebrate his 65th Birthday. Well, I made some dehydrated food to take with me: lentil burgers (based on a recipe by Chris he made on the retreat in the Gower last August) - I can't even remember what quantities I used - just hoped for the best with sprouted green lentils, walnuts, tamari, mushrooms and onions. I think that's all. I liked Chris's drier, bite size ones; the ones I made were too big, fairly moist and well, too much like real burgers for my liking. It was the onions and the saltiness that did it.

They travelled ok, but not as well as the buckwheat bread I made. I ate basically the same thing every day - the hotel and restaurants we went too were really kind and accomodating and always made me a salad with lettuce, grated carrot, onion, garlic if I asked for it, sliced tomato and cucumber. I usually had loads of fruit for breakfast with cucumber. I supplemented with avocados I had brought with me (carefully selected so they would ripen one after the other!) and did some sprouting in the room and ate these and the dehydrated food in between meals. By the end I was pretty sick of all this and had bad stomach ache most of the time, as I had had for a few weeks before we left.

I felt rude asking the Brazilian restaurant to serve me a raw salad, (to which I added my own avocado, just to add insult to injury) and by this point I was pretty sick of grated carrot, sliced tomato and cucumber. So I ate some of the big pot of bean stew and rice on the table... only to be told it contained tiny bits of sausage. It was embarrassing for me and for the chef, who felt bad for not telling me, as I had only asked about whether something else on the menu was vegan (banana - which was fried in egg). I felt awful. Learned my lesson there.

However to end on a more positive note, I found loads of carob pods in the grounds of where we stayed!! And was able to bring a load home with me. I saw them as I was running round the running track with my sister. It was really nice to be able to get away and spend some time with my family.

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Return to the New

I have not written on my blog since February because my teaching course was consuming me, leaving me with no love to give to it. I was beginning to feel I had no love left for anything. I had not been getting enough sleep and I was not eating properly. I left the course over 3 weeks ago, after what I called a complete melt-down. There were a lot of tears and a lot of feelings of emptiness. My first happy thought after I finally allowed myself to stop was raw food. However, I did not return to food creation and blogging immediately, even though I stuck to the raw vegan diet throughout the ordeal. I have been wondered why this might be, but now I understand. A book called ‘The Joy of Burnout’ by Dina Glouberman, which I just finished about half an hour ago, has helped clarify this.

I have always been a great believer in books as providers of knowledge. With no-one who seemed to understand what was happening to me, including myself, it seemed natural to turn to them again. I went to the library to look for a self-help book. This one was there and something about the word ‘burnout’ seemed to resonate with me. The book explains that ‘burnout’ results from a failure to honour ourself, when we don’t listen to the voice of our inner truth. It recommends stopping, resting and letting go of all our expectations of the past and of our hopes for the future. If we invest all our energies in to hopes of becoming something or someone in the future, like a teacher, we lose our ability to honour our real selves in the present.

I was thinking of trying to pursue a career in raw food before I started my teacher training course. This is why the idea of returning to creating new recipes following my crash out of the course did not grab me straight away. Beginning the book, I knew there would be a reason for this and that I would return to it, but only when I was ready. I now realise that the idea of a career in raw is just another hope for the future that could endanger my ability to just be myself, right now.

The book explains how we think that our emotional selves, our hearts, will catch up, ‘once we are there’, but really they are already far ahead of us, calling to us to catch up and get in line with them. I thought I would have time to return to my food passions once I was qualified, but began to increasingly realise that teaching is the kind of career in which it is not easy to maintain a healthy-work life balance, particularly when combined with my kind of personality. And raw food or not, my heart was just not in teaching children.

The first experience I have had with connecting to an inner truth is through raw food, which later came together with veganism. The author describes burnout: “We became unable to continue in the old structures and needed to find another way of going forward by going deep into our true selves.” (p.246) Last March I felt I was no longer able to continue in the old structures of eating meat and dairy. I felt this represented a structure, rather than simply a meal, because I believe what we eat affects our consciousness, which affects our societies. It was in seeing the alternative that I saw the errors of the old way. My blog introduction: ‘this (raw food) is my life, and I have never been any more certain of anything in my life’ suggests how fundamental to my very being this new-found lifestyle felt, and still feels now.

“Eventually, if we are patient enough, we start to get a sense that some more basic energy is coming back that is asking to be harnessed to our creativity. It is only at that point that we should consider having visions of the future, and wondering how to get there.” (p. 245) I am not completely at this point yet, and so am comfortable to just lead a simple, less career-driven life for now, and wait for this time to come. I can not even be sure it ever will, but that is ok too. What I need to do now is keep creating and blogging with no expectation, and learn to remember the positive energy that this generated, and generated simply for its own sake, before things started to go wrong.

Ultimately the answers (if they can be called that) have to come from myself, and not from a book, but this book has been an enormous help in setting that process in motion. Actually, I think it was when I found raw food that I began to listen to my inner self, and this book has reminded me of that.

I have questioned whether 100% raw is the ideal diet, and I am not sure that it necessarily is. I think a very high raw diet is best but that it may not suit everyone. I am in no doubt that veganism is the best lifestyle, although I have eaten honey and bee pollen since calling myself a vegan! I have made a new friend who is a vegan and he explained to me this week the view why eating honey and bee pollen is unacceptable and I now agree. I was not sure of the story of bees, and rather than wait to find out I ate honey and bee pollen (not much of it, but still) in the mean time. I am not sure why I did this. It feels strange now to think that this means I have not been a true vegan… I think I read somewhere it was a grey area so that it was somehow acceptable. So it all comes back to what you believe in rather than what criteria fit under certain labels.

He is a member of vegan runners and asked me to run a 10K race with him and I decided to become a member too. I am feeling really stoked at the idea of running to raise awareness of veganism, and that vegans can be fit and healthy too – that they can’t be seems to be a common misconception! I am really happy to have made this new friend (and hope he will read this and feel the same!)

So I am now ready to start sharing more openly what I believe in with the world, and this includes more blog entries. I feel very excited…