The leaves of daffodils and other spring flowers are beginning their tender emergence. I discovered the first wee dandelion greens in my safe spot for future harvest. They will be added to my green smoothies in the weeks ahead to make my liver happy.
I am rubbing the winter sleep from my eyes. What I see in the mirror and on the scale is sobering. It's been a long dark season and I've really let my self-care go.
I have never felt stronger or more confident in who I am than in my 40s. But there are changes that have come with age ... my metabolism isn't as responsive as it used to be, stress takes a greater toll, and sedentarianism is no longer an option. When I simmer in a soup of stress, neglect to move my body regularly, and let myself eat whatever isn't nailed down, well, I'm not going to feel very well.
And that's the thing. I don't. I haven't for months. Not as well as I know I could.
The lifestyle to which I respond the best on all levels is high raw. I thrive when my daily raw food consumption is around 80% with generous helpings of practicality and flexibility. When I am consistent about eating this way, here is what never fails me:
*Extra padding melts away
*No more puffiness
*Brightening of the whites of the eyes
*Luminous, smooth skin
*Strong, healthy hair and nails
*Increased energy, vitality
*Nicer and more fun to be around
*No more fuzziness/buzziness
*Influx of ideas and inspiration
*Exponentially easier to be in the moment
*Comfortable menstrual cycle
Sounds great, doesn't it? It is. But I would be lying if I said it's easy to maintain. For some, maybe so ... but not so much for me. The benefits listed above are enjoyed only to the degree that meals and snacks focus predominantly on raw foods. Pre-made raw foods aren't readily available where I live, so it means a whole lot of shoppin' and choppin' for myself. Lack of ample fresh produce on hand and a plan for what to do with it are the ingredients for defeat.
Another challenge is that it isn't easy to eat differently than everyone else. My family is not only non-raw, but non-vegetable, making it that much more of a challenge for me to stay the course. Social meals that involve dining at restaurants or other people's homes can be immensely tricky, especially if alcohol is involved. Nothing can destroy the raw resolve faster than a cold beer and a cheesy appetizer within reach.
I didn't think that I was an emotional eater until I set the intention to make healthier choices. Favorite foods are a habit ... the aroma, texture, and taste bring pleasure and happy memories. Food connects us with others and can be a loving gesture when given and shared. And food can be as effective in altering our mood as any drug.
For all of these reasons and more, I have always been on the flexible side of living raw. I've never considered myself to be a card-carrying raw foodist because I'm not yet (and may never be) ready to give up everything I love to eat as an omnivore. So, as with my multi-faceted livelihood, I have tried to craft a uniquely nourishing lifestyle that supports me ... giving me all of the benefits of a raw lifestyle with the freedom to have whatever else that I may truly desire. All options open, all of the time. And you know what? It's tricky.
[Cue November through February.] It's hard to get lathered up for a frosty green smoothie when desperate for warmth. Even the prep feels like it requires too much effort. Add a few stressful situations and lack of exercise to meal choices focused on comfort in the short-term and you've got where I am right now. Thick. Puffy. Lumpy. Lazy. At 45 years old, I am having hot flashes every blessed night.
But it doesn't have to stay this way. I know better. Now I just need to do better. That has begun today.