Real Food Rehab

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I've been maintaining a healthy weight for about a year and a half now, after spending over 6 months active in an eating disorder. I broke the cycle by deciding I deserved a chance to be happy (rather than to let myself starve to death) and have been working towards making positive changes in my life since.

That said, I still deal with the remnants of it from time-to-time. It started up for a couple of months after I moved into my new apartment last year, and I still find myself restricting for a day or two during my cycle. I hate to say it, but I do find myself turning to it occasionally on particularly bad or stressful days. But my weight is still healthy, and I'm in a much better place than I was a year and a half ago.

Clearly, my mind is still recovering from it, to some degree. But so is my body, as my hormones are still all out of whack from restricting.

Learning to eat again has required two things - a desire to nourish myself, and being able to enjoy food again. I achieved this, after some thought, by going back to a vegan diet. (I was a vegan in high school, long before any eating issues, so this did not concern me.) But I have also had a new obsession with health and find myself perhaps overly cautious about what I eat. On a raw food website, this may be debatable, though.

I suppose this is a long introduction, and the point I'm trying to get to is that while I want to respect my body, and be happier and healthier, I also want to be sure that I'm not going to make myself miserable (and ultimately feel trapped again). I have other health concerns that I prefer to treat without prescriptions - migraines and emotional issues associated with living with ASD - so trying to heal through diet does have a sincere appeal to me.

But suppose I find myself missing certain foods, or feeling socially isolated - how does one determine if giving into these things is worth comprimising one's health?  Or, one's physical health for mental health?

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What a thoughtful and very nicely written letter!  You may miss certain foods.  I do.  I don't think you'll ruin anything by having them every once in awhile. (My daughter made some lovely roasted vegetables for Thanksgiving.  They were gorgeous, so I had some.  It had been a long time since I tasted a potato, and it was good.)  I also feel isolated sometimes.  Most times it works for me to remind myself that I am eating in a very healthy way, and I can put up with it.  However, I have an "out"  for  the isolation piece.  If I am experiencing it, I remind myself that when I get home I can have 1 oz. of my favorite raw chocolate bar.  Then I'm ok.  Also, if you choose to adopt a diet that is 90% raw, you will be so far ahead of the  game nutrition wise, that I don't think you'll have much to worry about, especially if you avoid the highly suspect foods such as dairy, wheat, ( and some would say other grains as well), eggs, and anything processed.  Good luck.  I'm guessing that the "perfectionism" thing may not be your best friend.

Thank you for your response and honesty - I sometimes get the impression that life on the raw is TOTALLY BLISSFULL, ALWAYS which is really hard for me to believe. I'm not saying that people aren't sincerely happy with their diet - not at all. But food can be so sentimental, and even though I'm otherwise content with my current diet, I will admit to a tinge of sadness when I can no longer enjoy a family favorite (with them, of course!). Refusing my grandmother's aglio et olio or going out for a beer and a game of pool is what I fear the most. 

I agree that being a healthy eater doesn't need an "all-or-nothing" approach, and for me, that 10% is more than reasonable, especially when it's spent with friends and family. But I know I'd need to start somewhere around 75%, as I did with veganism. I went vegan over a period of several months, which allowed me to learn to truly enjoy it. I'm sure it's not much different going raw, learning to deal with cravings and social situations, though perhaps a bit more tedious.

Also, I think it's great that you were able to enjoy your daugher's vegetables. Seeing that perfectionism is definitely not my friend, I hope I can find that same comfort on my own journey.


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