As those who, like me, similarily experiment with derailing their lifestyles and diverging away from the social tide of ‘norms’ for the sake of experiencing the taste of real life lessons, know quite well that changing all or any of the core pillars of our lifestyle has the likely outcome of dramatically affecting how we perceive the world. It is simple mechanics and, by many accounts, what we are is not so dissimilar from that of a machine. Although I do hear loud and clear all of the points to be made to counter this bold, heavy, statement. The formula of what we are includes a possibly neverending list of factors and subfactors which may or may not ever be discovered, collated and brought to the attention of mass consciousness. What can be done is individually experimenting with one or another of the core pillars of our behavioural lifestyle, such as diet, and tasting the fruits directly.
It would be fairly safe to assume that most, if not all, of the readers who happen to read this post will be intimately familiar with the saying ‘you are what you eat’. The reality of the statement is typically nodded to with tacit acceptance or mild neglect and indifference. In any case, it is for the most part rarely challenged, safely tucked away as a near perfect and sensible truth. As someone who has shifted his current dietary regime to that of raw veganism, following the formula fathered by, among others, the Natural Hygienist movement and more recently the likes of Dr. Doug Graham and the 80-10-10 formula (80% or more carbohydrates, 10% or less protein and 10% or less fat), I can attest to the fact that the changes to oneself are clear, obvious and profound.
Let us begin with some interesting physiological changes. Body odour, for one, has shifted to a point where foul smelling scents which tend to accompany long stretches of sweaty exercise, is no more or at least is left imperceptible. Libido has similarily faded to steady itself at a level which can be considered extremely conducive to concentration towards activities and subjects of attention which are valued above the presence of instinctive distractions. Such distractions often have the power and vice of overriding everything for the sake of their myopic satiation. Though by no means has my skin ever been ‘unclear’ since my skin is by nature dry, the increase in purity and radiance have noticeably increased. And among benefits of this kind, such as the disappearance (or so I hope) of bad breath and the introduction of a refreshed state of energetic well-being which sustains itself remarkably from dawn to dusk, these reflect the effects that are so far apparent from over a month of maintaining the 80-10-10 raw vegan diet. In particular, the diet emphasises consumption predominantly of fresh fruits and proportionately smaller portions of raw vegetables, nuts and seeds. The daily diet pays homage to the caloric theory and common nutritional wisdoms where based on where an individual fits as far as daily physical activity and exercise is concerned, ranging from sedentary to highly active, carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake would need to fall in line. And that…is the physical aspect or dimension of what I am stating as clear dramatic changes to my personal experience of life.
Now comes the psychological, the yin or yang or other side of the same coin. To switch to a raw vegan diet from one that is fairly close to the conventional SAD (Standard American Diet) one which much of the western world more or less adheres to, implies big biochemical shifts. The same change to libido, brought about by a decrease in the amount of hormones flooding through our bodies as we consume meat and the individual effects of dairy, grain, and cooked foods in general, brings about clarity for one. To significantly reduce the hodgepodge and medley of chemical disturbances and influences which these food groups, types and natures reflect is a close resemblance to that of dark murky waters giving way to clean and clear ones. This is the transmutation, or rather regeneration, of biochemical obscurity giving way to the natural state of transparency. The heavy becomes the light. One is brought closer to intimate meditations in the daily interactions, situations and challenges which are brought to bear from one’s participation in the complex dynamics of career, financial, familial and social cultures. In other words, a sense of sanity improves amidst the frequent storms of life.
It brings one to pause and wonder what aggressive traits or moods are brought about by the influence of hormones that are injected in the animals of whose flesh we consume. Or how the denatured food which results from the cooking process affects our performance in thinking, feeling, moving, sensing and the instinctive processes of digestion and metabolism, or that of the nervous and immune systems. When the army of condiments, that of salt, sugar, and the spices, are relinquished of their role and use in our dining experience, real hunger of the body begins to be heard above the alien voices of false cravings and taste-bud appetites.
By all acounts it is true that changing and modifying any one or all of the core pillars of our lifestyle will bring about psychosomatic effects of varying proportion and scale. The potential is certainly wide and open with possibilities for benefit or harm. Despite the long list of variations of intent possible to begin from in experimenting on what can be considered ‘extreme’ lifestyle changes, it is curious to note how at the end of the beginning of the journey one finds themselves on middle ground with others who have set afoot in a similar direction. Some who began with the intent to lessen their pressure on the toll mankind places on the resources of the Earth, or another who feels empathy for animals and repulsion to the idea of consuming their dead flesh, or that of the one who wishes dearly to improve their health and vitality, the deep sweeps of the pendulum become redundant as one climbs to the top and appreciates the overarching truth which binds them all.