Alisa: ON THE ROAD TO RAW
As you already know, before becoming a raw food enthusiast, before becoming ill, I did everything I could not to set foot in a kitchen. I really, really disliked cooking and I still do. My Ex will tell you he couldn’t believe someone could actually burn butter. My cooking repertoire consisted of preparing waffles, pancakes, French toast, pasta with jarred sauce, steamed veggies (from a frozen food package) and boiling rice. Yes, that was it! Ask my son, I am the world’s worst cook.
So what does this have to do with food shopping? Because I disliked cooking, I disliked food shopping; for me, they went hand in hand. I would only venture to the grocery store if my Ex needed me to. Food shopping and cooking was his domain and he was great at it. He was the gourmet chef in the family and thank God for that because we all would have starved if it was left up to me.
For me, going to the grocery store was like going to the dentist; a very, very painful experience. My Ex would hand me the list and once I entered the store I would grab a cart and the race would begin. What was the goal? To get out as fast as possible. I didn’t care what I was buying. I didn’t care what was there. I never looked for more than a second at what I was picking out. To me, an apple was an apple, cereal was cereal and a nut was a nut. And whether something was organic or not was not even a consideration. It wasn’t in my consciousness to care. I was completely and utterly detached from what I was buying and where I was buying it. At this point in time I still didn’t understand that there was a direct relationship between what I bought, where I bought it and the health of my body.
Pre-raw, I shopped at stores like Publix, Albertsons, Smiths, etc. Health food stores were not yet in my universe. I lived in the candy, canned, frozen, dairy and junk food aisles.
After turning raw, my food shopping world was turned upside down! Because I became ill, I was forced to change my diet (it was either that or take pharmaceutical drugs for the rest of my life). Now, food became my whole life. I became food obsessed. I was determined to heal myself. Since food was now the focal point of my life, food shopping and food preparation became my only hobbies. My world was rocked!
Immediately, I sought out every health food store in my area. And buying organic was very, very important to me. I knew I had to eat the cleanest, healthiest food the planet had to offer so I could heal. So now, I shopped at places like Whole Foods, local co-ops and farmers’ markets. For the first time I saw food and food shopping in a way I never imagined I would.
It is difficult to explain but I was seeing food for the first time. Now I cared about what I was buying and what I was putting into my body. I wouldn’t purchase a single food unless I looked at the label and read the ingredient list first. I had to be sure that nothing was entering my body that was going to hinder my healing. All produce had to have an item number that began with a 9 because that meant it was organic. If a fruit or veggie item number began with a 4 or a 3 I stayed clear of it. An item number of 4 or 3 meant it was not organic. I had to be careful.
Now, when I entered the health food store, I looked forward to grabbing a cart and beginning my shopping trip in the produce aisle (this is where I spent majority of my time). I was in no rush. And very slowly I would work my way through the store aisle by aisle. And because I was now not only shopping for myself but my family as well because we all wanted to be healthy, even if I was picking out an organic packaged food product I had to read the label. I had to know what each item was made of. I had no idea that high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and MSG were in so many products. My new motto was “if you cannot define it and if you cannot pronounce it, you cannot eat it!
Getting back to the produce aisle. Who knew there were so many kinds of fruits and veggies to choose from. I had no idea what kale, collards, chard, watercress, nappa cabbage or bokchoy were. I never ate avocados, mangos or papaya. And what the heck was a star fruit, passion fruit, durian or even a pomegranate??? Pre-raw I was living in a very small food world. I had a lot to learn and a lot to taste and I was nothing but excited to try it all.
After the produce aisle, I moved on into the nuts, seeds, dried fruit, nutbutter and raw packaged aisles.
And, of course, as a treat, every so often, I picked up an organic dark chocolate bar and a bottle of organic wine. Yes, even I indulged a bit. After all balance was and still is the key!
Most excitedly, what made food shopping a whole new wonderful experience was that only after eating raw whole foods for three months not only did I heal my condition but most importantly my taste buds and palette became so clean, keen and sensitive to taste. Tasting a tomato or a strawberry was like tasting it for the first time. The tomato tasted like no tomato I had ever tasted, even though I had eaten tomatoes a million times. It was so sweet, so juicy, so luscious! It was like eating candy but with no comparison – there is really no way to describe it.
Everything I ate from then on forward was a delight.
As I said before, pre-raw, I never liked avocados, mangos or papayas. Now, I can’t get enough of them. They are scrumptious!
Changing my diet changed my shopping experience and my life.
And if organic produce, nuts and seeds were too expensive to buy, I would buy non organic and just clean them before eating. Nothing was going to stop me from eating this way and healing my body.
And I must share this little tidbit because it had such an impact on me. After shopping at health food stores for months and months, I had to run into a “conventional” grocery store for some water. As I journeyed up and down the aisles what I once saw and accepted as “normal” food, I now saw as candy. It all looked unreal, fake and harmful to the body. I know this sounds extreme but for me it really wasn’t because the way I used to eat in the past made me ill and the way I eat now healed me. And if you really think about it, there is no comparison between eating a fresh whole strawberry and a strawberry flavored food item or fresh spinach and canned spinach. When presented with the option, why not eat the real thing???
It really is amazing. Eating whole fresh fruits, veggies, sprouts, nuts and seeds have existed from the beginning of time and yet I was eating fast food, junk food, food from boxes, jars, bags and cans with just a smidge of fruits and veggies. How did we as a society move so far away from the real thing; from goodness, deliciousness, health and beauty? Just something to think about on your next food shopping trip.
And please never take my word for it. Question everything I share. This is just my experience. And by no means am I advocating that you should be eating the way I chose to eat. All I would recommend to you is that no matter what you eat whether raw or cooked you try to eat organic if you can.
I challenge you to eat a whole fresh foods diet, cooked or raw, for 30 days and I promise you will get a taste of what I am talking about.
Food shopping will never be the same for you whether you enjoy doing it now or not.