One factor that is often overlooked when making dietary changes is the profound effect it can have on the state of your emotions. This is even more significant while you are going through detox because in addition to dealing with physical discomfort you are also likely to be challenged in new and unfamiliar ways that you may not be adequately prepared for. A large amount of our personal identity is related to the way we eat and when we suddenly take away our habitual foods, as well as our social and cultural connections surrounding those foods, this can cause a profound upheaval.
Most of us don’t realize just how much we rely on food to change our emotional state, usually on a daily basis, and when this crutch and addiction is taken away we are left to face the feelings that may have been repressed for many years. In most cases we never allow these emotions to truly come to the surface and at the first minor sense of discomfort we unconsciously reach for food as a way to make us feel better.
This may have become such a habit that you are no longer aware that this is what is really happening when you are searching the kitchen cupboards for something to eat or mindlessly going back for second portions. You may perceive that you are just feeling tired or hungry, when in actuality you could be responding in the only way that you know how, in order to deal with an unsatisfied emotional need or unresolved emotional pattern.
The majority of us are also imbalanced on a physiological level and experience some degree of fatigue on a consistent basis, which we usually just try to work through so that we can simply get through the day. If you are feeling tired you might reach for a cup of coffee or a food containing concentrated sugars because experience has shown you that this will immediately boost your energy. Meat, spices and salt also have a stimulating effect and can serve the same purpose for some people.
However, even though these foods might temporarily make you feel better, in reality the result of these stimulants is an increased stress on your adrenal glands that forces them to function beyond their limits. When your energy runs out you start feeling tired again so you reach for another hit and become caught in an endless cycle of repetition. This pattern of stimulation and energy depletion is one of the reasons why cooked foods can be so addictive. Over the years, if you continue with this “quick-fix” lifestyle, you will find your energy levels decreasing more and more, which can make it extremely difficult to break the cycle.
When people start eating a raw food diet they generally eliminate all of these highly stimulating foods and are faced with experiencing the true reality of their physical energy levels. It is likely that you will feel very tired in the initial stages and you might experience this as a psychological state of depression.
But the good news is that if you are persistent with adhering to your program you will gradually reduce your toxic burden and give your adrenals and metabolism the opportunity it needs to rest and rejuvenate. Your vitality should gradually improve and when your energy returns this will be true energy and not that of a system that is continually over- stimulated unnaturally to an excessive level.
During this period it is important to be patient with yourself and allow some additional time for resting and restorative activities such as gentle walking, yoga, meditation, deep breathing and extra sleep. Know that this feeling won’t last forever and that the time you set aside now for rejuvenation will be returned to you in the future as more sustainable and consistent energy.
Many people who adopt a raw food lifestyle have reported incredible increases in their energy levels, however those with chronic illness or a long history of fatigue will need to be patient. A commonly agreed upon idea is that it takes one month of adhering to a perfect raw food lifestyle for each year of illness. This means that if you have been unwell or experiencing fatigue for ten years then it may take at least ten months of strict adherence to the program before you start to feel truly healthy and vibrant. In practical terms there is also usually an initial period of adaptation and experimentation prior to this as you learn how to make the diet work for your own unique needs.
Whenever you undertake a dramatic dietary change I encourage you to become attuned to whatever you are going through and attempt to fully experience the emotions and feelings that arise, even if they are temporarily uncomfortable. A complete detox does not just involve the body and if it is to be lasting in its impact it is necessary to open yourself to the experiences that occur so that you are able to let go of the emotions and negative patterns that are not serving you well.
Whenever you are feeling particularly challenged stress management techniques may improve your coping ability and emotional balance. It can also be very helpful to focus on the benefits you will obtain by changing your diet and how this will ultimately improve your life. Above all remember that your patience and persistence will be rewarded. Visualize yourself as the healthy, vibrant being that you know is there within you and imagine how you will feel when you achieve this goal.
Have you experienced emotional detox on the raw food diet?
What are some of the strategies you use to make it easier to manage emotional detox?