July 8, 2003 - This article led to the popular column "Backslider's Corner."
So you’ve been home from Creative Health Institute for 3 months, and you get up one morning and realize that almost 50% of your diet is cooked food, and you haven’t slurped any wheatgrass juice in a month. You’re shocked at yourself, especially because you’d resolved at CHI that you were never going to eat cooked food again. So what do you do, give up on the diet?
Backsliding is a common problem for Creative Health graduates. We have a number of folks that have visited us 2, 3, 4 times, trying to be re-inspired to be 100% raw. I had the same problem myself. After my second visit I realized that I had to approach this the same way that I quit cigarettes. Victoria Boutenko made me realize this in her book, “12 Steps to Raw Food.” I smoked cigarettes for 33 years, about three packs a day. When I decided to quit you could find me driving down the road heading for my appointment with the hypnotist, listening to my relaxation therapy tape, wearing a nicotine patch, chewing nicotine gum, and smoking a cigarette.
I didn’t manage to quit until I realized that, if I only smoked one pack of cigarettes in a day, I was doing a lot better than when I was smoking three packs. Gradually, over the course of a year, that one pack became ten cigarettes a day, then became five, and for a long time was three cigarettes a day. Then one morning I got up and realized that I’d been so busy yesterday that I hadn’t had a cigarette at all. I promptly had a smoke to celebrate! Perhaps a month later I got up one morning and realized that I hadn’t had a cigarette all week! When I tried to have a smoke to celebrate I realized that I’d finally lost my taste for them, and put it out.
I’ve been smoke-free for four years now.
In the same manner I’m gradually becoming 100% raw. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t eat any meat, and I’m 100% raw at home. The problem is going out into the world. I agreed to go to a church fellowship dinner last Sabbath, and discovered that there wasn’t a single raw dish there. Even the salads had Doritos in them. (I can see you rolling your eyes. I did, too.)
So... I had a moderate meal of cooked soy protein, rice, and Dorito salad, and avoided the dishes covered with cheese. I fell off the wagon and enjoyed it. You don’t want to offend the ladies that did all the work getting the supper together! (I’m good at rationalizing, too.)
The point is, I’m not 100% raw Vegan. But compared to how I ate a year ago, I’ve progressed a long way. I’m a lot healthier now, and have only gained back a few of those pounds I lost during my three months at CHI. I don’t feel guilty when I slip. It isn’t a sin. Why feel guilty when you backslide? So… no guilt, just resolution and determination.
And I’m closer to 100% raw every week.