Making Allowances …

by Nora on July 27, 2011

 http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/blog/?p=210

The above blog entry was sent to me yesterday by a friend.  I thought I’d like to comment on it.

First, I’d like to say that I admire Frederic for his amazing ability to market his ideas and products. He has reached a lot of people who otherwise might not be experiencing the joys of simpler eating.

However, I think he belongs with the majority of people who don’t understand addiction and don’t recognize the extent to which it afflicts civilized humankind, including almost all raw fooders. Addiction is an extremely powerful phenomenon and people need to be able to forgive themselves for doing whatever it takes to get out of its clutches, even if it means eating foods that some raw foodists wouldn’t touch. People can’t get rid of all their addictions at once. You don’t see former alcoholics mingling at parties with an empty hand, you see them holding a soda (another addictive “food”), and everyone who’s ever quit smoking will attest to the help that gum and hard candies can offer.

Gradual replacement has long been used as an effective way to resolve addiction, and although hardly anyone even attempts to recover from food addiction in our culture, it offers an effective way to get to optimal eating, as well. Unhealthy foods in the diet just need to be replaced with healthier alternatives, even if the healthier foods are not optimally healthy. Those foods will eventually need to be replaced, too, with healthier versions, and this should continue until no more improvement is practical or possible. That strategy requires great patience, but it’s the gentlest & easiest way to transition to an optimal diet, if that’s the goal that is sought.

Frederic is right that health seekers need to be told that in order to reach their full potential they must completely phase out transitional foods, like complex or high-fat recipes, etc. There aren’t too many raw “experts” saying that, and the ones who are saying it are going too far in the other direction, treating the need for transitional foods as the sign of a weak character.  These foods should be abandoned gradually and mindfully, taking one’s individual weaknesses, habitual tendencies and potential triggers into full account.  In the meantime, nobody needs to feel ashamed or rushed.

It seems there is a great lack of middle ground in the raw food community.  The “experts” are either telling people that they can eat anything and everything as long as it’s raw, or advising them to skip transitional foods altogether and go right to optimal.  Of the two, the latter is probably the most dangerous because if transitioners don’t acknowledge the strength of their foe (addiction), they may be inclined to conclude erroneously that they’re just not the stuff that successful raw fooders are made of.  Staying in transition-land forever is hazardous to health, to be sure, but reverting to the typical cooked food diet is worse, and that’s typically what happens when people try to make big changes too fast.

For those suffering debilitating diseases particularly, there is great merit in combining both approaches.  That is, eating simply and optimally for a temporary period of time (typically 30-90 days) and then, after the body has cleansed and healed sufficiently to allow the person to function more normally, going back to a more gradual transitional diet.

Best wishes,

Nora

 

 

 

{ 4 comments }

Tim Griffin July 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Fred (and his web site) was a great help to me in my early raw food days. I am very grateful for all of his informative news letters that he used to put out.
Tim Griffin

Paul M August 1, 2011 at 5:14 am

Truly awesome post, Nora! This is exactly the missing and often missed aspect of any food program – Addiction. I luv your approach of transitional eating. It is difficult but practically the only sustainable approach for the majority. Mentally it’s easier for us humans to be all or nothing types sometimes. And we also like instant results. Therefore conscious gradual progress is not easy and rarely practiced.
I feel you are giving Fred a lot of credit and I also feel he deserves it. Just wanted to say that before someone could misconstrue what you are saying.
Love your new blog BTW!!!

Peter Love August 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Nice information and well articulated. I am learning a lot, but know I have a long ways to go.

I no longer backslide into the SAD diet. That took a minute, but I can say I’ve arrived. I made myself afraid of such foods. Why, because I can feel the affects when I do eat processed foods and it’s not a good feeling. In addition, I’ve done a ton of research and it’s frightening to know what’s in processed foods or how cooked food harms the body. I am also glad that you touch on the psychological aspects of being a raw vegan. If you have a bad attitude towards people and life in general, that will affect the body negatively no matter what.

I love your being forthright and telling like it is. Thanks for sharing. 😉

Nora August 21, 2011 at 2:38 am

Thanks, Peter. Yes the fact that addiction is such a mess to extricate ourselves from means it’s a very slow process. It’s so slow that most people assume that there’s something wrong with THEM. I think it comes back to recognizing how powerful those habits have become and realizing that they produced physical accommodation that has to be discarded by the body before everything can work properly. What this means is the longer in life a person waits to begin making changes, the harder and slower the healing process is going to be. But our only choices are to continue making things difficult for ourselves, or get clean, suffer a bit temporarily, and do the hard work it takes to relearn how to treat ourselves properly.

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