Monday, September 7, 2009

Deprivation Doesn't Work

I have known for a long time that deprivation does not work. Every time I say, "never again," it never lasts. So I gave up on deprivation and discourage others, when they ask, from taking up the practice. And yet, in my innocence, deprivation snuck up behind me and put me under.

I was reading Victoria Boutenko's book 12 Steps to Raw Foods when it happened. A disclaimer, I think this is a great book. A warning, take it with a raw grain of salt. Victoria was discussing the benefits of being 100% raw versus even 99% raw. Now, up until this point I have held the belief that we all transition at our own pace and 10% raw is better than 5%. This belief has allowed me to feel a certain amount of freedom as I explore the raw food world. It has also allowed me to be nearly 100% raw because I didn't feel penned in. When we don't see the fence we don't feel a need to jump over it. But when Victoria wrote that even being 99% raw opens up the door to temptation and the potential return to a cooked food diet, I thought, "my gosh, I have to be 100% or nothing. If I'm not 100% then there is a good likelihood I will return to old ways with wild abandon." In that moment, I saw the fence. Within a few hours I was jumping.

We had a fundraiser dinner here where I live, for a neighbor's nephew who is very ill. He is Nepali and so a big Nepali feast was held this weekend. When it came time for the meal I went to gather servings for my children. Why did the food look so appealing? Why was my desire for this meal so strong? I hadn't felt this way in quite awhile. Little did I know, it was the fence. And within a half hour I had eaten a rather delicious cooked meal.

Now, eating a cooked meal is not a sin in my book. I enjoyed it (albeit I didn't feel so great the next morning) and it tasted good. The troubling aspect in all of this for me was that I found myself back at the beginning. Trying to remember why raw? When only hours earlier I was in ecstasy at the yumminess of my raw smoothie and how great I felt drinking it. And I saw once again, that deprivation never works.

This journey is not about 100% or nothing. This journey is just that - a journey. And although I realize Victoria had the best of intentions we know what is paved with good intentions. I am still reading the book and heartily recommend it. But buyer beware - listen to your needs, your desires, your body. There is no wiser teacher.

p.s. the picture at the top of the post is how I like to deal with deprivation - a few tastes of raw "ice cream." By allowing ourselves to indulge, life stays in balance.


  1. I've been 100% raw for 3 months and just finished a 3 week juice feast. I'm sat here on day 3 of having jumped that fence quite a few times and then I come across your post (by the way I'm feeling not good because of it). It's just what I needed to hear today - thanks girl!

  2. Hi Whimsy Hollow,

    You are so welcome. Deprivation is a topic I have much personally and professionally experienced many times.

    You are doing such an amazing job (I checked out your blog). You have one very lucky body. :)