There are plenty of dos and don’ts when it comes to eating a raw food diet, and many newbies will make mistakes.
Left to their own devices, most won’t eat enough calories, for instance. Eating too much fat is another big issue.
I talk about the pitfalls you should avoid in Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality, but even if you sidestep all of them you’re not guaranteed success.
In the grand dichotomy of long-term vitality or complete failure, these mistakes don’t matter all that much because those with half-way-decent heads on their shoulders will figure things out through trial and error or helpful advice.
But in working with many coaching clients, I’ve come to realize that there are actually two interactive factors which make or break every would-be raw foodist. Actually, I’ve never met a successful long-term raw foodist who didn’t have a good handle on both these elements.
So what are the factors that matter?
Factor One: The Desperation And Drive Index
The “casual,” raw foodist who doesn’t have a particularly great reason to eat raw food probably isn’t going to stick with it long, no matter how great the diet makes them feel.
To overcome the societal drag and the resistance you get when doing things differently than the rest of the population, you’re going to have to have a very good reason in your mind for exactly why you’re willing to buck the status quo and be healthy.
For some, wanting to run a faster 10k or lose 10 pounds is reason enough. For others, they’re dying of cancer and it’s their last hope.
You can think of the desperation and drive index as existing on a 1 to 100 scale.
A 10 might be a vague desire to not get head colds anymore, while a 75 is something like what I faced, an ever-worsening case of the intestinal disease colitis, which was ruining my life. A 100 is, “I’m probably going to die if I don’t start doing something radically different.”
Now let’s imagine a man -let’s call him Bob – in the hospital. He’s just suffered a heart attack and is desperate and in pain, hooked up to all those beeping machines and drug-dispensing wires.
Bob is certainly desperate; perhaps a 95 on our scale.
So he’s going to do the smart thing, realize that surgery isn’t a long-term fix, and instead radically change his diet and lifestyle, right?
Why? He hasn’t broken free of the common false understandings and educated himself about how his body actually works. In other words, he doesn’t understand his own power to change his life, or the consequences his actions might have.
His doctors tell him that the logical thing to do is let a surgeon hack open his chest, rip some veins out of his leg, and sew them into his heart in the hope of bypassing his clogged arteries. And because he doesn’t know any better, he’ll likely go along with it.
Which brings us to factor two…
Factor Two: The Knowledge Index
Most of the health problems we have in developed countries -the skyrocketing rates of diabetes and obesity, the astounding amount of people who die of completely preventable atherosclerosis and cancer, and even the number of people laid low by the flu and head colds every winter – stem from misconceptions about how our bodies work and what they need to thrive.
Heart disease is a great example and very straight forward. Our species gets it by eating too much animal food, and our bodies can even reverse it -As Bill Clinton recently found out – when we switch away from animal food and instead choose a low fat vegan diet based around whole foods.
So let’s return to Bob in his hospital bed. He’s really desperate and wants to live, but his doctors aren’t wasting any breath on this change your diet and lifestyle gag. They want him to sign on the dotted line for the $200,000 heart bypass surgery, and they insist he’s got to do it pronto if he wants to live.
I’ve seen dozens of people in this situation, and in almost every case they get the surgery. Why? They lack the knowledge they need to make any other choice. They don’t know they can merely eat themselves to health.
Most people don’t have the knowledge they need to contradict their doctor (particularly in the face of predictions of doom for anyone who wants to take the the non-medical path).
It Takes Two
Possessing a high score in the desperation and drive index or knowledge index in isolation isn’t going to be enough.
The two factors are multiplied by each other to give you a total score, and that’s what counts.
You’re going to have to pull at least a score of 300 out of the mix if you want to succeed long term, and the higher your score, the more likely you are to thrive.
Lying in pain in his hospital bed, Bob has all the desperation and drive he needs, but none of the knowledge. Yet give him all the information in the world and he probably won’t put it to good use without his heart disease, or some other driving reason.
However, the one caveat is that knowledge, when understood, accepted, continuously built up and reinforced, and fully absorbed, tends to add to the desperation and drive index over time.
That’s because with knowledge one becomes more cognizant of the consequences of ones actions, and thus your likelihood of avoiding bad dietary decisions starts to rise.
To the average joe, eating at McDonalds is innocent because even if they’re vaguely aware the food is bad for them, the information hasn’t really sunk in and this knowledge seems very abstract, the consequences very far off. Despite whatever they’ve learned, McDonalds is simply a normal part of life for them.
Yet I look at that place like a death trap, and am a bit baffled that anyone would eat there.
McDonalds patrons don’t really know how much better they’d feel if they avoided it, or the long-term damage they’re doing to their bodies. It takes not only this additional knowledge, but repeated exposure to it and careful thought for this new paradigm of health to replace the one they’re used to.
There are, of course, people who have health problems which could be very inspirational, but when fully equipped with the knowledge to save themselves, they declare that they’d rather suffer, or even die, rahter than change their diet. That, of course, is their prerogative.
But I’ve also met people who were at the height of health and didn’t really have anything complain about. They didn’t have any driving athletic aims, and whatever goals they did have were so small and abstractly in the future that they didn’t manage to score high on the drive index.
Yet all the same they went raw and stayed raw. Basically, despite scoring no higher than a 10 on the drive index, they had so fully studied the matter and learned the long-term consequences of not living healthfully that they simply saw it as the logical thing to do. A score of 5 in drive times a 60 in knowledge will still gives you high enough score to succeed.
The Critical Importance Of Building Your Indexes
If you want to go and stay raw, you need to build up your indexes. That requires concerted effort and learning.
To build the knowledge index, you need to study relevant information and let it sink in. I built Raw-Food-Health.net for exactly this purpose. I didn’t have the knowledge I needed when I was battling my colitis, and Raw-Food-Health.net is the resource I wish I had.
There are dozens of other relevant sources, from the medical journals I read to more general books on health. Find sources filled with quality information and consume them regularly.
For the desperation and drive index, the best thing you can do is think. For many people, their maladies seem distant and not connected to their every day decisions, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
By keeping a journal and writing down what is important to you and why you make the society-bucking choices you do, things becomes a lot clearer.
Finally, find a way to integrate inspiration into your every day life, such as health and pesonal development lecture audio programs.