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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
16 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
I know there are a lot of read-
ers who in a perfect world would
be doing an hour of yoga every
morning, meditating during
lunch break, thinking only pure
and grateful thoughts throughout
the day, and eating a 100 per-
cent raw, vegan, organic diet at
all three meals. There is a ten-
dency to want to make a resolu-
tion to "do it all" at once. And
that might work for about .001
percent of you, but for the rest of
us, it's more about incremental
What works best for almost
everyone is a steady, gradual,
and gentle movement toward a
healthier, happier you. Setting
unreasonably ambitious goals is
only setting yourself up for dis-
appointment and disempower-
In diplomacy, steps toward
resolution are referred to as
"confidence-building measures."
Since we'd all like to have more
peace, it might be a good idea
to think of our own progress this
way: small, achievable steps that
are doable and help create a mo-
mentum in the right direction.
So, how about ten minutes of
yoga and stretching every morn-
ing? What about a fifteen-min-
ute walk before you start your
workday? Perhaps five minutes
of meditation before you turn
in at night (tuning in before you
turn in).
How about one totally health-
ful meal each day? Or maybe
set a goal of eating raw only
five or six days a week, so you
don't have to face the prospect
of life without that Grand Slam
breakfast! Start with
something a c h i e v -
able. Breakfast, for
example, is so do-
able -- there are so
many delicious, easy-
to-make recipes in-
cluding smoothies,
oatmeal, and granola.
Plus, you can make a
smoothie any time you
get hungry!
Once breakfast is
conquered, adding in a salad
for lunch is a breeze. You can
even learn how to bump up that
salad until it's a delicious and
filling nutritional powerhouse.
And then you are on to soups,
desserts, dips, breads, crackers,
and more. So have fun, and en-
joy your food!
Those of us who have grown
up on a contemporary Western
diet have food addictions ga-
lore. I know I do. Fortunately,
my three-year-old daughter does
not. She has never eaten foods
like refined flours and sugars,
highly-processed foods, meats,
or dairy, all of which create neg-
ative addictions. We are help-
ing our daughter create a very
healthy and positive relationship
with food.
But most of us were brought
up with a less-than-optimal diet
and a relationship to foods that
includes an emotional attach-
ment to eating them. We often
have deep-seated and mostly un-
conscious feelings of giving our-
selves a treat when we choose
to eat many foods that we now
know are far from optimal.
We can help the next genera-
tion by giving them a healthier
start. But for the vast majority of
us, we must begin by recogniz-
ing that we ourselves are food
addicts -- and not getting down
on ourselves because of it! It
simply is what it is, and now it
is up to us to decide what to do
about it.
Many people who learn
about the incredible benefits of
raw and living foods try to use
willpower to overcome their
food addictions. While this will
work for a while, usu-
ally willpower alone
doesn't work in the
long run. Instead, it's
best to take the op-
portunity to become
aware of our beliefs
and attitudes about
food, educate our-
selves, and be loving
and gentle with our-
selves as we evolve
toward a healthier
relationship with food.
I will give you an example.
There have been times when
I have really felt like having a
piece of traditional baked piz-
za. This is not terribly surprising
considering the fact that I grew
up in an Italian American family,
that my dad makes an incred-
ible pizza, and he also taught
me how to make one at a young
age. Consequently I have had
an emotional attachment to
pizza. So how do I handle the
When I first feel a desire for
a slice, I usually think back to
when I was giving up smoking
many years ago. The trick was
not to ask myself "Do I want
to smoke a cigarette?" but to
ask "Do I want to live life as a
smoker?" A single cigarette isn't
going to significantly harm me.
However, living life as a smoker
would seriously compromise my
health, as well as having many
other negative effects on my life.
And life as a smoker always be-
gins with the next cigarette.
So, with food addictions I try
to do the same thing, changing
"Do I want to eat a piece of piz-
za?" to "Do I want to live my life
as a pizza eater?" While asking
the second question, I envision
a very round version of me eat-
ing pizza (as I mentioned, my
last name, Rotondi, means "the
round ones" in Italian). I really
don't want to be round. I like
being slim, light, and energized.
So this thought often helps me
get past the pizza hankering.
However, sometimes the han-
kering comes back -- again and
again. What to do? Use will-
power to suppress my desire for
pizza? If a desire for a specific
food comes up repeatedly, I will
go out and eat a small portion of
that food. However, I will do it
consciously. I will tune in to how
my body feels before I eat the
pizza and then focus on how the
pizza smells, looks, and tastes.
I will also be conscious of how
I feel five minutes after I eat it,
and thirty minutes, and an hour
Usually what happens is that
the first bite is okay but mildly
unsatisfying. The second bite
is really not a treat at all, and I
realize what I am eating tastes
like cardboard (keep in mind
that when you eat a raw-food
diet for any length of time, your
taste buds change and cooked
foods don't taste the same any-
more). Then after five minutes I
feel a heaviness in my stomach.
After half an hour, I feel lethargic
and already wish I hadn't eaten
the pizza.
The point is that if we try to
suppress all our cravings, in the
end we get wound so tight that
the spring may break and we
might run out and eat three
large pepperoni pizzas with ex-
tra cheese! It's better to get out
of judgment mode and work on
evolving our relationship with
food. The more we exercise our
body consciousness and really
listen to our bodies, the more
we will replace old food hab-
its, thought patterns, and addic-
By the way, if you have any
other addictions in your life,
moving to a raw-food diet can
often help in kicking them as
well. Once we can control the
food we put in our mouths, ev-
erything else becomes easier.
Rod Rotondi is the author of Raw
Food for Real People. he teaches about
raw food through DVDs, retreats,
and online and in-person classes. The
founder of the Leaf Organics retail
product line and Leaf Cuisine restau-
rants, Rod caters events and lives in
Los Angeles. Visit him at http://www.
Excerpted from the book Raw Food
for Real People 2010 by Rod Rotondi.
Printed with permission from New
World Library.
Raw Food for Real People
by Rod Rotondi