A lady who is a friend of mine used to be involved in what most people would likely refer to as a religious cult. At that time she dressed rather differently from the average person on the street. People would often come up to her and ask, quite bluntly "What are you?"
She told me that at first she would stare at them blankly with no reply confused by their question. But after a while she began to understand what they were referring to. They wanted to know what kind of a label to put on her to help them understand who she was and where she was coming from. Unfair as it may be, people are much more comfortable being able to put you into a recognizable box.
These days, my friend has left her prior lifestyle which she now considers unhealthy and damaging and has pursued something that I believe truly benefits her. It's called the raw food lifestyle. Having exited her old lifestyle, she is very cognizant about the possibility of obsession and makes certain that this lifestyle is not her religion. She does not like to refer to herself as a 'raw foodist' or a 'raw vegan' because that's not who she feels that she is; it's just the way she eats.
It's easy for people to get caught up in such a lifestyle and become avid devotees, especially when they experience the remarkable results it brings. They start thinking that raw foods is the most important thing and begin to identify with it. Sometimes to an extreme. Life becomes all about raw foods, and many things are sacrificed on the altar, such as relationships and careers.
This can be a good thing if your health physically and emotionally improves so much that you begin to make positive changes. This is definitely something that happens when people detoxify their bodies and lives. But how thin is the line between striving for optimum health and becoming a '100% raw foods only' crusader?
It is understandable why many raw foodists become obsessive. Aside from the positive reasons, such as the health benefits you receive, there is also the negative reason which is that most of the world is against you when you are a raw foodist. It is very likely that your family and friends are not supportive of the lifestyle, and clearly the doctors and nutritionists call you crazy.
I follow a vegan lifestyle and incorporate many raw foods into my diet. But even I, nevertheless, can sense-and sometimes clearly hear-the negativity aroused from many after learning about my dietary choices. This situation can be even more troublesome for the 100% raw foodist.
It's always good to remind ourselves to keep a proper perspective. There is more to health than just what we eat, and regardless of how healthy you become you are still preordained to die someday, so don't get too carried away. Sure your quality of life will be better and probably the length of your life as well. But being 100% raw does not make you invincible. It is not the panacea for all the ills of mankind. And I doubt it is single-handedly going to save the Earth. The raw food diet is a tool, not an end in and of itself. It helps you get to be where you want, but it isn't the ultimate goal.
Having said all that, I would encourage any and everyone to pursue the raw food lifestyle. Be committed to it without developing a religious fervor. Sure the raw food diet brings about stunning transformations in your health and appearance, sure I want to tell the whole world about it and help them to make the change. As for my friend, though, her cult days are over.
We are extremely blessed to have so much access to information, products and communities online. Never before in history has it been so easy to be a vegan or a raw foodist. But remember that isn't all that you are. Take full advantage of everything that a natural diet has to offer as far as cleansing, healing and enhancing every area of your life.
But for Heaven's sake, don't make it a religion.
For those interested in pursuing a healthy raw foods lifestyle but do not want to be bombarded by paternalistic, one size fits all solutions, there are such resources available. Three online sources which can teach you more about the possibilities of raw foods, and which I personally found most helpful are: http://rawfoodists.blogspot.com/, http://www.simplyrawbliss.com/ and http://www.kaboodle.com/rawfood.
James Beller is a blogger, online publisher and natural and raw food enthusiast. He writes articles for various websites and blogs which promote theraw food diet and natural health such as http://www.beautifulonraw.com.