raw diet, alcoholism, eating disorder recovery
hi! i'm new to this site and am really curious about the connection to alcoholism, eating disorders, and raw foodism. i've never struggled with alcoholism per se but it's extremely prevalent in my family, as is disordered eating, including some on my own part. last year i recognized my disordered eating and tried to fix it, but only knew how through calorie restriction, which just made things worse. i tried raw and i don't know whether or not it was bad because at that point i was deep into anorexia and required outside treatment.... i'm wondering what anyone's thoughts are on the connections and if anyone has suffered from alcoholism (i'm assuming it's safe to say that many people here have struggled with food addictions). one part of me thinks that raw food is a good way out of addictive behavior, as seen by how much it helps people, but of course there is reasearch between alcoholism and carb-addiction, and most raw food diets are very high in fruit of course. any thoughts or personal experiences?
I don't think raw-foodism, per se, is risky from an addiction standpoint. However, I do feel that some people may be attracted to it as a way of masking an eating disorder, rather than dealing with the underlying psychological cause of their maladaptive 'control' behaviour. This is a very sensitive subject, and I admire your openness about it, but there are some people on RFT who will find this topic so uncomfortable that they may take exception to it being discussed. However, their discomfort is their discomfort; it does not in any way make the topic itself illegitimate to discuss. Only by discussing such matters openly can anyone experiencing maladaptive coping behaviours have any real hope of improving their situation, longterm.
In my view (and I don't say this purely as some kind of 'chosen opinion', but rather as someone who has a good deal of understanding of how the human mind works, on both an experiential and an intellectual level), eating disorders, alcohol/substance abuse, self-harm etc. all fundamentally stem from the same thing (though substance addictions may eventually take on an additional physical addiction aspect, over time).
Virtually every humanbeing desires to be in a state of peace, even though we each seek it in an infinite number of different ways. A person seeking peace need not be doing so on a conscious level, but nonetheless it is a defining characteristic of the human race to experience some kind of lack of peace of mind, along with an associated desire, however conscious or unconscious, to return to a peaceful state of mind.
You know what I'm talking about - a mind that never stops churning / chattering, or a person who continually feels a sense of unease which they may not be able to understand the cause of, or perhaps another person may feel that things in the world 'cause' their feelings of unease or agitation, or someone who feels they cannot be satisfied until they attain their perfect weight or perfect lover or perfect car, house, award - whatever. Other people will seek peace of mind by seeking substances (alcohol, drugs, etc.) to simply block out their uneasy thoughts for a while - this is particularly common in people who have endured traumatic experiences or upbringings (I've worked with the Homeless, with addicts, and with people with mental health issues, for many years). I could list a thousand other variations on this theme, but there'd be little point because they all stem from the same fundamental thing: A lack of cognitive awareness.
Since our emotions have their genesis in our thoughts, a lack of awareness of subconscious thought processes can lead to an enormous proportion of the human population needlessly suffering unpleasant emotions their entire lives, with an array of possible negative outcomes and/or maladaptive coping mechanisms occurring, as a consequence.
Without a person being able to consciously observe/witness the thoughts they are subconsciously generating in response to conditioning, to traumatic past experiences, to daily life stimuli, etc. etc., they are unable to recognise that:
1) it all begins within their own mind (so it is not 'caused' by things, events, or people in the external world, even though it may convincingly appear that way)
2) the way to control negative emotions is by (ideally) altering one's previously-subconscious thought processes so as to not generate negative emotions in the first place, or, as a secondary option, to at least be able to recognise when a negative thought process is occurring, or has occurred, and to then go back and alter this to yield a more resourceful emotional outcome.
Thus, it is easy to appreciate that a person who lacks the ability to observe how they are in fact generating their own sense of unease via subconscious unresourceful thought processes may turn to drink, drugs, acquiring material things etc., or attempting to control something external (e.g. food intake or a partner's actions/behaviour). This is the classic approach one sees with some eating disorders (I didn't say all), and with many cases of self-harming. If you are frustrated at not being unable to control negative thoughts, then an unfortunate jump of reasoning may occur that the next best thing is to try to find peace by controlling or manipulating something else, whether it be an entirely external object or person, or simply the sufferer's own body, since this is external to the mind and easy to manipulate/harm. Another common thing which is directly related to this topic is that of insecure jealous partners who, because they don't understand how to control their own thoughts and emotions, attempt to make themselves feel better by finding a partner/lover to help them feel more secure. This seems to work in the early stages of the relationship, but before long, such a person will become extremely jealous and controlling of their partner because they begin to sense that this partner, who they wanted in order to feel more secure, has a mind of their own and is just as uncontrollable as their own mind. Human beings will do the most extraordinary and outlandish things in order to try to stop themselves from feeling uneasy. When you read in the newspapers that somebody tried to leave their lover and their lover did something extremely drastic to prevent this from happening, there is an above-average chance that fear of loss-of-control of their own psychological inadequacies may have been a significant motivating factor in trying to prevent their partner from leaving them. Some people will even die rather than let go of a person or let go of some belief system within which they may have taken refuge from their own psychological inadequacies or sense of lack of control over life. We truly are a peculiar bunch, us humans. Absolutely nuts, every last one of us.
I could bore you with hundreds of pages on this topic but I'm trying to be succinct.
Suffice to say, that the key is for a person to raise their level of cognitive awareness, and this is something I do have personal experience of. The best way, bar none, that I know of, to increase one's level of cognitive is meditation.
And the fastest way I know of to accomplish neural results from meditation (yes, I actually do mean positive physical neural changes), is through the use of binaural entrainment. These changes involve the brain functioning at a higher, more integrated, level, which has the effect of increasing cognitive awareness. I can go into as much detail as you like on this topic, but I don't want to bore you and I also don't wish to stray too far outside the bounds of the forum, since it's about raw food.
There are techniques which can be helpful in the meantime (and I'm happy to discuss these, too, if you'd like me to - e.g. CBT, Sedona Method, Byron Katie's 'Work' etc.), but the really effective solution is to increase one's actual level of cognitive awareness so as to take charge of much of the subconscious junk that the mind generates, due to conditioning and life experience (too much emphasis is placed upon genetic influences on behaviour these days, when certain behaviour traits run in families - I don't dispute that there might be some influence of genetics, but there is huge ignorance of the significance of cognitive awareness, not least because some of the most intelligent researchers in the world may nonetheless have a relatively low level of awareness - intellect is not the same thing as cognitive awareness. Genetics is big business these days, because it is something that HUGE profits can potentially be derived from if genetic manipulation can be offered in the near future to people who wish to change something about themselves. Look at how big the pharmaceutical industry has become, and, for the most part, it doesn't even heal people by addressing the underlying cause - instead it just stifles symptoms until the patient eventually becomes so ill it's too late). But I digress...
Last edited by Arky; 04-11-2012 at 06:57 PM.
Totally agree with you and you can see it in people on this forum. With Alissa's free eating method it is possible to attract both the under and the over eaters so presumably also the purgers too.
Originally Posted by Arky
I think most people have issues with food at some point in their lives. I have most of my phases of obsessional eating behind me now I think. Over eating on unhealthy things is my remaining thing to deal with. Raw helps with this a lot but is not the whole solution certainly.
Eating disorders is an interesting topic. I think of it much as alcoholism in another person or drug abuse in another. The eating disorder itself isn't the "disease" (for want of a better word) it's a symptom.
When you get the toxins out of your body you will also release some emotions. (emotional detox). You don't have to eat alot of fruit but they are good cleansers. I have to adjust my detox rates sometimes I can't handle the emotions that are being released. Adjust the raw to suite your needs. Iam not sure if this will help or not.