I never used to be a ‘special eater’, though, I remember proudly declaring I was not one of them, actually – I loved my meat… UNTIL I actually let some of all the information that is available to us settle in, and one day it just clicked, and I changed my daily habits.
My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month – I called it an ‘experiment’, I did it for no other reason than for fun and convenience, and I took some notes. I had no idea it would be a #lifechanger.
Originally published January 16 2012 – I woke up feeling awful. My back and bottom were sore. The mattress I slept on on the mezzanine of the cottage in the mountains appears to be less bouncy and, in effect, only a separation between me and the ground. Also, I had not been online in a while and was feeling lonely.
But more urgently, my tummy was making the threatening rumbles of indigestion, which had me flinging the kitten off me into the mosquito net (she had been sleeping on the my belly all night) and charging down the stairs in a hurry. I got to where I needed to get in time.
Now, I reckon what we are doing here in the mountains is somewhere between slumming it and glamping. On this particular matter I refer to the fact that there is a loo in the cottage, however, there is no toilet seat, you flush by pouring in water from the bucket next to it, and most importantly, it is separated from the rest of the cottage by a door that is only half the size of the doorframe. Not unusual for Asia, as I now know, but still, no privacy in my books – luckily, at that moment as I was alone.
My condition and these many little elements all triggered a sense of utter discomfort, frustration and homesickness in me.
Here I was, 10,000 physical miles – and light years in my habits and heart – from home,
I was still adjusting to slumming it, to basically sleeping on the floor, to sharing the outside kitchen with all sorts of creepy crawlers (we had found a dead gecko in one of our empty, but not yet washed, smoothie glasses) to not having a bathroom like I was used to, and to the general state of dirt that comes with living indoor/outdoor in a tropical showery climate, i.e. muddy outdoors and boots (me) and bare feet (Simone and Ramke) brining it all inside..
WHY ON EARTH would I also subject my system to a drastic dietary change?
This was not conducive to the whole experience; I did not like my state at 8am this morning. I rummaged in my luggage for the two last squishy croissants that I had brought up from Bacolod and that I had been sure I’d be binning when we left, and stomped up to the ‘big house’ on the property that we used during the day, to get warm water for my Nescafé.
As I was warming the croissants in the toaster and after another purging visit to the loo (the one in the big house complies perfectly to my ‘standards’, and it has a door), Simone came in.
I didn’t loose a minute to declare that I needed to stop the diet. It wasn’t doing me any good, I was having too many other elements to digest (and not just the food-kinds) at this time. I just ranted away at her, like an upset child, really!
She was very good and said: ‘OK, I think it is time we talk about how you are experiencing this time, let’s do it now.’
We had a good exchange. I told her that I felt quite a bit out of my comfort zone, which is something I had been expecting and even seeking, but that settling into the simplicity of Philippine mountain life was a task I needed to concentrate on at this time, and that possibly this diet was one too many element in the ‘new’ of it all. Especially when I needed a toilet and really in those situations, like to be able to
- a) sit on a loo; and
- b) be in private.
She was understanding and encouraging, I think she may have forgotten what ‘luxuries’ active Westerners consider basic these days, and I felt much better having her know about my feelings – it is truly amazing how plain naming a feeling can make everything better. After our conversation I realised the extent of my drama, because, bottom line, I had absolutely nothing to complain or be grumpy about – and henceforth referred to this behaviour of mine as having ‘Princess Moments’. They come, we name them, maybe have a laugh, and move on.
Strengthened by my obligatory cup of coffee, I left the croissants on the side for the time being.
Maybe I’ll follow through with the raw diet after all.
Over the lunchtime salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, sesame seeds and a fruit we got at the market but didn’t know what it was, of which I managed to eat about 5 mouthfuls, I mentioned my state to Ramke and he said,
‘This is good, you are de-toxing. You are experiencing withdrawal, in a few days you’ll feel so much better, you’ll be more creative, less tired, more enlightened over all.’
We’ll see about that, affaire à suivre.