Good Intentions, Bad Results and the Importance of Adaptability.

So, I had some pretty lofty goals at the start of this week.

Like so many people in the Western yoga world, I feel this draw towards raw food. And maybe not for the most balanced or grounded reasons. I think it stems from some desire to be totally pure and light.

It turns out, eating all raw does not make me feel pure, light and radiant. Not at all.

Yesterday afternoon I started feeling really sick. Every few minutes I was hit by this wave of reflux that sent me running to the bathroom in fear that everything I had eaten that day would come gushing out of my mouth (I know, gross).

All week my tummy has been a little mushy. I’ve had a few headaches, been a bit spacy and unsettled. I’ve been at least 95% raw since Sunday. Honestly, if I remember correctly, last time I was 100% raw I felt like this too. I always had a little belly bloating too despite soaking/sprouting the nuts and seeds that I ate. I never felt satisfied/fulfilled being raw. My skin barely changed and my weight only dropped slightly (and then, I think it was simply because I didn’t drink for that month). Not much has changed this time around either. At least not in the positive sense. Perhaps I’m just “detoxing” but really, I didn’t have much “tox” there to begin with, considering my very clean diet and substance-free lifestyle.

Contrary to what so many raw foodist claim, I do not feel like a radiant rainbow of love right now, to put it nicely.

My nervous system can’t seem to handle it, let alone my digestion.

I can honestly see that I have very little to be stressed about – I’m thrilled to be getting married, no doubts there. I’m very organized and I have a great support team. I’m doing yoga and meditation and japa everyday. I’m getting plenty of sleep and enjoying nice long walks and hot baths and appropriate essential oils. All good stuff. I’m even consciously stopping myself throughout the day to simply breathe and be still.

But something is not right. I’ve had 4 little panic attacks/breakdowns in the past 2 days. They sneak up from out of nowhere and completely thrash me. When I check in with my intuition, the culprit is really my diet/worrying about my diet/body. Still…ugh…

So….it’s time to recalibrate. I’ve been fasting on water and ginger tea since 4pm yesterday and plan to continue until after noon today, since it is Radhastami and fasting is customary. I’m letting my body empty out and then I’m starting over.

This morning I practiced some gentle asana, sun salutations and uddiyana kriya to get a little prana moving. I practiced breath of fire and alternate nostril breathing to balance my energy and stimulate my agni. Then I did a Kundalini kriya for healthy digestion and elimination followed by a long rest in viparita karani.

My tummy is beginning to feel a bit better. I hope fasting for a few more hours will help clear the slate a bit.

Despite some of my rigid desires to “stick to the plan”, today I’m adjusting my goals and adapting to my body’s needs.

I will stick with the herbal supplements and a green smoothie or juice here and there, but I think some nice gluten-free grains and cooked vegetables will make me a much happier and calmer girl, and that’s more important than doing some diet “perfectly”. I might even have some yogurt. Despite the fact that I eat dairy extremely sparingly, when I check in with my intuition, much to my surprise, “yogurt” keeps flashing. Hmmmn…

A healthy yoga practice requires adaptability, just like life, which is all the more reason for me to practice with more dedication and joy. Rigidity causes pain. And I don’t want any more of that right now!

Same thing with my blog – I’ve been putting undue pressure on myself to write more posts, or finish the 8 limbs series, when I really don’t have it in me at this time. I have to remember that my blog is a labor of love and that no one is paying me to do it, nor do I have an editor pressuring me with timelines or assignments. If it starts to feel like a push, I need to remember my purpose for writing in the first place and return to that space of love, service and fun. So perhaps my blog posts will be more confessional and less educational right now, or maybe less frequent, or simply a few photos. And I have to remember that this is OK too.

So happy Saturday! Here’s to letting go of preconceived notions or expectations and instead trying to follow intuition and the things that will bring more peace, balance and fulfillment.

Thanks for reading.




14 thoughts on “Good Intentions, Bad Results and the Importance of Adaptability.

  1. I did some research a few years ago on raw food and while some raw food in the diet is beneficial to most people, there really isn’t a lot of evidence to support that a 100% raw diet is all that it is cracked up to be. For one thing, unless you live in a tropical climate, you aren’t eating seasonally or locally. Some foods like tomatoes are actually better for you cooked. Listen to your body. It is your best teacher!

    • hi kim.
      that’s very true. i’ve read some not so positive reports on raw as well. thad thinks the whole diet is kind of silly. apparently throughout the past 100 years there are been recurring waves of raw food adherents, but it doesn’t stick and i think that’s telling.
      i remember reading that about tomatoes recently as well…very fascinating.
      thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Hi Frances,

    I have similar issues following a raw diet. I felt weak and tired. I feel healthier and more energetic when I follow my intuition, and literally follow my “gut instinct”.

    So, go easy on yourself, you have many happy changes going on in your life. The more calming foods you eat, the better. I really enjoy reading your blog- no matter what the topic!
    Namaste ,

    • hi mj,
      nice to hear that i’m not alone! i did a little googling yesterday to find out that weakness, nausea and even weight gain happen to more people on raw diets than the many proponents in the movement would have us believe.
      it feels like i’m repeatedly being taught the same lesson about my diet…(must listen to body, eat warming and grounding foods, stay consistent etc.,)
      ….. i wonder if this time the knowledge will actually stick 🙂
      i appreciate your kindness and am very grateful for your readership.

  3. Haribol Frances:) Blessings on your upcoming union:) I so applaud your decision to listen to your body/intuition instead of dogma and “shoulds”. As a Vata type myself, I can be very regimented, I guess that’s why I love my ashtanga practice so much, but, anyway:), I have been 100% raw when I was ill with Cancer and I am totally healed. That was 8 years ago!:) Since then, I delved into investing in “Health Insurance” FOOD! Organic when possible, vegan and gluten-free are staples. I incorporate Ayurvedic dosha diet/Macrobiotic/Raw. I notice, like clockwork(and I live in Florida!) the change of seasons, my body tells me it’s time to add more cooked veg and increase my soups and grains. When I listen to the wisdom of my SELF, I am never off the mark. Good on ya! trust your SELF and don’t judge, just let it flow. FYI, a “mini fast” I do is from 8pm-12noon the next day or sometimes lunchtime to lunchtime:) A wonderful Macrobiotic recepie for you and the future hubby:)
    Cauiflower and Millet Mash
    1 head cauliflower chopped well
    1 cup millet washed
    3-31/2 c h2o or veg broth

    Wash millet and dry toast it in pot, add water/stock and cauliflower, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20min, add salt to taste.
    Transfer mix to food processor and blend it up, you can add seasonings and vegan butter, or ghee, or olive oil. Place in oven proof dish. you can serve it as is or bake it for 20min:) I also like it for breakfast!

    Bon Appetit


    • hare krsna
      thank you joy! i feel like i’m doing the right thing too. it’s such a balancing act. part of me wishes i could just find one exact perfect regime and stick with it, but the body is a very dynamic thing, always in flux, and thus the diet must be too. i’m very inspired by people like you who can really honor the messages given by the body. i’m still really working on it.
      that’s really amazing that you healed yourself with your raw diet. when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer she went out to the optimum health institute in california and i know that the juicing, raw food and detoxing that she did there was instrumental in her healing as well.
      it’s interesting to me that such a diet can be so profoundly healing when one is ill, but perhaps not so appropriate when in relatively good health?
      i will definitely try that recipe. i would like to eat more millet, but the few times i’ve made it, i was super keen on it. so, it’s great to receive a recipe that comes highly recommended.
      are you in gainesville?
      gratitude and love.

  4. Thank you Frances:) I am in Melbourne, Central east coast, about 1 hr east of Disney:) Ya know, it’s really like clockwork, spring, then summer hits and bam! it’s just gotta be really high raw, full stop. Then late summer/fall and my body just asks for more, more grains, more cooked. I’m so happy to hear your mom’s ok, both my mom and step mom fought the good fight and won as well. I agree with your observation of how a diet can be so incredibly powerful and cure cancer, but not for the everyday:) Make sure you season the millet well, that will help:) Love and blessings to you:)

    • Hey Joy.
      Making that millet dish as we speak 🙂
      I only asked about Gainesville bc I heard there are both Ashtanga and devotee communities there. FY even mentioned us moving there once, but he doesn’t deal with humidity well, so back West we go…
      thanks again for the recipe.
      love frances

  5. I love this Frances, and I can certainly relate. Knowing when to adapt, and to say “I am ok, just as I am, or it’s ok to do what feels right for me,” is something I struggle with (I wonder if we all do?) I’m proud of you for listening to your body and intuition instead of worrying about “sticking it out.”

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