A raw vegans dream: clearing dampness with tonic herbs
Raw food diets are super sexy, attracting only the most dedicated of individuals to healing their inner terrain (mind + body). Most raw foodists' journey's start out great, but eventually tend to plateau or even plummet and they lose their booming energy levels, clear skin, and nice flat stomachs. The swelling + lethargy were most definitely not advertised in all the promising blog posts.
The truth is that the human body is an ecosystem of fluids, energy channels, membranes and systems that require a unique formula in order to reach complete health. There is a different recipe for everyone, and each person is created unequal. Yes, unequal. The thought that you are exactly as the person next to you or even the person you were 5 years ago is bologna. If your taste buds, friend group, consciousness, sexual desires, physical abilities, stress levels, financial status, body temperature, spiritual perspectives, and cravings have the ability to change, what makes you think your recipe will be the same now as it was 5 years ago? Or that your recipe is going to be the same as your best friends? Our bodies are pure potential and have the immense ability to heal and be healed by the finest food medicines found within each and every layer of our earth. Thats the whole point of Mother Nature, to nurture our inner terrain through each and every element + fluid + energy channel that exists.
This entire post is a long time coming as I embark in a deep study of balancing the raw foods diet with warming herbs. Just as Mother nature knows when the ground is too hot, it produces rain to cool itself off, our insides need to mimic this sort of aim for balance in order to stay harmonized. Foods of yin (feminine/watery) consistency must be balanced with foods of yang (masculine/solid/drying) consistency in order to keep the body healthy and strong. Too much raw and not enough cooked, and vice versa, can bring imbalance to our bodies in the form of dampness. Especially females! This dampness can tend to linger, causing bloating + cold hands and feet + indigestion + low energy + fertile ground for skin-disrupting bacteria. Yuck. All this expensive raw food eating for bad skin!? Doesn't seem fair.
Just as we slow down in the colder temperatures (our digestion, mood, energy levels), our insides do the same thing when we eat a diet high in cooling raw foods. On the flip side, just as our energy + mood + digestion speeds up in the warmer temperatures, our insides do the same thing when we eat lots of warming foods such as herbal teas + warm water + mushy stews.....etc etc. BUT. Raw foods are essential to health! This is one thing I stand true to. We are drawn to the bright, sweet, shiny raw fruits and vegetables for our bodies need the enzymes and raw nutrients they contain. In order to milk the beauty of a raw food diet for all its worth, we need to clear this dampness through heat in some sort of way through warmer temperatures or foods that have a warming effect on the body. Just add heat and dryness will follow just as the hot sun dries the pavement after a wet rain.
I highly respect Ayurvedic + Chinese medicine and their system for healing the human body. I agree that warmer foods create speedy, lubricated insides and healthy sexual centers. Though, I also respect Dr. Doug Grahams research on the benefits of a raw vegan diet. All are perfectly logical so why not just combine both of the highlights. Sounds like a win win.
The idea that tonic herbs can help to complete the raw vegan diet comes to the concept of chi. Chi is vital life energy and explains how we came to be in existence in the first place. When we have perfectly balanced yin + yang, our chi (energy, life force) is vibrant and strong. When we balance our own individual chi, it is said that we are then able to thrive and live our life at full potential. Life thrives when chi is flowing.
We can build or ingest chi either through gathering chi or nutritive chi. Gathering chi is obtained through oxygen we breathe in. Nutritive chi being obtained through food and water. After we obtain chi, our body has to transform it into energy that we can use to live a life of high vibrational living. As we know, higher nutrient content within food and better air quality provides us with healthier bodies. When we consume nutrient dense foods, we inevitably ingest foods with higher chi. Food devoid of nutrients is devoid of quality chi. When we are lacking in chi, we are lacking in energy as our body is running on our reserves to keep our motors running.
The same happens when we eat too many cooling foods. Our internal body temperature starts to plummet, as our chi begins to empty, and we are left with chilly insides that are damp and ready for bacteria to flourish. Not to say that raw foods are unhealthy in any sense, but this moisture leftover can pave way for breakouts and untrusting raw vegans. Whats awesome is that tonic herbs have a warming effect on the body, and can seep into our tissues so that we steep in their potency. Bye dampness, see ya never!
What might be the new perfect way of eating? Mostly raw with warming, tonic herbs to help clear the dampness in the form of tonics, teas, jams, butters, and syrups. Herbs such as white peony root, Dang Shen, and He Shou Wu are all wonderful options to help warm the body and keep the blood healthy + flowing, thus promoting healthy chi within the body. Adaptogenic herbs in particular are amazing at keeping the body exactly where it needs to be in order to operate from a state of harmony.
So before you write off the raw vegan diet, consider your options. We live in a world full of options. And thats where i come in.
This post was inspired and informed by Raw Chi: Balancing the raw food diet with tonic herbs, definitely check it out if you're looking for a hot read. No pun intended.