Emotions, Veganism & Raw Food
When I first went vegan, I became extremely angry. It felt like my entire world was crumbling and it was all because of the people around me. Which it was, in a sense - all my preconceptions, all my prejudices against animals were being wiped away day by day, and that's not pleasant for anybody. Even worse, people weren't listening to me - they weren't listening to my passions, to my ethics. Because my ethics are such a strong part of my identity, it felt like they were rejecting me. (And, to an extent, they were - but they weren't the only ones doing the rejecting.)
See, when you come to the conclusion that animals, beyond not inherently deserving to be tortured, inherently deserve to not be tortured, and you see everyone around you participating in that torture... you're gonna get a little pissy. I did this. (Once I threw a block of soy cheese at my mother. But I digress.)
Eventually, I learned to bottle it all up. Social convention requires that you not point out the myriad hypocrisies of others, no matter how blatant they are - but bottling emotions up isn't good for anyone. Yes, even vegans.
People look at vegans as though they must have such self-control, such amazing ability for self-denial... it's not true. Let's get that straight. It's not true that vegans are ascetic. I, for one, am a complete and utter hedonist. I just happen to be one who is particularly driven towards her goals as well as particularly driven towards trying new experiences. I am one of those people who wants to try almost anything once. (But BDSM, been there done that, have the PTSD to show for it.) That doesn't make me special, but it does put me a little out of the ordinary.
Thing is, vegans aren't saints. Vegans are human. (Unless, some day in the future, we learn to communicate our ethics to our nonhuman friends.) Vegans laugh with joy, weep with sorrow, shout with rage, cry in relief. We're just like anyone else, albeit that we tend to go father towards the 'action' end of the 'caring' spectrum. And like anyone else, we get angry when people openly violate ethics that we hold not just about the treatment of ourselves or the Earth, but of others - be they human animal or nonhuman animal.
As you might guess, after being vegan for about two and a half years, I had a lot of rage built up inside me. That's coming out of me now, after about a month being high raw and a week being 100% raw. Everyone knows about the idea of 'detoxing' - about cleansing your body of poisons and toxins and other dangerous substances. What they do not know is the immense amount of emotions we all have built up inside ourselves because it isn't 'proper' to show our emotions.
Keeping in these emotions is easier when you are sedating yourself with cooked food. Yes, I mean that literally - you literally sedate yourself with the chemicals that form when you cook
food. Opiates from wheat, for a vegan example, or the buzz that comes along with sugar. You sedate yourself.
But those emotions have gotta come out sometime. When you are no longer sedating yourself with cooked food, after a while you may begin to have crying spells, or periods of rage and upset. I had all three of these today - some of them more than once. Yes, you can imagine how pleased I was about that.
When you go raw, you're going to have to go through an emotional detoxification. You're going to have to get rid of all that stress, all those negative and painful emotions. Unfortunately, one of the ways that this happens is for you to experience them - fully, unable to choke them down again. You're going to have to learn how to deal with them, too.
That is not a bad thing. That is a very, very good thing - I would attribute a part of the health benefits that raw foodists experience to the fact that they are no longer holding in so much stress. They have, in a sense, cleansed it from their bodies - all the built up years of grime: sadness, rage, uneasiness. Your mind is much like a sink drain - you will have things building up in it and it has to come out or else you'll clog.
Clogging isn't good.
This is a warning. If you are planning going raw, look into breathing exercises (or exercise programs that incorporate them, such as yoga or pilates), look towards your spiritual side (if you have one), look into things that make you feel good where you can express yourself and move parts of your body at the same time. Because if you plan on staying raw - why would you go raw if you didn't? - then you need to be warned that you will have an emotional detoxification, periods in which your emotions just... fall... apart.
Fortunately, it's not the end of the world - it never is. Instead, it's a chance to have a new start: a version of life without all the added weight of built-up and choked-down emotions on your shoulders. Your body is enough to carry around.