The last time I challenged myself to raw food eating was a 21 day faith experiment in which I actually fasted from cooked food (same difference from an eating perspective but from a mental, emotional and spiritual perspective it was something completely different). I went through a tumultuous 3 weeks of eating only raw food, even on Thanksgiving Day! It was hard, even maddening at times, but I grew so much spiritually during those 21 days and I felt physically amazing. It was a huge challenge, though and by the end I was so ready to eat cooked food again. I didn't have that complete synchronization between mind, body and spirit in which all three agreed on raw food.
I couldn't deny the benefits, however, and when the Boston Vineyard (which has observed the Lent season with 40 days of faith over sevearl years) chose to celebrate lent with a more traditional Lenten season I was horribly disappointed, to the point of not celebrating lent at all! I was so hoping to take the next step onward to a 40 day faith experiment in which I would again fast from cooked food. The lack of a commitment like that sent me on a path of, "I just want to eat whatever is NOT raw". So for several months I neglected - even abused my body with much unhealthy cooked food.
Now I don't want to imply that all cooked food is unhealthy, because I don't believe that to be true at all! In fact I believe there are many cooked foods that are alkalizing to the body and ultimately I feel like having an alkaline PH is more important than eating all raw food or whatever. A raw diet is a healing diet but I feel like there are many whole cooked foods that can be incorporated once the healing and synchronization have occurred. The unhealthy cooked food I'm referring to is vegetarian junk food. Organic chips, cookies, crackers, processed foods. Organic or not, still largely unhealthy.
So now, here I am on this 100 day raw food challenge and after 40 days, I really truly know that something has changed in me.
Physically, I don't crave cooked foods. I feel perfectly content eating uncooked food in it's natural state. A big salad is completely satisfying, and more recently I've noticed the simpler the meal, the better (I don't want to spend my whole life in the kitchen!)
Mentally, I don't think about food all the time. I do enjoy food, I just don't obsess about it. I find myself occassionally wondering what foods I will add after 100 days (I believe that for me about 80% raw is my long term goal - I'm currently between 95-99%).
Emotionally, oh crap did I ever have a huge fit last week. I realized just how severe my emotional eating was. But it was good. I hashed it out with God and came through it a stronger woman, and even more faithful believer. Praise Jesus for that!!!
Spiritually, I can't help but feel like 40 days really is a huge milestone. It's a very biblical number. Jesus was tempted for 40 days (and now many Christians honor that time during lent) as he prepared for his ministry. And after Jesus died on the cross and rose again he ministered for 40 days before ascending to heaven at the right hand of God and sending the Holy Spirit to earth to help the diciples. I'm sure there's more, but I haven't studied the bible enough to know. So 40 days for me is significant. It doesn't mark the end of my challenge, but I recognize it as a special time to note marked changes in my life - especially the change in my relationship with food.