Through exploring modalities such as yoga, life coaching, holistic nutrition, reiki and all forms of spiritual traditions both old world and new age, combined with a keen sense of practicality and knowing that the physical and human life should be one with the spiritual and ethereal life, Aliyah Washington has worked to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. Approaching all of life as one interconnected path toward unity, Aliyah Washington lives and practices true mind-body-spirit connection. She leaves no stone unturned and is interested in one thing: becoming the awakened master she came here to become while creating a space for those who are awakening to do the same. She is a teacher’s teacher who knows that the ultimate source of all wisdom is reality itself. You are here to be the next iteration of God, and Aliyah Washington is here to support you in finding your truth so you can express as only you can express.
Transitioning to a raw food lifestyle is something that should be approached with great care and deliberate action. I know that, in today’s world, the benefits of raw foods are espoused by pretty well every health expert and enthusiast alike, and there is a sense that one should throw all caution to the wind and simply go 100 percent overnight. If that is really something you feel called to do, by all means, go right ahead! If, on the other hand, you would prefer to take a more methodical approach, you may find that being mindful about how you work your way to a raw lifestyle makes all the difference between feeling amazing—like you have made the best choice of your life—and feeling like you have made a huge mistake that leaves you questioning and doubting everything you thought you knew about health and nutrition. We must consider that these are powerful foods that have powerful effects on the body.
Don’t get me wrong: Raw foods are amazing, and I personally believe that everyone is going to benefit from moving in a direction where their diets are made up of mostly raw, living plant foods. That being said, how we transition the body from a predominantly cooked and processed-food diet to a higher and higher raw diet is incredibly important.
The main thing to understand here is that raw foods are incredibly electromagnetic, meaning they are highly electrically charged, and this electrical charge gives them a powerful magnetic quality.
To understand why this is important, you simply need to understand a few key factors:
1. Body tissues are slightly negatively ionically charged. This means they are slightly alkaline. Anything that can be considered “toxic” for the body—meaning anything that is going to lead to dis-ease in the body—is acidic, or positively ionically charged. If you remember back to your high school chemistry days, you can remember that when two opposing charges come together, they stick to one another like glue. This is how the body stores toxic materials, anything from that croissant you ate 10 years ago to the car exhaust you just inhaled. The substances that are acidic stick in our cells and tissues due to their ionic charge, and this blocks the body from proper nutrient circulation and absorption as well as internally poisons the cells and tissues the longer a toxin stays in the body.
2. The body is a detox machine, kind of. The body was designed to process and eliminate only “natural” toxins in small amounts. Most people consider their bodies to be “natural detoxification machines,” having the idea that we do not need to do anything to help our bodies move toxins out because we have a liver, kidneys and a colon. This is true but only to an extent. The body was and is equipped to process and eliminate metabolic byproducts of life and water-containing fruits and vegetables. Everything else—which is a lot of things, when you think about the amount of unnatural substances your body is exposed to on a daily basis—will get and stay stuck in the cells and tissues. The body was not designed to get rid of the off-gas from our carpets, the stress hormones of an overly stressful lifestyle and the pharmaceutical drugs in our drinking water. Not to mention the fact that most of us do not have organs that are functioning in an optimal way, and we have a recipe for massive accumulations of waste.
3. We can overload the system and cause “toxic detox.” When we start consuming large amounts of raw foods, we are taking in highly alkaline substances. These foods are negatively ionically charged and powerfully so. They are much more negatively charged than our cells and tissues. This is what makes them electromagnetic. What they do when we take them in is they actually attract the acidic wastes that are lodged into our cells and tissues out of the cells and tissues and into the bloodstream. This is a good thing. Once those wastes are in the bloodstream, they can be processed for elimination. But here’s the thing: This is a huge burden on the body. Pulling out toxins from the cells and tissues that are long dehydrated and have been slowly poisoning the body, which has been compromising the integrity of the organs and the organ systems, is no easy task for the body to deal with. If we are to, all of a sudden, flood the system with a whole bunch of alkalinity, we are going to be causing a great “purge” from our cells and tissues that our organs are most likely not going to be able to keep up with. Meaning we are stirring up all the toxic wastes and dumping them into the bloodstream, but they are not going to be properly processed and eliminated, which means they circulate throughout the body causing far more harm than when they were safely tucked away in the cells. This is what I call “toxic detox.” We expel wastes from the cells, and then they simply circulate throughout an overloaded and overtaxed system, causing even more damage to the organs, which are vital for their elimination.
4. A true healing plan must include elimination. Remember, the body is not equipped to deal with unnatural toxins, as those were not a part of the natural human design. The foods we eat are a huge key in dislodging these toxins from our cells, and the fiber and water content of raw fruits and vegetables will go a long way in aiding their removal from the body. But for most of us, this simply isn’t enough. We must take extra precaution to focus on elimination especially when we are eating high quantities of raw food, as we are stirring up more toxins than the average person that then need removal. I am going to list specific tools for elimination below, but this is an important point to keep in mind as you plan your transition to a raw food lifestyle.
This is why proper transition is key. We must take into account that our bodies are storing toxins they were never equipped to handle and that our organs are in a weakened state, no matter how healthy and vital you feel. We want to work our way up to raw foods, allowing our bodies time and space to deal with the toxic load one small step at a time. At the same time, we want to give ourselves proper rest and nutrition, which will facilitate the healing and regeneration of the organs so that elimination is possible.
Much of the time, slow and steady wins the race with raw foods. Here are my tips to transition gracefully.
Presenting Aliyah Washington’s Top 5 Tips for Transitioning to a Raw Food Diet Intelligently
1. Honor transition. There may be a species-specific diet, but we are not species-specific humans—we don’t have species-specific bodies anymore. What this means is, we were not handed perfectly functioning organs and tissues; we were actually given cells and tissues from our parents and grandparents and their parents that have been compromised with toxicity for generations. We want to honor the fact that we are going to have to take steps to getting the body back into a state where it is healthy enough to take in high volumes of raw, toxin-stirring-up foods, without getting overloaded or overwhelmed. If you are eating a 99 percent cooked-food diet right now or eating many foods that are heavily processed or dense, you are going to want to incrementally increase you raw food intake rather than going full force. Look at the volume of raw and cooked foods you are consuming and look at the ratio of processed and unprocessed foods. Also take into account your organ strength and fortitude, meaning really be honest about the weaknesses you have in your system right now. From there, take your diet only one step lighter than where it is now. Start by swapping some of the heavier, processed foods for their lighter, whole foods counterparts, like switching from bleached wheat flour pasta to whole grain quinoa pasta. Swap out your favourite cookies for raw nut- or seed-based energy balls. Add a big green salad to whatever you usually eat for lunch and dinner without changing what you are eating at these meals. Allow yourself to take one step at a time. Start where you are and do only one step lighter. This, done over and over again over time, will lead to amazing results!
2. Focus on balancing, awakening and elimination. Most people in the raw food community get very excited about what we are putting into our bodies but pay no special attention to what we are helping our bodies eliminate. This is such a huge reason so many feel sick, tired, weak and develop illnesses on a raw food diet rather than thriving. Now you understand why! They are stirring up too many toxins at a time, and they are not getting those toxins out of the body. If you are experiencing any kind of “detox” symptom—from headaches to flulike symptoms, shakes, sleeping trouble, deep irritability, depression and so on—these are all signs that the body is circulating toxins it is not able to remove fast enough and so are hanging around in your bloodstream, making you feel terrible. Remember, when those toxins are in your cells and tissues, they are far less metabolically active. They are there, slowing causing acidification of the system and therefore long-term breakdown and disease, but when they are dislodged and in the bloodstream, they are actually in their most dangerous state. In the bloodstream is where they are directly interacting with the cells and tissues of the body, causing direct damage. So we want to again be very mindful that we are stirring things up only at the rate that we are sure to be getting rid of them, and we monitor this through our detoxification symptoms. If you are feeling terrible as you transition to a raw food lifestyle, it is a sign to either slow down with how much raw food you are consuming, increase the amount of elimination techniques you are employing (without overburdening the organs) or both. Here are some tools you can use to aid the body in elimination:
dry skin brushing | saunas | bouncing on a mini-trampoline | cryo-therapy | sunbathing (without burning!) | spending time near the ocean | swimming in natural lakes and rivers | enemas | colonics
Choose one or two of these to add to your day along with increasing your raw food intake, which will automatically increase your fiber intake. If this does not increase the amount of bowel movements you are having or if this slows the amount of movements, back up on the fiber and work on some other elimination methods.
3. What can you eat? Rather than focusing on removing foods, focus first on adding more live foods to your diet. This way, you won’t feel deprived or detox too quickly, and you will give yourself a chance to change your palate and satiation centres at a slow and manageable pace. Start by adding some fruit to your morning meal and a large raw salad to your lunch and dinner. Don’t worry about removing anything that you are currently eating; just eat the raw foods first. Play around with fun recipes such as chia pudding, different smoothies and fun raw desserts and treats. Try adding raw veggies to any cooked-food meal like adding in a large handful of greens to cooked soups or sauces just before serving. See how you feel with a freshly pressed juice first thing in the morning. Really take a good amount of time to try new recipes and build up a Rolodex of meals you know you love before you attempt to remove things you know you are going to have a hard time parting with. Add first!
4. Practice good food combining. One of the best ways to make a raw food diet feel terrible on your system is to miscombine your foods. Many raw treats combine a lot of dense ingredients such as nuts and seeds with dried fruits and other difficult-to-digest combinations, and this can leave anyone feeling bloated, gassy and unwell over time. Not only will following food-combining rules help you feel better overall, but it will greatly improve your capacity to extract the nutrition present in your food. Now, before you poo-poo (pun intended) food-combining principles with the argument that the theory has been disproved, hear me out. This is not about digestive juices and enzymes. This is about transit time. Different foods move through the body at different rates, and when a food that is meant to move more quickly is eaten after a food that needs more time, we get a backup of that quick-moving food. This is going to cause it to sit in the gut (small and large intestine) longer than it should, where it will start to ferment and cause a whole host of issues from gas, constipation, pathogenic bacteria overgrowth and so on. We want to facilitate the best and most seamless route from mouth to exit we can for our food so that it stays in the system for only as long as is necessary for optimal digestion. Any holdup causes us pain! In order to avoid this, follow these simple rules for a better digestion experience.
- Juices on an empty stomach only.
- Fruit alone and on an empty stomach or after juice.
- Eat light to heavy during your day, following this order of food density:
- Juices, melons, fruits, leafy greens, nonstarchy vegetables, starchy vegetables, legumes and sprouts, nuts and seeds, cooked legumes and starchy vegetables, and, finally, cooked and sprouted grains. Be sure to order your foods in a meal, eating light to heavy, and your meals throughout the day at large from light to heavy.
- Fresh leafy greens with every lunch and dinner.
- Do not combine starches with fats, with the exception of avocado.
- No fruit after other foods.
5. No pressure, focus on pleasure. Finally, relax and enjoy yourself. I know there was a lot of information in this article, and it may seem daunting and overwhelming at first read. This is OK! There is no race and no rush. This is where the rule of listening to your body is so key. There is no need to push or force anything that does not feel good to you. Take this journey slowly, forget about “getting” anywhere, let go of any comparison and allow your body to go on its own journey. You are a unique individual and must do what is best for you and your body—and you will know more and more about what is best for your body through the art of listening to your pain and pleasure. Slow and steady wins the race. Enjoy your food, enjoy your body. No rules—simply be your own laboratory. Know that as you progress on your journey, your needs and wants are going to constantly be shifting and changing. This is why we don’t want to get our minds set on any “right way” to do this. All this does is conflate our capacity to really tune into what we actually need. The more you can learn to listen to your body in this moment rather than projecting some expectation onto it of where it should be or what it should be experiencing, the better results you are going to get long term.
I hope this helps get you started. Raw foods are amazing and powerful facilitators of the body doing its healing work. Honor the process and the process will honor you back.