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How I went Raw Vegan & Changed my World.

I am a sober, non-smoking, mostly plastic-free woman.

But when it comes to food, I often feel lost.

How much avocado is too much?

Is this too much olive oil?

How many handfuls of almonds have I had today?

I live in a hotel with a cutting board and mini fridge for a kitchen. But somehow, my kitchen-less life on tour has left room for something even greater: a raw vegan lifestyle.

I think we’ve all experienced some shame or guilt wrapped into our relationships with food at some point in our lives.

For many years, food was forbidden to me. I lived on a basis of reward and punishment with long stretches of fasting, followed by bursts of binge eating.

Today, I am at a healthy weight. I eat when I am hungry. But I still find myself questioning the way that my clothes fit and the amount of energy available to me. I still struggle with food so often that I wonder, Is this really the healthiest version of me?

After a friend introduced me to the Medical Medium podcast, I decided that I wanted my eating habits driven from a place of healing rather than shaming.

Not having an oven or stove meant that I was already eating most of my foods raw, so this just gave me some direction for where to go next.

I started by taking an inventory of what I ate in one day. Even though my meals were mostly vegan, I noticed that almonds, avocados, and processed foods made up the majority of my calories.

After changing to a raw vegan plan, I now eat bananas and apples whenever I want. I squeeze gorgeous lemons over greens with raw broccoli, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and every once a while I’ll throw in an avocado. I also drink lots of water and tea. And I feel good about my food choices and myself in relation to the world.

This started as a conversation about feeding myself. But as I learned more about the benefits of a plant-based diet—I found out that this was part of something much greater.

After watching documentaries like “Cowspiracy and “What the Health, I found out that a plant-based diet is not only good for my health—it’s good for the health of the planet.

Avoiding meat and dairy means that I am boycotting the animal agriculture industry. And studies show that animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

When I quit drinking, I made a pros and cons list about sobriety. What were the benefits of drinking versus getting sober? The answer was not many. So I got sober.

I decided to do the same exercise with plant-based eating. I sat down with my notebook after listening to all of this information. And the benefits of eating a plant-based diet were: saving the world and myself in virtually every aspect versus the downside of not being able to eat ice cream and cheese plates.

If you can’t enjoy even a nice, stinky, runny, ripe cheese like this you may as well kill yourself now.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain’s argument that the sweetness of life can be found in cheese is not wrong. Cheese tastes good. But it is not sustainable for our health, or for our environment. The argument for plant-based eating was never about taste—meat also tastes good. It is about feeding ourselves and healing the planet while making an ethical decision to not eat another life.

For now, the “raw” aspect of being a raw vegan is what is available to me. I don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to cooking and this may also not be permanent. I love soups and want to explore vegan cuisine when I have a kitchen available to me one day.

So with what started as a quest to feed myself in my limited kitchen, the air now smells sweeter, I feel calmer and cleaner inside and out. My skin is also noticeably brighter, and I feel less bloated.

For the most part, going raw vegan has given me more energy and reassurance that what I put into my body is going to heal my organs as well as my environment.

author: Jacqueline Hathaway Levin

Image: Jonas Zürcher / Unsplash

Editor: Julie Balsiger

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Jacqueline Hathaway Levin

Jacqueline Hathaway Levin is a nomad and a truth teller. Writing, sobriety, yoga, and poetry are her guiding lights for sharing her story with others. You can follow her journey on her blog, Instagram, or Facebook page to get a closer look at how she views the world. She hopes to inspire others with her words and her journey to finding a more meaningful life. Jacqueline is from Atlanta, Georgia, where she choreographed and taught contemporary dance for many years. She now lives in Japan, traveling the world with her husband, who is in Cirque Du Soleil.