MY HEALTH JOURNEY
MY JOURNEY - Sarah Vosper 2017
I slowly transitioned into organic produce during my mid twenties, as the concept of cancer seemed to be a big topic surrounding me at the time. There was a lot of fear around it by other people and the media, which rendered my own fear for it, because it was (and still is) so unknown. When I read about chemical cleaning products being a cause of cancer, and told to wear protective wear, plus keep an open window when using the products, questions started to roll in! If chemical cleaning products are toxic and cancer causing, then what exactly are the toxic chemicals being sprayed onto food crops doing to us? People spraying those chemicals wear protective gear, yet somehow that same produce is marketed as ‘food’ and safe for human consumption. Something did and still does not add up there.
At the time I assumed organic was just a marketing strategy to charge people more money for produce so they could feel fancy. It wasn’t until I started thinking about the supply chain of food that I finally understood organic wasn’t at all about being fancy, quite the contrary, it was about going back to basics. I started exploring the world of organic produce, I was a university student at the time, so I would order a seasonal box suited to my budget and then if I needed more food during that week I would buy conventional (as I adjusted to spending more of my money on food and less on other things). The first few months of eating organic produce made me feel nauseous, I remember going out for one of my first ever all-organic dinners and having to run to the toilet! I experienced a few of days where I thought, no organic today, it makes me feel sick, in hindsight I have understood this as a big sign that my body was detoxifying!
The price of fresh organic produce in terms of dollars was much higher compared to conventional produce, but like everything over time it became relative. I enjoyed shopping for my food and cooking at home, so I spent less money on takeaway, less money on clothes etc. I also found I would get full from eating much less than I would have to eat when consuming conventional produce, the flavour of organic produce was more rich and satisfying, and generally the water content appeared higher, making produce juicier – I was eating tomatoes that reminded me of the tomatoes I used to eat from my Grandmother’s garden in Greece! To anyone questioning the authenticity of organic, all I can say is that the abundance of flavour speaks for itself, potentially there are some chemicals used, nothing can compare to growing your own produce in your own garden on a smaller scale, however living in the city comes with the compromise of trusting the system of the organic industry to be much better than the conventional system of flavourless all-year available produce that has been sprayed with synthetic toxic chemicals.
In my late teens and early twenties I found myself modeling, in Australia and overseas. The journey was both incredible and challenging. I cannot express how challenging that work choice was on me physically, emotionally and mentally – I have only truly understood the depths of the challenges this past year as I found myself embarking on a self-empowerment journey, with the intention to understand and heal my idea of Divine Femininity.
I experienced challenges with body image and a toxic relationship to food, which I can’t blame purely on the modelling industry, a lot of it I’m sure has to do with general ideas expressed through Western society about feminine beauty, a lack of basic knowledge when it comes to food in its Natural state, the human body and a general lack of transparency available in our current food industry. I developed a really bad relationship to food because I didn’t understand it, I joined the ‘fat-free’ consumer industry in order to avoid getting fat, but ironically the opposite happened, my weight fluctuated and my energy levels were low.
Switching to organic food trimmed me down, not that I was ever excessively overweight, but I would fluctuate between a size 6, 8, 10 and even 12 depending on which city I was in, how active I was, and what I was eating. I couldn’t manage to find a balance, again because of a lack of understanding of food and its relationship to the body.
With this all in mind, consuming organic food blew my mind, I trimmed down and then stayed the same weight regardless of how much food I consumed. My relationship with food naturally changed, I would eat when I was hungry, without calculating anything, if I felt like pasta I ate it, but I ate organic wholegrain pastas instead of processed white wheat pasta, which ultimately left me more full and satisfied than the latter! If I felt like chocolate, I made a raw cocoa smoothie! Every single taste bud got satisfied, I never went to sleep hungry at night, and the stress of having to calculate what I was eating was gone! The whole experience was so freeing, I remember the joy of telling family at the time! I stayed a healthy size 8, I got a fitting job and was still mind blown that I could go in there and my measurements would only ever change by 1 – 2 cm maximum, which is normal for a woman's body.
NEXT STEP WAS RAW FOOD
Organic food saw me more satisfied from smaller meal portions, experience a richness of flavour and balanced body weight, I didn’t know things could get better until I found myself on a raw food cleanse.
The joy I had from eating whatever organic wholefoods I wanted and a newfound freedom of not calculating calories felt like enough. My brother was trying to get me to introduce more raw food into my diet, since it had changed his world for the better, but even just the idea of having to include any other kind of ‘rule’ in my diet stressed me out. I felt like I was healthy enough already, when he kept at me to try raw food it made me feel guilty, as if what I was doing already wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t until I found myself bedridden for four days straight at the beginning of summer, unable to even stand up or open my eyes without everything feeling like it would explode and/or collapse, that I truly heard him ‘you’ll see your energy increase’ he said. So I did, I said I would try ten days strict raw to see if it helped and how I went on it. I started with juices, then gradually introduced raw cacao drinks, smoothies and eventually snacks and salads.
THE RAW FOOD JOURNEY
Mentally it was tough, energetically it was fantastic, I can still remember the buzz I experienced on the first few days after I had a big juice or raw cacao smoothie! The rapid speed of regaining my strength, after being so sick blew me away. I couldn’t remember ever having experience such a surge in energy, generally getting better took a few days of still being lethargic. Understanding what exactly I could eat on the cleanse was tough. I had a moment hanging from the fridge door looking at lots of fresh produce but wondering what on Earth I could actually eat… I was used to cooking veggies and grains together, generally making yummy pasta dishes, what was I to do with a full capsicum, some cucumber and lettuce leaves?
Well, blend the capsicum up with olive oil, lemon juice, bit of sea salt, some raw cashews and boom, I had an instant creamy sauce that could bring any kind of salad to life and make it unexpectedly filling!
I NOW KNOW I CAN DO ANYTHING
SARAH VOSPER- 51 RAW
Eating raw opened up an entire new world of flavour, I didn’t know you could eat beetroot raw, I only ever had beetroot in a can, my dad would buy it all the time, we loved it. But who knew how sweet raw beetroot tasted grated into a salad! Boy, raw food was a journey. I was exploring new flavours, food combinations and re-writing not only the way I viewed food, but my every day eating habits. After 10 days of organic raw plant-based foods, I felt my entire body differently, my hands were more sensitive, I experience a new internal drive to get moving outdoors and run! I used to run because I thought I better do it to stay slim, and be ‘healthy’, I never actually enjoyed it, it was more like a chore. After this cleanse I CRAVED a good run! I remember when my feet first touched the sand at the beach, I had this sudden urge to RUN! I ran and my whole body fired up, it was getting fuelled, my arms felt differently, everything seemed more sensitive and alive! Such an incredible sensation, which I feel can’t fully be comprehended until experienced. Other changes I noticed included a new awareness and sensitivity to refined sugar and caffeine. Conventional coffee made me feel nauseous and so did refined sugar, refined sugar was too sweet, which from someone who could easily eat cake or chocolate for breakfast was a pretty incredible experience. I never understood people who said something was too sweet or too rich previously. Another mind blowing experience, to eat the same kind of sugar foods (chocolate bar for instance) and notice that it was too sweet in flavour.
I developed a new relationship with my body, I was aware of its language, it told me what it did and did not like and I started to weigh up food choices based on how it made me feel, not how I thought it would make me look! This was a massive awakening for
me, I was now eating for fuel, which to this day am beyond thankful for that knowledge and awareness.
I highly recommend everyone to try out an organic raw food cleanse at least once in their life, not necessarily to make it an every day lifestyle choice, simply as a 10 or 14 day reset cleanse in order to reconnect with their intuition, release any food based addictions that they may or may not be aware of, and basically so they can really FEEL their body, and the intensity of energy in themselves, others around them, and even Nature! I have recommended the cleanse to a few close friends who were experiencing emotional and food discomforts – recommended it so they could connect to their body and start speaking its language, everyone so far who have tried it in my circle have had nothing but positive feedback, it really does seem to be a life changing experience. Again, I want to stress that as an everyday lifestyle raw food may not suit everyone, today I find myself eating predominantly raw, but also enjoying a balance of warm cooked food too, and this desire of warm/cool cooked/raw seems to change with the seasons.