If you haven’t noticed (and if not, it’s okay…you aren’t the first) the name of my business, I think I shall take this time to talk about it. Living Raw By Grace. No, my name is not Grace…although I think that’s an awesome name. I simply want to credit my God for the ability to do what I do. It’s His glory, not my own. Living a raw lifestyle can be difficult at times. I need to make everything from scratch, which can feel overwhelming. I cannot go eat at restaurants (with only two exceptions so far), unless I want to order a salad. 95% of any grocery store is useless for me, which actually saves time and money, but can certainly be tempting. But above and beyond any of this, the most heart wrenching is watching someone truly enjoy their cooked food. That slice of pizza that my daughter eats with her whole body. That pasta dish that smells scrumptious. Or simply watching people share food and talk about it. Yes, it takes more than just my own strength not to give in and order Taco Bell (which just happens to be my own personal weakness).
Jesus Christ bestows grace upon grace for me. For the past I used to be ashamed of, for the mistakes I’ve made. I’m not talking about food here. I’m not even talking just about poor decisions, but about a discontent, selfish, self-centered, miserable heart. A constant erosion of myself into what the world wanted me to be. I had a need…a deep dark need that I just couldn’t fill. I tried acceptance, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, material goods, and I only became more and more hollow. May 28, 2004, after knowing about Jesus Christ my whole life, I finally bowed my knee and got to know him personally. I cried out and asked for Him to take the reins. And He did. I often can’t remember what life was like before He was my savior. My every day, minute, second savior.
Mercy: not getting what we deserve. Being acquitted. Forgiven. I love mercy, and I serve a merciful God. If that sounds like a different picture from what the God you have heard about…please talk to me! While I love mercy and all it stands for, because I know what my black heart deserved, what my stupid actions merited, I love grace even more. Grace: receiving what you do NOT deserve. Not only am I not being punished for that which I have done/said/felt…I am being showered with incredible gifts! It’s the exact opposite of how we work as humans! The grace I receive can be as monstrous as eternal life, and as small as a green light when I’m running late. Yes, God is even in the small things.
How does all this apply to my raw lifestyle, though?! One of my favorite blessings is not a car or a house, but the peace that passes all understanding. The peace that flows from within…and cannot be taken away. It’s the peace that fills me when I start to get depressed as to my feeling restricted with food. It’s the joy I feel when I create a raw dish that I can’t wait to share with everyone around me. It’s grace…the blessings of an incredible God who sees my every action/word/heart and loves me still. Mind blowing. J
A friend of mine asked about Christian Stewardship…which usually deals with finances. How are you handling what God has given you? It also applies to your talents and gifts. Are you using what God has endowed you with for His glory or for yourself? But here’s an interesting twist: it can also apply to your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” He has given us not only an incredible body that scientists still are unraveling the mysteries of, but the Holy Spirit inhabits us! We often say that Jesus Christ lives in our hearts…but are we taking care of them? If we have heart disease that we have brought on by a lifetime of food we knew was bad for us…are we being good stewards of what God has given us? I am saddened when friends of mine share about illnesses and diseases they or their children have, yet are unwilling to change their diets. You don’t have to make a permanent change, try a thirty day trial and see the results. I don’t even ask, recommend, or beg people to change their diets. I just try to show what God was able to cure me of through a change in diet. The many illnesses, the chronic conditions, the emotional exhaustion of being sick…all gone!
Yes! Raw food is RADICAL! It’s against what the world says. It’s different from what your doctor will tell you to do! So was Jesus. He was RADICAL! He hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, thugs, assassins, the ill, and the outcasts. He told the world to eat of His flesh and drink His blood! He said there was only ONE way to God. Himself. Seriously…either He’s a liar/maniac/egotistical loony, or He really IS the Son of God and we all need to come to terms with what that means for our lives. Me and my house…we serve the Lord.
Do we really need to switch to an all raw diet? NO! That is not what I’m saying. Pray…seek your own path. But ask for guidance! Have you ever included God in what you put in your mouth, other than to thank Him for it? Have you paid attention to your body when it let you know, possibly subtlety or not, a food you ate wasn’t very good for you? God made this incredible body for us that HEALS ITSELF! When you cut the skin open, do you have to replace the skin yourself? No! It regrows! Isn’t that incredible?! So, next time you come to God and ask for healing, ask for wisdom as well. Ask for Him to reveal to you what needs to be done so you can take better care of what He has given you. Raw is what He led ME to. Other than HIM, it’s what I will share with everyone while I have breath. He has a path for each of us. It’s often the narrow, difficult one…
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I don't know when I started doing Raw Recipe Nights, but my guess is over a year ago. I'm pretty sure it simply started because a girl I had met at a raw potluck (and raw potlucks will be a whole separate blog post) had been curious about a dish I had made, so I invited her over to learn how to make it. I've taught quite a few young ladies who were new to raw how to make simple dishes. That's my motto: fast, easy, delicious. I also answer questions they might have regarding simple nutrition, grocery shopping, food choices, etc. It's always been very informal and usually one-on-one, which has always been very effective.
Last night I hosted a Raw Recipe Night and invited thirteen of my Facebook girl friends that I've made over the past year. Since I was hosting in my apartment, only ladies were invited (since safety and privacy are very important to me). Five women trickled in, three had previous experience with the raw lifestyle, one has just committed to a lifestyle with more and more raw foods, and one was curious and enthusiastic to simply learn more.
I called the evening "Raw N' Roll", for I was teaching how I make Nori Rolls, which are a sushi equivalent, and Cinnamon Rolls with Icing. We began with the Nori Rolls, as it can be prepared nut-free and one of my guests couldn't do nuts. I put all the ladies to work cutting (julienne-ing) vegetables while I made the "rice" mixture and the Asian pate. Everyone got a turn rolling the delicacies and all of the rolls were eaten. We discussed where I shop for my food, how I get Nori seaweed inexpensively, what Jicama is and how to prepare it, nutrients in fresh vs. cooked vegetables, and much more.
After we had eaten our fill, we moved onto the Cinnamon Rolls, which was much less preparation. The ladies visited and got to know one another while I made almond flour and milled flaxseeds. Since it was a large group, I got to make a monster cinnamon roll and we had traditionally sized rolls to eat when they were almost chilled (we just couldn't wait any longer!). Usually I make mini rolls for myself, and these large leftovers are quite the treat. Yum!
It was a great time and I have emailed each of the ladies with the recipes we used, so they can attempt it on their own after having participated with me. It was so much fun, and wonderfully successful that I believe this is definitely what I want to do. My long term goal is to become a certified nutritionist with intentions on becoming a health counselor. I would come to your home and teach you how to make foods for yourself, where to grocery shop and how to choose what you want, plan out meals and teach you all the research I have done for myself. It would be a one-on-one thing, and I plan on hosting classes for groups on the side. One of my friends who came, who organizes an incredible farmer's market with a wonderful farmer who picks directly for me (Yay! Horny Toad Farms!), is so eager for my classes that she is volunteering to get it off the ground for me. Instead of trying to stuff a bunch of people into my apartment, I'll be using a larger space and providing a much more structured class. I'm so excited, and it looks like next month will be my first official class!! Each class will center around recipes and specific foods, while the education and information will be discussed as we un-cook. I'm thinking the first class will be dips, since they are easy and delicious and a fun addition to any lifestyle, raw or not.
Almost everyone left just before ten that evening, which is about the time I assumed it would end. One of my friends ended up staying and we chatted until I almost literally kicked her out at 11:30! That's late for the girl who needed to be up by six am for church the next day. We talked about our raw lifestyles (of course) since we are both fully raw, but we also talked about our faith. I try to share with everyone that there is only one reason I am able to completely change my lifestyle successfully and that is by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. It is His strength that carries me through the cravings I get when I'm around people who are enjoying their cooked foods. It is His patience that allows me to finish my green smoothie before I dig into that scrumptious cinnamon roll. It is His peace filling my every moment that keeps my food from becoming my obsession. It is His love that flows through me to share what I've learned with those who are open minded to an alternate path. It is His light shining within me that inspires everyone around me to ask questions and learn more about the Raw Lifestyle. I could go on and on, that's what happens when I'm passionate about a subject...you can't shut me up! :)
About the Blogger
Haley is passionate about Raw Food and how God has used it to heal her. She loves to share what she knows with anyone who is curious, and finds herself talking to everyone around her about her lifestyle.