What would it be like to live the life you love, and live it powerfully? Sometimes, choosing to incorporate or eliminate certain foods can make all the difference. How does the word “raw” connect to Passover? In the desert we were inexperienced. The weather made our skin raw. We experienced gut wrenching raw fear, and we ate raw, unprocessed and unrefined manna (mystery) to survive.
Passover is the perfect opportunity and invitation to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit through living foods and holistic health practices. In order to dive into this possibility it requires us to look at the dietary habits that accumulate excessive physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bondage.
Let’s look at our intention of liberation. In order to experience freedom from constricting dietary habits towards liberating habits, it’s helpful to take a long deep breath and laugh out loud at how many choices we have made this year that didn’t serve our fullest self-expression, vitality, and inspiration. With our past complete, there is freedom for new health possibilities.
We have the possibility of becoming foods that are liberated and therefore live a life of liberation.
Why raw? When we don’t cook food, we don’t become cooked food. The question of how deep we really want to go into the question is very personal and I’m not here to advocate for a raw foods diet as the Torah’s prescribed diet or even my own. However , Rav Kook made mention that the diet in the world to come will consist of a vegan diet (no animal products), a teshuvah (return) to the diet we had in the Garden of Eden. Rav Kook was known to eat a vegetarian diet during the week and meat on Shabbat. He declared that we still aren’t at the level of eating a vegan diet and therefore it is our responsibility to unlock the energy of holiness in animals by eating them and blessing them.
On the biochemical level, when food is heated to about 118 degrees this activates a process called leukocytosis. White blood cells identify the cooked food as pathogens and attack, so as to protect us from illness. Raw foods do not instigate white blood cell production. What happens in the body is a complex series of reactions between the enzymes present in food and in our saliva to break down the food. These enzymes are not present in cooked food although they are essential for effective digestion and elimination.
Another way to measure the vitality of food is to measure the electromagnetic energy of food. In doing this we can see that raw food has a much higher vibration (hertz unit) than cooked food. Needless to say raw food is simpler and requires much less energy from external energy sources too. Raw simply connects humans more directly and quickly to creation. You could call it a short cut to G-d.
One proverb that shows up in many spiritual traditions is the idea that cleanliness is close to godliness. In the Jewish tradition it clearly shows up in cleaning the home of chametz. What often goes unmentioned is how to clean the body and mind simultaneously, and just as meticulously. Let’s play the game that there are three houses to clean for Passover: the first one is the home, the second is the body, and the third is the mind. Let’s focus on houses of the body, mind, and soul. Raw food is cleansing. It requires less energy to digest and eliminate in most people. The easiest and quickest source of cleansing comes through juices and smoothies. They short cut the chewing process and open the body to immediate nutrition and vitality. When we consume high quantities of nutrients, minerals, and phytochemicals we can detoxify from food, environmental, and emotional toxins. In fact, 60% of detoxification happens in the brain. Some possible symptoms of detoxification are fatigue, foggy mind, anger, confusion, etc. By drinking more water, juices, eating raw food, sweating, and engaging in nourishing relationships, it is possible to detoxify and do the full spring cleaning.
With the science aside there is the possibility of seeing our relationship with food through a different lens. The Tsfat Emet says that what we eat deeply affects who we are and how we behave.
He goes even further and says that each plant and animal comes into the world with a particular measured amount of life force, and it is our responsibility to move towards animals and plants that are imbued with the most life energy possible. He says that humans need to eat foods that expand us to G-d. When we choose foods that are locally grown or native: herbs, greens, mushrooms, annuals, and perennials such as fruit trees, we connect with Israel ( a land of abundance). When we buy imported food we forget our relationship with the land and we will miss out on our region’s vitality.
As the Tsfat Emet puts it: We shouldn’t eat to study Torah, we need to study Torah to learn how to eat. It is in learning about the importance of how live foods do within the body and mind and in developing an intimate relationship with them that we will eventually return to what Rav Kook said is the diet of the world to come.
Passover Massaged Kale Salad
2 bunches of kale
¼ cup chopped almonds
½ apple chopped
1 ½ tbs sea salt
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Massage the kale with only sea salt until it softens. Add lemon, olive oil, and apple cider, nuts and chopped apples, mix together and enjoy.
Simeon (Shimon) Darwick is an integrative Nutrition health coach focused on spiritual nutrition and mind/ body relationship between food and mood. He is co-founder of Raw Jungle Passover specializing in human and environmental health. A raw Passover virtual cleanse will take place from April 17th - 22nd. For More information go to rawjunglepassover.com.