My Raw Journey: Leela

This is where I began my journey to raw veganism.

My Raw Journey

How I found out about raw vegan diets:

I remember my sister describing fruitarianism to me sometime when I was a young child. It sounded idyllic.

I was raised as a vegetarian, consuming dairy, eggs, grains, beans, veg, fruits, etc.

A person is taking a selfie.

In November of 2020 at this location, what was once the Here There camp, I was an adult who had the freedom to choose my diet among an array of free options.

Having recently returned to a cooked vegan diet (around 4 years) after sampling a meat diet (a few months), I meditated on what was the most economical and environmentally-friendly diet I could have. My thoughts returned to fruitarianism, though I was not sure it was healthy.

A person or animal is searching widely for food or provisions in order to obtain them. Full Text: for·age /'fôrij, färij/ verb (of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions. noun a wide search over an area in order to obtain something, especially food or provisions.

Regardless, I centered my diet on fruits that I foraged, which included:

  • feijoa (AKA pineapple guava): similar to guava
  • kousa: creamy, cheesy
  • persimmons: sweet and crispy or gooey
  • silverberry: astringent sweet little berries
  • unedos: both creamy and gritty, mango-banana flavor
  • lilly pilly berries: crispy & watery, clover-flavored
  • passionfruit: tangy wet seedy
  • ginkgo: dry fiber astringent cheesy umami
  • orange
  • pomegranate
  • apple
  • fig
  • plum

A litchi, surrounded by other natural foods such as produce and fruit, such as Unedo Kousa Feijoa, sits in the center of the image.

my article about locally growing resourcesWithin a few days, I found myself more active and productive: sprinting around Berkeley, barefoot in a loincloth bikini, charting fruit trees, and centering on my mission of thriving on locally grown resources.

However, after a couple months of being publicly harassed and conflicted with an emergent drive to be naked, I returned to cooked food. My energy sunk and I delved back into my social media addiction- where I learned about raw vegan culture (e.g. Freelee, zoodles).

How I have transitioned:

It started with working on my own mind.

I had phases of eating mostly mushrooms, as well as“medicinal” “organic” “superfoods.” These fads ended for me when I realized that this marketing was effective because of my distrust in foods and fear of the effects of normal food on my body.

At other points, I considered that wheat could be a superfood because of how it is the diet staple of so many people functioning in society. However, the development of idiosyncratic characteristics of both humans and the animals we have domesticated with foods, with grains as a filler, suggests to me that wheat and other grains are mutagenic and have broad deleterious effects that are hard to pin to any specific system, potentially weakening our capacity to observe the cause and effects of our own decisions based on culturally-transmitted beliefs.

A close-up of an individual.

Childhood nightmares: As a child, I dreamed about being offered greasy cooked potatoes. I could vividly see the glisten of the oil, which appeared to be poison. However, I had no rationale for this intuition, so I was afraid of appearing foolish to others or trying to spread fear. I took one bite potatoes (“One.”) and the glisten of the oil dimmed and seemed less eerie. I then continued to take more bites (“Two, three, four…”) and my sight faded until I woke up.

Even as I pursued raw vegan and fruitarian diets as an adult, any shaming or fear that I held onto would later translate into craving for nostalgic cooked food to which I caved. These nostalgic foods connected to feelings of safety established in childhood, which were placating a sense of fear that I had in the very practices that I was performing. Witnessing this experience, I could better empathize with my own and others’ psychological discomfort and looping behavior.

From my experience and those shared by others in raw vegan groups: the longer one goes without cooked food, especially grains, the more physically punishing they are to ingest. As most people consume these things on a daily basis and are not familiar with what it’s like to go without, it appears that our food cultures persist the broad desensitization to foods that were likely developed in periods of scarcity.

Salads, initially seasoned with conventional cuisine spices & herbs, have played a role in replacing traditional meals. Occasionally after eating greens, I feel an acute, funky “bleh” experience which seems like a relatively small compromise.

Broadly speaking, the experience of fruit is positive even when going without for a long time. (It has been a long time since I have gone without fruit, though most varieties of fruit I have gone without for days and weeks at a time.)

The shelf displays an array of fruits.

I keep an array of fruit on hand to support intuitive grazing.

What I eat:

At the present time, I predominantly eat store-bought fruit, including savory “vegetable” fruits. I also eat baby & mature greens (mostly brassica and spinach; eaten on their own and in salads).

These fruits and leaves are eaten when desired, mostly in the morning then snacking throughout the day.

Example of what I eat in a day:

  • 4 oranges
  • 1 mango
  • 5 medium avocados
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • a few handfuls of baby greens
  • a handful of dates
  • several pods of jackfruit 

I describe myself as a raw vegan (due to the consumption of leaves), though many consider me to be fruitarian (due to the lack of nuts)

Why I eat this way:

During prior diet styles (since-birth vegetarian, cooked vegan, brief dabbling omnivore) I had a pungent body odor, regular bursts of light acne and a deep unsettling feeling that consuming denatured biomatter was denaturing me in ways, such as:

  • malformed or asymmetric tissue development
  • premature aging
  • prolonged youthfulness
  • frayed hair (particularly cooked beans)
  • limiting capacity of thought (particularly salt)
  • mutating us like domesticated animals

A person is smiling happily while taking a selfie outdoors, their face illuminated by the sun and framed by a tree, their tooth, skin, lips, eyebrows, cheeks, iris, jaw, and plants visible in the portrait.

I have had minor allergic reactions to various commercially available nuts (brain fog & acne), plus they are difficult to harvest manually in nature, so they are not part of my diet.

Fundamentally, I sense that my present form of raw vegan / fruitarian is a much safer diet style – and that the raw salads are the one remaining source of confusion. In the past I went several months without salads so I expect to leave them behind again, however they have settled my nervous reaction to crowds in confinement (such as the supermarket) and it feels like the leaves are helping scrub my gut.

A green avocado plant sits atop a delicious dessert inside an indoor setting.

I eat a lot of avocado, which feels like it’s rebuilding the fatty fluid (chyle) of my lymphatic system. On a fruit diet, avocado can induce a strong “disassociative” experience, much like ketamine, except it feels grounding in observing bodily processes. Specifically, I begin to be aware of the both sides of my body at the same time, in contrast to the regular isolated or scattered floating focus.

Durian, another fatty fruit, feels deeply nourishing and healing.

Recommended reading: Summary of The Durian Theory

How long I have been eating this way: 

I have eaten a predominantly fruitarian diet for the last 1.5 years, though the transition I described started about 2.5 years ago. (At the time of this writing, I am 34.5.)

Challenges I faced in the transition:

1) This process has caused me to viscerally observe the insanity of modern civilization and my own indoctrination. This was a very difficult phase and was the justification for both numbing myself with cooked foods and giving it up.

A person is consuming a fruit.

2) Internalized voices of people echoing modern diet lore played upon the notion of motherly concern for my health choices (allied with advertised food culture of the 1950s) which was, also, an internalized voice.

3) My favorite fruit, durian, grows exclusively in tropical regions and is expensive to import. I have considered moving to a tropical durian-growing space, but my living conditions are specific (must be allowed to be naked in nature). Considering scalability of my ideal lifestyle, I find that it is important to develop a 🌱 growing movement that tropicalizes inhabited temperate zones to be suitable for 🗺️ growing durian.

A durian tree stands outdoors, bearing ripe fruit ready to be enjoyed as a delicious food.

People who influenced me:

Freelee “the banana girl” “the frugivore”

Michael Arnstein

Allen Manglona

Tina & Chippy “FitShortie”

Sebastian Baum

Lexi Tavares

Eli Martyr

Nikolaos Mourtogias

Jules “Juicing Jules”

Gillian Berry

Jeannette Donofrio “Ms.FitVegan”

A person is enjoying a durian, a popular Southeast Asian food.

Ways to support my raw journey:

Post forage guides (🗺️) for your property or region

Donate fresh durian or $

Post a place to stay where:

+ nudity in nature is allowed, in a warm, humid climate

+ me and my loved ones can enjoy foraged or affordable fresh durian

= share privately to leela at leelamaps dot com

The individual has long hair.

Join me!

I am available to converse about transitioning to a raw vegan diet: contact me by leaving a comment below.

Transitioned or transitioning to a raw vegan diet? Share your Raw Journey!

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