Being in the lovely Hippocrates bubble as Executive Chef and ardent follower of the program, I thought I understood the challenges facing people after being guests at the institute. Upon realizing that I couldn\’t truly know and relate until I tried it for myself (and for a few other personal reasons), I left Hippocrates. I thought this experience would be a great teacher! Now you might be thinking I had an unfair advantage, being a professionally trained chef and having worked four years at Hippocrates. However, one\’s abilities to prepare food is not what determines long term success with a raw and living foods program. It\’s actually easier to prepare raw and living foods! The real challenge comes from life\’s vicissitudes. I discovered focus and commitment to the program are the key ingredients to succeeding on this lifestyle.

Many factors like emotional attachments, unhealthy and ingrained thought patterns, busy lifestyles and what seems like a million other reasons affect one\’s ability to stick to the program. With so many distractions, focus and motivation diffuses and one succumbs to his or her prior \”normal\” life. However, \”these days \”normal\” is anything but. Sickness, disease, dissatisfaction, obesity, complacency, devitalized food, low quality of life and biological exhaustion is what a \”normal\” lifestyle really is about.

And herein lies a key to success: recreate your old and unacceptable \”normal.\” This is the task requiring the most upfront work, but once accomplished you will feel much better and empowered. This involves developing new patterns and repeating them regularly to create new habits. Eventually, an ease with the new lifestyle develops. It doesn\’t happen overnight and that\’s when keeping your motivation high is extra important.

Carmine Bello\’s experience illuminating. Experiencing a host of symptoms like stress, inability to sleep well and relax, fibromyalgia and poor digestion and elimination. He completed the three-week LifeChange Program in 2003 and experienced tremendous improvements within six days. Of course he wanted to continue with the diet but found it difficult. His biggest challenge is continuing the lifestyle while everyone around is living an unhealthy lifestyle. He finds keeping the benefits of different aspects of the lifestyle fresh in his mind helps his efforts to stick to the program.

Carmine works as president of Permacharts, Inc., producers of laminated reference guides. Soon after his return trip, the light bulb clicked and he realized that Permacharts needed a Raw Food Series of its laminated reference guides. An extremely successful product line was born in conjunction with the Hippocrates Health Institute, now including eight titles: Food Combining, Wheatgrass, Green Drinks & Sprouts, Detoxification, Lifestyle, Juicing, The Raw Kitchen, Super-foods, and Raw Food Dehydration. Quick and easy to access, it is now simple to keep the information fresh in your mind. When I first saw these charts at an expo, I was amazed at how much people preferred them over books and how well they sold. Carmine admits they are responsible for his reinstitution of daily wheatgrass shots!

The charts are one page in length, both front and back. I leave them on the kitchen table to refresh my mind while eating. My mother, previously not on any type of living foods program, started reading the charts and decided to go raw for a week. She immediately felt some of the effects: more energy, greater understanding of how food affects her body and weight loss. Since then, while she\’s not all raw, she continues to make juice, salads, sprouts and many excellent raw preparations. She never really enjoyed cooking, but finds raw preparations easier and less intimidating than using a stove or oven and actually enjoys preparing raw food! She did another all-raw stint recently and her cholesterol dropped approximately 50 points and her weight dropped to its lowest point in over ten years. This brings me to the first focus point for success with the HHI lifestyle:

Surround yourself with support:

Post reminders with goals, mantras, affirmations, practice positive speech, positively acknowledge your progress and setbacks.

Reading materials:

Books, charts and magazine subscriptions help motivate.

Audiovisual materials:

Online videos, e-mail subscriptions, DVDs, audio books/lectures keep you going.

Community: Attend raw potlucks, support groups, friends, family, blogging, lifestyle coaching, health retreats and institutes, festivals and expos.

Set Goals:

Figure out what you want to achieve within a given time period, write it down, and envision it. Scheduling rewards can keep motivation high, particularly in the beginning. Your goals can be anything from seemingly small daily tasks to large-scale life overhaul.

Reflect:

After meeting a goal, it is important to reflect on this period, reevaluate, and create new goals. Reflect on your intentions frequently. Large goals like \”exercise five days a week\” are great, but remember to set definite timelines in the beginning to make the task less daunting and appreciate the small steps taken toward this larger goal. Some people can completely change their lives overnight with the simple and powerful motivation of optimal health. Many people will experience more success with small steps toward active change. Determine where you are are on this continuum and set goals that suit you.

Make a Plan of Action:

My personal experience screams out to the importance of this point! I know I will follow through with the things that I think about, write down and commit to. This is especially true of food preparation. The point is to do the work up front and write it out in an easy-to- follow style so that you can go about each day with a glance at this calendar or schedule without thinking about it. Just follow your pre-determined instructions. Put it on your iPhone, online calendar or whatever works for you. For those with packed schedules this is especially important, as down time to sit and think and plan, does not seem to occur on a daily basis. As the mother of an energetic 3 year old, sole-proprietor and employee of three separate companies, I cannot tell you how much this helps me get things done. With raw food preparation planning is important because of soaking and sprouting in many recipes.

A planned to-do list may look like this:

  1. Flip crackers in dehydrator
  2. Soak two cups almonds
  3. Uncover wheatgrass
  4. Make Tahini dressin
  5. Organization always helps. Initial planning may take an hour of your time, but once you set up a regular schedule of recipes and menus you and your family love, cycle through them and avoid the weekly or bi-weekly planning sessions. Menu planning assistance is available via phone consultations and online as well.

    Be realistic with yourself and your goals

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