I have been carrying on a “raw vegan” experiment. Over the last three weeks, I have tried to transition into the lifestyle, and have so far enjoyed it.
Tonight, however, I went back to cooked food – one meal; still vegan.
To be fair, this wasn’t my first non-raw thing I consumed in the time since raw began. It was, however, the most rewarding. While I’ve had pretzels and a beer or two and several Kind bars, none had quite the emotional and psychological impact of eating a vegan meal, heated. Only three ingredients. And then warmth. And it is that fourth element – the temperature; a balm to the heart – that makes all the difference in the world.
Eating this meal – only slices of eggplant, rolled around vegan ricotta and then blanketed in tomato sauce – proved to be an intimate, deeply-rooted experience.
I felt the food I was eating. I experienced the sensation of warmth – in my ribcage, along my sternum, enveloping my heart. The experience of creating each bite, too – a delicate methodology of cutting widthwise into the rolled eggplant, which eased some of the ricotta out in the process, then edging it back onto the fork afterwards, and lastly pooling some of the marina over the forkful – was thoroughly rewarding; a labor of love.
I felt as though I had been walking around in the cold all day, and now somebody was throwing a blanket over my shoulders and sitting me down in front of a fire.
This is perhaps the second greatest joy of eating raw (the first being the drastic improvements to how healthy you feel, overall.) This second benefit, however, is a dramatically amplified appreciation for food in general and its preparation – an instinct to savor it. Like loving the summer more only after enduring the winter; remaining patient through the anticipation of spring.
Such is the beauty of coming back to warm food – however simple – after eating raw. You taste it. You experience it on so many levels, not least of which is, as I said, both emotional and psychological. After three weeks of discipline, this three-ingredient vegan meal was the greatest-feeling thing since my mom’s berry cobbler she made for me at Easter over three years ago. The same simplicity, the same warmth, the same love.