Excited to finally get my copy of Sharon Gannon’s “Simple Recipes for Joy” I flicked through the gorgeous range of things to make, yet what first grabbed my attention was not what to eat, but what not to eat. The clearly outlined detox cleanses at the back of the book leaped out. It was clearly time to go raw. I leafed through my diary to chose a start date.

Day 1: 7am Vege juice. Hungry, 12 noon. Smoothie. Still hungry. Incredibly tired and hungry. Feel terrible, can hardly get through the day. Crawled home from work, collapsed and slept 4 hours. Awoke briefly. Back to bed to sleep another 8 hours.

Day 2: Am I even awake? Body feels like lead. Can hardly lift my arms. Slow motion shuffle, eyes not quite open. All day at work utterly exhausted, brain in a fog. Somehow made it through and got home. This time the sleep was real, a kind of concrete physical meltdown. Another 13 hours sleep.

Day 3: 7am - Green Smoothie. Actually Im awake. Feel totally average. Continue with the raw routine, smoothie, piece of fruit, salad. Cycled home to rest but stayed awake all day. Day three like a resurrection. The mind recognizes its organic nature and reflects calmly on the storm that has just passed.

Day 4: 7am - Green smoothie and so on. Almost back to normal. Looked forward to salad lunch and ate very little for the rest of the day. Drove about quietly and achieved small things. Wanted to talk to people again. Good sign.

Day 5 to Day 23: Fabulous and strong. Like a lion! Tons of sweaty asana practice, (oh what great mates raw cleanse and asana are)...the body reveals itself to the mind. I see myself in absolute detail. My days become peaceful and clam, relaxed and serene. I come to understand non-violence on a deeply personal level and our absolutely crazy, habitual relationship with food. I wonder at the energetic, and karmic costs of what are we really doing to ourselves? It all looks completely unnecessary. I peek into the fridge and become overjoyed to see it exploding with fresh food. Am literally delighted with everything I eat. This detox is like a well kept secret that everybody knows and few embrace, the only admission fee is the monster of your own created-self to wrestle at the door. It is a hard three day tussle, yet after that, life is incredible. My state of mind sets its default to pure joy. I walk light and free, strong and calm.

Day 23: I break the fast with some spirulina millet (its good! but I like raw beetroot more). For the next week I start eating some cooked food with friends, but my sense of joy keeps rising. It seems to be growing within me, coming out of the vibrancy of all foods, as even the cooked foods have potency and magic. Life seems to have gone up a notch. I feel steadily, resoundingly happy for no other reason except that eating only pure, life giving food has generated a brand new, joyful relationship with myself.

Where did this incredible sate of mind come from? Did I just expand to another level of consciousness through only a month of mindful eating? I observe other peoples worries and do my best to help, I also genuinely do not seem to be excessively ‘attached’ to circumstances and simply let life work itself out. Was I ever this relaxed? I physically understand how mindful eating can give rise to non-attachment. Today, for example, I was diagnosed with a hamstring tendon injury that may take many months to heal. This time ahead I will not be able to continue the same kind of asana practice that I am used to. Instead of feeling upset, I got a little bit excited. What an opportunity to learn new things! I can learn much through designing a remedial sequence and healing my injury, assisting instead of practicing, learning the harmonium and attending to the scriptures and meditation. This is indeed a blessing. While I have always been a positive person it usually takes longer than a split second to see such gifts. Perhaps processed and carbohydrate heavy food slows down the brain positivity factor in humans. Here we all are, made up of limitless sunshine, somehow settling to be 25watt indoor lamps.

Technically, I have been mostly vegan for about 20 years. Yet somehow, for much of that time, I have managed to miss the essential point. Its all about the vitality of real food. Its not simply about cutting out almost everything and just being left with bread and rice. For some reason I thought eating was about not eating animals, and then getting as full as possible, on all the rest. Yet the plant based world is full of the most amazing, subtle, zesty, playful, life giving nutrients. Skirting around the edge of all that goodness, dulling it down with too many carbs, has been a vague and unsatisfying process, I have been living life as the 25watt indoor lamp.

Simple Recipes for Joy” launched at a pivotal time where I was ready to explore raw. Ready for a total reboot. The 21 Day Detox has been that - and so much more. To begin a practice in more mindful eating, it was great to start by very mindfully not eating! The detox has gifted me a new level of sensitivity, and appreciation for all plant based foods. It has also begun a fascinating relationship with this more-than-just-a-recipe-book.

From the gross, outer body towards the most subtle states of awareness. Within the asana practice I have been steadily discovering the aliveness and responsiveness of muscle. Yet I was not expecting the vibrancy of raw food to have such a profound effect on my mind and emotional body. Picking up exactly where the efforts of asana has found me questioning my injuries, the raw food Detox has curled back around, to set me gently upon the Path of Grace. Currently I approach my days slowly, with an unfailing sense of peace and happiness.

My new connection to the earth through raw, living foods has become indeed, Sthira Sukham Asanam. Eating for joy, has so naturally revealed a more compassionate, wise and heart-centred life than I could ever have imagined possible.

With loving gratitude to Sharon-ji for her limitless abundance. Find out more about SImple Recipes for Joy at www.SimpleRecipesforJoy.com

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