Wednesday, January 13, 2016


By Dominick H.

Joshua Dorfman / project: Clean Food

When 2007 hit, I finally decided that eating terribly, partying hard and drinking myself into oblivion was no longer serving me: go figure. The recession hit, for me that is. But somehow, I managed to keep the facade going. The life I lived would seem ideal to most people. You know, a scheme of appearances. Great relationship. Great job. Great friends and family. I traveled a lot. And then there was yoga: I had been practicing for about two years at that point. Seemingly all good, right? All sounds like someone that should be happy and content with things. But, something was missing. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. But that feeling of "something missing" had always been with me ever since I can remember: probably since I was 9 or 10 years old. Ever since I was a young boy, I would write a lot. Poetry. Short Stories. Songs. I loved writing. So it always served as an outlet for me to express and understand myself. But in 2007, writing and reflecting was no longer enough. I craved something more, something deeper. I wanted to feel better than I was feeling. I was tired of feeling disconnected. I was tired of feeling purposeless and lost. And with regard to my health, I was tired of feeling sluggish and low-negative energy. The lifestyle of poor diet choices and alcoholic indulgence was basically me attempting to fill a void within myself that, in all honesty, was never filled. However, that life I was living served as a springboard for what I was about to dive into. The job. The relationship. The friends. The old lifestyle. Even the yoga. It all flung me right into a new project: a project of clean food and clean living. 0 to 100. Real quick.

After giving everything up, I found some new things. I found fun experimenting with various diet plans and regimens. I found fun experimenting with different types of foods, ingredients, and spices. I found fun experimenting with different types of exercise: calisthenics, yoga, etc. I just found a lot of joy on the road to clean living. Granted, there were moments along the way where I thought all these changes and fluctuations in my life were a complete waste of time and quite possibly more annoying than they were uplifting and joyful: I mean, let's be real. But, that's life right. A little struggle to find peace. A little work before the pleasures. A little unsteadiness before solidity. And the first place I wanted to find balance and solidity was in my diet. I never believed that there was any one particular diet for everyone. What I did think, was that there must be a method to the madness of eating. But before I found the method, here's where I started. Here's what I experienced.

Now, I know you meat eaters may laugh and poke fun. But, this is where I started. I was first exposed to the world of vegetarianism by a group of Rastas that I hung out with back in the day. Yes Rastas, like Rastafarians (Yea Mon). One of their core beliefs, in addition to smokin' you know what, is vegetarian eating. They believe that foods of the Earth--and from the Earth--are essential to maintaining, rejuvenating, and strengthening the body. And at the tender age of 12, I started to try various foods and herbal concoctions they made for me. Soups, stews, and all sorts of curried and steamed vegetables that were essential for a young man's development. I didn't become vegetarian then. It was not until I was much older that I embraced it as a lifestyle. I slowly integrated it back into my life between 2007 and 2009. But in 2010, I jumped right in. Lots of fruits and veggies. No more meat or seafood. And more juices and smoothies. I was feelin' myself. But it wasn't enough. So I went even deeper.

Yea. Shit got real. Now, for the rookies: a vegetarian diet is one that does not include eating meat or seafood, or foods prepared with meat-based or seafood-based broths. Ideally, the vegetarian takes on such a diet in order to eat and feel healthier thereby incorporating more fruits and vegetables. Now, the vegan takes that to a higher level. Vegan is basically a vegetarian diet, but also excludes animal products and byproducts. Basically, no milk or dairy products. So bye-bye to butter, cheese, and any foods that are based in these products. No batter-filled cookies, brownies, croissants or other baked goods that are not made with that good ol' vegan love. So yea. That was me. Some people do it for health reasons. Some people do it for spiritual reasons. Some people do it because it is said that a vegan diet enhances the psychic faculties of the mind. I think it is fair to say that I tried it for all the above reasons. But more importantly, I really wanted to know what I would feel like: inside and outside. And you know what, I felt strong, flexible and energetic. I felt all that. However I did feel like I was missing out on something: especially when I went down the raw vegan path for a few months.  I remember some days walking through Williamsburg in Brooklyn and passing the sweet smell of meat at a local burger joint. I felt like such a sinner for even wanting it at the time. But a few months later, I let my nose lead me down "another path of righteousness".

I surrendered. I pushed the rock away from the doorway and came out of the cave of veganism. I had some meat. The ice-breaker? At first, a little sushi. Then next, a burger.  Eventually, all the other meats. You name it. I thought to myself, why not experiment to see where my taste buds are: and to see if any of it still resonates with me. I did it with vegetarianism and veganism. And now, it was time to dabble again in the world of meat-eating. There were some things I ate that had me feeling like, ugh, never again. There were some things that I had that I immediately fell in love with. And there were some things that I loved, but would only eat it in moderation. Probably because the taste was good and uplifting, but overall it made me feel heavy if I ate too much. I went on like this with a little bit of everything for a while: the trial and error phase you know. Beef one day, chicken another. Fish one day, lamb another. And in between all of that, I brought all that I learned from my vegan and veggie lifestyle. I mean, I love my green juices and smoothies. I love my raspberries, turkish figs, banana and avocado. But when curried lamb from my favorite Indian place calls my name, I had it: naan bread, chutney, raita and everything. One day, I went to that same Brooklyn burger joint and ordered a burger, but I didn't like the smell of it. So I threw it in the garbage. I waver, you see it. One day I want something, the next day I might not. And I'm still that way. Raspberries, figs, maybe a chicken burrito, and for dinner, a little veggie curry with rice and naan. Maybe one week, I'm on my vegan kick, drinking herbal concoctions, eating reishi mushrooms, and having shots of blended raw algae. The next week, a sweet pizza from one of my favorite Southern Italian pizzerias. It's crazy. I know. But, it's my balance and I love it. It's me. It's my authenticity. Feel me?

It may sound like my diet today is erratic and unbalanced, but that's far from the truth. I eat in an intuitive way that allows me to feel uplifted, strong, and stable. I eat in a way that allows my body to be at ease when I need it to be, and filled with energy and power when I need it to be. Now don't get me wrong, my style of eating could make someone sick and off balanced. And that's mainly why it's my style of eating. My diet--or rather the project: Clean Food diet--is one that we must not only find balance amidst the varying eating styles and regimens, but also that we must find balance within our own bodies. What works for me, may not work for you: and vice versa. The project: Clean Food diet is one that revolves mainly around fruits, vegetables and grains as the staple, then a little room for play in other areas. I can't tell you what that "play" is for you, only you can. Only you know what's good for you intuitively.

So eat what you want. Just make sure you feel good and look good. Create a strong foundation and make sure you prioritize health. But more importantly, intuitive health. Start from the bottom and create a diet that's amazing for you.
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