I Went Raw Vegan (Kind of) For a Week at a Fruit Festival

Fresh coconut water right out of the coconut

Fresh coconut water right out of the coconut

The first mango is the juiciest- a burst of fresh tropical flavor that dribbles down your chin and your hands. You live your life in perpetual stickiness at the Woodstock Fruit Festival. Not just from ripe mangos but from a whole host of fruits you may have never experienced before.

fresh figs, grapes, fruit festival, summer, vacation, fresh fruit
Fresh figs that melt like jam on your tongue.

Fresh figs that melt like jam on your tongue.

Attendees and devotees pile their bowls high with fruit. And for dinner, piles of greens, raw beets, carrots, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes and avocado. That is before dousing their salads in homemade and creative sauces. All without processed oils or refined sugars. Raw banana cinnamon rolls and banana nice-cream fills the bellies of hungry children of all ages. We are all a part of a devotional to raw veganism. A devotional to a lifestyle most at the festival aspire to.

But I am not a raw vegan. And I am certainly not fruitarian or a proponent of the 80/10/10 diet which is highly controversial.

I do not aspire to fill my plate with fruit most of the day and salads at night without salt, fat, onions and copious amounts of garlic. I miss piles of roasted veggies, boiled potatoes and sourdough bread. I crave rice, beans and warm cups of soup on these cool mornings of late summer. So why then, did I choose a fruit festival to vacation?

As I have written before, my work with stress and work life balance has been an ongoing battle. One of the many side effects of stress is overeating and eating processed foods when you're not hungry. As I've been so stressed lately I have been guilty of all the above. To the point I overfull, nauseous and guilt ridden for my overindulgence.

The fruit festival gives me a chance to reset and refresh with fresh whole foods. The festival gives me a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep. This week gives my body a chance to heal, surrounded by others that want the same thing. That seek growth, health and inspiration.

I always find inspiration here, I always learn a bit more about myself. You always connect to parts of yourself you may have never explored. Creating deeper relationships with yourself and others. Presentations and classes all give me a chance to drive deeper and find others on a similar path. I will not be going raw any time soon, but I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the chance to expand, and I enjoy the chance to connect.

No recipe this week. But I will challenge you to find a place or festival where you can connect to yourself and to others. Find a space where you can feel safe to be uncomfortable and explore. Go to a rock climbing gym, a yoga class, a meditation class, a book club, or a writing group. Anything that pushes you past your comfort zone so you may learn a little bit more about yourself in the process.

sugar cane juice was the highlight of my mornings, fresh pressed

sugar cane juice was the highlight of my mornings, fresh pressed

fresh melons was my breakfast every day

fresh melons was my breakfast every day

Ali Lawrence