Renowned author and nutritionist Natalia Rose was plagued with anorexia and bulimia during her teenage years, and with related challenges during her early twenties.
In part two of my interview with her, she talks about the wisdom she has picked up on her journey of physical and spiritual healing.
It was soon after this that the concept of the raw diet and lifestyle came onto Rose’s radar. One day, while browsing in the health section of a bookstore, she picked up Paul Nison’s The Raw Life and started reading the interview with [the colon therapist] Gil Jacobs. “This particular interview spun my head around, just like destiny,” she remembers. “I put the book down, picked it up and read the interview through again. Then I decided I just had to meet this person.”
She called to schedule an appointment at Jacobs’ Manhattan clinic Chakra 17 but he was booked up well in advance so she settled for an appointment with another therapist. “In that hour I watched vast quantities of waste matter leaving my body and I thought, ‘I get it. I think we’re onto something here’.”
With every treatment, Rose felt her body shift, and her whole way of being along with it. Five months down the line she was regarding her appearance in the mirror with amazement, wondering, ‘Is that really me?’”
She began having all her colonics with Jacobs – whom she now refers to as her mentor – so she could pick his brains. She also jumped enthusiastically into the raw diet and lifestyle. “I was having a green juice in the morning, something like date and nut balls with salad for lunch, and dinner was pretty raw, too; I’d have just a few cooked meals in the week.”
She adds: “The first few months to a year, I really got into the food preparation – the juicing, spiralising and dehydrating. I was going to Indian stores in the East Village to buy spices I’d never used before. It was very entertaining, it captured my imagination, it was fun, it was flavourful, and it was almost a full-time pursuit! I was getting excited about all I could do. There was very, very little on the market to buy at the time – temple balls and flaxseed crackers and very dry banana walnut cookies, which I’d have with salad.
“What I was eating before this was ‘correct’ according to the mainstream health magazines I used to read. Now I was eating many more calories and foods we’re told we’re meant to stay away from, like nuts, avocados, bananas and dried fruit. But it was having such a beneficial effect – I was feeling and looking so much better.”
As she devoured book after book on the topic, she soon started connecting dots. “Now, looking back at how I used to struggle with my many ailments, I realised it wasn’t just me – everyone was feeling like this, and everyone was desperately attempting to stop the decaying, premature aging and all that goes with modern life. I started seeing beyond the superficial cultural concept of ‘detox’ to the sheer depth of accumulation of waste matter. That’s when the doors of perception opened. The depth of that waste is not something you get rid of in a month, nor even a year.
But Rose’s journey was about transforming her mind a well as her body, and she cautions that the raw diet and lifestyle can only take you so far on this path. “I spent 10 years getting to the bottom not just of physical stuff but of spiritual stuff as well,” she says.
“It was almost a full-time job. I was reading 10 books at a time – everything from Sufism to Shamanism, plus all of Rudolf Steiner’s books and eventually the Derrick Jensen and Daniel Quinn books, which really transformed my consciousness and which I highly recommend. All these things have been a step along the way. I don’t think everyone needs to experience all I have, but I was as hungry to make sense of life on the planet and why we’re here as to figure out the human body.”
Rose shares that her husband and her mother often used to accuse her of being ‘negative’, and still do at times. “I’m always saying: ‘Look how wrong that is,’ pointing out our society’s life-destroying norms,’” she says. “But that whole notion of, ‘Let’s be positive and look on the bright side of life’ is just another of our cultural distractions. No, let’s look at what is and do something about it. When you start to see the world in these terms, it’s a breakthrough, and you wonder why everyone doesn’t see it.”
Rose says that the journey has been a lonely one at times; that she was “often ridiculed, condescended to and made to feel I was naïve,” and that it, “took until about six or seven years ago to really nail it. The last six years I’ve been using what I know to go even further.”
So what advice does she have for gracefully dealing with those in our life who openly disapprove of our choices? “Meet it with a sense of humour,” she says, without missing a beat. “Family and close friends know how to push your buttons and many of my clients have issues in this area – but only because they’re choosing to engage with it. People get incredibly sensitive about other people’s diet choices! But no conscious or aware person would defend eating in a way that damages their body or the planet, so if you’re challenged by someone who does, be clear that you’re just not going to collude in diet drama.”
She adds: “And once you’ve found your way, however you did it, remember that that’s just something that worked for you. Be grateful and share your journey with genuinely interested people, but don’t try to convince those who aren’t, and don’t assume that your way is the only way. Humility goes hand in hand with real enlightenment.”
Rose’s husband, Lawrence, does not share her passion for the cleansing lifestyle, nor for esoteric spiritual pursuits. Many on a similar path to Rose will routinely discount any prospective partner on those grounds, but she cautions against viewing people in such ‘black-or-white’ terms. “Lawrence has a really big heart and a love for people and animals so he naturally has this sense of interconnectedness. A lot of things I’ve personally had to raise a red flag about and put a lot of effort into learning he’s had with him all along. I go at this stuff from almost an analytical or scientific perspective; he from his heart.”
And on the subject of choosing friends, Rose has this to say, “So many of the people I like to spend time with don’t eat the way I do. If I’m going out on a Saturday night I want my friend Richard to be there. He doesn’t care what he puts in his body and could probably do with a series of 500 consecutive colonics, but he makes me laugh. You only need one or two friends that can really speak your language. If you have even one you’re insanely lucky.”
She adds that when you’re physically and spiritually healthy, “you really fall in love with people and appreciate human beings and personalities, even quirky ones. You just love people so much more and you love engaging with them.”
How else do people know they’re on the right track, I ask her. “If you’re not feeing gratitude and humility, you haven’t found a working blueprint yet. If you are still trying to impose your ideas on others, you are not whole yet and are not ready to help others – in fact you may do them more harm than good. When you find you’d rather dance than teach; that you’d rather lay under the sun and enjoy the life pulsating around and within you than talk about diet; that you’d rather enjoy people than criticise people, then you’re on the right track.”
For more information about Natalia Rose’s work visit her website, detoxtheworld.com.