Day 19 into the raw food challenge
It’s been a funny week – dinner parties, husband out of town, kids off school, travel to London, illness < yes, all in one week!
Day 12 and going fairly strong.
Went to a party on Saturday and had a couple of drinks which I paid for by sneezing all night, but other than that it’s been raw all the way.
The biggest discoveries for me thus far, other than the fact that I’ve managed to stick with it, are:
1. It’s okay to be a bit hungry – in fact, your body prefers to be hungry before you eat! I think in the past I was eating whenever I was even just a tiny bit hungry and as a result never really was. By having my smoothie in the morning and then waiting until lunch for my next meal I certainly appreciate it more. Being hungry before I eat is something that I will continue to practice throughout these 30 days.
2. The perfect alternative to a latte at Starbucks is the vanilla Rooibos tea with foamy soy milk. Sprinkled with cinnamon. Looks like a latte, but without all the caffeine.
3. I love anything in a sushi wrap. The perfect 5-minute raw meal is to create thin, long slices of whatever veg I’ve got in the fridge, add some avocado and roll it all up in a nori wrap. Filling and fast.
On the personal health front, my allergies are under control again and
I don’t seem to be hitting any sugar lows or having shakiness between meals because my meals are so nutritionally filling and they seem to keep me satisfied for much longer.
I think I’m past the worst of the detox now and seem to be finding it very easy to keep this up now that I’m not longing for the things I cannot have. And really, which is tastier – a bowl of strawberries or a bitter cup of coffee?
It hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be – in the first few days I had mild headaches from the lack of caffeine, but that’s it.
Five days into raw and I’m still going strong.
The plan I’ve been following is based on two large fruit/green smoothies a day plus a large veg-based dinner.
The things that are challenging:
1. Not ordering coffee in a cafe. I do a lot of work on my laptop in cafes and I still think that paying for coffee is better value than paying for a cup of herbal tea. In reality, this isn’t the case as coffee is just as cheap and all cafe drinks are kind of a rip off. So this actually involves just going to cafes less – better for me and better for the budget.
2. Getting through the mornings. I’m up at 5:30 am for my workout and have a litre of lemon water followed by a rooibos tea when I’m done that. At about 8:30am I’m out in the forest gathering wood and so it’s not until about 9am that I have my first smoothie. Ravenous at that point!
But it seems that if I can hold off until lunch (something that’s getting easier) then I can easily sail through the afternoons. At dinner I think I’m so happy to have food I can chew that it fills me up until bedtime.
3. Not even being able to eat at a vegan restaurant! I’m committed to this for the 30 days and I keep on saying that I can certainly stay out of restaurants for that time, or just order a large salad. So this is really not a huge challenge.
What I’m really enjoying:
1. Having someone else tell me what to eat. In our house, I am the food boss. Seriously. I decide what, when and how much. Now and then, this gets a bit tedious and I have found it really refreshing to just follow a plan and eat what I’m told. It’s like a brain break.
2. Mono-meals. For some reason, I’m really loving just having a huge bowl of one type of fruit for breakfast/lunch on the days I haven’t had the smoothies. It’s simple, simple, simple.
So that’s where I’m at now. I think I might be through the first stages of the detox, now I just have to get past the initial ‘thrill’ of being on a new foodie adventure and see if I can keep it up past the honeymoon period.
How will a nutritionist do on a raw diet?
As an evidence-based nutritional consultant I frequently find myself recommending to clients that they begin a slow progression to a whole foods plant-based diet. This approach varies depending upon what they’re trying to achieve and how urgent their situation is. Frequently getting someone off of the processed and junk food they’ve been eating for years is enough to help their body start to heal itself.
One of the hardest parts of this process is helping clients through the first four weeks of adjusting to a new way of thinking about food and supporting them through the detox phase. For many clients, there is almost a period of mourning for what they ‘can’t’ have and it suddenly seems as though the entire world is made up of Cadbury’s creme eggs.
This transition through detox is certainly something that I’ve seen time and time again, but I’ve never actually experienced it myself. In the past, I’ve always taken transitions to different diets very slowly. I was a vegetarian for almost two years before becoming vegan. I’ve cut back on coffee at times, but have never fully quit.
So I thought that in order to be able to fully empathise with my clients, I would try to make a large change to my own eating habits by going on a 30-day raw food detox.
Admittedly, this is also an attempt to lose a few extra pounds that joined me over winter and also help break some habits that were getting out of hand – night time eating and larger than required portions of sweets such as figs and dates. Sometimes it’s easier to make a big break than a small break.
I’m also looking to improve my allergies – my litmus test of how well I’m eating on any given day – and begin to balance my hypothyroidism a bit better.
And of course, I’m hoping to achieve all the ‘extras’ that raw food diets promise – energy, great skin and an enthusiasm for more raw food!
So for the next 30 days I will be eating only raw fruit, veg and nuts/seeds. I’ll keep you posted on how this little experiment goes and whether raw is just one step too far or not.