Saturday was the last day of my semi-raw diet experiment. And the conclusion couldn’t have come soon enough. I had the worst night’s sleep on Saturday, my last day of raw eating. I couldn’t fall asleep for hours, I had all sorts of pinching nerve pains throughout my body as I was lying in bed trying to get comfortable; I felt very unlike my usual self and definitely felt like something was off.
Giant salad with a mix of leafy greens, carrots, celery, cucumber, Lindsay low sodium black olives, 3 TBSP grated parmesan cheese, a generous drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, black pepper, AlsoSalt, fig infused white balsamic vinegar, and raw honey
Cumber slices; celery sticks, and celery stuffed with raw almond butter, plus about 1/4 cup Fage Total 0% plain Greek strained yogurt with splashes of Tabasco
Raw vegan banana split: medium banana, 3 scoops organic nectars raw vegan agave gelato, raw cacao nibs, raw slivered almonds, raw almond butter, fresh pineapple
GoRaw raw fruit + nut pumpkin bar
This salad was humongous! And I ate every last bite of it. Sooooooo gooooooooooooooood!
After the delicious rawchos I had the day before, I found that I like just plain yogurt with Tabasco sauce for dipping in veggies. It’s yummy, try it!
Big salads like this are something I could never get tired of. YUM!
For my grand raw finale: 100% raw, vegan banana split!!
Pure, unbridled decadence…
1 medium banana sliced down the middle, 2 scoops organic nectars raw vegan cherry chocolate agave gelato; 1 scoop organic nectars raw vegan chocolate hazelnut agave gelato, raw cacao nibs, fresh pineapple, raw slivered almonds, and a generous drizzle of raw almond butter
This was the best banana split I have ever had in my life! Oh. my. GAWD! Heavenly!!
Thoughts On My Raw Food Experiment
While I never intended for this to be a lifestyle change, a seven day trial really isn’t enough time to gather an extremely elaborate report on eating a primarily raw food diet, especially because I kept dairy in. I can tell you though, without the dairy I wouldn’t have made it past 1 or 2 days. When you eliminate so many options from your diet all at once, and then can’t even cook or warm up the remaining ones, you have to have an extremely strong will and desire to commit to this type of lifestyle. That is something I do not and probably never will have.
It took me a couple of days, but I found ways to pacify the intense hunger I was feeling on this type of eating plan. Even though I was eating copious amounts of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, and other fat sources, I never achieved complete satisfaction. I often felt water-logged and full, but not necessarily satiated. As if something was still missing from my bloated belly. Most likely warmth, protein, and variety. I love all of the things I ate, but I found myself so bored and uninterested at times that I’d rather go without than eat another cold carrot or bowl of salad. My lack of interest in the food trumped my hunger nearly everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t starving to the point of agony, I was just hungrier than usual and felt the choices available were hopeless in the sense that they didn’t adequately meet my needs. Whether that was psychological or not, I don’t know. All I’ve ever known is a primarily cooked diet for 30 years, 7 days on a primarily raw diet is obviously going to be awkward and feel incomplete. I imagine I would adjust eventually, but without dairy, meat and fish, or some cooked foods, that would be a hard and unhealthy road to travel down. I know it can be done, but I don’t believe that is the healthier option. Raw fibrous foods like fruit, seeds, nuts, and vegetables, are extremely good for you, but please keep in mind that we do not absorb nearly as many nutrients from raw food and they often leave us half-undigested, so you can run into a lot of dietary deficiencies if you do not take the important precautions and do extensive research on a balanced raw diet.
Being my high raw food experience was just a 7 day trial, I went overboard with all the raw novelties they sell at Mother Earth’s Storehouse. Most of the things I bought, like raw agave gelato and raw sweetened cacao nibs definitely aren’t necessary, but I’ll give you an idea of what the raw foods items that I ate cost:
Bag of sweetened raw cacao nibs – $12.99
Jar of raw almond butter – $10.99
Raw nuts and seeds – $6.95 to $9.95 per lb
Raw fruit + nut bars – $2-$3 each
Jar of local raw honey – $8
Fruits and veggies – vary
Bottle of organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (50 servings) – $16.95
Jar of extra virgin coconut oil – $12.95
I probably spent about $100 on fresh produce this week. Some of it was organic, some of it wasn’t; some of it was local, some wasn’t. I also live in NY state where groceries tend to be more expensive than other areas, plus I shop at expensive specialty stores like Mother Earth’s when I could find many of the products cheaper in other stores, but I’m a sucker for convenience and novelty. You could easily find better deals on the items I overpaid for, but in general, eating raw with novelty items is more expensive compared to diets that include cheaper staples like eggs, rice, canned veggies, canned tuna/salmon, beans, and bread. I went through so much fresh produce in one or two days, like a tub of organic lettuce and a pint of grape tomatoes. That’s $10 bucks right there and not much sustenance. I have a lot of nuts and seeds leftover, so they lasted longer than the week. But I went through 3/4 of the jar of raw almond butter and half the jar of raw honey. But like I said, you can find better deals on the things I purchased, or make your own nut butters, etc. I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison of high-raw vs. traditional diet, so I could be wrong, but I know that fresh produce is quite expensive in general, unless you are buying from a local farmer’s market. So when it becomes the majority of your diet, it could get pretty pricey, especially for more than one person. But again, I haven’t done the comparison and factored in the novelty items that you can do without if you really wanted to. A lot will also depend on how much time you want to invest preparing your raw food, or just eating it as-is, etc.
There’s a lot of variables for sure. All in all, where I live, fresh produce is expensive, and you need a lot of it to be on a raw diet. It’s a very high volume diet that doesn’t provide as much nourishment or bang for your caloric-buck compared to cooked food. It takes 2 to 4 times as much fruit, nuts, and veggies to get the same nutrients you would get from say 1 serving of cooked veggies, a piece of salmon, and a baked potato. Costs aside, I was most bothered by the lack of variety and preparation methods. I didn’t exactly try every option available, but you’re still left with very little to keep the food alive.
Not everyone can comfortably subsist on a primarily raw diet due to digestive issues. One of the reasons I did this trial was to see how certain foods effected my digestion, and to see if omitting others helped at all. I didn’t experience any improvements in my digestive issues while doing this trial. In fact, my symptoms got much worse during much of it and they never fully subsided at any point during the week. This could be linked to dairy, or any other the other variables, I’m not sure as I didn’t do a strict elimination diet. That wasn’t my intention, per se. I mainly wanted to reduce my sodium to lose water weight, explore my raw foodism curiosity, and then see how certain foods did or didn’t effect me over the week.
I’m happy to report that I lost 10 lbs this week. I imagine at least 60-70% or more of that is water weight, which is exactly what I was going for. I didn’t exercise at all through the week, and I’m sure I would have lost even more if I had, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. We went shopping yesterday, and even though I was eating cooked food and hydrating myself, by last night both of my legs were having the worst muscle spasms you can fathom. Obviously I lost too much water, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium over the past week. Not good! Even though I ate foods rich in potassium and magnesium, I still depleted my stores too rapidly, especially because I am on prescription diuretics. So if I had exercised, I might be in the hospital right now because it would have made things much worse as evidenced by 2-3 hours of leisurely walking in hot degree weather yesterday. You must keep your electrolytes balanced. I really should have known better being I’m on RX diuretics, but I didn’t feel the sting until yesterday. Luckily I got over it quickly, but I need to be more careful in the future.
Raw foodism is not for me! lol I already knew that, but it was fun to try, and I did enjoy everything that I ate. I do have a new appreciation for the low-calories that raw food offers, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to include a lot more raw foods and meals in my life. I would definitely eat a semi-high raw diet for a day now and then, and perhaps even every few months I would do a week-long marathon to shed some water weight or just to change things up. I like variety, so I don’t regret doing this, but I am glad that it’s over!!!
My first cooked meal was half of a grass-fed cheeseburger + 4 brewer’s fries at the Hyde Park Brewing Company and Steakhouse. I wish I had my camera with me! I ate half of the burger, and picked at Dustin’s raw salad a LOT! LOL!! The burger was “ok,” nothing special. Then, we picked up a cheese pizza and a turkey sub for dinner. I had a slice of pizza and half of a turkey sub. I was hungry. Ironically, eating all of that crappy food I had the least tummy woes since starting the raw diet. My stomach didn’t bloat immediately after eating, or any other the other lovely symptoms I usually experience. I had minimal veggies all day, probably less than one serving combined, lol. I remember telling my stomach doctor in Atlanta the exact thing thing; that the last time I felt “normal” is a day I ate terribly. Interesting.
So now I’m back to normal and loving it. I love cooked food. <3 So looking forward to dinner!! Cannot wait.
Have you ever tried any special diets for any reason? What was it like?