It was a tough few weeks, but Jolie’s Raw Food Challenge is way over–praise Jesus! I originally meant to do it for 6 weeks, but after 3 brutal weeks of sticking to it, I was a bit more lax on myself for the last few weeks, reintroducing cooked foods and animal proteins back into my diet, and also reincorporating alcohol. (Okay. I can live without steak…and can even do without chicken. But no wine? No margaritas? I draw the line, people.)
Overall, I lost about 5 pounds, and I’m confident this was not water weight but true tummy-and-face-pudding that I’d managed to accumulate over the past several months of cramming pasta, stuffing and sugary crap into my mouth as fast as my little hands could shovel it. (Death in the family! Slack must be cut!) The weight very slowly, but very surely, melted off, and in the past week or two, I’ve had several people comment that I looked thinner–a step on the scale, not to mention the fit of my jeans, confirms this to be true. So, nice bonus. I’m still eating healthier, although am now on the “normal-to-lazy” side of healthy.
Here’s what I loved about the raw diet: I felt great. My pores felt cleaner, my tummy felt lighter, my (ahem) business was all good, and things felt more in sync. I developed a love for kombucha and seaweed nori, and can now make an entire delicious meal out of greens and sprouts and spirulina and other rabbit food. I also haven’t had coffee or (barring a few Sour Patch Kid incidents) sugar in months, and don’t even miss ‘em.
Here’s what I didn’t like: I became obsessed with food. When you are limited in your palette, and when you’re a food lover like me (I want expensive cuts of grass-fed steak! I want sauce reductions! I want complicated seven-course meals at Daniel!), you start focusing on what you can’t eat. My mornings, afternoons and nights were devoted to plotting my next meal, to evaluating my hunger levels, to stressing about how I was going to feel full while lunching with colleagues at a pasta and steak restaurant that had only one cheese-smothered salad on the menu. As long as my weight is healthy and my clothes fit, I don’t really care about how skinny I am, and I didn’t like how food became an obsession. Sure, I love to eat healthily, but I don’t want to live to eat healthily, and that’s what it started to feel like. For some people, living an all-encompassing raw lifestyle is what it’s all about…but it just wasn’t practical or manageable for the ol’ Jolie. Plus–and this was a big problem for me–it is expensive.
On the whole, I really loved my raw experience; I’m much healthier overall now, have been exposed to some great new foods, and my skin is super clear and glowing. I would recommend it, but with caveats.
If you’re curious about raw, try sliding into it; Kim Snyder’s blog is a great place for advice and tips. Have a Green Smoothie for breakfast every day, and start eliminating alcohol, dairy, processed foods, sugar, and animal proteins over a couple of weeks. See how you do with that, and increase the number of organic greens you eat. Swap your coffee for tea, and swap your sugar or Splenda for Stevia or Truvia. Avoid your microwave. The less sugars and unhealthy foods you eat, the less you’ll crave them; the more healthy foods you introduce, the better you’ll feel.
Just make sure your wallet can take it!
Thanks to T. for reminding me to update on my raw food challenge!