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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Truth About My Raw Challenge

It's been a long and arduous seven day raw challenge. If you're reading this blog for the first time, I am vegan and went on a 90% raw challenge for a week. It is by far probably the most difficult quest I've taken in a while. I personally found that preparing raw meals is either a) very EASY and quick or b) a long process of soaking/dehydrating/prepping foods.

Perhaps you're wondering, why would anyone want to do this? I personally thrive on challenges, so initial boredom sparked the idea, combined by reading everyone's fabulous story of going raw. (from increased energy to weight loss) I monitored three things: mood, energy and weight.

The toughest day was day number one. Having drank coffee and tea the previous week, I had a small lingering headache the first day, and felt sort of odd, like I was hungry all the time. I soon realized that in the beginning, this feeling is absolutely normal. Although I was eating the same sized portions I always do, I realized this was a mistake, as it was not enough calories for my body. So for the most part, I found I could eat more while doing the raw challenge.

I expected my energy to be faint and weak. I felt like that for the first day, but for the rest of the time, I felt a natural bounce of energy...most of the time I had too much of it and didn't quite know what to do with it. To my friends' surprise who thought I was hopped up on coffee, I was still a bundle of energy in the late hours of the night, so I started relaxing a good half an hour before bed to actually fall asleep.

The last part of my monitoring was my weight. I lost about 3 pounds during the week and felt really good. Most days when I would weigh myself, I would be the same weight in the morning as in the evening, and prior to this, the fluctuation would be about 5 pounds. So hoozah for shedding a few pounds!

You may be wondering what I ate that was raw for 7 days and 7 nights, here's a list of examples:

-green salads
-tomato salad
-fruit salads
-raw almond milk
-lettuce wraps (I like to call them fresh wraps)
-zucchini/carrot noodles, thanks to my handy dandy Saladacco
-cucumber sandwiched with guacamole
-Thai fresh rolls
-dehydrated flax chips with avocado and tomato on top
-kale chips
-raw cashew coconut ice cream
-raw chocolate almond cake
-almond "feta" cheese
-kelp noodles with pesto sauce (for the whole bag of kelp noodles, it's only 18 calories...18!!!)
-beet rawvioli (variation of this recipe)

...and yes, I slipped and had a cooked meal once, but that's besides the point.

What else did I learn from taking on the raw challenge? I realized I overeat at most of my meals...I think it's due to carbs and some processed goodies which trick my body into thinking I am receiving food full of nutrients, when in fact, I am not. Thus said, I am going to increase my intake of raw foods to about 50%. For example, if I will have "insert delicious cooked food here", I will make sure 50% of the plate is raw, like salad.

I also realized that if I want to keep up being fit, there will be no more excessive chips and cookies and coffee much to my chagrin (except for the occasional one of course) because most of the time it's too much fat and calories with not enough nutritional value. I had cut junk food out long time ago, but it sneaked its way back into my diet, it has the tendency to do that, y'know? Sneaky hobbitses..

Lesson #3, no more eating late at night, ideally no eating after 7-8 pm. For some people, this may be second nature, but for myself and my odd schedule most of the year, this will probably be quite difficult. Alas, unless I'm going to mad exercise for hours after eating late at night, some of that food may just become stored on my body, and I don't want that.

Last but not least, incorporating daily exercise is something that I will continually strive for. Ideally 30 min to 2 hours, but sometimes, I will just have to charm time into my lap, as time is pinched in busy schedules. But exercise is something I have to make time for, for my health and continuing to enjoy life as I get older.

A big thank you goes out to one of my best friends who did the challenge with me, you rock buddy!

What do you think of a raw challenge or vegan raw foodism in general? Leave a comment below!



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