Raw Vegan Challenge Day 21
by, 05-23-2012 at 08:14 PM (3048 Views)
For those of you who follow my blog on Blogspot, this is a repeat.
I have been mentioning this challenge in my previous blogs, but I haven't really dedicated a full blog entry to it, so here we go.
I discovered raw vegan food about seven weeks ago. I can't even remember what got me interested, but on a lark, I did a search for "raw vegan" in my area, and found The Green Boheme restaurant. I stopped by there and ordered a "Cool Italian" sandwich, and that was the beginning of my undoing as a carnivore. (Or, a "carnie," as I am told we meat-eaters are called.)
I officially started the challenge on May 3rd, and in an attempt to give it a fair shake, I gave up all non-raw-vegan food, which included my beloved coffee with cream and sugar (all three of which are verboten). I have to admit that the first couple of days, I was not a happy camper. Happily, I had the weekend to get over my serious caffeine withdrawal, and by Monday, while still missing coffee, I could at least function without it!! (I still miss it, by the way, but not in the addicted craving way that I missed it on day four or so.)
My daily meal plan looks a lot like this:
- Wake up and take a pro-biotic
- Wait 20 minutes
- Drink 16 oz. of green juice (basically, 70% veg/30% fruit, all run through a juicer, so no fiber)
- Approx 3-5 hours later, I start to get hungry, and I start drinking 32 oz of my green smoothie (basically, 70% fruit/30% veg, run through a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix, so you get the fiber as well as the juice)
- Drink some water
- After I finish the smoothie, typically around noon or so, I eat a snack. (Today was a sinfully rich chocolate pudding that tasted a bit more like a ganache, it was so thick and delicious!!)
- Drink more water
- Dinner (optimally, at least three hours after the snack)
The only downsides so far are:
- It is very difficult to maintain a raw vegan menu when you are not close to home. Raw vegan restaurants are few and far between, and when I had to travel to Arizona in mid-May, I found myself ordering a lot of fruit cups at restaurants!!
- I found, around week two, that I was VERY tired. This lasted for several days, even though I was getting about nine hours of sleep every day. I'd wake up naturally, but several hours later, I'd be dragging. I even had to go to my car to nap, while at work! Brooke, the chef at The Green Boheme, reassured me that this was natural and was part of my body going through a detox. Sure enough, as of a few days ago, I have been feeling my energy returning. I have been doing some reading since then, and have found that detox symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks, so I'm right in the ballpark.
- It is not an inexpensive lifestyle. To do it right, you want local and organic produce, so unless you have a garden, you are paying extra for that. It also requires (despite some people's statements to the contrary), at the minimum, a good dehydrator, a good juicer, a high-speed blender (and by high-speed, I mean a Blendtec or Vitamix [ka-ching]), and a food processor. Many of the ingredients used in the meals are expensive: nuts, real vanilla beans, etc.
The upsides are:
- Now that I am not tired, I am feeling pretty fantastic. I feel healthy and I don't feel guilty about eating anything, even if it is chocolatey and decadent. I feel like my mood is better, and more stable. I am a bit volatile, at times, and I don't react well to my triggers, but lately, I've felt able to roll with the punches.
- I have been losing weight while not restricting my calories. Who wouldn't like that?
- I have been introduced to some really fantastic foods that I would never have tried before, and in some instances, I have the recipes to duplicate them.
- I feel like I have a new relationship with my food, and I am much more appreciative of the incredible variety in natural flavors of food, now that I am not using any sauces or spices.
- I wake up now and crave water, instead of coffee!
I was worried about my iron, because I have historically had a hemoglobin count in the gutter. I consistently get deferred when I try to give blood. (I seriously get deferred about 50% of the time, even when I take iron supplements regularly.) Brooke assured me that I wouldn't need iron supplements, because I would be taking in my nutrients in such a dense way (smoothies and juices) that my body would be able to get what it needed. I was suspicious that this was not true, but when I gave platelets yesterday, my hemoglobin count was so high, the nurse asked me what my secret was!
My challenge ends on May 31, and unfortunately, I have to go out of town for a week or so after that, so I will mostly likely have to resort to processed foods again while I'm gone (because the place I'm going to is the type of town that ought to be called "Dogpatch" and that will most likely have nothing except maybe a Burger King in it).
My intention, right now, is to try to continue to eat primarily raw food upon my return, mostly because I find that I really like the taste of it!