So, today is my 3 months anniversary of being a raw foodist. It’s been actually a full 90 days – and a little bit over – since I haven’t eaten any cooked food. Actually, I had two exceptions, outlined in my first post about raw food, but they were of little significance. Needless to say that I’m feeling better than ever. In this post I’ll try to outline a few opinions about keeping a raw food diet, share some of the side effects, and put together some of the most important benefits.
Weight Loss On A Raw Food Diet
By far the most visible change of this diet was in my weight, exactly in my weight loss. When I started this, I had around 93 kilos, a little bit overweighted for a 1,82 meter tall guy. And this was exactly how I felt: overweighted and not at ease in my own body. At any effort I was ready to sweat and my overall physical endurance was extremely low. Mentally, I had very few clear focus moments and I was struggling with anger and stress. I always felt behind schedule, scared and under pressure. Looking in the mirror didn’t help either, because the guy I saw had more than 15 kilos than the guy I expected to see. But everything changed the moment I started to eat raw.
Starting with the 10th day I logged my weight daily and I also logged what I ate. Today I reviewed everything that I wrote in my journal during this period and then I realized I can even make some visual representation of this. 5 minutes in a spreadsheet application and here we are:
There are some very interesting spots toÂ be mentioned on this chart:
- the weight loss in the first period is dramatic, in two weeks I lost around 4,5 – 5 kilos
- after each month I seemed to have a sudden spike in my wieght, mostly related to some intended changes in the diet
- after the 3rd month the weight loss seemed to stop (I didn’t include the last week in the chart, but during this week my weight was constantly between 79 and 81 kilos, regardless of what and how I would eat)
My eating routine had a very strong point on fruits and vegetables, I’ve been basically eating only fruit and salads. In the first month I used intensively the blender and drank a lot of smoothies, but I gradually came back to a more solid approach in the last two months. I also avoided as much as I could vegetal fat, mostly to avoid an increase in yeast, which seems to be quite common among raw foodists. From what I read, mixing sugar (from fruits) with a lot of fat (even from seeds or high fat fruits like avocado) can create a good environment for yeast growth. In the last few weeks, however, I did start to incorporate more and more fat into my eating habits and I didn’t see any side effect.
Speaking of eating habits, here’s how a typical day looks for me, in terms of eating:
breakfast: apples, bananas, mangos and a cup of coffee (didn’t give up coffee). Breakfast is very flexible; sometimes I eat when I wake up, around 6:30 AM, sometimes I wait until Bianca wakes up, around 8, 8:30 AM and we eat together.
brunch: a salad (mostly tomatoes, cucumber, onion and lemon juice) or a green smoothie. Sometimes I add a fruit or two, mostly bananas. I eat brunch around 11 AM, if I stay at home. If I’m out with errands, I usually skip it.
lunch: a bigger salad, or something more elaborate, like a gazpacho soup, or a mix of blended celery, carrots and beet. This is the meal in which I always incorporate onion or garlic in some way
dinner: a fruit salad, mostly with ginger and honey, and some juice, if possible. It doesn’t seem to have any significance at all if I eat dinner at 18:00 or at 22:30, I don’t have any sleeping problems.
I never calculated the number of calories but I managed not to starve on this diet. Most of the people who are trying to make the transition toward a raw food diet are miscalculating the calories number their body needs, which often translate in a constant sensation of hunger. So, whenever I am hungry I just eat something.
“Cooking” Raw Food
As I stated in the second raw food update, I started to “cook” more. I made raw chocolate three times and it was delicious. I used a recipe with figs, avocado, vanilla, cocoa and honey and I also tried some experiments with sesame seeds. Never managed to have it completely solid, but the taste was delicious (and I know I’m repeating myself). Another nice and quick thing to do is gazpacho soup, with tomatoes, garlic and a bunch of smaller ingredients, like parsley and cucumber.
But the most interesting thing I managed to cook – I admit, totally by chance – was something that was surprisingly resembling to chopped meat and I even wrote a full post about how to make fake meat on a raw food diet. Next day I tried to do something really big, and this was a very complicated Romanian recipe, called “sarmale”. It is made from chopped meat, boiled and mixed with rice and some other ingredients and then wrapped in cabbage leaves. This meal is especially common during winter holidays and it’s kinda difficult to cook.
So, one evening after a shopping session, I started to recreate the chopped meat project described in the post linked above. I thought I could use the chopped meat as the filling and then wrap everything in vine leaves. Raw, of course. It took me around 30 minutes and I came up with 35 wrapped “sarmale”, completely raw. The taste was very good, although it had nothing to do whatsoever with the regular “sarmale” taste. It was the highest point of my cooking activity. I will always remember that I was able to make raw “sarmale” whenever I feel my cooking inspiration draining away.
All in all, cooking raw food is a little bit difficult for me right now, although I will not surrender. I will keep trying to experiment and find new recipes, that are both easy to make and, of course, made from raw ingredients.
That thing is really important the first 40-50 days. After this period, you’ll get used to the people reactions. It’s just another thing that defines you and that’s all. Eating raw food is a matter of picking a veggie salad at the restaurant and don’t even try to talk about your eating habits. You might not always find a veggie only salad, but that’s another thing that you will get used to it. You’ll just select in advance your restaurants based on their salad menu and move on.
Now that’s something really surprising and something that I didn’t expect to happen. Or at least, not at this time, after more than 70-80 days, or with that intensity. In the last two weeks I’ve been having a lot of cravings for cooked food. Not only vegetarian, but even for meat based products, like shawerma, or salami sandwiches. That’s something that I don’t really have, I don’t make any efforts to eat like I do, so those cravings are very likely to come from another part of my life experience.
The only reasonable explanation I found so far is that my body has a very long and stable memory of what it should eat in every period of the year. Meaning there is an eating internal journal, or chronicle, for spring, for fall, for winter. Not to mention bigger holidays, with cakes and traditional meals. It seems that every fall I was used to eat more meat and my body is trying to tell me that in very clear way. It’s like it is trying to have a sense of comfort and security. My biological response to the raw food diet is fantastic and my health is better and better, but the memories in my body are trying to put me back on a track I don’t really want to.
To be honest, this is quite a struggle and I now understand that this is the most difficult part. It’s not difficult to eat 30 days only raw food. I guess it’s not difficult to eat even 60 days only raw food. But once your diet is starting to overlap your yearly eating cycles, that’s becoming a real challenge. If you have only a temporary “diet”, your body will acknowledge and let you play with it, if you insist. But once you’re going to really trespass against its bigger and deeply established eating cycles, it will give you a very clear protest.
When I was vegetarian I was eating veggie shawermas (most of them with falafel) and also had a lot of sandwiches (vegetarian sandwiches) and I guess I was able to cheat a little on my body, feeding it something at least familiar. But now, I can only feed it fruits and salads. And it is telling me: “ok, I know we’re playing some game for the last two and a half month, but it’s time to cut the silly salads out of the menu and give something really solid to eat…”
Well, I only resist to this cravings by imagining how I will feel after. So far, it works. If I feel like having a sandwich, I try to visualize the lack of energy, the mental fogginess, the weight gain and the overall numbness that will come attached with that sandwich and I’m quickly over it. It’s difficult, but for now it works.
I don’t expect any significant changes in my weight, during the next period, but I do expect something more diverse in terms of cooking and preparing more and more complicated meals. The biggest challenge in the next period seems to be my craving crisis and the way I will be able to cope with it.
As usual, I’ll let you know what happens.
Initially, this post was written two days ago and scheduled for publishing today. But in the last 2 days there have been some pretty big changes and some of them involved my eating habits.
I do have from time to time what I call “falling down periods”. When I was playing the entrepreneur game I often took those periods as necessary depressions and I even described this attitude in one of the 30 sentences for a millionaire mindset, exactly number 19. During these periods I have very intense feelings of sadness and inadequacy. It’s also pretty common to experience feelings of abandonment and refuge. I just want to let everything go and be left alone. It seems that I carry too much of a burden and releasing everything around me – including my life, sometimes – could solve the problem.
In the past, those periods ranged from one or two days, up to one week. I had to find excuses to not do anything publicly during those periods, because I could easily mess everything up. But after those periods, my functions were back again and I could reboot my activities with the same level of energy as before.
Since I became raw vegan, I was unpleasantly surprised to see that those periods still find the energy to surface again. Right now those depression times are much shorter, usually several hours. I guess there were only two or three times when they were more than a day. The downside is that they are much stronger than before. It seems that this diet can make them much more powerful than before.
My whole body had acquired a new sensitivity to emotional waves lately. Not only my emotional vibrations are way powerful than before, but even the emotions of other persons. I can feel happiness or sadness around me with the accuracy of a radar. I don’t always know from where this is coming though, which is pretty much annoying. I realized several times that the sadness I felt wasn’t mine, or the despair feelings were just something that another person was carrying around and I misinterpreted it like it was something belonging to me. I can’t really tune my emotional radar for the source, but I feel the wave with an enormous power.
To make a long story short, in the last two days I was exposed to a various mix of emotions, some of them emerged from a very deep history of myself, some of them expressed by people around me. There was frustration, sadness, lack of confidence and a very strong feeling of letting everything go. I didn’t do much to harm myself or the others around me, I usually isolate during these times, but I did something very unusual: I ate meat and cooked food.
It was only two or three meals involving meat and it was a very deep drive to do this. Overall I didn’t feel anything strange, but it was something that I had to do, in order to release some inner triggers for change. I still don’t like the taste of cooked food or meat and I feel like it was something necessary for a very deep emotional healing process. As of this morning, I am back to my normal raw food routine, without any craving whatsoever.
Maybe someday I’ll know more about what carved those hidden holes in myself, those dark cages in which I still have to fall from time to time. But I know there’s a reason for that and I know that in the last few months I’ve been making enormous progress in this direction. Once I have a clear understanding of this and once I reach a certain level of self-awareness in this area, I’ll share my experiences here.
Helping others not going through what I’m going during those sad times would be such a blessing for me.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.