I am starting a 30 day raw food challenge. For myself. And whoever wants to join me 🙂
I was closest to being fully raw right before my boyfriend and I began dating. When I became more social with him and my new friends, I loosened up on my diet a lot. For a while, I was raw except on the days I biked. I slowly transitioned to eating a standard American diet again in April 2012. Then in July 2012, my stomach pain and IBS became so severe that I was forced to give up all gluten and dairy.
After I started feeling better, I began having nibbles of flour here and there, just to try things. One Friday I ate two whole bagels, and the next day I felt horrible. Severe anxiety and fatigue, and constipation. That sealed the deal for me: no gluten. At all.
I felt better for a while, but recently (now September 2013) I’ve started having problems again. Some of the stomach pain that started this whole thing came back. My weight inched up and I feel bloated all the time.
Honestly the main reason I still eat meat is because its easy. When I go to restaurants, eating meat opens my options so much.
I am incredibly curious how I would feel if I went all raw. I’ve heard so many stories from men and women like me who are now thriving on a raw diet. Some started because of health problems, some because of their desire to achieve optimal athletic performance and some because of weight loss or even weight gain.
Just to clarify, there are a few reasons I want to do this.
1. My intuition tells me I can feel better than how I feel. I don’t have to have headaches regularly. I don’t need to feel fatigued inexplicably. I can sleep more deeply through the night. I can perform better regularly. I don’t have to experience stomach pain regularly. My intuition tells me that the key to a solution is nutrition, not medicine.
2. I am inspired by the raw food lifestyle. It is one of energy and serenity. I have also seen many people with health discomfort similar to mine thrive on a raw food diet, and be “healed”.
3. I do want to lose weight, honestly. I think I’m beautiful and I appreciate my health and my size, but I also know where I am most comfortable and how I like my clothes to fit. I am grateful for my health and body, and also for a way of eating that doesn’t require I count calories.
I plan to document what I eat and how I feel, and I can even organize a support group if there is enough interest.
I will take a lot of pictures, and write something everyday. I might not post every day, but I’ll make sure to keep a general record of everything.
The Diet – 80/10/10 Explained
This pamphlet explains the “diet” (lifestyle) quite well: LFRVdietBrochure-print_d4.pdf
80/10/10 refers to the ratio of carbs/protein/fat. In essence, it proposes that a diet made up of at least 80% carbohydrate and no more than 10% fat and 10% protein is optimum for human health. This is not a diet about weight loss, although it can certainly be used to help shed excess weight. At the same time, by eating enough calories from raw foods, which 80/10/10 is all about, it is also possible to put on weight. In other words, the diet can be used to achieve your health goals, whatever they are. It can help with short term goals such as, increasing your energy levels; mid-term goals, e.g. weight management; as well as long term goals, living a long and healthy life.
The 80/10/10 is obviously a high carb diet. Since it advocates raw foods, fruit is the primary calorie source for people living this lifestyle. Bananas, dates and mangoes are three of the primary fruits. This is because they are fairly high in calories. What you have to realize, is that to get the calories you need to live your life to the maximum, it takes dedication to actually eat enough if you are only eating fruits and vegetables. It’s quite easy to fill up on low calorie fruits. Even though you might feel full, you’d simply not be getting the quantity of calories that your body requires on a daily basis.
Therefore, when starting the 80/10/10 diet, an important point is to actively count calories. This has nothing to do with being worried about eating too much. It is in fact all about ensuring that you eat enough.
Exceptions: I am going to allow myself some flexibility with boundaries/specific limitations. First of all, I can have one cup of sugarless vegan coffee a day. Secondly, I can have two vegan cooked meals a week. I think this will help a lot with the social aspect of the transition. I also don’t mind adding cayenne or rice vinegar to salads. Probably not oil, since I am trying to keep fat down. Some raw foodists see no problem with these things, but 80-10-10’ers usually choose not to eat them.
I am starting this week and will post updates regularly! I’ll record my weight, what I eat and how I feel and share anything important.
Please send me a message or leave a comment if you’re joining me!
Lastly, Some Random FAQ
The basic biological reason people feel so energetic on a raw foods diet is that sweet fruit is the easiest type of food for your body to digest. If you eat a meal of nothing but raw fruit on an empty stomach, it will normally pass through the stomach within a matter of minutes, since fruit is largely digested in the intestines. That assumes it’s all sweet fruit and not something fatty like avocado or coconut, which would greatly slow digestion.
The cells of your body run on sugar, so if you eat foods high in protein, fat, or complex carbs, those macronutrients have to be broken down into sugar (glucose). That process requires lots of energy and produces toxic substances as a side effect, which also have to be dealt with by the body. But the simple sugars in fruit can be assimilated and used by the body with minimal energy expenditure and minimal waste. Fruit is also naturally high in vitamins.
You can argue that humans evolved to be able to eat and digest other foods, including animal products. I completely agree — we can assimilate a variety of foods. However, physiologically speaking it’s pretty clear that fresh fruit is the most optimal class of foods in terms of digestion efficiency, residual waste, nutritional value, and especially energy. The biological efficiency of this diet is likely why people report feeling so extraordinary on this diet. All the energy that would have otherwise been devoted to digestion and toxic clean-up becomes available for the muscles, brain, and other organs.
At least this is the theory.
When switching to a raw foods diet, detox symptoms can occur.
Too much sugar?
Won’t all that fruit spike my blood sugar and then send me crashing afterwards? Not likely. My experience has always been that fruit gives a nice energy burn without a huge spike or crash. Other raw foodists report the same. On the other hand, if you eat fruit with other foods (or while you’re still digesting a previous meal), it can get stuck in the stomach for too long and ferment. Fruit is best eaten on an empty stomach, so it can pass through to the intestines quickly (within minutes).
One of the strangest reports I’ve seen is that long-term raw foodists can experience a significant drop in body temperature — to something like 94 degrees (vs. the standard of 98.6 F). Supposedly their bodies run cooler and don’t put out as much heat. I have no idea if that’s really true or just a myth.