Raw Food For Thirty Days…

Picture 3 300x231 Raw Food For Thirty Days…On our recent 30 Day Raw Food Challenge my husband and I lost weight, yelled at each other, felt vibrantly healthy, slept heaps, became depressed, watched our skin glow and effortlessly ate amazing food and much more. For some background info on what motivated us to do this, have a squiz at the Preamble. Below are a few key things I learned about myself and the raw food diet:

Weight loss
Losing weight is many people’s primary motivation behind transitioning to a raw food diet – it’s really hard to get fat when you’re eating nothing but food in it’s natural state. Raw food also cleanses and heals the body so digestion, liver and bowel function improve allowing the body to drop weight safely and sustainably. Weight loss has never really been a motivator for me (I’m more interested in feeling amazingly healthy all the time) but for my husband it was a big factor in our decision to do this. He had noticed a gradual change in his health as we started eating more mindfully after my big fast but was finding his excess weight difficult to shift. We both lost weight toward the end of the fast – me with loose pants an him with doing up 2 extra belt holes. It also gave Charles the clarity of mind to commit to the Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge and a daily yoga practice (both of which he’d wanted to do for ages but hadn’t).

It was all really quite easy
This is a rather funny statement but it’s true. Eating this way felt like food somehow became less important in my day to day. I rarely thought about food. I was rarely hungry. I felt satisfied all the time and never really wanted for anything – cravings just didn’t exist for me. I got a bit tired of chewing though I must admit.

But we felt like crap all the time
Looking back, I basically wrote off an entire month. I didn’t create anything worthwhile, socialising was a mammoth effort and there was very little connection between Charles and I. We were not expecting this. From all of our reading and self-education, people were raving about the incredible highs and surges of energy they had on this diet pretty much from the word go. Not us. Utter crap. Post 30 Days Raw though, energy just continues to get better and better! The most profound thing is the consistency of it – no ups and downs, no sharp plummets in mood and focus – just mental clarity and physical ease in all situations from the moment we wake up to the moment we put our head back on the pillow. It’s great!

The “But It’s the weekend” Syndrome
Sound familiar? Monday to Thursday it’s easy to stick to a routine and do the right thing but come Friday afternoon… all bets are off, it’s time to let your hair down! The thoughts about food and alcohol started coming thick and fast the first couple of Fridays and continued on through the entire weekend. Habitual thinking is dangerous. It’s a trap. Thankfully this passed though and by the 3rd weekend, we hardly batted an eyelid – we had conquered our weekend food patterns and didn’t give it a second thought.

“I’m finding myself sitting on the couch relaxing after a busy day doing Saturday stuff like shopping and running teenagers around and missing the fact that I’m not looking forward to eating. I’m not fantasising about the special, extra yummy treat that we’ve got to eat for dinner tonight. Strange – like a space in my mind that was once attached to the pleasure I would get out of our special weekend treat. Odd.” (from Day 14 of our 30 Day Raw Food Challenge)

I can’t be a recreational sugar user.
It’s true, I can pretend no longer. Sugar is poison to my body and mind and I’m better off without it. Apart from my extended fast last year – this is longest period of time I’ve ever had off all refined sugar in my life and I’ve had a LOT of sugar over the years. I’m becoming fascinated by the way sugar affects us and how it’s advent into our culture marks the beginning of so many degenerative diseases. Sugar has been linked to depression, anxiety, arthritis, muscular tension, cravings, mood disorders, stomach and digestive conditions, auto-immune diseases, skin and weight issues and cancer.

I’m also intrigued by the idea that sugar is actually the underlying addiction behind every addiction from alcoholism to gambling to shopping to cocaine to sex. Perhaps this is real reason why we felt like crap for so long? Just how long do withdrawals from sugar take anyway? I’m not sure but I do know that sugar has a hold over me that is uncomfortable. I do know that I am healthier and happier without it in my diet.

“The fear and sadness that that thought brings up is incredible – a sinking in my heart about all the good yummyness I’ll be missing out on – that my life will be less worth living and I’ll be forever depriving myself of any genuine pleasure and satisfaction from food. I do not want this realisation. I want to fight it and continue to deny it’s truth. To hide my head under the covers of rationalisations that pretend I can deal with life without sugar. That I can just have a coffee every now and then – that I can control this.
It’s crap though – the past year with getting off coffee then getting back on again numerous times has shown me that.” (from Day 20 of our 30 Day Raw Food Challenge)

Keep it simple
Raw food recipe books and websites are full of decadent recipes that make you drool contemplating how good they’ll taste. A lot of these recipes however require special equipment (like food dehydrators and nut butter machines and wheat grass juicers and $2000 blenders). We do have a food dehydrator, a food processor and cheap blender (which is brilliant) but because of our general feeling like crap state, we weren’t particularly adventurous in what we chose to make for ourselves. Many of these recipes are also extraordinarily complicated and time-consuming to make. We weren’t going to do that so we kept things really, really simple. We still found ourselves putting a fair bit of time into food preparation each day but the what to eat was always simple and readily available.

This focus on simplicity also allowed us to explore food in a new way – to realise that tomatoes don’t actually need salt to make them taste better and that avocadoes taste awesome with honey. This was like a rebirth and cleansing for our tastebuds. We became more sensitive to the subtle layers of flavour in foods in their natural state and how food really doesn’t need all that much to make it taste better, we just think it does.

The skin thing
WOW! Talk about smooth and silky and vibrantly aglow with life and youth from the inside out! Our skin felt amazing – so soft and clear and clean and magnificent. A noticeable difference. This diet without a doubt does the body’s largest organ a HUGE favour!

Indigestion be gone
Charles has been taking off and on quick-eze chewy things for the past couple of years. His diet has always been pretty good but a couple of times a week, he would get bad indigestion. No more! It’s totally gone – he hasn’t had any tummy troubles for the past 2 months at all!

Alcohol is a no go
Downhill from the very first sip of Cabernet Merlot organic wine touching my lips – I immediately started thinking about how good baked potatoes smothered in butter would taste – the more intoxicated I got – the stronger the cravings. All the next day I could feel it too – like it was easier to rationalise and make ok breaking the fast because we had alcohol in our systems.

Note to self: avoid at all costs any mind-altering substance when on a fast or cleanse of any kind.

(As a side note, did you know that wine isn’t vegan? We spent a while researching it on the net – initially to discover if wine was raw. Yes, it is! Yay! But it’s not very animal friendly and is mostly made to look all crystal clear through the use this stuff called isinglass which is ground up fish bladders!!!??? Us humans are incredible! How on earth did we discover that ground up fish bladders makes wine clear???? If not fish bladders, wine is clarified with egg albumin. You can get some brands that are clarified with clay apparently but more research is needed here as to what vineyards do it this way. We so rarely drink wine that we’ll leave that research to the true connoisseurs.)

Superfoods here we come!
So just why did we feel like crap for so long? One possible answer we uncovered was that even though we were eating the most amazingly vibrant and fresh organic food we still weren’t getting quite what we needed. Meat or dairy products with their abundance of B12 and amino acids would appear to be the answer but I’m not so sure about this mainly because of how little I thought about them. In the past, my mind and body send me clear signals about precisely what they need in the form of cravings and images of particular foods. We had no cravings. None (apart from the habitual weekend stuff) so I think there’s more to the story for my particular body.

Superfoods like cacao (the raw stuff chocolate comes from), maca, spirulina, coconuts, bee pollen, chlorella, goji berries, acai berries, honey, chia seeds, lacuma and other exotic sounding whole foods appear to fill in the gaps. Superfoods contain massive amounts of everything good. Mega doses of anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins, live minerals, natural hormone balancers and more can be found in abundance in these whole and unprocessed foods. I like superfoods because they’re not segmented or adulterated (unlike man-made supplements) – they are complete and can be eaten as grown in their natural state. Whole foods do more for us than any vitamin and mineral around.

My catch cry has become – why eat just food when you can eat SUPER food!

100% Raw Food diet on a budget
Hah! Did I hear someone say oxymoron? Raw food organic diet and the word “budget” have no place existing on the same page together let alone in the same sentence! Eating this way is expensive, no doubt about it. I’ve been buying organic fruit and veg and shopping at health food stores for 10 years or so, so I’m used to spending a bit more on my food. I don’t mind this – the taste, vitality and sustainability are worth it to me but eating raw food for 30 days did occasionally make us cringe going through the checkout. Growing it yourself is one excellent way of course to keep costs down and at the moment we’re researching wholesale superfoods and bulk orders. Anyone interested in a superfood co-op?

The Verdict
Good experience. Will definitely do it again. I’m particularly interested in how different I would feel being totally free of all refined carbohydrates and sugar for a year or so. I know. I’m a freak but I’m learning to love it more and more each day!

What would motivate you to want to begin a raw food diet? How have you dealt with feeling deprived on diets before?
What have you heard about raw food and it’s benefits?

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21 Responses to “Raw Food For Thirty Days…”

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  1. Wow, good story. You were obviously pretty pure already. I sort of do this by shopping at Whole Foods on Wed and getting $2. off the organic salad bar. It works in my town.

    Congratulations to you.

    John

  2. Susan says:

    Thanks, John!

  3. Pamela Torre Henares says:

    I agree with you completely. I was recently diagnosed a diabetic and since we grow organic veggies, I decided to change our diet to more salads and less fish and even less meat. My husbnad who has been a diabetic for about 20 years and who has some heart problems now also went on the same diet with me. We have weight and best of all, there is a feeling of increased energy, controlled blood sugar and blood pressure and hopefully, our doctor will reduce our meds on our nexr visit. We eat 5-6 times a day and keep to foods with low glycemic index. dinner is usually soup and salad or something very light. Thank you for sharing, it confirmed our journey as well. More power to you

  4. Denise says:

    Yes, i’m just starting to be a raw foodist. I’m trying to cure my pancreas. I’m type 2 diabetic. I began two weeks ago drinking the green smoothies and it’s been working wonders on my blood glucose. Now im trying the 10 day raw food diet. Every one has noticed my skin glowing and my eyes sparkle. I feel amazing. I told my mom i feel like doing cart wheels and head stands and that’s cute because i’m 57 years young. Thanks for motivating me more.

  5. Susan says:

    Pamela, thank you so much for your beautiful words! I’m SO happy to hear the news about how diet is making a profound shift in your life!

    It never ceases to amaze me, how blessed I am to hear this message and to have the freedom to take action – to make another choice, to shop where I want to shop, to eat what I want to eat and to think what I want to think.

    I wish you much magic and joy on your continued journey, Pamela!

  6. Susan says:

    Hi Denise,

    WOW – it sounds like you’re on quite a journey – what incredible transformation you’ve created!
    All I can say is congratulations! My heart is singing for you right now!

    I recently returned from the Joy For Life Retreat with the Boutenko family (the Green Smoothie originators!) and it was blissful! There were 2 women there with Diabetes who also noticed profound change – one could halve her insulin, the other totally went off it – all in the space of 6 days of green smoothies and emotional clearing work at the retreat.

    MAGIC, Denise! I’m SO glad you found the information you needed to hold your health in your own hands and heart :)

    MAGIC! I’m SO glad you found the information you needed to hold your health in your own hands and heart :)

  7. Jessica says:

    Not all wine is fined with fish products as you can get the same results using egg whites. Still an animal product yes, but it is completely removed along with other sediments before bottling. The trick is finding wines that use free range eggs :)

  8. Susan says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Wonderful to hear from you! Yes there are lots of organic and vegan wines now available – yippee! (um… not that I’m a connoisseur or anything but great to know there’s some options for us conscious occasional drinkers!)

    Next challenge is to find one that tastes REALLY, really good! Any suggestions? Good brands you know of for fine organic and vegan wines?

    Thank you for sharing, Jessica!
    :)

  9. Sarah says:

    Ok, so what did you eat? Where did you find your recipes? I don’t wanna just eat carrot sticks for a month. Do you have a list of your menu? I’ve been thinking about a raw diet for the summer for over a year and me and my food dehydrator are ready….

  10. Susan says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Great to hear from you! I totally agree about the carrot sticks for a month thang… that’s NO FUN at all! To me, the raw food lifestyle is kinds like eating pasta every day – there’s SO MANY different types of pasta available and each one is like an entirely unique experience even though it’s all made up of the same stuff. Variety is vital. Texture is vital. Simplicity is also really good.

    There are loads of excellent online resources for raw food and dehydrator recipes and I also borrowed everything I could on living food from the local library. Just google “raw food recipes” and may your dehydrator sing with JOY and LIFE and LOTS OF YUMMY LIVING FOOD, Sarah! I also highly recommend having a look online for “getting started in raw food” or something similar as there are so many wonderful tips that can totally transform your transition from mostly cooked food to mostly raw food.

    EnJOY, Sarah!

  11. Great read, I love reading about other people’s experiences because I have just started my own 30 day challenge. I am on day four now and already dropped 3 pounds although I suspect that is water mostly. Too early yet to say what the results will be, but I am finding it easier than I thought. Please drop by on my blog sometime. Friendly advice always accepted.

  12. Susan says:

    Hi Andy!

    Well done – giving ourselves these kind of challenges is such a beautiful way to know ourselves…

    Buckets of good luck to you Andy! I’d love to hear how it unfolds for you & what you discover along the way :)

  13. Leah says:

    Great read,

    I have been contemplating the raw food lifestyle for a while and it’s good to hear that I’m not the only one addicted to sugar and processed foods. I know this will take more of an effort (packing lunch at night) but reading your story motivates me more. Wish me luck!

  14. Susan says:

    Go Leah! It’s an awesome path of self-discovery and connecting with the potential within… Even to contemplate it is a HUGE achievement I reckon!

  15. Carol says:

    I have been struggling to get into the raw food lifestyle for several months now. It has really been an uphill struggle for me as I knew ZERO about eating this way. I have also had to go it alone as the rest of my family (all males) are totally addicted to the SAD style of eating. It has been very expensive to get going, taking me several months to stock the equipment and the superfoods required to make the raw food recipes. I am now pretty much there and ready to take the plunge in earnest. I believe that my expenses for a long time now will only be the fresh fruits and vegetables as I have most of the other stuff. I have a number of health problems, all my own fault, which I believe will be either cured or very much alleviated by this diet. Good luck to all of you with this and it is good to see so many Americans that are sick and tired of being sick and tired!

  16. Susan says:

    Hi Carol,
    Some incredible changes are coming for sure – it sounds like you have a beautiful connection to the inner space and self-awareness that’s required to really make this path work for you in your life – despite opposition or it being challenging at times. Thank you for your words and here’s to effortless transformation and remembering the ultimate power and freedom of choice we have in each moment…

  17. NARENDRA says:

    Hi

    Now i am eating raw food from past One week and i feel better. can you tell me how many days we should take raw food in a month / year

  18. Carranetta says:

    I have begun a raw vegan whole foods path. I am on day 6 today. I have angina, heart palpitations, chest pain, chf, enlarged left atrium and ventricle of heart, Why so sick at 51? Diet! I was eating the way everyone before me did. Junk Junk Junk. I always wondered why all my mothers family members were dead by 55. Now I know…I have gone clean to help me heal and lead a better life. I have children and grandchildren who depend on me for a living. I am an R.N. and no, we did not learn how to be healthy in school. We dont learn it in practice. What we learn is pass a cup of pills and cut that bad part out….Really. American medicine is not teaching health, we teach and treat disease symptoms not cause. If you want to be healthy, dont rely on a physician to do it, you must do it yourself by what you put into your mouth…I know. Ive seen many, and Ive worked with many. Seems my conclusion is: They could care less than a damn about your health really, just as long as you pay your bill….

  19. Susan says:

    Hi Narendra,

    Different experts recommend different levels of adherence to a raw food diet from 100% to 80% raw/20% cooked all the time. My personal opinion is it’s really a matter of experiencing the effects of different diets in your own body – let your own intuition and wisdom guide you!

  20. Susan says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing your story with me – it sounds like you are on a profound healing journey – congratulations for taking your health into your own hands! I hear your passion and celebrate your courage in making your own choices and using your own wisdom to guide the way :)

I'd LOVE to hear from you!

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