28 days of me

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Raw Food Diet Conclusions

Below is a summary of how going on a raw food only diet for 28 days affected my mood, my health and my general wellbeing. I’ve created a list of tips for anyone who is thinking about going raw – how do you start, what equipment do you need and some tricks I learnt along the way. Below is also a cheat’s version to the challenge in case you don’t have time to read all 28 days ;-)

Blood Test Results

It’s been over two full weeks since I finished my 28 days raw. I now have my blood test results back – interestingly enough, especially as I was generally feeling amazeballs the whole time,  I am lower in just about everything – lower in B vitamins, iron, magnesium etc. I am still in the ‘healthy’ range so there is nothing to worry about, but it is extremely interesting to me that a raw diet promotes the fact that your body is able to extract more nutrients from the food yet my blood tests indicate otherwise.

BLOOD TEST RESULTS
before after min/max
Vitamin B1 178 170 85/175
Vitamin B2 276 227 200/375
Vitamin B6 178 165 59/179
Vitanim B12 250 180 130/700
Calcium 2.47 2,41 2.2/2.65
Magnesium 0.84 0,74 0.7/1.05
Vitamin D 90 70 50/185
Iron 18 12 10/25
Ferritin 35 26 20/250
Folate 37.5 32.299 5
Erythrocyte 4.4 4,4 3.8/5.3
Hemoglobin 8.1 8,1 7.3/9.8
hematocrit 0.38 0,4 0.36/0.48
M.C.V 87 90 83/98
Blood pressure 118 / 70 105 / 65
Pulse 71 65

Cheat’s Guide To The 28 Days 

Don’t have the time to read all 28 posts – never mind, I have created a cheat’s version here. Below are 28 findings from my 28 days raw, in no particular order.

  1. The month went insanely quick, way faster than I thought it would
  2. I said I would eat raw meat products if I felt like it. I ended up having raw fish only twice during the 28 days, and no meat
  3. I’m still at least 80% raw. I thought I would probably include more raw food in my diet but I am surprised at how much I don’t have a desire to eat a burger or a beef stew (yet)
  4. I got sick two days after the 28 days. Just a cold. One of the benefits of eating a raw diet is better immune system / less illness. Some could argue that I got sick because I came off the diet but I only ate a very small percentage of cooked food in those first few days (5% maybe)…so I am questioning the increased immunity you are supposed to get from eating raw food.
  5. The first non-raw thing I ate was a boiled egg :-)
  6. I think my sense of smell improved on the diet – is that weird? Sounds weird to me.
  7. I used my blender at least 2 times a day
  8. I was eating more fats and sugars than normal – that felt a bit odd at first
  9. I think I was eating more garlic than I realised …ekk sorry friends and work mates!
  10. I definitely slept a lot less than I normally do
  11. I often had a quite frustrating feeling of both being tired but energised at the same time
  12. One big change I noticed is I didn’t get my usual the afternoon dip – I think one day I had a very mild version of it but mostly I had great energy in the afternoons
  13. I was nauseous after I ate, almost every time, for the entire first week
  14. I’m now feeling a bit nauseous after I eat cooked food…go figure…
  15. I didn’t really feel like drinking much during the 28 days
  16. When I did, I was rubbish at it. I would get pretty drunk off one glass of red, and then almost instantly tired
  17. I can see how it would be anti social to maintain a 100% raw diet
  18. I generally had good energy and felt positive
  19. It was fun learning new ‘cooking’ tricks. Some recipes were amazing…some were rubbish (Cauliflower rice springs to mind…)
  20. I would be keen to try a fully raw diet again. Probably in the summer.
  21. Most people commentated on how good my skin looked. When pressed for more info most said radiant, healthy, clear. Lucky me ;-)
  22. I didn’t have as much endurance as usual for exercise. I found I wasn’t pushing myself as hard in yoga or in my cardio sessions
  23. It is a LOT of work. My weekends were filled with finding recipes, market shopping and prep-ing food for the week
  24. If I wanted to make something special I usually need to start 24 hours in advance (usually soaking nuts)
  25. I didn’t spend as much money as I usually do over the 28 days. This was mainly because I didn’t go out for dinners as much and apart from a few glasses of red, didn’t really drink.
  26. I had less migraines that I have been having normally over the 28 days raw. This wasn’t that ground breaking for me – my migraines are very sporadic and I know they are triggered from influences other than diet but, what did interest me was I managed to get rid of most of them with regular old panadol – 500mg and some fresh air. This has never happened before, I usually need strong prescription medication to be able to even made a dent in them
  27. I’m wondering how much of my feel good factor was from the ‘project’ and not the diet – it was fun to blog, it gave me a creative outlet, I enjoy cooking and I got to work with food a lot so I’m wondering how much was from that as opposed to the food I was consuming? Honest answer is I don’t know.
  28. Last Friday night I had steak, potatoes and roast carrot – hummmhum, it was SO good ;-)

Tips And Tricks

Now I’m certainly no expert but I thought I would share a few tips from my 28 days raw for anyone who is thinking about going it a go.

— Don’t just have fruit and salad with nothing else – you will get insanely hungry and then just reach for a sandwich
— Make sure you have a supply of raw snacks with you, especially initially when you don’t know how much the raw meals will fill you up or you don’t know when you will get hungry on your new diet. Easy things like dried fruit and nuts or fruit work well to start off with.
— You will need to dedicate some time to this diet / lifestyle change – I have spent quite a large chunk of my weekends researching recipes, buying ingredients and blending, dehydrating, preparing food.
— I would highly recommend  buying a blender. I used mine at least twice a day
— If you want to eat out try to call the restaurant at least two days ahead and ask them if they can prepare a raw meal
— If you eat something that’s not raw it’s not the end of the world – just keep going
— Get familiar with green smoothies – so good for you, easy to make and delicious
— Drink lots of warm water with lemon – good for you and also helps with the hunger!
— For anyone that is active / growing getting enough calories is probably going to be the biggest challenge – especially from foods other than dried fruit and nuts (which are tasty and very convenient but high in sugar (high GI) and fats)
— People (friends) will probably think you are at least a bit weird – get ready for that reaction cos it will happen ;-)
— Remember your body is going through some pretty major changes. Go easy on yourself and give your body time to adjust
— A lot of people advise gradually increasing your percentage of raw food in your diet if you are trying to become raw. I can’t comment on this as I didn’t try it that way, and of course it will depend on how far from raw your regular diet is, but for me it worked really well going in cold turkey. I imagine if you are dabbling with it, it would be easy to chose a non raw option because you can convince yourself you will just go more raw next meal.
— If raw isn’t for you then I would advise at least try switching out your breaky for green smoothies.
— And lastly, go easy on the garlic, that stuff is STRONG raw

Before you start the diet, I would recommend getting familiar with this recipe – one of the quickest and most tasty raw recipes:

Zucchini pasta with pesto:
‘Pasta’
– Cut the zucchini in half length ways and use a peeler to make long strips that resemble fettuccine (or use a julienne peeler to make spaghetti)

Pesto
Blend together:
– a good bunch of fresh basil
– squeeze of lemon juice
– glug of olive oil
– salt and pepper
– garlic (go easy, 1 glove max)
– 1/2 cup pine nuts (walnuts work well too)
– 1/2 to 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (if you have it)

28daysofme raw Day 26

 

Links

Here are my most visited sites for recipes and inspiration during the 28 days:

Green smoothies
This Rawsome Vegan Life
Jónsi and Alex’s recipe book
Raw Guru
Rawmazing
How to sprout lentils

Conclusions

My overall experience was positive. That is pretty obvious to me since I am still majority raw ;-) My biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to try a raw food diet is make time for it in your life. You need time for researching recipes, buying produce and preparing meals. Especially at first when you may need to try a few different stores to find that one special ingredient, or when you are learning new cooking (preparing) techniques. Also remember that all your old fallbacks – eggs on toast, quick pasta etc won’t be available to you so have a few easy, tasty raw meals already in your repertoire before you start (like the Pesto pasta above)

Each day I ticked a box from 1 to 5 to indicate my mood – 5 if I felt euphoric and 1 if I was feeling pretty lousy. You can see the results in the mood graph above.

mood

I am really glad I tried it and I actually think the experiment has changed my diet forever (ok, thats a big call when it’s only two weeks since I stopped being 100% raw…but I do feel like my eating habits have changed for good).  Raw recipes are (mostly) great and now I am more familiar with them I imagine I will choose these over cooked / processed food most of the time.

Right now I’m busy preparing for my next 28 days. What’s it going to be? Well, that would ruin the surprise! Thanks for sharing my journey with me, I’m off to eat well…whatever I bloody well feel like ;-) X