I never imagined being able to do a month of eating only raw food. If you asked me a year or two ago to do a raw cleanse, there’s no way I would have. I was so focused on eating protein with every meal that I couldn’t imagine completely eliminating meat and dairy from my diet. It’s not like my diet was bad before, it just most certainly was not raw. I remember a couple years ago when I first got into body building. I was at the gym 6 days a week lifting heavy weights. My lowest weight was 108 lbs (I was tiny), but I sure was mighty. I was able to squat more than some of the boys (or at least I thought so, hehe). I took pride in my muscles and would look forward to my workouts at the gym.
For those of you interested, I am at around 120lbs now, give or a take a few. I am still exercising and lifting weights on a regular basis (around 4 times/week), but I decided not to make my life about how I look anymore, but how I feel…
My Past Diet
In all honesty, my outer appearance always mattered more to me than anything else. I used to carry my phone around and keep track of my macronutrients (proteins, carbs & fats) with every meal I ate. I had it down to every gram that I consumed. With all the effort I put into my eating and workout routine, I certainly earned the body I had attained through my dedication. I was in the best shape of my life, but I was not what I would call healthy now.
Ring, ring, ring. The alarm clock goes off and I have already preplanned my breakfast lying in bed the night before. I need to incorporate around 20 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat and less than 5 grams of sugar into my breakfast. I mastered egg whites with all of my recipes – the Mother of protein sources. I could make scrambled egg whites with cottage cheese, a slice of ezekiel toast and a handful of berries. I also could have oatmeal with egg whites and protein powder stirred in at the end. Oh – how could I forget…egg white PANCAKES with oatmeal, cottage cheese and applesauce. Yum! The possibilities were endless….or not. Guess what I was eating for my bedtime meal?….egg whites. I would hard boil another 5 eggs and toss out the yokes when they were cooked. I was so concerned about my protein that it didn’t matter about the micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) anymore. I was way more concerned about growing muscle, leaning out and eating within my calorie and macronutrient range. I can’t believe I lived this way. I was like a slave.
I guess I started to slow down with my crazy workouts and calorie/macronutrient counting when I decided to go off the pill (read about my experience here). I realized my internal health was more important than my external appearance. I was now willing to do anything to get my body balanced again. My face was turning into the rocky mountains and I realized my body was not happy with the torture I was putting it through. I went to see a homeopathic doctor about my problem and I did an allergy/food sensitivity test. Guess what came up? Eggs. I was eating 10 eggs a day. This is not good. I had caused my own intolerance to eggs by eating SO MANY. Did you know you need variety in your diet? Don’t eat too much of the same thing every day because you just might end up intolerant to it – especially high allergenic foods. I decided to stop eating eggs and give my body a rest. Unfortunately, the rocky mountains on my face decided to stay a while, regardless of my decision to stop eating eggs. To this day my body is still recovering from all that I put it through.
As you probably know from following my journey thus far, I have come a long way since then. I decided to stop focusing on counting macronutrients and calories and switched my focus to my health. I am resetting my body (so to speak) by doing a raw 30 day journey (see here for the start of my journey). I went into this raw 30 days thinking that it was a cleanse – AKA, it has a start and finish (heavy emphasis on the finish!!). Starting out, I missed eating my regular breakfast. I missed my lunch. I missed my dinner. I missed FOOD. I was looking forward to the end. It wasn’t until the first week was over that I realized this isn’t just a cleanse, this is a current lifestyle. This is a journey. This is fun! I was beginning to see my options in front of me instead of everything I couldn’t have. I had an “AHA!” moment:
It all comes down to your perspective.
The key to success in a raw diet is your mindset going into it…if you see it as a cleanse, you will most certainly be excited for the end when you get to eat “real food” again. If you see it as a different lifestyle (for a short while) and focus on enjoying each meal/food you consume, it is so enjoyable! It does take work to train your brain to think this way, but once you get over the first week, it is smooth sailing from there.
I have to say, what I have been doing is totally my own thing and not an official plan or program. I made the decision to go into this on my own and figure it out as I go. That is my personality. I research everything and get a ton of different information to form my own “plan.” I know that the cleanse/raw plans out there are quite expensive, especially if you are signing up for a cleanse where the food is already prepared for you. BUT, I’ll have you know, it doesn’t need to be expensive if you have the will power and focus to do it on your own. I know first hand that it is not easy cutting out what seems like EVERYTHING from your diet and switching to a plant based diet. With my own experience, I found that once you get into the groove of it, you become creative and discover a whole new world you have been missing out on for so long! It is invigorating to be able to make the decision at a restaurant to eat a salad with olive oil and lemon instead of digging into a huge piece of beef (I had to do this at a family dinner at Milestones when I first began this journey). It is not always easy, and you will have to make difficult decisions…”Do I have just one bite of the appetizers on the table? It wont kill me…” Your brain will make you believe whatever you want. You need to have willpower and push through the difficult times and keep persevering. Before long, it won’t even be a thought in your mind.
I am thinking of creating a very affordable 5 day plan for those interested in trying a week of the raw lifestyle. I would love to be able to put together recipes, tips and a grocery list for those interested in trying this out. Day by day you would know exactly what to do. I want everyone to have access to an affordable “guide” to help you through this – if you are serious about trying the raw lifestyle. It is only 5 days, and I know you can do it! You can continue on after the 5 days or you can stop and go right back to however you were eating before. My hope is that you will feel refreshed, confident and invigorated by this challenge. Maybe you will decide to eat more raw food after feeling the difference for yourself! If there is enough interest, I will need to do some digging to see how I can put this together (without putting myself at risk). Keep in mind, I am not a certified nutritionist and am definitely not a doctor. This would be a “try at your own risk”…but in my opinion, diets like the Atkins and South Beach Diet have far far FAR greater risk. We were created to eat the food from the earth, and it would be my pleasure to help more people do JUST that.
Please comment below, email or Facebook me if this sounds like something you would be interested in. If there is enough interest, I will begin planning as soon as possible.
Bye for now!