Lately I have been trying to engage clients, friends and colleagues to participate in mini challenges with me online in an attempt to push ourselves and motivate/inspire each other. These challenges involve workouts, exercise time and rep challenges, and nutrition challenges- they are all posted on my website here
One of these challenges was a modified raw food cleanse for the New Year, and the Facebook event can be found here.
I went into this thinking it would be relatively straightforward- that I'd eat tons of raw vegetables and fruits, be hungry for a week or so, and "flush" out. Day 1 January 1st I was hungover, hurting from the coffee withdrawl on top of the food. By Day 2 I was feeling better bit increasingly dissatisfied with food and began googling raw food in the hopes of finding some direction. This revealed an entire philosophy on the raw food diet, what constitutes "raw" food (live food), etc. It is fascinating stuff. I liked this website in particular; I found it straightforward, although admittedly I haven't dug very deep into it yet, as my research led me into the field :)
Check out this link anyway: The Living and Raw Foods FAQ
Day 2 I had some great inspiration from one of my best friends who is a food genius, quite frankly, and I bow down to her green thumb and superior knowledge of all such things. So a little research and a little inspiration led me to put together a bonified satisfying "raw" meal. This is carrot ginger soup with green bean/soaked quinoa, chopped spinach, bean sprouts, & tomatoes and boy was it delicious and filling. I'd like to add that Days 1 & 3 I had a bowl of cooked cereal to supplement, according to the "modified" raw food cleanse description.
My good friend advised me that soaked grains should be limited in a raw food diet, but sprouted grains were live and perfectly wonderful to eat as liberally as possible. This led me to my first sprouting experiment: Quinoa soaked for 24 hours, sprouted for 12.
With this, on Day 3 I made a wonderful raw breakfast of sprouts with fruit, berries & maple syrup. SO yum!
I continued on to sprout a blend of lentils and green peas
I should add that I am working out 60+ minutes every day. I was feeling pretty great!
Breakfasts continued to be yummy and I began experimenting more with salads and home made dressing/splashes for flavor. Fresh herbs have now been incorporated to zest up the flavor- cilantro is my favorite!
Day 5's Research took me out in to the field and I treated myself to a raw restaurant meal at Rawlicious. I got there as soon as they opened and had the place to myself. I asked for the best recommendation, ordered the raw pad thai and began picking the brains of the lovely ladies working there. Alana was extremely knowledgeable and 100% unpretentious and gave me some great tips on preparing raw food for dummies.
The most valuable things she taught me:
- 118 degrees is the magic temperature raw food. Food an be warmed up to this temperature- think bath water warm. It makes a big difference with the raw soups.
- You can "dehydrate" with the oven on the lowest setting and the door cracked- not sure you want you oven on for 6-48 hours, but it's good to know it can be done, even just a bit to soften texture.
- Make noodles from vegetables- zuccini's and spaghetti squashes are great. Make slaws.
- You need a good blender to be serious- Vitamix was the brand that came up. $$$$
- You can make juice with a blender straining through a nut bag. You can use fruit, vegetable and nut mulch in recipes!
Seriously this girl was amazing. I rewarded myself (Day 5) with a fancy cutter and a nut bag :)
O ya and I asked for the sweetest thing they had and loved the raw pecan pie!
So from there I have been trying to be creative with my meals. It has been doable.
Breakfasts are easy- sprouts with fruit.
This is a Spinach soup made with avacado, fruit on the side.
This is a cauliflower tabouli with beet, carrot, snap peas & hummus.
Heading into Day 7 I know I will continue to incorporate these principles in a BIG way after this cleanse- perhaps I will even maintain this food plan another week, just for fun. I have some serious observations to make on this raw food diet:
- I thought I would be eating tons more, but I am eating way less. Theoretically if you are absorbing more nutrients AND digestive enzymes not only is your food more concentrated, your body is not working as hard to digest the meals.
- I have completely stopped counting calories. Quick as a flash, it has left my mind. I have no clue how many calories I am eating nor do I care!
- I eat not to feel full but rather to have my hunger cease. My portions are a fraction of a regular meal and once my hunger goes away I am inclined to stop eating immediately. This is directly influenced by the care and attention to the food preparation that makes it flavorful and satisfying.
- My system is completely flushed, 6 days in.
- I don't miss coffee at all, and I have TONS more energy!
- I am sleeping noticeably less and wake up less tired- in fact I have been up 10-20 minutes earlier EVERY day!
- I feel amazing.