Sunday, October 16, 2011

Raw Food Challenge

Exactly one week ago, I decided to do a raw food challenge. I wanted to give it a try because I have been feeling really sluggish and slow, my face keeps breaking out like crazy, and despite my best efforts, have been gaining weight. Some of my friends have done various "cleanses," but I am extremely nervous about extreme diets that deprive your body of nutrients in order to loose a couple of pounds quickly. After asking around and doing lots of research, I came across this raw food challenge idea. Little Sister's boss, after spending several months in the hospital before they discovered she has severe gluten and diary allergies, is on an all raw-food diet. She gave me some information on the topic and convinced me to give it a try.

So, for the past week, I have been eating nothing but fresh fruit, lots of veggies, and some nuts and seeds. No dairy, no gluten, no meat.

Produce Road
Honestly, I feel great! I feel so incredibly healthy. My skin cleared up in a matter of days and I am already losing some of the weight I have gained. It sort of feels like my whole system is resetting. Don't get me wrong, it is tough. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are no big deal. When dinner rolls around though, after a long day of work, all I want to eat is an awesome burrito. Or especially on chilly days, all I want is grilled cheese and tomato soup. But the more days that go by, the fewer things I crave.

The no-meat thing hasn't been hard at all. I was a vegetarian for about five years and have only recently (within the past year or so) taken up eating some chicken every now and then, and maybe a cheeseburger on special occasions. The dairy thing has been okay. I don't drink milk all that often anyway, but I do love cheese and ice cream. Both of those things are off limits, so I have been wanting a little bit of dairy occasionally. I'd have to say, the hardest part has been not being able to eat processed carbohydrates, especially in wheat form.

Currently, I am in Moab, UT, playing chauffeur for Roomie's half marathon. She is running "The Other Half" as we speak. I am chilling at a local cafe while I wait for it to be time to go cheer her on at the finish line. This is awesome for three reasons: a) I love road trips, b) I love cafes, and c) I love Moab. It's a win-win all around. Anyway, I decided when I started my challenge that I could have one meal that was still somewhat healthy, but not necessarily raw, during the trip. Sort of as something to look forward to on the All-I-Want-To-Eat-Is-An-Awesome-Burrito nights, and because it's a little difficult to find 100% raw foods in restaurants (besides salads, I guess.) I opted for a nice and light margarita pizza for dinner last night. It was great! But I am surprised how glad I was this morning to get a fruit smoothie for breakfast.

The most interesting thing about this experience was how exhausting the first couple of days were. The first day was difficult because I was not mentally used to eating that much produce, and nothing else. The two following days however, my brain and body were so mentally and physically exhausted that I couldn't focus on anything. I ended up having to leave work early because I could not keep my thoughts straight and my whole body was clammy and sensitive, almost like I had the flu. After that, however, my mental clarity returned with a vengeance and I have been more productive than ever. I am also feeling physically better than ever about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time I get crabby and moody because I forget that I need to eat again and keep drinking water. The amount of produce I eat is astounding. Seriously. I am eating several apples, bananas, oranges, and other berries, avocados, salads, and any other random thing you can think of daily. Whole Foods is my new best friend.

The goal of my own little raw food challenge is to make it two weeks, and then re-evaluate. I by no means intend for this to be a long-term lifestyle change. I love food too much to give it all up. However, now with the first week over, I imagine that I might extend the challenge by another week or two (why not make it a round month?), depending on how the second week goes. Twenty-one days makes a habit, right? And by that time, my body will have reset enough that I can continue to make good choices and feel as healthy as I do now.

What kind of food choices do you make? What are they influenced by? Do you think you could eat raw food for a week? More? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Leafy Greens


  1. I will never try this because chicken nuggets are not a raw food.

  2. Wow, Nicole! You GO girlfriend!