Wednesday, March 31, 2010

30 Day Raw Food Challenge Complete!

On Sunday, I completed my 30 day raw challenge, and I am so very glad I did it. The last two weeks have absolutely flown by. I had no real issues with cravings, sickness, tiredness, etc. In fact, I feel like I started to benefit from the diet change. The benefits I saw over the last month included: 13 total pounds in weight loss, flatter abdomen, less bloating and less of that yucky heavy full feeling, better facial complexion (in fact I think the dark circles under my eyes are disappearing), more energy, and no cravings! My blood sugar feels completely level at all times, I don’t feel like I go through highs and lows through the day, and I generally feel younger all over.

There are a lot of people who consider shifting gradually to raw – for instance, many people start out by going 50% raw every day. I didn’t do this. I went 100%, or close to it, and I think this had greater benefits. One of the challenges was learning what to eat and how to prepare meals. I have learned so much about raw recipes and eating in the last month. If I had limited my raw intake to only 50% of the time, I would not have been forced to learn so much about all the many options that a raw diet actually includes. Instead, I would have stuck with smoothies and salads. And in retrospect, I would have really shortchanged the experience and not really obtained a true perspective about it. And I think if I was still eating certain foods, I would be experiencing cravings. And the lack of cravings is what makes choice of going raw so easy.

It’s funny that I’m saying this now, because the first week I posted about this challenge I stated clearly that I needed food ideas. No one gave me any. I couldn’t figure out what else was out there besides fresh fruit and salads. Now it seems like there are so many choices that I could never possibly get tired of a raw diet. You absolutely must check out this blog – Choosing Raw - and look at the photos of meals that you can eat on a raw diet (including the one above in this blog post). Trust me, natural and raw foods are not lacking in taste, flavor or satisfaction. One of my absolutely favorite recipes I found on this website was for Banana Ice Cream. It was heavenly, and all four of us gobbled it down with gusto.

I also really loved the homemade almond and sesame milk I made … so much more than the store bought. Which brings me to another point—about 20 days into my raw challenge I attended a raw class that really helped give me a better understanding of how eating raw really works in a household. What areas you can give and take on when you have a budget? And I learned how to make beloved homemade nut milks—which by the way are incredibly easy, so easy an 8-year-old could do it. At the class I went to we tasted homemade almond milk compared to store bought, and boy was there a difference. We also did some other tasting tests, and between that, and everyday occurrences, I can say that my taste buds have drastically changed this month.

The most common question I’ve heard all month is: But where do you get your protein? Well, this is a very good question. But let me assure you, there are options out there. There are things like avocado, broccoli, and other high-protein veggies. But there are also hemp seeds and nutritional yeast, and other alternative protein sources that I am still discovering and learning about.

Then there is the issue of calcium. Did you know that milk from unhulled sesame seed milk actually has 4 times more calcium than cow’s milk? A little surprising I thought.

There is a lot I still need to learn about getting all the nutrients I need. But I will admit, I did see a doctor before choosing this. And my doctor actually told me that she is vegetarian and that there are numerous of studies out there that show that eating meat leads to a shorter life span. I didn’t ask for details because I had my own reasons for the change.

And while I mentioned it in the opening paragraph, I was a little surprised that my cravings are completely gone. I can actually cook a separate meal for my family, including meat, and not want a bite of it. In fact, I sometimes feel like I’m serving them blind because I don’t taste test anything. One night I accidentally spilt some honey mustard dressing on my finger and before I knew it my finger was in my mouth. Habit I guess. But get this; I could not believe how disgusting it was! Anyway, as a whole, the family is still eating many, many cooked meals. But Thomas and I have introduced more raw foods with each meal. The children really enjoy a green smoothie on a regular basis, chocked full of spinach or kale. And snacks are usually completely raw for them as well. There is always fruit, but I’ve also made a variety of fruit and nut bars for them over the last month. And I’ve learned you can make raw cakes!

I committed to a 30 day challenge and I finished it. So I’m just thinking you may be wondering where this leaves me now. Well, after 33 days raw, I can honestly say I do not want to go back. I am so happy with the way I feel and the food I’m eating, that I plan on staying this way. I never remember feeling this way with any diet. I’m simple amazed at how much I am enjoying choosing raw and I’m really looking forward to making the “nutloaf” pictured above.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I am so proud of you. You did it! Not that I doubted, but it's nice to "know" someone out there cares. That's wonderful about the weight loss - much better then mine, but I'm going back strict this week, so we'll see.