It’s been 35 days since I began eating raw vegan foods only, and it’s been quite a ride. In the beginning I was so excited, and as I got used to making my simple meals and enjoyed the initial boost of energy, I felt like I could stay this way forever.
What I’ve found is that the greatest obstacle is my emotional connection to certain foods. Eating vegan is the only choice I have, I am staunchly connected to the ethical reasons. I happily and steadfastly believe in animal rights and abstaining from animal products and plan on staying this way forever. However, with this raw vegan challenge going on in my own little world, and I walk into a room with chips and salsa and popcorn on a table, my eyes cry out C’MON YOU CAN’T HAVE ONE CHIP?!?! It’s absolutely an addiction. Luckily my stubborn nature won’t allow me to go back on my decision to fulfill these 108 days, and my perspective shifts to the raw vegan rhetoric: Baked, fried, salty foods are empty calories and they do not satisfy your nutritional needs. Chips fill my stomach with dry processed corn and salt and does not promote dewey skin as chips are desiccated and absorb moisture. I think these thoughts and I move on and eat something bright, like tomatoes or an apple.
I’ve now come to realize some of the biggest keys to sticking with eating this way, are these:
If you don’t know in advance what your next two meals are, you will be leaving your hungry tummy and mind open to temptation, and when everyone around you is eating fat, warm, delicious-smelling burritos and you’re getting hungry realizing there is absolutely NOTHING raw vegan other than the radishes and limes at a Mexican restaurant that you can eat, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Actually, you could scoop guacamole with radish slices! If you’re into that. Maybe squeeze the lime on top and throw on some cilantro. Look at that, I’m getting inventive.
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
Before I ate this way, I would think to myself, “Self, you’re hungry. What would you like to taste in your mouth?”
I have a new perspective now. I’ve been learning that if I don’t get enough food, or certain nutrients get neglected, my body will respond with nausea and/or unpleasant digestive experiences. I’m much more aware now of WHY I’m eating what I’m eating. I eat fruit in the morning to boost my immune system, give me quickly releasing energy and endorphins. The beautiful appearance of a bowl of fruit or a bright smoothie loaded with greens, hemp and chia seeds, makes you feel good about yourself. The colors are cheerful, the taste is fruity and vibrant, tart and sweet, cold and icy, and it’s just crazy energizing! If I miss my morning smoothie, and just eat a single banana, I’m going to have a bad time. Not only am I going to feel tired, but I will also feel grumpy and my stomach will hurt, and everything just goes down from there. It’s about starting to look at food as FUEL that has a certain purpose.
I need spinach and kale for protein and iron, bananas for potassium, blueberries for antioxidants and vitamin C, which is immune boosting and promotes supple skin. It’s like superfood alchemy, and I’ve found it to be DELICIOUS and empowering. It’s like downing that can of spinach that Popeye used to chug. I finish drinking my morning green juice and I feel like jumping straight into the air and running to my car. It’s not a jittery energy like caffeine, it feels different. It’s more like you have energy coursing through your blood, and your thoughts instantly make your body move without hesitation or laziness, you just feel juiced with real, genuine energy.
I finish eating a huge bowl of greens, spinach, cherry tomatoes, raw sunflower seeds and marinated mushrooms in delicious Nama Shoyu Unpasteurized Soy Sauce, and I can teach yoga a half an hour later without worrying about accidently crop-dusting the room.
I made my son a meal the other night: Chicken-less orange chicken, tomatoes, grapes, and a waffle with syrup. Now don’t you judge me, the waffle was an abnormal indulgence to celebrate his Little League game. Anyway my point is, I noticed the science chicken (that’s my name for fake chicken) was a light brown, with a baked flaky, dry texture. The waffle was also dry and brown. The tomatoes and grapes though, were beautiful and plump with smooth bright skins, and I realized my innate, intuitive attraction to the fruit, with nutrients and high water content. I saw the brown dry foods as dead foods. I realize this isn’t entirely true, that this viewpoint is extreme, but it helps me maintain my resolve to see food this way now, considering moisture level and nutritional content!
I had Thai food for my anniversary dinner, as I had planned. It was delicious and incredible, at this place in Anchor Bay, California, along Highway 1 North of Jenner. I ate slowly and savored the comforting warmth of my first hot meal in 30 days, and sadly I got full so fast!!!
This worried me because I was like, “Great, now I have leftovers but I need to go back to raw, but, but…..I can’t throw this away! I can’t not eat this…I’ll just have it later and consider the entire DAY today a cheat day from raw vegan to normal vegan, not a big deal, and TOMORROW I will go back to fully raw.”
Just like that, it was justified in my head! We went back to our rental treehouse and watched movies and ate chips and salsa, which I had missed so dearly. I tried not to overdo it but I could not stop eating tortilla chips. You’re familiar with the affliction of salty chip addiction, I’m sure. I got full and bloated but I was like NOM SALTY CRUNCHY CHIPS!!! Seriously I was on drugs, and this drug’s name was salty tortilla chips and mocajete salsa from Costco. I was very happy in my hedonism.
Then I woke at 3 in the morning with my mouth salivating, feeling like I needed to throw up! Super lame. So I got up and used the bathroom, breathed deeply, drank water and after a movement felt much better, a full HOUR later. That was such a bummer, realizing that when I’m eating so cleanly, anything different I eat, (like 2 pounds of chips and salsa and Pad Thai) is going to stir things up. That was unpleasant and reminded me of the overarching theme of this whole experiment: Eating raw vegan feels INCREDIBLE: ONLY when you’re doing it right. If you have a passive interest in nutrition and just want to try to be extreme and lose weight, you’re going to lose steam and blame the diet. What I’m realizing is, whole, raw plant foods are natural, incredible medicine and fuel. We eat food, our body converts it, and we live with the results. We eat dairy, we are giving our body nudges toward acidity, increasing our risk of cancer. The more we load our bodies with alkaline foods, plant foods, bright, watery, delicious fruits and vegetables, the more our skin, energy levels and bodies respond with vibrant good feelings of healthfulness.
So I ate my Thai food, loved it, overindulged, got a bad middle-of-the-night tummy-ache, relieved myself, felt better, and the next day I was SO tempted to eat more chips. It’s like the salt was calling to me. I had a few more chips the day after my cheat day, and I was like “NO! Look at you! Now your resolve has a hole in it!!” So I knocked that shit off and did my whole cognitive dissonance thing where I convince my brain that cooked food lacks nutrients and until July 31st, when my 108 days of raw food are up, I don’t consider it food! This is how I maintain my resolve.
TRAVELING WHILE RAW VEGAN
When we hit the road to go camping up Highway 1 last week, I planned for it extensively by bringing lots of bananas, kiwis, apples, almond butter, nuts, tomatoes, mushrooms, dates, dehydrated fruit bars, dehydrated nut bars, and lots of Spinach and greens. Luckily in Gualala there is a great store called Surf Market that was just as awesome as Whole Foods with the high quality vegan food available! I was so impressed with the amount of raw vegan food available our entire trip, even at a tiny supermarket convenience store in Anchor Bay. The world is changing, it’s so encouraging!
I have a late night date problem. The worst part is, they each have a pit, so I can count how many little reasons the scale hasn’t moved much past those initial 6 pounds lost. Normally when I’m on a mission to lose weight, I would be lifting weights and working out in Some capacity every day. Lately I’ve just been doing yoga and swimming and hitting group fitness classes 2-4 times a week, so there isn’t my solid concerted effort introduced just yet. When I’m truly set to lose weight, I arrange and plan and prioritize to work out every single day, even on my rest day, I do yin yoga. I’ve found that by planning to work out every day, if you miss a day (which happens sometimes no matter how well you plan!) you’ll still get at least 4-6 workouts that week.
Every night for a few days in a row, seven to nine little date seeds sat there on a plate, mocking me in their little pile at 11pm while I’m watching Koi Fresco Youtube videos.
I’m still sitting right at 130lbs!
My goal weight, which I have achieved before with Boot camp, weight lifting, swimming and high-raw veganism, is 118lbs.
What I’m reminding myself, is that when I went to personal training school, they said it takes 6 weeks for your nervous system and metabolism to catch up and respond to the food and exercise stimuli you’re using to change your body. I’m reminding myself to be patient with myself, and everyday I put full effort into making better decisions about food, exercise, and getting enough sleep. Luckily, the dates self-regulate, so if I have too many, my body will respond with flatulence and more frequent movements, and I’ll know to back off.
STILL JUST BEGINNING!
I’m getting used to eating this way, and I’m constantly researching new recipes to keep myself from getting bored. I find myself buying food for recipes almost every day, and it does get expensive if I overindulge in fancy dehydrated cookies and granola. Nuts are expensive too, and so is organic fruit, but luckily greens are cheap, and I’m moving toward getting a serious berry, tomato, and lettuce garden going on so I won’t have to buy food so much. Also, it’s really not much more expensive than eating the way I normally do, which makes me feel great and keeps my immune system hardy, which is more than worth it to me. People at my work get sick pretty often, and I haven’t gotten a cold in almost a year! I used to get sick more often, so I’ve found this to be remarkable proof.
RAW VEGAN EDUCATION
Another reason I am motivated to complete 108 days of Raw Veganism is this: I want to do a yoga class/ raw vegan course at one of the gyms I work at, Core Values Health and Fitness in Napa. Would any of you guys be interested? After 108 days I feel I will have built up a foundation of compiled experience and passionate, excited, daily seeking of education, and could confidently share with others how they may transform their mental willpower, body, health and energy with these foods. This has been so much fun so far, and although I was temped for a few days there (Vegan Brunch is now being offered at a restaurant in Oakland called “Hella Vegan Eats“….GAH! I want to go!) I still feel incredible resolve.
I want to see this through and really attain dramatic results to inspire others to explore their mental limits and test their body’s capability to feel amazing. Eating food that vibrates this high and bright makes you feel light and vibrant, and people use that very word often when describing my energy since this change. Sometimes I honestly have to remember to breathe often and focus on meditation to calm my bursting energy. I love feeling this way, and I’m sticking to it, even though it’s not easy! I believe it’s harder to live feeling tired and sick than it is to plan meals and have fun feeling young and energetic eating raw superfoods! If you have any questions, ask away, I’m happy to answer anything as best I can. I will make another update at 50 days!