Why go raw? Is a raw food diet really better? Will you see results?
So, a few weeks back, in an attempt to get healthier, I decided to go raw. Yes, raw. Completely, unequivocally, 100% raw. Raw food diets are gaining quite a bit of popularity, while also remaining controversial as well. Devotees to the raw diet say that it offers a wide array of benefits for the body as well as the mind. Claims range the gamut from increased overall energy and positivity, to cures of cancers, diabetes and a number of other health issues.
For those of you who don’t know, eating raw & living foods is the basic premise of the diet, filling up with straight vitamin nutrition derived from fruits, vegetables, nuts & legumes.
What is a raw food diet?
While I am not an expert on the diet itself, I can tell you the main idea is to eat all foods in their pure raw state. Most will highly recommend the diet to be filled with organic fruits & vegetables, along with sprouted grains and lentils. Dairy, as in yogurt, ice cream, milk, cheese are all pasteurized and therefore do not come under the category of raw foods. However, many raw foodies get their calcium needs from fresh almond milk and coconut milk. Essentially, the idea is to eat living foods to live. If it has died or is on its way out, it has no place in your body, or so they say… There are many more details beyond this, but I will keep it short and sweet for now.
How I went raw…
First off, let me say that I decided to attempt the raw food plan to gain energy, attain a higher level of health, and most importantly to lose weight, (and lose it fast … I’m not gonna lie and say I wanted to lose 1 pound a month now….)
I had heard of the raw diet long ago, hearing that many celebrities used the diet in order to maintain their fresh looks. For the most part, I must say that I thought that it was a fad filled with mostly hippies and men with long flowing curls in their hair doing yoga. It was those wild juice people who lived on love and had more energy than I could dream of.
I read and researched and found that many people who switch to raw diets experienced major difficulty keeping weight on while experiencing bursts of wild ravenous energy, and that, my friends, enticed me….
I knew it would be tough, I still had to cook for three kids and a hungry husband. I had to watch them chew the delectable foods that I made for them, almost tasting it from the smell alone. Foods I once loved and enjoyed were no longer an option. I had to banish myself to green smoothies and fruit and learn how to sprout things I never knew I could. I knew that I could easily cut my portion size and try to incorporate more whole foods into my diet, but that whole talk about weight effortlessly dropping off of my body made me think again… I took a good look at myself and knew that I was not the type that could do things gradually. I couldn’t omit milk one week, then bread the next, nope. For me, it was all or nothing, 100% or fail. I could not possibly bear with the temptation of knowing that I could have just half of a hamburger or one small serving of pasta. So I jumped in headfirst not knowing how to swim and expecting myself to succeed. Did I?
What? You expect a straight yes or no answer? You are not gonna get one. Did the diet work? Yes, it did. I lost 10 pounds in the first month, most of the weight came off within the first two weeks. Was the diet worth it? Hmmm… Now that is a more complicated question.
First off, you have to know your body. I know mine. I know that I could have lost 10 pounds by replacing my dinner with watermelon. Although I am sure that the raw food diet is a healthy choice, it was darn near impossible for me to do. I eat tons of salads, either way, and I still found difficulty. I spent a ton of money trying to find raw nuts and raw honey, only to find that pretty much everything in the US is pasteurized and therefore not truly raw and I pretty much paid a lot of money for nothing. Apparently, the only way to buy raw nuts is from farms and, well, come on now. Isn’t that going a bit too far?
A difficulty that I experienced as well was that my weight loss started to slow down. I would read the forums and discovered that a lot of people had that problem as well. The advice? Most people responded with answers like this, “try to cut down on avocados” or “try to avoid eating too many fruits as they are high in sugar”…. Comments like those pissed me off. Here I was, restricting myself from milk, cheese, bread, meat, cooked foods, and now I had to give up avocados too? Cut my salad portions? Omit fruit? C’mon, please.
Now for those people out there with health problems galore, I definitely believe it could be highly beneficial… but for a stay at home mom with three kids trying to lose weight while sprouting chick peas? I don’t know, I am looking for other ways.
Read about my experience with the Paleo Diet here!