Prologue to a Twins Blog

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fun with Raw Foods

The first time I ever heard about people eating only raw foods was a few years ago and I thought it was Crazy! That’s crazy with a capital C. How can one go through life without eating foods that have been toasted, warmed or cooked? No soups, no cereal, no bread, no crackers, no junk food for sure, no steak, chicken, pork, turkey – not even the fake stuff or garden burgers. No more popcorn or French fries – my two favorite foods on earth. I thought for sure it was impossible.

About a month ago I was flipping through my book catalogs scoping out new books for the bookstore and came across Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast by Ani Phyo which focused on losing weight by eating raw foods. It peaked my interest so I bought the book and was just WOWED! She lays out a raw food plan which encourages your body to lose weight in 15 days.

Sounded good to me and there have been a few things that I’ve been tired of lately – eating the same old foods over and over again – basically I was tired of eating junk. I was also tired of letting the twins get the best of me and not finishing projects that I start. I thought if I tried this plan for 15 days it would accomplish two things for me – it would give me the sense of accomplishment and completion and also force me to eat new foods that I wasn’t normally eating. It was a win-win for me. Of course, there was also that 20 extra pounds that’s been with me since the twins were born. It would be nice to finally lose the extra weight.

Most people become a raw foodist after going through the “food continuum” of eating everything, changing over to vegetarian, then becoming vegan, and then going to raw. I skipped over all that and went right to raw foods. As a junk food junkie, it was a drastic step, but as Ani said it’s only for 15 days. Of course, at the end of 15 days she is convinced that you will enjoy eating this way all the time and that you will remain a raw foodist either 100% or as much as possible.

I was never a good cook so for me a raw food diet made sense. I immediately realized how easy it was to be on a raw food diet – throw 3 – 6 ingredients into a blender and done. I’ve made all sorts of foods this way. I’ve also prepared salads, snacks, and dessert in literally minutes. The blender I use is the Ninja system which I bought at Kohls on sale.  I've even used it to chop nuts with no problem.  It pulverizes everything and is really easy to clean.

I am now eating foods that I love and being introduced to eating them in a whole new way. Dates and celery were never high up on my food list, but I’m finding that I actually enjoy eating them. I’m also enjoying eating coconut, nuts, raisins, avocado, homemade salad dressing, kombucha (a fermented tea beverage), carob, coconut oil, kefir (a non-dairy based probiotic drink similar to yogurt), and kale (a type of lettuce that I had never knowingly tried before), and many other foods.

Some of these foods on the list you may think are fattening like nuts, coconut and avocado, but according to the raw food experts these are nutrient dense and healthy foods. I had been avoiding them all these years even though I enjoyed them because I thought they were fattening and unhealthy. I remember when the movie industry switched from popping their popcorn in coconut oil because they said it clogged your arteries and, in my opinion, movie theater popcorn was all downhill from there. Now they don’t even pop their own popcorn at many places.

The first day trying raw foods was in a lot of ways easier than I thought, but it was also very difficult. Ani’s plan had me making smoothies 4 – 5 times a day the first 3 days as a detox and break from chewing – that’s a lot of smoothies to drink. I had strawberry smoothies, blueberry smoothies, pear smoothies, pineapple and kale smoothies. I also had vegetables as smoothies (which she calls “soups” in her book although they aren’t heated). I had to pull out my blender and learn a new way to prepare foods.

I was also really hungry the first few days and ate a lot of food (Ani says that quantity doesn’t matter, only quality on a raw food diet). Within a few days, I found my way and built a routine that I could stick with – smoothie and a banana in the morning, smoothie in the late morning, big salad for lunch, fruit or veggies in early afternoon, salad for dinner. I also started making yummy treats like raw trail cookies, raw brownies, and other desserts. Recently I picked up a few additional raw cookbooks and will add more recipes and foods to the routine. It really is a whole cuisine experience with so many options.

I have noticed that I have more energy, my brain fog is cleared up, and I’ve lost weight (at my last weigh in I lost 3 lbs in a week and that’s without exercising and still eating a TON of food including many of the so-called “fattening foods” listed above). I suffer from heartburn and acid reflux (started when I was pregnant with twins) and while I haven’t noticed an improvement in my symptoms I know that once I lose weight these will get better.

The only downside that I’ve found with eating raw is that is it expensive to buy so much produce – For example, I go through 2 bunches of bananas every 2 days. I once watched a YouTube video of a person who had a whole 4-shelf shelfing system and it was completely full of bananas. She would rotate her bananas depending on how the sun was coming into the room. That kind of commitment scared me to be honest. I couldn’t imagine going through all those bananas or tending to them so lovingly. Another YouTube video showed me what one person bought for a week of eating raw – she had beautiful arm muscles and now I know why… from carrying all that heavy produce.

Also, what worries me is that come winter in New England, I won’t be able to afford eating this way when the prices of produce skyrocket and it isn't so readily available. I’m also making about 3 trips to the store every week buying fresh produce compared to just once a week before. Come winter I like to hibernate – a raw food lifestyle is going to be harder to keep up, but we’ll see what happens. Even if I can maintain a 50% raw food diet in winter, I’ll be happy as long as the dark forces of Doritos don’t catch up with me and I am eating healthy food.

The other issue I’ve found is that my refrigerator is an avalanche waiting to happen. That’s my fridge at the top – it is chockfull and there is no room for anything else. I know I’m not supposed to store fruits and veggies in the same compartment, but I have no other option.

But regardless, the positives outweigh the negatives right now and it’s definitely been fun. Now I just have to get the rest of the family aka “the chicken nugget twins” on the same path. I’ll keep you all posted on how I’m doing (accountability is good!) and will post more information for those interested in trying out a raw food diet even if it's just for a few days.

Thanks for reading about my raw food journey! Let me know your comments, questions, or thoughts below. I love hearing from you.  Cheers!

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