My biggest win this month was completing a 30-day raw food trial. Learning how to live on a raw food diet was a fantastic growth experience.
The longest raw food trial I’d done previously lasted no more than 2 days. At the time, I didn’t know how to get enough calories from raw foods, what food I would eat day-to-day, or the ratio of fat/fruit I’d need to stay satiated throughout the day.
This time I did my research, I stocked up on fresh produce, and I added an accountability factor. During the first week of the experiment, I also read all of Steve Pavlina’s raw food logs, so as to keep priming my brain with the raw food lifestyle.
I think the key to succeeding with raw foods was having the curiosity to really go down the raw food rabbit hole, and making a committed decision to give it my best shot. Everything else fell into place from that decision.
The first few days I still had some cravings for cooked meals. After my taste buds adjusted to raw foods, though, it was fairly easy to continue eating raw. It became even easier after I got a Vitamix, and was able to start making delicious smoothies at home.
I definitely recommend a Vitamix for anyone attempting to eat raw. It makes the whole experience way easier… and fun. My whole attitude towards greens changed when I discovered the joy of banana-spinach-kale smoothies. Thanks to the Vitamix, I probably consumed more greens during my raw food month than any other time in my life.
In the beginning, I didn’t actually commit to 30 days of raw foods. I simply made a decision to do my best, one day at a time, and see how long I could last. Sometimes it’s easier to follow through on a habit when you give yourself permission to stop tomorrow… and you can keep delaying ‘tomorrow’ day by day, extending your streak.
I think it was around day 14 that I actually committed to going the full month… at that point, my framing of raw foods had shifted from “this is challenging” to “this is easy”. My taste buds had adjusted, I was enjoying the energy of raw foods, I was loving my new Vitamix, and it was easy to commit to another two weeks.
The primary benefit I experienced from the raw food diet was an abundance of energy. I felt clear steady energy the whole day. There was never any “dips” in energy the way you’d feel after a large meal, or the way you’d feel after a caffeine crash.
During this experiment, my taste buds became a lot more discerning, and raw veggies suddenly became much tastier than usual. For example, before this experiment, I would never have had the desire to eat a raw stalk of celery by itself. During my raw food trial, though, celery became delicious. I could taste so many subtle flavors in it!
Celery, cucumber, mushrooms, avocados, tomatoes… it was like I was tasting them for the first time. The experience of eating raw foods by themselves was much richer than I had expected.
Finally, I really liked that eating a raw food diet made it impossible to overeat or “emotionally eat”. Beyond the first few days, there were no cravings for comfort food whatsoever. I felt a much more conscious relationship to the raw foods I was eating. And it felt really good to give my body an abundance of nutrition!
Someone asked me if there were any difficulties during the experiment.
I would say the only challenge was the social aspect of eating raw while hanging out with non-raw friends. I think I was slightly less social this month because of raw foods; I’m not sure how I would deal with that if I was going to eat raw long-term.
Think about how often food and friends mix together. Grabbing a coffee with a friend, sharing a meal, being invited over for dinner… food is intricately tied into our culture. Of course, it’s possible to bring your own raw food & raw snacks everywhere you go. For 30 days, it’s certainly doable. The challenge arises when you begin to consider staying raw long-terms.
I’d imagine that travelling would also be more challenging while eating raw. It’s easy to stay committed to raw when you have your own place, your own Vitamix, your own place to store fruit and give it time to ripen. On the road, though, you’d have to put in a bit more effort and planning into it. That being said, I’m sure eating raw while travelling is possible, especially if someone already has prior experience.
I completed my raw food trial after 33 days.
After the experiment, I indulged in various cooked and processed foods, and I started drinking coffee again. The question is… was it worth it?
At first I was excited to be able to eat cooked foods. It felt like being a kid in a candy store. And I have to say, the caffeine initially gave me a fantastic burst of energy.
However, now that it’s been a few days, I can feel my energy levels are all over the place. Some of my cravings for cooked foods returned. I’ve noticed myself getting distracted by food. And I’m more likely to make my what-to-eat decisions emotionally, which wouldn’t happen on raw foods.
Overall, I would say that eating cooked food doesn’t make me any happier. I’m still glad I went back to the “dark side” after my raw food experiment, and experienced the contrast between cooked vs raw… but now I’m inclined to get back into raw.
Or at least 80-90% raw.
Either way, I’ll keep experimenting!