Welcome back to my first raw vegan update! Check out my introduction post if you haven’t already. I was not sure how best to format this, so I thought I’d do it day by day and conclude with my progress and overall improvements (digestion, skin, SLEEP). Happy reading! Stay tuned for next week as I up my running mileage, perfect my food prep, and get settled into raw veganism.
Day 1: I’m Excited. Stay Positive. Stay. Positive.
I never made myself keep raw for an entire day. Today, I start my first of 21 days. Shook.
I started with about half a medium-sized watermelon in the morning. Things were going well. Then noon hit. A craving for noodles came crashing like an unforgiving wave. You know, one that threatens to steal your bikini top or glasses, leaving you either naked or blind or both. I managed to resist. In the rest of the afternoon, I ate a mini cantaloupe, some carrots and celery. I also went out and purchased a raw bagel from Dr. Smood in my desperation. Later that night, I went to Alex’s (SEE HER BEAUTIFUL BLOG) and we whipped up some raw vegan sushi. I was such a starved child by the time we started assembling, I shoveled veggie scraps into my mouth any chance I got. In that moment, my appreciation for the tastes and flavors of minimally processed whole foods probably hit a new high. I left dinner feeling happy, with left overs, and looking forward to the next day.
Day 2: More Food. I Need to Bring More Food.
I learned from Day 1, when I had to buy food and was starving by the time dinner came around. So today, I brought a copious amount of food. My backpack tugged at me under the pressure of tupperware after tupperware filled with fruits and veggies. Work hours went without a hitch. Instead of big meals, I ate slowly and consistently throughout the day.
I ended up having dinner that night at Quintessence. My friend and I ordered a bunch of dishes. They were all quite nice, my favorite was their burger. Before dinner, I was feeling a little bloated, and was not hungry. I still ate quite a bit (persistence, y’know), enjoying the flavors that brought me back to a less desperate time.
My most significant memory was going to bed feeling very bloated. Meh.
Day 3: Its Hump Day. I’m “Halfway” There.
The craving of the day was fries.
Curly, straight, crinkle, thick, thin, seasoned … yeah, I was becoming a monster.
Again though, I was far more well-prepared than even the day before. My bloat from last night vanished. Having at least three types of food at my disposal (fruits, veggies, and nuts) helped me work my way through the day with ease and variety. I actually ended up staying at work later than I expected without having hunger pangs usher me home. I’m getting the hang of this, if only I can stop thinking about those fries.
Day 4: I’M ON TOP OF THE WORLD.
I am ecstatic. I prepared plenty of food. I ate it. I felt good. NO CRAVINGS. No bloating. I started having revelations about food and well-being. This day, I stopping thinking twice about only eating raw foods.
Also today, I started clearly seeing a bit more definition in my body. Maybe some of that fat was melting away? Or maybe I’m delusional. Or the perfect balance of both, riiiiight? ;P
I jogged a couple miles for the first time since the Airbnb BK Half (the Saturday before). Chungla joined me and it was a fun little adventure. No mishaps.
Day 5: Oops, I Hope I Don’t Pass Out.
At this point, I am feeling a big high from the experiment. One huge benefit I noticed this work week is sleeping less. On work days, I usually sleep 8 hours, if not I have trouble peeling myself from my sheets (I’m a child, I know). This week, I woke up a couple hours before my alarm with 5-7 hours of sleep, feeling completely alert and prepared to start my day. The most shocking part – even when I wanted to sleep for a couple more hours, my body persisted in getting me up. This reached its peak on Friday. I wrote my first blog post, prepped a bunch of food, all while making it into work earlier than I had been able to in months. Success.
I got out of work a couple hours early and relaxed at home before my jog with Chungla later in the afternoon. I hadn’t eaten for four hours by the time we started jogging. I anticipated feeling weak, and after a couple head rushes, I realized I had to be more cognizant of how I was fueling myself.
Day 6: Vegetables, The Silent Killer.
I started up with another short run in the morning with a new insta friend. The ongoing theme was my struggle to muster the willpower push through. I do not blame raw veganism for this. I know I hadn’t eaten enough, and I still need to figure out how to balance exercise and raw eating. I’ll have more to report back on in the coming weeks, as I up my mileage.
I ended up eating a lot of vegetables for lunch – a big salad and some gazpacho. [Brief aside, I hate salad. In the entire 1.5 years I have been vegan, I could probably count the number of times I have eaten salad as a meal on one hand. Something about how it’s not shaped like noodles and how it doesn’t taste like chili oil. It just irks me. I’m also partially driven by my determination to stand strong against the stereotype that all vegans looooove salad. Ok, back to the regular programming …] It tasted great and I was completely satiated. By mid-afternoon, I was a walking zombie. I was completely inattentive and out of focus.
Chungla ended up giving me three oranges to eat, and that brought me back to life. I learned firsthand the immediate impact of food on how I function. Vegetables, mostly, are nutritious and essential. Sugars and carbs, AKA fruit, seem to be what powers me. Soon, I’m sure, I’ll figure out how to balance the two.
Day 7: My Blip.
So I did not keep raw this day. It wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. My grandfather was turning 78, and I was going to celebrate by eating food with him. I did not think twice.
I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, mostly tofu/seitan/vegetables/noodles. I felt just slightly subdued afterwards, but my body did not react adversely to the change.
Day 8: No Food. AKA Accidental Fasting?
I spent the day in bed. I had some personal emotional struggles, and needed to relieve my mental exhaustion and general despair by … not doing anything at all. I ended up eating a pear and some cherries. I barely had any water. I had no cravings. I was not hungry. I didn’t want to move.
I cannot remember the last time I have ever eaten close to nothing. But you know, maybe this was like … my mostly fasting cleanse day, right?!?
If there was ever an example of raw vegan user error, this day is probably a prime example. Or maybe, this is just me testing variables. Yup. That’s what it was.
Tomorrow will be a new day.
Digestion – I want to put this out there, because this is an inevitability and the less people talk about it, the more others will be turned off of maintaining new, healthier eating habits the moment their toilet habits change for the worse. Skip this passage if poo-talk is too much for you. As a complete overhaul of my diet, eating raw vegan dramatically affected my digestion. I experienced no pain, but I was cognizant to not mix high-water content food (watermelon, other melons lol) with denser food. Before being fully raw, I went #2 around three times a day, passing easily and … (sorry) in high volume (LOL I’m so sorry). After raw, my digestion reminded me of when I first went vegan. The #twos weren’t solid and they became less frequent and much smaller. At this time, my body is still getting used to processing fully raw vegan food. When I first went vegan, it took me about three months to have my digestion return to optimal.
Skin – One person commented my skin looked a lot better! From my perspective, I noticed atypical small bumps pop up on my forehead and go away by mid-week (ok, I picked at them). At the time of posting, those bumps are gone. I don’t necessarily look radiant, and I honestly don’t pay so much attention to my skin, but it is not worse. So, there’s that.
Sleep – The most profound change I’ve experienced is the amount I sleep. I wear a fitness tracker that automatically tells me how much I sleep every day. I consistently average 8 hours of sleep. The past week, I slept an average of 6.5 hours, with no extra fatigue. In fact, I was experiencing a ton of extra morning alertness, ref. Day 5 above. For this point alone, I can see eating raw vegan, or mostly raw vegan, as potentially life-changing. I will report back on how this progresses in future weeks. [Side note: this may be a vastly different experience for others who may consume caffeine. Before going raw, I already did not drink soda, tea (unless it was bubble tea) and coffee (had it twice in my life?).]
Physique – Yup, losing weight.
Welp, that’s all for now – My first eight days went as smoothly as I could have imagined. I haven’t been perfect, but I have been learning as I go and enjoying the journey. My vanished cravings give me a fresh perspective on food and what I need to eat. I was previously an absolute and unapologetic fast food, junk food addict. Now, I am more alert, spending less, and feeling absolutely liberated from the pull of cravings. In this week, I finally felt a new type of control. One that I have exercised over my food choices in a way I never thought possible. In a way, my new-found discipline is encouraging me to take control of other aspects of my life, to become more proactive and interactive. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. As always, feel free to reach out to me anytime. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my mindless ramblings. Until next time!