Friday, April 23, 2010
DAY 1 ... Observations
Today is the end, or the beginning, whichever way you want to look at it.
I have learnt a lot over the past forty days so here are my observations of the good, the bad and the ugly. Except there really is no ugly.
First things first, because I know you are dying to know. I have lost 14 pounds in 40 days. Some might think that is a lot, or a little, but I'll tell you this. As someone who has been struggling with hypothyroidism and has not been able to lose 2 pounds in a year even with the 'daily wonder drug thyroid medication'. This is not only good, it's a gosh dang miracle.
And, while we are on this, I remember doing those ridiculous diets that teenagers do, all those years back. You always seemed to loose a few pounds, gain a pound, loose some, gain some. Well, this has been steady loss. I have not gained at all during this period.
Now many people say that the weight just falls off when you go raw. I haven't exactly experienced free falling pounds just shedding themselves while I'm standing in line at the post office. But hey, like I've said before, it took me a while to get here, forty days really isn't that long in light of that.
Also, we are all different. If you aren't hypothyroid, if your metabolism functions at an optimal rate, if you are relatively fit and healthy anyway and you do this, I'm sure your results would be even more dramatic. I also believe that if I did this for six months instead of six weeks, there would be a drastic difference.
But for now, I'll take the miracle - thanks.
There have been noticeable differences in some basic things in my life. I've mentioned most of these before sleep, energy, nails, eyes and all that, so you can read earlier 'observation posts' to see those. There really hasn't been a remarkable difference from what I've already reported.
I still have almost daily headaches. Definitely not migraines, which is a wonder all on its own. But just mild, niggly dull headaches. I attribute this to two things.
Firstly exercise. I have a frustratingly tight back. It's so tight it's like a block of concrete. It practically takes heavy machinery to untangle and unlock those muscles. When I do exercise - let's say yoga for now, but really you can substitute anything - they get so shocked that they are being unlocked. They get all confused and sore and grumpy that I'm waking them from their lazy life, and I get tension headaches.
Don't worry, I spoke to a personal trainer/physiotherapist about this, that's what she said.
She might have been a little more scientific.
Secondly, detox, detox, detox. I know this is happening because I can feel it and also because I go to the toilet 100 times a day. Things are getting shaken up in there. This can cause headaches.
Now I know all the raw food guru's out there (yup, Matt Monarch, I'm talking about you) say the easiest way to speed up the detox and to lose the headaches is by doing coffee enemas.
Yup, and you know what, that's great.
Awesome in fact. I'm thrilled that one of life's mysteries have been solved. It's just that I can't quite get my head around those.
I'm a weak kneed, lily livered, yellow bellied baby and I don't mind you calling me that. But for now, if I'm going to be having coffee, I'll take it in a cup on my back deck thank you.
Enough said on that topic.
Now, I understand that raw isn't for everyone. But what I've learnt these past few weeks, is that you don't have to be 100% raw to make huge improvements. If you just can't give up meat at all (for now), you can try having a huge healthy raw salad with it, instead of a green bean casserole (which lets face it is usually more casserole and less green bean).
You can have a big luscious salad for lunch instead of the tuna mayo sub (heavy on the mayo please!). Or you can do things as simply as cut out the coffee and drink more fresh juices (no, I don't mean Tropicana). Or even better, green juice.
It's really interesting, because one thing I thought would be so tough was giving up the coffee (see earlier post http://pinkpassionflower.blogspot.com/2010/03/adieu-carbs-coffee-and-cheese.html), but it turns out, after the first few days, that's the one thing I haven't even thought of while doing this. Granted I haven't spent two hours sitting in Starbucks just to test my theory, but I'm also not sticking my head in the coffee jar anymore inhaling the remnants of freshly ground beans.
Now don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of cravings during this little journey. There have been times I've been tempted to duct tape my hands together so I can't open a bag of chips, or drive to the shops to buy something. Fortunately it didn't ever get that bad and somehow I got through it.
But the good news is I have read, that between 3-6 months, these cravings really disappear. I know, don't even tell me how long 6 months sounds right now.
I really believe that as you make these little improvements, you will start to prefer the feeling and taste of eating these foods. I also feel (and don't tell the guru's or they will have the raw food police after me) that if you can't find/afford raw honey for example, it won't kill you to just use whatever honey you can buy. Just don't use white granulated sugar as a substitute.
Now don't get me wrong. I do understand that eating all natural, organic and totally raw is the ideal goal. I also understand that 100% raw is optimal.
However, all I'm saying is that making small changes can be a great way to start, because jumping in the deep end of a forty day challenge is not necessarily the easiest way to go about it. And as you progress and your taste buds change, and your thought process changes, and your shopping habits change, and your view on 'normal' food changes, as you make more of those changes you will be heading in the right direction.
Because let's face it, for the average family who is used to a Standard American Diet, going from barbecued ribs and chicken fried steak on the weekend, to raw cauliflower with a pine nut dressing, is a bit of a shock to the system!
And that's partly why I wanted to write this blog. When I was doing my research, most of what I was finding were people who have been 80 - 100% raw for years. And I mean years and years.
It's great talking about the benefits (which I truly believe are monumental) 4 years into it. But I wanted to share what it was like to start the journey. To see the ups and downs of changing from the known to the unknown. Because, that really is the hard part.
I also wanted to show it from the point of view of someone who has come from a regular way of eating, instead of someone who has been borderline organic/raw/health food conscious most of their life.
So, raw food police or not, I stand firm in the belief that anything you do to head in the direction of a raw diet is better than not even taking those steps in the first place. I would also like to think that if more people started to eat like this, all the raw seeds and nuts, the supplements and the organic produce would become more accessible and therefore more affordable to the general population.
But first, you have to change your mindset. You have to change how you view what you eat. And I'll tell you right now, that society as we know it and as it's set up currently does not support you in this. You will definitely be the lone fish swimming upstream. And that is always a hard stream to swim in.
The obvious question then is where do I go from here. Well, my plan is to be as raw as possible as much as possible. I'm not committing to being 100% raw, 100% of the time. But I am committing to being as raw as much as I can be. I have worked too hard to throw it all away now.
I'm also not saying that on Saturday I won't be having a little cooked food celebration - that would be crazy.
One huge lesson I have taken from this is that there are alternatives, you just have to look for them. So, in future, if I want cookies, I'll find a raw recipe for one. I have also learnt, that if you are going to be raw, you really do need a good supply of recipes.
I have mentioned this before and I reiterate, if you are not used to creating raw food either buy some recipe books (yes, they do exist), or find free raw recipes on the Internet (there are many of them out there). I had no idea what you could create with nuts, seeds and raw produce.
Once I started, it was easier to make up my own things, or substitute ingredients, but I would never have known to grind cashew nuts into a flour to make cookie dough on my own - would you?
If you don't have recipes, you will fall back on what you know (which is normally just boring salad) and this will impede your ability to be successful.
So, now you know my aim for the future.
I will continue to post on this site and to update my raw experiences. I won't be posting every day though. So, keep your eyes peeled.