Re-Cap of the Raw Food Challenge: Part One

Yesterday, on Day 31 of the Raw Food Challenge, I ate:

– Smoothie with 1 1/2 cups cold water, 2 orange juice pulp ice cubes, 1/2 frozen banana, some frozen blueberries, a pile of spinach, the contents of 1 probiotic capsule, and 1 scoop calcium/magnesium powder

– 1 apple and 2 mugs green tea

– 2 cups veggie medley (frozen-then-thawed chopped carrots, corn, peas, green beans, red pepper, onion, broccoli, and cauliflower)

– Chocolate ice cream (1 1/2 frozen bananas with 1/2 tbsp cacao powder and cinnamon)

– 1 apple with cinnamon and a small handful sprouted lentils

– 1 mug chai yerba mate and 2 romaine lettuce wraps filled with tomato/cucumber/sprouted lentils

– Fruit salad with 1/2 apple and 1 banana, topped with cinnamon, plus 1 1/2 mugs yerba mate and a handful sunflower seeds

– Smoothie with 1 1/2 frozen bananas, 1 1/2 cups cold water, piles of spinach, 1 tbsp cacao powder, 1 scoop calcium/magnesium powder, and 1 tbsp water that had dates soaking in it (it was rather a banana lovin’ day!)

– Some sprouted lentils, a piece of frozen banana, and a piece of apple with cinnamon

Re-Cap of the Raw Food Challenge: Part One

I have completed the Raw Food Challenge!

There are a lot of different things I wish to cover regarding my raw food experience, so I’ve divided it into two parts to make it a little easier to handle. We’ll take a look at Part Two on Wednesday.

1. Emotions, Mood, and Relationships:

I don’t think my emotions or mood were affected very much by eating raw. Except I may have been annoying the people around me when I moaned about how much I wanted cooked food :) There were a few times when I was a bit grumpy because I got frustrated with this way of eating, but other than that my emotions and mood were relatively unaffected. Everyone around me was supportive, even if they didn’t understand the challenge itself; the roommate experimented with sprouting lentils and quinoa before I had even thought of doing it myself, and he also has started to drink green smoothies. The boyfriend was happy to try all of my raw creations and made a point of not eating cooked food around me so as to help with preventing any cravings. It’s nice that relationships don’t have to be based around food.

2. Sleep:

For the first two or three weeks, I was nodding off at around 8pm, and was able to sleep for a solid 8 or 9 hours every night. I managed to sleep almost completely through the night without waking. These were incredibly deep sleeps. This seemed to be my body’s way of detoxing: I had been lacking proper sleep before I started this challenge, so it was a relief to just sleep for hours on end.

However, this past week or so I’ve been waking up more frequently throughout the night and my nightmares have somewhat returned. This may be because I’m feeling more stressed out, or it may just be that my body became used to the raw food way of eating (and thus the “detox” of excess sleep ended).

3. Cognitive abilities:

As with my emotions and mood, I don’t think that my mental functioning was very much affected by this way of eating. I haven’t been having any difficulties with concentrating or feeling light-headed.

4. Energy levels:

Although I crashed early on most nights, I found that my energy levels throughout the day weren’t really all that different from usual. I could still perform my usual tasks and get in a good workout with difficulty. I think that this is because I was eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day, which kept my energy levels up. I did find, however, that when I went for longer walks, I was getting tired by the end of the walk. Normally I would be able to easily walk for a couple of hours without feeling tired at all. I’m not sure if this was related to the raw food or if it was from the effort of trudging through the snow on unploughed sidewalks.

5. Financial expenses: $230.00 for one person (me!) for one month (January)

This was dependent on several factors. First of all, I ate a considerable amount of nuts, which are very expensive; however, there were a pile of cashews at work leftover from holiday gifts from clients, and no one was eating them at work so I just took them home with me (freebies!). Second, I experimented with some more exotic foods such as avocados, but I love the challenge of bargain-hunting in grocery stores almost as much as I love comparing ingredient lists, so I bought them when they were on sale. Third, most of the food I ate was not organic, although some of it was which increased the price for foods such as the mixed spring greens. Fourth, I have not included my probiotics and digestive enzymes in the financial expenses listed above (which the mother dear bought for me- thank you mother dear!- and which would amount to about $80, I expect), or a couple times when I went out for salad or tea and another person bought for me.

I have included the cost of going out for tea at cafe’s with friends when I was the one buying, in addition to the calcium powder, but I have not included the cost of some of the foods which I had around the house before I started the challenge. Quinoa, chickpeas, and lentils were all kicking around the pantry.

Overall, when you consider these factors, I still think that the above total amount is a fairly reasonable price for what you could expect to spend on a raw food diet for one person, without feeling too hungry. Including a few supplements and going out to a few cafes will still leave you at spending about $300 total for a month, which I think is a very reasonable amount. If you were to eat more organic foods, the amount would of course be slightly higher.

On Wednesday’s post, I’ll complete this Raw Food Re-Cap with Part Two, in which I’ll address: 6) Body changes (weight and body fat percentage), 7) Detox symptoms, 8 ) Preparation and clean-up, 9) Cravings, and 10) Raw in the long term.

BlogHer 2010 in NYC: Are you going? Are you looking for someone to share a room with? Let me know!

23 Comments

  1. Your grocery bill seems comparable to what I spend for one person. I have to chuckle when you said “exotic foods such as avocados.” It reminds me how much I take for granted the selection of produce grown here is California.

  2. Cammy & Tracey- I think I usually spend at LEAST $100 more on groceries… no, to be honest, I probably spend close to about $500 a month on food. I know, it’s outrageous. I really like food, and I really like good quality food :) This was a DRASTIC decrease in my usual grocery bill. I’m hoping to keep it much closer to the $250 mark now that I’m a “homeowner”!

    Asithi- Heh, yes, “exotic” is subjective! The majority of the produce in the grocery store is imported. It’s really unfortunate. It also doesn’t taste nearly as good as it would if it were local, but when it’s this cold out, a variety of fresh produce just isn’t available.

  3. Oh man, I spend waaaaay to much on groceries. I agree with the other posters, it’s not much more than typical grocery shopping for me. I admire you Challenging yourself to eat raw! I should try that. I also have a health and fitness blog where I’m challenging myself to eat all 150 of the healthiest foods on earth and blog about my experience, post recipes and more. http://stacia222.wordpress.com
    Stacy
    http://www.stacycacciatore.com
    http://Stacia222.wordpress.com

  4. I loved reading aobut your experience with raw foods! It’s a diet I’ve often been curious about but haven’t quite worked up the motivation to try. After reading your thoughts I think I’ll skip it. Unless you tell us about some miraculous health benefits tomorrow;)

  5. Westwood- Right you are. Will do!

    Dr. J- This challenge has made me appreciate the beauty of a simple bowl of oatmeal so much more!

    Charlotte- Um, yeah, I recommend skipping it. Fun to dabble in, sure. In the summer. :D

  6. I kind of want to go to BlogHer but can’t talk myself into it. Are there still tickets available? Hmmm, wanna talk me into it?

    And yeah….I totally am loving the recap of your challenge. It does seem like a lot of money for one month but when you consider how much you can spend eating out sometimes it’s really not that bad. And the food you ate generally sounded really good!

  7. Stacy- Thanks for letting me know about your blog; that’s such a neat idea about eating 150 healthy foods. It’s great to draw awareness to those things.

    Mary- Come to BlogHer come to BlogHer come to BlogHer! The line-up for workshops looks really good and it’s in NYC, so it’ll be awesome. Plus, I’LL be there, so clearly it’ll be an amazing conference ;) But really. You should totally come. And be my roommate. :D

    Jamie- My body really enjoys veganism. I’d definitely recommend trying to at least incorporate more vegan meals into anyone’s diet- there’s plenty to be gained from it. Let me know if you have any questions about the veganism :)

  8. “Choosing to not eat nuts, and to eliminate added salt, was the best move I could have made. I kind of wish I’d done it for the last half of the month instead of just the last week. My body feels great.”

    “this past week or so I’ve been waking up more frequently throughout the night and my nightmares have somewhat returned.”

    Just wondering if the salt/nut shift overlaps with the sleep difference? Sounds to me like it kinda did. Might be worth noting.

  9. Such a good post. You were so honest and candid about your experience. I think you tried to be as unbiased as possible. This is a situation where the “placebo effect” could really play a role, but it sounds like you were completely focused and wanted to really learn about the effects. I think it sounds like your body was missing starches! Or perhaps not enough calories? Did you lose weight at all?

    I have no desire to ever do a raw food diet, but I will use your experience as an example when I post about my thoughts about the raw food diet, wouldthtat be ok?

  10. Richard- I wondered if someone would point that out. But no: my sleeping problems returned several days before I stopped eating nuts/added salts.

    Diane- I think it’s far cheaper to eat a raw diet, actually!

    Heather- Oh he is :) And yeah, doing this challenge in January was a rather silly idea… certainly makes me APPRECIATE cooked food though.

    Gina- Feel free to use this experience as an example! I’m wondering about the starches… hmmm. Because I was still eating a fair amount of potatoes and such. Maybe just not enough variety? I ate enough calories; I did lose a couple pounds (as I’ll talk about tomorrow) but it wasn’t anything drastic and I never felt as though I was super hungry.

  11. Pingback: Living Healthy in the Real World » Blog Archive » Re-Cap of the Raw Food Challenge: Part Two

  12. Girl you’re going to BlogHer?! I have been going back and forth thinking about going. The one thing holding me back is not knowing anyone who’s going to be there.

    One question, are frozen veggies raw? I thought most of them have been blanched before being frozen. I’m legitimately asking because I’m not positive.

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