After 3 weeks of Vegas fun, socializing with friends, and a block of family celebrations (coupled with no running), I decided this was the week to embark on a six-day raw food “diet”. I’m not doing a full week as Sunday is my birthday and I’m holding out for some sushi, corn and gluten-free carrot cake.
So what is this raw food diet all about? It is pretty much just that: A diet consisting of raw fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Why this diet, you ask? Without much thought, I actually follow about a 70-80% raw vegan diet. I love raw veggies and salads, but I do have a penchant for sweet potatoes, most beans, Daiya cheese, coffee with steamed soy milk, Food For Life’s Gluten Free English muffins with Earth Balance, rice cakes with guacamole, anything from Native Foods Café, French fries, pizza and wine. I had a bit too much of the good stuff over the last 3 weeks, and it was time to reset my body with 100% raw, organic, nutritionally dense whole foods (and hopefully drop a couple of lbs while I was at it).
The beauty of raw food eating is that there aren’t any calorie restrictions. So, outside of the obvious, it doesn’t feel like a restrictive diet. With the exception (mine) of Decaf Green Tea (of which I have had copious amounts mixed with raw vanilla cashew milk over the last 4 days), everything that I have put into my mouth has been raw. What I like about this diet, unlike a juice cleanse or even a juice/smoothie/salad cleanse, is that I can fuel up with whatever I need before a long workout. Most cleanses are calorically deficient and, in my opinion, do not work for endurance athletes.
I’ll be honest with you: On the first day, I felt a sense of deprivation. I was cramming All Things Raw into my mouth without rhyme or reason because subconsciously I was nervous about the effects of my self-implemented restrictions (I also had had too much wine, 2 donuts and cookies at the end of a dinner party the night before and I’m sure that contributed to my skitzy behavior). I can’t give you the exact laundry list of what I ate on Monday but it probably went something like this: A banana. 1 bite of coconut butter. 2 dates. Some amount of almond butter. A grapefruit. A carrot with raw curry hummus. 2 brazil nuts. 3 cups of green tea with cashew milk. 3 Kombuchas. Lotsa green tea with cashew milk. I do remember a nice arugula/tomato/watermelon salad at Whole Foods (sans dressing) for dinner. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was pretty tired. Don’t know if it was the coffee/soymilk and wine withdraws coupled with a release of toxins, but I was tired. When I am tired, I gravitate toward the simple carbs: Bread and butter, cookies, lemon squares, pizza, etc. I stuck with my raw food plan and logged 2 swims, a Core40 Pilates-esque class and a hard bike ride over that first three days. And slept a ton.
Woke up day 4 and felt fantastic. Yippee, I had the energy and the mental clarity that all of the (smug) raw foodists talk about. They also talk a lot about their bowel movements as most come from bad diet/health/constipated backgrounds and are now so jazzed to have regular bm’s which they seem to blog a lot about….I digress. I also had lost 4 # since Monday. I was not hungry. Funny (or maybe the correct word would be “Duh”), when your body gets nutrients that it needs, it doesn’t crave crappy food. Go figure……
Anyhoo, Day 4 as an ENDURANCE ATHLETE/RAW FOODIST went like this:
- 5:00 a.m. Surprisingly not hungry
- 6:00 a.m. Decaf Green Tea (hot) made warm by (cold) Vanilla Cashew Milk (recipe below)
- 7:00 a.m. 6 ounce package of Blueberries
- 7:15 a.m. Salad of 1 Heirloom Tomato, 8 cherry tomatoes, ½ avocado, sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper (Note: Raw food diets are not salt restrictive—another one in the win column)
- 9:00 a.m. Pre swim (carb focus) 2 bananas; 1 flax cracker
- 9:25 a.m. Workout #1 Pretty hard 2500 yard swim; 45 minutes
- 10:45 a.m. Huge kale salad with shredded carrot, cucumber, avocado, 2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp Hemp seeds, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp Dulse, Salt and Pepper AND ½ ounce Rightly Raw 90 % Cacao Bar
- 11:30-12:00 p.m. Chiro/ART appointment
- 12:45 p.m. 2 bananas with 2 tsp Almond Butter
- 1:00-2:10 p.m. Bike Ride with 4 x 6 minute intervals at some sort of crazy threshold watts. Had one date (60 calories) after 2nd interval. Stopped after intervals at Juice Nation for “Grapefruit Fat Burner” Juice….freshly squeezed Grapefruit, Beet, Cucumber, Spinach, Lime and Coconut water. Yum! I can’t drink straight beet juice. The last time that I had some, I threw up out my car window and all over a Prius. #magentaprojectileinsolanabeach
- 2:25-3:00 p.m. Finished bike ride/cool down up to Cardiff and back. Ride was 1:45 with 24 minutes of solid work. Yes Kurt, I “Do Work”.
- 3:15 p.m. ½ Melinda’s Maca-Chocolate Truffle (the bomb) and a Carrot. Really wasn’t that hungry or thirsty. I think that I usually work out on the dehydrated side but the all of the fruits and veggies I’ve been eating have kept me hydrated.
- 4:45 p.m. (working and writing blog) ½ GT Kombucha; 1 cucumber with 1 Tbsp raw hummus.
- Last meal—TBA I’m writing this and not sure if I will be hungry later. Might just have some green tea with cashew milk.
I must point out that yesterday my work had me COOKING for 4 hours. Pasta, chicken, veggies, fish, mashed potatoes….I even wasn’t tempted…….
If you dare to try this, but want food with a little more sustenance than simple veggies, nuts, fruits, avocados, raw hummus, guacamole and raw chocolate; you can purchase “Gourmet-Raw” meals from raw food restaurants or outlets (in North County, Juice Nation 🙂 and Peace Pies come to mind) or at natural foods store such as Whole Foods (nationally) or Jimbos (San Diego). At these locales, you will find things such as raw pizzas, raw apple pie, raw mock tuna pate wraps, raw cheesecake, raw nacho kale “chips” and raw granola. I wouldn’t recommend going overboard, but one or two of these added to your daily menu will most likely keep you on track and possible monotony at bay.
Another note for endurance athletes: Medjool dates (pitted) are some of the best energy food out there. Each one has about 60 calories. I had no problem sustaining energy on a 3 hour hard bike ride with dates and water.
So let’s end on a happy note: Wine is considered “raw” but I have abstained so far this week in order to give my body a full reset 🙂
Easy Peasy Raw Cashew-Vanilla Milk
- 2/3 Cup Raw Cashews (I use Sunfood Brand)
- 1 tsp raw vanilla powder (Sunfood Brand again) or ½ Vanilla Bean or 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 Cups Filtered Water
- 4-6 Medjool dates, Pitted
- pn or 1/8th tsp Sea Salt
- Cinnamon Milk-add 2 tsp Cinnamon
- Maca Milk-add 1 Tbsp Maca Powder (I use Sunfood Brand)
Whirl away for 1-2 minutes in a high-speed blender.
Note: You can strain through fine mesh strainer if you were one of those kids who didn’t like the pulp (kidding). Some times I strain my milks, sometimes I don’t.
If you are looking to reset, but don’t like the confines of a just-juice cleanse, try a raw food diet for a few days (feel free to ask me any questions in the “comments” area) But remember BE MINDFUL, BUT NOT MILITANT. Looking forward to birthday feast as well as dinner out next week. And hopefully, full “tri-atha-loning” soon.