Second week on the raw food on a budget experiment... Full diary notes below. Summary of each day of this diet is provided here: 100 days raw food summary.
10th October 2011, Monday
Calories: 2331 kcal
85% carbohydrates, 7% fat, 8% protein
Today proves that you can eat raw by following Douglas Graham's 80/10/10 advice, while not having to rely on fruit alone for calories. My calorie intake today is just about right (for a fruitarian) and I consumed soaked raw oat groats and sprouted millet for carbs. They seemed to keep hunger very well.
Today being raw felt very easy. Only possible detox symptom was some belly ache from gas, or it might have been because I had raw beetroot...
- Raw beetroot can definitely give you more gas than anything else so start with half a beetroot in juice and if you tolerate that well, you can have some more next time.
- I again ate carrots this day, which I found out later I had a food intolerance to.
- Oat groats can have gluten in them, which is not that healthful but each person can test it and see how well they tolerate oats. Gluten itself, like wheat, I don't recommend for anyone.]
Jump to Day 14
- 10ml Floravital (iron supplement) (38p)
- Juice: 1 big bunch of spinach (79p), 1/2 beetroot (7p), 2 apples (38p)
- Raw porridge: 1 cup soaked oat groats (36p), 1/2 tbsp cinnamon (2p), 1/4 cup dates (30p), handful of raisins (28p).
COST: £2.58 ($3.93, €2.88)
1 cup of green tea (free at work)
- Juice from Crussh: Purifier (frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries, apples, carrots, ginger (£2.50)
- 'Naked' raw cereal bar (£1.10)
COST: £3.60 ($5.64, €4.13)
1 mashed raw plantain with salt and pepper (33p)
- 10ml Floravital iron supplement (38p)
- 3/4 cup sprouted millet (13p), 1/2 cup rocket (rucola, arugula) (15p), 1 tomato (10p), shoyu soya sauce (3p)
COST: 79p ($1.24, €0.91)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 8: £7.30 ($11.32, €8.29)
Jump to Day 14
11th October 2011, Tuesday
Calories: 1726 kcal (too little)
57% carbohydrates, 37% fat, 6% protein
Detox symptoms starting now. Belly is acting up and I had a slight headache today. Perhaps because of the green tea yesterday and not today. But it could just be cleansing as well. Energy levels are quite good but not 100%.
[Later note: I have discussed how the feeling on hunger changes on raw foods more in my book review of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat for Health"]
I was craving green tea all day, though, and I think that's why I had to go to the shop at midday to get some snacks. But I kept thinking how nice feeling it is to wake up fresh in the morning, so I hope it was worth the effort and I feel nice tomorrow :)
- Juice: 1 bunch of purple and green lettuce (99p), ginger (5p), 1 apple (20p).
- Smoothie: a banana (22p), an apple (20p), 2 tbsp sprouted millet (7p), 1 teasp raw honey (21p), 1 tbsp coconut flakes (5p), cayenne pepper (2p), tap water.
- 1 bag of dried apricots (£1.25)
- 1/2 bag of nut mix (63p): hazelnuts, almonds, raisins.
- Cold tomato soup with courgette: 1/2 courgette (zucchini) (38p), 2.5 tomatoes (54p), 4 dates (20p), shoyu soya sauce (2p), rosemary (1p), thyme (1p), lemon juice (6p), 2 sundried tomatoes (18p), 1/4 cup olive oil (21p).
No green tea or any kind of caffeine today.
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 9: £5.29 ($8.37, €6.03)
Jump to Day 14
12th October 2011, Wednesday
Calories: 1402 kcal (too little)
58% carbohydrates, 33% fat, 9% protein
It is definitely very easy to get used to eating less. This is my 10th day, I had green juice for breakfast, some nuts and plantain as snacks, a smoothie for lunch and now it's late dinner time and I don't feel like eating. I'm not hungry. I could easily eat but I don't need to. I will to enjoy the flavours and to nourish myself, though.
[Later note: I was feeling very moody this night, and slightly depressed. I don't know if it was for external reasons or if it was part of the 'emotional detox'. I didn't have much reason to be moody...]
- I ate way too few calories this day, which makes it unhealthy and difficult to be raw. One of the top priorities for anyone on a raw food diet, whether you want to lose weight or not, would be to ensure that you get enough calories and from good sources. Calories primarily from fat is not ideal. On day 9 many of my calories were from olive oil, which is also not very healthy and should be consumed in moderation because it denatures in daylight and is difficult to get fresh enough.
- With the knowledge I have now, I would add lots of frozen berries to my smoothies and up the greens intake. I would also drink more fruit juice which is cleansing and offers easy and healthy calories.
- The moodiness on this day could have been due to detox, or due to lack of calories. Eating too little can definitely make you moody. To read more about what I've learned about this topic since, read this article: "How to Control Anger/ Cures for Moodiness."]
- Juice: 1 bunch of romaine lettuce (89p), 1 apple (10p).
1/2 packet of rocket (rucola, arugula) (50p), a banana (22p), 1 teasp of raw honey (21p), 2 tbsp sprouted millet (7p), 2 sundried tomatoes (18p), water.
- 1/2 bag of nut mix (as yesterday) (63p) and plantain (33p).
- Salad: 4x romaine lettuce leaves (20p), 1/2 tomato (8p), 1 orange (32p), 1 tbsp capers (15p), 4 okra (lady fingers) (8p), handful of cashew nuts (97p), 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (3p), olive oil (11p), himalayan pink salt (1p).
No green tea or other caffeine today.
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 10: £5.08 ($8.04, €5.79)
Jump to Day 14
13th October 2011, Thursday
Calories: 1268 kcal (too little!)
52% carbohydrates, 43% fat, 5% protein
[Later note: It's a shame that I went back on the green tea here because it would definitely hinder the benefits I would otherwise feel from the raw food diet. And combined with eating way too few calories, it is really a recipe for disaster!]
- Smoothie: a banana (22p), an apple (20p), 1/2 cup of black currants (free, from family in Finland).
- Smoothie: a banana (22p), 4x lettuce leaves (20p), 1 teasp raw honey (7p), 1 apple (10p), 2 tbsp sprouted millet (7p), 3 sundried tomatoes (27p), 1/2 tomato (8p).
- 2 green teas (free)
- Raw "pasta": 1 courgette (55p); 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (£1.90); 3 sundried tomatoes (27p); 3 dates (15p); 1/2 red bell pepper (43p); dried herbs (6p): thyme, basil, rosemary, soya sauce (2p); lemon juice (6p); cashew nut and nutritional yeast cheeze (17p); pink himalayan salt (1p), 1/4 cup of olive oil (21p).
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 11: £5.05 ($7.99, €5.75)
Jump to Day 14
14th October 2011, Friday
Calories: 1772 kcal (too little)
74% carbohydrates, 17% fat, 9% protein
I woke up hungry because of the "big" dinner yesterday, eaten late. Not a problem though (one has to eat after all!) - I had a green smoothie and the hunger went.
It is amazing how easy it is to train yourself to eat little. Hunger does not seem to bother me too much anymore. The only challenge is that I feel like snacking on things to be able to concentrate. I guess it is mostly for things which give the brain a boost, like carbohydrates, caffeine and also fatty things just to stuff the belly.
Later note: Later note: The many green teas most likely suppressed my hunger this day and I ended up malnourished.
Later note: The cravings on a raw food diet typically only become a problem when one does not eat enough. In my case this showed as a need for snacking. Your brain needs energy.
The key to being able to eat little is to not eat certain addictive foods, especially refined and processed carbohydrates: i.e. pasta, bread, possibly potatoes. I have noticed from my own experience that these are addictive. It is possible to eat vast quantities of pasta at one sitting, because of the cravings. Slowly weaning off of these foods helps to combat the addiction and moving onto nutritious but non-addictive foods helps to realise how easy it is to eat little.The normal hunger seems to be nothing more than a craving for addictive foods.
[Later note: This is true, and Joel Fuhrman talks more about this. But it is also true that we need the correct amounts of calories and micronutrients to satisfy the TRUE hunger, which is different than the addictive hunger.]
I am still battling an addiction to green tea, as you can see, but no more on that now, you will see whether I manage to kick the habit or not during this challenge.
Wow, I am looking forward to the weekend, to sleep in, to write some articles for this website, and to make some raw pizza or other nice food. I'm starting to love these foods now, raw pizza by now seems a lot nicer than cooked.
This is the point (day 12) where boredom starts setting in. It's Friday and I was dreaming of a glass of wine. The benefits so far are subtle and having done this before I am already used to them. There are no detox symptoms so it is hard to believe much is happening... but... I do feel quite happy, I don't get as tired, and I am losing weight. Work days seem to be going well (easy to concentrate). Also, the benefits I have already reaped from eating raw food on and off (during the last 1.5 years) are: much shorter period and less pain, better skin, more energy, my ears don't hurt anymore in the airplane, easier to get up in the morning.
I still have some small health challenges which I will write about either during or after this trial, whenever it becomes relevant. But... the point I'm trying to make is that I believe the benefits will come.
So, of course I will stick to it and see how this develops. The period after the initial 18 days as well as the fasting week are the most exciting, since I will be treading on new ground.
I slept some five hours last night but felt fine during the day. Now in the evening I am a little tired.
[Later note: During this trial I was forever trying to sleep too little because I expected a quick energy boost from the raw food diet. This was a mistake and if anything, when one begins to eat raw foods, it is important to sleep enough, which quite often means sleeping more while the body goes to work cleansing itself. Only after the cleaning reaches a certain level, will it be possible to sleep less. Some people get instant energy from the raw food diet and need less sleep but my guess is that those are people who have been doing a lot of cleansing previously already.]
11pm note: very tired now, my period (menses) is starting, feeling very sluggish. But no pain so far.
I am roughly in sync with the full moon: it was full on Wednesday, two days ago. I don't know if it is a coincidence or a sign of good hormonal balance. (Healthy women (who are not on contraceptives) living in a natural environment sync their periods with the full moon. It sounds crazy but is a fact nevertheless. There are 13 periods in a year and 13 full moons.)
[Later note: Even despite the quite huge mistakes I made during this raw food diet experiment I was still feeling some benefits. Next time it would be important to:
- Eat more easy-to-digest calories.
- Eliminate food allergens, i.e. carrots and celery in my case.
- Drink more green juices.
- Be caffeine-free.
- Sleep enough to allow the body to get to work cleansing itself.]
- 1.5 green teas (3p) (Chinese loose-leaf green tea)
- A smoothie: 1/2 bunch of coriander (cilantro) (39p), 2 tbsp sprouted millet (8p), 1 apple (20p), 1/2 lemon juice (8p), water.
- Juice of a 1/2 grapefruit (40p).
- 1 apple (13p)
- A juice from Crussh: spinach, an apple, a carrot, cucumber, bee pollen (£3.35).
- 1 snack bag of mixed nuts (hazelnut, almond, raisins) and 1/2 snack bag of dried apricots (£1.88).
- 1 green tea (free)
- Smoothie: 1/2 bunch parsley (40p), 1 tbsp dried goji berries (26p), 1 tbsp bee pollen (33p), 1/2 small green chilli (2p), juice of 1/2 lemon (8p), water.
- 1 green tea (at 9pm!).
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 12: £7.60 ($12.02, €8.66)
Jump to Day 14
15th Oct 2011, Sat
I couldn't calculate the calories consumed for this day because I have no idea how many calories were in the banoffee pie. I assume I got enough calories this day, however, and got way too big amount from fat (better to get majority of calories form carbohydrates for high energy levels...)
I've had a history of very difficult period pain (menstrual cramps). If you're a man and don't want to know, skip this paragraph!
For years I took a lot of painkillers and went through long periods on the birth control pill to ease the pain.
Then I found Mexican Wild Yam Cream (I use At Last Naturals' Extra Strength Wild Yam Gel), which seemed like a bit of a miracle product and a natural way to alleviate the pain. It is quite expensive and you need to use a lot of it throughout the day before it works but I was so happy to find out an alternative to painkillers.
Now, however, I don't need to use Wild Yam Cream anymore! Today I had very little pain in the morning, some tiredness and bloatedness, but I was so happy because there was almost no pain at all!. The flow was less clotted and the blood even seemed thinner than normal. My period has been getting better (shorter and lighter) over the months while dabbling with raw food but this is a major achievement. It's such a weight off my shoulders as for one to two days each month the period used to take away my will to live! And it caused problems at work as well because I had to take time off and couldn't attend meeting etc.
I hope it will get even better, where even the bloatedness and tiredness will go, and the flow will get even lighter. Even in terms of saving the precious red blood cells (and thus my iron reserves) is so important for me.
[Later note: You can read more about my thoughts, as well as updates, on curing menstrual cramps here:
"How to Cure Menstrual Pain Naturally"
Green tea takes the hunger away, which is why I didn't have dinner. I also didn't feel like sleeping at all, which is understandable, because of all the caffeine. I went to bed at 2am not tired at all. Had no problem falling asleep though, quite quickly.
[Later note: The diet on this day was a very good example of what NOT to eat on a raw food diet. Starting the day with nuts and green tea just does not prepare you for the day. The smoothie was what saved the day but all the rest was just heavy, processed food, very little of it, with an added problem of dairy and caffeine. But it is understandable that during your menses you crave fatty comfort foods - at least I always do.]
- 2 green teas (4p)
- 1/2 cup of raw cashew nuts (from Goji King) (30g, 70p)
- Smoothie: 1/2 cup home-grown broccoli sprouts (26p), a banana (22p), 2 tbsp sprouted millet (8p), 2 dates (10p), 1/2 cup of black currants (free, picked from Finland), 1 tbsp bee pollen (33p), 2 tbsp goji berries (52p), 1/4 courgette (14p).
COST: £1.65 ($2.61, €1.88)
- Raw banoffee pie (made by The Living Food Kitchen, purchased from Wholefoods) (£2.99)
- Unpasteurised raw cheese, Talleggio (from Wholefoods) (£3.61)
COST: £6.60 ($10.44, €7.52)
- 2 green teas (4p)
- Tap water
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 12: £9.03 ($14.28, €10.29)
16th October 2011, Sunday
Weight: 54kg (8.5 stones, 119lbs)
I really wanted to drink wine yesterday, but resisted. I have been quite lazy this weekend, buying a lot of expensive ready foods and guzzling green tea. But it is important to allow yourself to be lazy sometimes! The LACK of green juices and lack of regular eating times does not help with cravings, however, but makes them worse. I am also worried that I might not be eating enough, which might reflect on my energy levels later on in the week. Also, I don't want to lose too much weight as I am almost at my ideal weight already.
- Read about Victoria Boutenko's story where she compares a raw food diet with and without greens here: "Green for Life" book review.
- For my favourite green smoothie recipe go here.
- My thoughts on how to improve the discpine and make the raw food diet work better here: "How to Succeed on a Raw Food Diet"]
- 2 green teas (4p)
- handful of raw cashew nuts (70p)
- juice of 1/2 grapefruit (40p)
- Smoothie: 1 cup of broccoli spouts (52p), 1/2 bunch of parsley (40p), 1/2 red bell pepper (30p), 1 teasp bee pollen (11p), juice of 1/2 lemon (8p) > Blended and strained before drinking.
- 1 tbsp sea buckthorn berries (free, picked from Finland)
Lunch 2 (3.30pm):
- Smoothie: a banana (22p), a small apple (10p), 3 tbsp black currants (free), 2 dates (10p), 2 leaves of romaine lettuce (10p), 1 teasp raw honey (7p).
- Unpasteurised (raw) Raclette cheese (from a French shop down the road) (£2.31)
- Green tea x2 (4p)
- juice of 1/2 lemon in water (13p)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 14: £5.58 ($8.76, €6.37)
Total spent in Week 2: £44.91 ($70.71, €51.46)
Average per day: £6.42 ($10.11, €7.36)
Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.