22-Day Raw Food Challenge - Summary & Conclusions

> > 22-Day Raw Food Challenge - Summary & Conclusions

This raw food diet (in July 2011) felt quite easy, but it did include some possibly non-raw items, namely: agave syrup, molasses sugar, maple syrup, olives, nuts (e.g. cashew is usually not raw but heat-dried), apple and mango juice, tap water, shoyu sauce.

22-day raw food diet

Originally planned for 30 days, I fell off the raw food diet on day 22 because I wanted to have wine at a picnic in the park. I later learned that alcohol always throws my body out of balance and huge cravings result.

There were many benefits of this diet, and some possible imbalances were in development as well.

22-Day Raw Food Challenge Summary

Week 1

Day 1:
Haven't had any hot drinks for one month, feel like life is easier without.
Feeling very tired, had lots of starches the day before.
Bad cough, suspect that it's caused by beer & starches feeding mold infection.
Irritable and moody before eating, a possible blood sugar issue.

Day 2:
Sleeping 10-hour nights.
Feeling cold, a hot bath helped.

Day 3:
Developed a headache towards the end of the day, hot bath helped.
This raw food diet included raw bars, which are a processed food, can be quite old, and possibly not very healthy or easy to digest.

Day 4:
I was extremely tired this day, clearly detoxification tiredness, very different from usual.
Slept during the day and 10-12 hours per night in the last days.
I felt some nice energy movements in my body.

No notes for day 5.

Day 6:
Small starchy carbohydrate cravings, easy to overcome.
Started taking MSM.
Feeling of hunger changed, it is easy to manage.
Cycling feels like hard work, but otherwise have a little more energy than on the previous day.

Day 7:
Had too little sleep the night before, felt tired in the morning.
Also felt as if I was hangover in the morning, without having had alcohol. Dehydrated.
Slight diarrhea.

Week 2

Day 8:
Maca powder and/or MSM (sulphur) seems to be acting like a stimulant.
Slight cravings.
Not tired at all.
Feelings of being cold with a simultaneous red face.

Day 9:
Woke up naturally at 7.30am, very unusual for me.
I have more energy, possibly because of maca/ MSM.
Too many seeds and nuts make me feel heavy (not all soaked).
Craving fruit - I don't usually crave them.
Stomach is less bloated.
Cough comes after eating fruit as well as after eating junk foods. Suspect it's because the cold energy of raw food or because the fruit is too sugary and feeds infection.
No headaches.

No notes for days 10-11.

Day 12:
Feel and look as if I've lost weight but it doesn't show on the scales yet.
Skipped lunch.

Day 13:
Have been taking hot baths in filtered water every day. (Have a shower filter.)
Diarrhea.
I'm saving money by being raw, since I'm not buying snacks, restaurant meals, alcohol or dairy. Also ordering food online seems to make it easier to spend less on food.
I'm eating less food than usual each day.
No weight loss yet.
Alcohol cravings, starchy carbohydrate cravings. If I let myself get hungry I get cravings.
My cough is less bad but nose still blocked (sinus infection), tightness in the chest prevents breathing properly but only occasionally.
Cycling feels easy.
Belly not bloated anymore.
Pasta cravings.
Bad taste in my mouth (detox symptom).

Day 14:
Started having smoothies for lunch because big salads took too long to eat.
Menstrual period started, felt reasonably easy.
Feeling tired and out of strength.
Diarrhea.
Felt cold in the morning.
Weight dropping.
Detox symptom: bad breath.

Week 3

Day 15:
Wild yam cream helps massively for the period pain - either because it's anti-inflammatory or because of progesterone. Deep breathing helps as well.
Feeling more flexible without having done any exercise. (I often feel like this when eating very clean.)
Cycling feels easy and I feel strong.
Work days feel easy (perhaps because of more energy and better concentration).
I feel fresh, mentally balanced, not hungry, not tired, awake and satisfied, strong, flexible. My skin is very soft. I feel like I'm making huge progress.
Eyes are still not bright and clear and I have a dull feeling in my head. Cough is still there, nose is still blocked, energy could be a lot better.

Notes missing for day 16.

Day 17:
The length of my menses has reduced from one week to 4 days.
Feel like I want to extend the diet to avoid negative feelings of edgyness, bloatedness, tiredness, lack of strength, etc.
Little headache in the evening.
Notes about David Wolfe's view on calcification and calcium.

Day 18:
Not craving cheese anymore but wine, starches, soup.
I suspect at this point I was getting too few calories, too few micronutrients (due to not eating enough), too little protein, too much sugar.
Weight is dropping slowly but surely.

Day 19:
I ran out of money and fruit, was feeling very hungry this day.
Started feeling tired, weak and headachy in the afternoon due to lack of fruit.
In the evening I had to have some molasses sugar (not raw), syrup and dates with my smoothie and nuts to get more calories - it made me feel better (but I crashed later, presumably because of the blood sugar spike). It seems important to get some natural, wholefood carbohydrates or sugar in healthy and easy-to-digest form for energy.
Coated tongue is a sign of detoxification.

Day 21:
My belly is still not 100% flat.
Feel a lot more flexible, spine loosening in a good way, movements are easier, feel quite strong.
Ate lots of fruit, especially bananas.
Did a long day in the office with no lunch break.
Feeling good this day.
Ate molasses sugar again (not raw).
Cough is getting less, smoothies don't cause me to cough at all like other foods do - probably because they are easy to digest.
One of the most amazing things: How easy it is to stick to the diet.
Can tolerate hunger much easier.
I don't get much feeling of hunger anymore, just know that I have to eat if I start to feel weak, lose concentration or feel tired. A piece of fruit helps to pick me up in such a case.
Some cravings for cheese, beef (haven't craved it for many years), starchy carbohydrates - not very strong.
As long as there is fruit to snack on I seem to be able to go for long periods without eating.

Week 4

Notes missing for day 22 - last day on the diet.

Day 23 - Stopped the Diet
Fell off the diet because I had white wine mixed with sparkling water in the park. It made me want to eat heavy food afterwards, as I learned later that alcohol always does, because it brings my body out of balance.
I was 65% raw today but ate pasta also.

Day 23 - Not Raw
Cough is worse today because of wine and/or pasta.
Gained 1-2kg in weight since the previous day - it must be water weight since it comes so quickly. Perhaps acidity and carbohydrates cause inflammation which causes water retention.
Alcohol makes me crave cooked food badly and also causes tiredness.
Eating starches causes tiredness the following day.

Conclusions

  • Green juices and smoothies give you more energy.
  • Cooked food and/or alcohol cause strong cravings for cooked food and starches the next day. The body will feel out of balance and it becomes necessary to eat heavy foods.
  • MSM and sulphur-rich smoothies (e.g. radishes) gave me nausea.
  • Coconut oil in a smoothie helps keep hunger well.
  • This raw food diet felt easy as long as I was able to snack on fruits for energy and for curbing hunger.

Later Notes

  • It is interesting that I found this raw food diet easier than my later experiments, which were low in fruit. I also found that I need a fair bit of carbohydrates (e.g. fruit) to keep my energy levels up.
  • I didn't yet manage to eliminate the cough during this diet, but I did later. It seemed to be due to aspergillus (mold) infection and/or indigestion. Drinking alcohol always made it much worse the next day.
  • I was very low on money at some points during this diet, and therefore didn't eat enough macronutrients. This seemed to sap my energy levels.
  • My 'cold body type' as explained by a Chinese Doctor was possibly due to stealth infections.
I got many benefits on this diet, especially after two weeks: flexibility, more energy, felt strong, more balanced mind, shorter and less painful menstrual period, less bloatedness, less irritability, more positive emotions/feelings, easier to ride a bicycle, spine loosening, nice 'energy' feelings in the body, saved money, looked better, lost weight, work days felt easier than usual, etc.
Later note: On the negative side, I seem to have had blood sugar swings (as indicated by the energy crashes, bloated abdomen and carbohydrate cravings). The eyes not being white was probably a mineral deficiency, as later, when I started taking a multi-mineral supplement (by Trace Minerals Research, 'ConcenTrace') my eyes got white again. This diet seems to have been much too low in protein, and next time I should consider adding more protein through: HealthForce Nutritionals' or SunWarrior raw vegan wholefood protein powder (both expensive), spirulina (algae), sprouted brown rice protein powder, nuts, seeds, greens and sprouted oats, quinoa, millet, etc. Hemp protein powder, and amino acid supplements (e.g. BioCare 'Broad Spectrum Amino Acids') would be less expensive, non-raw protein supplement options.

Read the full diary notes for this diet here.

Notes on my next raw food diet here: 18 days 100% raw (July 2011).

100-day raw food challenge (Oct-Nov 2011).

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