Raw Food Challenge

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The 25-day raw food diet continues...

Day 7 - Raw Food Challenge

raw food chard pickle and fig salad
The chard salad with raw pickles I made was too sugary.

10th January 2015, Saturday

Weight: 55kg (my ideal weight)

Woke up at 9.30am, feeling quite well-rested. Though I was awake part of the night due to very windy weather and noises outside. So I guess I still sleep quite light - when I was younger I used to be a very deep sleeper and be able to sleep anywhere. Would like to get back to that.

Breakfast, 10am: Had soaked raw oat groats with cinnamon and a few raisins (not raw). It tasted very bland.

Went for a run and it felt very difficult! I never usually feel so weak running! I had to alternate between walking and running all the way through.

2pm: Otherwise feel very good today, not tired at all. I had an ice-cold shower and snacked on some radish sprouts and a few pieces of 100% pure licorice (not raw, but no sugar or other added ingredients). I've been snacking on these licorice bits since last night but I can't imagine them being bad for you since processed licorice is used in Chinese medicine and other herbal medicine traditions as well.

3.25pm: Just had a really nice salad, which had no salt or sugar on it! Just with the power of pickles and a little olive oil, it seems one can make nice raw food dishes. I especially like the flavour of coconut vinegar, which seems to be sweeter than other vinegars.

Lunch salad ingredients: Rainbow chard, green chard (although the lady at the farmer's market claimed it was a type of spinach - maybe), a little good-quality raw olive oil, pine-nut-and-raisin pickle, pickled figs. (Note that the raisins, figs and pine nuts may not have been raw, as I am not sure if they were heat-dried or not. Both of the vinegars and the orange juice were raw, however.)

I will do some more experimenting and provide recipes for the best pickles soon, meanwhile you can refer to Alissa Cohen's book: "Raw Food for Everyone".

In principle, it seems like you can probably pickle any dried fruit or berries in freshly-squeezed good-tasting fruit-juice, for good results. You can then add spices, herbs or flavours to your liking - e.g. vanilla or some chillies, bay leaves, etc. I had a little bit of ground clove with the figs which were soaked in orange juice and that tasted really nice.

Tap Water is Not Raw/ The Ideal 100% Raw Food Diet

By the way, I am drinking tap water throughout this raw food challenge, which is not ideal, albeit it's filtered. Strictly speaking, I don't think tap water can be considered raw because it's very processed. So in this way this raw food challenge is actually quite far from a 100% raw food diet...

An optimal 100% raw food diet would be based on drinking unprocessed natural spring water, spending lots of time in the sun and outdoors (nutrients from the sun and air), breathing only unprocessed air (no electric heaters etc.), swimming daily in the sea or other wild water to mineralize, and be far away from any technology or pollution. Wow, would I love to do that experiment one day! However, right now, this is as close to 100% raw as I can get.

Pickled Figs in Small Quantity are Too Sugary

4pm: Ok, so the figs and the small amounts of raisins, orange juice and coconut vinegar seem to also have been too sugary, since my face is starting to glow red and I'm getting a slight headache on my left temple. Oh no! I've been feeling so good until now!

4.15pm: Pulse: 70bpm - a little bit on the high side.

Actually, I am quite happy about this strong reaction I get to sugar because then I get a clear message from my body what works and what doesn't. Shame that I can't eat sugary things like many other raw foodists but at least I get a near-instant sign after eating whether the food was good for me or not :)

Snacked on a 1/4 cucumber and some sugar snap peas with pods. Took a chromium supplement (supposed to help to balance blood sugar).

Had a half-an-hour walk outside and it (and/or the chromium) helped with the headache.

Stevia Doesn't Work for Me

6.45pm: Tried to make raw chocolate mousse but it didn't work at all. I tried to use stevia instead of too many sugary things and I just really don't like the taste of stevia. I couldn't really eat all of the mousse but did have maybe a coffee-cup-full.

This experience makes me think that it is going to be difficult to be a raw foodist without eating any form of sugar, such as agave syrup or maple syrup (neither of which is really healthy). These are in many raw food dishes. And especially if I can't afford raw organic nuts either it seems it will be quite difficult to make enjoyable meals and to fill your belly! I will keep trying though. I think the best bet long-term would be to train your tastebuds to like less sugary foods (can be done, I experienced in on the McCombs Diet), and to include very small amounts of fruit here and there.

Don't get me wrong, there are many amazing tasting raw food desserts, including chocolate mousse, but they usually (if not always) have either some form of syrup or dates in them, or another sugary dried fruits, like figs. None of these seem to be suitable for me though, and I can't afford the raw organic nuts right now so my dessert options are quite limited. I guess I will continue this experiment without dessert then.

The ingredients of my unsuccessful 'chocolate mousse' were: avocado, fresh coconut fat from young coconuts, cacao butter, a little coconut water, some lucuma powder (not raw), cacao nibs (not raw), organic black sesame seeds, stevia (probably not raw) and pink Himalayan salt. Yuck! The stevia taste stays in your mouth so long, it doesn't leave!

Coming Off the 'No Salt' Regime

This raw food challenge has been salt-free for almost seven full days so I will take some salt in water tonight and see if I wake up with a puffy face or anything. To be honest I don't really believe in salt-free or low-salt diets, as long as the salt is natural, good quality and not chemically-processed and stripped-of-minerals table salt.

[Later note: My face was only a little puffy the next day upon waking up but I have no idea whether it was caused by the salt or not.]

My Low-Sugar Raw Food Challenge

So what am I going to eat during this low-sugar part of the raw food challenge? It's probably good that I can't eat too many nuts because I might easily end up eating too much fat. If I could eat frozen berries I don't think I would have a problem, because I could make smoothies. I'm not sure if the frozen berries are blanched before freezing or not... Might have to write to the company to ask. So I think I will start eating frozen berries because I don't think they cause blood sugar problems (in limited quantity) and they make my smoothies taste nice. To buy fresh berries everyday would be too expensive for me right now.

So I will eat green salads with raw non-sugary salad dressings, avocados and seeds; smoothies with berries and greens; non-sugary fruit/veg for snacking like kohlrabi or cucumber; spirulina and lemon smoothies; green juices. If I could make flax-seed crackers I could have those with avocado, olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper on top! In fact I think I can make Ani Phyo's raw pizza recipe without a dehydrator. I think I will try that tomorrow. And some of the less-sugary pickles will help to flavour my salads. Oh, and, fermented foods! I might make probiotic-cultured apple chutney tomorrow, it's not very sweet but very tasty! So maybe I will be ok during this raw food challenge :)

I will try to go the high-micronutrient and low-calorie route that Joel Fuhrman speaks about so inspiringly (follow the link for summary). But I will include a little bit of less sugary fruit and berries carefully here and there too.

Went to bed at midnight, couldn't sleep until 3.30am, wasn't tired.

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