This is week 8 of my raw food on a budget diary.
A summary of this diet is provided here: 100 days raw food summary.
25th November 2011, Friday
Woke up at 6.30am
- Live Juice (all organic), 500ml (1/2 quart): 4 carrots (58p), 2/3 celery bunch (83p), 1/3 bag of rainbow chard (greens) (47p), 1/5 red cabbage (28p).
- Green tea (loose-leaf Chinese 'gunpowder' tea) (2p)
- 4 green teas and plenty of redbush (rooibos) tea at work (for free).
- Tropicana Ruby Breakfast Juice (£2.18)
- Tropicana Pink Grapefruit Juice (£2.18)
- Copella Apple Juice (£1.72)
- 'Just Juice' grapefruit juice (£1.20)
- One cup loose-leaf Chinese 'gunpowder' green tea (2p)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 48: £9.48 ($14.61, €11.04)
I started this week off with a one-day juice fast to mark the new moon. Read more on the progress of my juice fasts here: "The 32-Day Juice Fasting Experiment".
Last week I spent on average £6.58 ($10.16, €7.68) per day, which is pretty good considering I ate expensive nut snack bags and raw cheeses... The cheapest day was only £3.25 ($5.02, €3.79) in total, but I felt that I ate too little. For whatever reason, the next day I felt weak.
I am trying to fix my diet so well that I can have an extremely healthy raw food diet plan for £5.47 ($8.45, €6.38) per day. This will include some superfoods (spirulina, chlorella) and some comfort foods (dehydrated raw sweet potato cakes), as well as the all-important affordable but energising and filling carbohydrates: sprouted millet and sprouted quinoa. I am also trying to achieve the 'natural high' many raw foodists talk about, and very high energy levels, and because of this will include more greens, more superfood greens and also copius amounts of home-grown sprouts into my diet. I have to face realities now: I live in a big city (London) where the air I breathe everyday while cycling is full of heavy metals. So I will need to take detoxifying the heavy metals seriously now, which is what chlorophyll can do. The greens should also make my body ph alkaline... I will soon start measuring and reporting this...
Anyway, about today. Could it possibly be that I am still (or again?) going through body detox symptoms? I didn't sleep that many hours (6h) so that has something to do with this, but I woke up tired and had diarrhea. I felt very weak and shaky for a bit and thought about calling in sick for work but after taking a hot bath I felt better and went to work anyway.
I did a juice fast all day which seemed to really help with tiredness. It also seemed to make it possible for me to tolerate green tea better. I had 5 green teas without the usual feeling of dehydration. So for most of the day I was really fine although I was sneezing, my nose is still permanently stuffy, I was coughing while cycling and now in the evening my eyes are quite red again. In addition, for the last 2-3 days I have had a back ache, similar to sciatica, going into the right leg. It is not bad and doesn't stop me doing many things but it is annoying especially because I never normally have back pain.
I start believing that I am still going through a detox phase! Even with having done all the fasting and all! I thought if anything the detox symptoms would come during fasting but perhaps my body doesn't work like that! It seems that my body is detoxing gently but slowly. Perhaps there is even an underlying illness somewhere so all the new energy is spent on curing that right now.
[Update: The problems I was suffering at this point were most likely due to a toxic liver. Tiredness and red eyes are definitely symptoms of this. The fact that the red eyes and other 'detox' symptoms come especially after the juice fast would seem to indicate to me that the body (and the liver especially) is having trouble expelling all the waste that is created during detox.
And the feelings of a cold coming from drinking green tea might have to do with this as well: green tea is dehydrating and the liver needs lots of clean water being pushed through it to be able to cleanse and detoxify. Through many different detoxes I have learned the same thing: the feeling of a cold coming on is definitely a classic detox symptom, which can be remedied with enemas.
The raw food diet and/or the juice fast start cleaning the body on a cellular level, removing toxic waste and pushing it into the blood stream for evacuation. But if the main detoxifying organs: the skin, the liver, the colon and the lungs are already working at full capacity, a toxic build-up is created and the cleansing organs cannot keep up.
Thus the best things I could have done to my health at this point of the raw food diet would have been to 1) take enemas regularly and 2) not drink green tea because it is dehydrating but plenty of water instead.]
I have had some chronic symptoms for quite some time prior to starting on raw foods, as follows:
So I would like to think that all of these problems are being slowly but surely cured 'behind the scenes', while the body knows not to stress itself out too much by taking on too much at once.
I have heard from others that sometimes it took them 3 months+ on 100% raw food before they experienced extreme energy levels. Others say that detox symptoms come and go over the months and years (I guess it depends what part the body is working on). Back and muscle pains have been reported among the detox symptoms, perhaps that is what I am experiencing.
But of course I can't rule out that I might be doing something wrong with the diet. So one of the things that I will invest in from my next salary will be green superfoods, especially chlorella and spirulina. Firstly, the green in the plants (chlorophyll) is meant to give you plenty of energy and endless other benefits. But also, the chlorophyll-rich plants are able to draw out and detox heavy metals from the body!
The other interesting thought I had today was regarding weight GAIN on a raw food diet. I have lost quite a bit of weight very quickly and although I like my face skinny, I would like to put on healthy looking fat everywhere else, not to look too skinny. If I put on weight from beer and pasta, it gives me a double chin and a bloated belly in no time. At the moment I am happy because my belly is flat and my chin is back to normal - my face also seems like it's being slighly 'lifted' almost daily (although there are those days in between when I wake up looking rough!).
So here's a crazy thought, from Tonya Zavasta ('things are not as they seem', like she says): fasting and eating very little can help with weight gain! It sounds crazy but the theory makes sense and I have seen some posts in raw forums where people have said that her advice works for weight gain. Basically, what she is saying is that eating little slows down the body's metabolism, which means that the body will digest everything better, including the fats in the food. Many (including me) have been accustomed to believing that a fast metabolism is a good thing. Not so according to Ms. Zavasta. It is true that a person with a fast metabolism finds it easy to maintain a slim figure but it is because their bodies are digesting the food in an inefficient way!
People who consider themselves to be too skinny then can find it impossible to put on weight almost regardless of what they eat. This could be due to a very fast metabolism (weak digestion) or also be caused by worms or other imbalances in the body. So Tonya's advice for weight gain on raw foods: work on slowing your metabolism down by fasting and eating little, and then introduce healthy fats into your diet in moderation.
Read more: Beautifulonraw.com: "Tonya Zavasta: Gaining and Losing Weight the Quantum Way!"
[Update: Note that this works the other way around also: if you're trying to lose weight, eating too little is the absolutely wrong thing to do. Although it slows down your metabolism - which is, according to Zavasta, a good thing - it will also make it easier to put on weight. So don't overeat, by any means, but also ensure that you get enough calories. The key to losing weight is to 1) make sure your calories are from healthy sources 2) restrict processed carbohydrates and other junk foods as much as possible 3) ensure you get enough micronutrients, so that the cravings to eat junk will disappear. You can read more about this here: "Raw Food Weight Loss".]
Tonya also recommends raw eggs for those in need of DHA's (Omega 3's), Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin B12 and lecithin, as well as for those wishing to find an easy way to put on weight while staying raw! I might just try this, as I have had raw eggs in the past. Just keep in mind that if you are to eat eggs raw, they should be organic and you should also wash the skin of the egg with washing up liquid before breaking the egg. These steps are to avoid bacteria, notably salmonella. It is still not 100% safe but good enough for me...
26th November 2011, Saturday
Woke up at 9am.
- 10ml Floravital iron supplement (30p)
- 1 banana (22p)
- 2 loose-leaf green teas (4p)
- 2 organic apples with maple syrup (44p+36p)
- A mini-bag of Tesco's dried mango pieces (67p)
- Mashed raw plantain with salt and pepper (42p + 2p)
- Two loose-leaf green teas (4p)
- Smoothie, 250ml small glass: Cloves (2p), cinnamon (1p), some berries from frozen (35p), 1/2 banana (11p), an apple (10p).
- Two pints (2 x 500ml) of lemon water (25p)
- Raw chocolate cake* ! :) Two pieces! (£1.62) (A version of Ani Phyo's "Raspberry ganache fudge cake", recipe on You Tube.)
- Tap water with raw apple cider vinegar (2p)
- Tap water with a sprinkle of MSM (3p)
(* Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake (6 pieces): Base: 1 cup cashews (75p), 1/5 cup carob powder (17p), salt (2p), 6 dates (27p). Frosting: 1/3 cup dates (27p), 1/4 cup maple syrup (£1.20), 1/3 cup cacao powder (72p), organic vanilla essence (21p). Filling: 1.5 cups mixed frozen berries (£1), 1 banana (22p) > COST: 4.83, 81p per piece)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 49: £5.02 ($7.83, €5.85)
Went to bed at 2.30am.
Wow I feel great today after yesterday's 1-day juice fast! I think juice fasting really suits me, even better than the raw food diet ;) Well, the reason being that my raw food diet is not polished to perfection yet... My energy levels are not yet where they need to be... This is either because it takes time and I'm still detoxing or because I'm not disciplined enough with my greens and other nutrients (and because I still drink green tea and caffeine definitely has an adverse effect on energy levels). But all in good time, I don't want to push myself too much.
Later note: Juices are easier to digest for energy and nutrients than most other raw foods...
I took a hot bath this morning, followed by sugar scrub and brushing of my whole body, followed by an ice cold shower. What a great way to start your day, get your lymph and blood flowing from the moment you wake up! I'm gonna try to have enough time to do this every morning from now on.
Benefits of Quitting Caffeine
My Later Juice Fasting Experiments]
27th November 2011, Sunday
Woke up at 11am.
- 2 cups of "Wake Up!" grain coffee with guarana (not raw!) (24p)
- 1 handful of cashew nuts (25p)
- One raw mashed plantain with salt and pepper (42p+2p)
- Smoothie: a banana (22p), an apple (27p), 5 spinach leaves (40p), 1 teasp bee pollen (33p), cayenne pepper (2p), 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries (34p), water.
- 1 handful of cashew nuts (25p)
- 2 dates (9p)
- green tea (2p)
- 2.5 rolls of live 'sushi'* (22 small pieces £1.65)
- lots of water with raw apple cider vinegar (3p)
(* Live Sushi/ Nori Rolls, four sheets: 4 nori seaweed sheets (52p), 1 cup pumpkin seeds (42p), large chunk of ginger (4p), soya sauce (4p), 2 teasp wasabi powder (22p), 1 shallot onion (12p), half of a large daikon radish (47p), 1/4 cup cashew nuts (30p), salt (2p), pepper (2p), 1 carrot (9p), handful of coriander (cilantro) (13p), 1/2 apple (14p), small piece of courgette (11p), water - COST: £2.63, 66p per roll)
Went to bed at 11pm.
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 48: £4.55 ($7.10, €5.30)
I realised something important about blood sugar today. I still feel the effects of low blood sugar if I don't eat often enough! It was a difficult day but half way through the challenge, and hopefully a turning point.
I was on a bad mood most of the morning and early afternoon, when I was just drinking caffeinated drinks and not eating much.
I realised two things: firstly, I really have to find a way to be more disciplined (to eat regularly) and secondly, I realised how much blood sugar swings still affect me.
Needless to say, I also had lots of cravings, especially for mash potato, but this was not because I am not over the starch problem but clearly and simply because I didn't bother to eat proper breakfast.
When you let yourself get hungry enough, you will want to eat anything heavy and filling. Especially with caffeine spiking up your blood sugar and stress hormones and then giving you a 'low' quickly afterwards.
Maybe the way to do this is to give up all teas and hot drinks! That way, I don't suppress my appetite by various herbal stimulants and caffeine but am forced to take snacks and eating often enough more seriously. [Update: Drinking fruit juice and sparkling water will also help with this.]
That should also help me with the weight loss, which is a bit worrying at the moment (I am losing too much weight). I don't know if I can do this but I think it's a good idea ;) Hehe. I will try, I won't promise anything more. But I have done it in the past for a couple of months and life was infinitely better.
The third realisation that I think will make my life infinitely better is to take hot baths every morning, with sugar scrub, brushing and a cold shower after. It should make it easier to get up early and get ready for the day. Some people do exercise first thing in the morning but I just can't bring myself to do that. Not yet at least, until I reach higher energy levels in the morning. But I want to make my mornings enjoyable somehow. So this is my new plan.
And upping greens. Right now I don't have a penny until Wednesday, having just spent my last 50p on daikon radish from the local Chinese shop. But I get a veggie delivery on Tuesday morning and my payday is on Wednesday. So I will up my greens intake then and also see if I can afford to buy some superfood greens. But I will start lots of sprouts today! The ones I happen to have: broccoli sprouts, mixed seeds, millet and quinoa.
I have read so much about chlorophyll I just know that it must be the key to my lacking energy levels. The other thought I've been having is that perhaps this slight asthma (or similar) problem is a difficult one to heal and my body is working full time just doing that. But I want to feel super-energetic and I want to make the raw food diet work in the long run so I will keep trying to improve on my daily ways and wait for the energy to come.
The other thing is enemas. I think I need to find the time and willpower to do a series of those... 6 or something. In Chinese medicine the bowel and the lungs are linked so if my lungs are weak it must be reflected in the bowels, or vice versa.
One thing I have noticed is that being raw and interested in health makes me relate to other people in a different way. I appreciate things I would normally not have even noticed. Other people seem to become more interesting! Of course sometimes sitting in a pub without a drink while others are immersed in a slightly drunken conversation can be boring, but I just do less of that and encourage the people I know to meet me during the day time instead. And like my realisation last week, meeting people at parties and pubs while not having anything to drink can be surprisingly enjoyable. But I can tell you it is not very common in London! But at least it is nice to remember what the conversation was about... and also to be more in control of who you talk to and what about!
The other thing I have been thinking about recently was that in a way, at least from my own experience, there are two stages to becoming a raw foodist.
The first stage is mostly about what you are NOT eating and this is what is most important. Cutting out all the addictive, toxic substances and dead food. I feel I am past this stage now and although don't think that I am ready yet to be 100% raw forever, I know that I can battle the addictions fairly easily. I find living like this quite easy BUT...
I am about to break through to the next stage when, to reverse the first statement, what you DO eat becomes more important than what you don't. ...assuming that you have already kicked the addictions, you have achieved a certain level of health and you are probably roughly making sure you get all the nutrients you need.
So then the second stage is about adding in all the extremely healthy foods in large quantities AND about making sure that you eat enough AND make the food interesting enough to stay happy.
In the end food IS an important part of happiness in everyday life. So this is my threefold challenge and I have a feeling it will take a while to tackle. But time is what I have - not in everyday life but in years - especially since I am planning to live to be 200-years old ;)
28th November 2011, Monday
- Raw porridge: 1 cup soaked oat groats (36p), 1/2 tbsp cinnamon (2p), 1/4 cup dates (30p), handful of raisins (28p), 2 tbsp maple syrup (72p).
- 2 green teas, 2 rooibos teas (free at work)
- Smoothie: 1/2 bunch of coriander (cilantro) (50p), juice of 2 lemons (too much lemon) (50p), olive oil (18p), cayenne pepper (2p).
- Raw 'sushi', 8 pieces (one roll) (66p, see calculation on previous day)
- Grated courgette (zucchini) (58p) with tomato sauce: 4 organic tomatoes (£1), 6 dates (27p), salt (1p), pepper (1p), thyme (2p).
- One loose-leaf green tea (2p)
- Two camomile teas (24p)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 51: £5.68 ($8.86, €6.61)
Another difficult day. I feel tired of eating raw foods. I'm tired of being broke all the time. It's cold in the house and dark outside and I can't be motivated to do anything tonight. Gonna try to take a bath and feel better. I feel like I badly need a holiday. Alone. I'm tired of people around me. Hopefully this is some kind of emotional detox and will pass by tomorrow... otherwise I don't think I will be doing raw for much longer. It's just getting on my nerves right now. Too much food to prepare... Coming home from work I just want to get some take-away and not worry about washing vegetables and starting to prepare stuff with the rickety little cheap food processing equipment I have. I would love to be able to afford a Vitamix one day. Also, normally on a day like this I would just eat bananas and fruit, or mix them up with frozen berries, but I don't have any of that here tonight, and no money to buy anything. I blackmailed my bf to make me a tomato sauce with courgette 'pasta' and if he hadn't made it I probably would not have eaten anything. Man, I need to get my energy, moods and motivation UP! I have so much stuff I wanna do but no time after boring work. WHEN am I gonna start sleeping 4-6 hours per night and start feeling super-energetic?!?! I've been doing this for so long and still need to sleep a lot and wake up feeling sluggish and not rested. All I get is 'stick' from people for being too skinny.
[Update: Although there may have been other stressors involved in this days sour moods, I think the green teas I was drinking had a huge impact on my blood sugar and moods (they usually do, as I realized afterwards). In addition, it is easy to be vitamin D deficient at this time of the year in Northern Europe and just the lack of UV-light from the sun in your eyes can cause tiredness and moodiness. In addition, as has been noted in diary of the previous weeks, this raw food diet I was eating was far from ideal in many ways.]
29th November 2011, Tuesday
- Smoothie: 1.5 apples (38p), 2 large green leaves (16p), 1 tbsp flax seed (12p), 1 tbsp pumpkin seed (9p), 1 teasp honey (42p). (Very nice and refreshing!)
- Pint of water (500ml) with raw apple cider vinegar (3p)
- Salad: 1/2 bunch coriander (25p), braggs liquid amino acids (not raw) (3p), 6 brazil nuts (22p), 1.5 apples (38p), juice of 1/3 lemon (9p), 2 oranges (66p).
- 2 green teas, 2 redbush teas (free at work)
- 1 organic courgette grated (99p), with sauce: 2 organic beef tomatoes (£1.08), 6 dates (£1.32), 1/2 lemon juice (14p), 1/4 cup olive oil (25p), soya sauce (2p), black pepper (1p), dried basil (2p), dried thyme (2p).
- Camomile tea (12p)
- Glass of water with raw apple cider vinegar (3p)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 52: £6.83 ($10.66, €7.95)
I felt better today and continuing on raw foods :)
[Update: Surprised that I felt better even though I didn't get anywhere near enough calories on this day or the next. This would have a huge impact on energy levels.]
30th November 2011, Wednesday
- Smoothie: coriander (cilantro) (50p), 1/2 organic lemon (14p), 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (9p), 1 tbsp linseeds (flax seeds) (12p), cayenne pepper (2p), an organic apple (25p). COST: £1.12
- Salad at work: "superfood salad" from Marks & Spencer (£1.50)
- 2 green teas, lemon and ginger tea, camomile tea, mixed cashew nuts and raisins (£1.79)
- raw cheese (£2.15)
- 1 pint of tap water with raw apple cider vinegar (3p)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 53: £6.59 ($10.28, €7.67)
31st November 2011, Thursday
- Smoothie: a banana (22p), 6 green leaves (48p), an apple (25p), 1 teasp raw honey (42p), 1 tbsp linseeds (flax seeds) (12p), 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (9p).
- 3 green teas, other herbal teas (organic fennel, lemon and ginger...) (free at work)
- Tomato and greens salad from Marks & Spencer (1.50), with two apples (50p)
- Cashew nut and raisin mix (£1.79)
- Green tea (free at work)
TOTAL COST FOR DAY 53: £5.37 ($8.38, €6.25)
Had to stay at work until midnight tonight, working on a deadline. Went to bed at 2am.
Total spent in Week 8: £43.52 ($67.92, €50.68)
Average per day: £6.21 ($9.69, €7.23)
A summary of this diet is provided here: 100 days raw food summary.
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Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.