Back in March & April 2011 I did a seven day raw food diet with a couple of cheat items towards the end. I didn't drink any hot drinks, caffeine or alcohol during the diet, but did have a fair amount of fat (olive oil and coconut oil) as well as raw eggs. What worked and didn't is discussed below in summary. Full diary notes are available here: My First Week on Raw Foods.
Summary of My First Week on Raw Foods
- Pizza before starting the raw food diet made me feel dehydrated the following morning.
- I started losing weight straight away on the diet.
- Needed a lot of sleep in the beginning.
- Phlegm (mucus) started to come loose and to clear - I was suffering from a chronic cough which I later identified as systemic ('stealth') lung infection caused by black mold (aspergillus) which the doctors couldn't find in x-rays.
- On the second day I was feeling very cold and had a red face. This was potentially due to too much 'cold' energy (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine) and/or due to problems in digesting well enough to get nutrients unlodged from inside the fiber. fiber-rich raw foods can be difficult to digest for many if not all people.
- I quit caffeine on day 1 and had quite bad headache for two days. On the third day the headache was less and I could concentrate better.
- Third day: Started feeling more rested and relaxed in the mornings, probably due to not drinking alcohol.
- Days 3-4: Appetite was becoming less.
- Day 5: Had bad breath and mucus loosening in the throat (detox symptoms).
- On day 6 I had a small pack of crisps - a cheat food - so I wasn't 100% raw anymore.
- My chronic cough was slowly starting to clear during this raw food diet.
- During the diet work days seemed to be going faster and weekends felt to last longer - strange but true.
- Day 7: My body started craving starchy carbs, even though I wasn't feeling hungry in general. I gave up the diet on this day and ate a little mash potato and salt fish pie in the evening.
- My mouth felt clearer during the diet (wasn't drinking any hot drinks either).
- Cycling felt easier.
- I got comments on how good I looked (from friends) right after finishing the diet.
- My stomach got less bloated during the diet, probably due to having no starchy carbohydrates and no beer.
Summary of Later Notes (Updates)
- Salads were making me feel thirsty and dehydrated: I later concluded that this was because I was eating too many fiber-rich foods which caused indigestion problems.
- I was expecting instant energy on this diet and sleeping less hours - with the obvious result that I felt tired. In reality it is common to feel more tired at the beginning of a cleansing diet, not less, because the body is spending energy cleaning and repairing.
- Chinese Doctor later suggested to me that raw foods may be too 'cold' to eat (in energy medicine terms). The red face and feeling of cold may have been linked to this problem.
Discoveries Made After the Diet
- Cough came back, it gets worse every time I drink beer.
- I started noticing symptoms from eating processed foods like pasta, bread and chocolate: mouth felt coated, teeth and gums felt 'infected', numb feeling in the mouth.
- Bloated belly came back soon after quitting the raw food diet.
- I noticed that I recovered from a hangover quicker than before (with the help of a breakfast smoothie).
- Felt snappy and bored, with no motivation on days 12 and 13, soon after quitting the raw food diet. Headache on day 13. I was still having raw breakfast and lunch at the time, on most days.
- I was struggling financially and maybe not getting enough fat and calories.
- The more starchy carbs I ate the more I craved them (same with beer - liquid carbs).
- I felt happy not drinking hot drinks - like I was liberated from the constant drink making and happy to feel satisfied and balanced without them.
- Cycling definitely became more difficult since started eating cooked (and processed) foods and alcohol. This may have been because the starchy carbs were feeding the lung infection I had (caused by aspergillus, black mold) that was causing the cough, as I later found out.
- Many benefits of this diet were probably due to quitting alcohol and caffeine.
- I don't know whether I was eating sugar on this diet - I probably had agave syrup. On later raw food diets I tooked detailed notes of what was eaten on each meal.
- There were clear benefits of eating a cleaner diet, i.e. better concentration, easier to exercise (cycling), etc., but these may not have been directly linked to raw foods as such but could be attributed to less processed foods, no alcohol, less chemicals, no starchy carbs, and/or more wholefoods.
- The cough started clearing which could have been due to stronger immune system (from medicinal qualities of raw foods and their antioxidants) a more alkaline body and less starchy carbohydrates/ dairy/ sugar/ alcohol to feed the lung & sinus infection.
- The fact that I would recover from a hangover quicker after the diet would seem to be a sign that my body did get strengthened at least in some aspects during this diet.
- The moodiness I experienced after the raw food diet was most likely a reaction to the toxins and junk food I was ingesting. Cleaner eating tends to drastically improve my moods, although not every single moment.
- My body started rejecting some toxic foods after seven days of cleansing, e.g. bread.
- Carbohydrate cravings may have been linked to aspergillus (mold) infection.
- Feelings of cold and red face seem to be linked to an energy imbalance where the body cannot hold onto heat so it comes out in bursts when the overall body constitution is too cold and damp. Raw foods may be too 'cold' foods, as pointed out by the Chinese Doctor, or, alternatively, this may be a problem of indigestion (too much fiber).
- Headaches during the first three days of the diet were caused by caffeine withdrawal. The headaches returned when I went back on cooked foods, which could have been 'tension headaches', which I developed some years later and found out how to resolve, or any of the other reasons listed here: Natural remedies for headaches.
It seems that even this short cleanse was powerful enough for my body to begin rejecting toxic foods afterwards - therefore I started to react stronger to junk foods (or notice the reactions clearer) after the diet.
Read the full diary notes here: My First Week on Raw Foods (diary) (April 2011)
Read a summary of all my raw food and other diet trials: My Natural Health Journey.
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