This is a record of my very first week on a raw food diet, which begun in March 2011. I had not built this website yet so apologies if the notes are not very thorough and not in a reader-friendly format. My later raw food diet experiments are better recorded.
These diary notes chronicle a little bit of me being on raw foods, and quite a bit about the time afterwards when I wasn't raw anymore, and the symptoms I was experiencing.
First Day on the Raw Food Diet (29th March 2011)
- Been not drinking alcohol for three days now, feel like I rest better.
- Had a pizza yesterday, the salt makes me feel almost like I had drank beer yesterday, dehydrated.
- Woke up at 6.50am.
- Weight: 59kg (9.3 stones or 130 lbs) (lost one kg since stopping drinking).
- Breakfast: Lemon juice and undecenoic acid (Candida Force) + McCombs vitamins.
- Mood: bit homesick yesterday, feeling emotional. Today feel good but not energetic and not very motivated, not tired though. Belly hungry because of pizza yesterday.
- Still on the birth-control pill.
- Dry brush, back and stomach muscle exercises, some stretching, cold shower.
- Smoothie for breakfast.
Third Day on the Raw Food Diet
- 1st & 2nd day had a headache, quite bad. Difficult to concentrate at work without tea or 'fake' coffee. (Grain coffee called: 'Wake Up', has guarana in it.) [Later note: This was a caffeine withdrawal headache.]
- Today concentration was easier and headache less.
- Feel more relaxed and rested in the morning (probably because not drinking beers).
- 58kg today.
- Phlegm (mucus) loosening in the throat and nose, but still blocked nose and a cough after eating.
- Been sleeping late in the mornings.
- 2nd day was feeling very cold and red face.
- Didn't have dinner today.
Later notes: Although I was clearly starting to get benefits here, the feeling of cold and the red face are worrying symptoms, since later - after many more raw food experiments - I developed a problem with hot flashes
Later, A Chinese Doctor
warned me that raw foods are too 'cold', and throw the body out of balance. She said that animals were ok eating raw foods because they got plenty of 'warmth' being in movement all the time - whereas modern human life was more sedentary and therefore not able to eat all raw.
Fourth Day on the Raw Food Diet
- Had a smoothie for breakfast.
- Didn't take the pill today, stopped taking for now.
- No headache (but didn't have much yesterday either).
- Still 100% raw, no tea or coffee, or herbal tea or hot drinks, just Perrier mineral water.
- Didn't feel hungry almost all day.
- Smoothie with no nuts or seeds for breakfast, bananas and apple during the day, courgette and tomato sauce for dinner.
- Feel fine but no drastic changes.
- Exercise: I cycle every day to work and back.
Day 6 on the Raw Food Diet (Sun 3rd April 2011)
- Had a pack of ready-salted crisps yesterday [definitely not raw!], otherwise 100% raw and following McCombs guidelines also. Included a few sundried tomatoes (not raw) in a raw tomato sauce some days back a couple times.
- Stopped taking undeceinoc acid, have to order more, just had it for the first two days.
- No more headache, no digestion or elimination problems.
- Had a good hot bath this morning, which made me sweat and detox nicely.
- Weight: 58kg.
- Haven't drank beer or alcohol since Sat 26th March (9 days).
- Started adding spirulina (1-2 tbsp) to smoothies yesterday.
- Typical smoothie (raw and McCombs): banana, (apple), 1tbsp raw organic coconut oil, 1-2tbsp spirulina, 1 heaped tea spoon maca powder, sometimes greens mixed in, sometimes a raw egg.
- Typical lunch: a huge salad with quite a bit of fat in it, i.e. avocado or olives or dressing with lots of olive oil. No nuts or seeds at the mo for eight weeks.
- Yesterday had bad breath and phlegm in my throat, kind of loose feeling, easier to cough up than normally.
- Energy levels are better - as usual when not drinking beer.
- Not many detox symptoms yet, maybe I won't be getting any. Some people seem to be getting them around days 25-30 though...
Day 7 on the Raw Food Diet (Mon 4th April 2011) - Stopping the Diet
- Felt tired all day, not falling asleep but more tired than usual. But I didn't sleep many hours last night so it might be that.
- Very thirsty all day, although I didn't drink any teas again and had almost no salt in food (but did have lots of spirulina and some guacamole with salt at lunch - does spirulina have salt in it?). I read somewhere that you can get dry skin and feel thirsty on raw food diet - in the beginning - because your kidneys are doing a lot of work and need to flush themselves out. Apparently you may need 2x more hydration than normal. So I guess this is a good detox sign.
Later note: These dehydration symptoms got worse and worse over the following years.
It's possible that it was detox-related but a more likely scenario is that in this case it was a sign of indigestion or food intolerance
. A salad may be difficult to digest due to so much fiber
, which the body cannot easily break down to get to nutrients. I didn't seem to get the same problem from smoothies but did start getting extremely dehydrated from caffeine, sugar and certain types of alcohol. Flying in an airplane seemed to make me extremely dehydrated and I also started getting restless feet
and trouble sleeping whenever I felt dehydrated. Salads did seem to often cause it as well, and later this was accompanied by a tightness in the stomach chakra area, quite uncomfortable. It was a type of dehydration that felt like an imbalance in the body - as even drinking many pints of water did not always seem to help. It seems to me now, with hindsight, that I was for a long time trying to eat very fibrous raw foods whereas they were actually not nutritious enough for me due to the difficulties in digesting these foods.
- Motivation and concentration at work is quite hard... still... perhaps because of lack of tea, although by now I feel that it's nice to be free of the habit of drinking tea all the time (as you never get satisfied anyway but need more and stronger and different tea. Then it turns into beer! ... or pastries or cheesy dinner, pizza...)
- My throat and sinuses feel like they are clearing nicely. My cough is different from normal, more phlegm moves and deeper cough. And throat feels like there is phlegm coming loose constantly. Perhaps my cough is curing.
- Really wanted some pasta, bread, brown rice, bf's salt fish and mash potato today... Almost bought potato crisps. Didn't feel hungry, at all, but body craving for starchy carbs. Probably the third day like this, if not since the beginning of the diet. On Sunday I was very close to giving up and making some brown rice with tomato and spinach. It would have still been within McCombs Plan but not raw.
- OK, gave up and had the tiniest bit of mash potato with salt fish...
Later note: I had read the hype by people who got instantly more energy on raw food diets and so during my first trials was always expecting to have more energy straight away. The mistake I kept making was that I tried to sleep less
, stay up for longer, and spend more energy while on a raw food diet. This was a recurring problem on my diets trials: I was expecting instant energy and slept too little
, only to end up disappointed when I then felt tired. Some people feel instant energy on a raw food diet, but quite often the body needs more sleep for a long time, which can be many months or longer, because it is working hard detoxifying and cleansing itself. This is assuming that the person has found a way of eating that is right for their unique body and lifestyle needs - which may not always be 100% raw
Day 11 - Back to Cooked and Processed Food
- Day 8 onwards I gave up the diet, will start again as soon as supplements arrive.
- From this day on these diary notes refer only to how I felt while eating cooked foods again. When I went back to raw foods, I started a different post, here: 30-Day Raw Food Challenge.
- Weight on days 8-11: 57-59kg (9.0-9.3 stones, or 126-130lbs)
- Cough has become much worse (especially with drinking alcohol).
- Since I quit the raw foods, I feel tired, one day had a headache, work days go very slow (whereas during the diet work days were going surprisingly fast and weekends slow.... very strange).
- Still not drinking hot drinks, happy to be liberated of them!
- Mouth feels coated after eating pasta and/ or potato wrap, etc. During the diet was happy about mouth feeling clearer because tea makes it feel coated.
- Teeth and gums have an 'infected' or slightly towards painful feeling but not painful.
- Sometimes eating bread or chocolate makes me feel straight away 'numb' in the mouth or throat.
- Cycling is more difficult.
- On a positive side, a friend of mine was commenting on how good I looked yesterday, cycling past her in the morning, thought that raw food diet is working! (But it was mostly cause I had dressed smart, I think.)
- This 'eating unhealthy' -experiment makes me feel like I can't wait to get back on the diet! But I will wait for the supplements and try and get all the cravings dealt with by eating the foods and realising how bad they make me feel and/ or that they maybe don't taste as nice as I think. Basically, that they are not worth it because cravings can be dealt with in other ways.
- Cravings: get rid of them by: letting time pass. Drinking a dark green smoothie/ juice. Forcing yourself to eat a salad. Coconut oil helps to feel satisfied.
- Concentration problems: blood sugar low: eat a banana, it is more effective than coffee (but maybe not if you're a coffee addict).
- I started cordyceps (caterpillar mushroom) yesterday - 2 capsules 2 times per day - 400mg per capsule, 100% cordyceps sinensis. Supposed to increase Chi energy and strengthen lungs especially. Last time I took them for two weeks I thought they improved my cough. One of the most famous Chinese medicine herbs.
- I was again quite thirsty today, because of drinking alcohol yesterday I guess and because of eating salty take-away food for lunch.
- Running out of maca powder and coconut oil. Have to buy soon, essentials for the diet.
Day 12 - Not Raw - Saturday 9th April 2011
- Really sunny, beautiful day, bit windy, got lots of fresh air and sun on my skin.
- Weight: 60kg.
- Saturday: woke up at 10.30am.
- Belly is back, bloated.
- Recover from hangover quickly (with breakfast smoothie).
- Applied wild yam cream for the first time for a while.
- Took a long walk across the park to East London (2h+), very tired after.
- Had half a beer and scrambled egg on toast with cheese - too much to eat - feel stuffed after.
- Smoothie breakfast, salad for lunch.
- Lots of phlegm in my throat.
- Blocked nose, can't smell much.
- Quite energetic though - but had to take a proper nap after the walk!
Day 13 - Wednesday 13th April... - Not Raw
- Still no sign of supplements, won't start the diet proper before they arrive.
- Smoothie with no banana for breakfast, having seeds now though, but ran out of hemp seeds long time ago and running out of coconut oil too (no money to buy more right now).
- Had a headache today and been on kind of a bad mood for two days. Snappy and bored, no motivation. Headache is probably from my body trying to detox and retox simultaneously. All the greens accelerating detox and at the same time beer, bread and pasta going in. Lunch and breakfast usually completely raw though, and I'm still not drinking hot drinks. Marks & Spencer sandwich gave me a small belly ache yesterday (or couple of days ago).
- Headache is not from the pill, since it is still there. Bloated belly neither, it is still there also, probably due to beer.
- Cough gets worse every time I drink beer.
23rd April 2011 Saturday - Not Raw - 4-Day Bank Holiday Weekend
- It's been very sunny all week, between 22-26 degrees (Celcius), very warm for April.
- Cough is still there, strong as ever.
- I've been taking 2 tbsp of wheatgrass powder every morning (or evening yesterday) since Thursday. The week before last I had no fruit, I only could afford a couple of bananas all week, so most breakfast juices were quite low on fat and calories...
- Coconut oil ran out last week, but I had sunflower and linseeds (flax seeds). No superfoods of any kind left, started putting more greens in the smoothies because had to bulk it up with something and heard that greens are essential for getting a natural 'raw food' high.
- Had one or two beers every night, funnily I always found the money from somewhere for THAT!
- Been eating lots of pasta with butter and garlic, very nice, and brown toast and butter for breakfast, often with eggs. I can feel the difference, the tiredness, after eating these instead of pure raw veggie food, but they taste good... I seem to crave the starch more the more I eat it. After a bowl of pasta I want another one, but after a big salad I am satisfied. Same with beer.
- When I was purely raw I did start craving starches quite badly. Brown rice, pasta, mashed potato, bread... but I already wrote about that. What to keep in mind is that you crave what your blood is purifying itself of. So those cravings are a good sign and just have to ride them next time. Drink a lot of green juice and water to help overcome.
- I'm very happy about not drinking hot drinks, not even herbal tea now, quite a relief to get rid of that habit. They never satisfied me, I always wanted more.
- About three days at work I found it hard to concentrate without tea or coffee.. I was drinking mineral water instead and later only tap water, since I couldn't afford mineral water anymore. It was surprisingly easy to quit caffeine in the end, however, and even though I went back to eating pastries and ice cream etc. afterwards, I felt like staying away from the hot drinks. Knowing that I would easily fall back into drinking them, and just feeling fresh and nice without them.
It is nice not to have to think about tea all the time! One green tea makes you want to have another one, the same with coffee, alcohol, pasta, bread... all these things must be addictive. And herbal tea just gets boring, you just drink it cause you really want some caffeine. I don't miss the warmth at all. And my mouth used to feel coated after all these beverages. So this could be a change for good, let's see come winter though.
- Cycling... it's become harder since I've been eating cooked and alcohol. Definitely. I started feeling that cycling was so much easier in that one week of raw foods only....
- Had some nice "Earth Juice" from bf (vegetable juice), as well as wheatgrass juice, 2hrs in the sun, grounding, lots of water. On the less good side: I had pasta, bread and eggs for breakfast. Trying not to drink alcohol today though... not having any money will help... I want to wake up fresh tomorrow!
- Magnesium and calcium (and sodium and potassium) deficiency especially, but other minerals also, causes acidity in ph. My urine ph today was 6.5. 6.5 is normal but the higher (more alkaline) the better. This can be measured with pH strips sold in gardening stores ('litmus paper').
- Shopping list of essentials: hemp seeds, MSM, Himalayan crystal salt, water kefir grains, seaweed spaghetti, bananas, cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil (lots and lots! I will start using this for hair, in addition to using it for skin and smoothie daily already...). Pumpkin seeds...
- I think I should do a raw food day tomorrow, see how different I feel... I was feeling quite edgy after eating a big bowl of pasta, thought that beer would help to lessen the feeling but then realised that it is probably better not to drink it and dumb down the feelings... I drank lots of water instead which seemed to help a quite a bit.
It is interesting to notice that even a short 7-day cleanse seemed to cause my body to start rejecting some toxic foods.
The carbohydrate intolerance I had was possibly linked to a mold infection (aspergillus in the lungs and sinuses), which was hiding and not visible in the x-rays. Nevertheless these, and other infectious agents cause you to crave sugar and starches (and beer which is a liquid carbohydrate) and once you eat them, the infection gets stronger and the infectious agents excrete huge amounts of toxins into your body. So either I hadn't noticed before how badly pasta, bread etc. affected me or, my body started rejecting these foods on some level even after a short cleanse.
In case of food intolerance it is often true that abstinence from the offending item sensitises you to it and the allergy symptoms become much stronger when the offending food is eaten after abstinence of 4-days to a week. I later found out that I had a food intolerance to some bread and brown pasta, among other foods.
With hindsight, having the experience now of many further diet and raw food trials, the feelings of cold and red face I started getting on this diet are worrying. They seem to be linked to an energy imbalance where the body cannot hold onto heat so it comes out in bursts and the overall body constitution is too cold and damp. I didn't want to worry about these energies at first, although there was much talk about them among different natural health enthusiasts. I simply thought that a good, nutritious diet would be enough to make me feel strong, energetic and healthy. However, after my visits to a Chinese Doctor and various other experiments I now understand the logic of the Chinese energy medicine better and find many parallels with Western nutritional advice.
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Approximately a week later I started a new challenge, whose diary is recorded here:
30-Day Raw Food Challenge - May 2011
You can see all my health trials, raw foods and otherwise, listed here:
"My Natural Health Journey"
The benefits I experienced on raw food diet get listed and updated on this introduction to raw food diet page:
Raw Food Diet Benefits
Zakhah: The Joy of Living Live
David Wolfe: Longevity Now - book summary
David Wolfe on Calcification
Brian Clement: How to Avoid Aging