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hand on head - b&w

The ups (my mood) and downs (my jeans size) of my raw switch

If you're following along at home, you may recall that I switched to a raw diet over two months ago. I wasn't sure how far I would take it, but I just wanted to give it a good solid effort. A lot of people have asked me if I see this as a permanent thing, and my answer is always that I don't know. Based on how good I've felt since I switched, I'd like to, but it definitely requires an investment of time and money that have been considerable.

Perhaps I should give a more detailed update.

Within a week, I felt a lot more energy, despite forgoing coffee. I immediately got slimmer and started fitting more comfortably into my favorite jeans, which had become too snug. My skin starting looking clearer and brighter.

Within two weeks, I felt sexier and happier. My body continued to slim down, and my complexion continued to improve. I was getting adventurous with my "un-cooking" but didn't have a blender or a dehydrator, which are two of the key tools for broadening the possibilities of the raw diet. Of course, the good ones aren't cheap, and I didn't know how long I'd stick with it. But upon looking into it, the difference in price between a cheap blender and a great blender was about $40 - $400, while the difference between a cheap dehydrator and a great dehydrator was about $30 - $250, so I bought a cheap blender (which hasn't been all that useful precisely because it's cheap and underpowered), a good dehydrator (without which I probably would have given the whole thing up), and a few more "un-cook"books.

Within three or four weeks, I had little interest in cooked food and had to wear a belt with my favorite jeans. I'd had several instances where I felt that I'd been exposed to a cold or some kind of virus, but felt slight symptoms pass over in a matter of hours. If you've followed my journaling and tweeting in the past few years, you'll recognize this as nothing short of amazing, because I've had some uncanny ability to get sick from every germ that gets sneezed my way.

Five weeks in was Thanksgiving week, and for the holiday, Karsten and I chose to stay home and relax rather than join in on any of the dinners we'd been invited to. I made him stuffing and a green bean casserole, and tasted it at the table. It tasted like it should, but I had little interest in it because it seemed lacking in the vibrancy and life of the food I'd grown accustomed to eating.

Around six or seven weeks in, having shed enough fat that I could barely wear my favorite jeans anymore, I went thrift shopping for some new jeans. The pairs I found were two sizes smaller than my last pair. People began consistently asking if I'd been losing weight, and I got several compliments on how good my skin looked.

Around eight or nine weeks in, some fatigue with the process started to show. Preparing the food that appealed to me the most had required a lot of work and advanced planning, so I'd begun to settle for the easier recipes (salad, again and again) and was getting bored. It was also approaching my birthday and Christmastime, and holiday parties were offering tempting diversions. So I decided not to force it, and let myself eat cooked as often as I wanted over the course of the week. It felt like a relaxing and decadent treat, but I also noticed that now when I ate cooked food, I felt like that was "settling." In other words, I genuinely preferred the raw food.

So yesterday, as I marked the end of nine weeks, I managed to motivate myself into preparing some easy and delicious foods, like pesto, and a few more involved foods, like a raw bread and raw cinnamon rolls. Although I'd been starting to wonder if I'd lose my enthusiasm for raw, the dishes all turned out great and I can feel my excitement and energy coming back.

I had a great pilates workout this morning, and I'm feeling peaceful. It feels like a lifelong change, but maybe it isn't, who knows. Either way, I had a conversation with Karsten yesterday about the label I use to describe myself (hey, I'm a language geek at heart - of course this matters) because I've run across terms like "rawfoodist" and "living foods" and "sun foods" and they all seem to miss the point for me. I pointed out that "raw vegan" appealed to me a lot more because being vegan is much more the identity that matters to me. Not only my diet, but also my lifestyle, my politics, and my entire worldview are first and foremost about compassion. Raw is just a modification of my vegan diet to make me feel as healthy as possible.

So yes, apparently, I've become a raw vegan. And so far, I'm doing great, thanks.


I find this really interesting. While I have little interest of doing this for a lifetime, I wouldn't mind trying it out. What have been your favourite raw food or un-cooking books so far?

Raw bread and cinnamon rolls are intriguing; I can't even imagine what they are or what the process would be to make them.

Thanks for the update!
I can't say what my favorite books have been because I have had so many out from the library that I haven't been concentrating on what comes from which. But there are a lot of good ones out there. I think Ani Phyo's books have been good. I like Matthew Kenney's books, but they generally have a pretty intense amount of prep involved.
Thanks! I found this site (http://www.living-foods.com/) that gives a lot of information. A dehydrator seems like a must, eh? So many recipes seem to use that machine. Maybe I'll poke around during the Boxing week sales to see if I can find one as it would come in handy at harvest time, too.
hand on head - b&w

February 2011