Raw Day 24: Average Joe Superman

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe, 4 oz snap peas

Lunch: Salad – 1 head of romaine, 10 sun-dried tomatoes, 1 avocado, 1 tomato, ½ red pepper, 1 c. walnuts, cayenne pepper

Supper: Smoothie – 2 frozen bananas

Evening: “Popcorn” – ¾ of a head of cauliflower (dehydrated), onion, nutritional yeast

For the past few days, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, my general happiness and energy have been consistently above normal and it’s mountain spring refreshing. I’ve been able to let little things slide that would normally irritate me; I’ve been more accepting and less pouty (to the point that I’ve got zero pout going on) about situations that are out of my control; and today I genuinely laughed off something that would have caused a negative down-spiral. I do suppose that could also be a sign of having been broken and going crazy….

Just kidding. It’s absolutely not. When these unfortunate things are coming at me, instead of thinking those horrible “if only…” thoughts, I’m thinking “I can do it.” It’s no ripping open my sweater to reveal the “S” beneath while the theme from Rocky plays in the background kind of feeling, it’s just the realization that I can. You know, more like The Average Joe Superman.

The greatness I’ve been feeling has been too, well, enjoyable for me to just let it come to an end in a mere 5 days. While I’m not going to fool you into thinking that I’m going to just convert to raw for the rest of my life, I have decided that the two-thirds idea I was flirting with earlier will be my new normal afterwards. No rules, though – just a general idea because I want to be able to do whatever I want, and yeah… I wanna feel this good forever.

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Raw Day 23: A Dining Hobbit

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe

Lunch: Smoothie – 2 bananas, 10 strawberries, 1 c. frozen fruit

Mid-Afternoon: 1 apple

Pre-Supper: 14 sun-dried tomatoes

Supper: ½ cucumber, 1 okra; smoothie – 3 frozen bananas

Just look at that line-up. I’m only a second breakfast away from being a hobbit.

I felt great again today. There were no hunger issues and I was in high spirits most of the day. I’m even starting to notice increased energy outside of sports and don’t feel like power-crushing series on Netflix every night (although, that will change February 27th with a full-out House of Cards marathon!)

The increased energy is great since I have to spend half my time in the kitchen now. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but still. If you’re going to give raw a shot, just know that some things are quick – like eating a banana. Just peel and go. Everything else takes time. A simple salad is washing, slicing, dicing, mixing, chopping, food processing, forking, chewing, swallowing… There is no just throw some pasta in a pot of boiling water and open a can of sauce. You have to do it all yourself. Including the dressing. Sometimes I just want food now, but there have also been just as many days where I have completely enjoyed the process of preparing my food.

In a way, that’s kind of spectacular. It takes things back to the beginning when good, healthy food and sustenance was the priority for everyone and brings you closer to your food and respecting it. Sure, it sounds weird, but I would definitely say I do respect my food more since going raw. It’s also much more amazing what I can come up with than what I did before. You spend time with your food. You appreciate the perfect mango – juicy, orange-ish, not too firm, not too soft; you cherish the ripened tomato that hasn’t crossed over to the other side; you sing sweet hallelujah when your romaine leaves don’t wilt and blacken as you take them into the frozen air to carry them home. Oh yes, food matters so much more than it did before.

This might be the first post where I sound like a real raw foodist. Except that I’m still planning on a chicken chow mein feast when the buzzer goes…

Raw Day 22: But I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe

Mid-morning: 1 c. mixed nuts, 2 apples worth of dried fruit

Supper: ½ of the leftover taco salad; 1 piece of salmon gravlax

Work meetings meant my lunch hour got eaten up… sans food. My emergency reserve of nuts and dried fruit were with me (because I learned my lesson from last time) so it wasn’t the end of the world. The taco salad was better today, but that’s only because I’m an oddball and I like it soggy. I know it’s weird; at least it’s weirdly delicious!

I played some puck tonight and I’m going to make a definitive statement about my energy level for the very first time: it was better. Maybe even a lot better. I darted and dashed, went up, down, and all over that ice and my legs didn’t feel the exhaustion they have been feeling throughout the season. Wicked!

The adrenaline I always feel with sports was surpassed by a crazy buoyant feeling of awesomeness once I got home from the rink. I could actually feel confidence surging through my body and, let’s just say, I did not want to go to bed. I felt like I could conquer the world… run a marathon… cure cancer! Okay, maybe I didn’t actually think I could cure cancer, but I did feel like I could do anything and the stress that has been building on me was completely gone. Ah, what a beautiful night it was.

So, all in all… not a bad day. Not a bad day at all.

Raw Day 21: No Hunger Trolls!

Breakfast: Smoothie – 2 bananas, 12 strawberries, 5 ice cubes

Lunch/Supper: Taco Salad – 1 head of romaine, 1 avocado, ½ tomato, 3 green onions, 1 tbsp red onion, ½ c. corn, ¼ red pepper, taco “meat” – 1 c. walnuts, ½ c. sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, cayenne pepper

Today was good. Absolutely no hunger trolls! And that taco salad was just superb. I already know that when I come out of this challenge that sun-dried tomatoes will be a steadfast staple in my life. They’re delicious to snack on solo, they did some magical things with the walnuts and became a wicked “meat,” and they pretty much just make every salad and wrap taste better. And really… we all know I’m having a lot of wraps and salads these days.

I also hit up the grocery store in full restock mode and I now have a fridge that is bursting at the seams. I still love looking at that long conveyor belt of fruit and veggies. I think I might even walk with a slight strut when I’m doing my thing in the grocery store. Again, the dark side of that trip was the final tally at the check-out counter. There may be a way of doing it better so the bank account doesn’t get hit so hard, but I’m not so sure. My list seems fairly simple (see a sample week of groceries here) so, with the end in mind, I’m thinking that perhaps I’ll revert to a two-thirds raw way of being… at least for a little while. Speaking of two-thirds – that is how far I’m into the challenge today. The cravings I’ve been experiencing over the last little while tapered off and I’m going strong. So yeah, I’d say that rock-star feeling is back… too bad it doesn’t come with a voice to match ‘cause I could totally bust out some Bon Jovi right about now.

Raw Day 20: A Nearly Empty Fridge

Breakfast: ½ Cantaloupe

Lunch: 13 carrots; 5 almonds; 1 apple

Supper: Smoothie – 2 bananas, 10 strawberries, 1/5 c. frozen pineapple

 If you actually read when I ate for lunch, I know you’re thinking, “Five almonds? That’s really weird. Five?”

Well, it seems that I’ve hit a period where I have to do some pretty major adjusting. I think I’m really far behind on my calories to the point that if I start to feel slightly hungry, almost immediately I’ll become sickly hungry. I wrote about the Self-Consuming, Cannibalistic Stomach a few days ago and that’s what was starting to happen again, but luckily I was at home so I was able to get some food going before an all-out attack took me down. Even so, it was intense enough that I couldn’t bring myself to eat hardly any nuts as they made me feel like throwing up. I really don’t understand this reflex and it’s a pretty big downer since nuts would help the hunger a lot more than veggies and fruits.

So far, this sick-hungry feeling has only happened twice, but that is enough for me to realize I have to ramp up the amount of food I’m eating. So you’ll probably see more smoothies making it into my days as these are easier and I enjoy them the most.

Also odd, though… thirteen carrots? Yup. It was about a pound and a half worth. I told you I was low on groceries yesterday. Also, I finished the book I started yesterday. It was The Running Man by Stephen King (well, under his pseudonym) and I quite enjoyed it.

(Later) My dining companion surprised me with groceries… so supper was a lot more fulfilling than the head of cauliflower I was destined to feast upon without some restocking! Some acts of kindness can almost bring a tear to your eye…

Raw Day 19: An Average Sort of Day

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe

Midmorning: Tea

Lunch: Smoothie – 1 banana, 1/3 of a mango, some water; ½ c. of almonds and cashews; 1 mango worth of dried fruit

Supper: Salad – 1 head of romaine, 3 green onions; Dressing – 1 tomato, ¾ c. walnuts, ½ red pepper, cayenne pepper, olive oil

Well, today was a fairly good day – an impressive rebound from yesterday hunger-wise. My spirits weren’t soaring, but they were doing pretty well. I even started to read a book after working all week, which I haven’t found the desire to do for the past while, despite being an avid reader.

I’m running low on groceries, so my options were fairly limited for supper and I really just wanted to suck down a smoothie, but had to fork a salad instead. The salad itself was pretty good, even though the dressing was more like a meat sauce you would put on pasta.

Later, I worked on a project with some friends that required a lot of energy and took us right through to 1 in the morning. Not surprisingly, I was completely exhausted after such a long day and could barely get ready for bed before falling asleep. I was down and out as quick as a flash and didn’t wake for nearly 10 hours. It felt pretty awesome.

[Note: I realize the timeline probably seems off with my writing, but I generally do updates throughout the day, and then finish them off the following day. It is the following day that I actually post them to Exit Sideways. So, despite the use of words like “today,” I’m able to talk about my sleep because I do the final updates the day after.]

Raw Day 18: Attack of the Self-Consuming, Cannibalistic Stomach

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe

Lunch: 3 (possibly 4) frozen banana smoothie; ½ c. cashews

Mid-afternoon: 1 mango worth of dried fruit

Supper: 1 tomato; salad – 4 c. spinach, 1 c. sliced cucumber, 1 avocado, 3 sun-dried tomatoes, 1 green onion; dressing – 1 lemon, 4 sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tomato; ¼ of a piece of salmon gravlax

Evening: 1 beer; 2/3 of a mango

 Those hunger trolls I’ve mentioned earlier sprouted some mad features today. I’m talking butcher knife-like nails, chainsaw teeth and easily a doubling in size.

I’ve had this before, and it does not feel good. You know – when you’re so hungry it feels like your stomach has given up and is now eating itself? A self-consuming, cannibalistic stomach. There are times when your hunger is so overpowering that you feel like you’re going to throw up, your stomach hurts, and you don’t even actually want to eat food. That was the predicament I was in just before lunch. I tried drinking a bunch of water to tame the beasts within, but that just didn’t cut it. Even after downing lunch, my stomach was off all day and I just wanted to curl up in a ball with an entire box of pizza.

That being said, things were better in the afternoon than just before lunch. By the time I got home from work, the trolls were starting to rise again and struck before I could finish making supper. Luckily, this time they were completely satisfied and after the feast they let me be. Hurrah. But seriously, I feel so much better now (and I nailed the dressing on my salad.)

(Later) Had another broom ball match and it went pretty awesome again! We won 2-1 and I managed to knock in both our goals. Yay! My legs still got exhausted, but are totally okay as long as I keep short shifts. When I got home, I was preparing food for the next day and as I was slicing up the mango, it was just too irresistible so I dived right into it and ate most of it… absolutely delicious. No regrets.