Raw Day 30: That’s a…. Wrap!

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe

Lunch: Smoothie – 3 frozen bananas; 3 pieces of chocolate

Supper: 1 cucumber; 1 piece of salmon gravlax; 1 chocolate

So it has come down to this. The final day. The big finale. The last hurrah. Okay, first let me just apologize for the pun in the title. I didn’t even have a wrap today…

Welp.

It’s been an adventure all right – from soaring highs, to fierce tummy-troll lows – but I’m proud to say I made it. I used the food processor more than I ever thought I would. I’ve been hungrier than I ever thought I could. And I’ve been happier than I maybe, possibly should. I dreamt of pasta and I salivated over eggs. I stood a little taller and I felt a lot better… I had one heck of a journey. So let me give you the run down:

Energy: It increased throughout, with some very dramatic gains at times. I also felt more excitement before games when it came to sports and greater strength during the games. There were also days when my energy was lower, but it would usually pick up again after I ate.

Confidence: This was a huge area of improvement for me. I felt a lot better about myself and as the days went on, I began to feel more and more like I could do anything. It also helped foster the feeling that I was someone who mattered… even though that really doesn’t seem like something that would be related to food!

Self-Image: This category goes hand-in-hand with confidence. This challenge sky-rocketed my self-image. I felt healthier, I was eating better, and I was proving I could do whatever I put my mind to. Again, I felt important. Even when the image in the mirror didn’t look noticeably different, the process of eating so healthy had the biggest impact on my mental well-being and I felt better about how I looked.

Weight: As is to be expected the needle on the scale dropped. Oh, who am I kidding? This is the 21st century. The digital number on the scale dropped 12.5 pounds in the 30 days with no extra exercise outside of my regular sports commitments.

Mood: Much more light and care-free. I was able to shrug off incidents easier rather than let them weigh on me, although it was not so for the entire process. As with everything, there was a certain amount of fluctuating, but the overall trend was towards greater happiness and general well-being. I would occasionally get little flashes of anger, though they would dissipate very quickly. And when I was hungry (you know the kind… hungry hungry) I could be a feisty little demon, but again, I would recover quickly once I put some food in my empty cavern of a stomach. Overall, my mood got better with each day as I learned how to eat, how to not let myself get out-of-control hungry, and as I succeeded each day.

Hunger: About 2/3 of the way through my body finally figured out what was happening to it and I didn’t have any more monstrous days. I still needed to eat regularly and meal-missing was a definite no-no, but otherwise it wasn’t really a problem by the end.

Cravings: These fluctuated fairly consistently, with the last couple of days being pretty intense. When I take on a challenge and set the parameters I generally don’t think about what else could be and, instead, focus on the task at hand – which allowed me to put most thoughts of cooked food out of my head so the cravings weren’t really too difficult to navigate in the thick of the challenge. The dangerous times were when I was hungry and the smells of delicious cooked food were wafting to my olfactory cells. With the last couple of days, however, I believe it was knowing that I was near the end so I could let myself start thinking about cooked food again… which very nearly did me in!

Despite the general positive vibe all of the above gives off, I don’t want to leave you with any illusions. This was a hard challenge. It took a lot of dedication to see it through to the end, despite all of the benefits I received along the way. I always had to be prepared – to run out of food was disastrous. I had to spend a lot more time in the kitchen. I had to be strong-willed and give up all of my favourite foods (though I now have a few new favourites.) I had to learn how to eat in a new way because, really, it’s still kind of an odd thing to eat 3 bananas in a sitting or an entire cucumber or half a cantaloupe.

Although I may have known that what you eat impacts every aspect of your well-being, I didn’t fully appreciate what that means. Having done this challenge, I can easily say your life will be better if you eat better. Significantly so.

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Raw Day 29: Monotony Strikes!

Breakfast: ½ cantaloupe

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

Supper: 1 piece salmon gravlax; 1 c. of leftover salad; 1 chocolate from V-day

Well, well, well. Here we are on the penultimate day of the Raw 30 Challenge. That clock is ticking down, my stomach is grumbling and there’s a bit of sadness in the air. It feels like I just started this challenge last week and already I’m shutting that door. Oh, how I hate goodbyes…

Now, I will admit that my excitement is waning, but that’s only because I’ve hit a rut of monotony. Will it be the smoothie, salad or gravlax? The odds are good – 1 in 3 chance you’ll guess right! Ah, but seriously, more variation would be wonderful, but that takes time and more expansive ingredient lists. I’ve always been a big fan of simple recipes with few ingredients that don’t take very long to prepare. So that has really made this challenge, well, that much more challenging for me. If I had a chef loitering in my kitchen, willing to make me whatever my heart desired, well then this raw food thing would be a lot more long-term plausible for me.

For those of you who’ve been following along and think you want to embark on this lifestyle of eating raw, there are a few things I’d like to say to you. First, those who eat this way choose it for many reasons. Find what yours are and then adapt it to those reasons. Lots of people who eat raw, don’t do it 100% of the time, so if you’re on a mission to just eat better, don’t let a cooked meal get you down. Some people are hard and fast “only-raw” eaters, some are 2/3 raw, and others just eat however they want. You decide how you want to do it.

Also, there is the idea that raw food means none of the nutrients have been cooked away and, while this may be true, it’s also been said that raw food people generally feel so much healthier not necessarily because of the uncooked aspect, but because of the huge amount of fruits and veggies in their diet. Think about it. If you’re entire diet is made up of 95% fruits and vegetables, then you’re going to be one healthy person!

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to try something if you’re interested in it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Everyone does. (The first time I tried to go vegetarian, I failed after 6 days!) If you need some encouragement, just drop me a note!

~Nikki

Raw Day 7: Just Another Day

Breakfast: Smoothie – 1 avocado, 2 cups of spinach, 5 strawberries, 1 banana, ¾ cup of mango, 1.5 cups pineapple

Late Lunch/Early Dinner: Pasta – 2 smallish julienned zucchini; Dressing: ¼ c lemon juice, ¼ c. cashews, dash of water

Evening Snack: 2 carrots

The afternoon was spent roaming around Great Slave Lake, exploring the ice caves and hiking trails that weren’t “hiking” trails. In essence, what started off as a hiking trail that I hoped would loop back to a residential area, took me onto a ski course. Which was where I shouldn’t be. I did eventually make it back to home base after a lengthy adventure outside, but at least the weather was great… a mere -13 degrees Celsius!

I also played a broomball match in the evening (which is running around on an ice hockey surface) and it felt like my legs just couldn’t do what I wanted them to. Again, this is not new as my cardio has been lacking all season. I have been feeling better mentally and so perhaps my physical well-being has to work harder to catch up.