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.

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.

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 16: Checkin’ the Vitals

Breakfast: 1 c. pineapple

Midmorning: Tea; 1/3 c. cashews

Lunch: Smoothie – 2 bananas, 17 strawberries, ¾ c. spinach

Dinner: Smoothie – 2 bananas, 1.5 c. pineapple, ¾ c. spinach; 2 brownie balls

The big half way mark is now past! Just such an occasion deserves a decent check in on the vitals…

Mood: Overall, I’ve been more easy-going and happier. However, I get some mad flashes of frustration which are entirely due to those days when I haven’t gotten to eat and the hunger trolls are pounding away on my empty stomach.

Complexion: Definitely more clear. I had a smallish breakout a few days in and since then my face has been consistently blemish free.

Cravings: They come and go, but are intensifying more so lately. I’ve been dreaming of a big ole pile of steaming shanghai noodles drenched in sauce and topped with shrimp… cooked veggies are a part of the dream too.

Energy: This one I’m not sure about. I’m pretty pooped by the end of the day, but I do feel like I’ve been doing better with my ability to last longer (that’s what she said) playing sports.

Scale: That sucker has been going down pretty consistently. It’s gone down and up, but overall I’ve lost 8 pounds.

Satisfaction: On the higher end, for sure. It feels really good to be eating so healthy – it’s been a big boost on my physical and mental well-being. On the flip side, I do get hit with the typical, “Ugh. I just want _____.” and when my dining companion is frying up some onions in a pool of melted butter, well, little green monsters come out to play, but I can usually keep them mostly under control.

Since delving into this challenge, I’ve been paying attention to raw foodists and learning and seeing what other people are doing. I’ve also realized that lots of people do a 7 day, 14 day, 21 day or 30 day raw food detox cleanse. That’s great and I think there is definitely value in that – I may even become someone who does a raw food cleanse every once in a while after the challenge; however, I don’t want to be confused with these people right now.

I am not in it for a detox, weight-loss, cleanse. I’m in it for the challenge of it.

Therefore, I’ve been playing with the idea of bumping it up to 2 months. I know, I know… that’s getting cocky. I’m only halfway and I’m already thinking of doubling it. I’m not saying it isn’t hard, because it is. But when it’s over, I want to be able to say that I pushed myself farther than I thought I could go and I want it to be clear that this isn’t a cleanse, but rather a way of showing that I can control what is in my life no matter how hard it may be.