Thoughts one month after completing 21 day raw food cleanse

posted by Russ, May 27 in health & diet with tags , ,

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It’s amazing that a month has already gone by since we completed our 21 day raw food cleanse. Now that we’re back to “normal”, I wanted to share my thoughts on raw vegan diets, after my intensive experience with raw eating.

First of all, I should say that the raw cleanse was a success. And as I’ve shared my experience with several people (in the real world, not online), the question most frequently asked is “How was it? How did you feel?”, and it’s something that’s hard to answer to people who eat SAD (Standard American Diet) food. But I think I’ve finally found a way to describe it.

What I now say when asked about eating raw is that it’s not so much that I felt great while following a raw diet, instead, the raw experience is the absence of feeling bad.

I know that sounds silly, but really it’s true. And here’s why. I generally stick to a pretty healthy diet, so I for the most part on a regular basis I feel pretty good. But every now and then while eating more typical food, even though mostly organic, whole and sustainable, like everyone, I notice little nuisances, thinks like headaches, minor indigestion, gas, head fog, random stuffiness, tiredness or what I like to call the post-meal sleepiness. While relatively minor and benign, these things are easy to just shrug off and they usually go away, and you carry on feeling “pretty good”. Well, eating raw is the absence of all those things. When you are raw, you don’t ever experience any of those symtpoms. So feeling “pretty good” turns into feeling really good, and you just constantly feel level and energetic.

So that all said, my feeling of course is that eating a raw diet is optimal and amazing. Whenever I eat raw I feel great, and know that I should keep it up. But, here’s the thing, I don’t find it to be the most practical way of eating. I know it sounds silly, and I know many people will disagree. But here are my reasons why I find being 100% raw a bit difficult and sometimes impractical (for me):

  • shopping requirements – You may think this is silly, since you have to shop anyway on a regular basis, but while eating raw the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables eaten is through the roof. I’m talking bags and bags of fresh fruit and veggies. We have a second refridgerator in the garage, and after a shopping trip it is packed. Without this second fridge shopping this way of eating/shopping would be nearly impossible. Cost wise I don’t think is an issue, you pay more for the volume of fresh organic produce, but you’re paying less in other areas.
  • social obligations and/or dining out – Many people will say this is just a weakness to get over, and I partially agree. But the thing is, there are very few places that I can go to and get a raw meal that is even close to the quality and tastiness of what I make at home. And quite honestly, sometimes both my girlfriend fiance and I like to get out of the house and go to dinner. Same goes for social obligations. We attended a party while doing our cleanse, and while it wasn’t terrible, it’s not fun to sit around with a glass of water while everyone else is having a great time eating and drinking.
  • I am not against eating meat – I know the obvious arguments about meat and dairy, and I do not consume these things daily like most people. If at all, I consume maybe 1 servering or meat or dairy once per week. And lately, I’ve realized that while eating raw contributes to long term health, there are plenty of people who’ve followed “regular” diets in moderation and have gone on to be healthy well into their 90s or even 100s. As long as we’re not eating crappy processed food daily, I think any diet that practices moderation and mindfulness is a good one. My diet is mostly vegan, but once in a while I do eat meat, and I like it that way. I am not going to belabor this point, as I’ve written a fairly extensive explanation here.

I know I shouldn’t be finding reasons to not be raw, but I just don’t feel like it is the optimal way for me to eat. One of my favorite non-conformist writers Chris Guillebeau recently wrote an article which sums it up perfectly. He’s didn’t write about diet or food, but about how people feel the need to put labels things, but really are just putting things into “ideaological boxes and restricting choices”. Even though I’ve often found myself wanting to find a label that fits, it just doesn’t work. “Am I raw? Am I vegan? But if I am, then I can’t eat this cheese.” The reality is, who cares? If I want to eat some really tasty salami, breaking the label is about the only thing that makes me feel guilty afterwards. Eat what makes you feel good, and if you want to indulge or eat something bad, do it. The world won’t stop, and pretty soon you’ll get back in your groove. And you know what, as Chris says, “avoid labels altogether, and just be yourself. Everyone else is already taken, right?”

Originally posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011 at 7:50 AM .

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