Raw Food Diet – Day 6

January 6th, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

Today was my best day of this trial so far. I woke up this morning feeling absolutely fantastic and very energetic, even better than I normally felt before going raw. I felt very happy too, like I was experiencing a flood of endorphins. It was similar to runner’s high. This positive feeling lasted until about noon, and after that I felt pretty much normal. I experienced this during my first (high fat) raw trial as well.

Sundays are my off days for exercise, so I didn’t go to the gym this morning.

Weight Loss

I dropped another 0.8 pounds to 181.6, bringing my total weight loss to 4.4 pounds in 5 days.

Detox

I suspect I’m pulling out of the initial detox period now, since I didn’t experience any significant detox symptoms the whole day — no headaches, chills, negative emotions, or anything like that. The only thing was that I still had horrendously bad breath when I woke up.

My libido is online again too. Whew! I was informed that a low libido is common during the adjustment phase to this diet, so I’m glad to have my mojo back. :)

I realize some readers are confused about the whole notion of dietary detox. The basic idea is simply that your body needs time to adjust to a purer diet. It’s similar to going through a drug withdrawal in many ways. Try drinking several cups of coffee every day for 30 days and then go cold turkey without it. You may experience symptoms like headaches, backaches, mood swings, depression, irritability, fatigue, cravings, etc. as your body adjusts to life without caffeine. For most people this adjustment period seems to last anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.

Changing your diet can throw your equilibrium out of whack in a similar manner, and your body needs time to adapt. This initial adjustment should be temporary though, and when the symptoms pass, you should start feeling better.

In the past my initial dietary detox periods lasted about 5 days, so this one is right on schedule if in fact the worst is over. Time will tell.

Predictions

It’s interesting to read the various predictions people have been making about what will happen to me as a result of this experiment, both via the forums, private emails, and on other health-related forums where people are discussing it.

Long-term raw foodists predict positive results, including significant weight loss and tons more energy after the initial detox period. Some high-protein diet advocates predict I’ll gradually suffer from a variety of worsening symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and blood sugar problems. At least one person thinks I’ll end up in the hospital. And still others predict I’ll gain weight due to the high carb content of this diet.

I have my own expectations too, but I prefer to take this one day at a time with an open mind. I don’t want to get my ego wrapped up in any particular outcome, since that could unfairly bias my daily logs. No matter what happens, this will be a learning and growth experience. I am just as curious to see how this turns out as you probably are.

Raw Almonds

I learned the almonds I ate yesterday weren’t really raw (thanks, Dan!), despite being labeled “raw almonds” on the package. Apparently the Almond Board of California made the decision last year to require all California almonds to be pasteurized. This includes virtually all of the almonds you might buy in the USA and Canada. Pasteurization means cooking the almonds, rendering them dead and inert. Unlike almonds that are truly raw, it’s my understanding that pasteurized almonds do not sprout if you soak them. I may look into this in more detail down the road, but for the remainder of this trial, I won’t be eating any more California almonds.

While the pasteurization decision is one thing, the bigger problem is that the pasteurized almonds are still being labeled as raw, when clearly they are not. A pasteurized/cooked food is by definition not raw. In my opinion this practice is totally unethical. I paid for a live food and got a dead one instead.

If you want to read more about it, here’s an article about it: Food Scam: Almond Board of California to falsely label pasteurized almonds as “raw”.

If you’d like to send feedback to the Almond Board of California about this, please use their contact form. I sent them a message yesterday letting them know my thoughts. If this is an issue that happens to be of importance to you, I recommend you drop them a message as well. It only takes a minute. Perhaps they’ll reconsider this decision if enough people contact them about it. Whether or not they continue pasteurizing the almonds, they should at least stop labeling them as raw. To do otherwise is simply dishonest.

Stools and Urine

A couple people asked about this, so please skip this part if you don’t want that kind of detail.

My stool frequency has been averaging about 5-8 times a day. It’s been mostly green (like the color of grass) unless I’ve eaten some dark fruits like blueberries or blackberries, in which case it comes out very dark, almost black. The stools are soft, often watery and not very solid (but not as bad as diarrhea), usually with small bits of plant matter like lettuce floating at the top of the toilet. I draw the line at posting a photo of this, posterity notwithstanding.

I continue to urinate quite a bit, sometimes more than once an hour in the afternoon. My urine is either clear or pale green.

This certainly wouldn’t be convenient if I lived in cubicle city and had to walk a fair distance to the restroom, but fortunately I’m a happy resident of home office-ville. My house has 6 toilets and 4 people living in it, so the math works out in my favor.

Water

I estimate I’m drinking about 1 liter of water per day. But that doesn’t include the water I add to recipes like smoothies or salad dressings, so the total daily water intake might be closer to 1.5 liters if you include that. Before this trial I drank about 2 liters per day.

Fats

I only have enough of a fat budget to allow for about 2oz of nuts (hasta la bye bye, almonds!) or seeds, 2 tablespoons of tahini, or 1 avocado per day. So I’m not going to be eating a high quantity of these foods on this diet. Generally I’ll have only one of these foods on any given day.

If you’re just recently following this experiment, I recommend you read the last two posts from December 2007, since those explain why I’m eating minimal fat: 30 Days Raw and Raw Foods. I’ve been getting some questions via email that were answered in those two posts, so if you’re wondering about this low fat approach in addition to eating 100% raw, please start there.

Shopping

Erin and the kids and I went grocery shopping today. We hit Costco, Albertson’s, and Whole Foods. This time I bought most of my produce at Costco and Albertson’s. The only item I got from Whole Foods was some snow peas. I normally don’t shop at Albertson’s, but I was impressed with their selection. They have some decent organic items, and their bananas are better than the (very green) ones Whole Foods has been stocking lately. I also picked up some new items I didn’t buy last time, so you’ll see them appearing in my upcoming meals.

I realize that the main reason I shopped at Whole Foods was to acquire the vegan non-produce items I can’t get elsewhere. But since I do my entire shop in the produce section now, that renders Whole Foods less important to me. Where I decide to shop now comes down to who has the best quality produce. The rest of the family still wants items that are only sold at Whole Foods, but I don’t need any of those items anymore.

If I shopped only for myself, it would actually be faster than before this trial. Costco’s produce is all pre-packaged, so I don’t need to bag or weigh anything there. And at Albertson’s my whole shop is done after only 2 aisles (just the produce department).

Here’s a picture of my current banana collection:

Breakfast

There are 82 bananas in that basket. Hmmm… I probably should have bought more.

If I can’t eat them before they get overripe, I can freeze them for use in smoothies. There are other banana eaters in my family, but I eat far more than all of them combined. That was true even before this raw trial.

Breakfast

This was virtually the same breakfast I had yesterday, except that today I had 7 large bananas instead of 5 small ones. I didn’t eat breakfast until after 10am. I just wasn’t hungry until then.

Breakfast

  1. 10 clementines (558g)
  2. 7 large bananas (848g)

1017 calories, 4g fat, 261g carb, 14g protein

Delicious!

Morning Snack

Today I ate my first ever Asian pear (178g), also known as Nashi fruit. It looks like a small apple and has a similar crunch to it, but it tastes like a pear, albeit not as sweet. I was surprised at how juicy it was. I’m really not a big fan of pears, but I liked this one. I gave some to the kids, and they liked it too.

75 calories, 0.4g fat, 19g carb, 0.9g protein

I bought a pack of Asian pears from Costco, so you’ll undoubtedly see more of them in my diet this week.

Lunch

After grocery shopping I was in the mood for a big salad — with some fat in the dressing this time!

Lunch

  1. salad: mixed greens (140g), baby spinach (68g), cucumber (60g), grape tomatoes (160g)
  2. dressing: 1/2 red bell pepper (92g), raw tahini (46g), fresh lemon juice (24g), 1/4 cup water
  3. okra (46g)

395 calories, 22g fat, 45g carb, 15g protein

The salad dressing is still in the Vitamix in this photo. I had to use a big wooden bowl for the salad because none of the other clean bowls I had were big enough to contain it. It might not look that big in this photo, but when you consider the size of the Vitamix container (which is larger and taller than a normal blender), you’ll get a better sense of the scale. It took a while to eat, but it was delicious with the red pepper tahini dressing.

This was the first time I’ve ever tried raw okra. I only bought 5-6 pieces at the store to try, and I cut them up and put them on a plate to eat on the side. I didn’t know what fresh okra looked like, so I asked someone in the produce department at Albertson’s for help finding it. It has a very mild flavor that reminds me of peas or possibly green beans. I liked it, especially the crunchy texture. Now I wish I’d bought more. If not for this experiment, I might never have discovered raw okra. I’ve been told some raw foodists eat it like popcorn. All the okra on the plate is only 14 calories and 0 fat.

Dinner

For dinner I wasn’t super hungry, so I made a green smoothie: 3 bananas (364g), celery (38g), kale (28g), blueberries (102g), 3/4 cup water.

394 calories, 2g fat, 99g carb, 5g protein

I was scared of the kale (it’s a food I’ve rarely eaten), so I only used one leaf of it without the stem. I couldn’t even taste it. This tasted just like a banana-blueberry smoothie, although it was dark blue-green in color. Something made this smoothie really thick though. I could barely get the second glass of it out of the Vitamix. It would have been better with more water or some juicy fruits to thin it out a bit.

Evening Snack

I ate 2 more bananas (236g) and another of those yummy Asian pears (210g). It’s almost like eating a crunchy watermelon — so juicy!

298 calories, 1g fat, 76g carb, 4g protein

Daily Summary

2179 calories, 29g fat, 499g carb, 39g protein

182mg sodium, 78g fiber, 273g sugar

11% of calories from fat, 6% from protein, 83% from carbs

In contrast to yesterday, I didn’t have any major issues with cravings today. Even at the grocery store, I found myself far more attracted to the produce than the non-produce items. I started getting hungry while shopping, looking forward to the big salad I was going to make. I just didn’t feel a strong desire for any of the other stuff, although it still looked perfectly edible. Fresh fruit and veggies are becoming more appetizing to me.

Variety

You might think that eating a diet like this is an exercise in self-deprivation and scarcity, but I can tell you that the reality of experiencing it from the inside isn’t like that. It’s giving me a reason to explore new foods I’ve never tried, so I’m actually increasing my variety. Today I ate raw okra and an Asian pear for the first time. When was the last time you ate a new fruit or vegetable? Why deprive yourself of the experience? The worst outcome is that you won’t like it. But what if you do like it and gain a tasty new treat for life? Is it worth a buck to find out?


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