Returning to Raw Foods

April 5th, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

Many people have asked that I post a diet update since ending my 30-day Raw Food Diet trial in January. I don’t have a whole lot to report, but I’ll post a brief update to address the main questions I’ve been asked.

I went back to eating vegan cooked foods in February and March. As I already mentioned in the final update from the raw trial (linked above), I got sick for a few days starting with the first day back on cooked foods. That eventually passed, and I seemed to readapt just fine.

On the downside, in February and March, I gradually gained back all the weight I lost during the raw trial, so I weigh the same now that I did on January 1st. I didn’t change my exercise habits, and I probably ate the same or fewer calories as I ate during my raw trial. As I found out for myself with detailed measurements before and during my raw trial, all calories aren’t equal.

During the past two months, my energy wasn’t as good as it was during the last two weeks of my raw trial. I lost some endurance and strength at the gym within the first week back on cooked foods. I missed the higher levels of mental clarity and concentration I enjoyed while raw. These improvements came on so gradually during the trial that I didn’t consider them a big deal, but I really noticed the difference when they quickly faded after I returned to cooked foods. I also needed more sleep on cooked foods, and I was more tired in the evenings.

Even while eating cooked foods again, I noticed I always felt better when I ate more raw foods, especially the banana-spinach shakes. After a cooked food meal, my energy dropped. If I ate 80% raw for a day, I felt better. I continued eating lots of fresh fruit because I felt more alert and energetic when I did. I can’t say I felt bad eating cooked foods, but compared to how I felt eating 100% raw, it was clearly a step down.

On April 2nd, I decided to return to eating 100% raw. I didn’t have a time limited trial in mind. I just woke up one morning and felt like I’d lost interest in eating cooked foods. It’s hard to say whether I’m ready to make a permanent commitment to a raw food diet, but it does feel that way to me. This is the first time I went raw for more than a day when it wasn’t part of a planned trial.

I’m not doing the strict low-fat raw food diet I did during my previous trial, so I’m incorporating more fat, spices, onion, garlic, salt, and some condiments. That definitely makes it easier to stick with it and gives me a lot more flexibility. But it’s still a huge improvement over my cooked food vegan diet.

One of the most telling pieces of data was my urine pH. During my raw trial, my urine was alkaline; every reading was between 7.4 and 8.0. When I measured my urine pH in late March after eating cooked foods for 2 months, the reading was 5.8 (acidic). I’ve been eating 100% raw again since April 2nd, and this morning my urine pH was 8.0 (alkaline). The pH scale is logarithmic, so this is a significant shift. While eating cooked food, my urine pH has always been acidic; while eating raw food for a day or more, my urine pH has always been alkaline. If you want to measure your own urine pH, you can buy inexpensive pH strips at a health food or vitamin store.

I had some mild detox symptoms yesterday but nothing too severe. This morning I feel great. I don’t know if I’ll have the same dry skin problems I had during my last trial. Time will tell. A 30-day trial really wasn’t long enough to know if that problem would have corrected itself.

So I guess I’m a raw foodist now. :)

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