It started with just a hypothetical question; "Could you 'go raw'?" I didn't know. Maybe? It really depended on how strict the "rules" were.
I did a bit of research and found that eating only raw foods was pretty strict. You could eat as much raw fruits & vegetables as you could handle, adding in raw nuts and seeds (not roasted) - including raw peanut butter. "Eating raw" usually means you could have beans, as long as they were soaked, not cooked. And oatmeal heated in warm water, but not boiling water. To drink, most of the resources I used listed only water, 100% juices (preferably made yourself) and lukewarm tea. (I did cheat by having canned beans which are cooked. And store bought hummus.)
After the research, the conversation started again...could I do it? I did want to jumpstart some weight loss. I have a wedding I'm standing up in this June...and that looming half-marathon in October. It couldn't hurt, right? My friend told me then that she didn't think I'd make it three days. Oh, don't challenge me! I told her not only could I do the three days, but I could do four. And then reality set it. HA! What did I get myself into?
I scheduled my "cleanse" for during spring break. It seemed like the easiest time as I didn't have to worry about our schedules so much. I began on a Monday. That first day wasn't so rough. I took my son to the zoo where we ate a packed lunch from home and I ate salad for dinner...a normal day really. Being a vegetarian already just one day wasn't too much of a stretch. I did have a craving for some sweets and carbs, but I managed to not succumb to my temptations.
Day two was a bit rougher, but manageable. I did learn how to make a mean smoothie though! I realized how much I looked for "quick fixes" when I was hungry. I was used to just grabbing some crackers or granola bars - neither of which are raw foods. I found some comfort in celery and carrots with salt and hummus.
By this point I was eating about every hour. Most "Raw Food Experts" will tell you to eat about 1-1.5 POUNDS of fruit and vegetables EACH throughout the day. I wasn't meeting this goal. I found that I felt full after eating just a few handfuls of veggies. I did drink a lot of water though!
Day three was hard. We had planned some activities which meant I needed to take snacks and lunch with me. The activities were slow paced exercise and I did find myself getting a bit tired and at one point dizzy. I realized I really needed to eat something, but once I did everything felt fine again. As long as I was eating regularly I found that I had a lot of energy. I was also sleeping well at night which isn't always true for me.
The fourth day was by far the hardest. My husband and I planned an impromptu overnight trip without our boys which meant eating out all day. Breakfast at Bob Evans was a fruit plate, minus the yogurt. Lunch was at a pub and was a salad with no dressing (nothing raw). Dinner was in a tiny town where they apparently don't have vegetables other than lettuce. We went out to dinner and I ordered a salad. I got a HUGE bowl of lettuce. That's it. Just lettuce.
Overall, the "diet" wasn't too rough. I had a lot of encouragement from my husband and friends (Thanks, Jon Lamb!). Having the support made it easier. The hardest part was eating meals out and having to plan ahead for meals. And no carbs. I would have killed someone for popcorn on day three! This would have been a LOT easier in the summer where there were more fruit and vegetables available locally.
But, the "cleanse" was more than just a physical cleanse. It was a mental cleanse. I now realize what I put into my body more than I have before. I am aware that a little sweet treat just isn't worth it. I can get the same sweet taste from an orange. Or when I do have a treat, I'm more aware of the amount I eat. During my four raw days I lost around six pounds. That was pretty impressive in my opinion. But even since my last raw day, I noticed a few of my days leaning more towards the raw foods than I would have before. I have lost 10 pounds in about 10 days.
Will the pounds stay off? I hope so. But more than the weight staying off, it's jump started something in my brain. I'm aware. I'm more conscious of my food choices. And I actually enjoy fruits & vegetables more than before. I just want to be able to eat them cooked once in awhile. ;)