I went raw vegan for 5 days. Here's Why.
Why Raw Vegan?
I would say I am quite healthy. Unless we are talking about my chocolate addiction. Okay so maybe not so healthy. As a non-tea or coffee drinker, it has been my only vice for some 25 plus years. That being said, having been lucky enough to escape my teens and my twenties with only the occasional hormonal breakout, I became miserable when at the age of 33, I broke out in a nasty case of adult acne across my neck and jawline.
Having gone through countless courses of antibiotics with no effect, and feeling more lethargic and sluggish than ever, I realised my body may not be bouncing back against the ol’ Cadbury Dairy Milk as well as it was before.
I had noticed that my energy was non-existent, I was struggling to sleep at night, I was agitated and stressed, and my body didn’t feel as lean as it usually does. Having let nutrition fall by the wayside, it was starting to take its toll on my body.
I’d heard that a great way to detox the body is to go raw vegan for a few days. And I could feel my body craving fresh fruit and vegetables anyway. But the raw thing, could I do it?
The rules of being raw are you can only eat fresh, whole, unrefined, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and raw seeds. NO COOKING or STEAMING anything. Everything has to be eaten in its natural state.
So I toddled off to Sainsbury’s and made sure that I had everything I needed to last me five full days of eating. As nothing can be cooked, this eliminated filling foods I’d usually eat such as jacket potatoes, chicken and eggs. So I needed a LOT of fresh fruit, vegetables, raw nuts and raw seeds to make up for it.
What I ate:
I wanted to prepare. And let me tell you, going raw means PREP, PREP, PREP. Especially if you’re bound to a computer all day, like me. You will get hungry a lot more often on this diet. But I ate as much as I wanted because the food is so easy to digest, it’s so fresh and guilt-free.
I started each day with a green smoothie
Handful of kale
Handful of spinach
It was pretty tasty actually. The avocado made it creamy and the banana and berries added sweetness.
You will get hungry, so bringing plenty of on-the-go snacks is essential.
These are the snacks I ate each day:
3 handfuls of raw nuts
2 tablespoons of raw almond butter
I could’ve just chucked all the veg into a bowl and ate them raw, but I wanted to get creative. So I chopped up some courgettes and aubergine (which I have seen a lot of people spiralise, if you have one, or you could use a vegetable peeler to make tagliatelle) and created a sauce, which consisted of three avocados (for the five days), one clove of uncooked garlic and raw broccoli… and it was delicious.
Salad bowl ingredients
1 tablespoon of the homemade avo/garlic sauce
1 chopped carrot
Handful of courgetti
5 cherry tomatoes
2 hand fulls of raw nuts
Each night I decided to have a large, sweet smoothie bowl.
A handful of raw nuts such as almonds or walnuts
Toppings: 1 tablespoon of raw almond butter, half a sliced banana and a hand full of strawberries and any other additional fruit I had leftover to decorate.
How I felt each day:
I woke up hungry, but ready to go.
The hardest part was that I couldn’t have a piece of chocolate, which usually keeps me going until lunchtime. I was pretty ratty and irritable, and was desperate for a slice of toast by tea time! I felt quite lethargic at the end of the day and was looking forward to bed.
On day two I felt a little less sick but still needed rest. I started the day with my smoothie and a glass of limed water and snacked throughout the day and I definitely enjoyed my lunch and smoothie dinner too.
I felt a little lethargic again but felt a bit more upbeat than the day before. I also started feeling a bit more positive and less stressed than I have been feeling recently.
By day three, I felt a lot better. After watching a couple of vegan vloggers (Rawvana and Raw Alignment), I felt the push of encouragement I needed to get through the rest of the week. – glowing skin and heaps of energy? Er. Yes, please.
I began to feel energised, my stomach felt flat, and I began to see some noticeable differences in my skin.
Admittedly, that night, I started dreaming of roast beef and all the trimmings with a giant glass of chocolate mousse but stayed strong.
Day four of five. Almost there, I told myself. I felt amazing and my skin looked fresh. My make up glided on better than it had in ages and by this point, I noticed how much easier it was to get up in the mornings.
As a sufferer of endometriosis, I usually get particularly lethargic and bloated around the time of my period. Like, cover me in a duvet and leave me for four hours at 2 pm, lethargic. But none of those symptoms this month. Coincidence?
Woo, the last day had finally arrived. And I was dreaming about how I could finally wrap my mouth around a bar of dairy milk soon.
Again, I woke up with loads of energy and landed at my desk thirty minutes earlier than usual. I even fancied getting out over to the water meadows and a run up St Catherine’s hill, – (but no one panic, let’s not take this too far! I didn’t run anywhere!)
II was feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time and at work, I felt a lot more alert and clear-minded. No more brain fog.
I was feeling body confident and there was a noticeable difference in my abdominal region.
I completed the final day of the day raw food diet and I am so happy that I did it.
I also had a few people tell me that I am ‘glowing’ or looking ‘fresh’ the past few days, and it goes to show that what you put in your body really shows on the outside.
What I learnt
It made me really appreciate the importance of healthy, fresh food and how essential this is for your body to function properly. It’s changed my concept of eating and my body completely.
It has made me want to avoid processed foods when possible (even if they’re vegan, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy) and focus on nutritious, plant-based foods.
Is this diet a full-time and sustainable lifestyle choice long term? For me, absolutely not. I enjoy meat and it’s nutritional benefits and intend to carry on eating it, ethically and responsibly, but would like to reduce how frequently I am consuming it. I’ve also decided to ditch the dairy, as the additional hormones in dairy products could be related to my skin problems.
I have decided to try to eat raw one day a week, every week. Mostly because it made me feel really good, inside and out.
So if you’re after a detox or rejuvenating experience, I strongly believe that trying out a raw vegan diet, even just for 3 to 5 days will change your perspective on your body and what you put into it.
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