Yesterday was March 31st, the official end of my month-long RAWxtravaganza. I can’t believe it’s over already! And I can’t quite fathom that it’s been 31 days since I’ve consumed heat. Perhaps even more amazing is that just by proxy, it’s been 31 days without any significant quantity of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, wheat/gluten, or unfermented soy! Each of these components carries their own assortment of associated health warnings. With this in mind, I can’t help but wonder: could it be that some of the incredible benefits touted by the RAW community, are really just the result of removing all these detrimental options?
My intuition says no, but I don’t deny the possibility. Regardless of reasoning, here are my thoughts at the end of this RAW trial.
My Raw Experience:
Throughout this endeavor I’ve had my ups and downs, but not necessarily more (or less) than other months. With good days and bad days, it’s difficult to discern the root of a problem, especially dealing with variables as random as PMS, the common cold, and the end-of-winter doldrums. I’m certainly not willing to attribute everything to my diet!
Still, taking the entire month as an average and comparing it to non-RAW months, some general trends emerge. For instance, I’d say that overall this month I’ve been more balanced. My emotions have been more steady, my hunger/blood sugar has been more stable, my eliminations (*wink *wink) have been much more regular, and I have not experienced any of the usual crazy cravings for non-nutritious foods.
I have definitely experienced that delightful feeling of ‘lightness’ that Raw Foodists describe. It’s pretty incredible to lay into a giant plate of food, demolish it, and then skip away not feeling belly-ache stuffed, but energized and awakened instead. It’s difficult to imagine, in this culture that has coined the phrase ‘food-coma’ to describe what we so often do to ourselves at mealtime. What a change, to leave a totally massive, totally satisfying meal with MORE energy than you came with!
Personally, I feel like my emotional state is much more affected by RAW foods than my mind or body. This month, I felt pointlessly optimistic, randomly serene, and generally giddy for no particular reason. My skin is glowing, but other than that my body has not noticeably improved. At times I’ve been achy, sore, or lethargic. My mind hasn’t ‘sharpened’ the way I hoped it would, and at times I’ve been tired, foggy, groggy, or unmotivated. These things happen normally as well, but the point is that they’ve been just as frequent (or more?) while RAW. On the other hand, my heart has been open wide and I love that loving feeling! Sound hippy-dippy? Yeah, I think so too . . . but it’s true!
What I Learned:
I’ve definitely learned a few things about myself during this adventure, about my body, about my needs, and about expectation. The first surprise was how quickly my taste buds acclimated to natural sweetness. I can’t even imagine what frosting will taste like the next time I try it, but I expect it will be sickly sweet – I almost imagine it burning my tongue. Yesterday I was snacking on dates, just marveling at the absolutely candied quality of them. They were so saccharine! I suspect that once I return to refined sugar, it will quickly re-de-sensitize my palate. So for now I’m savoring these natural sweet treats, so perfectly toothsome just as they are. Fresh berries, plain sun dried raisins, juicy melons and tropicals, and of course my liquid love (that’s raw agave, folks).
Second lesson: Caffeine is so unnecessary! Not that I’m knocking it and far be it from me to disparage something so dear, but it’s kind of liberating to break the addiction and take a step back. This is the longest I’ve gone without caffeine in my entire adult life, and it’s nice to know that it is possible to operate sans stimulants. Now, I start my day bright-eyed with a nice big glass of water. Later, I sip a green smoothie, my new habitual beverage. But there’s no external energizer, because believe it or not, none is needed. And the best blessed part: there’s no afternoon crash! I know that I’ll end up going back to tea and coffee, and I’m totally okay with that (excited, in fact, because I truly love them so). But for now, knowing I don’t need them is pretty awesome.
Thirdly, I love my newfound ‘laboratory’ – my body – and look forward to planning my next round of experiments. Any ideas?
Where I’ll Go From Here:
So I’ll bet you’re wondering, ‘now what’?
Well, I don’t know. I’ve continued to eat RAW throughout today because that is what has felt right to me. I must admit, I keep thinking, “you should have oatmeal for breakfast!” or “you should get Ethiopian tonight!” These lighting quick ‘cravings’ come from my tongue, not from my body. When I check in with my body, I confirm that I have no real desire to eat cooked food.
But I don’t want to remain all RAW forever. So the next step – how to break the ‘fast’ and when – eludes me.
Honestly, I was kind of hoping that I would figure out some sort of plan just by writing this article. But alas, that hasn’t happened. And I can’t tell you what I’m going to do tomorrow, or the next day, except that I’m going to continue listening to my body and giving it what it wants.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I hope it’s been fun for you to witness; it’s certainly been fun for me to share. ¡Viva la RAW!