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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Dreaming of a Bacon Cheeseburger

I'm not a dieting kind of girl. I've never seen any sense in trying to eat any way other than the way I normally eat. If there is a goal that my normal eating gets in the way of, or if the results of my eating are causing problems, my philosophy has always been that I simply need to change the way I eat.

I consider myself fortunate--on the food front--that I come from a rural background. My parents grew much of what we ate when I was a kid. My mother canned and preserved the garden harvest and utilized her freezer, as well. I moved away from this a bit in early adulthood, but I've always felt like my default food setting was homegrown, homemade and it has never been much of a chore to get back to that.

None-the-less, I came across this documentary a few years when I was working on an article about Diabetes. It was called Simply Raw, and it basically claimed that by eating a raw, vegan diet for 30 days, diabetes (at least type 2) could be reversed.

I guess I was intrigued, because I’ve thought of it often.

Long story short, I decided to try eating that way for 30 days myself. (No, I’m not diabetic, but I think there are several health benefits to eating this way, and the idea of losing a few pounds in the process doesn’t offend me either.)

So as I write this, I’m at the end of day nine of a no meat, no dairy, no cooking diet.

It was on day five that I decided I would write about it.

The first couple of days were much easier than I had anticipated. Since there’s really no limit to how much I eat, getting hungry was not a problem. I felt a bit more tired than usual the first night and I took a long afternoon nap on the second day. The first two mornings I woke up with a bit of a headache. But beyond that, I was enjoying the variety of fruits and vegetables and experimenting with things like sprouting my organically grown wheat and making my own almond milk (yum).

I took this on with the idea that it would be a good 30 day challenge and that maybe I could take off a few pounds as a bonus. I didn’t really have expectations beyond that. It would have made more sense to do this during the peak of farmers’ market season, but I figured I could always do it again if I liked it.

The surprise on day five was that every ache and pain I am accustomed to dealing with on a regular basis was gone. I think all of my adult life I have had stiff shoulders, an achy back, and knees that felt old and creaky. It’s never been so bad that it’s significantly slowed me down, but the ache has always been there. I’m accustomed to getting out of bed and hobbling around all until I get warmed up. I’ve always tried to exercise in the morning because the movement loosen me up and lessons the achiness.

That may sound a little more extreme than it actually is. I’m not saying I live with chronic pain or anything, but the absolute lack of that stiff, achy feeling really struck me by about day five of eating raw vegan. I rolled out of bed and felt as good, maybe better, than I feel after a long, relaxing walk. I’d been sleeping deeply, rarely waking up in the night at all. That middle of the day lull where I feel sleepy or lack energy seems to have disappeared.

On day five, I was actually contemplating becoming a vegan for life.

That was quite a difference from the first 48 hours when I was planning my day 31 meal, a triple patty, bacon burger dripping with cheese and maybe some cheesy fries on the side.

Now at the end of day nine, I honestly don’t see myself becoming a vegan. More vegetables and fruits, yes. More raw vegetables and fruits, most certainly. I can see myself living a more vegetarian-like life, with the occasional carnivore’s delight on the side. The good news is that this should make moving to solely local, organic, grass-fed meat options pretty easy. That’s long been a goal of mine, and except for my too-frequent longing for a grilled burger (which often results in supplementing our “good” meat supply with store bought stuff from who knows where), I’ve done pretty decent in recent years.

I do find myself thinking a lot about warm food. At first it was cheesy, greasy options that I was longing for, but on about day seven I decided my perfect meal would be an awesome taco bar with some of my tasty homemade refried black beans as the main feature. When I dream of pizza, I’m dreaming of our homemade, farmers market version, topped with veggies as high as we can stack them and a homemade crust made with fresh garlic and oregano.

Raw is certainly not a long-term option for me.

I’m going to have to spend some time considering the changes to my normal, long-term diet, however. It’s quite possible that I could pinpoint the foods that make me achy and stiff. Eliminating them for good doesn’t sound like such a chore.

Anyway, I’m almost 1/3 of the way there and I decided to share what I was doing. Whether you have simple aches and pains of your own, or more serious health considerations such as diabetes, I thought it was something that others might be interested in.

Here’s a link to the Simply Raw documentary on Vimeo. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just couldn't see myself satisfied with a raw or vegan diet. Health is important, and I think for some it means one thing and to others, something else. Animal rights are another issue. But, certain foods have been a part of my life and my emotional as well as physical wholeness for 45 years. Some evoke memories, some comfort, some satisfy. All of that is important to me and my enjoyment of this short life. I try not to be reckless in my eating (most days:)). My grandma lived a life of balance and moderation....for 92 years. That seems to be where I've felt most comfortable, too.:)