A few weeks ago, a coworker proposed a 30-day raw food challenge to anyone brave enough to accept. The rules were simple, for 30 straight days we could eat and drink anything as long as it wasn’t cooked or heated over 115℉. Well, I’m a sucker for challenges, especially when it promotes healthy living. So, though I knew nothing about eating raw and what that would entail, I eagerly accepted her invitation.
Days before the adventure began I started to research what eating raw was all about. I read various online articles regarding the health benefits and cautions, looked up recipes and created a grocery list. Even though certain foods like meat, rice and pasta would be absent from my diet for a month, there were so many other kinds of food, new food, out there for me to taste. Learning about the raw lifestyle was rather exciting. It was like discovering a new world. I was especially eager to try out some of the recipes I found online. In spite of being raw, many of them actually looked and sounded delicious!
Therefore, I dove into the challenge, gung-ho and headfirst. During my first week, I purchased a food dehydrator. This allowed me to add variety to my meals, which, up until that point, had consisted solely of fruits and vegetables. But, it was more work than I had anticipated! Nuts needed to be soaked for days. The weekend was spent chopping, processing, blending, slicing and dicing. After the prep work was completed, the food still needed to be assembled and dehydrated, which took another day and a half. However, the novelty of new foods and recipes kept me going and week one was completed.
Week two provided much opposition as I found myself eating out a lot. Awfully low on energy, and with an exceptionally busy schedule to boot, I dug my heels in and resolved not to succumb to cooked food temptation. I embarrassingly became one of “those people” who dilutes their salad order down to, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots only. “Hold the dressing, please!”
Now, after having just completed week three and with one more week to go, what I initially thought would be a cinch has, in fact, proven quite difficult. However, I am thrilled by what I have experienced so far. There have been flavors and foods that I would have, most likely, never tried if not for eating raw. I tried raw milk for the first time and tasted Thai coconut water. Delicious! I discovered that salads can really taste amazing and be filling! I learned how to make my own dressing, falafel and macadamia cheese, all raw, of course. Also, shopping for specialty ingredients dared me to explore markets and aisles that I don’t otherwise frequent.
I am more than eager to eat cooked foods again, especially meat; however, I look forward to incorporating this new arsenal of raw recipes into my diet. Eating and living healthy is slowly becoming a fundamental part of my life and this raw food challenge has greatly supported that goal.
In case you are curious about eating raw, how to start a raw food diet, or what to anticipate, here are a few sites that I have found to be quite informative.
You may also want to check out these sites for raw recipes and cooking ideas: