Food & Fitness

Exceptions to the Raw Food Challenge

Yesterday, on Day Three of the Raw Food Challenge, I ate:

– A small handful cashews/sunflower seeds and a smoothie made with 1 frozen banana, 1 leaf kale, 1/2 scoop calcium/magnesium powder, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp cacao powder, 1/8 cup orange juice pulp, and 1 tbsp wheat germ

– 1 apple with sunflower seed butter (not as good as the cashew butter, but still tasty nonetheless! I made it by tossing a pile of sunflower seeds in the food processor and letting it whir until it turned into butter), plus some flatbread with hummus (both leftover from yesterday’s recipes).

– Handful sweet potato chips made in the dehydrator plus 1 Probiotic capsule (and a glass lemon water with 1/2 scoop calcium/magnesium powder to chase it down)

– 1 apple, two carrots, a handful of walnuts, and 3 mugs green tea

– A taste of mashed cauliflower (mashed with some hummus, onion, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper), plus a piece of flatbread with hummus and a tomato slice, and 2 sticks of celery with sunflower seed butter/raisins/chocolate spread

– Veggie bites (cucumber slices smeared with mashed cauliflower and topped with sprouts, tomato and corn) along with 3 dates dipped in sunflower butter plus more sweet potato chips and 2 mugs rooibos tea

Not Quite 100% Raw

Gina asked me a few questions regarding the exceptions I’m willing to make for this challenge. It’s always a good idea to lay down some ground rules, so these are some of the exceptions that I am making for my Raw Food Challenge:

1) Tea. It’s -40 something degrees C with windchill around here. I’m eating uncooked foods. Yadda yadda yadda I shouldn’t rely on food to keep me warm but seriously! I have to have something to keep my stomach warm. Besides, I really, really like tea. And it is incredibly healthy. So I’m allowing myself to drink tea, although I am trying to cut back a little bit on the amount of tea I’m drinking and instead sub lemon water or homemade juices and smoothies (er, don’t look at how much tea I drank yesterday ;)).

2) Supplements. The day before I began the Raw Food Challenge, I bought two supplements: probiotics, because I don’t eat yogurt and I don’t want to be missing out on live bacteria cultures, and digestive enzymes, because I have a very sensitive stomach that can get upset by eating just about anything. I also already take calcium/magnesium powder, but I usually only take 1/2 scoop at a time a couple times each day. I’m not even taking one of each capsule for the probiotics and digestive enzymes each day, and I rarely take much more than 1 scoop of calcium/magnesium powder (equal to 1 cup of milk) each day, so this way I am ensuring that I get a little extra of them into my diet without going overboard at all.

I don’t want to include any items in my diet that I do not know for sure if they are raw or not, such as agave nectar. I will be avoiding those kinds of foods that I simply don’t know about as much as possible, although there is a very small chance that once or twice during the month I may use them.

A few other items that I may or may not include:

1) Nutritional Yeast. This is not technically raw, although it is “alive”. A lot of raw foodists incorporate it into their diets. Because I want to be as close to 100% raw as possible, I might choose not to use nutritional yeast, but I’m still a little undecided on this one.

2) Oats. As far as I can tell, most oats are not raw. However, I have a number of different kinds of oats, such as spelt oats and rye oats etc. I do not know if these are raw or if they have been heated above 115 degrees F. Because of that, I think that I’ll be avoiding them, too, but I’m still going to leave it open and consider them as an almost-raw food.

3) Almonds. I know that these are not technically raw, so I doubt that I will use them at all. But I still want to allow for the very slight possibility that at some point I may include an almond or two.

And that’s it! Everything else that I eat will be foods that I know for a fact are raw. The only cold-pressed (and therefore raw) oil that I own is mixed into a hemp seed butter, so I used a spoonful of that oil (skimmed off of the top of the jar) to make my hummus a little creamier. But I do not wish to use the cider vinegar or any other oils that I own because none of them are truly “raw”. I’m also taking care to look at the ingredients in tea, because even though I know that it may not be “raw”, at least this way I can avoid any tea which includes blatantly heated ingredients such as “roasted carob” (the roasted part implying that it isn’t raw).

What do you think? Have I missed anything here? Is there something else that you would add or avoid?


  1. Kristen

    You’re doing great! Congrats on your decision to try eating rawβ€”It’s one of the best things you can do for your body. I noticed you’re not eating much fruit? Is there any particular reason why? I ask because fruit is very calorie dense, and it’s important to keep your calories up to at least what your body uses while resting (average adult female is around 1500/day). Fat can give lots of calories too, but it doesn’t contain much *fuel*, so they’re pretty empty calories. The carbs from fruit give our bodies the fuel it needs to function. You’re doing great! Keep up the great work πŸ™‚

    Here’s a link about fruit if you’re curious:

  2. The Candid RD

    I must really know very little about what is raw, and what is not. Thanks for answering my question! I just don’t understand though, why the heck aren’t almonds raw? Is it because they aren’t in their shells anymore?? I need to look more into this, you’ve intrigued me!

  3. Sagan Morrow

    Kristen- Thanks for the info! And yes, I know about the importance of having enough calories each day. There’s no real reason why I haven’t been eating a lot of fruit, except that too much sweet from fruit is overkill for me, and I also have a huge love for apples but they’re expensive, and most other fruits are either too expensive (like fresh berries) or else I like to eat them with other things (like bananas).

    Gina & JavaChick- Almonds aren’t raw, even if it says on the package that they’re raw, I believe because of the shelling process. Only “Spanish almonds” are truly raw, apparently. So even if the box says that the almonds aren’t roasted and that they are raw, they will still have been heated above 115 degrees F for some reason, unless they’re that special type of almonds. I’m not sure exactly why.

    Tracey- Some parts of the day I’ve been hungry, but for the most part it’s fine because of the frequent eating. I don’t really feel “full”, but I feel SATISFIED, so that is good. Deprived… heh. I’ll get more into that on Wednesday but yes, there’s been a few times when I have felt deprived!

  4. westwood

    That’s odd about the almonds. Did you know that almonds occur inside a fruit that looks like a terrible-tasting peach? Thtat being said, don’t eat the almond-looking thing inside a peach pit. Two or three of those will lead to death.

    Also I think you’re okay with the tea… by the time you get the leaves into the water, the water has probably cooled to below your temperature threshold for ‘cooked’, or if not, it will only be for a few seconds. But you know all that and are careful with teh ingredients anyway.

  5. Sagan Morrow

    Hanlie- That’s what I’m thinking. But at least for the first little while, I’m going to avoid them to be as “raw” as possible… but I’m thinking that nutritional yeast would be a definite plus!

    Diane- Yes, a lot of the food is “snack food”. The kinds of things that we wouldn’t normally have for meals! It’s nice though, it makes me re-think what exactly constitutes a “meal” and a “snack”… especially when you think about how many calories/how much fat is often IN a snack (eg. a bag of potato chips, a bar of chocolate etc).

    Westwood- They had almond trees at the POM Wonderful Blogger Harvest Tour. I’ve even got a picture of an almond growing right on the tree! It looks really neat. Is it actually poisonous right off the tree? Is that why they need to be heated?

    J.D.- Absolutely. We need to figure out what works for each of us and if I decide that a little bit of nutritional yeast and almonds should be a part of the raw food challenge, well then it will be πŸ™‚

    Andrea- Thanks, I’m very glad that you enjoy them!

  6. charlotte

    So interesting!! I had no idea that uncooked oats were actually… not uncooked! But I’m confused about the almonds thing. How come they don’t count? Even if they are not roasted? Am loving that you are doing this experiment!

  7. Mary

    I think I can answer some of your reader’s questions about the almonds. It is my understanding, that in 2007, the US passed a law stating that almonds had to undergo pasteurization during the shelling/packaging process due to a salmonella outbreak a few years back. So called “raw” almonds these days have not been roasted or heated aside of this initial process, so they are mislabeled for true raw eating, but are called raw to differentiate them from roasted almonds. You can still get truly raw almonds from certain reputable sources (think raw milk), online, directly from the grower, etc.

    Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but this is what I was told several years ago when I decided to go 50% raw.

  8. Miz

    Im sooo in all of you and fiteralla and everyone who is doing this challenge.

    one of the big I CAN NOT DO THIS πŸ™‚ for me was the loss of the hothot in the morning!
    it’s only 30 here (but cold for here) and I couldnt give that up…


    or the salmon.

    or the chicken.

    Im weak πŸ™‚

  9. Sagan Morrow

    Yum Yucky- hehehe. I have yet to try a Pure bar. I’m guessing it gets a few yum ups?

    Charlotte- The whole labeling thing is all together incredibly misleading.

    Mary- THANK YOU! That makes a lot of sense.

    Jamie- Am all about the challenges πŸ˜€

    Miz- Ahaha ooh I’m jealous of your temperatures. That’s what gets me, the fact that it’s snowy and blustery and cold. Soup or stew would be perfect right now.

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