Food & Fitness

Transitioning to a Raw Food Diet

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

1 glass lemon water with 1/2 scoop calcium/magnesium powder and leftover banana pancakes smeared with sesame seed butter and topped with frozen blueberries

– 1/2 apple with chocolate spread and a few sweet potato chips

– 1 apple and a water bottle filled with lemon water and 1/2 scoop calcium/magnesium powder

– Bag of carrot sticks, celery sticks, and slices of green pepper, along with some “trail mix” (cashews, filberts, walnuts, sweet potato chips, and raisins), plus 1 cup rooibos tea

– 1 date dipped in sunflower seed butter, 1/2 apple, and flatbread smeared with mashed cauliflower, a smidge of avocado, and topped with sprouts

– 1 cup herbal tea and 1/2 apple

The Struggles of Eliminating Cooked Foods

My first day of the Raw Food Challenge went something like this:

– Wake up: Tummy is still full from last night’s Last Supper of stir fry, wine, cheesecake, and popcorn. About an hour after getting up, I make a smoothie. It’s not very good when it doesn’t contain unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze. I drink it anyway and think that I’m off to a good start.

– Twenty minutes later: I cruise the Internet looking up raw food information. I learn that peanut butter is never raw. Eep.

– Half an hour later: I want something to crunch on. I cut a big carrot into sticks and eat that. I want bread. Or crackers. Something crunchable of the grain variety.

– Ten minutes after that: I go to my pot of soaked chickpeas. They’ve been soaking for about 24 hours. I munch on a chickpea and spit it out. The chickpeas have definitely not been soaking for long enough.

– Two minutes later: I say screw it and brave the cold to walk in -30something degrees C weather to borrow the food processor from the mother dear’s place. I needed to make a proper meal.

– Rest of the day: Cruised food blogs and drooled over the pretty photos and recipes for cooked foods.

I adore bread. I really truly adore being able to munch on something hardy. Or to nibble on crackers/popcorn. I prefer chewing on grain-based foods as opposed to drinking my meals. But a big part of eating raw is consuming smoothies and juices, and foregoing breads.

In one way, I think this is really good, because now I can also find out if I have any gluten intolerances. Ever since meeting Shirley (she of the blog Gluten Free Easily) at the POM Blogger Harvest Tour in California in October, I have been fascinated by gluten-free diets. It sounds as though everyone, to some degree, has a gluten intolerance. Granted, I’m still including foods such as wheat germ in my diet, but it could still be interesting at the end of this month to eat some bread and find out if it agrees with me or not.

Regardless, it’s only been a few days, and within the first few hours of going raw I wanted bread. Gotta get used to this!

The interesting thing that I found was how quickly I have become satisfied over the past couple days. I’ve been eating considerably less than what I’m used to, but I haven’t been starving. Instead, I’ve just been comfortable with the amount that I’ve eaten. Not enough to fill me up, but enough to satisfy me. Once I had the nut/seed butter dilemma solved and started incorporating nuts into my diet, and once I made the flatbread from the juice pulp, it was much easier to eat raw.

Tracey asked if I’ve been feeling deprived at all. I’m not sure that I’d use the word “deprived”, but I have been “feeling it”. It’s not like I’m craving processed junk, but I’d really like a bowl of hot oatmeal. Or a classic PB&J sandwich. It’s the simple foods that I eat often and take for granted that I’d really like to eat now!

…and, okay, it would be nice to have a cookie. Or tacos. ๐Ÿ˜€

At the moment I have no raw oils except for some raw hemp seed oil that I spooned off the top of the jar of hemp seed butter in my fridge, so being able to have the nut butter helped with the satiety of the fats. The problem here is that I don’t want to go overboard on my consumption of nuts for both health reasons and financial reasons. Nuts are very expensive! I also feel a tad limited because I can’t get peanuts, almonds, or pistachios that are raw at any of the grocery stores I go to, so the only nuts I can buy are walnuts and cashews. Sunflower seeds are fairly inexpensive to buy in bulk, but seeds aren’t quite the same as nuts, at least to my mind.

Interestingly the juice pulp patties, although they are a mixture of vegetable and ground flaxseed/buckwheat, also really helped to settle my craving for bread. It doesn’t matter so much what the bread is made of, so long that it is in bread or cracker form, in order to help with the craving!

What kind of problems have you had to deal with when making the transition from one way of eating to another? Do you also find that as long as the form is the same, the ingredients don’t affect you as much?


  1. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

    Well I commend you for making it this far. Bread cravings are powerful, so I’m impressed you haven’t cheated. (Because that’s what I’d do.) You know what they say, though: Once you quit something cold turkey it takes a few weeks then you stop even craving it. I keep meaning to apply that reasoning to sugar, but I’m weak. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s also really interesting to me that you aren’t always hungry. It seems like you’re getting a lot less food. Maybe you’re adjusting. Best of luck in the remaining days!

  2. Dr. J

    Of course it would get easier with time as in the beginning of any change there is a lot of work to do. I’m not suggesting that you stop, but maybe next time this would be easier in the summer ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Andrea@WellnessNotes

    I am glad that the juice pulp patties help you with your bread cravings. I have been meaning to experiment with all the pulp from juicing for quite a while now; it’s such a waste to throw it away… And I can totally see how a crunchy cracker would satisfy your craving despite it having different ingredients.

    I think I have always taken the easy way out when I changed my diet and have changed things very slowly, so I have never eliminated anything completely all of a sudden. Usually just having a little bit of something, like bread, makes me happy… I really think it’s great that you are doing this all the way. It forces you to be creative and figure things out you wouldn’t otherwise…

  4. Hanlie

    I think going raw cold-turkey would cause some cravings… I haven’t really felt it, because I eat raw most of the day anyway, and it’s only at night that we often had cooked food. But not every night – some nights we just had salad. So I think it’s probably easier for me. I’m sure you’ll get used to it though.

  5. Sagan Morrow

    Tracey- It’s VERY strange that I’m a lot less hungry. Normally I’d be eating, um, close to twice this much. Well maybe not quite twice as much, but just about. And oh MAN it’s hard not to cheat. I keep thinking non-stop about popcorn and banana bread.

    Dr. J- That’s my line of thinking as well! This would be a great way to eat in the summer. Middle of winter was a silly idea. But, I really wanted to try it. And it makes it all the more challenging to do it in the winter rather than the summer, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Andrea- For these kinds of challenges, I like going all the way. If I were planning on doing this as a routine rest-of-my-life way of eating, I would DEFINITELY be going at it much slower!

    Hanlie- I hope so ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. asithi

    I am not sure I can follow a diet that does not allow for hot food. Even if the form and the ingredients are the same, if the temperature is off, I would not be a happy camper. I wonder how much of it is about expectations, like soup has to be hot or ice cream has to be cold. I know there are cold soups and deep fried ice cream, but I have never been able to eat either.

  7. JavaChick

    That is why I don’t think could do raw food. I’ve seen plenty of raw foods (pictures/recipes/descriptions) that look pretty tasty to me. While home for the holidays my preferences for raw vegetables over cooked were discussed more than once. But there are some things that I would just not want to give up. I think the idea of including raw foods is great, but I wouldn’t want to be 100%.

  8. charlotte

    You are making a huge transition! I think it is only to be expected that you would experience some difficulties. Kudos to you though for trying it! I’ve always been curious about raw foods diets but too lazy to actually try one. They always sound like they require a lot of food prep effort but perhaps that’s just at the beginning.

    Hmmm… now I want popcorn;)

  9. Sagan Morrow

    Asithi- I have yet to make raw soup because I also think of soup as being HOT. Even when I lived in Spain, I didn’t like gazpacho very much, because I couldn’t get used to the idea of soup being cold.

    JavaChick- And THAT is the main issue I’m having. I normally prefer raw veggies to cooked, but being 100% really is quite difficult (not in terms of feasibility, but in terms of dealing with cravings etc).

    Shannon- I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

    Charlotte- I think I always want popcorn ๐Ÿ˜€ They don’t really require that much food prep at all… especially if you’ve got a good sharp knife, it’s amazing how quickly the meal can be made.

  10. Carla

    When I was “raw”, having a few raw food books and my dehydrator saved me. Being able to soak and dry nuts and seeds, make “bread” and deserts kept me from feeling deprived.

    I had to take it slow. Because I was (and still am) working out on a regular basis, I had to be careful to make sure ate plenty on certain days.

    My biggest challenge was eating out which I enjoy.

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