Note to readers: Over the next week I'll be running daily posts about my experiences on a seven-day trial of eating 100% raw foods. Today's post is my report for Day 1. [See the full archive of posts on my raw foods trial.]
PS: If there are readers out there who are raw foodists (I know I have at least a few), or other readers who have embarked on their own raw foods trials in the past, please share your experiences!
Before we get into Day 1 itself, I want to share a few preliminary words about two food sources that are probably unfamiliar to most CK readers, but are key inputs into a typical raw foodists's diet:
1) Sprouted and soaked grains
2) Sprouted beans and legumes
Honestly, I had never heard of soaked or sprouted grains and legumes, much less had I ever eaten them. And I'll admit, when I was researching raw foods, I was a bit annoyed to discover that in order to have an easy source of "living" protein I'd have to spend time soaking and sprouting my food. However, it turns out that working with these grains and beans is quite easy and it requires only a tiny bit of advanced planning.
The key grains I soaked and sprouted were wheat berries--which are simply whole, unprocessed wheat kernels--and buckwheat kernels. Both require just an overnight soak in plain water to become soft enough to eat (but please, unless you have your dentist already queued up on speed dial, do not try to eat wheat berries raw! You will seriously break a tooth). As for legumes, I only experimented with lentils, which can be eaten raw after soaking for just 12-18 hours. The lentils tasted a lot like the bean sprouts you'd get at a Chinese restaurant, and they are--no joke--ten times as filling as cooked lentils.
After a night of soaking and a quick rinse, these grains and legumes will begin sprouting over the course of the next day or so. All you have to do is keep them somewhat damp (I put them in tupperware containers and covered them with wet paper towels) and rinse them 1-2 times a day.
Soaked and sprouted grains and legumes like these are extremely nutrient- and energy-rich, and they make a great (and filling) complement to a fruit or veggie smoothie, as you'll see shortly. Finally, it's pretty darn cool (and kind of amazing) to grow things like this in your own kitchen.
A word on the cost: these guys are cheap. The lentils that I soaked and sprouted were, believe it or not, just regular old grocery store dried lentils at 79c for a one-pound bag. The two-pound bag of organic wheat berries that I bought at a local health food store cost a seemingly steep $2.49, but I later discovered that two pounds will be enough wheat to last me 2-3 weeks, even if I ate them morning, noon and night. I'm sure wheat berries can be purchased much more cheaply if you go non-organic or buy in bulk.
I can discuss in more detail the surprisingly easy instructions for soaking and sprouting grains and legumes if there's interest from readers.
Now, let's move on to Day 1 of my raw food diet! First I'll discuss the foods I ate and the eating schedule I kept, with explanatory notes where necessary. Then, I'll share some closing thoughts on the day.
Breakfast smoothie: One apple, 3-4 Tblsp sprouted wheat berries, 2-3 Tblsp sprouted buckwheat: combine in a blender. Add a few ounces of water as needed to help liquefy the smoothie. Yield: about 1 cup (enough to fill an 8-ounce glass).
I also ate, separately, several cubes of fresh pineapple.
Note: It might not seem like much food, but this smoothie kept me full for more than six hours. More on that shortly.
Late in the morning, about two hours after breakfast, I went for my typical 5 mile run that I do 2-3 times a week.
Thanks to a last minute meeting Laura and I had to rush off to (we're bidding on a townhouse here in NJ), I ended up essentially skipping lunch. I just had a smallish snack of some cubed pineapple and some sprouted lentils and wheat berries. The wheat berries, which began sprouting about three days ago, actually tasted a little like bread!
Early Dinner: 4:00pm
Combine in a blender: two big handfuls of spinach, one carrot, 3/4 of an apple, 5-6 black raspberries and 4-5 Tblsp of wheat berries. Again, add water as needed. Yield: about 1 1/2 cups.
Note: Thanks to the spinach, you could technically call this a green smoothie, but in reality it was sort of purplish-brown. It was bizarre looking, bizarre-tasting and bizarrely good. By this time I was really famished, since it had been more than six hours since my last real meal.
Around 4:30pm I had a craving for some chocolate (which shouldn't be a surprise to any longtime readers of this blog), but I shook it off. Heck, it's only day one. I can't quit already.
Around 7:30pm I had an avocado, which for some reason tasted like one of the most delicious things I'd ever eaten.
Later, Laura threatened to get into my stash of dark chocolate. "You won't be needing this for a while!" she said. Talk about kicking a guy when he's down.
Concluding Notes/Thoughts on the Day:
Today felt like any other day. The main surprise about Day 1 was how shockingly filling and satisfying the smoothies were. These soaked and sprouted grains are so tiny, yet they provide an enormous amount of satiety and energy. It's as if they defy the laws of physics.
In contrast, my typical meal after a longish run is usually a huge bowl of (cooked) pasta, and I'm usually hungry again within an hour or two. But it only took a single, smallish wheat berry smoothie, plus a small snack for lunch, to give me enough energy to run five miles and last nearly six hours before I became hungry again.
Onward to Day 2!
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