Raw Foods Trial: Day 7--The Last Day of Raw!

Welcome to Day 7, the final day of Casual Kitchen's seven day raw foods trial! I'm sure you're all used to the routine by now: first I'll list the foods I ate and the eating schedule I kept, and then below I'll share my closing thoughts on the day. [See the full archive of posts on the raw foods trial.]

Breakfast: 8:30am
3 cups of fresh pineapple and 1/2 an avocado, plus a couple of handfuls of sprouted wheatberries

Post Race Lunch: 1:30pm
Two apples, then a salad with some walnuts

Snack 4:30pm
Pineapple, about 2 cups' worth

Dinner 6:30pm
A big salad and a big plate of veggies with a small amount of plain tahini dressing.
All that remains between me and the end of my raw foods trial are these two huge plates of veggies:

Concluding Notes/Thoughts on the Day:
1) There are few things more discouraging than looking forward to eating an avocado that's been on your counter for three days, ripening until it's just perfect, and then cutting it open and discovering that it's mostly brown on the inside. Devastating.

2) No headache and no weird metallic taste in my mouth this morning. I feel totally fine. Which is a relief, because at noon today I'm supposed to run a 10k (6.2 mile) road race.

3) That's right: Today's 10k race was a final exam of sorts for my raw trial. Unless this week of raw food has completely sapped all my strength, I should finish in about 52-53 minutes (or a per mile pace of about 8:30). I'll be very curious to see what my endurance and energy level will be.

4) I felt great at the beginning of the race, but things went quickly downhill at about the four mile mark. I started to feel heavy and slow, and my body temperature went haywire. Despite the fact that it was a beautiful, warm autumn day, I started experiencing chills during the run. Normally, the only time I get chills during a hard workout is when I'm about to get heatstroke on a brutally hot day. Are there any raw athletes reading this series who have had an experience like this?

5) However, the race ended with an even bigger surprise: I finished in 51:56 (8:22 pace), a respectable time for an average runner like me, and a shockingly good time given how awful I felt midway through the race. It just goes to show that sometimes you really need some objectively measurable data to see how your body performs under certain conditions--you can't just go by feel. It turned out that in spite of (or perhaps because of) a week of 100% raw foods, I was able to push my body quite a bit harder than I thought.

6) My first restaurant meal: After the race, a group of us went out for lunch. And no, we didn't go to a raw restaurant--from what I'm told, there isn't a raw restaurant in the entire state of New Jersey (hmmm... business idea?). While we were waiting to sit down, my brain went wild imagining how I'd annoy the absolute crap out of everyone around me while I monopolized the waitress and systematically worked through the menu (is this salad raw? Is the dressing raw? Can you make this entree raw? No? What about this entree? That one? I'm on a raw diet--I can't eat anything cooked! Is this pasteurized? Is that pasteurized? Are you sure that's raw?, etc.). I figured it wouldn't be long until everyone within a ten foot radius was laughing and pointing at me.

Fortunately, nobody laughed or pointed. Heck, nobody even rolled their eyes, at least that I saw. There was only one thing on the menu that I could even order: it was a goat cheese salad that I ordered without the goat cheese and without the dressing. Basically what came was an $8.95 plate of lettuce with some apple slivers and a few stray walnuts. The entire experience was much easier than I made it out to be.

That's it for my seven day raw foods trial! Tomorrow, I'll run one more post: Day 8, The Day After Raw, where I gorge myself on alcohol and dark chocolate (just kidding.... sort of). Let me also say how grateful I am for all of the increased attention and interest from readers during the past week--your thoughts, ideas and comments helped me immensely, and I hope you all learned a few things while following along.

Finally, in a few more days I'll share my conclusions from the entire trial. This week of raw foods gave me a lot to think about on a whole host of food issues, including how to deal with food cravings, how I might adjust my diet after this experience, how my body changed after just one week of going raw, and how grateful I am for regular old everyday food. I can't wait to share these thoughts with you. Stay tuned!

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Katie said...

Congrats on your 10k! I can imagine you are looking forward to tomorrow. Look forward to reading about your "gorge" LOL!

Kris said...

Dan, are you allowed to make dips (like guacamole) and salsas on a raw diet?

Way to go, man. Your chocolate and wine binge will be well-deserved.

Daniel said...

Katie, thanks for the kind words and the positive vibes!

Hey Kris: Yes, you certainly are. Fresh (not pasteurized) guacamole or salsa would be totally allowed, although most raw foodists would leave out salt or any spices like hot pepper (those are seen as "excitotoxins" and thus should be avoided).

I'd have to say, a 100% raw diet would be pretty easy to maintain if it meant eating guacamole every day!


Priscilla said...

Dan, as far as blenders go, Blendtec blenders are smaller and more compact than the Vitamix ones. They are also super powerful. I have two friends who both returned their newly purchased Vitamix when they saw demos for the Blendtec. Perhaps you'd like them, too (still pricey, though).

Priscilla said...

Oh, and congrats on the trial and 10K!

Diane said...

Leaving out salt? For real? That's a horrible idea. Our bodies actually need it. And if you are cooking (or not cooking) all unprocessed whole foods - such as I do 99% of the time - you don't get much sodium in your diet. It makes things taste good - and unless you have a blood pressure problem or something of that sort it is nothing to be afraid of.

And don't get me started on leaving out spices. I have about 10 kinds of chiles in my pantry, not to mention all the Indian and Thai spices. Black pepper and turmeric - just to name a few - are revered in ayurveda as being healing herbs.

I don't get the idea that in order to be a raw foodist one has to give up salt and spices. It makes little sense to me.

Diane said...

Oh, hey - rant aside - congrats on the 10K!

Daniel said...

Priscilla, thanks for the kind words and also for the blender rec. I'll have to check them out.

Diane, thanks for your thoughts. I hear you, but I'm just the messenger here--the logic behind avoiding salt and spices is this: if you wouldn't eat a bowl of it straight, then you shouldn't use it on your food. I made a choice to follow this logic and go "strict raw" for this one week trial just to see what it was like, but that doesn't mean you can't adapt the diet to your choosing. Finally, thanks for the good vibes on my 10k!


farmkat said...

I've enjoyed reading your posts over the last week. Although I wouldn't want to go completely raw or vegetarian for that matter, I do see the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables in their created state.

What would you say was your favorite wheat berry smoothie? I'd like to try something for breakfasts.

Daniel said...

Hi farmkat, thanks for your comment. By far the best smoothie I had was my Day 5 lunchtime smoothie: 2 apples, 1 cup raspberries, 4 heaping Tblsp wheatberries, 3-4 ounces water, combined in blender. Yield: about 2.5 cups or enough to fill a 20 ounce glass.

It was absolutely delicious, had no added sugar or sweeteners (the raspberries and apples added plenty of sweetness), and it looked beautiful--a stunning pink/red color. It would be perfect for breakfast. Enjoy!


Charmian @ Christie's Corner said...

Congratulations on completing this diet and the run -- without losing your sense of humour. I'm in awe.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this whole experiment. I am curious to know if you feel this diet is sustainable as a lifestyle or think it would be too restrictive. I'm not sure I could go through a Canadian winter without hot, cooked food.

Janet C. said...

Dan: Please don't take this as a criticism, although it probably sounds that way...but you seem to have somewhat confused "cooking" with "heat" I consider cooking to be the putting together of food ingredients in a way that makes a tasty food item. And Kris thought of what I was trying to say: why not things like quacamole? It is a raw food, and delicious...and certainly a good alternative to all those smoothies or plain avocados...and don't we need some salt? Even spices can be good for you...

I have heard of raw foodists making forms of bread by combining grains, pounding them flat, and leaving them to dry...I suspect you could do this and make something you could scoop up the quacamole with...or at least, you could change the salad items to avoid boredom...

I guess I'm in the "spices are good for you" camp...

Oh, and isn't organic honey raw? And what about unpasteurized milk? Or did you want to also go vegan....

I've enjoyed reading your raw food adventures, really..I just wouldn't want to repeat them :-) But more power to you and especially for doing so well in the race!

Daniel said...

Charmian: Thanks so much for the kind words! Last night my wife Laura told me that raw food made me funnier. I never imagined that would be a side benefit. It's been a great experience.

And I believe there is a way to add a significant amount of raw food to your diet and get most of the benefits. I'll have my conclusions up in a few days.

Janet: Thanks for your comment. And agreed, I'm eating mostly simple veggies and basic smoothies this week. If I were to do this diet for a longer period, I would need to step up the creativity and try some of the raw crackers, nut milks, dried/dessicated fruits, desserts, etc., that many raw foodists include in their diets.

I think I mentioned this before, but my first exposure to raw cuisine was at a restaurant in Vegas called the Go Raw Cafe, and it was amazing what they did with totally uncooked foods.

And yes, unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized honey--even sushi and steak tartare!--are all technically "raw," you just won't find too many raw foodists who eat these foods. Generally, raw foodists are vegan and they prefer to avoid excitotoxins, thus they avoid added salt, spices, milk and meat. From what I've seen from quite a bit of reading, concentrated sweeteners like honey are a gray area. Most people cringe when they hear this and conclude that they could never embrace this diet, but that's missing the point. The point is that exitotoxins change the basic nature and taste of food and they are one of the primary reasons why many people eat more food than they need.

Again, I'm just describing the diet here, not trying to persuade anybody to follow it. You can add more raw foods to your diet under any terms and conditions you like. I just made a choice to keep things simple and strict for the purposes of my one week trial.


Susan said...

I stumbled upon this blog from Cheap, Healthy, Good. Dan, Laura is right - you are very funny on this diet - I laughed out loud so many times my husband wanted to know what I was reading. I would never dream of a totally raw diet, but I incorporate the principles in my daily eating: mostly unprocessed foods, little added sugar and salt (though I use herbs and other spices generously - who doesn't love thyme on veggies??) We eat lots of salad, but I change it up all the time, adding seeds, nuts, fruits, and of course all kinds of veggies. I only choose dressings that are low in added sugar and no weird chemicals that I can't pronounce (and absolutley no corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils in ANY of my food). We are not vegetarian, but grains and vegetables are the star of our meals and meat is the flavoring (not the centerpiece). So I totally agree with you that one can adapt this diet to their choosing. I really enjoyed your experiment - thanks for doing it and for sharing. And congrats on your race! I am also running faster since I have started eating this way.

Daniel said...

Susan, thanks so much for the kind words! It was a privilege to do this trial and the experience really drove home a lot of the points you mention: More raw food is better than less, and less processed food is better than more. And there's no need to pursue things to the absolute, nor is is necessary to assume that there's only a choice between the absolute and nothing else. Glad you enjoyed reading.