Raw food diet: the reality

For my Weekly Challenge #14 I embarked upon a week of eating nothing but raw food. This challenge was a simple but great way to step outside the comfort zone, and as usual, the reality was far removed from any deep seated fears of the unknown, which in this case revolved around hunger and mood. I posted a separate piece about how complicated my relationship is with food, but suffice to say that the prospect of a raw food diet, even for a week, filled me with dread. In reality, I spent the week filling my body with yummy goodness, purging nasty toxins and feeling pretty full of energy and good vibes. Here’s how I managed a raw week:

More delicious raw food from my raw food diet

Breakfast: fresh fruit

This is rather a marginal recommendation, but it really pays to be living in a hot country if you’re eating raw. My current home of Costa Rica has cheap, delicious tropical fruit readily available, so each breakfast was made up of a dinner plate consisting of a few slices of pineapple, banana, papaya and mango.

There wasn’t much in the way of storable energy in this breakfast, but all the natural sugar had me swinging from the rooftops and I definitely felt full enough.

I also confess to having a cup of (delicious Costa Rican) unsweetened black coffee every morning, which is anything but raw. This was my luxury, and by allowing it I felt a little bit naughty every morning. Sure, I could have gone without, but I was already stripping my body of so many of it’s usual stimulants, and I’d read a fair bit that with any extreme diet it isn’t a good idea to go completely cold turkey.

Lunch: baby food and crunchy vegetables

Each lunchtime consisted of a delicious cold fruit smoothie (essential in the Costa Rican midday heat), sometimes with some raisins, dried coconut or coconut milk thrown in to beef it up a bit, along with guacamole or hummus and crunchy vegetables to dip. Delicious!

Inspired by a delicious raw soup we’d had in a vegan cafĂ© in Costa Rica we tried our hand at concocting a raw tomato soup recipe on a couple of days, which made a nice change from the smoothies and was simply a matter of blitzing finely chopped tomato, basil, garlic, water, lime, avocado and seasoning. The resulting soup was a zingy, tasty gazpacho. It’s amazing how eating raw really brings your palate back into play, without all those carbony burnt flavours or processed additives you really can taste a lot more, a lot better.

Snacks

Even in Raw Food Week I needed the occasional snack, especially before/after the surfing challenge I was undertaking, so to the rescue came more fruit (usually bananas for a quick hit) and quite a large amount of unshelled, unsalted peanuts (we call them monkey nuts in the UK but the Americans we met hooted when I used that name so it can’t be the same anywhere else I’m the world!), which I sat shelling and eating when I needed something satisfying and a bit naughty.

Dinner: make an effort, make it delicious

We really went all out for dinner, because it’s important to have something to look forward to, and great to experiment as well. As well as doing EVERYTHING with chickpeas and trying local delicacies like heart-of-palm, I read through quite a few raw food blogs, and found the most inspiration from http://www.choosingraw.com, where we pilfered brilliant recipes such as this amazing Curried Cauliflower recipe, and this brilliant sweet take on guacamole, chocomole.

If you don’t make the chocomole you’re missing out…it is ridiculously good!

Hunger? Dark moods? Luck of energy? I needn’t have worried, our bodies can adapt to change as long as they’re still being nourished, and yours will definitely thank you for the occasional plate of yummy, crunchy, mushy, raw food.

This was a Weekly Challenge. I’m undertaking one Weekly Challenges every week for an entire year. To see other challenges like this or what I’m up to this week click here, or to suggest another Weekly Challenge for me, drop me a comment below.