Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Raw for 30 Days

I have decided to go raw for 30 days.

I realize this may come as a shock to many. Some of you may even feel betrayed. "Mandy! You cook so well! Why on earth would you ever stop cooking your food?"

You know, it's funny how much people seem to give a crap about what other people eat. But when I talk to people about raw food, they get as heated as when I talk about politics. I feel the same way about both... I think it's a line from a Ben Harper song, "If you're not hurting no one, then you're alright with me..." I don't really care very much about what people wear, who they marry or what kind of music they listen to either.

For those of you who have no idea how a raw food diet would even work, I'll quickly break it down: you eat vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and you don't heat them above 118 degrees F. This preserving the living enzymes in the food, leaving the enzymes in your body that would normally break down your food to do other nice healing stuff for the body. Cooking also frequently cuts down the nutrients in the food. Some nutrients may be increased by cooking, but mostly, they die. Oils, in particular, are altered in cooking and become much more difficult to digest. Most foods are cooked with oil. For this experiment, I have not decided whether I will allow any raw fish or dairy. I expect mostly not, although I definitely see a place for those things in my life long term.

I've been considering this lifestyle for about two years now, as my constant fascination with health and health food has evolved, but I've always felt a little overwhelmed by it. But I am also amazed by all the before and afters of people who were once fat, pimply and dull looking who now appear so fit, sparkling and vibrant.

So, here comes the DBA section (you may have heard of an FAQ, but this one steps it up to Don't Bother Asking, because you haven't asked yet, but I know you will...)

Remember when you were going to write a book in 30 days? How did that turn out?

OK, not so great. But trust me, that was way harder than this. Trust me, I am obsessed with health and food matters. I went on a very restrictive diet once before and stayed on it for two months... maybe even three. I can totally stick to a diet for 30 days. Plus, once the raw food makes my thinking clearer, as its advocates claim, I may just write a book in March.

But how will you get protein?

From nuts, seeds, vegetables, spirulina and bee pollen. These proteins are much easier to digest and assimilate than animal based proteins. Also, people forget that the building blocks of muscle are amino acids, not protein. These foods are all packed with amino acids. I was vegetarian for 13 years, never died. I think I'll manage.

So, how strict is this thing going to be?

Great question! The plan is 100% raw, with a few "questionable" ingredients. Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce) and or Bragg's Amino acids, maple syrup, honey, bee pollen, dried spices, dried fruits and vegetables, wine (a little wine!) dehydrated items that don't get above 113 degrees, sun dried olives... there's probably a few other things that some may not believe to be truly "raw" that I will be eating. Part of the idea is for a significant portion of calories to come from green vegetables, which is difficult, even if you eat two salads a day (most of those calories are coming from add-ins and dressing, not lettuce.) Juicing green vegetables helps with this, and I plan to do it often.

But what about brunch! Happy hour! WHAT ABOUT YOUR BIRTHDAY!

Whoa, settle down. I'm still the same human, just eating slightly different foods. We can still be friends! This doesn't change the way I feel about you! I think I should still be just fine in restaurants. And I can still drink wine. I'm not sure how much I'll want to, but I can. It will be ok, I promise.

Hey, I don't see my question here!

Please, go ahead and ask me questions I'll answer them in the blog, or in email, unless I start to get waaaay too many questions.

This blog will be to document the next 30 days. Although I've been 100% raw today, we're going to start on February 1st, and end March 1st. That means if I still want a steak, I'll have it March 2nd. This blog will include daily food logs, photos, musings, recipies, notes on how I feel, smell and think. There may be TMI moments. I'll try to warn you in advance.

It should be fun. Like Supersize me, only in reverse.


Ama said...

Believe it or not I read the whole thing. And I applaud you. I do not believe you are mad. In fact, I think you are rad, and I look forward to reading your novel at the end of March.
And I pledge to read subsequent postings. It is a pleasure to encounter such an elegant, minimalist style.

ariane said...

yay! bring me food at work! bring me food at home! uncook tasty meals and drinks for the both of us!