It’s been a year and half now since I’ve been diagnosed with hiv. At the time I thought it would be the end of me. “Shit I’m going to die” was one of the first things that ran through my mind. I wasn’t educated, although this was my biggest fear, I never thought I’d ever contract the virus. The second thing that haunted me was realising the social implications this disease would bring.…
I can’t believe the raw vegan challenge has come to an end! The past four weeks have been a real journey for me and I can’t wait to share my final post on this raw food challenge. If you haven’t read my previous entries yet you can find them by clicking these links: week 1, week 2 and week 3.
There is one thing that I am sure of, this was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made! This sounds really dramatic, but going raw for a month has really changed my life and I feel like it has been the beginning of a new chapter for me. Actually this challenge might have come to an end but its actually just the beginning.
Let’s get personal
The reason that this change of diet has had such a big impact on me is mainly due to my not so healthy relationship with food, which has been an ongoing struggle for the past 15 years. I’d either not eat at all, binge and purge or simply go on emotional binges. Obviously I wasn’t happy with my appearance, which was one of the main reasons I developt my unhealthy eating habits. This has caused me to yoyo and never really have a steady weight, I’d either be underweight or a little chubby.
I really had to learn how to love my body and learn to accept it, and since going vegan most of those issues were dealt with, the only thing I was still having a hard time with, food related, was emotional binging. I no longer restricted my food or purged, but the moment I was dealing with some stress the first thing I would reach for was food (or alcohol but thats a whole other story!), and not the healthy kind, no I’m talking about bags of chips and deep fried vegan junk. Although this was a struggle it wasn’t very extreme and I did feel like I had some grip on the matter, but there still was room for improvement! Maybe one day I’ll make a more detailed post on this but for now I’d like to keep it short.
Going raw really made me face some of my food related demons, of course I could go and binge on raw foods but thats just not as appealing as a warm slice of vegan pizza and a bag of chips. I just don’t see how binging on some fruits is a bad thing, since most raw food is less calorie dense as cooked foods. So whenever I did feel overwhelmed by emotions I took the change and looked for another way to deal with them. This is where yoga came in, yoga really helps with getting in touch with the body and emotions I took this practice with me throughout the day and together with being raw for a month it has really been a huge help and push in a good direction. A new chapter has started where I’ll keep working on being mindful and aware without trying to banish any little or huge emotion with food and or alcohol.
Will I stay raw?
Although I’m a big lover of cooked foods, I wont be going back to the way I used to eat, and no my future is not as a raw vegan. I’m going high raw! I’ll still be making lots of delicious cooked recipes and of course eat them, but I am going to incorporate more raw foods into my lifestyle. I’d also like to add that this will change depending on the season and weather, like now that the weather will be getting warmer it makes a lot of sense for me to eat a lot of raw foods, but during winter and fall, my main focus will be warming foods. My message here is to listen to your bodies, its your greatest teacher.
This brings me to my first experience with cooking foods! The very first thing I decided to make was a calzone, because why not!? And I really wanted to work on one so I could share the recipe here on my blog. The first thing that I noticed is that after eating the pizza I felt extremely lazy, where raw foods would give me a nice energy boost, this calzone made want to do a little nap. But everything has its ups and downs, because my body did feel nice and warm and I didn’t have to eat as much to feel full. Having this experience did make me realise that eating a high raw diet seems like a great plan at the moment, but I won’t be giving up my rice and spicy cooked foods!
- The biggest plus for me has been the fast that this challenge has opened a whole new chapter for me. Not has it given me a new understanding when it comes to emotional binges, it also opened doors to other types of recipes and I found a whole new appreciation for food.
- My skin has started to clear up, this is also due to the fact that I almost didn’t drink any alcohol. My eczema stopped breaking, but I did notice that while trying my new cooked recipe and using a lot of water to wash my hands my skin started to get a bit more dry and irritated. So I guess that sadly, no, my eczema hasn’t disappeared, but I’m open to trying new methods, so feel free to leave me any tips, I would really appreciate that!
- Eating a variety of raw foods made me feel very light and energised, my belly never really got bloated and after eating a big meal I didn’t feel like taking a nap.
- It saved me a lot of time prepping meals. Smoothies only take a minute and salad not more then 10. This really saved me a lot of time throughout the day!
- I never experienced bad morning breath!
- I got new inspiration for recipes that I’ll be sharing here on the blog as soon as they are done. Can’t wait to share all the yummy recipes I’ve got planned!
- One thing I found very difficult was that it was very difficult for me to find proper meals when I wasn’t home and wanted to eat out with friends. This always made me resort to having to go to the supermarket so I could get some fruits or I’d eat a million date bars and raw chocolates.
- If I’d chosen to do this challenge during the summer season it would have been a lot more easier, in the summer there is so much more delicious fruit available in the Netherlands. I really missed watermelon everyone!
- When I would choose to indulge myself with some raw vegan gourmet foods, I’d end up spending a lot of money, I found them a bit over prized! And making them myself wasn’t really a option because I don’t own a dehydrator at this moment.
- The variety of dishes was a bit boring. For dinner I always had salad, which I got used to at a certain point, but a little more variety would have been awesome!
I’m very happy that I decided to go raw for a month! It has been an awesome experience that came with its ups and downs, but thats live and I wouldn’t take it any other way. This experience has given me a whole new appreciation for food and given me more inside into my emotional binges. Apart from that it has motivated me to become more fit and healthy and inspired me to make more raw food recipes and work on some fabulous cooked recipes, so stay tuned for that. Will I ever do this again? Well I won’t say never, but for now incorporating more raw foods into my lifestyle feels like the right thing to do! And if I would ever do this again, I’d definitely plan it during the summer or spring.
I’d also like to add that I’m inspired on sharing more lifestyle posts, like how I quit smoking, what I eat in a day and way way more. I’m really excited to see where this new chapter will lead, and I’d love to share my journey with all of you! Feel free to let me know what you think about that.
Stay awesome and kind!