I definitely had a plan going into this Raw Vegan Challenge! Initially, I planned on doing the challenge for 21 days. But I changed my mind & decided I will eat raw longer. Not sure for how long but at least 30 days!
How I got started…
The last week of March 2017, (1) I drank green smoothies each morning for breakfast. I started (2) watching The Raw Boy’s YouTube channel & Kate Flower’s YouTube channel to get inspired. I also made a (3) list of raw meals I wanted to try. Finally, I started (4) re-reading Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution and wrote down the recipes I wanted to try (she has quite a few in all of her books).
On Saturday, April 1, 2017 I weighed myself and realized I had maintained my weight from January 2017 so that was, at least, good. [I gained 15 pounds from my initial weight loss. See previous post, BEFORE the Raw Vegan Challenge (Weight Struggles) for details & pictures]. Initially, I thought going completely vegan for 1 week would help me transition to a raw diet easier. After 3 days, of vegan meals, I went raw on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. It was easier than I thought but still VERY challenging (if that makes sense!).
I Cleaned out my refrigerator
I gave away anything that was going to expire soon, froze what I could and made room in my refrigerator. Next, I went to the Produce Store for fruits & veggies. My last stop was Whole Foods Market. At Whole Foods Market I purchased:
- Raw protein powder
- Bulk raw nuts/seeds
- Coconut aminos
- Nutritional yeast
- Raw Coconut Nectar
- Coconut milk
What I Eliminated:
- Processed Foods
- Grains: Rice, quinoa, pasta, Oats, etc.
- Vegan Meats (I was already meatless)
- ALL Dairy
- Sugar (expect fruit)
What I eat:
- Raw Veggies
- Raw/dehydrated/Frozen Fruit
- Raw & Pasteurized Nuts
- Raw Seeds
- Himalayan Pink Salt, Spices, Stevia
- Fresh Herbs
- Raw Protein Powder
- Coconut Aminos/Tamari (not raw)
- Organic Coconut Milk (not raw- for coffee see details below)
This is NOT 80/10/10 or Raw ‘Till 4 or any other raw diet that might be out there. In fact, I didn’t know about Raw ‘Till 4 until I started eating Raw (on April 4, 2017). I only heard about 8/10/10 but I don’t read into any diets so I don’t know the details.
Instead, I followed Kimberly’s philosophy (Kimberly Snyder Beauty Detox Solution) closely when I did this. Kim’s philosophy is, basically, eating light to heavy throughout the day, eliminating dairy (limiting feta and goat cheese, at first), eliminating gluten and proper food pairing.
- 1 liter of water as soon as I wake up
- Make & drink Green Smoothie
- Snack (fruit, usually)
- 1 liter of water (throughout the A.M.)
- 1-2 liters of water (throughout the P.M.)
- Work out*
- Protein shake
- Protein Bites/Snack
*I work out 2 to 5 days a week, depends on if I go to yoga (which is on the weekends in the A.M.)
NOTE: Days I work out, I usually have a protein shake right after. If it’s a late workout, I have a protein shake for breakfast (click here for a protein shake recipe).
How much water do I drink now?
On average, 2 to 4 Liters of water throughout the day! It’s really not much if you have the right water bottle & begin your day with water FIRST. You’d be surprised to discover how thirsty you are in the morning. For some reason, I found myself thirsty, or just craving fresh water in general .
Why I still drink COFFEE…
I grew up drinking coffee. My grandmother would add lots of milk, some sugar & a bit of coffee (Cafe con leche) to have with her. It’s a Puerto Rican thing (I’m sure some other cultures can relate). With my grandmother, I usually had coffee at breakfast or in the afternoon with crackers or cookies. I got addicted to coffee in college. When I started working in the real world, after college in 2010, the habit did not die. In June 2013, I reduced my coffee in-take. However in January 2015 I was back up to 4 to 6 cups per day! I’d use organic dairy creamer & coconut sugar in my coffee.
How I weened off caffeine… Starting on Monday, March 27, 2017, I started adding coconut milk & still used coconut sugar in my coffee. I also made sure to reduce 3 to 4 cups a day. On April 4, 2017, I started adding coconut milk & powdered stevia to my coffee and drank only 2 cups per day! As of Monday, April 17, 2017 I am down to 1 cup of coffee a day! Yes, I measure it!
My Withdrawal Symptoms… Reducing my coffee intake made me realize I had an addiction. My main symptoms included headaches, Sleepiness, Fatigue and (at times) Lack of Concentration. These symptoms occurred each time I reduce my intake (March 27, 2017, April 4, 2017 and April 1, 2017).
How I dealt with my Withdrawal Symptoms… There were some days that my headaches were really bad and I almost gave in. Almost. There was some tossing and turning at night. I helped relieve my headache by drinking tea in the afternoon and/or before bed. I also placed an ice pack on my forehead for relief.
Benefits I’ve noticed with Less caffeine… I’ve always had insomnia. I actually sleep much better at night because I drink less coffee. I wake up less throughout the night. Also, because I have Water first thing in the morning, and then a smoothie, I don’t need coffee until noon or later. I have so much energy in the morning. I did not think it was possible without coffee. This will be a PERMANENT change!
Will I ever quit coffee? I’m not sure if I will stop drinking coffee all together. Coffee is nostalgic to me. However, I do not want my body to depend on the caffeine. That’s my goal.
Hopefully this is a good enough guide to help you understand where I am coming on my journey. Again see the previous post, BEFORE the Raw Vegan Challenge (Weight Struggles) for details & pictures.
Click here to see a Week 1 Meal breakdown&experience!