Tuesday, February 07, 2012
In January I challenged myself to 4 weeks of RAW & RUNNING. Yes, I did say raw (as in food)...and no, I'm not crazy...I just enjoy a good challenge and when I saw THIS book at the library I felt inspired to change my thinking about the food I put into my body. And while I was thinking about my body I might as well try my hand at something I typically despise...running.
Thus began my adventure into eating a ton of fruit, veg, and nuts and heading to the gym 5 days a week to increase my running strength and stamina. Honestly, both aspects of this challenge increased my strength and stamina; emotionally and physically. I have to say, this is probably the best I've felt in years. And boy did I feel disciplined. I definitely realized I work better when things are black and white...so I made a "rule" (and I failed on occasion) that I would eat all raw except for one splurge a week (we're talking El Gaucho splurges) and I started my running at 1 mile (yep, I want to achieve my goals) increasing it by a quarter mile each week. I'm happy to report that I'm up to 2 miles and though this may seem like small beans to a runner this is a HUGE deal for someone like me and I can't remember if I've ever been able to do this consistently in my life...yep, life.
The goal wasn't to lose weight, though if that happened I wouldn't mind terribly seeing how these last 5lbs of baby weight never really came off (Wes is 3). I simply wanted to feel healthier...and I did! At one point Jeff told me that I seemed more confident, more energetic...one morning as I whipped up a raw smoothie in my gym clothes he actually called me a "rockstar"- gee, that felt good!
I don't have a ton of tips if you are interested in this raw lifestyle...but I do think it's helpful to have the following kitchen tools: good blender, food processor, and a spiralizer (this thing changed my life...I didn't just have to have salads...it felt like I was eating pasta). I think it's helpful to have a friend or two that are interested in doing it with you. My best friend, Jane, took the challenge too and Alisha did her own thing which she recaps beautifully HERE. Thankfully raw is becoming more available...I mean fruit & veg have always been around but if you're going all raw then you'll probably want some snack food and you can find a ton of stuff readily available from Amazon. These are a few of my favorites (1) (2) (3). You don't have to feel deprived- I didn't!
Two of my quick favorites were a zucchini primavera...I spiralized the zucchini and served it topped with tomatoes, pinenuts, onions, basil, olive oil, and nutritional yeast (not technically raw but a really yummy cheese substitute and my new favorite popcorn topping)...this meal is delicious! The second thing I enjoyed was frozen banana ice cream...frozen bananas blended in a food processor until smooth (add a tiny bit of water if you're having trouble) topped with chocolate sauce (maple syrup mixed with coconut oil and raw cacao powder- addictive!) and crushed almonds, fresh strawberries...add things to your hearts content. The great thing about eating a raw meal is that you don't feel that heavy, tired, sometimes, bloated feeling after you eat...partially because the foods natural enzymes haven't been cooked out and it doesn't take as much effort for your body to digest the food. I could really go on and on, but if you're interested in hearing more about my experience just let me know...my brother-in-law will tell you this is all I talked about for a month!
So, here I am 1 full week off the raw diet and I have to admit...I miss it, I kind of feel yucky and I'm craving raw food...but I'm also feeling lazy and without the initial excitement and energy needed to really do the meal planning so that you're not stuck with carrots and apple slices...I'm trying to find my happy balance. I'm also continuing the running, though not as frequently I will definitely be going as often as possible and continue to creep up on the mileage. I'm kind of dreaming of doing a 5k this year, but I don't want to commit yet.
If you're interested in learning some basics and want to transition into eating more raw I would recommend THIS book. Good luck!
Thank you also for reading this post (if you made it to the end). This was such a huge part of the beginning of my year (hence the lack of posts) that I just really wanted to get it all out there!