My last post concerning low-fat raw veganism was rather long-winded, so I split it up into two sections.
Part I highlighted what 80/10/10 means, but now I would like to dive into what I got out of trying the diet.
My daily consumption looked something like this:
(Pre-workout): Hot tea with stevia(Post-workout) Breakfast: Raw "Shamrock Shake"
Lunch: Lots of whole fruits (ex. 4 apples, 6 clementines, 1 mango)
*Although I call this lunch, I didn't eat it all at once. I pretty much snacked all day between breakfast and dinner, otherwise I got way too full
Dinner: Small bowl of melon,
Large salad with homemade dressing (2 tbs. avocado + 2 tbs. nutritional yeast + lemon juice)
Snacks: Dates/dried figs, berries, raw dark chocolate
As you can see, the only fat I was getting was from the avocado (plus a little bit from the chocolate).
No grains, no legumes, no oils for me. Anything that I couldn't eat straight from the ground (or tree or bush) was off-limits. The one exception that I made was the chocolate, because everyone knows a daily dose is a much-needed part of a healthy diet! Besides it was still raw...
I ate this way for 4 days at first. My cravings by the end of the "detox" were pretty strong. I longed for peanut butter, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and other healthy foods that Dr.Doug deems off-limits.
I started to eat them again on day 5, which was somewhat of a shock to my system. I realized how light and energetic I had felt when eating strictly fruits and veggies.
This was how I convinced myself to transition back to low-fat raw... For good. I knew that, given my history, this would scare my parents. Anything to further restrict my diet would not appear as a good thing.
I tried to get my parents into my boat by preaching the benefits of raw foods to them.
I asked for their support and worked with them to ensure we had enough fruit in the house for me to get sufficient calories.
At first things were fine and dandy. I felt good.
But fast-forward to a few weeks down the road and it was a different story.
My knuckles were rough to the touch and the rest of my skin wasn't much smoother. My hair was significantly thinner. It had lost it's shine, settling for a dry and brittle visage. Most terrifying of all, my weight began to dip. I was losing my muscle tone and posing a serious threat to my body.
I saw these signs, but I was in denial. I was convinced that these mal-effects were just "detox symptoms". Or that I was doing something wrong- not that the diet wasn't working for me.
Maybe I was doing something wrong. Maybe I needed more calories, or more greens. But I know my body well enough to know that this wasn't the only reason my health was deteriorating. I couldn't thrive on carbs alone.
I finally came to terms with my poor health when my parents approached me with worry. I chose to see what they saw, not what I wanted to to see. I have put my body through enough in the past. The last thing I needed was to fully embrace an extreme diet that put my personal health at risk.
I do not think that the idea of low-fat raw veganism is bad. In fact, I have seen it work for a lot of people. However, it does not work for me. Everyone is different and therefore has different nutritional needs. Something that works for one person may not work for another.
Here is what I have now realized since my "experiment":
1. I benefit from eating high amounts of raw, plant-based foods (and you can too!)
I have much more energy when I eat more carbs- especially simple, unrefined carbs from fresh produce.
The fiber that these foods contain make me feel my best. They are almost fully void of any cholesterol and saturated fat. And of course plants have plenty of vitamins and minerals- good for the skin, brain, heart, and more.
2. Humans need fat in our diets, although the amount needed may vary from person to person.
Fat is necessary to cushion our organs. It insulates the body (especially important during the cold winter months). You need some fat to properly absorb the nutrients from all those fruits and vegetables.
Over half of our brains are composed of fat! So limiting fat intake can impair brain functioning.
It can also have serious hormonal effects. I haven't done much research on testosterone, but I know that insufficient fat intake can severely lower estrogen production.
A typical day of completely raw eating would leave me somewhere between 10 and 20 grams of fat- not nearly enough for my body to function properly. It has only been about 2 weeks since I introduced healthy fats back into my diet, but I already feel much better.
3. I enjoy certain cooked vegan foods- and I would rather allow myself to eat these when I feel like it rather than trying to achieve what I perceived to be "perfection" in my diet
I think that legumes and the occasional cooked grain is important for a well-rounded diet. Well, for my diet, that is. Once again, there is not one perfect diet for everybody.
Different strokes for different folks, folks.
I want to be able to eat out with friends and not have to worry about whether there will be a big salad on the menu, let alone if the dressing is raw.
I want to indulge in vegan baked goods every so often- not turn them down because they are cooked.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that my goal is to achieve balance.
I say that time and time again, yet orthorexia is quick to tell me otherwise.
What are your thoughts on these so-called "extreme" ways of eating? Are they all they're cracked up to be?
I want to know what ways of eating do (or don't) work for you all!