Nothing processed, nothing cooked. Fruit, nuts, vegetables and legumes, whatever the hell they are. That means no beer. This is not going to end well.
We were inspired by my old schoolmate and professional freerunner Tim Shieff, his YouTube channel is pretty interesting and can be found here. He is a vegan and promotes raw veganism as he claims it gives you more energy and is extremely healthy. Of course this is provided that you get a balanced diet.
Gemma and I already refrain from eating land meat or dairy. We watched one too many animal cruelty documentaries. Gemma eats fish on the rare occasion and I still consume fish regularly. We try to ensure they are wild caught, which may not seem like much of an attempt but this whole diet change has been gradual. We don’t eat things like prawns at all, because they have their eyes ripped out while they are still alive to ensure that they reproduce more. We know deep down that we need to be fully vegan, but it’s tough.
Anyway, back to the raw diet. We did our research to ensure we would be getting all of the correct vitamins, the only one that we may not have much of is B12, and we couldn’t find any replacement for that aside from vitamin pills, which we’re not keen on. We stocked up on fresh fruit, nuts and copious vegetables. Our weekly shop nearly doubled in cost, but if you usually eat meat you shouldn’t notice too much of a difference. Pistachio nuts in New Zealand seem to be more expensive than gold. Our regime was to be mixed fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch and salad for dinner.
During the first two days we were hit with hunger pangs, and so we filled up on nuts between meals. We both really enjoyed the tastes of our new foods, and we were going to the toilet more regularly, shall we say. “Nothing processed” includes drinks, and Gemma has a penchant for Diet Coke, which was replaced with lion’s wine (water). I am fond of a beer, and after day 5 we both agreed this was the toughest part. Just as when I had first quit land meat, the food part was easier than I expected, and I didn’t miss anything. We were pretty chuffed with ourselves. It was around the 1 week mark that we began to notice the increased energy levels and alertness. I was still playing football 4 or 5 times a week and my body was repairing itself very quickly and enabling me to perform much better. Gemma was less drowsy in the mornings and neither of us struggled with the “5 more minutes” syndrome when the alarm rang out.
I had, however, noticed that my heart was beating even faster than normal and we went to get my blood pressure checked. It turned out I had mild hypertension. We went home and scrutinized what we were doing, and I found that most of the nuts we had been eating were salted, not raw. I had been eating a lot of nuts. Probably 500 grams per day. So we cut down the nuts, and replaced it with more fruit. Gemma had begun to get very bored of the same tastes everyday, and she decided to buy salad cream (dairy and not raw!) to give more flavour to meals. I made a raw potato salad for us using this and it was a really nice change.
The plan had been to last at least a month, and we had managed just over a week. We persevered and aside from the odd bit of salad cream and me sneaking some sushi here and there we made it through the month. Also, we tried raw rice pudding, and it nearly made me puke. More experimenting necessary. We had both lost a little weight (not noticeable) and agreed that overall we felt much better after the diet. We agreed to continue eating raw for breakfast and lunch, but have a cooked meal in the evenings to appease our taste buds. I also drink beer again, but less regularly.
Our recommendation for those wanting to get healthy/save the planet/stop torturing animals is to do it gradually. Try not eating red meat for a while and see if you miss it. I loved nothing more than a blue steak in 2013, but by planning ahead (I’m going to eat XXX instead) I have never missed it. I won’t lie, the taste is irreplaceable. Tofu isn’t great. However, I learned to like other tastes, and I would never go back now because you only know how heavily a steak weighs you down, once you have been free of it.
It is very convenient to ignore animal cruelty too, and I did it for a long time. In a way I am still doing it with certain fish. If you have the time, watch the film ‘Cowspiracy’. It basically proves the point that the meat industry produces more harmful CO2 than any other industry, and nobody dares talk about it (not even Greenpeace) because we all love meat so much and they still want you to donate.
Overall we failed in a our month long quest to be raw vegans, but it did open our eyes to the benefits. We eat healthier now and both consume more water.
What are your thoughts on veganism? Leave a comment…