Thursday, June 5, 2014

whole 30/ raw vegan eating

JP Hand Straight sample

Today marks the last and final day of my experience with clean eating for a month! You guys- so much  to say on this. So much that I actually felt the need to do a post after only a month shy of not blogging for a whole YEAR. This alone should indicate the epic nature of this post. haha. This month I did a Whole 30/ Lowfat raw vegan inspired diet, and LOVED IT.

First a short disclaimer: I have noticed that whenever I get into a food convo with people, 99 percent of the time at some point in the conversation they get defensive, or I can tell they feel defensive. I know this because for about 6 months I wanted to punch anyone who was doing the Paleo diet, in the face. WHY would anyone claim that eating whole grains, or beans wasn't healthy? It is helpful to mention that I also am a pescatarian, who doesn't actually even eat a whole lot of fish, so I was getting most of my protein from black beans, and eating lots of quinoa in my salads etc. Clearly I was getting defensive because I was feeling the pressures (from the mere MENTION) of changing some of the staple foods on my diet. And this my friends, is because food is SO EMOTIONAL. I would bet that 90 percent of the population (myself obviously included) has an emotional relationship with food. SO if for any reason you start to feel defensive while reading this post, just acknowledge the feeling, and continue on, because I'm pretty sure it's normal. Also, I want to acknowledge that everyone has different dietary needs, and I don't think there is one set perfect diet for everyone. Are we covered?

What is WHOLE 30?: Whole 30 is basically a meal plan based off of the Paleo diet, consisting of no grains (including legumes), dairy, or sugar. The difference between Whole 30 and Paleo is that Whole 30 is much more strict. you are not allowed to bake with any Paleo flours (ie: almond or coconut flour), or mimic any junk foods, even if the ingredients you are using are compliant.  You are also not allowed to have any sauce, or dressings with harmful preservatives, have any unhealthy oils, and they are pretty strict on your fruit intake as well. SO WHAT DO YOU EAT? Vegetables, Meat, and fruit. Yes, that is ALL. If you don't eat meat, they have a Vegetarian Whole 30 option, where you are allowed legumes and a completely natural yogurt for protein, and that's the just of it. 

What is the point behind WHOLE 30?: Whole 30 is basically a cleanse, or a re-start for your system. It's 30 days of eating completely whole, from completely whole foods. Once you have completed the whole 30 system, the hope is that you have gained a lot of good habits and set your system up to easily work your way into the Paleo lifestyle, or just a healthier lifestyle in general.

What is a LOWFAT RAW VEGAN?: Raw Vegans eat a diet of 80 percent fruit, 10 percent fat, and 10 percent protein, all from completely raw plant based foods. (This most likely sounds ludicrous to most people. It did to me when I first heard about it, but I follow 4 lowfat raw vegans on instagram, and slowly but surely over the last few months I have become completely inspired by the way the live and eat). Did I mention  I don't have a natural desire or liking of fruit in general, AT ALL?

What is the point behind LOWFAT RAW VEGANISM?: According to raw vegans you can get all of the nutrients you need to sustain a healthy life from eating completely raw plant based foods, if you eat enough of them. They also support animal rights, and believe that we as human beings were intended to eat things that don't need to be cooked, and that if you have to cook it, it most likely isn't going to be as optimal to your health and digestion.  You can pretty much find an answer to any raw vegan questions you might have HERE! It's one of the best sites I came across.

Why I wanted to change my diet in the first place: My intention was not to loose weight, it was to get healthy, and a month ago I would have actually considered myself a pretty healthy eater overall: Sprouted toast for breakfast or a fruit smoothie, Quinoa salad for lunch, maybe a vegetable stir fry for dinner with brown rice. I was also living by the idea that I could eat 2 whole sleeves of Oreo's on the weekends, or have a york peppermint patty and a red bull every other day during errands, and that because my other meals were fairly healthy, it would balance out and I would be healthy. False. The reality: WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY HAS TO COME OUT. and on the way out, all those foods I was eating, were making their mark, stressing out my digestive system, and leaving behind a bunch of toxins. And then there were the loads of preservatives I was eating without even realizing it, and all the "food-like" products I was consuming, that were not actually food.

So despite how TRENDY and annoying Whole 30 is right now, and how extreme raw vegans seem, I just had the overwhelming desire to try something different! It all actually all started the day I had a strong urge to consume a PLAIN banana for breakfast (and urge which I quickly pushed away, because who would ever eat a plain banana?), and then the urge kept coming- probably from all the raw vegan pictures massive amounts of fruit I was seeing on instagram, and then one day was it was like: that's it, we are DOING THIS.

You should know: That I am calling this diet Whole 30 "INSPIRED" for a few reasons. The first one is that I completely willingly admit, that I made a few treats that "mimicked" junk foods (even though the ingredients were compliant) aka: banana egg pancakes, and raw vegan carrot cupcakes for my mom on Mothers Day. And everybody knows that nothing makes a Whole 30 Nazi madder, than when you CLAIM to be a Whole 30-er, but you broke the SWYOP rules. Don't Do IT. The other reason, is because for the first two meals of the day I ate mostly raw, so a LOT of fruit, which Whole 30 does not approve of. (I happen to completely disagree with this). More on Raw Vegan stuff at the end of the post:


Here is actually the first week of my food journal:

Day 1: feeling excited...I know this feeling wont last. felt fine most of the day, however I ate a bunch of raw riced cauliflower at dinner- digestive system feels weird. decided to ditch veggie whole 30, and do the regular whole 30 but pescatarian style.

Day 2: Digestive still  feels weird...a little crampy. Dinner was good. didn't realize you weren't supposed to eat corn on whole 30...should have studied it more (used it in pico de-gaillo). can't decide what to do- ellen fisher uses raw corn in her dressings...and she is a raw vegan?  (and NO I am not doing an xtra day because of the corn).

Day 3: feeling bummed and empty-no energy. its the weekend...clearly I  plan a lot around food. also feeling frustrated with whole 30. it's super strict, which I get. But they won't let you "mimic" any foods that are considered junk foods, even if the ingredients are compliant. This annoys me. I didn't know I was signing up for food therapy.

Day 4: Better. My body still feels a little off, and my kitchen feels like a foreign place. Chris and I are "Mimicking" raw vegan carrot cupcakes for mothers day for my Mom. Chris thought the rule against mimicking was ludicrous. Whole 30 "inspired"?  Ask me tomorrow.

Day 5: Finally feeling more energy. I can actually walk through the grocery store without looking dazed and confused. Digestive system still not normal. not craving thats a good sign!

Day 6: energy!!! thumbs up. Sugar cravings pretty low. I don't feel as bummed out about this diet anymore. Although it IS hard, to figure out what to eat about 75 percent of the time. Ha. Digestive still weird- feeling bloated. No more medjool dates for me.

Day 7: HELLO PANTS. but seriously I look pregnant. So bloated. On a side note we have made some pretty amazing meals as of late. But really, WHY AM I SO BLOATED.

The reason:  You WILL feel bloated and tired on Whole 30 at some point: Whole foods have lots and lots of fiber in them that your body is not used to processing. Your body is working on learning to extract energy from whole foods instead of sugars, and the enzymes and millions of bacteria in your gut are adjusting to help you do this. aka: gas, bloating, and unpleasant-ness. What worried me more than all of these side effects was that fact that my body was literally unable to process whole foods!  Not to worry though, after about a week of this, you will start feeling better, and by better I mean amazing! Here is the amazingly accurate Whole 30 timeline! that I constantly referred to.

A lot of people asked me this month: Do you feel deprived? I actually feel like I have been been walking around in hazy, glutenous state of food ecstasy for the past month. After you figure out all over again how to make food (which takes about a week) you will most likely start to love life again. One person I followed on Instagram that made my life bearable because I loved EVERY one of her recipes is "paleopescatarian". Her website is HERE

Some of our favorite meals this month (My husband did this with me):

Smoked Trout Salad

Grilled Salmon and Veggies

Ants on a log (with Almond Butter)

Homemade Veggie Burgers

Shrimp and Veggie Skewers

Crab,  Sweet Potato Mash, Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Grilled Trout

Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Sweet Potato Quiche

Homemade Almond Milk Vanilla Chia Pudding

Completely Raw: Cauliflower Rice with Creamy Curry Veggies

Almond Crusted Trout with Artichoke Pesto Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, and Salad
Completely Raw: Creamy Veggie Lettuce Cups

Completely Raw: Mullberry Grawnola with Banana Milk

The Results: My Favorite Part! Yes, my husband Chris lost a noticeable amount of weight, and I think I lost a few lbs (I haven't weighed myself), and yes I have more energy, more stable moods, and don't crave sugar. But for me what far outweighed all of those results:

1) My appreciation for whole foods. A month ago, I was buying lots of produce....and constantly throwing out lots of produce, like it was NO BIG DEAL.  Because I have spent the whole month making food out of completely whole foods, not one scrap goes to waste! I have so much love and  appreciation for every little scrap...and so does our garden! Talk about compost benefits:)

2) I can make just about anything from a whole food. I know 5 different ways to make sweet potatoes, about 6 different dressings I can make out of purely fruits and veggies, about 3 different sauces, and 4 different ways to eat cauliflower rice. I know how to make my own almond milk, almond flour, and whole 30 approved granola. Surprisingly with limiting our menu this month, we have so many more options to eat because we were forced to get creative.

3) Heightened taste. Since I have stopped eating sugar, everything I eat is so much more enhanced and dynamic! I remember eating crab about 2 weeks ago, and we didn't have a butter or cocktail sauce to use so I just ate it plain and couldn't believe how amazing it was. And for those who know me well, I no longer desire to douse everything I eat in hot stomach lining is pretty pumped about that one.

4) Time. Yep, it takes a lot more time to prepare just about everything, but I grew to LOVE that. Chris and I have spent so many nights together this month, cooking, talking, eating outside in the beautiful weather, and even cleaning the dishes...I hardly miss eating out at all! I have loved how much closer our relationship has become from that added hour of preparing and cleaning. I also have more appreciation for myself. When you begin to take time to prepare a meal for yourself that is whole and nutritious, you start to realize how much you deserve that time and tender care you taking for your body. We are all WORTH taking an extra 30 minutes out of the day to give ourselves something wholesome.

A word on the RAW: I know I MUST be preaching to the choir here, but FRUIT you guys. IT IS SO AMAZING. How did I live so long without it?! This whole month I have been trying out eating raw vegan for the first 2 meals, and then doing a Whole 30 meal for dinner.

My Breakfast Almost Every Morning This Month
Somedays I do completely mono meals aka: one type of fruit only, and sometimes I mix 2 types. Mono meals have a lot of benefits- eating one type of fruit is super friendly to the digestive system, it is an instant energy booster, and contrary to what a lot of people think, I have yet to experience any kind of a sugar high. I have felt so amazing eating only fruit for breakfast that the thought of eating anything cooked kind of grosses me out- it's just such a clean, whole way to start off your day. a couple of things:
1) You may think you can only possibly eat 2 bananas before you explode, but the reality is, fruit is filled with so much water, that you have to teach your body to take in more, so you can stay full until lunch. I can now eat about for 4-5 bananas and 3-4 mangos with room to spare!
2) Fruit  (and raw foods in general) are filled with lots of fiber! Since I wasn't used to taking in so much whole food, on TOP of never eating EVER, I had a lot more digestion shifts than someone would just doing the regualr Whole 30. The idea is to slowly get your body accustomed to the fiber change. I eventually got a probiotic/enzyme that helped me SO much, and have been drinking a lot of Kombucha which has practically cured me.
3) Food combining is SO IMPORTANT. Because fruit goes through the body so fast, if you eat a protein or a fat first, which can take anywhere from 2-4 hours to digest, the fruit will just sit in your body and ferment because it can't get out. This will lead to a whole lot of bloating and gas. Fruit should be eaten alone, and can usually be mixed with any tender green, anything different and your asking for trouble...I learned this one the hard way. Look online for food combining charts. THIS is one that I really liked.
4) Sugar from fruit will make you fat. FALSE. This is such a huge lie our society has been taught to believe! With all the fruit I have eaten this month, I would be 10 lbs heavier if that is the case. Yes fruit is a sugar, but the way the body processes it is different. It goes straight through the body and is immediately used up. Fruit is fuel! When I was growing up my dad used have us stop for a moment and  observe the fruit in our house (which was RARE, hence the reason none of us love fruit), and he would say: " look at how beautiful this is, like a perfectly packaged present from God." I have thought about that so many times this month. Fruit is exactly that- a perfectly packaged gift from God, perfect for human consumption, giving us all the vitamins we need. It would be really sad if God said..."Oh, and by the way, you should only eat a tiny amount of it, because it will make you fat." Jokes on us. Fruit is amazing for the body- my skin is thanking me daily.
5) Eating raw is expensive. It is. SO much produce you guys. The first few weeks were extra expensive  because we were experimenting. Now we know what we like and it has gotten a little cheaper, but we probably still pay double for groceries. At this point I consider it an investment to make it a priority to feed my body what it needs. But there most likely be some weeks when we probably wont be able to buy everything that we want, or food will have to rest on the back burner, because other expenses will take priority, and because life is just like that sometimes. In which case we will just do the best we can with what we have!

There are 4 Raw Vegans that inspire me daily on Instagram:

-ellenfisher *almost all of my raw vegan recipes this month have come from her e-book

If I could do it all again I would have read these two books BEFORE starting:

Anyway, like I said, there is no one right way for everyone to feed their body- but I think we can all take a little better care of ourselves in this fast paced world we live in. I have felt so much love and acceptance for my body as I have taken extra good care of it this month. I have felt so much gratitude towards God and all the beautiful things he has given us to nourish these gifts we reside in. Love your body, and you will love yourself.

Hopefully I CAPITALIZED enough words in this post for you to understand my enthusiasm about eating whole. xoxo-Steph