Raw food is all the rage, according to Psychology Today.
(Note the use of the word 'rage' in that statement. Its significance will shortly become apparent.)
I know that this diet has the advantage of having been around for a long time. Since before humans discovered fire, if I'm not mistaken. And it does have the advantage of being the fastest fast food possible. Grab and chew is as good as it gets. But why is it such a big deal now?
I was curious, so I thought I would look into it.
I've been following the standard PGD, or Pretty Good Diet. You know the sort of thing -- making sure I've eating 5 daily servings of fruit and veggies -- well, 3 or 4 servings is still pretty good, and hey I'll eat more fruit on the weekends to make up. It's kind of like the Pretty Good exercise plan. Doesn't really hurt you, though it's not going to help you lose weight or get into good shape.
The trouble I've found with this diet is that it's too easy for it to degrade into the PAD, or Pretty Awful Diet. You find yourself rationalizing all kinds of bad food decisions "just this once." (No, Merry, carrot cake does not count as a daily veg serving.)
So I figured I'd give this raw deal a try. I went cold carrot: eating whole-grain stuff and green leafy things and some fruit thrown in for dessert.
The main problem at work was all the eyebrow-raising that went on. "You're going to eat all that?" was a typical comment. But if you've ever tried it you'll agree that even after eating a whole cup o' green leafy things, you can still be hungry.
Every day, I dutifully chomped my way through several cups of salad, bell peppers, oatmeal-with-fruit-and-flaxseed, the works. And invariably, by 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I was so hungry I was ready to chew plastic. Felt like a junkie needing a fix. (Um... I'm assuming this is how a junkie would feel. Not talking from experience.) I was irritable enough to kick innocent little kittens. I was angry.
The 'fix' for this problem was a quick piece of chicken. Within 20 minutes I had resumed my placid, agreeable demeanor. Or as close as I get, anyway.
How the heck am I supposed to be good when eating right makes me want to tell the world to go screw itself?
It's been a long time since my ancestors lived in caves and had names like Ungh. My ancestors have been in America long enough for the intestinal flora to adapt to a diet of hamburgers and fries. After pretty faithfully following this raw diet for a month (i.e. 90% of my diet = raw vegetables), my innards let me know how they felt about it.
- I felt much lighter. Apart from some ground up flax seed, I ate almost no fats. (90% of my diet was fat free.) As a result, I never felt weighed down.
- Since I was eating food that my innards weren't prepared for, I was also generating enough gas to make me a subject of interest to Exxon Mobil. (TMI? What TMI? That's just another TLA, isn't it?)
- In the evening, I inevitably had a dinner with some lean beef, chicken or fish. Not a lot, percentage-wise, but a couple ounces. I couldn't go all day and night without 'food.' (Somehow vegetables do not equal food, at least not to my subconscious.)
- I'd never heard that raw vegetables were like Chinese food, but it's true. Even though I ate veggies almost every hour on the hour, I was always hungry 30 minutes later. (I totaled up the number of calories I was consuming on a daily basis, and by late afternoon I usually ended up consuming about 900 calories.)
I don't care what they say about roughage and fiber, you have to eat a lot to equal the amount of calorie-satiation found in one hamburger or one Krispy Kreme. The trouble is that now I can't go back: just the thought of a fast-food burger makes me feel greasy.
I would have thought my body would have become accustomed to this diet after a month, but noooo. I'm screwed either way: good food makes me ravenous and bad food makes me sick.
Has anyone out there, a fellow confirmed carnivore, ever tried going cold carrot? If so, how long did it take? Enquiring minds (and innards) want to know!
Note: These pictures have absolutely nothing to do with raw food. (Oregon aficionados might recognize Cape Perpetua and Cannon Beach.) I wanted to keep alive the spirit of the Cranky Fitness photo competition. (This week: east coast vs. west coast.)