I am not a raw vegan by any means. That’s not to say that I don’t eat my share of raw fruits and veggies like any good vegan. I’m just also really good friends with my stove.
I am a vegan who dabbles in raw cleanses. Most recently I went raw for three days while reviewing Kaeng Raeng for Vegan Cuts and found the whole program to be a bit easier than expected. So obviously my next logical thought was if I can do three days then I can do five days, right?
Well, perhaps that’s not normal logic but I jumped at the chance to try an extended raw diet and post about it on Peaceful Dumpling. Read on to hear the pros, the cons and a few pro-tips for those of you interested in trying the raw lifestyle yourself.
My Planned Diet for the Week:
Post-cleanse note: After making the onion dip, I ended up sticking to smoothie recipes rather than trying to recreate meals. Because I don’t plan to go raw for an extended amount of time, I felt like the meals were trying to copy something that they couldn’t copy. I found the smoothies to be more fulfilling since they weren’t trying to be anything that they weren’t, just delicious fruit in a glass.
- I don’t feel inclined to binge on junk food post-cleanse because spring rolls seem like a splurge after only eating raw. Even without consuming any salt all week, I’m not rushing to catch up during my first post-cleanse snack. It’s empowering to know that you can go without salty snacks for an extended amount of time! Now pass the tortilla chips…but only a single serving, please.
- I’m lucky because the stars aligned when I decided to make the vegetarian to vegan leap. My vegetarian partner can eat a whole cheese pizza sitting beside me and I’m not tempted to take just a taste. That being said, going raw for a week would definitely address any thoughts that you might have about the vegan diet being restrictive. When limited to raw fruits and veggies, you realize just how many vegan (non-raw) options there are out there.
- Yes, you’re going to be hungry if you’re used to eating a blend of some veggies and fruits but mostly cooked veggies and fruits with sauces–think Thai peanut sauce, hummus and the like–then you’re going to notice your sauceless veggies. It’s not impossible to overcome, though! Just stay focused on what you want to get out of the cleanse.
- Of course the weather turned from hot, hot summer to a nice, somewhat chilly fall so I was in the mood for soups and hot foods. My detox tea was somewhat fulfilling but cravings for warm, fall foods made this a little more difficult than my last raw cleanse.
- I’ve never been so hydrated in my life. Since I couldn’t snack as I normally do, I drank hot water all day and felt like my skin showed it!
- You can get so much done when you’re not spending hours thinking about food. Five days without contemplating what to eat, cooking, prepping for cooking and feeling bad about the less-than-healthy food consumed meant I spent more time reading, writing, even cleaning!
A Few Pro-Tips:
- Do what works best for you! In order to be successful for the duration of your raw diet, you’re going to need to be fully committed even when no one else is around to hold you accountable. I did this by planning my dates carefully. At first I was thinking that I’d do Sunday through Sunday but, when something came up that made Sunday less than ideal, I was flexible and moved my dates to Monday through Friday, which was a more realistic timeline for me. By all means push yourself, but be realistic.
- Get creative! You’re going to need to move beyond your go-to kale, frozen fruit and a chia seed smoothie after, like, day two. My normal smoothie approach is to throw whatever I have in the fridge into my Vitamix and then sip. Who needs recipes, right? Well, this week turned me into a smoothie recipe believer. Raw versions of this blueberry banana smoothie and this apple pie smoothie were lifesavers.
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Photo: Laura Miller