Finding dietary balance.

November 25, 2010 § 14 Comments

Well well well, look who came crawling back to blog-land. Apologies for the cliffhanger re. raw status. Is she? Isn’t she? Did she die when she tried unsuccessfully to hook chlorophyll to her veins?

All possible theories. But alas, I’m breaking the news to you that I ended my 100% raw experiment after 10 days. Not because I felt like crap, or it was all too hard…but I just really, really, REALLY wanted a cookie.

I was extremely surprised during the whole raw experience that I didn’t have any overt cooked-food cravings or moments of yelling obscenities at my flatmates as they fried up some tortuously aromatic dinnertime treat. That was, until the night of day 9, where I began to contemplate the delights of a tray full of vegan brownies, or a crispy batch of peanut butter & flaxseed cookies. The drool could not be stemmed. My raging sweet tooth demanded satisfaction.

I never originally set a time-frame for the raw trial, but by day 10 there was no denying that I felt fantastic eating this way, and more at peace with my diet than ever. (Yes, yes, minus the cookie conundrum).

I didn’t think it was necessary to deprive myself of something I really wanted, so allowed myself to go to the organic store and pick out some vegan cookies to break the raw stint. (I’d usually bake some myself, but to be honest the emerging cheapskate within deemed it more practical to buy them pre-made. Infinitely more cost effective.)

The cookies were pretty disappointing, and tasted chalky and boring. I ate them anyway, because, as I had now realised, this was evolving into some kind of post-raw cooked-food bender. I’d read about raw foodists and their propensity to binge on ‘forbidden’ foods every so often, and I couldn’t believe I was participating in this crazy behaviour!

I had hummus & crackers, more cookies & a bowl of savoury oats for good measure. The rest of the day does not need to be discussed…

Truthfully, the cooked food tasted bland and strangely unsatisfying, but it was clear to me that any kind of restrictive diet, be it 100% raw or otherwise, could potentially lead to these kind of ‘episodes’ after unconsciously excluding certain foods. I think my subconscious resents any kind of strict, limiting, force and acts to restore the balance by way of a crazy, illogical food rampage. So despite feeling better than ever, and fairly content with the offerings of the 80/10/10 raw food diet, I acknowledged that something needed to shift if I was going to be successful in the long-term. A balanced diet is not characterised by random lapses into mindless munching; I felt I needed to eeeeease on up.

Needless to say, the food made me feel terrible; it was like a reverse detox  if that can possibly be imagined (no, not a reverse enema. Minds out of the gutter please).

It convinced me more than ever, that dogma and restrictive rules have no place in a balanced diet; in fact, they are in direct opposition to everything I am learning about living moderately and happily. This fact alone turns me off following in the footsteps of extremely rigid raw-foodists who, it seems, place more value on the temperature of their food than it’s health-giving properties. This is particularly evident to me in the gourmet-raw movement where (as Frederic Patenaude points out) often things that are extremely dense and hard for the body to assimilate such as nut-based dishes, are given preference over foods such as steamed veggies, that would in fact be a more healthful option, despite not being ‘raw’.

In the same vein, I hope all of you had a chance to read the amazing post by Tasha (formerly the Voracious Vegan) over the weekend, explaining in true compelling and tear-jerking form the reasons behind her move away from a strict vegan diet. I was astonished and saddened to hear that such a decision, one so personal and physically necessary could inspire an outpouring of condemnation from the vegan community. Of course, she has a swathe of loyal followers, yet some individuals still felt justified in accusing her of dietary blasphemy, asserting that it is better to be sick and lifeless than eat an omnivorous diet. Once again, dogma becomes the foe of happiness & balance, and we find our eating habits are more political than healthful.

A diet has to work for you. If a certain eating plan is not furnishing your body with adequate nutrition, or leaving you feeling dull and lifeless, you should change it, irregardless of what others deem to be nutritionally ideal.

/Rant.

In saying this, you all know how much I loved the raw experiment & that is why the next day I awoke with the knowledge I would continue to eat mostly raw, with cooked food (& COOKIES) included when I wanted them. I also see no reason to avoid little things that are raw-biguous (ie. kinda cooked, kinda not – don’t know, don’t care) because why get caught up in the minutiae when there is so much FOOD LOVIN’ to be had?!

It sounds strange, but I actually felt quite depressed after going back to cooked food – I think there is a definite difference in energy, and obviously in the metabolism of heated vs. uncooked that made me feel sort of flat.

The past few days i’ve been slurping avocado thick-shakes, gobbling fresh mangoes…

…raw-ifying Bill Grainger recipes (oh. holy. jeebus)…

…munching seaweed salads with kale, sesame oil and chili…

…and of course, more smoothies in abundance.

I love all this vibrant, shimmering, pulsating fruit & veggie love, and as a few awesome commenters have suggested, i’m also incorporating some more fats in my diet and not being so worried about the ratios and whatnot. Basically, i it feels good, I’m going at it face-first.

Speaking of faces, I also wanted to do a quick shout-out to an Australian make-up company called Minerelle that has come up with the beautifying goods. Never have I purchased such an effective total-head-concealer mineral make-up. I’ve been searching for an aussie brand, vegan-friendly and with a short, non-threatening ingredient list. Minerelle fits the bill. If you go to their site, you can have free samples shipped to you (just paying postage of $5) and once I ordered the powder foundation itself, it arrived within a couple of days. For an impatient, demanding, needy consumer this was most welcome. The ingredients are not PERFECT, but it seems i’m all about compromise today, and thus am filing it under ‘balance and moderation’.

My improved head. Au naturale non?

Ha! This post is raging. I am so painfully verbose; I suck at succinct.

Oh and Kirsten, your pleas for smoothie recipes will be answered in the next post my dear. Stay tuned!

xx

§ 14 Responses to Finding dietary balance.

  • She’s baaaack!! Hello lovely I was wondering how you were going! This post was incredibly REFRESHING to read.
    I do, I do, I DO believe that no one can stick to an incredibly restrictive diet! If raw feel natural and unrestrictive to someone, then I’m all for that, but I think you have to naturally make those adjustments when the time comes. And also be ready to maybe even take a step backwards too. I had the q & a session tonight I wish you could have come! It was amazing to meet like-minded people and my colon therapist in particular you would love. I told you how she was raw vegan for many years (and that was what felt right to her at the time), but that she now eats cooked vegetables, grains and even eggs right? It’s funny, even though I have found myself gravitating towards a vegan diet quite naturally, just this week I’ve been having big cravings for eggs and goats cheese, so I’ve been going with that and loving it – it’s all good!
    I think that this kind of flexible approach to diet is CRUCIAL because we just don’t live in a perfect world! If maybe we were all roaming the hills scavenging for wild weeds and tree-ripened fruits then it would be a different matter.
    I really love reading your blog Katey, I have learnt a lot from you and can’t wait to meet you next year. If you do ever want to catch up before that, just let me know (and I really hope that doesn’t sound creepy!). It’s just so rare to find someone on such a similar wavelength :)
    PS is that pure life I spy?!

    • bonne_santé says:

      THANKS KATE! Your comments always make me feel less loopy for hitting ‘publish’ when i’ve written something personal/potentially shameful. Cracking after 10 days and devouring my body weight in ginger cookies? It’s all good! Kate says it’s a-ok! Love that.
      Totally bummed about missing the talk – I would have been in my element listening to a lecture on bowel health. But once all this x-mas madness is over, i’m definitely saving to visit your lovely sounding doc.
      Haha it’s not pure life but these raw cracker things I found at the store. Adding a loaf of sprouted essene bread to the mania would probably have been a great idea though!
      Also, amen to listening to your body – I actually don’t have a problem with eggs and other animal products if it’s local and I can talk to the farmers at the markets etc. but i’ve just gravitated away from it all for now. Perhaps i’ll gravitate back someday, who knows?!
      Meet-ups, yes. We can talk at length about the beauty of kale and seaweed, and i’ll fill you in on the ACNT goss (and exam answers, hello!).

  • Lindsay says:

    YAY for balance!
    I think you did really well with this experiment, and I’m so glad you learned what your body is trying to tell you!

    Thanks for the link to the vegan post — off to read it now. The stuff you recommend is always *so* interesting and somehow perfectly topical to my life!

    • bonne_santé says:

      Yes, Tasha’s blog is completely amazing – I think you’ll find her writing interesting!
      Thanks for your kind words :)

  • Kirsten says:

    Thank you! I can’t wait :) I got a little excited this morning and bought some sort of spirulina smoothie juice thing on my way to work – it was tasty

  • Shellet says:

    Wow, I just read that blog post you linked and I can’t believe some people! She definitely helped me to learn a thing or two, and I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian!

    And sometimes, a girl just needs a cookie!

  • Hey Katey.
    So glad you’re able to find balance in your diet :).
    At the end of the day, what we eat is just food and it needs to nourish us, so it’s good when we can be flexible with what we eat like you and VV have been.
    Anyway um..yay FOOD!
    Good luck with your exams!!
    Michelle.

    • bonne_santé says:

      Thanks Michelle!
      Exams….ack. I’m guessing we’re in the same (leaky) exam boat!?! Good luck too! Bet you’ll ACE them!

  • Katey, did you know that David Wolfe is coming to Oz in Feb??! I just found out and didn’t know who else to tell haha!!
    PS thanks for the link – what an amazing post by Tasha.

  • bitt says:

    I’ve been the “raw world” online and in real life for a few years now. There’s a lot of dogma that doesn’t make much sense. From what I’ve read in blogs, there’s a lot of 80-10-10’ers who get really hungry and end up eating cooked foods. I ate a higher fat raw diet (only raw) for quite a while and stayed raw. It was what worked for me. Now I am eating probably less fat but more cooked food. I think a lot of the messages in the raw community can be very harmful mentally about what is/isn’t ok. You have to allow yourself some slack.

    • bonne_santé says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Bitt – I am definitely discovering that it is infinitely healthier to make choices that satisfy the needs of your body (even if it means cooked veggies, or grains, GASP!) than to try adhere to dogmatic principles that could in fact be more damaging.
      Your blog is a constant inspiration & all your food looks so yummy! I am definitely allowing myself some slack (read: cookies!).

  • [...] enough to lay me low, persisted with irritating, uncomfortable symptoms. In fact, on day 10 of the raw food trial I started coming down with these flu-like symptoms; my nose was gushing like Victoria falls and at [...]

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