I started Day #7, the last day of my experiment, with a Sweet As A Peach Smoothie (from RAWESOMELY VEGAN).
The recipe called for two peaches, a cup of greens (I used spinach), parsley, lemon juice, and ice. But I was feeling pretty hungry, so I added a banana. It was very good.
I wanted to try eating out somewhere that was not a raw restaurant and not a grocery store salad bar. So we headed to The Grove, a lovely Austin restaurant with fabulous Italian food.
I ordered Beth’s Berry Salad, which is one of my regular favorites. I forgot to take a picture, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s a spinach salad with berries, goat cheese, candied walnuts, shaved red onion and raspberry vinaigrette. I asked for no goat cheese and for raw walnuts instead of candied ones (which they didn’t have, so they substituted cashews). It was still a very delicious salad. But I have to say, that knowing how close I was to being able to eat such things again, it was hard to take my eyes off of the pizza that my husband, father in law (he’s in town visiting) and daughter were eating.
For dinner, I decided to try my hand at raw pizza. And for this, I have to admit, I cheated a little bit. But hear me out. The raw pizza crust recipe from This Rawesome Vegan Life calls for the “dough” to be put in a dehydrator or baked on your oven’s lowest setting for 4-5 hours. I don’t own a dehydrator, and my oven would not go lower than 175. So I chose to use the oven and I left the oven door open slightly to vent some of the heat out.
So technically, this crust might have crossed the 104/115 threshold. But this was the best I could do and at this point, I’m inclined to give myself the benefit of the doubt. The crust is made of hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, salt and pepper, dried basil, agave and onion.
As for toppings, I made the spinach pesto called for in the recipe and I also had another go at the tomato sauce from the raw pasta recipe I made on Day 1, but ruined with too much raw garlic. This time I omitted the garlic.
The pizza turned out pretty well, actually:
Oddly, the crust on the left turned out a lot better than the crust on the right; it really came together and even had a little bit of a crunchy bite to it. The crust on the right still had a good flavor, but it was very crumbly and I had to eat it with a fork.
For dessert, I made Choco Balls (from RAWESOMELY VEGAN):
They tasted just fine. But honestly, I had already started the pizza-at-midnight countdown in my head so it was hard to think about anything else. I only ate one.
- From a writing perspective, I am very glad that I did this experiment. I think I will be able to write about raw veganism in a much more authentic way now. There are definitely details I would have gotten wrong, or missed all together, if I had not tried it for myself. I could not have foreseen things like the expense, the amount of work required, or the difficulty of maintaining it in the “real world.” These are all things my characters will have to contend with, and they will be all the richer for it.
- From a personal perspective, I must say that I admire the heck out of full time raw vegans. It is difficult. And people who do this in their “real lives” must be extremely dedicated. My hat is off to them.
- As for how eating this way effected me physically: over seven days, I lost at least five pounds (probably more – I didn’t start weighing myself until a couple of days in, since I wasn’t doing this for weight loss purposes). In “Biggest Loser” terms, I lost 4.5% of my body weight. Which is weird, because I can’t say that I was really hungry this week. In fact, I felt like I spent the entire week eating, preparing food, or thinking about preparing food. There were definitely moments when I felt deprived, but that wasn’t because I wanted more food than I had. It was because I wanted different food. But let’s just say that if I was a Victoria Secret model, this would be the diet I went on the week before the fashion show. It’s definitely the ultimate “flat belly” diet.
- As for whether I will be adopting this lifestyle for myself, the answer is no. Even if I could afford it over the long term (and I can’t – mass quantities of raw produce is seriously expensive) and even if I could figure out a way to maintain a healthy weight on it, it’s just not for me. I am a committed lacto-ovo vegetarian, but my love of cheese prevents me from going any further up the alternative food spectrum.
- That being said, I definitely agree with some of the premises of eating raw, especially the notion of avoiding/limiting overly processed food. And having to stay away from all things artificial for one week has definitely opened my eyes to how many unnatural substances I routinely put into my body. So I think I can say without a doubt that from now on, I will be making an effort to incorporate more raw food into my diet. But things like cheese, dairy, eggs, beans, chickpeas, and real chocolate will most definitely be back on the menu.
And thus, my Raw Vegan Adventure comes to an end. It has been quite an experience! I’d like to give a thank you and a shout out to the two sources of the raw vegan recipes that sustained me over the course of the week: Mike Snyder, the author of RAWESOMELY VEGAN; and “Em,” the blogger behind This Rawesome Vegan Life.
And a big thank you to those of you who followed along with me and encouraged me during this experiment. I really appreciate it!
Finally, if you’re wondering, my first non raw vegan meal will be pizza. At midnight. Right now, it is P-minus-four-hours-and-twenty-minutes. And I’m already drooling . . .)