Raw Foods Wrap-Up

by HEAB on May 29, 2009

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with raw foods for several years now.  I first became interested in raw foods about 5 years ago while in massage therapy school.  One of my fellow classmates was working in a health food store, and she introduced me to all kinds of new fun foods and Juliano’s RAW, The UNcook Book. The beautiful pictures of raw meals mesmerized me, and I began experimenting with soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating.  I even made all raw carob energy bars and sold them to the local outdoor camping store here in town, but I never thought seriously about going 100% or even high-raw.

However, 2 years ago, after several months of constant UTI problems, I decided to go all raw for a month as I’d read an alkaline diet could really help with urinary tract problems.  So armed with my Vita-Mix and brand new juicer, I had nothing but green juice and fruit in the mornings, and a raw salad for both lunch and dinner.  My leftover juice and vegetable pulp got thrown in the oven to make dehydrated bread, and avocados were my new best friend.  I went all month without any coffee, dairy, or meat.  The UTI problems went away, but my belly practically doubled in size.

Now, I know no one else that has gained weight on all raw diet.  You are flooding your body with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.  A lot of people thrive on this type of diet, but I simply OD’d on the fruit.  I’ve blogged about it before, but I’ve learned that my body cannot handle simple sugars, even the fructose in fruit. During my all raw month, I was running at least 5 days a week. I was hungry and going to town on fruit all morning.  I kept running, but my pants kept getting tighter.  (Gena recently wrote an interesting post on why some people can’t handle much fruit, and you can read about it here.) So, I packed up my juicer, and returned to my previous ways of eating, including huge cups of coffee every morning and industrial sized tubs of cottage cheese.  My weight went back down, and my UTI problems returned.

So, once again I find myself at the raw foods crossroads.  My body amazes me, and these past few months of cleaner eating have taught me a lot. I’ve been thinking a great deal about the way I eat…as always and contemplating a new Heather Plan. Gena and Jenna’s Raw Wednesday Challenge totally rekindled my love for raw foods.  I find raw meals to be so rejuvenating, and I love that they satisfy my hunger without that brick in the belly feeling.  The no dairy thing has helped tremendously.  I feel so much better, although I did have a bladder infection this week.  However, it’s been the only one in 3 months!  Plus, I’m feeling great without coffee and sleeping like  a rock.  Love that!  So, what’s the new plan?  More raw foods and vegetables!

There will definitely be no coffee or dairy in my life, but I would like to incorporate more vegetables and eat raw meals when I have the time.  I will continue to lay low on the fruit and other simple sugars, maybe one banana a day and some berries here and there as I seem to do just fine on that amount.  If I want a big bowl of nothing but steamed veggies or a big raw salad for dinner, then I’m going to eat it and not worry about adding a protein component.  Basically, I’m going heavy on the vegetables, starting with my breakfast this morning:

Vegetables, I love you.

Vegetables, I love you.

For my green soup, I blended 2 cups water with one frozen banana, 1/2 frozen avocado, 2-3 cups frozen spinach, and a scoop of Jay Robb vanilla rice protein powder.  My soup arrived with a side of steamed kabocha squash.  I love flooding my body with vitamins and minerals in the morning.  Much more satisfying than a donut!

Have a good weekend my friends!

{ 44 comments }

Gena (Choosing Raw) May 29, 2009 at 9:57 am

Hey Heather!

Thanks, first of all, for these very illuminating thoughts on the raw diet!

Candida and/or the need for colonic irrigation could totally have been at the heart of the weight gain. And it’s also truly important to realize that the raw diet is just like any other in terms of needing to personalize: you can’t necessarily eat everything, just because it’s raw. You need to eat what works best for your body chemistry, within the high raw or raw parameters.

I am rooting for your new action plan!! That looks like a great breakfast.

xo

The Novice Berker May 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

Hmmm, that sounds like a good compromise, Heather. Today’s breakfast was a good way to start! I’ll be checking out Gena’s insight on fruit; thanks for the link. ;)

Erin May 29, 2009 at 10:23 am

I liked hearing your thoughts. I feel like I’m completely schizophrenic with my eating plans. I’m working on that. I definitely enjoy incorporating raw foods into my diet, and want to continue that, but without worrying if there is an un-raw component. I look forward to hearing more about the Heather Plan. Green soup looks good. It seems like everyone started their day with green today!

Briana in Tucson May 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

Wow, it’s like listening to my own experiences coming from someone else’s mouth. I love raw food but I kept gaining weight on it and could never figure out why. But just like you, my body just CANNOT handle a lot of fruit. All my raw books kept telling me to eat as much fruit as I wanted, so I did, and just kept feeling crappier and crappier.

It wasn’t until I saw Gena’s raw blog that I felt like, “Finally! Someone else who has the same problem as me!” So now I stuff myself on all of my favorite veggies (mmmmmm, broccoli…) and I feel great! No bloat. No tight pants. No uncomfortable rumblings in my tummy.

I think this really speaks to one of your earlier posts, Heather. That great one about finding the way of eating that suits YOU. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I have tried to eat what the “experts” said I should eat, I felt awful. But by listening to my own body. I feel great!

Ok, sorry for the long rambling comment. In short, great post Heather!

Erica May 29, 2009 at 10:44 am

Ugh- stupid UTIs! That craziness needs to stop for you! Good luck with the food adjustments- let us know how they work for you. I can’t get raw veggies (but you know that already…you and I will start a broccoli farm one day)

Leah May 29, 2009 at 11:01 am

Thank you so much for that link Heather! I have never been able to go raw because of that very reason, too much fruit just does not agree with me! Its really nice to see I am not the only one. Thankfully vegetables are my true food love! I love how you incorporate vegetables into every single meal you eat! you are so creative!

Metta May 29, 2009 at 11:16 am

Great post! I’ve been working toward High Raw for the past few months with some success, and some setbacks. One thing I wanted was for someone to say, “this is how to do raw.” But it is really about listening to our own body and eating according to what is right to you. I liked Gena’s comment in her post yesterday that raw isn’t necessarily just eating “uncooked”. The most important thing is to nourish your body with good foods that feel great. Rawk on!

ksgoodeats May 29, 2009 at 11:20 am

The body is an amazing thing isn’t it? Getting in tune with it is certainly trial and error (I’m still learning myself) but I’m glad you’ve noticed the changes and take note of what works for you.

Your breakfast is phenomenal! Much, much better than a donut :)

Cindy May 29, 2009 at 11:28 am

I love what you said today.
I’ve been transitioning to vegan and raw for quite a few months now… I feel like I am really getting it down but my weight goes up than down and up and down (just 5 lbs) but it’s maddening.

I am not doing this JUST for weight issues but I would LOVE to be able to figure out what exactly my body thrives on food wise and that is, of course, the whole point of the journey.. isn’t it.

keep moving forward… (a fav quote of mine from the animated movie “meet the robinsons” …yeah, i have kids..HA)

but keep at it (and i will too)

FoodsThatFit May 29, 2009 at 11:36 am

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could do some type of test and tell us exactly what the best and worst foods are for our individual bodies?! I have a really difficult time pinpointing those things and it can be frustrating at times. I have found for sure, that my diet affects my weight more than exercise does. You seem to have honed in on a plan that works great for you and that is really exciting. I love hearing about your Raw journey, and what you have taken away from it.

Tyler May 29, 2009 at 11:41 am

No coffee?! Ahh, that would be very hard for me!

You make dairy-free breakfasts look delicious! I love that your breakfast is filled with veggies. 2-3 cups of frozen spinach is a lot of…in a very good way! I love spinach :)

Tyler May 29, 2009 at 11:41 am

No coffee?! Ahh, that would be very hard for me!

You make dairy-free breakfasts look delicious! I love that your breakfast is filled with veggies. 2-3 cups of frozen spinach is a lot…in a very good way! I love spinach :)

Erin May 29, 2009 at 11:52 am

GET IT! I was hoping you’d get back on the raw, given my recent obsession and your years of knowledge. Essentially, you’re the original gangster of raw in my book.

Jennifer May 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm

i dont know heather, donuts are awfully good….esp those holy donuts! yum! haha.

Sarah (from See Sarah Eat) May 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I too am always coming up with new plans. I have recently realized I don’t really like meat (again) so that’s out and now I’m thinking about going off the dairy too. I don’t have the same problems you do (you poor thing) but I just feel better overall and my energy is amazing when I’m eating that way.

I have been actually “craving” veggies these past several weeks so I’m loading up on them too. That’s never happened to me before but I love it and it definitely makes me feel good to be getting all those benefits veggies provide.

Good luck to you, can’t wait to see what you do next ;-)

Michelle May 29, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I have a question for you. So, do you think that some people can eat more fruit than others? And that it’s still good for them? I eat tons of fruits every day. One small banana, an apple, an orange, a serving of berries, and sometimes a piece or two more, depending upon what’s in my fridge. Granted, I also eat tons of veggies as well (huge portions at lunch and dinner). But I often wonder if I eat too many fruits–especially after reading comments like yours. Is there a such this as too much fruit? I haven’t been gaining weight as a result . . . so is just dependent upon the individual? I’m just curious if you had any insight into this–you seem well versed in this subject! Thanks!

Gina May 29, 2009 at 12:22 pm

That sounds great Heather!! I’ve been upping the veggies too, and trying to listen to my body. I have to say though, I’ve very glad that fruit doesn’t bother me, I love it. What makes me feel heavy is lots of grains.

I know you’ve been moving towards it already, but I hope this is a good change for you!!

polly May 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm

LOVED this post. When don’t I love your post, Heather sweet muffin?

Okay… first get your hiney to that level 3 yoga class, yes you will indeed ROCK IT! :)

Yay for finding out what your body loves. I think it’s a life long journey, oh yes. Yay for more veggies and a little bitta fruit (like your sister Polly peach) and yay for warm bowls of oatbran and massive doses of almond butter. Plus this girls needs her meat and a daily hit of blue chips. :)

Love your heart and your attitude. Your “food tude” is just refreshing and to be cheered for! Love ya, pinky!! XOXO

Let’s keep reminding each other and all our blog buddies that us girls need to EAT to be strong, healthy, and happy. woop woop!!

CoconutGal May 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Hahah love what Polly said about your “food tude.”

I too did not do well on an all raw food diet and I totally agree with you that we need to do what works best for US and not everyone else. I know what I need and you know what you need and we shouldn’t worry about the “standard”, right?

You go girl and I support your new Eating Plan, and I will support it however you change it to fit your lifestyle and body!

Have a loveeellly weekend :)

Maggie May 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm

This is really interesting. I’ve always loved fruit so much, but it seems to bloat me a lot. I’m not sure if it makes me gain weight. I’ve also never had candida, but I have noticed that I break out when I eat sugar, even fruit. The last few days I’ve been going back to my fruity ways but my stomach feels awful and I’m breaking out. I really shouldn’t buy fruit because when it’s there I just eat it. I think I want to move away from fruit again.

Love that breakfast :)

glidingcalm May 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm

loved this and love hearing your experience!! your breakfast looks so much like mine!!! I’ll post it in a few hours and shout you a hollerrrrrrr!

Lara May 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Interesting article. Two of my friend went 100% raw and gained A LOT Of weight from lots of nuts, dried fruits, beans, etc so you are not the only person to have gained on raw diet. I would be concerned though with only eating veggies and not working to get protein in. Our bodies need protein for health, especially if you are active (I think 60-ish grams is bare minimum for adult women) and if you strive for a lean, firm, and toned body you really need even more. People who don’t get enough protein often wind up “skinny fat”. Just some food for thought (stupid pun!)

Pearl May 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm

heather – what interesting information. thank you for sharing your experience with raw foods!

Emily May 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm

diet is such a personal thing, isn’t it? sounds like you are figuring out what works for you, which is awesome. thanks for sharing what you’ve learned!

Anna May 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Interesting thoughts about your raw foods journey. This is one of the many reasons why I love blogging- I’ve learned so much from you and others about so many different ways of eating and approaches to food. It’s all very thought-provoking!

the dainty pig May 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm

what a lovely post!
I am totally with you on more veggies, less fruit. I like raw vegetables, but definitely find them hard to digest…although it’s getting better. Blended spinach in oatbran seems to work just fine! I love love love fruit, but it definitely makes me gain weight, and I always end up with a puffy belly! I’m okay too, with a banana, or an apple, and sometimes a few berries….but so long as I have some creamy kabocha, I can make do with minimal fruit (although today I totally scarfed some cherries, apricots, AND an apple….uh oh, haha).

have a wonderful, sunshiney weekend!

Lara (Thinspired) May 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Hi Heather!
A few things…
I see so many similarities with us in that I’m also frequently like, “Ok, THIS is the new eating plan…” LOL. It’s all part of our charm ;)
I am totally new to the whole raw movement, but I am very intrigued. I know I can handle lots of fruit and veggies so surely that is in my favor?
I am SO glad you mentioned UTIs. I’ve always thought they were a taboo subject, and I had my first one this year and it was total hell. Besides cranberries, I never stopped to think that diet had anything to do with it. I’m really thinking of cutting out dairy for a while and seeing how my body responds.
This comment was largely about myself…sorry! I enjoyed reading your thoughts, as always…they always get me thinking!
I hope you have a great weekend ahead of you :)

Melissa S. May 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm

interesting breakfast! i think it’s a great way to start off putting more of those veggies in your day!

Ellen (Peace in Motion) May 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

It really is such a process to figure out what your body can and cannot handle. Good for you for listening to what your body is telling you!

janetha May 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm

heather! i love this one. i think it is so true that you have to find what diet works with your body, it is so strange that 5 people can eat the exact same thing and do the exact same exercise and have 5 different results. i really appreciate you talking about what does and doesnt work for you, it helps me get ideas of what i need to try to find what is best for my own body. i havent written back to that email you sent me but i wanted to let you know i have started looking into a lot of things regarding what you said, especially a probiotic. i am lucky to have found you in blog land because you have put questions in my head that i would NEVER have thought to ask myself! so thanks :) have a great weekend!!

Janet May 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I went raw for 5 months. I lost weight but reverted to a traditional diet when my dentist told me that my bone graft wasn’t healing as expected.

Janet May 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Have you tried either the Eat Right for Your Blood Type or the Genotype Diet – both by Peter D’Adamo?
http://www.dadamo.com/

He specifies which foods (including spices and condiments!) are recommended to eat and which are to be avoided (unnamed are “neutral”) according to each individual’s blood type. If you can’t do it all, he says to focus on the “recommended” foods and eliminate as many “avoids” as possible.

The diets are similar but I believe the GTD is more specific to the individual. I got the book from the library and was amazed to find out that some foods I love but cause me to crave more are foods that he says I should avoid: black tea, chocolate in particular. I made the staggering choice to eliminate them at the beginning of May. I have also eliminated green tea, bananas, chicken, & night shade vegetables (the lists run for pages but these were the changes I chose for this stage).

I’ve lost 5 pounds this month while eating 1800-2100 calories per day (usually under 2000) documenting what I eat using Calorie King software.

I feel better: calmer, have more restful sleep, and I experience hunger but no “cravings” except for an after supper sweet which I have planned into my meals. I spend time planning meals and snacks (6 per day in total) and weighing food but I spend far less time obsessing about food during the day.

Meghan May 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm

What an interesting post! I love that you have worked toward finding what is right for you. I haven’t tried a raw diet yet, but have worked on incorporating 10-11 veggies and fruit in my diet each day, and planning on adding more. It feels so good!

Heather (be well & take care) May 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Excellent plan, Heather. I’ve spent so many years finding the right eating plan (I refuse to use the word “diet”) and I keep realizing that I just need to find what works for me. I cannot envision seeing myself go 100% raw, but incorporating more raw foods into my life has definitely helped. I’m so glad you’re finding what works for you! I have officially kicked coffee, too! I’m 2 weeks in and so far, so good. Your breakfast looks so very yummy – I will have to try that soon. I keep hoping the Jay Robb brown rice protein will pop up in indivual packets at WF – so far, I’ve only seen whey & egg white. I want to try it before I buy it, darnit!

Kristie May 29, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I’ve been thinking lately about my fruit consumption and kind of worry that I’m overdoing it a bit. I love fruit! But I’ve been considering cutting down a bit and bumping up the veggies, which should be a bit easier now that there are plenty of fresh ones becoming more and more available with the warmer weather.

I don’t know if any kind of raw diet is practical for me at this point in my life, especially while living at home and not exactly having full control over all foods that are here (aka my fam still wants to eat the things that I would prefer NOT to have around but can’t fully resist while they are stuck in front of my face haha) but I really do like reading and hearing about all of the raw attempts going on in the blog world and the different results and such people have been noting by eating more raw foods. I’m excited to see more of your raw inspired eating! Especially if it involves my LOVE kabocha in the AM. YUM.

psychoj1 May 29, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I am glad that you are doing what’s best for your body :)
I will love you and your blog no matter what! Hehe! I love fruits and veggies, and find this post very intriguing! Thank you for sharing!
<3 jess
xoxo

Alisa - Frugal Foodie May 29, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Good for you for listening to your body! If only it wasn’t so hard to hear sometimes :)

Sarah May 29, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Three of my best bloggie friends are going raw on me (you, Abbie, Erin), and I think you are wise women, so what is my problem?

I have a hard time getting past the mental fear of eating a whole avocado, lots of nuts and/or oils. But I know I can’t be satisfied (or nourished) on a raw food diet without those healthy fats. Like anything, I guess its a leap of faith. Given the fact that I am currently battling a UTI (ick!), maybe now’s a good time to jump?

CurlyTop May 30, 2009 at 8:34 am

Heather,

First off-Happy Saturday! Hooray for weekends!

I’m so glad to see this post! Thank you so much for doing this. Quite a nice summation. I always feel like I need to find a protein component as well… maybe I should take it easy on that for a while. You are such an inspiration.

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

With Love,
Emily

Emily May 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

Like your thoughts…I think it’s important to recognize that there is not a cookie-cutter diet for everyone, and it sounds like you have definitely figured that out.

Good luck with your new plan of action! :-)

CaSaundra May 30, 2009 at 9:25 am

It’s def a good thing your in tune with your body and accommodating your needs! I am totally inspired by your eats no matter if they’re raw or not! =)

Cherie May 30, 2009 at 10:24 am

Was that the same green soup that Bridgette Jones made? Maybe hers was blue. My guess was that your soup is much better and extremely healthy. hahaha. Sorry to hear about the return of the bladder infection. Sucks. Your writing and vegetable diet inspires me, though! Keep it up!

homegirlcaneat May 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Really interesting post! When I went vegan for a month, I definitely felt a bit heavier because my body was used to really lean protein in meat and fish and the carb protein was not the same! It’s so funny how everyone’s bodies are completely different!

elise May 31, 2009 at 8:35 am

isnt it interesting how all our bodies are SO different and can react in such a variety of ways to the same nutrients?! what works for someone else may cause you to actually gain weight and never feel satisfied, and yet, what works for you may cause someone else to have constant diarrhea! i find it fascinating…americans are so obsessed with diets and the food/health industry in general, but if we all got a little education and exposure to the options out there when we are young (instead of the ever-changing fad diets) – in theory, we could actually figure out how to find a style that works for us and adapt our meal plans to reflect a healthy and satisfying balance. one of these days…

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