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Revitalize & Energize: My experience going Raw

Let’s officially change the name of Fall and the Winter Holiday Season to: The Official Season of Sweets!

I don’t know about you all, but I’m still coming down from my Halloween sugar high and my skin is a clear indication that my body hates me right now.

Just over one year ago, I made a daunting choice that changed my life, how I eat, and how I feel (about food and in my skin).

After 7 months of mentally psyching myself into it, I finally decided to try a week of eating only raw foods.

Insane, I know.

But I had LOTS of inspiration.

  1. For the first time in many years, I felt constantly bloated and gassy (sorry, let’s keep it real though).
  2. I was irritable all the time.
  3. Although I was running/walking 30-40 miles per week, I was GAINING weight (gasp!!)
  4. I have personally known people who have kicked Cancer’s A$$ by going completely raw right after their diagnosis.
  5. My best friend had spent an entire 6 weeks eating only raw and couldn’t stop telling me how amazing and energetic he felt, not to mention the 14lbs he dropped in the first 3 weeks.

‘Nuff said! I didn’t need any  more convincing! I just needed the push to actually make it happen.

The Lord provided, as He always does!

One summer day, my girls and I visited our local library to for a new set of books. Just as we finished checking out and were headed towards the door, I noticed a brand new, never checked-out cook book called Raw Revitalize: The Easy, 21-Day Raw Food Recharge.

Three weeks, eh? I can do that, I thought! And now I have a cookbook to show me how!

I did not dive right in to a full 3 week recharge, although my over-achieving, zealous Self wanted to. Small and achievable goals, Rita.

I started by choosing three breakfast and three lunch recipes from the book.

I eat enough greens, veggies, and fresh, whole foods to know that a little goes a long way, and that my three days might actually last me a whole week.

I also know that food should be fun, and that I likely wouldn’t enjoy (nor succeed at) eating a completely raw diet for three weeks.

Therefore, I allowed myself to eat one hot/cooked meal each day.

Well, let me tell you the raw truth (you like that? HA!); it was HARD. It was even painful.

With every hot/cooked meal I found myself over eating and immediately craving sugar after the meal.

It was unbearable! I knew that I would have a better time succeeding with a completely Raw diet for the short time, but I just couldn’t give up my cooked foods.

But you know what? I DID it again and this time I was disciplined enough to go totally raw.

  • What I found was that I was staying fuller much longer, and without that heavy, full-stomach feeling.
  • My sugar cravings went away once I got through the first couple of days of detox.
  • I had far more sustained energy, i.e. no afternoon slump. I felt no need for coffee or tea, lost weight and kept it off, and felt mentally clearer.

When I ate totally raw and drank home brewed Kombucha first thing in the morning, the results were even greater!

I did change some things over the course of the year to help me stay successful, and I’ll detail them below.

I have continued to go Raw for 1-5 days at a time for the past 13 months and guess what? It does get easier!

  • It gets less daunting and much more affordable as I learn what I like and how to combine recipes to utilize my ingredients.
  • I’ve started planning for just a few days and I make larger portions of each meal to get me through the designated time.
  • I also pre-cut lots of fruits and veggies for ease and to eliminate any excuses when hunger or snack-attacks strike.
  • The thing that has probably helped me the most, especially in the beginning, is to invest in a couple of bars of really high quality super dark chocolate.

The darker the chocolate the better; I’m talking 80% or higher.

It’s much less sweet, which is why it’s better for you, and has a much acquired taste.

But it does the trick! Again, fooling your brain into satisfying the sweet craving because you are, after all, eating chocolate!

So here we are, a week before Christmas 2017.

If this year is anything like last year, this year I’m at least armed with my new knowledge gained from my experiences and experiments with going Raw over the past 13 months.

In preparation, I plan to eat all raw foods for

3 full days after the upcoming holiday.

Who’s on board with me?

The following are the recipes I plan to prepare in advance (there is no other way to do it).

Whole foods take forever to wash and chop. If you’re going to commit to doing this, you should plan for one afternoon or evening of food prep before your first day.

Remember to eat from the Rainbow: Apples, Carrots, Lemons, Herbs, Blueberries, Beets, Eggplant.

Raw Breakfast PuddingSoak cashews 2+ hours

A pudding of a different kind than the Chia Seed pudding, but nevertheless, just as filling and delicious!

The sweet, raw cashews make the pudding creamy and the Chia Seeds give you pure protein, helping you stay fuller longer.

Like the Chia Seed Overnight Pudding, make this in advance, store in large jars if possible, and pour yourself some goodness when you need the boost.

**I do not limit these puddings to morning meals. The benefit of stocking your fridge with these meals is that you can have them any time of day!**

Breakfast Smoothies

Smoothies are an excellent meal replacement and a great way to fill up on your required daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.

If you double the portion, one smoothie will easily tide you over until later in the lunch hour (I’ll often drink a large smoothie around 9am and go until 2-2:30pm before having lunch!)

There’s much versatility here, so be creative and remember to eat from the Rainbow!

Salad In A Jar

Who loves Salad? ME!

Who loves soggy Salad? …… (crickets) …..

The idea of Salad in a jar is a fairly new spin on a staple lunch for the workers in our society.

Nobody likes a soggy, sloppy salad when they sit for lunch after a busy morning.

This concept allows you to shake or dump the contents of your jar into a bowl, and the salad literally assembles itself!

Watch and see 🙂

  1. Dressing goes in the jar first.
  2. Hard chunky vegetables next.
  3. Then nuts, raisins or dried cranberries.
  4. The greens go in last.

Avocado Vessels

Okay, so these Avocado farmers are trippin’ with their outrageous prices. But, on occasion, I love to treat myself to a few (very inflated) creamy avocados and I cherish every bite of every single one!

Avocados are the only fruit that contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids (the good kind), in addition to potassium, fiber, B-vitamins, and so much more.

It’s a heart-healthy fruit and has been shown to lower cholesterol.

So, give in just this once and spoil yourself with a couple of Avocados for this creamy and delicious meal!

Chocolate Chia Seed Overnight Pudding

Prep this in advance, and make a double or even triple portion to simplify your week. I like to store mine in large mason (or other) jars for ease of shaking and pouring out when I’m ready to eat.

Chia Seeds are ancient superfoods that are making a comeback in a giant kind of way. They are incredibly versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, in your porridge or baked goods.

Chia Seeds are so popular because they expand 14 times their size in your stomach, giving you the full feeling without all the calories. From experience, there is no hype about that statement; All true!

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