After completing the Raw Food Diet Experiment, I made a list of the pros I experienced during the raw food diet. If you are still on the fence about starting your own 30 day raw food diet experiment, this list may just be the nudge you need. I’ve sent it to a few of my friends and two have decided to go raw for 30 Days. If the list is helpful to you, please let me know by making a donation. It is appreciated and will ensure that I will be able to continue doing more experiments in the future – all of which I will post for your benefit. And now, the Raw Food Diet Pros:
Just about everyone I’ve met, who has gone on this diet, has lost weight. If you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way, then there is no healthier way than eating raw natural foods. I personally lost 15.8 lbs while on this diet and I wasn’t even trying. In fact, I was trying to eat more than I needed in order not to lose weight. If you are trying to lose a few pounds, then try the raw food diet. Not only will you lose the weight but you will feel great while doing it. There’s no need for pills, powders, fancy meal plans, set portions, or fees. That, plus zero cooking time! Just go to your local Whole Foods or Farmers’ Market and buy the produce. Then come home, wash it, peal it, and eat it. I lost an average of 3.687 lbs in a week. If you eat a lot of processed food, as well as fast food you will probably lose more weight than me. Just keep in mind that if you eat processed food along with fast food on a daily basis, your detox period may also be more intense. With that in mind, you may not want to jump into 100% raw food all at once. If you do decide on eating 100% raw, then I recommend reading 10 Ways to Become a Raw Foodist.
Less Need for Sleep
On my Standard American Diet (SAD), I usually slept 6-7 hours a night, sometimes only managing 5. On 6-7 hours of sleep, I functioned at a normal capacity. My cognitive abilities were average and I preformed tasks within reasonable periods of time. If I slept 5 hours, I slowed down. I felt sluggish and my productivity suffered as a result.
On the raw food diet, I averaged around 5 hours of sleep a night. Even so, I still felt more alert on 5 hours of sleep while eating raw than I normally did sleeping 6-7 hours eating the Standard American Diet. Thus on a raw food diet, not only did I need less sleep, but I was also more alert on less sleep when compared to the Standard American Diet.
If you are a person that needs to accomplish many things and those things cut into your sleeping time, which in turn decreases your cognitive capacity the next day, then I would strongly consider the raw food diet.
As to why this is the case, I have a theory. If you remember my post on enzymes, you’ll remember than on a raw food diet your body doesn’t have to use as many resources to aid in digestion. Thus there are more resources left over for repair (this not only means repairing the body, but the mind as well). And when does repairing of the body and mind occur? At night – when you are sleeping.
On the SAD, you’re causing damage to your body every day by ingesting harmful toxins from cooked and processed foods. Your body has less resources and more damage to deal with, so in order to fix the damage your body keeps you sleeping for longer periods of time. If you try to wake up before the body has had a chance to repair itself, you wake up feeling tired. This is your body’s way of telling you, it has not finished repairing itself yet.
When you eat strictly raw foods, you dramatically reduce the toxins you ingest. Your body also uses less of its own resources to aid in digestion, thus you have more resources available and less damage to repair. Over time your body uses those resources to repair the damage cooked/processed foods have caused. Without new toxins coming in, your body gradually repairs all the major areas. As time passes you need to spend less time sleeping because there’s less and less damage for your body to repair.
Normally when I’m at the gym, I need about 30 sec to 1 min of rest in-between my sets. The workout is not high intensity…yet. Still I lift weights and do many sets which do require rest. On my normal diet, I fatigue faster and run out of energy quicker so I need more time in between sets to recoup. On the raw food diet, I noticed I either had a faster recovery time or I didn’t get too tired in the first place. In some cases I was literally walking from machine to machine. This didn’t happen right away; the results came on Day 7 and continued onward.
My theory is that fruits and vegetables are easily broken down. The molecular properties of fruits and vegetables are less complex than SAD foods. Fruits and vegetables are just glucose, vitamins, minerals, and water. Less complexity means less use of vital enzymes and energy. The energy conserved during digestion is surplus energy that’s available for other activities like working out. One example to ponder is meat and bananas, which one do you think you can chew, swallow, and digest faster?
While on the raw food diet I experienced strength gains at a rapid pace. This is all while losing weight. When I experienced strength gains in the past it was accompanied by an increase in my body weight as well. The strength boost first became apparent on Day 7 (link), when I went up in each of my exercises by a total of 5 lbs. By the end of Day 30, I was up a total of 20 lbs in each exercise. Up until this diet, I had reached a plateau in terms of strength. If you are an athlete and strength is a factor you might want to give this diet a try. After eating raw foods for 30 days, I went back to eating cooked foods of all kinds again. Shortly after, I lost the gains I had made up until that point. The loss in strength came fast and I was at my previous capacity within a week. As a side note, my endurance went down dramatically as well.
If you feel like you never have enough energy to get everything you need to accomplished, then you may want to consider eating raw foods. After the 7th Day, I noticed a substantial increase in energy. I’d compare it to drinking coffee, but this is a cleaner energy without a crash or jitters. The energy is like a constant stream of power. There are no short circuits and the system is always powered on. While on raw foods, if you feel yourself slowly gliding to a lower energy level you just eat a piece of fruit and you jump back up to your previous levels.
This particular pro gets a little graphic, so please skip it if you are the type that gets queasy. I started having more frequent erections after Day 8, but I didn’t post about it in my journal because I didn’t think anyone would want to read about it. Still I decided to include it here because there are men out there with erectile dysfunctions and over half of them could probably be cured if they didn’t ingest so much processed cooked food. Instead of making poor food choices and then taking pills to force a change in their bodies, they could just as easily take up a raw food diet and see their vitality improve. I noticed that while on the raw food diet, I was more responsive and in tune with members of the opposite sex. I also noticed dramatic improvements in arousal and stamina, so if you’re love life needs a boost, the raw food diet can definitely turbo-charge it.
Bouts of Euphoria
Do you like being extremely happy for no reason? I do too and during the raw food diet I experienced these intense feelings of joy. These short bursts of euphoria usually lasted anywhere from 1-3 hours, with a few cases lasting as long as 4 hours at a time. During these periods of euphoria I felt joyous. Every cell in my body was full of good feelings. Like the feelings you get when you are about to go on a much wanted vacation, or have a crush on someone, or like being a kid on Christmas morning. Remember those feelings? If you want to experience those same feelings, start eating raw foods. You will have powerful feelings of excitement, joy, and peacefulness all mixed into one. I haven’t figured out the food combination to bring them about as frequently as I’d like (they are addictive feelings after all), but from my experiences they came about after I ate fruit or drank green smoothies. I didn’t notice the same euphoria when I ate non-green vegetables or fats. I must attach a disclaimer here because your body won’t necessarily work the same as mine, so I encourage you to try what works for you. Trying fruit or green-smoothies is a good place to start. If the feelings don’t come right away, hang in there. I didn’t feel extreme joy until the 19th Day of this trial, this was a full 9 days later than on my December 08 trial.
Positive Emotions and Tranquility
After week 1, I noticed I felt positive emotions a majority of the time. I first noticed that I had become more confident. Those voices in my head that said, “You can’t do this” or “You lack X and Y” or “You’re not Z enough” slowly became whispers and gradually disappeared. After that, I became less agitated at things that would normally irk me. An example – being cut off in traffic – I didn’t care. I entered a Zen-like state where I was calm and contemplative. I felt more connected to the world and the people in it. More intuitive about people’s emotional states when I was talking to them. I could pick out their emotional states even if they were trying to put on a front. Then I started to feel like sharing those good feelings, I really wanted others to feel good. I became more generous, I would try to brighten people’s day by doing little things for them. One co-worker was sick, so I went out and got her some fresh chicken soup (up until that point I didn’t even know her that well). A friend’s car stopped working so I offered him my own and I didn’t even charge him for gas. Gasp!
Clear Thinking/Consciousness/Increased Intuition
The shift in brain capacity when you adapt a raw food diet is amazing! It’s like coming out of a fog that you were not even aware that you were in. You feel as though you just got an upgrade. When you’re on the raw food diet everything is sharper, cleaner, and faster. Ideas are flowing like a river as opposed to your mind being like a lake on cooked food.
I have a computer game that I play from time to time. It has different brain games that challenge you to use your mind. Everything is timed and the problems are not too difficult. I’ve had the game on my computer for close to a year and I play it about once a week for around an hour. Well after being at the same mental level for a while, I dramatically improved my scores on memory, intuition, and analysis.
The reason why I noticed an increased brain capacity could be that I was no longer poisoning my system with the toxins that are present in cooked and processed food. When I ate raw organic foods I ingested few to no toxins which meant less repetitive damage to my body and mind. Over time my body had repaired the major troubled spots. Since my body had more resources available left over to repair my brain, it concentrated on that. After the repairs took place my mind was able to process things in a fraction of the time it took it on the SAD. Hard to believe? Try the raw food diet out for yourself and you’ll see massive improvements in your cognitive capacity.
By the end of the diet I hardly every needed to blow my nose. Most of the time my sinuses were clear and I felt I could breathe quite easily. I don’t have allergies, so I’m not stuffed up normally, but what I noticed is that on a SAD diet my mucus was green and atrocious.
It felt like I had little green trolls living in my nose up all this time and for the first time in years they had taken a vacation. I usually have some thick boogies that are dark green and I blow them out in my sink in the morning (fun fact). In any case, I rarely had any green mucus in my nose after the end of the 2nd week and after 30 days of raw foods, I noticed even less of it.
If you place a premium on fresh breath (and who doesn’t?), then that’s just another plus of the raw food diet. When eating cooked food my mouth usually had a gritty feeling unless I brushed right away. After switching to raw foods I would have a fresh feeling in my mouth. The exception being green smoothies. Green smoothies were usually think and creamy and would tend to leave a film. Still if I swished some fresh water through my mouth, it would clean off any residue. I cannot say the same for my standard diet. If I ate cooked meat, I had to brush and floss, otherwise in a couple of hours I could feel the bacteria starting to fester.
No Sleepiness After Meals
If you adopt the raw food diet, you will not want to sit on the couch and take a nap after meals. After you eat raw foods, you’ll feel energized and ready to take on the world. You might even let out a few roars and beat your chest. If you are eating mainly fruit and greens on your diet, much like I am, your meals will be processed in a fraction of the time it normally takes for your body to process cooked food or meat. This means less down time and more time available for you to accomplish your goals.
After being on the diet for 15 days, co-workers started saying that something was different about me. I had told a couple of them that I was on the raw food diet, so obviously they suspected it could be due to the diet, but there were others who didn’t know what was different about me. Their subconscious must have picked up on something. It was kind of funny to listen to some comments like, “Something’s different about you. Did you get a hair-cut?” or “You seem to be radiating, like your glowing or something.” I don’t know if it was just the glow, or a combination of the glow and some weight loss, but I thought I’d mention the glow phenomenon here.