Friday, March 11, 2011

In the Raw

I just finished a 5-day Raw Foods cleanse that I created…nothing crazy or super stringent – just clean, organic, raw foods 5x a day and lots of water, making sure to get proteins and healthy fats from nuts and all natural nut butters.
Why did I decide to cleanse?   I eat a LOT of protein….about 30-35% of my daily calories come from protein.  A diet in which protein makes up more than 30% of your caloric intake can cause buildup in your intestines as well as affect your kidneys if not carefully monitored.  So, in order to flush toxins from my body, buildup in my intestines and give my body an overall ‘diet shock’ so to speak, I decided to cleanse the natural way.  No cleanings pills, no cayenne pepper and water – just wholesome raw foods.
Why raw foods?  Raw foods are full of living enzymes that help your body in digestion, elimination and absorption, ensuring a thorough cleansing of your entire body as well as a supply of many vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Another advantage of being on a raw cleanse is that done properly, it tends to be an alkaline diet. If you remember from high school chemistry, you measure the pH of substances by comparing it to water. Some substances are acidic, like vinegar, and some are alkaline, like soap. The pH of your blood is slightly alkaline. When you eat a diet high in acid, you body must work to keep your blood pH constant or else you can get sick. It is just as important as your body temperature. The good news is that vegetables, sprouts and some low sugar fruits all add to the alkalinity of your blood. When you eat an uncooked diet, your body can naturally detoxify itself and keep you healthy.
After 5 days on my own version of the raw foods cleanse, I am 5lbs less on the scale (some is water, some is pounds lost), I am more lean, my digestive system is working full speed and I feel  overall healthy, clean and energetic.  I am sleeping better, my skin is phenomenal and I feel re-charged. 
Many have asked me if I felt at all deprived on my cleanse – NO!  That was very surprising for me.  But I found ways to keep some of my favorite and typical foods in the cleanse and made sure to eat every 3 hours as per usual to keep the metabolism moving.  I will keep lots of raw foods as part of my daily nutrition moving forwards as I truly believe in the benefits!  This won’t be my last 5 days on the cleanse….I will most likely revisit in a few months.
So what did I eat? (Please note this is not a specific diet to be followed- just something I experimented with)

Breakfast was a delicious bowl or raw oats with apple puree, cinnamon, sliced almonds, almond milk (I purchased a raw all natural, unsweetened brand for 35 calories a cup) and a banana.  YUMMMM!  How did I do it?  I took a cup of all natural whole grain oats, sprinkled them with cinnamon and sliced almonds then pureed an apple (leave the skin on for the best nutritional value) and poured the puree (juice pulp and all) over the oats.  I put the container in the fridge overnight and let it soak in.  In the morning the oats were an amazingly soft and flavorful breakfast!  I sliced banana overtop and topped with almond milk.
My AM snack was a pear with 1 ounce (20 almonds) of raw almonds.  Lunch time was my favorite – a big salad with loads of mixed greens, fresh clementine’s, broccoli, chopped cabbage, fresh beets, ¼ of an avocado for some good fats and topped with raw apple cider vinegar.  I made a big fruit salad at the beginning of the week with melon and berries that I had a small side of as well.
PM snack was another favorite – pureed greens!  I know it sounds odd but it actually was really good.  I used spinach, kale, bell peppers, cucumber and green onion for a yummy drink (water for the mixing and I also added ice and a little almond milk for some creamy texture). 

Dinner was either a large veggie salad or another shake but this time the shake was ¼ cup of oats, 1 TBS almond butter, almond milk, berries that I had frozen to make the shake creamy and cold, and cinnamon and was DELICIOUS!

I kept chopped peppers, broccoli and cucumber with me throughout the day whenever I needed a bite of something .
There are TONS of recipes online for raw foods – even raw pastas and pizzas made from veggies and sprouted beans and wheat.  I chose to keep mine fairly simple and quick for my on the go lifestyle and definitely enjoyed the cleanse and the results.  Keep in mind a cleanse shouldn’t last more than 5-7 days.  There are some people out there who choose to live the ‘raw lifestyle’ but tend to be highly deficient in a lot of nutrients…particularly proteins.  So while I highly recommend this is a cleanse, I would not chose it as a lifestyle given my goals in fitness and strength.
Overall…a worthwhile experience – happy eating!

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