Raw food lifestyle
December 18, 2012 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone tried raw food lifestyle? Are there affordable raw food teachers/classes in new york?

What was your experience?
posted by raghuram to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I did it back in 2004, for about a year. It wasn't too difficult to do, but keep in mind that

1. I lived in California, where fresh fruits and veggies are plentiful year-round (not sure about the availability/quality in New York), and raw food restaurants exist
2. Budget was not really an issue (it can get expensive, depending on your tastes)
3. It's not really a long-term sustainable lifestyle if you go 100% raw, like I did - see downsides below.
4. You will probably end up drinking a lot of veggie/fruit juices and eating large quantities of veggies/fruits, so think about buying in bulk and storage issues. I was buying 50 lbs of carrots every two weeks, for two people. I also had a second refrigerator.

The benefits: increased energy - I could get by on two to three hours of sleep and feel fine the next day, improved moods, lessening of PMS symptoms, weight loss, clearer skin.

The downsides: too much weight loss and difficult to put on weight on raw diet; I always felt cold, and hard to find acceptable food when eating out or with friends. Required superhuman willpower to avoid eating verboten foods.

Observations: I read a number of raw food books, and most of the authors are clearly not nutritionists or even close. Many were in the business of selling their expensive raw food supplements (acai, maca, green spirulina whatever) or gizmos (Vitamix blenders, rebounders, etc.), since presumably books and workshops don't really pay the rent. The books might be helpful for recipes, but there is a lot of misinformation and quasi-religious fervor. Also, stay away from books that require you to make complicated recipes, since that takes a lot of time and expensive equipment. Also, you will just end up with fancy salad and some dehydrated/blended stuff in it. Just eat the foods whole.
posted by Atrahasis at 9:28 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: "Many were in the business of selling their expensive raw food supplements" - I noticed this too, and some of these are insanely expensive.

Can I ask why you stopped? I mean, 1 year is not enough for long lasting changes, no?

Thank you for answering
posted by raghuram at 9:43 AM on December 18, 2012

What kind of long-lasting changes are you looking for, raghuram?

I stopped because I was a woman of 5'8" weighing 111 lbs and could not put on more weight no matter what I did. It began to feel less like a healthy lifestyle and more like an eating disorder.
posted by Atrahasis at 9:54 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

My best friend has been raw vegan for 3 years. She hasn't lost weight and isn't sick any less often, but she does seem otherwise as healthy as before. She bought a juicer and dehydrator, so I think it was costly upfront, but the foods she can make using the dehydrator give her more flexibility to not eat the same thing every day. She passes on almost every restaurant outing because her options are so limited. She was able to maintain her diet even in tough situations - i.e. during a period where she was travelling a lot and had little money. That's about all I know offhand. If you're interested she would be happy to point you to some resources. Feel free to Memail me and I'll pass her contact info along.
posted by saltwater at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2012

Response by poster: Atrahasis:

okay, makes sense.
The usual - increased strength, less fatigue etc. I am actually not sure, but it feels like 1 year may not be enough (coming from a bad diet), that was the reason behind my question. But if you wanted to put on weight, then it makes sense to stop :)

For me, the choices are already limited (vegetarian, never ate meat all my life). Will Memail you, thank you for answering :)
posted by raghuram at 10:35 AM on December 18, 2012

Raghuram - my suggestion is to consider the specific goals you want to achieve, so you can periodically check if the diet is helping. Weight training is the best way to get more strength, I would not expect diet alone to help. The diet definitely does help with energy. Thanks to the diet, I lost weight that I could not put on again, but do know other raw vegans who are actually a bit chubby, so it probably varies for everyone.
posted by Atrahasis at 10:46 AM on December 18, 2012

Response by poster: Atrahasis:

Understood, thank you :)
posted by raghuram at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2012

I had a coworker who went raw food. He was also running a lot. He got super skinny and sort of crazy-eyed. He's still alive and claims it was great for energy.
posted by discopolo at 11:55 AM on December 18, 2012

I did (and occasionally still do) a raw-til-dinner approach. Mostly I do this in the summer when fruit and veggies are cheaper. For dinner I'd eat something like a big bunch of sauteed kale and two fried eggs. I felt great and lost weight eating this way. I felt great really, and it was sustainable because it felt do-able having cooked food for dinner. Just throwing that out there as an alternative to the dogma of raw foodism. I love this website and she has tons of links to raw food sites like the awesome raw on $10 a day. Good luck!
posted by Katine at 12:06 PM on December 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: that raw 10 blog is awesome, thank you for sharing, Katine :)
posted by raghuram at 1:31 PM on December 18, 2012

Mod note: raghuram, you don't need to respond to each comment; just answer questions that commenters may have for you, and aside from that, relax and take in the answers. Later you can make a wrap-up comment saying what was especially helpful or whatever, if you'd like.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:57 AM on December 19, 2012

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