Raw challenge!

CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

Hey everyone, I started an impromptu 30 day raw vegan challenge! I've been vegan for 12 years (I'm 31) and raw off and on but never too seriously. 

I'm trying to find a way to be kept accountable for the month. Is anyone willing to be my check-in friend? I'd be happy to join an existing challenge if there is one... but I didn't see anything going on presently. I guess I could post daily updates on this created thread or something? Not sure of the best way to go about it and I just want to be respectful of the board. Cheers everyone!


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  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Alright, no comments, that's cool. I'll just comment on the board directly here. smile

    For background, I'm 31 female (a/s/l? lol). I'm doing this as an overall self-improvement project, especially as a way to study how my individual actions affect our planet/the collective. Since I genuinely believe the planet would be better off if everyone ate more fruits and veggies, I'm going from there by doing 100% raw. I'm prioritizing organic produce especially. I'll be in Bali for two weeks of this challenge, which will create slightly unique hurdles but considering it's one of the most vegan-friendly vacation spots I'm not too worried. I could very well continue past 30 days, but I know it's a mental thing to say to myself, "I'm stuck doing this forever oh no." So, 30 days it is. In terms of health, I'm already in pretty good shape and in my ideal weight range. If I become less skinny fat, then that's a total added bonus though. 

    This is day 3, actually. Day 1 and 2 were fine. Day 1 I felt amazing and had very good energy. I normally take a nap mid-day and didn't feel the need to do so, which is great. In fact, this was neither of the two days, in site of my toddler not giving me much rest on one of the nights.

    Day 1 food: Morning smoothie of fresh coconut milk, 6 dates, ice, and cacao nibs. Ate watermelon and pomegranate seeds for breakfast. Lunch was a salad of purple cabbage, cucumber, carrot, and pomegranate seeds with Rawtarian's ranch dressing in her new cookbook (which was amazing, btw). Post-lunch I had a strawberry smoothie with coconut milk, dates, and strawberry. Dinner was a large bowl of (cold) cucumber dill soup. Made it by blending avocado, cucumber, dill, salt, and then added pepper. 

    Day 2 food: same morning smoothie as yesterday. For breakfast ate mango and pomegranate seeds. Lunch was salad of purple cabbage, cucumber, carrot, pomegranate seeds with the curry dressing. It was fine, but I used green curry paste instead of curry powder which made for a different flavor. Post lunch was another cacao smoothie. Dinner, I made the protein burgers in the Rawtarian's new book. I didn't have hemp seeds, though, so I did extra flax and walnut. I ate two of the patties and it was super dense and filling. I like that it made my stomach full but didn't make my brain foggy or lethargic. 

    I'll write more about day 3 at the end of today. I'll try to be cognizant of stuff like how I'm feeling, etc. I wish there was a way to upload pictures since I'd show meals and a picture of me, but I'm not seeing that functionality. So there we have it. :)

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Thanks, Claire! This is such a wealth of information for members--I think I'll treat myself to it after I'm done with this 30 day challenge, and re-up on another month. tongue-out 


    Day 3!

    Started the morning with lemon water and a cacao smoothie. Breakfast was cut mango and watermelon. 

    Lunch was amazing kale salad. I remember the first time I ever ate kale, I was lucky enough to learn from Karen Knowler's recipe on how to prep it: squeeze lemon juice and salt, then couple it with garlic and olive oil. Massage with hands. It makes kale taste fantastic. The finely shredded texture also helps. I could eat kale by itself just with those ingredients. Then I added cucumber, tomato, and carrot, followed by the Rawtarian's ranch dressing. This dressing is amazing and will easily be my go-to dressing for many other salads. I also ate the last burger patty from last night.

    Afternoon was another cacao smoothie which at this point is basically my two-cups-a-day coffee replacement.

    Evening snack was about 6 mangosteens (those suckers are kinda small). 

    Dinner was Jason Wrobel's beet and blood orange salad. He does beautiful dishes so I was looking forward to this one but I messed it up, unfortunately. I wet chopped the beets, which made the dish TOO wet. Then, I added more salt and balsamic than I should've... such is the problem with imprecise ingredient lists. I'm not skilled enough in the kitchen--at all--to add flavors without exact measurements. It's a little frustrating because I can taste the potential of the recipe, but it just didn't come together for me. Which is a shame because I used most of my pistachios in it, haha. I still ate it because I'm not too discerning and I might be able to repair it but overall = fail.  

    Energy levels were good even though I was on the go. I had my first "popup craving" which I define as inexplicably getting the taste of a cooked food dish. It just appears, it's so strange. Sometimes this happens with dishes I haven't had since childhood. In this case, I got the taste of idli. Presently, I live in south India which has some of the BEST vegan dishes. It's very different from north India, so very few people have tried typical south Indian staples like idlis and dosas. There are few raw vegans here, so it's not like there's "raw vegan korma" or "raw vegan appams," unfortunately. I'm not a good enough raw cook to try and replicate such staples, but maybe I'll try someday. 

    Digestion is good but weird. Morning of day 4 I have very mild flu-like symptoms and little appetite. Nothing I can't handle. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 4: Went well! I was on the go a bit more and need to remember to pack food.

    Morning: Cacao smoothie and cut mango. I didn't eat lunch until 1:30 and was super hungry.

    Lunch: Had another lovely kale salad and the organic tomatoes in it were amazing. Those taste like a different fruit compared to conventional counterparts. 

    Snack: Had a banana smoothie with dates, ice, and coconut milk. Delicious.

    Dinner: Made a large veggie platter with zucchini-cashew ranch, and wasn't a fan of the recipe (note: will not use raw recipes anymore until I trust the source). I added half an avocado to it and it helped the flavor. Veggie platter was cucumber, red pepper, and carrot.

    The day was fine. Not much to report. :)

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 5: still trucking along, and pretty easily at that. 

    Breakfast: fruit salad of pomegranate seeds, mango, and kiwi. Also had the usual cacao smoothie.

    Snack: I packed these snacks here which are mashed dates and mixed nuts (pistachio/almonds) shaped into 1/2" thick medallions the size of half dollars. I had about 5 of those until lunch and they kept me nice and satiated.

    Lunch: Salad of cucumber, carrot, red pepper and tomato with creamy lemon thyme dressing (which if I'm honest, was really just a raw ranch dip with fresh thyme). I ran out of kale and I'll be traveling, so there was no point in restocking the pantry. Hence, the lack of variation.

    Dinner: Similar salad except I made a ranch base and added plenty of black pepper. I also followed it up with a fantastic almond date smoothie that I made with coconut milk.  

    So far, no cravings for cooked. It's been very easy, but this is also because I can eat the same foods for a long time and be fine. I always try to use the raw honeymoon period to learn new dishes that will help keep this more on autopilot, because the more dishes I learn that are easy and predictable, the more I can rotate things in and out with ease. I do see that I have more fats than fruit in my diet but as of right now I'm okay with that. I feel better after eating a veggie salad with a nut-heavy dressing than I do a bowl of fruit. 

    I notice that I get a resounding sense of gratitude for food these days. I'll take a bite of a particularly good dish and feel so blessed. It's easy to say one "only" eats fruits and vegetables, but we live in a time of such an embarrassment of riches. The fruit we enjoy today is so very different than the tasteless fruit cultivars from centuries ago. We have salt for pennies, when it used to cost paychecks. The variety is truly staggering. I need to probably eat a wider variety of foods myself, but I'll get there. A hurdle I see will be eating a wide enough variety of fruits and veggies: on a vegan diet I eat so many types of cooked vegetables, and that will be harder in this case--it's hard eating okra, eggplant, gourd, certain greens, chow chow, and yam as raw. But, there are many advantageous things I'm forgoing: cooked/heated oil and fatty foods, white rice, overly spicy foods, etc. I think one reason why I ultimately went off raw last time was because I said, "it's not like my old diet was so bad." And while this is true, I need to remember all of the reasons I'm going raw.

    Which, oh, noticeable benefit already: my face. It just looks so much better. Not puffy at all, and just... brighter. Neat benefit for only being 5 days in. I haven't weighed myself and nor do I feel a need to, but I might do so when I get back from my trip.

    Speaking of, I'm in a plane or running around airports from early morning to late in the evening tomorrow, blah. I often comfort eat in this particular situation as a way of passing the time or trying to make the trip more enjoyable, but that's not exactly the case for tomorrow. It's not a big deal and I'll manage fine. I've packed enough calories' worth of dates and nuts that even if I only ate those things I'd be just fine. And part of me still feels like cribbing about "not being able to eat certain foods" is such a ridiculous first world problem that I can't take it seriously. It's an insane blessing that one's biggest issue is only eating some types of foods but not others, all while going to some beautiful place. So, again: no real complaints.


  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    Great breakfast on day 5! I'm going to have to make something similar for myself now. :)

    Airport food has slowly been improving over the years. I can usually find something to eat if I hunt around the restaurants. That said, your dates and nuts seem like the saner and simpler choice. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Thanks, Claire! Fruit for breakfast is always great. Super light, easy to make! I hope you live in a relatively fruit-friendly place. Most places are, but I'd say somewhere like Ecuador is a little easier than Finland. Airport food IS getting better, too! It's always great finding straight up nuts, juice bars, and even decent salads. LAX international has a fantastic vegan restaurant, for example. But yeah, I remember the days of soggy frozen egg meals and crappy potato chips everywhere. What do you normally enjoy in a day?


    Day 6: airport hell

    I stuck with being raw, but had no time to eat. I thought a three-hour layover in Malaysia would afford time to decompress and get a meal, but nope: had to run through immigration twice, recheck baggage and get a new ticket, go through two security checkpoints... it was AWFUL. And yet, I had 10 minutes to grab fresh pineapple and orange juice in the food court. It wasn't ideal since I was drinking while jogging, but hey, I made the flight (barely, they closed the gate by the time I got there!) and all was good.

    Food intake was: half an avocado, pomegranate seeds, a few date medallions, and juice. That was it. It was the saddest raw day ever. But, we stopped at the grocery store at almost midnight on the way into the place we're staying, and stocked up on amazing fruits. 


    Day 7: raw paradise

    Bali is easily the most raw vegan-friendly vacation spot I've visited, except maybe somewhere like Southern California where there's a raw spot seemingly on every corner and Whole Foods/Paycheck makes going raw stupidly easy.

    Morning: Cacao smoothie (packing the personal blender was a good move).

    Lunch: I ordered raw vegan pizza delivery, haha. It was great: flax/nut crust with basil pesto, shredded kale and asparagus, and cashew cheese. Also had fresh orange juice.

    Snack: Bowl of mangosteens which were fresh and fantastic. Another cacao smoothie with cashews and dates for milk and sweetness.

    Dinner: Ordered delivery of raw Arabic salad with garlic tahini dressing, and raw nasi goreng. Haven't had it yet (still waiting on the order), but I'm sure it'll be good.

    Admittedly, now's the time where it's slightly hard doing raw because the vegan spring rolls with peanut sauce would be my first choice... but I'm still super happy and grateful to be in a place with amazing options. 

    Plus, raw's been serving me well so I'll stick by it. Reduced jet lag, my face looks fresh and leaner, and just feel all around fine. One week in, all is good!

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 8

    Delicious food day! Bali is amazing.

    Breakfast: Cacao smoothie, then went to my favorite restaurant, Clear Cafe. Unfortunately they didn't have lunch options, so I went for a raw granola with coconut milk and fruit (papaya, strawberry, banana). Also had a strawberry milkshake.

    Post-breakfast: Saw a raw chocolate place, so I went in and grabbed raisin cashew chocolate bar. It was fantastic. 

    Lunch: Had the nasi goreng which I didn't eat from last night, which was fermented seitan and spring rolls with an Asian vinaigrette. It was good--the fermented tempeh had a cheesy taste to it.

    Post-lunch: had a delicious mangosteen and cacao smoothie.

    Dinner: Made a giant salad of cucumber, cherry tomato, avocado, and topped it with pistachio, raisin, and basil. For the dressing, I marinated the veggies in olive oil, lemon juice and pink salt. Then I added a dollop of the tahini dressing. It was a bit of a random salad but still quite good.

    Overall I'm feeling good, just a little jetlagged. Soon will be some rafting and touring around before moving to a new place on the island. It's been a great trip, and going raw is super easy here.

  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    Enjoy Bali! 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 9: The days are running together here and I'm going to try to remember all that I ate, but I've still been raw. :)

    Breakfast: Fruit bowl of papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit, and strawberries. I had a mango-strawberry juice, a wheatgrass shot, and a square of raw vegan chocolate (which they sell in so many places!)

    Lunch: Basic green salad and orange juice.

    Post-lunch: Orange carrot ginger juice

    Dinner: I was pretty hungry, so I ordered a spinach mushroom "quiche" which fell a little flat. But I admire their efforts! I also got a caesar salad which was quite nice: capers, strawberry, and rawmesian with a good solid ranch-type dressing.


    Day 10: 

    Breakfast: Cacao smoothie

    Post-breakfast: Trail mix with nuts and raisins

    Lunch: Orange juice with a greens and avocado salad

    Post-lunch: Bowl of mangosteens and a beet juice mix

    Dinner: Raw nachos, green juice, and a banana toffee pie


    So yeah, Bali continues being quite easy for raw food. Occasionally I've gotten a craving for warm food or something a little more savory like a tofu curry. But otherwise it's been fine! 

  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    It sounds like a raw foods paradise. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Still going raw, but it's been a bit harder since we left Ubud. We went to an ecolodge where it was a captive market situation when it came to food, but they had a few raw options. And by "a few" I mean two, so it was a ton of salad and a veggie wrap with cashew sauce. Thankfully I brought a hand blender that's been a lifesaver. Plus I stocked a few veggies so it's been manageable. Now we're at a place on the beach which is fantastic, but just as remote when it comes to options. At least there's a full kitchen since I had to borrow a knife in the last place.

    Day 11-15: at the ecolodge

    Breakfast: a fruit platter and some fruit juice. Not too extensive when it came to fruits, though the snake fruit was nice!

    Lunch: The raw wrap and a salad. Sometimes green juice or a smoothie.

    Dinner: Salad

    Snacks--I had some cashews, cacao, and cucumber slices while there. 

    To give credit to the lodge, their greens were grown on-site and were phenomenal. But it definitely got... monotonous. To be expected, coming from a place like Ubud where the selection was unreal.

    Day 15 dinner: shifted to the new place. We went to the local market but it was closing so there were only a few stalls open and selling very basics like tomatoes and cucumber. Thankfully cucumber is legit one of my favorite foods, and one of the takeout restaurants had a tomato basil salad. I built on that and made a walnut pesto dressing, then drizzled it over the balsamic tomatoes and cut up more cucumbers. It turned out surprisingly well. Today, though, we may have to get a car to drive the requisite 30 minutes to get to a decent store--it was a 25-minute trek up some crazy hills to get to the little local market, and that seems not fun when carrying stuff like watermelon.

    That's the update! There have definitely been a few, "why am I even doing this?" especially when there were lovely vegan options at the lodge. I'm getting into the, "this isn't fun" part of the diet (er, lifestyle). It's to the point where I've lost interest in the food and feel a bit more of a defeatist attitude. But, I'm happy with my ability to prep and make my own food. For example, oranges plus almonds plus ice and salt =  decent smoothie. I'd kill for some dates right now, though! 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 16-18:

    Day 16 and 17 were limited in options and I was trying to be creative as a result. A lot of cucumber, some nut dressings which were so-so, fruit salads in the morning, and pretty basic food. I definitely got irritable on a few occasions mostly because I was so tired of eating the same stuff over and over and over again. Variety is a pretty important part of a raw vegan lifestyle and while I don't need gourmet all the time, I at least want to feel like I have access to a decent selection of fruits and veggies, and that I can go to the store to get basics. I didn't have that at our new place where we stayed for 4 days. No decent market (or at least, it was closed often), and just... not much. The store didn't have a produce section, to give an idea of its limitations. Plus the fruit just wasn't that good. I found some freeze-dried fruit and that helped a bit. Oh, and got those dates!

    Day 18: Had the usual fruit breakfast, but shifted to one of the most touristy locations in Bali. I already knew there were great raw options here, so I went a little crazy and ordered nut burger, veggie burger, avocado soup and a dessert. I think my appetite shrank or something because I was full after half the nut burger. I'm stocked for the day as a result! 

    I don't want to sound ungrateful for being in such a lovely place, though I won't mind getting back home and back to my normal life. :) On the plus side, my stamina has been surprisingly good! I hauled my toddler around on a small trek to a waterfall with steep inclines and managed well. I can't say I notice any other obvious effects of being raw. Two weeks ain't a lot of time, though, so it's not like I expect sunshine and sprinkles. I don't like that emotions are tied with food, though, since normally that indicates... well, not a good mental headspace. The thing I always loved about veganism was its general liberation from concerns about what to eat, how much, etc. I have a great food compass on a vegan diet and I've wondered if that can be refined with raw veganism. I don't know the answer to that, but feelings of frustration around food is a new feeling that I'm wrangling with. I'm still figuring out if that's normal, a typical part of the experience, or if it's a sign that this isn't a good idea. I'm going to fulfill the 30 days for sure, but I definitely have questions about the long-term feasibility based on the mental part of it.

    I notice when I'm full, life is good so maybe I just need to eat more. And to eat more means to plan better. That's the other thing, though: I don't like planning my food. I have to remember back when I was vegan, though, and there wasn't even soy ice cream as a standard option. There was a time when vegetarians had limited options at restaurants, too... but now there's such a world of choice. I don't know if raw vegans will ever get there, but the plethora of recipes that have proliferated online is a great sign. I guess what I'm saying is that it's okay to be a little food frustrated or food conscious. Maybe it's just part of learning the ropes of a new lifestyle, which always takes some getting used to. I don't know when that goes away, though. Or if it does. Or what that grace period should look like. It doesn't help that while there are countless good vegan role models, the number of raw ones are very, very limited. I remember getting into raw back in 2005-2006 and none of those same raw foodists are still raw today. Anyway, long tangent... but just typing aloud. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 19: Breakfast was a bunch of fruit: watermelon, papaya, and pineapple. Only problem is, it wasn't particularly good fruit. Had some orange juice too. Not sure what it is, but the standard tropical fruit in Indonesia can't beat India. Oh, I also ate the raw chocolate pie that I ordered from yesterday. Yep, pie for breakfast. It was great.

    Lunch: ate the nut burger also from yesterday. Mid-afternoon I delved into some cucumbers and raw hummus.

    Dinner: Ordered zucchini pasta with lemongrass sauce and oyster mushrooms, but I think they gave me the wrong one because I definitely didn't taste lemongrass and there were no mushrooms. It was still good, but just not what I was expecting. I also had a green juice of kale, apple, mint, and some other delicious stuff. 

    During the day I found a great market for vegans and stocked up on raw crackers, the raw hummus I ate for lunch, and some chocolate pudding. Also grabbed those almonds, yay!

    I will say, though, I'm pleased that despite me being nothing special in the kitchen, I find I can actually make many dishes that taste better than the ones I've been getting in restaurants. For example, the kale salad I had earlier in this challenge was heads above the salads and dressings I've had here. I of course give all credit to the Rawtarian since I primarily use these recipes. tongue-out

    Anyway, I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining about anything. Food's been excellent for as far as vacations go. That said, I'm looking forward to whipping stuff up in the kitchen at home!


  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    Vacation is always a crazy time for food. I feel like by the time I get completely settled in and find out where the best restaurants and markets are, it's already time to leave. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Claire T, you nailed it! Just now getting my bearings and then, time to go back. smile 


    Day 20: Yesterday was a bit of overindulgence on the food scene! Breakfast was fruit, and some of the leftover raw hummus and crackers I picked up.

     For lunch I ordered the cucumber tomato salad with tahini, as well as raw Asian rice. The rice dish was surprisingly good! They minced cashew, carrot, onion, and a bit of cucumber and added tamari sauce and coconut oil. It had a great mouth feel to it and was very filling. I think I'm going to replicate this dish when I get home. I ended up adding the tomato cucumber salad (which were also minced) because the "rice" was too heavy otherwise.

    Post-lunch, I got a smoothie of coconut milk, pineapple and mint... which I later had to add almonds and dates to because it was otherwise too grassy and not very sweet (I find pineapple here is chewier and not as sweet as India or the US). 

    Dinner, I ordered a large salad and raw tempeh. I really like raw tempeh because it has a texture that's very hard to replicate in other raw foods--that chewiness and that filling density, too. I also got a piece of raw chocolate but didn't eat it yet because I was just too full. Because of the heavier foods for lunch I was glad to have some of the lighter greens. It's actually a bit hard to get (salad) greens in India, although it's getting easier. Plus, I find leafless salads are actually delicious in their own right: Just add more of the things like carrot, beets, tomato, cucumber, etc, and it's fine. But anyway, the salad last night was simple but hit the spot. 

    Oh, random notes: I got an awesome glass straw. It's one of the only things I got this trip since I'm not much of a shopper, and it's a silly thing but I really like it. Also got its pipe cleaner because I don't like the idea of not being able to clean it. 

    I also tried ear candling--I read about it here on this forum and saw a sign for it, so I decided to do it for fun. Can't say any bugs came out or ridiculous grossness, but hey, my ears are now just a bit cleaner than before!

    Today it's going back home. Great vacation, and great to be going back, too. In a lot of respects Bali is better than my home city, but there's something about home that's just comforting, too. Not even from a food perspective (though that may definitely be a part of it!) but just being back among the people I know and love. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 21: Yesterday was a surprisingly good food day considering most of it was spent in airports. Morning was great: finished the raw tempeh, had some fruit. Lunch I ordered a nut burger that consisted of some great flavors and sauces: pesto, cashew cream, even ketchup. The salad on the side was good too. I really stuffed myself in the morning/afternoon knowing it was going to be slimmer pickings for dinner. And while it was, it was just more on the lighter side than deprivation mode. 

    At the airport, there was a small salad bar where I got some lettuce, cherry tomatoes and carrots. Dressing was simple olive oil and balsamic. 

    For dinner, I had pineapple-carrot juice and a second orange-carrot juice at the fresh squeezed juice bar. 

    That was it! All of today I'm skimping by on snacks I got in Bali until the grocery delivery comes, and the usual organic store opens on Monday. I have enough to make some decent dishes though so it's all good. And I'm reunited with my Vitamix. tongue-out I think when I'm back in the US this Christmas I'll pick up a food processor and a good Vitamix model--I had the professional series, but gave it to my inlaws since it has the "soup" mode that they wanted to try out, and now they use literally every day... so I can't take it back anymore! It totally got kidnapped. This means I have this older refurbished one (5300 series, the cheapest I could find at the time) and that's fine, but I also want my damn soup setting, haha. I also am using a dry container for it, which does the trick but it's not optimized by any means. I think I'll stick with the Pro over the Ascent, if only because I'm opposed to "smart appliances" on principle. My stupid blender--nor any home appliance--does not need frickin WiFi. Unnecessary EMFs and potential for DDoS attacks and spying. That said, the fact they have the small container bowls would make my life so much easier since I presently use my not-so-great hand blender to do stuff like small batches of dressings and dips. If I get the newest one over the Pro, it will be for those dang container bowls alone. Anyway, sorry for this post sounding like a Vitamix infomercial. If they wanted to sponsor me like FullyRawKristina and send me one for free, though, I wouldn't complain!

    Oh, and I weighed myself! In about 3 weeks I have lost... drum roll please... 3 pounds, haha. But since my BMI's already 20-something at the start of this and is now 19-something, there ain't much to lose. But I find this a good development because as my food logs show, I've definitely been high fat raw vegan. This all said, face is better! Much less puffy, which rocks because any added weight shows up in my cheeks/face first. There's a noticeable difference in my face at 120 lbs vs 130 lbs, and even in 5-lb increments. So that's neat. Raw has also kept my face looking clear. As to other differences, I don't notice many. My moods are a bit more raw (no pun intended). I'm actually a little less mellow, but the converse to that could be that I work through things or any underlying issues faster than before, because they come to the surface more easily.

    That wraps it up for day 21! In the home stretch now. smile 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 22:

    Breakfast was some trail mix, and a cacao smoothie. Also had some "raw peanut brittle" (snack I picked up from Bali) that was definitely not anything like peanut brittle. It was more like a not-very-sweet sesame seed snack.

    Lunch was a bowl of tomato soup, the recipe for which I used from the Rawtarian's book. I actually didn't have avocado so I substituted the fats with cashew and olive oil. I also threw in some sun dried tomato. The result--in all its simplicity of just adding salt, pepper, and garlic--was beautiful. Really lovely taste, and it was much better than the weird avocado soup I had in Bali. I also had it with some raw onion crackers but it actually was tastiest on its own. Only problem was making the bowl too small. wink It's gonna be made again tomorrow too, I can tell. 

    Dinner: I made a cucumber salad (noodleized the cucumber) and used the Greek dressing in the recipe book. This was the first recipe of hers that I thought, "meh." But with oil, lemon, onion and a hint of sweetness, it was fine... just not wow. I ended up adding a lot more to it, and even then I wish I opted for an Asian almond-type dressing since that pairs better with straight-up cucumber.

    I feel like I've eaten other stuff but am merely forgetting. Another raw day, and it's good to be back! Tomorrow afternoon my kitchen will be re-stocked in all its glory. 

    Also just realized raw veganism kills fewer animals by virtue of abstaining from wheat and other crops requiring harvesting. Yes, I know this has been somewhat debunked... but baby animals in nests getting mowed down by large factory equipment is still a really sad thought! Maybe it's a silly point, but I'll take all the motivation I can get, and this one helps. 

  • TammiTrueTammiTrue Raw Master

    Ha. That definitely does not sound like peanut brittle. I think some things just get lost in translation. Congrats on the very reasonable weight loss smile A pound a week seems like a healthy pace. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Thanks, TammiTrue! For sure, it was the saddest peanut brittle ever. yell

    Only good thing is, I'm sure there's a better raw nut brittle out there somewhere: maple syrup, dates, coconut oil, crushed nuts, salt, dehydration... maybe I'll take a whack at it!

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 23: 

    Day isn't quite done but I'll post now!

    Breakfast: Had cacao smoothie, followed by a pineapple date smoothie: fresh pineapple, coconut milk, dates, and a bit of salt. I also ate the last of the onion flax crackers I bought and am reminding myself to make some more. 

    Lunch: Big bowl of tomato soup, same as yesterdays... though some basil came, so I threw some of that in the blender. I might even make the exact same thing for dinner because it's just so flippin good. 

    Post-lunch, I made the strawberry cheesecake from the Rawtarian's book. I've made the raw cheesecake before, it was just the simple strawberry layer that I'd not done, made of just strawberries and dates. The batter tasted awesome and so I'm confident it'll be delicious. In fact, it'll probably be better than the raw desserts I had in Bali, although the banana cream pie might give it a run for the money.

    Dinner: probably going to make a cucumber salad with a sweet Asian dressing (also Rawtarian's book: orange juice, almond butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic... though I'll probably also add ginger). I am a little sad that I don't have those sprouted chickpeas on hand. Or I might be lazy and go with another soup, but not sure. :)

    Oh, but I WILL be sprouting some (organic) black rice! I was pretty excited to procure it--I've had it cooked once and it's a lovely grain. As strange as it sounds, its anthocyanin actually has a distinct taste that reminds me of blueberries. I'm hoping Bryan Au is right that this is sproutable... and so this makes me excited to have a rice-type salad tomorrow. It almost makes me feel like I'm cheating on raw, though, even if I'm seeing all sorts of rolled oat recipes and wondering to myself, "when did rolled oats ever become raw?!" I'm also thinking I should bust out my dehydrator. I always think, "but it takes forever!" only to realize if I made something in the morning I could be enjoying it by now. 

    The other thing that hit me is how I feel strangely guilty for spending so much time preparing food. But then I realize most of human history has been people spending a lot of time making food. Or, at least, it's this era in human history in which (at least Westerners) have spent the least amount of time making food thanks to the packaging, preserving, canning industry etc. I guess I sometimes feel too hedonistic spending so much time in the kitchen. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    For dinner last night, I ended up having zoodles with pesto sauce made from PETA's recipe, though I halved the pesto and ended up with not enough. I seldom have success with zucchini pasta because it usually ends up obscenely watery to the point that I feel like I have soup at the bottom of the bowl. Not too appetizing, but it was alright. Turns out nutritional yeast is a great addition to pesto. It's been a while since I had nutritional yeast and I forgot how much I genuinely enjoy the flavor. Great mouthfeel, though I know it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    We will see how the sprouted black rice goes. It's been soaking overnight and it's definitely not ready this morning.   

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 24: really delicious raw day, actually.

    Breakfast: cacao smoothie along with a fruit salad of papaya, mango, banana, and pomegranate seeds. The fruit was really delicious, especially the mango. This country has the most incredible mangoes, and the ones I get in the States are nothing like the ones here. I actually don't even bother getting mangoes there because they're not as good. On the same token, I don't bother eating cherries, peaches, or blueberries here for the same reason. 

    Post-breakfast: I enjoyed a slice of the strawberry cheesecake! I shouldn't say "slice" since I usually use my copper ramekins on account of not having a proper springboard pie tin. It's fun eating out of those cups anyway. But back on point, it turned out well! The strawberry layer on top was pretty tart, but the sweetness of the thicker cheesecake layer balanced it out. 

    Lunch: rockin salad of purple cabbage and lettuce in equal portions, carrot, tomato, and pomegranate seeds. I poured over the ranch dressing I made--it's the one I made earlier in the challenge coming from the Rawtarian's book, and it is flippin amazing. I added more apple cider vinegar and garlic to it since I like a punchier dressing, but I devoured the whole salad so quickly.

    Dinner: made more tomato soup, though I feel like I keep adding more stuff to it. Today I threw in some nutritional yeast, on top of the basil and sun-dried tomatoes. I think I'll scale back the extras, though, because it detracts from the delightful purity of JUST tomato soup. 

    Rice still hasn't sprouted, so it was suggested to drain and let the moist rice sprout in cheesecloth. At this point I'll hand it over and see what happens. 

    Tomorrow I may mess around with the dehydrator for the Brussels sprouts, but I understand those suckers can take 2 days to dehydrate for anything other than just the flimsy chips. I don't want to cast out the whole veggie so I may do the battered cuts and dehydrate them. We shall see. 


  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 25

    Breakfast: another delicious fruit salad. And usual cacao smoothie, coupled with another raw strawberry cheesecake shortly after (it's clear I'm a creature of habit).

    Lunch: I made I giiiiiant salad of purple cabbage, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pomegranate seed, avocado, and made a tahini dressing. I used to have a wonderful recipe for the dressing on my old laptop but didn't save it, so I tried a new one that just wasn't great. It needed a lot of modifications, probably because of the 1:1 ratio between lemon juice and tahini. I also had to add date syrup for sweetness, and cumin. It still didn't quite come together but still decent enough for me to eat the whole thing. Just wasn't as good as my old recipe, and I don't remember the source, unfortunately. I thought it was Rawvana but alas. Then had cacao smoothie #2. 

    Dinner: I had actually planned a dehydrated dinner! Notice past tense, haha... the recipe I used was the zucchini nuggets from the Rawtarian, but realized halfway through I didn't have the mushrooms. I thought, "oh well, I'll compensate with more zucchini." Weeeell, turns out zucchini is quite a bit more watery than mushrooms. I added some more flax powder to compensate, but it still turned out much more liquid a recipe than anticipated. I remember thinking it'd be done by dinner, only to realize the dehydration time was actually 7 1/2 hours rather than the 4 I allotted. This is where I *gasp* cheated, since I cranked up the dehydrator past the raw point. But I have zero shame.

    I also made the zucchini mix more into little patties than nuggets to expedite the time. They reminded me of little latkes, actually: zucchini, almond meal, almond butter, flax, olive oil, onion powder (I used cut onion), sea salt... they turned out well! I put them as mini-sliders and used lettuce leaves to wrap them. I wish lettuce prep didn't take so long--ain't no triple-washed boxed lettuce here, so I have to rinse, rinse again, then spin dry them. At first I was concerned they'd taste too plain, but in actuality it was perfect because I love super-strong condiments. I have amazing mustard that practically burns the nose when you smell it, and I also got some locally made mint-cilantro spread. I double checked the recipe and procedure and it seems fully raw to me. I at first thought it'd be too spicy for the patties but wow, great combo. Wonderful flavors. Oh, I added a tomato slice and avocado on top of the patties. The plate looked small at first, but it was super filling.

    Tomorrow I will be attempting to make a cake for a celebration. Should be a fun time! Only minor downside is that I'm going to a relative's house overnight and so I'm packing food for the day/night and for the cake. It's not an inconvenience as much as doing a gut check of, "have I become that crazy/mildly obsessed person?" It's strange that I judge myself unnecessarily for these scenarios: "is it weird to order little at a restaurant? Is it unhealthy to find social settings cumbersome from a food perspective?" I don't have the answers, though I do know it's a reason (not the main one, but a reason nonetheless) why a lot of raw vegans ultimately quit. I'm old enough to be in control of my own diet and those around me love me unconditionally, but social exclusion on any level is evolutionarily built into us as something to avoid (lest we get thrown out of the tribe and have to wander the desert to forage alone, and all that).  

  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    Your adventures in recipe experimentation seem eerily familiar ;) I have definitely had a few of those moments. Usually, things will come out okay once you've shown eternal patience...in my experience, anyway! 



  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Haha, yeah Claire, I'm terrible at 1) planning in advance, 2) following recipes and 3) thinking, "it's not in the recipe, but maybe it'd be better with a bit of ___?" and then it turns out not as good. When I call myself challenged in the kitchen, I really think it's due to an inability to just follow directions. I also notice when I make dishes more often, my ability to improvise goes up just because I've seen enough recipes (and tasted enough of them) to know what goes well together. I'm sure others are the same, except for those freakishly lucky people who are just naturally gifted in the kitchen. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 26:


    Breakfast: Watermelon juice (small cup), cacao smoothie. 

    Lunch: Finished the rest of those sliders from yesterday and continued with the magical chutney, avocado and tomato toppings. I also had the tomato soup.

    Snack: another cheesecake cup.

    Dinner: Lovely salad of my usual purple cabbage, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, tomato, and ranch dressing. The ranch is perfect because it doesn't cause the salad to become runny and it sticks to all of the ingredients perfectly. Very happy. 

    Post-dinner: made the banana cream pie in prep for tomorrow (got moved til then). I tried marbling the pie by segregating a bit of the batter and dying it red (beet juice DOES work and doesn't affect the taste at all, woohoo). I uh, seemed to not do the greatest job but I think it's good enough. It's the thought that counts. 

    I got a few more groceries today and I continue with my resolve to switch to all organic when possible. Unfortunately the prices of some things gave me a mild heart attack. Going organic is two to three times as expensive, easily. My household can swing it given that this is still a relatively inexpensive country, but the frugal part of me had to go and read several articles as a pep talk for why organic is worth it. While it IS a privilege for sure, these stores and farmers that need all the support they can get. Lack of demand is always the biggest roadblock for why organic is not more prolific and to some extent it becomes a moral obligation that those who CAN afford organic should do it (no judging anyone else's decisions here, though). Sort of like electric cars: of course not everyone can buy one, but those who can and purchase them ultimately drive (heh) down the price for those in lower income brackets. I actually wondered if I should just grow more produce here, but since I can afford to buy organic, I actually can't think of a better way to allocate that money since it aligns with my overall values. 

     On another note, I was thinking of doing Chris Kendall's crazy pizza because it looks so amazing, but I saw the insane amount of dehydration time and realized I didn't have 30 hours in one location until Sunday night. Then I saw the cabbage rolls recipe and that too required a, "chill this overnight, then dehydrate for a long time." Made me sad! But, I will give it a shot. I seldom trust 80/10/10 recipes, though. Maybe I'll eventually gravitate towards less fat, but I remember when I did the insane version of 801010 and ate a million sugary fruit calories and just felt gross, lethargic and vision was weird. Oh, and I gained weight, not in a good way. I realize I unapologetically love raw fats and I feel really good after eating something like a giant salad with a creamy dressing. More culinary adventures will come soon.

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 27 (wow, only 3 days left? Time went by so quickly!)

    I've not had too much of an appetite today which may be hormonal in nature, since I normally love to eat. I ate two square meals today as opposed to the usual 3 solid ones with some grazing. Unfortunately, this triggered my notoriously low blood pressure and I got a bit dizzy throughout the day. I then remembered that this dizziness becomes more prevalent when I'm around this weight or less, too, so I might want to be a bit careful and make sure I keep up the calories--I remember in college when I was just more active and maybe 5 lbs less than now, I thought it was "just the way things were" to be dizzy upon standing. Telling myself to eat more is a good problem to have, though! 

    Breakfast: small bowl of cut sapota and cacao smoothie.

    Lunch: Biiiig bowl of a kale salad with cucumber, tomato, avocado, and ranch dressing. It was so delicious. I was genuinely excited to eat this big beautiful salad and I loved every bite. Pretty sure I can live on this ranch dressing alone. Also had another small date smoothie post-lunch. 

    Dinner: tried something new! I didn't do Kendall's pizza but I saw the Rawtarian had a cauliflower pizza crust in her book that was a mere 3-ish hours for dehydration. I was a little wary because I don't usually like the spiciness of raw cauliflower, and considering I have zero desire to link the taste of it with pizza I was a little dubious. But, I gave it a shot and made the crust consisting of cashew, coconut, and cauliflower (oh, and garlic and salt). A few thoughts as I made this crust: 

    -I had fresh grated coconut on hand so I figured my dehydration time might be a bit longer.

    -If anyone asks where I get my protein I'm just going to answer cauliflower. I got organic and even with conventional, it is so flippin hard to get rid of alllll of those little pesky worms. I kept breaking apart the florets and they just seemed to exist in so many impossible crevices. I tend not to freak out at the smallest little guy in my fruits and veggies because I'm so immune to it, but they were so hard to remove. I still don't think I got all of them and I just resign that they were a secret ingredient. Such is the side effect of getting produce with no sanitation middle men.

    -I tasted the batter and my skepticism remained high. Even when I dehydrated it for an hour and grabbed a piece to nibble it was... meh. I wish I added more salt to it.

    Then I made the sauce, and was super grateful to have some fresh rosemary, basil and thyme on hand. Oregano was sorely missed, but I still made a mean sauce since the recipe was quite easy. I also was thankful for the beautiful quality of the ingredients: organic tomatoes, and the walnuts were the best I'd tasted (and according to my bag, were apparently farmed by Himalayan walnut growers. Who knew those guys existed?). Only problem was the (non-oiled) sun dried tomatoes were rolled in salt for preparation which made them soft, but it made the sauce too salty and difficult to fix since I didn't want to add much more liquid. Anyway, I smeared it on and hoped the saltiness of the sauce would compensate for the simple crust. 

    Let's see, I dehydrated it with minced red onions and red bell pepper. In for another 40 minutes.

    When it came out I topped it with fresh tomatoes, fresh red pepper and a few avocado slices. Finished!

    And... WOAH.

    It was really delicious. Much to my surprise. The crust was the closest thing I've had to bread as a raw vegan. The flavors really came together and on a few bites I genuinely got the taste of actual pizza, which has not happened to me for any raw dish I've made or tasted at raw restaurants (and I've been to many in the past decade). No cauliflower bitter taste weirdness, either--disappeared entirely. The crust wasn't crispy at all... it was actually kinda chewy, which is generally impossible to replicate in raw foods. The crust will definitely be a staple and I might play around with it for sandwich bread... especially because it really didn't take that long to dehydrate. I like that I can make it post lunch and have it be ready for dinner since I don't enjoy making food late in the evenings to be read in the morning. In fact, it's my least favorite time to make stuff. So, this is perfect. 

    Great food day. Oh, my toddler is under the weather so I stayed home but sent the cheesecakes over to the rest of the family. My father-in-law is like Gordon Ramsey when it comes to his criticism of food (even though he himself can't cook at all), but he gave his approval "after he got over the sour first bite." I also have to remember there's no understanding of the taste of cheesecake here, which naturally have that sourness that we Americans know and like. 

    Day 28, coming at you like a dark horse. 

  • CatherineRCatherineR Raw Superstar

    Day 28:

    Quiet update today!

    Breakfast: wasn't hungry until late, but I had a strawberry cheesecake around 11. Oh, and a cacao smoothie. Wow, it's like I went all-out dessert first thing in the morning.

    Lunch: Kale salad, no surprises there.

    Post-lunch cacao smoothie.

    Pre-dinner pineapple smoothie made with coconut milk, 4 dates, pineapple juice and ice (so good: very velvety). I meant to add a bunch of greens to this smoothie but didn't have the ones I needed on hand.

    Dinner: I made the cauliflower crust again and fashioned it into toast for a sandwich. I didn't dehydrate as long as yesterday since I wasn't putting on tomato sauce, but I may keep it in the dehydrator a bit longer in the future since it was slightly more cauliflower-y today than yesterday. That said, thumbs up for doubling as bread. Didn't fall apart, miraculously, considering I loaded the sucker with tomato, avocado, cucumber, bell pepper and carrot. The sauce was the mint-cilantro spread liberally doused on the bread.

    Oh, and tomato soup.  

    I noticed the book has a cauliflower toast recipe that's a modification from the crust, but it requires raw rolled oats which I don't exactly have. I'm trying to think of a decent substitute, but there's nothing that immediately comes to mind: flax wouldn't work, maybe more nuts, maybe a bit of shredded coconut? Not sure. I generally avoid raw recipes requiring oats or buckwheat, though I did pick up some raw vegan granola that I should have soon. My fridge is packed with odds and ends of fruits/veggies and I should just make a choice to clear them out. 

    Oh: the rice sprouted! And naturally, my craving for a good grain salad has gone away. Figures. 

  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    Wow. Almost 30 days already! 

    I know that ground oats can work as a flour, so maybe it can work the other way around and a nut flour (or super finely chopped nuts) could act as a replacement for oats. 

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