My Two-Week Raw Vegan Bodybuilding Experiment
Before I begin my in-depth “vegan meat head” analysis of the raw vegan diet, I’d first like to mention that I can’t believe how many peeps have expressed their interest in hearing my thoughts and feelings on this particular diet experiment.
And well, truth is, I’ve kind of delayed writing this post because I didn’t want to offend the raw foodies! But at the end of the day, I want to make it clear that ANY vegan diet is A-okay with me and like many things in life, it’s all about different strokes for different folks.
It’s funny how non-vegans think the standard “vegan diet” is sooooooo limited and difficult to stick with. And yet, they don’t even realize just how many variations of a vegan diet actually exist!
“80/10/10,” Raw until 4pm,” fruitarian,” “high carb/low fat…” Yes, these are just a few of the plant-based “diets” which my vegan brethren and I choose to follow. And at the end of the day, as long as nobody’s being killed, harmed or eaten and we’re still able to live a healthy, fruitful (no pun intended) life, then I say all the power to ’em!
So what type of “raw vegan” diet did I choose to follow for my little experiment?
It was basically called the “I’m going to eat whatever the hell I want for two weeks so long as it’s a whole, unprocessed, unrefined plant food” diet. For those who don’t know what the textbook definition for “raw vegan” is, it basically entails that we do not eat anything cooked above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (or 46 degrees Celsius for us Canadians.) Raw vegans eat this way because they believe that any food cooked above this temperature has lost its enzymes and nutrients. And many raw foodies often report health benefits such as weight loss, more energy, clearer skin, improved digestion and improved overall health.
My reasoning for going raw was simple. I wanted to give my body a break from eating the same vegan “bodybuilding” type foods every day. And I wanted to cleanse my body of all the vitamins and supplements I take, the soy, coffee, protein powder and essentially perform an “internal cleansing” if you will. And more than anything, I was curious to see what kind of positive and/or negative effects I would experience as a vegan bodybuilder consuming nothing but earth-grown, whole foods.
I had it all mapped out. I journaled my daily findings. I determined how many calories I would consume, where I was going to get my protein from, what my six daily meals would be. I even bought a dehydrator, thus taking my raw veganism to SUPER HARDCORE status!
And how did it go? Here is my “Two Sentence Summary” for each of the 14 days.
DAY 1 – I’m so excited to be eating this much fruit!! I probably shouldn’t be throwing back this many dates though… And yet, I can’t stop…”
DAY 2 – Wow, cleaning this juicer is a HUGE pain-in-the-ass… But I’m loving how I FEEL drinking all this green juice! Coffee withdrawal headaches are, however, STRONG today.
DAY 3 – I do seem to look leaner today. Could this be due to how many times I’m crapping? Seriously, I thought I went a lot as a “regular” vegan (no pun intended.) But this shit is CRAZY!!! (Pun INTENDED!)
DAY 4 – I’m kinda diggin’ this whole raw thang. I never have cravings. And I’m not feeling deprived or even missing cooked foods or coffee! I actually kinda dig starting my day with green juice.
DAY 5 – Okay I’m really starting to hate this effing juicer clean-up. And for real, the constant shitting is getting outta control!!!!!!!!!
DAY 6 – Today was “Leg Day” at the gym. Otherwise known as “I Just Devoured an Entire Package of Medjool Dates Day.”
DAY 7 – Went for a morning run and noticed how much lighter I feel. Could also be due to my early morning run TO THE BATHROOM (thanks to yesterday’s 2 lb. box of dates hog fest!) I feel lighter but I look so much softer.
DAY 8 – Today I used my new dehydrator and made “raw crackers” with all my leftover juicer pulp. That’s right. I’m hardcore raw vegan now.”
DAY 9 – Today was rough. My digestion was not good at all and I’m feeling pretty over it whilst I eat this bowl of cold, sprouted quinoa. I miss tempeh.”
DAY 10 – I tried to get creative with my cooking and made a raw zucchini lasagna and super tasty, fat-laden mint chocolate bars. So many nuts and dates but damn, they were good.
DAY 11 – EFF THIS SHIT. I’m so over sprouting! And beans! AND cleaning this stupid, piece of s&*! juicer. Give me that bag of dates and jar of raw almond butter and leave us alone!
DAY 12 – Okay Shorkey, you gotta finish this raw diet strong. Nothing but juice and salad for these last two days. You can do this. Dates and nuts, you have FAILED ME! I still love you though.
DAY 13 – So…. close….to… being…. DONE…. Man, my workouts have sucked this week. Though interestingly enough, I’m convinced that raw vegan farts are completely odorless.
DAY 14 – Well, my skin sure looks clear & vibrant! And who knew that “juicer pulp raw crackers” would become my new fave snack?! But seriously, I am beyond stoked to cook up some veggie soy-sages and kale tomorrow.
In conclusion, what did I learn? What did I take away from this experiment? And would I recommend a raw diet to other vegans and vegan bodybuilders?
Well, I certainly don’t regret this two week experiment. And you know what the biggest benefit I discovered was? Going raw completely reset my metabolism and literally made ALL sugar cravings go away completely.
I’m proud to say that I’ve been back on my high-protein, low-carb “vegan meat head” diet for almost three weeks now and in this time, I have not eaten one bite of dessert or sweet treat other than fruit. I just haven’t even cared for it. I’ve also lessened my coffee consumption by half which is HUGE for the former 3 – 4 cups a day I was having prior to going raw.
And I’m obsessed with dehydrating…. tofu. I know, I know. It has nothing to do with being “raw” and I can just imagine the raw foodies rolling their eyes right now. But what can I say? You can take the soy out of my diet for two weeks. But you can’t take the meat head out of me. 😉
All in all, I’m really glad I gave this a go and stuck it out. And I sincerely do encourage others to give it a try. I would like to follow a similar diet every few months but maybe just for one week instead. Two weeks did seem quite long for me but MAD RESPECT to the raw foodists who follow this time-consuming lifestyle year-round. Seriously, I thought MY bodybuilder meal prep was a big enough pain-in-the-ass…
Anyway, I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying that a raw diet just wasn’t ideal for my particular goals and lifestyle. I love my protein and personally, I just feel best when it makes up the majority of my daily calories. Nevertheless, I’ll take a 2 lb. box of Medjool dates over a brick of tofu ANY DAY!
Though my protein powder-covered tofu jerky wasn’t half-bad either 😉
-Samantha Shorkey, Jacked on the Beanstalk