My Two-Week Raw Vegan Bodybuilding Experiment

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!

may the fruits be with you

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…”

sam shorkey fruit all day raw vegan problems

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.

drinking green juice all day everyday

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.

mint chocolate raw bars

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.

leftover juicer pulp raw crackers - sam shorkey raw vegan experiment

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 meathead out of me. 😉

spicy tofu jerky

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 😉

protein powder covered tofu jerky

-Samantha Shorkey, Jacked on the Beanstalk

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  • Adi: March 04, 2022

    If you offended anyone, fu¢k em!

  • Jim Savarese: November 12, 2019

    How do you get your starches. Raw corn makes sense and is fantastic right off the cobb. I thought you could soak beans but then I heard you should cook them to be safest. How did you eat your beans? Sprouted? I know Giacomo Marchese was raw for a while. I will probably ask him too how he did it. I know Ruth Heidrich, the iron lady, is mostly raw and I’ve tried it too. It was so much salad for me, you actually get tired of eating. Dates are soooo gooood. I can easily eat too many of them, especially as you stated with some nut butter.

  • Sam: October 26, 2019

    Aww thanks so much, Jordan! Glad you enjoyed this post and my brutally honest, random re-cap of the raw diet. I definitely go in raw “spurts” every season or two now. But I think it’s important to have SOME flexibility in order to make it work best.
    For instance, right now I’m big into raw smoothie bowls earlier in the day but still want something cooked and hearty in the evenings. Find your groove. Either way, thanks for the support and good luck with it!

  • Jordan: October 26, 2019

    This article is awesome, and hilarious. I love your attitude and personality, and you provide a ton of great info and I appreciate how responsive you are to the comments!
    I’m planning to use your info (and other research) to give raw veganism another go. A couple weeks ago I tried, and the first 3 days were UNREAL (climbing the walls and wanting to scream my head off with energy), and day 4 I felt roofied and couldn’t think, and that lasted for a few days until I went back on meat. So I’m not sure what I was missing, but I’m sure I wasn’t eating enough, for starters.

  • MRS B: August 22, 2019

    1. Raw vegan multivitamin and protein smoothies.
    2.Leafy greens added to said"shakes" (smoothies)(no need to juice).
    3. Hempseed, sesame, and pumpkin seed crackers.
    4. Raw savoury soups blended with added protein powder.
    5.Raw vegan falafel.
    6. Raw vegan “sausages”- Sunflower seeds, garlic/onion powder, mushrooms, seasonings.
    7. Raw vegan healing-enemas, neti pot, salt soak- the purification of the whole system occurs on raw.
    8.Mental and spiritual growth.

  • post workout diet: March 27, 2019

    Optimum nutrition is not about eating more or even less, just enough to keep you going. A little less and you will feel awful and irritable, a little more and you will gain extra body fat, which is the last thing you want. Therein lies your nutritional journey, taking care of your body both before your workout and post your workout.

  • February 28, 2019

    Optimum nutrition is not about eating more or even less, just enough to keep you going. A little less and you will feel awful and irritable, a little more and you will gain extra body fat, which is the last thing you want. Therein lies your nutritional journey, taking care of your body both before your workout and post your workout.

  • Annie: December 22, 2015

    What tells you that you reset your metabolism? And now that you’re back to normal eating, does that mean you don’t crave dates? You said your sugar cravings are gone. I’m just wondering what I might expect. I’m glad to hear you didn’t have to cut back on workouts. That’d be a deal-breaker, man.

  • Sam: December 17, 2015

    That’s a damn good point, Marion. I could totally write it off. My website is part of my business right? And I’d be recipe posting with that bad boy ALL THE TIME! Good call! 2016 WILL be the year of my Vitamix purchase :)

  • Marion Poliquin: December 16, 2015

    I doubt the final result is the same, but it does get nice and chewy, even a bit crispy, when you microwave it a few minutes. I was going to make a joke about how high-end blenders ought to be a deductible expense, but then I thought that you being a fitness pro you might as well look into it. Stranger things have happened!

  • Sam: December 15, 2015

    Hi Beth! I’d say that it was more beneficial for my insides than the outside. I don’t think I lost muscle because I was still hitting the gym and only followed the diet for two weeks. But it definitely didn’t make me look harder or leaner. BUT I was also eating wayyyy more sugar, carbs and fats than my body is used to so naturally, I got soft-looking. But like I said in the post, it totally reset my digestion and I think it was the perfect way to start the current photoshoot prep I’m on. So I would totally recommend that anyone do a week of raw (and stick to juice and salads as much as possible) before starting a competition/photoshoot/vacation “get lean and hard” prep :) Energy levels varied. Sometimes I lifted like a beast (thanks to the dates!) and other times, I was much weaker than usual. Hope this helps! Let me know if you try it for yourself and what you experience!

  • Beth: December 15, 2015

    Hey Sam! I’d like to know what effect, if any, it had on your body? You only mentioned that once, in saying that you looked softer. Did you have more or less energy getting thru your workouts, and did you get soft/bloaty/lose muscle tone? Thanks!!

  • Sam: December 15, 2015

    Awww glad it went so well for you! 21 days sounds like torture haha but I will agree on the sleep and skin! I did feel like I had great energy for the most part but some workouts were tough. And sadly I couldn’t bring my juicer to the gym with me ;)

  • Sam: December 15, 2015

    Yeah for sure you should do the raw diet for a week! And honestly, the protein powder “sweet” jerky was nothing to write home about. It’s at least not worth a blog post recipe haha.

  • Sam: December 15, 2015

    Haha oh how you remind me of me :) Honestly, I keep wondering if I’m only using the dehydrator to this day in order to justify its purchase. I did not know you could make tofu jerky in the microwave. I have to believe it tastes better in the dehydrator. But yeah, if you don’t have much time or patience for cooking and random appliances, I vote don’t bother. PS – I’m jealous you have a Vitamix!!!!!

  • Vicki Strickland: December 14, 2015

    I did a 21-day raw vegan reset last summer. It was tough, but man, did I ever feel amazing. I had been on some medication temporarily and felt the need to flush it out of my system. The biggest things I noticed were clearer skin, shinier hair, incredible, sustained energy and I slept amazing! This was before I started lifted and training, however. Good for you!

  • Marion Poliquin: December 14, 2015

    My honeymoon with the juicer was also very short. Long live the Vitamix! Question about the dehydrated tofu: is it really worth it over just throwing it in the microwave for a few minutes to turn it into jerky? I’ve been curious about dehydrators, but I’ve really been burned by the juicer and I’m pretty sure it’s just too much bother for me.

  • Becky: December 14, 2015

    great article! I’ve flitted with doing some more raw stuff, particularly when you’re feeling a bit bloated or generally bleugh so I might try a wee experiment too. Thanks! P.S. protein powder tofu jerky…? what!!! I need that!

  • Sam: December 22, 2015

    Hi Annie!! What I mean is that sugar is a highly addictive substance. And when you’re constantly feeding your addiction with something processed and sugary everyday, your body will continue to crave it which in turn makes you give into temptations THAT much more easily and/or more frequently. But when I did the raw experiment, I was using natural sugars as my main energy source. And when the experiment was over and I went back to my high protein, low carb diet, I suddenly didn’t feel the need to consume ANY kind of sugar. And here I am, one month since the experiment, three days before CHRISTMAS, surrounded by treats galore and I’ve STILL not eaten one piece of sugar OTHER than fruit. So I do believe that the experiment cleansed my body of all processed foods and made me not crave those things anymore. And yeah, I was still hitting the gym as OFTEN as I normally would but some days, I just didn’t have the same energy and strength as I would normally have. But other days, I was lifting as heavy as I normally would. I think the key was loading up on fats and high sugar stuff like dates or a banana PRE-workout. Hope this helps. Try it out and let me know how it goes for you!

  • Sam: June 02, 2016

    Damn you’re good! Thanks for the insight, Alyssa!! I’m definitely more into smoothies rather than juices now. And I’m still keeping the sugars pretty low but that’s what works for me when I’m getting lean. But yeah, I definitely eat some starchy complex carbs when sugar cravings run high and that always helps. Appreciate your tips and all the best!!

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