January 30, 2010



At the beginning of '10 I felt like living a 'back-to-fitness' cliche and so joined a gym and did some intensive group classes ("new year, new you!" &c, &c). A few weeks in, though, I started living a 'backing-out-of-fitness' cliche in the form of some intensive sitting around. As per usual, I wanted to keep up with it, but "things"—working/TV/DJing/working/preparing to leave town for a month/etc.—got in the way.

The beginning of the year saw me following a similar trajectory in eating habits—starting 2010 super healthy-style, and then more recently, gravitating toward jumbo pizza slices and burritos that could feed a family of four. Long story long, the highlight in all of this for sure was Raw Food Week. Never at this time of year, in my SADness and hibernation, have I experienced such an upswing in energy and noticeable spring in my step. Having never gone totally raw or vegan, I was eager to try seven days of eating this way, but I was also kind of skeptical (just ask Dan). As promised to some ppl, here's what was on the menu, as well as some rawflections....

breakfast — Breakfast is one of my favorite things in life, and going raw in the morning wasn't too much of a challenge. Options included: raw granola with hemp or almond milk, any kind of fresh fruit, a Larabar (they make raw versions), or an intense and amazing green meal shake akin to Karyn's "Morning Cleanser" (green meal, apple juice, rejuvelac, banana, flax oil, lecithin, raw cacao powder, mesquite powder, maca, goji berries, still more fruit, etc.) And nothing says "hellooo, morning!" like a wellness shot.

lunch — True, it's no breakfast, but lunch is pretty awesome, too, and raw lunch was mildly easy. Options included: sliced carrots, celery, and cucumber, grape tomatoes, flax crackers ("Mexican" or "Italian" flavor), raw hummus or seed cheese from Karyn's (the raw garlic in these spreads, however, got to be a bit much for me—indigestion dot com, bleck!), raw macadamia nuts, pistachios and curried almonds, raw energy bars, avocado, blood orange slices, apple, dried botija olives (sooo good), and kombucha...lots of kombucha. Oh, and one day I had this slice of sun-flax "bread" that actually tasted a whole lot like wheat bread(!!)

dinner — Dinner was my biggest struggle during RFW. In the winter, I want to eat nothing but pasta and root vegetables and bread and cheese on bread (I am not alone in this, I know), but during RFW I had to refocus and rethink the third meal. I made a lot of salads with spinach, carrots, multi-colored peppers, dill, avocado, grape tomatoes, flax seed, and crunchy dehydrated onions that reminded me (happily) of French's Fried Onions. For dressing, I mixed apple cider vinegar and a little olive oil. Now salad days are great, but repetitive salad nights can be tough. Granted, I could've gotten more creative for dinner, but I was a little lazy. On day six, Dan and I ate at Cousin's, one of Chicago's few raw food restaurants. I had crimini mushrooms stuffed with tahini, pine nuts, and sundried tomatoes (oh, and "love and gratitude"), and a zucchini pasta with marinara. This restaurant is definitely hit or miss, but after five nights of salads, it was a huge hit.

dessert — Dan the Man made a bunch of raw desserts from this book, including key lime "ice kream" bars (made with cashews), pineapple ice box dessert, and an acai-banana pie with a crust of crushed pecans, which was my favorite. I also ate Karyn's Mango "Dream Cream," (dreamy, to be sure, but I generally feel awkward about raw foodists' spelling choices and nomenclature.)

by way of conclusion — I was blown away at how quickly I got full while eating raw. I knew it was because my body was digesting everything immediately instead of later—hence the delayed full-feeling that comes from eating cooked. Take Thanksgiving dinner, a classic example: All that consumption of cooked food followed by all that need for a nap. Energy-wise, I felt much better, even after a couple days, which combined with the gym, made me feel nearly invincible. I think a more sustainable version for me would be raw breakfast and lunch, followed by veg dinner (with a little bread and cheese for good measure, because even a new year/new me can't imagine life without such comforts). Moderation once again wins the day.

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