Raw Challenge – Day 2

Another day, another list. I have been browsing a website called 30 Bananas a Day. This is about the number of bananas an average person would need to eat to meet their daily calorie requirement, if they only ate bananas. I am particularly interested in the testimonials page, where individuals post their reports of the health benefits they have experienced as a result of transitioning to a high carbohydrate, low-fat, raw vegan diet. They do not generally report problems, so it is of course highly biased (this is anecdotal evidence: the lowliest form of evidence in the evidence-based hierarchy), but it’s still very interesting. Here are some of the things people are claiming have been improved or even cured by this diet:

  • Obesity (lots of stories of weight loss)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Acne (several impressive before and after shots)
  • Eczema
  • Depression/anxiety/bipolar disorder
  • Constipation/bloating
  • Low energy/tired all the time
  • Frequent colds
  • Neck stiffness
  • Painful/irregular periods
  • Sinus problems/phlegm/mucous
  • Snoring
  • Heartburn
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s)
  • Asthma
  • Gastroparesis
  • Fibromyalgia (CFS/ME)
  • Poor sleep/nightmares
  • Body odour
  • Migraines
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)

What interests me about this list is simply the huge range of common, painful and life limiting conditions that appear on it. I’ve studied most of these conditions at medical school and afterwards, and for many of them a potential role for diet in their causation and cure was never even mentioned. If you can drastically improve, or even get rid of entirely, even a proportion of these diseases by dietary change alone, then that suggests diet is an important causal factor worthy of much greater attention from the medical and research communities than it is currently getting.

It makes perfect sense to me that eating bad food affects all our bodily systems adversely, causing many kinds of diseases and even death. So this list doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that so many are reluctant to take this simple truth on board and accord it the priority status it should hold in both our individual lives and the wider life of society. I shouldn’t be so naïve. I’m almost finished reading T. Colin Campbell’s book Whole, that takes an unflinching look at the reasons why it profits government, big business (including Big Pharma and the supplement industry), the media and even the medical profession and allied disciplines and non-profit initiatives to ignore it.

I will be starting the certificate course in Plant-Based Nutrition with eCornell later this month, so I’m sure I will be writing more on this soon. In the meantime, back to dinner. I got very hungry as I was out most of the day, so I grazed but didn’t eat a big lunchtime platter like I did yesterday. Also I started to feel very fed up of fruit and it all got a bit too sweet, so I made some raw sushi (from Judita Wignall’s excellent book Going Raw) and broke open a bottle of tamari. I ate loads, but as it was basically made from half a cauliflower, one carrot and some nori, with cucumber, mushrooms and alfalfa sprouts for the filling, I figured that was okay. Here’s what I ate today:

  • One cup of hot water with 2 slices of lemon, 2 slices of ginger and 1 teaspoon of agave nectar
  • 2 slices of cantaloupe melon
  • Two bowls of raw green soup (also from Going Raw – kale, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, avocado, cayenne pepper, lemon juice)
  • 4 dried figs
  • 2 apples
  • 1 banana
  • 1 orange
  • Green grapes and rocket (they make a brilliant combination)
  • A few strawberries
  • Some baby plum tomatoes
  • A handful of sultanas
  • Raw sushi: 5 nori sheets, ½ small cauliflower, 1 carrot, sesame seeds, 2 mushrooms, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, rice mirin/vinegar, agave nectar, tamari, pickled ginger, wasabi
  • 3 cups of herbal tea

I spent most of today at a local children’s playcentre, as it was cold and wet outside. I have climbed through the play-frame countless numbers of times. I have felt well, with plenty of energy. Again, I feel clear-headed and awake. I felt hungry, but not wobbly or lightheaded. I didn’t have any stomach cramps or real cravings (I should note that I had not had any caffeine or alcohol for some time before starting this challenge, so these were both well out of my system already). I did visit my favorite health-food shop and realise that there were lots of things I would normally have bought that are off the menu, which was an eye-opener. There were things I would have liked, but it wasn’t too hard to say no to my usual treats. The important thing seems to be to eat LOTS of food so as not to get too ravenous. Because most fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories, you not only can but actually have to eat enormous portions. With that in mind, I’m going in for day 3 tomorrow…

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