Raw till 4 – The Dieting Mentality, Weight loss and My story (Part 5)

This post is for a reader, Ana, and for anyone else who is thinking of going Raw Till 4 or struggling with the lifestyle.

I hope you might be able to relate to my story and maybe learn from my mistakes, and use it well on your own journeys to health and wellness.

Nice Cream

My background before and coming into RT4

I have always been a healthy weight for most of my life, to put a number to it, a healthy BMI of 20-21. I first lost weight doing the Insanity workouts and eating a ‘clean’ vegan diet (this is where my profile picture on the right was taken. Again, to put a number to put, BMI 18.5) I felt great about myself and I kept receiving compliments on how great I looked. One person in particular kept harping on how “fat” I was before (I wasn’t) compared to the current “gorgeous” me.

But once I stopped exercising regularly, the weight slowly crept back up and I started restricting my diet instead to maintain my new weight. I was constantly thinking about food and wasn’t happy. That is when I turned to RT4 as a way out of the vicious cycle of dieting.

However, the weight continued to creep back up on RT4. I became quite self-conscious with the weight gain. I was embarrassed by it, really. I kept thinking back to the people who once complimented me. How they must be thinking I’m “fat” once again (I’m not. BMI back to 20-21). Hence, I was fixated with weight loss being my ultimate goal and I still hung onto the “dieting mentality” that I had before. I scrutinized what I ate and obsessed over my meals on RT4.

Sure, I was eating more than ever – but I was still very much “dieting”.

Thoughts like, “Oh no, I can’t have 2 meals of cooked food in a day” or “I can’t eat that since it is high in fat and salt. I’ll just eat plain rice with a bit of that instead”, were common. I felt guilty whenever I ate something higher in fat/sodium.

I didn’t restrict my calories, but instead I had restricted my diet in other ways.

Spelt Flatbread with Homemade tomato sauce, garlic mayo, pico de gallo , guacamole and crispy tofu

9 months in and losing the “dieting mentality”

On a superficial level, I was doing everything right and according to the RT4 plan. I ate high raw, low salt/fat, no cheat meals, etc. However, on a psychological level, I was still very much stuck in my “dieting mentality”.

This is hard for me to admit, and the first time I am admitting it, but I probably had a mild case of eating disorder. I have never been anorexic, nor have I been bulimic, but I definitely had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body.

As I mentioned in my last update, after 8 months in, I realized that stress and my mentality had a large part to do with my weight gain on RT4. I started reading more into it.

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The more I read, the more I learn to control what I thought about myself. How I looked at myself. Once I started genuinely loving what I saw in the mirror, the “diet mentality” and negative thoughts about myself gradually faded away. I stopped letting food takeover my life and stopped obsessing over my meals.

I am more flexible with what I eat now.

I still eat vegan high raw, high carbs, low fat most of the time. However, I no longer stuff myself to hit a minimum amount of calories; I may eat less than 2000kcal on some days and more than 2500kcal on others, I don’t know and I really don’t bother myself with it. Instead, I eat when I am hungry and stop when I feel full. No recording. No calorie counting.

And when it is not possible to eat a high carb low fat meal, I eat it without any guilt. No small voice at the back of my head, scrutinizing the dishes. Simply enjoy a meal, as how a meal should be.

High carb, High Fat - no guilt

And the journey continues…

So far, things have been looking really positive. Coming to terms with the weight gain, I feel so much happier. And it looks like the weight is gradually falling off. The fact that my favourite pants fitting again is a good sign.

As this is still an “in-the-process” journey that I am sharing you guys, I am not sure where this path will lead; it is a never-ending learning experience for me. At the moment, things are looking up and I will keep updating you guys (for more frequent updates, find me on instagram: freakinthefruitshop).

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So what I’m trying to say here is, if you are new coming into RT4:

  1. Lose the dieting mentality first
  2. Then use RT4 as a supplement to achieve a healthy weight 

RT4 is supposed to be a lifestyle, not a diet. Do not obsess over it and overtake your life. If you still cling onto the dieting mentality, you probably would not be happy on the RT4 either and will continue to put on weight. Trust me, the process will be much easier without all that negativity.

 

And that is my story so far. What about you? I would love to hear your experiences on RT4. How is the journey coming along so far and have you learnt anything about yourselves on it?

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 Note: I am rolling my eyes as I wrote about my dieting mentality. Say whaaat? In what world and by what rule does it say I can’t possibly eat two cooked meals a day. Or dare I even say three. (And I am pretty sure those thoughts are not uncommon amongst new comers to the RT4 lifestyle.)

And I just have to squeeze in a short story on my mum: We have a very sweet tooth in my household, which my siblings and I get from my dear mum. She would eat desserts and all things chocolate without a care in the world. And she would say to herself (and us), “eat and be happy!” Which aptly is now the title of my sister’s baking blog and the advice I should have heeded all along.

So take it from my mum… eat and be happy, everyone!

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A little lost on what I am talking about? Check out my previous posts on my Raw till 4 journey:

30 Bananas a Day/Raw til 4 – Getting Started  (part 1)

30 Bananas a Day/Raw til 4 – Doing it Wrong (part 2)

Raw til 4 – Weight Gain and Social Situations (part 3)

Raw till 4 – My Experience Travelling Raw til 4 (part 4)

For daily updates follow me on Instagram: freakinthefruitshop

Daily updates on Instagram (freakinthefruitshop)!

Hi all,

As my updates on my Raw Till 4 journey are trimonthly, for daily updates, you can follow me on my RT4 Instagram account, username: freakinthefruitshop.

(You can read that as: freakin’ the fruit shop, or, freak in the fruit shop)

I will be updating there more regularly, on what I eat, my meals and my thoughts on the RT4 journey.

See you guys on Instagram! ;)

Raw till 4 – My Experience Travelling Raw til 4 (part 4)

My experience travelling on the Raw til 4 lifestyle. 

Til 3 weeks ago, I was still doing things I mentioned in my last update (click here to read it); eating high raw, high carb low fat and trying to eat a minimum of 2500kcal a day.

Paris - Eiffel Tower and River Seine

(Paris – Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre III and River Seine)

During this time, I went on a 2 and a half week holiday to London/Paris in late April and I followed RT4 quite diligently.  I was very proud of myself for not straying from the diet once at all on the trip. In fact, I thought I had fared better than I usually did, and ate a higher proportion of raw food on the trip.  I drank juice when fresh fruit was not available to meet the 2500kcal minimum.

I also walked at least 15km everyday, as walking was our mode of transport.

Everything had set out to be promising, but sad to say, it subconsciously took a toll on my stress levels – not just by trying to find fresh produce while travelling and sight seeing with the family, but also by trying to exceed the 2500kcal on high raw.

Alas, instead of coming to you with good news of weight loss, it is quite the opposite. Judging by the fit (or rather, misfit) of my clothes, I had put on additional weight on the trip. I could no longer fit into my usual jeans or shorts. I am not clear on the exact figure as the weighing scales and myself have long parted ways since my last update, but I reckon it was one or two additional kilos.

It puzzled me – my weight had come to a plateau before the trip, I was eating better than ever and my body was kept active (I swear, I have never walked so much in my entire life!) and yet I had put on more weight. A small part of me blame the juice. But I know better, it was the stress. The stress that I had placed on myself.

Demoralised, and yet still optimistic for the lifestyle to work, I persisted on…

London

(Beautiful flowers I came across in London; the city is just magical!)

… until 3 weeks ago, when I came across a book called The Gabriel Method, which explains why sometimes your body holds onto fat even when you are doing all the things right. And how your body reacts to non-diet factors, beyond calorie in/out, and may even keep the fat when it thinks its the safest route to take. One example, if you had restricted your calorie before, your body may hold onto fat when you increase your calorie intake – he explains, your body has a primal instinct to hold onto the fat, to survive should there be another “famine” in the future. And unless your body feels safe, it would continue to hold onto to it.

While I read the book with a large grain of salt, it opened my eyes to a whole new level and made me more aware of the stress I had unnecessarily placed on myself. It sparked an interest in me on looking at the mind and how it affects our body. I started reading other books and have since changed my take on the “Raw til 4′ lifestyle, which I will elaborate in my next post (it is on a happier note, so keep a lookout for it!)

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A little lost on what I am talking about? Check out my first two blog post on the Raw til 4 journey here:

30 Bananas a Day/Raw til 4 – Getting Started  (part 1)

30 Bananas a Day/Raw til 4 – Doing it Wrong (part 2)

Raw til 4 – Weight Gain and Social Situations (part 3)

Ice Cream

Banana Ice Cream.

It’s vegan, it’s sugar free and it’s ridiculously easy to make. Everyone in the vegan blogosphere has probably heard of Banana Ice Cream at one point or another. And if you haven’t given it a try, it is really worth all the hype it has been getting. One try might leave you wondering why dairy ice cream even exists at all.

But here’s an idea – instead of making it as and when, in single serve portions, why not take one step further and make it in bulk?

You get:

-  a healthy treat or emergency ice cream ready in your freezer (or a back up raw meal)

- to save those over ripening bananas before they past their prime (especially if you buy in bulk as I do)

- to save on the washing up

Banana Ice Cream

You need:

- lots of ripened bananas

- trays or freezer bags

- a freezer safe container

- a fair amount of freezer space

 

To make, simply:

1. Cut the bananas into chunks, laying it flat on a tray or freezer bag. Let freeze overnight.

2. Using a food processor, process the bananas in small batches until light and creamy. This might take a good few minutes depending on your food processor. It should have the consistency of ice cream.

3. Spoon the mixture into a container and place it in the freezer. (Or you can stop here serve the ice cream immediately)

4. Repeat steps 2-3 until all the bananas are used up.

5. Serve the ice cream, it scoops out like a regular dairy ice cream. Add toppings like nuts, cocoa powder, if desired.

Note: You can also make flavoured variations of this – peanut butter, chocolate, mixed berries, etc. I always have a pint of Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana ice cream on hand for Non Wholly Dude and plain ones for myself. It comes in handy especially during our movie date nights at home.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

 

Raw til 4 – Weight Gain and Social Situations (part 3)

I have not updated my progress on my raw diet of late as things has been rather stagnant and ‘blah’, and I to be honest, I didn’t think anyone would be interested. But I have been asked to do an update on my progress thus far. So… here goes nothing!

I am coming to a close of 4 months  on Raw til 4 now, with the exception over the Christmas holidays and travelling. Since my last Raw til 4 post and especially in the last month, I have made quite a bit of changes, which I will talk about later in this post and more about in my next post.

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Here is a quick lowdown on the last 4 months:

- I gained 3-4kg / 7-9lbs (hold your horses, I can hear you gasping from here!)

- higher energy levels, I am up from 7am – 1am without caffeine and still full of energy at the end of the day

- I picked up long distance running in the last 2 months, running 1 hour long, 4-5 times a week

- I increased my calorie intake from 2000kcal to 2500kcal within the last month

raw til 4

(Grilled vegetables and potatoes on-the-go as a pre-dinner snack)

Weight Gain

As expected, since I have significantly increased my calorie intake, there has been some noticeable weight gain.

It is not a big deal, but there were more than a few moments when I look into the mirror and let the weight gain get the better of me.

I find myself thinking, “Ugh, heck with this, I’m going back”.

But then, I think again, “Go back? Go back to where?”

Calorie counting, limiting my portions and being unhappy? Meh. No thanks, I’ll pass.

I seriously contemplated dropping the whole lifestyle, but time after time, I revert and continue on with the raw til 4 lifestyle. Besides the weight gain, I am truly loving this lifestyle – I am loving my meals and what I eat, I know everything I put into my body is full of nutrients. I am filled with so much energy, I have been going on 10km runs and signed up for a half marathon, a feat considering 4 km was the furtherest I have ever ran before. And most importantly, I feel pretty healthy and content.

What is a little weight gain compared to all that?

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A Relaxed Approach

In the last month, I found the key to having this lifestyle work for me is to have a more relaxed approach – moving away from the ‘Raw til 4′ concept and into sustainable ‘high raw, high carb, low fat’ lifestyle.

Instead of stressing to stay raw and having to excuse myself from social situations as I did in the beginning, I am more flexible with what I eat now.  When a social situation arises such that I am not able to get a raw lunch, I still join in the meal, staying as high carb as possible. This means even if the meal is not ideally low in fat (this usually happens less than once or twice a week).

As much as I hate to admit it, but being so caught up in staying raw or even fussing about eating healthy, had an effect on my relationships.

My partner, aka Non Wholly Dude, being the dear that he is, never once complained. But meal times with him became a recurring scene of me watching while he quickly chows down on his meal. When it came to eating with friends, I would bring my fruits or excuse myself from any eating situations when possible. And I don’t know about you, but dinner conversations and bonding aren’t quite the same when I don’t share or enjoy the meal together.

So… yeahhhh.

I was not exactly the best dinner companion anyone could think of. Being a plant based vegan had already imposed some limits, and transitioning to a raw vegan took it to a whole other level.

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In a nutshell, I have put on some weight on this lifestyle but I am still very optimistic about it. I also made some fine tunings in my diet in the last month which I would talk about in my next post. So stay tune for it!

A little lost on what I am talking about? Check out my first two blog post on the Raw til 4 journey here:

30 Bananas a Day/Raw til 4 – Getting Started 

30 Bananas a Day/Raw til 4 – Doing it Wrong

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread

Ever since following a more fruitarian diet, there is always an abundance of bananas in the house at any point. Buying my bananas in bulk means that more than often, 1/3 of my freezer is filled with bananas. Not that I’m complaining though.

We love our bananas. And both Non Wholly Dude and I love our frozen bananas that much more. Oh, glorious banana ice cream. I could live on that stuff.

While I can live on just frozen banana ice cream for the rest of my life, Non Wholly Dude prefers a bit of variation in his choice of desserts. And it just so happens that his favourite cake is… lo and behold… a banana bread!

Not much of a variation there (heh.)

Banana Nut Bread

So here is the banana bread recipe that I make for him. As opposed to my usual recipes, this contain processed flours – white plain flour. However, it is still much healthier than most banana bread recipes. (It is also is much simpler recipe!)

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread Muffins

A classic banana bread with swirls of crushed nuts mixed in. This banana nut bread muffin recipe is fast and simple. All you need is a food processor and 15 minutes to put everything together and it’s ready to go in the oven. As simple as that. This also makes a nice plain banana bread that goes well with spreads or jams. Omit the ground nuts for a plain banana bread.

Serves 9

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5  over-ripe bananas, peeled (450g peeled)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar*

1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup

2 cups (240 g) plain flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (30g) ground peanuts

1 tsp brown sugar, to lightly sprinkle (optional)**

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Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius (350F).

2. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. Using a food processor, add 3 peeled bananas, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Process until smooth and pureed, for about 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 peeled bananas and pulse for about 5 times until the bananas are still quite chunky.

4. Add the flour mixture a third at a time to the food processor. Allow the mixture to just combine each time. Remove the food processor from its base. Add the ground peanuts to the mixture and give it one quick stir using a spoon. (Resist the urge to further stir in the nuts, to create a ‘swirl’ mixed in effect).

5. Spoon the mixture into 9 muffin cups and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool before serving.

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*You can replace apple cider vinegar with 2 tbsp of lemon juice if you don’t have it on hand.

** The brown sugar is optional and can be omitted, but it gives the muffins a lovely crisp and lightly sweet crust. Such that it is just ever so lightly sweet for that first couple of bites.

Black Sesame Chocolate Truffles

My apologies on my sudden disappearing act. It has been a long 3 months away.  Going on a mostly fruitarian diet meant that cooking was kept to a minimal and after that I just got plain lazy. No excuses here.

For that, I come bearing a chocolate recipe as peace offering. I am hoping that all is forgiven with chocolate… For no one can say no to chocolate, right?

Black Sesame Truffles

The idea of using black sesame in chocolate came about as Non Wholly Dude recently lamented about his ever increasing white hairs. He jokingly added that he should increase his intake of black sesame. It is an old Chinese folk remedy that consuming black sesame is the key to naturally maintaining a full head of black hair.

Following up on his comment, I hurried to the kitchen and busied myself for the rest of the day. However, being the big black sesame fan that I am, the first few batches of these black sesame babies never got to live past 10 minutes in my hands.

So whether you are looking to darken your white hairs with black sesame or just a black sesame fan, this chocolate truffles might just be up your alley. (Plus Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!)

photo 1

Black Sesame Chocolate Truffles

Makes 8 truffles. Raw, vegan

This truffle is a combination of sweet, lightly bitter, nutty and slightly salty, all at the same time. It is strong on the black sesame note, while the cocoa takes a step down.

80g dates, pitted

1 tbsp (15ml) water

3 tbsp black sesame, toasted if preferred

1 tbsp + 1 tbsp cacao powder

a good pinch of sea salt (approx. 1/16 tsp)

1. Place the pitted dates and 1 tbsp of water in a small bowl. Allow the dates to soak for a few minutes.

2. Using a food processor, process the black sesame until fine. Add 1 tbsp of cacao powder and sea salt. Then add soaked dates, reserving the liquids for later use. Process the mixture until a paste forms, scrapping down the processor if needed. Add the remaining liquids from the soaked dates if the mixture is too thick.

3. In a small dish, place the remaining 1 tbsp of cacao powder. Spilt the mixture into 8 portions, using your hands to roll them into balls. Roll the balls in the cacao powder to give a generous coat. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer.

30 Bananas a Day / Raw Till 4 Journey- Doing It Wrong (Part 2)

When I first flirted with the idea of 30 Bananas a Day (30BaD), it took me a good 2 and a half weeks of testing waters, easing into this ‘crazy’ new diet plan and dispelling all previous misconceptions I had about bananas, fruit and carbohydrates. During which, I made plenty of mistakes – which I have now learnt from, and it is still very much an on-going learning process.

Exotic Fruits on the Banana Girl Diet

Going into 30BaD was a 180 degree change in mentality for me. I have always had this irrational fear of carbs and the word itself had a strong negative connotation to me. It had been long instilled in me that anything high carbs (rice, grains, potatoes, etc.) was bad and would cause weight gain. High protein, low carb – that was always the plan. While I did not fully eliminate high carb foods from my diet, I tend to limit my consumption and avoid it whenever possible. I would never finish a full bowl of rice by myself, always leaving half or more left on the plate. (In fact, it was only just a couple of weeks back, in a good few years that I finished a full serving.)

And bananas? I never had more than 1  – usually with my morning oats or green smoothies. To cut down on my calorie intake, I would sometimes even eliminate the calorie dense fruit from my smoothies.

As you can see, it is a drastic change from where I came from to get to the 30BaD mindset. Baby steps were to be taken and mistakes were to be made.

Exotic Fruits on the Banana Girl Diet

For the first 3 days, I had a great start, stayed 100% raw and felt amazing! I felt quite alive and spirited! I found myself with large amounts of energy, which made me want to get out and exercise. My diet consisted of mostly bananas, seasonal fruits and dates. I had little to no cravings for cooked food, and which if I did, I quickly got over.

However, it quickly went downhill after those 3 short days. Due to a lack of planning and foresight, I miscalculated the amount of bananas and fruits to buy. I had only bought 2-3 bunches of bananas from the supermarket each time – which was only enough to last 1/2  or 1 day. I also overlooked that bananas generally take about 3 days after purchase to fully ripen. With little ripe fruits on hand, I found myself with little or nothing to eat on most days. And that is when it went downhill.

Not having enough ripe fruits to eat meant that I had to ration my fruits and fall short in my calorie intake for breakfast and lunch. More often than not, I felt unsatisfied immediately after eating. I craved for cooked foods and salt, and would ‘overcompensate’ by turning to the nearest junk food in sight as night falls. As a result, I felt sluggish, heavy and unmotivated, over the next 16 days.

After much trial and error since then, I have realised that I felt best on the days itself, as well as the day after, whenever I eat 100% raw. On the other hand, I felt worst the day after whenever I have a high sodium high carb vegan dinner. Heavy, bloated and lethargic.

Exotic Fruits on the Banana Girl Diet

To sum up, the 3 key mistakes that I made:

1. Not eating enough

I found that consuming a large breakfast of fruit (>800kcal) compared to a small breakfast of fruit (<600kcal) makes quite a big difference in how I felt through the day. While both makes me feel ‘full’,  with the smaller breakfast, my mind is constantly on the thought of food – when is my next meal, what should I eat, etc. Which is not a good feeling to have. Whereas with the bigger breakfast, both my mind and body are fully satisfied and the idea of food is the last thing on my mind. I find myself able to work and think more efficiently.

Not eating enough is probably the biggest factor in how my day and subsequent meals would be.

2. Not having enough ripe fruit around

The lack of ripe fruit around means having limited options to eat and quite possibly having to restrict calories intake from fruits.

One thing I have learnt is that it is always better to have more fruits around than less. Don’t be afraid to order by the carton from the wholesalers. The ripe fruits, such as bananas, mangoes and even durian, can always be frozen and made into smoothies.

I am more inclined to stick to 100% raw when there is an abundance of ripe fruit around. With having 10kg of bananas very near past its prime, I am more motivated to finish all 10 kg before they go bad. I find myself thinking, “will I be able to finish all these?! Well, I better!”, instead of worrying if there is enough fruit to last me another day. (Those 10kg never ever go to waste, thanks to modern technology, aka the refrigerator)

3. Not having a variety of fruit around

Having variety of fruit is key to making meals more interesting.

The idea of having the same fruit for breakfast and lunch leaves me dreading the same thing for dinner. When that happens, I tend to look for other alternatives and cooked food. Whereas, having an abundance of ripe fruit around and a variety of it, keeps me looking forward to each and every meal.

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Other things I learnt:

1. Drink lots of water!

Drinking in the morning rehydrates the body for the water loss that happens during sleep. It also helps cleanse the colon and aids in digestion, facilitating the body in absorbing nutrients from food.

I drink about 3-4 litres of water a day – mostly a good 30 minutes prior to meals and avoid drinking immediately after meals. I find that I have to drink a lot more when I consume cooked food to prevent poor digestion and water retention the next day. This is especially so with high sodium meals.

2. Have backup dates around

Dates are perfect backup to have when there are no ripe fresh fruit around. They are also great to have in snack packs when out and about. They are small, light, convenient and packs a punch, in terms of energy and calories.

It is quite impossible to find fully ripe fruits when you are out and about, hence, these dates come in quite handy whenever you are hungry and have no other fruit.

3. Stock up on fruits you love and crave!

This might sound silly and obvious, but it is something I had to come to realise.

Not all fruit are seen as equals. Case in point, I had over a dozen of both oranges and apples, but had little other ripe fruits around. Yet, I had rather break the raw streak and eat a cooked vegan meal than to eat a meal out of apples/oranges. Don’t get me wrong. I love my apples, nothing snacking on a crunchy sweet apple on a hot summer day. But a whole meal out of it is another thing. I just don’t crave them as much as I do with mangoes, jackfruit or bananas. (Ever tried banana ‘milk’ – bananas, water and ice. SO addictive!)

Bottom line: stock up and buy fruit you love and crave.

4. Food Combining

Due to the different digestive environment different foods needs, some foods don’t mix well with others. When combined improperly, certain immediate symptoms such as indigestion, stomach upset, nausea and bloating might appear.

One of the key food combining is always eat melons alone. Melons high digestion rate causes other foods to ferment when eaten together. Never eat melons with other food.

You can read more about food combining here and fruit combining here.

My New Roots also explains more on food combining here.

30 Bananas a Day – Getting Started (Part 1)

I have apologise for the lack of posts lately – I have been flirting with the idea of “30 Bananas a Day”, a fruitarian diet, for past month. I have been on it for just past a week now.  (It also took 2 full weeks of failed attempts prior to that to get it ‘right’. A lot of mistakes were made, more on that in the next post)

I thought instead of keeping mum about it, I should blog my experience and commitment, to set it in stone. Well… somewhat.

So I have been stuck in a weight loss plateau for a while now – which is fine. I am quite comfortable with the weight range I am at. While the scales don’t matter, I was looking to lose the little bit of paunchiness to what I dream might possibly reveal some rippin’ abs! (Yeah, I dream big.) But as always, my overindulgence in chocolate ever so often was setting me back.

Looking for a reset, I came across the Banana Island detox.

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The Banana Island

The Banana Island by Dr Graham is a detox plan where you eat mono meals of a single fruit for the planned number of days. The reason behind the mono meals was to give your digestive system a break. Bananas are the choice of fruit because they are cheap, easily available and ripe bananas are easy on the digestive system. You can have the bananas blended, frozen or whole. I have also read of people doing a few days on different fruits (e.g. a few days on bananas, then another few days on mangoes, etc.)

You can learn more about Banana Island here:

Dr Graham’s Banana Island Plan

Dr Graham Explains Banana Island (video)

It is similar to the ‘apple cleanse’, a detox where only apples are consumed. However, as apples are so light in calories, in my experience, I am often left unsatisfied, craving for food and light headed by the end of the day. It would take a heap load of apples to keep me satisfied! Whereas bananas and mangoes are calorie dense. With just a few fruits of either, I am fully satisfied and kept full for an average of 4 hours after every meal.

While I loved the idea of fruits and mono meals, I also like to have variety. I knew I would not be able to last a whole day, 3 meals, on a single fruit. Boredom would get the better of me and I would probably fail by the third meal. Hence, I turned to and read up more on 30 Bananas a Day – similar to the island, but a limitless lifestyle diet.

Banana Girl Diet / 30 Bananas a Day (30BAD)

I know, it sounds outright crazy. Who in their right mind would eat 30 bananas a day?! That’s exactly what I thought. I immediately dismissed it when I first came across 30 Bad on Instagram (where it is all the rage now). It was only after I discovered the Banana Island Detox that I started reading up more about 30 Bad and how it works.

30 Bad is a spin on Douglas Graham’s book on nutrition, 801010, a book which promotes a Raw Vegan Low Fat lifestyle diet based on the CaloNutrient Ratio where you consume fresh whole fruits and vegetables, in the ratio of 80% carbohydrates, 10% protein and another 10% fats. Whereas, 30 Bad is a lifestyle diet with more emphasis on raw fruits, nourishing your body with 2500 – 3000kcal a day with raw fruits. 3 full meals a day, starting the day with the heaviest meal, with a target of 1000kcal in mind.

The name itself is quite scary, and to be honest, a turn-off. However, it is not to be taken so literal. The diet itself allows any fruits to be eaten, mono meals or not, to dieter’s discretion. The name comes about as 1 medium banana is about 100kcals and 30 bananas = 3000kcal, the target calories in the diet, and hence, the name.

It is a diet of abundance – eat as much calories as you want, as long as it is fruit based. And the idea is to carb up. A lot. (the idea of which initially scared me stiff)

Instead of counting calories, undernourishing oneself, the dieter counts (or not) to fully nourish the body with the sufficient fuel that it needs. Quite contrary to calorie restricted diets. The concept may be hard to grasp and 2500kcal a day may seem a bit high. However, the 30 Bad promises fat loss as a result along with many other benefits.

30 Bananas a Day website

Tips to start on raw food cleanse (video)

Raw Till 4

RawTill4 follows the 30Bad diet, eating raw and lots of fruits until 4pm – then eating a cooked carb-heavy vegan meal for dinner, ideally, sodium free. Examples of this are cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn pasta and rice. The Raw Till 4 diet allows more flexibility than the raw lifestyle.

Full 1 day meal example of Raw Till 4 (video)

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My Experience – The Plan

I flirted with the idea of 30 Bad for about a month, but never really fully committing to it. I always either never had enough ripe fruits around the house or had social commitments. All in all, I was not mentally committed.

Knowing that I would not be able to commit to neither 30 Bad nor Banana Island completely, I decided to combine all 3 plans. On majority of the days, I would go 100% raw and on days where its not possible (rare, if I put my mind to it), I would stick to Raw Till 4.

My basic plan:

- Eat 3 large meals of about 800 – 1000kcal each

- Drink 3 L of water per day

- Consume a target of 2500 kcal a day

- Exercise whenever I feel like it

- Drink 1 L of filtered water upon waking

- Have 8-12 bananas for breakfast (to hit 1000kcal)

- Always ensure there are enough ripe fruits around

Timeframe:

1 week 1 month

(although I am at Day 8 now – I feel great and am extending it to 1 month)

Goal:

Lose the paunchiness

Feel great – mentally and physically

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It might seem a little extreme to some (as it did to me initially), but getting into it isn’t as hard or extreme as it seems. I will be updating on my thoughts and journey along the way, so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I have to say, I am pleasantly surprise at how good this diet is making me feel!

Real Mushroom Soup

“THE best mushroom soup I’ve ever had”

Those are the exact words that came out of Non-Wholly Dude’s mouth after having this bowl of mushroom soup for lunch for the second time this week.

Real Mushroom Soup

Personally, I am not a 100% sure I can say that this is the best bowl of mushroom soup I have ever had. Moment of truth: that top spot goes to… Campbell canned mushroom soup.

Yes, the horrors! But hear me out before you shun away in disgust. It has been a good 10 years since I have had the canned stuff, but somehow, deep down inside, it still holds a fond place in my heart. Whenever I think of Campbell, I think fondly of the times my mum used to serve it to us as a treat every now and then. And how we would eagerly help to whisk the thick soup with hot water. (Hot water into the soup, not the other way round, as my mum always instructs, to avoid a lumpy mushroom soup.) And nothing can can ever top that.

I will, however, say that this mushroom soup is definitely one of the better ones – and definitely much healthier than Campbell’s (and even most restaurant prepared ones).

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And with regards to the praise, as much as I was filled with glee, I knew I could not take credit for it – for 2 simple reasons.

1. The recipe is ridiculously simple, it requires minimal cooking skills and techniques

2. The mushrooms are the star of the show. This is all mushroom and mushroom alone!

Seriously, I am not exaggerating when I say this is all mushrooms!

This soup is filled and jammed packed with mushrooms – the very reason why Non-Wholly Dude loves it so much. The usual restaurant prepared mushroom soups usually skimp on the mushrooms and more than often, overload on cream to compensate.  And as Non-Wholly Dude puts it, you just don’t and can’t get the ‘real stuff’ outside.

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Real Mushroom Soup

vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, sugar-free

This mushroom soup is a bowl full of nutrients, filled with mushrooms, onions and garlic – perfect for those following Dr Fuhrman’s Eat to Live or those who just want a real bowl of mushroom soup.

Serves 2 as entrée or 1 as main

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Ingredients:

250g mixed mushrooms of choice, sliced, stems included

(I used 100g button, 100g fresh shitake and 50g enoki)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 – 1 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro*

240ml (2 cup) water or vegetable broth

1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt

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Directions:

1.  Heat a medium sized pot over medium flame. Add the mushrooms, garlic and onions and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are sweating and cooked. This would take about 15-20 minutes. Reserve 8-10 slices of mushroom and set aside.

2. In a blender, add the rest of cooked mushrooms, cilantro and 2 cups of water. Puree until the texture is smooth or slightly chunky, as desired. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency.

3. Return the pureed mushrooms to same pot to reheat through. Add black pepper and 1/4 -1/2 tsp of sea salt, use less salt if using vegetable broth. Taste and add more pepper or salt, if needed. Garnish with the reserved mushrooms and chopped cilantro.

Notes:

- Substitute cilantro with parsley or other herbs if you are not a fan of cilantro.