If you want more energy and want to physically feel better on a day-to-day basis, then this post might be for you! No patches, no supplements, no shakes, no wraps, or anything else! And I’m not selling a thing! I’m solely sharing something that I’ve discovered that has changed my life. People always call me “Super Mom” (which I’m not, by the way) and don’t understand how I have the energy to train for an ultramarathon while doing yoga daily and running a household with three kids, ages 3 and under with a hubby who has a very demanding job and is gone a lot. Well, guys, I’ve said it before, but I firmly believe that my diet has a large part to do with my energy levels. You may have read about my last experience eating raw vegan here and it was so great that I’ve been an aspiring raw vegan ever since. I will admit though, it is a tough transition and that’s why I say an “aspiring” raw vegan…because I’m still a work in progress. One of the hardest things as a raw newbie is finding variety to keep satisfied. Don’t get me wrong, I adore salads, but let’s be real, eating the same salad every single day gets very old, very fast! However, I have just discovered an amazing tool that helped me complete another 30 days and that I know will keep me powered up in the future as I strive to make this lifestyle a permanent change for me.
The brilliant, talented and beautiful Melissa Raimondi of Lissa’s Raw Food Romance has a new book that I used as my guide (see links for purchase below in either electronic or print versions). What makes her book special is that it’s a complete 30 day meal plan including daily grocery lists, recipes and tips! So despite a few minor slip-up’s (you know, the occasional tortilla chip binge, eek!), I still managed to make all 90 recipes in 30 days that are published in her book (yes, breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for 30 days) and it was incredibly awesome! I learned a lot about the raw vegan diet in general, how to structure my days food-wise, and how different ingredients can work together. The other unique features of this book are that because it’s a meal plan, the recipes each day add up to ~2,100 – ~2,300 calories with the 80-10-10 breakdown (80% carbs, 10% fat, 10% protein). You seriously do not have to worry about meal planning or grocery lists – it’s so helpful! And you don’t have to worry about calorie counting or anything! Now, I know what some of you might be thinking: 80% carbs?!?! WHOA! Well, these aren’t the typical processed carbs that people generally avoid such as bread, pasta, etc. Since those aren’t raw vegan, they aren’t in this lifestyle anyways of course, BUT the carbs that you will be eating are from fruits and veggies. Take a look at Lissa’s before and after photos. I think they speak for themselves about the power of the raw vegan diet. What we put into our bodies in the form of food can either be our medicine and heal us, or can harm and poison us!
Here is what I learned:
- I learned that this is a LOT of food. Like, a LOT. But, because it’s raw fruits and veggies and only super small amounts of nuts and seeds, it’s fairly low calorie so the (quantity) intake is higher than what you’re most likely used to. The first time I set out to complete this book front to back, I failed on Day 8 because I didn’t eat all of my meal one night (I thought I was full). Sure enough, I ended up hungry and binged on crap later. For me, I found that it was best to eat it all despite being full, and get all of my calories!
- I learned that prepping/planning ahead is definitely the way to go. It saves you time in the moment and it’s so easy to pack and bring on the go. I can’t even begin to tell you how many of my 60 lunches/dinners were eaten on the go! Because it’s not cooked, you can just throw it all in tupperwares/ziplocks and in a small ice chest. Bam! Beautiful raw vegan meal anywhere you like!
- I learned that this food is super hydrating as compared to my previous ways of eating! There is so much water in raw fruits and veggies, it’s incredible how much water you absorb through your food! This is a double-edged sword however – I think sometimes I began to rely on this a little too much and needed to drink more water.
- I learned new ways how to eat things like raw mushrooms and zucchini (which previously I wasn’t a big fan of but sure am now!). Along the same lines, I learned how to use dates as a replacement for sugar that isn’t maple syrup or even agave.
- I learned that my sweet spot for grocery shopping was about every 4 days. This usually was just enough produce to fit in my fridge and also just enough to not go bad by the time I needed it. Yes, this was a challenge, but I made it a priority and was able to make it happen.
- I learned that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE raw coconut meat, LOL!
Again, recapping what I loved about the book and adding a few more things to the list:
- Variety, variety, variety! You don’t feel deprived during these 30 days! Lissa includes tons of incredible dishes such as Pierogies, Sloppy Joe’s, Pizza, Tacos, Falafel, Salads, Zoodles and Meatballs, Wraps, Soups, Smoothies, Ice Cream, Hummus, Zucchini Tenders, Parfait, Crepes, Stuffed Peppers, Puddings, Veggie Burgers, and the list goes on. Is your mouth watering yet? Like I said, VARIETY! Just because it’s raw vegan, doesn’t mean only salads and bananas!
- Lissa saves you time! You don’t need to decide what to make AND she even gives you the shopping list for the day!
- Lissa saves you money by using ingredients wisely. For example, she will have you make sour cream which you then use in the next 3 out of 4 recipes. Or a half a head of cauliflower one day and the other half the next.
- I don’t know about you, but I like salad dressing. A lot. And typically, that’s how America makes what would be a healthy salad become unhealthy (by adding WAY too much of a high fat, high calorie dressing with a handful of chemicals we can’t even pronounce). Well, on Lissa’s plan, you get LOADS of salad dressing – and the ingredients are all good for you! You never feel like you don’t have enough! In fact, sometimes it’s almost like there might be too much dressing which for me, that’s a good problem to have!
- Breakfasts. I loved the breakfasts. All of them. Especially the smoothies. The best part about the breakfasts are that they are all super-fast and easy. In the future, when I find myself in a bind and unable to make a delicious raw meal, these 30 breakfasts will be my go-to’s for a nutritious meal. I don’t want to make a habit of this because I do want veggies at lunch and dinner, but every now and then, this is a perfect solution! For me, this is much better than a SAD binge (Standard American Diet)!
- People keep asking me about my favorite recipes. Yall, there are just too many to name! And I think the more I eat like this, the more my taste buds evolve and things just keep tasting even better and better just when I thought it wasn’t possible!
- And lastly, as I mentioned, I love that the calories are already counted out for me and are at the proper ratios that I want (80-10-10)!
You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouFood all @rawfoodromance. She also has a YouTube channel as well where she shares vlogs, recipes, etc. In fact, yours truly may even be featured on it shortly so be on the lookout for that! Like I said in my Amazon review of her book, if you are interested in a raw vegan diet, the 80-10-10 way of eating, or just want to incorporate more healthy choices into your diet, then this book is definitely worth it! Here are just a few photos of my creations from her book!
PS. Here’s my disclaimer: of course I’m not a medical doctor or nutritional expert, and neither is Melissa. But as she writes in her book, she is merely just sharing how she eats on a regular basis and what has worked for her and in my case, what is working for me! And of course, you are always more than welcome to contact me with questions!
Peace and Blessings, Megan