For me it was a challenge to stay on plan not because of food so much as for the emotional reasons that go with holidays but that is another post in itself. I strayed only twice and in a controlled way so I am ok with the outcome. Today there are no eating holidays so onward I go.
What I Learned in Week 2:
1. Listen to your gut instincts.
When trying something new, it's very easy to want to just trust someone else and their advice, even when you feel it may not makes sense for you. I am not saying not to give it a try but if you do and it it is not working out, stop and reevaluate. For instance, remember the Atkins diet and being told that you could eat all the meat and fat that you wanted and it was going to be healthy? You wanted to believe because others were experiencing success and weight loss (that probably turned out to be temporary) but in the back of your mind, you questioned all that meat and fat? Well that's the same thing. When something doesn't ring true to you, questioned it and or research it for yourself.
2. Transitioning cold turkey is a serious commitment and not to be taken lightly.
You could feel worse before you feel better and be prepared for the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with it for at least a week or so. Setting aside a week when things are a little less chaotic is definitely the way to go. Often you hear raw people that have changed their diet cold turkey talk about if they had it to do over again they would go slower because feeling awful really does take it's toll. It's very easy to want to quit when you feel horrible and you know that you are the one causing it.
3. When going to low fat raw or mostly fruit and greens, go slow.
It will take time for your body to adjust. Just because you should eat a certain amount of calories per day, doesn't mean that you will be able to eat that much whole fiber rich food that quickly. It's good to educate yourself on how many calories are in fruits and veggies without fat because it is very low but keep in mind that your stomach may have to adjust. Most likely you are coming from a diet that is high in calorie and fat and low in volume, even if it was raw. Most likely it was low in nutrition too. When you switch to high fiber, high volume, low fat and low calorie, you will find that you get full much faster on much less. Plus your body is going to need to adjust to all that fiber. A good rule of thumb is to eat until you are full and then take two more bites. That's it. Don't stuff yourself! Those extra two bites will help your stomach to adjust to the changes and over time you will be able to consume more calories, comfortably.
My experience here goes back to tip No 1: I was doing what I was told to do and not listening to my body. I was forcing more food into my stomach than I could eat comfortably to try to reach a certain caloric minimum and making myself ill in the process. I was also eating late at night because I had not consumed all my calories for the day and waking up feeling nauseas and unable to eat the next morning, not to mention what it did to my stomach. It is important to start tuning into what your body is telling you. Eat when you are hungry and stop two bites past full.
4. Make sure that you are digesting and processing your food in a timely manor.
In other words make sure the train keeps leaving the station on time, if you know what I mean. If you start to go through detox, nothing is going to make you feel worse than if those toxins aren't getting out the door as soon as possible. All that fiber is going to throw your body into a tail spin if you weren't consuming that much fiber before and it may take time for your body to adjust. While it does, you need to help it empty the trash or your going to feel like....caca! Where do you think that phrase came from anyway?
5. Keep your food choices simple.
When changing your diet to a mostly fruit based diet, you need to remember that it is very cleansing on your system. To make digestion easier, keep your food as well combined as possible. In other words very few food combinations. The best way is to stay with mono meals.
Mono Meals: are where you eat one thing at a sitting for example all oranges, or grapes, or watermelon until full. Very easy on your digestion and just as effective as juicing in terms of giving your digestion a break and letting the focus of your body's energy instead be spent on cleaning house.
Greens smoothies comprised of only a couple of items, for instance bananas and greens and water or oranges and greens and water are another easy digestive way to go is. Go easy on your stomach during this time. Adding in other items like ground seeds or milks will slow down the digestive process because nothing digest as quickly as fruit and greens.
6. Start your day out with your juicy fruit and work your way towards greens at the end of your day and only eat ripe fruit.
The fruit in a mono meal will only take an hour to completely go through your system. You will want anything more complicated like vegetables or more complex combinations to be towards the end of the day so if need be it has more time to digest. The last thing you want to do is add fruit behind a complex combination meal. It will get caught up behind it and not digest properly. This could lead to symptoms like an upset stomach, bloating, gas or constipation and leave you drained of energy as your body focuses it's energy on digestion.
7. If you are starting an exercise program- again go slow.
You wouldn't decide on a whim to run a marathon without training. Your body needs time to prepare. This seems obvious in the case of a marathon but at the same time wherever you are starting out, your body will need an adjustment period before you ask it to go past what it is prepared for.
In my case my first week I jumped into a one hour a day walking program from not walking at all and gave myself painful shin splints. The result was a spent a couple days with no walking at all and having to start again slowly. Had I just stared out slowly and worked my way up I would be further along than where I am now, without the painful experience.
8. Eat until you are full at each meal.
Remember, if you are eating "clean" as in no added fat or sodium in your diet, your food will process within the hour. If you are not full, you will start to get hungry and that is where cravings will slide back in. You don't want to be caught off guard feeling hungry. It is best to always have plenty of food with you in the beginning to be prepared.
9. Fruit related heartburn is not actually the fruit's fault.
I personally learned that my inability to eat citrus all my life was not because of an allergy or sensitivity as I had previously been told but because I had always eaten a high fat diet, even as a child. When you have fat in your system from say the meal the night before and you get up and drink orange juice or eat fruit at breakfast you are headed for poor digestion or in my case heart burn. I can honestly say that since I stopped eating fat, I am already drinking and eating oranges without heartburn! Unbelievable!
10. Read This Book:
The book, 80-10-10 by Dr. Doug Graham is a great book to read if you want to really understand why fruits and vegetables are always our best food choices and why fats, even healthy fats are not good for us in more than minute doses. This was in my hand almost every night this week as I tried to sort out what I was doing and I had already read it cover to cover.
I also want to say thank you to the people on Dr. Graham's chat board on vegsource.com and the people over at 30 bananas a day. They have all been a blessing to me this past week.
So on to the rest of week 2!