After our awesome meal on Friday, and then awesome leftovers on Saturday, we finally started to settle into our raw diet. Things felt more easy-going and we started looking forward to dinner again. We're huge fans of Mexican food and we're huge fans of re-using meal ingredients creatively, so on Sunday, we thought we'd try our hands at a raw taco salad using the taco pate from Thursday's meal.

On Saturday I'd gotten the idea that the taco pate might be good dehydrated, so I busted out the solid dehydrating rack and filled it with dollops of pate, cranked it up to 115, and let it rock over night, flipping them before bed (probably about 18 hours total). The next morning, they were looking (and tasting) pretty awesome, so I decided to whip up another batch of pate to dehydrate super quick. They didn't have as long to dehydrate, but this time, instead of flipping half way through, I removed the now-solidified dollops and placed them on normal dehydrator trays for more even dehydrating. These only dehydrated for about 8 hours total, but they were still solid enough for taco salad.

We had these on a large bed of lettuce with homemade guac and salsa. This meal was just as awesome as the last two. 'twas our seventh and final raw dinner.

By Monday morning, on our last official day in the Week of Raw, we were feeling really good. Not having coffee didn't seem so bad, lunch was gonna be good, and our entire weekend was filled with delicious food. We celebrated our raw victory with our usual cooked Mexican feast: refried beans, Mexican rice, homemade seitan chorizo, and salsa.

It felt really strange to be eating cooked food again, like we were cheating on our diet, or eating something really unhealthy. I took as much lettuce as I could fit in my burrito to try to compensate. Some switch had flipped and raw seemed like the natural thing.

Last night, we had the remaining raw tomato basil cream sauce on cooked wholewheat spinach noodles (they were a little pasty) and a giant salad. We ate the salad first and filled up, then took really small portions of the pasta. The salad became the centerpiece and cooked dish became the side. We're going to try to stick with this mentality--eating lots of creative raw dishes and salads and supplementing with cooked.

Without the stipulation of always having to eat raw, it actually feels really good--not like a chore at all.

Ultimately, I think we accomplished what we set out to--to get into the headspace of raw, to get ourselves far enough that we could come up with some dishes that we really liked. It took us four or five days to get there--we started on a Monday and finally got comfortable on Friday, so it wasn't easy. Previously, we'd just been eating a raw meal here or there--but we could still have popcorn that night or look forward to our meal the next day. Without those concessions, we had to figure out something awesome to eat or we were going to go crazy.

This also compelled us to do a little more aggressive research and shopping. We stocked up on some ingredients we might not normally have on hand (or keep so well stocked)--lots of fruits and veggies, lots of nuts, the introduction of dates (how was I missing these?!). We also picked up a new toy--our food dehydrator. We also experienced in a visceral way that our bodies needed some sort of break. Just by changing our diet, we ended up sore for several days (almost a week for me). While we haven't been able to track down a good scientific explanation for this, it seems significant somehow. What was going on in our bodies that this shift opened up?

So what did we learn?

  • We drink way too caffeine.
  • It's really hard to eat out raw; especially if you're also not drinking, going out to drink water with your friends doesn't seem like much fun at all. You need at least a meal or a drink, preferably both. This was the hardest part of being raw for a week--it actually hampered out social life considerably.
  • We don't need to buy almond milk--we should be making it raw ourselves.
  • To really do raw right, you probably need to invest in a food dehydrator; a food processor is also pretty much a must-have.
  • There are lots of ways to eat a salad as a meal--eating salads shouldn't be a chore.
  • Soggy zucchini noodles should not be the mainstay of raw cooking.
  • Kale chips aren't really worth effort (they're a great snack, but we decided, ultimate, that we'd rather just eat the kale).
  • Raw ice cream is the best kind we've made.
  • Raw falafel is the best invention ever, and should be consumed weekly, at minimum.

As we're easing back into our normal diets, we're trying to keep a lot of our good habits--eating 50% raw (most  raw breakfasts and lunches, big salads with dinner, raw meals some nights), reducing our alcohol consumption (easy to say mid-morning), and cutting waaay back on our coffee consumption. The last two days I've had Teeccino with just a dash of real coffee thrown in (4 - 5 tbsp Teecino to 1 tbsp coffee). This is just enough to get a hint of real coffee taste and just a tiny pick-me-up. I don't love the flavor of Teeccino, so it's a nice mix, and pretty minimal on the coffee/caffeine. In the afternoon or evening, we've been doing herbal tea.

It's hard to say if it's the diet, but the last few nights I've slept really well and overall feel really good.

As an added bonus, we're now hooked on homemade raw vegan ice cream (you need an ice cream maker for this). Last night we made strawberry:

Raw Strawberry Cashew Ice Cream

  • 2 cups of raw cashews, ground in a nut or coffee grinder
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 1.5 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp raw agave nectar

Make sure your ice cream bucket is in the freezer. Blend all of the above in blender, until smooth (you'll probably need to do this in two batches). Pour into a bowl and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Pour the chilled mix into the ice cream maker and let it run for about 25 minutes. That's it!

What's amazing is that this is not only raw, but practically healthy--the sugars are almost entirely from fruits--the strawberries and dates, with just a little help from the agave nectar (I actually only used 1 tbsp of agave, but it could have been sweeter--so 2 seemed like a good bet).

Hooray for raw! (but also, Hooray for cooked!)