Sunday, November 23, 2008

That's a (Raw) Wrap! My Experience with the Raw Detox

These are the last observations on food that I expect to have for a while, or at least until the next friend asks me to try some new diet, which I will definitely enthusiastically have to try.

Here's how the detox went:

Day 1: Screaming, shouting, skull-rending headache due to lack of caffeine. Multiple pukes. Multiple calls to the husband (who had wisely gone to the office) to cry and whine. Three hours of torment followed by an inch of coffee, a handful of painkillers, and a one hour nap. After I woke up, I felt better. The children played a lot of chess that day.

Day 2: I ate a bunch of fruit and vegetables. I was not hungry but I did really want something hot, like tomato soup. Tomato soup seemed like the elixir of the gods, and its presence in my pantry tormented me. I noticed, on Day 2, that I was very calm. My writing on my Nanowrimo novel slowed to sedate saunter. I was patient with the children, so patient and reasonable that they started to wonder if I was really their mother. Nothing moved me. Nothing elated me and nothing depressed me. Everything was... fine. I ate more romaine lettuce than a person should eat in one day. I drank lots of water. I ate large apples, cut thinly. I ate grapes.

Day 3: On day 3 I started to wonder if life was really worth living without hot food. I felt so calm it was almost terrifying. I ate cherry tomatoes by the large bowl. I drank water by the quart. I stayed up very very late writing my novel, then at 2am took an extremely hot bath and a lot of my hair fell out! LITERALLY. If hair could be in droves then my hair would have been falling out in them. Droves, people. The interesting thing was that I stayed up until 2am without caffeine and I truly was not tired. I made myself go to bed.

Day 4: We went to IHOP in the morning and I ate a bowl of melon and grapes and oranges and was fine. I had one cup of coffee. Later in the day I took Sadie for a manicure. I drank lots of water. I was beginning to feel like a lifetime of hysteria and frantic neuroses was fading away from me. Then that night I went out for sushi with some friends, completely violating my diet and engaging in tempura, miso soup, california roll, and hot sake. OOPS. Definitely the best food I have ever eaten in my entire life. And I felt AWESOME.

Day 5: Back on the raw wagon, I had a very calm, peaceful day. Church, violin concert, getting from place to place by moving my legs and placidly drifting. I ate a pineapple during pizza night. The most complicated thought I had all day was why it says "Do not refrigerate" on tomatoes.

Day 6: I realized on morning of Day 6, looking back over my novel parts that I had written while raw, that it was complete garbage. Not in the usual "rough first draft" sense of the word, but in the "what medicated corn plant wrote this slop" sense of the word. The thing was composed almost entirely of subject-verb-object, subject-verb-object, etc and there was no internal life going on whatsoever. The characters moved through space without conflict, having a nice quiet time, they had no memories, no ideas, no flashback, no trouble. It was BLOODLESS. In a panic, and because I really wanted to eat crab dip, I ate a small plate full of toasted crackers and cajun crab dip. Then, while driving someplace, I had the most astonishing realization about my novel. When I got home that night I edited the first two chapters to reflect this change, and it was like the universe sang in a beautiful harmonious chorus. The clouds parted, a golden ray of sun shone down, and my boring pedantic novel was suddenly alive again.

Was it the raw that actually made me think of that idea? Or was I pinched in the brain by that crab dip? I may never know.

Day 7: Because it was day 7 and because I had decided pretty much that raw food was making me stupid in my brain, I quit a bit early and cracked open that much-coveted can of tomato soup at about 3pm. I ate it with crackers. By the time I took Benny to karate at 5, I was almost doubled over with extreme pain. WOW, that hurt. I ate more raw stuff for dinner, raw the next breakfast, and then a bowl of chili -- possibly the worst food I could have chosen but again something I had coveted droolingly while raw. Again with the massive stomach pains. So, the road back to cooked was not easy. But, I am eating cooked food again.

Some observations and claims, maybe not all valid though true to me right at this moment, all definitely subject to change:

1. While raw, I stayed up very late with no fatigue and no coffee. That first night back on cooked, I ate a pop-tart and was asleep in 30 minutes. Ditto the next night with a popsicle. Conclusion: Sugar puts me to sleep.
2. My desire to eat processed sugar is almost gone.
3. My desire to eat fruits and vegetables is very large. I now somehow connect these foods in my brain with feeling better.
4. I think my mojo is back, on my novel, and I credit the artificial colors, artificial flavors, caffeine, alcohol, and processed food with my mental reawakening.
5. Eating raw made me a much better parent. Much more patient and insightful.
6. Eating raw made me feel much less claustrophobic in several different ways -- in space in my house, in time in the day, in emotional proximity of other people. It made me feel like I had more room, more time, more capacity to deal with other humans. That was part of the good calm. I was really amazed by that.
7. I need my neuroses to be interesting. I found myself incredibly boring while raw. I wanted to knit, watch tv, and think about carpet. Now, I knit and watch TV anyway, and there's nothing wrong with doing these things in combination or together, but when I was eating raw I was feeling really fulfilled by just knitting and watching TV, or even just *sitting*. I felt like I might be able to even *meditate* and that scared the whoosit out of me.
8. Eating raw made me a bad writer. I have learned to write without cigarettes, without hard liquor, without most of the vices I engaged in back when I was cool. However, I don't think I really need to sabotage myself completely by writing without hot food.
9. Going forward, I will eat less sugar, more vegetable.
10. If I ever find myself in an overwhelmingly emotional situation, or a situation when I need to be very calm, I will eat raw starting about three days out. Seriously, it was that big of a thing. It was like tranquilizer for me. Good, and bad.


  1. hahaha! Lydia, you totally crack me up! And I so love you for that! Thanks for accepting the challenge and going through with it, even with cheating a bit.

    Next challenge...raw kids! hehe I can tell you from first hand experience, even though my kids are pretty mellow, the whining is almost non-existent in their daily dealings when they're raw...other than the whining about why they have to drink yet another green smoothie! :)

  2. The calmness is interesting, I don't remember noticing that. If I do it again I'll pay more attention. I blogged some about it too here:

  3. Anonymous9:05 PM

    "You have been chosen for a mission. Get your assignment here:"