This is long waited blog of my experiment and experience with natural/raw food and its effects on me after a 100 day period. (Note; this is well delayed post that I started after the 100 days, but could never get to complete it. But the content is a reflection of how it felt at the time).
Towards the end of my sickness during end Jan and till mid Feb, ’18 I was frustrated that my health issues were not fully resolved despite a prolonged antibiotic course, a medicine or two each for my cold, fever, cough, teeth pain (having fallen in bathroom unconscious – read my earlier post here) and home remedies of steam inhalations, clove oil, ginger-honey-lemon decoction, plenty of bed rest and what not. About 20% of my throat infection wouldn’t go away and allied symptoms of light fever, body pains and weakness persisted.
One day it occurred to me why would I not try something that I dreamed of since my childhood; to live on food like the early human being ate. After all whatever the early man and woman must’ve done must be good. Otherwise we wouldn’t have this 8 billion or so people on earth today. The dream since my childhood was to try living on food in its closest natural form. I thought the early man must have plucked fruits and some vegetables (if they existed) from the tree or shrubs and ate them. After he found fire, he found a way to eat root vegetables by roasting which otherwise are hard to eat. And when he could create tools, he would hunt and eat animals after roasting them. Me being a vegetarian, I would stop after the previous milestone and not worry about this one.
I said to myself, I wouldn’t harm anything worse by trying out this for 5 to 7 days. I am used to fasting anything up to 5 days, so not worried out by going hungry or be able to survive. In any case with the 20% sick symptoms persisting, I wasn’t eating much due to bitter mouth. So started having this ‘natural food’ (as I coined the phrase for my own understanding) on Feb 12, 2018. I would have oven (not microwave) baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, and small quantities of vegetables as salad. I am not a great salad eater so raw vegetables were not big part of my food initially.
To my pleasant astonishment, in about two days I was noticing substantial improvement in my health symptoms and within 5 days all my sickness was gone! I gained faith in this method and therefore wanted to continue for rest of 2 days also per my tentative target. By end of one week I decided that I wanted to try for 30 days. I was anyway feeling better and improving a great deal on post sick weakness. I decided that within this 30 days I wouldn’t touch anything cooked (other than the baked potatoes or sweet potatoes or taro or other root vegetables). And to make one improvement to my lifestyle, I decided I was going to walk everyday. I have now come to the ‘realization’ after going through my sickness, there is REALLY nothing more important to me than my health. Office work or family work, I thought should only come next in priority. To know if this food is making any ‘real’ and ‘tangible’ benefit to me I had to follow my regimen strictly, I thought. And I did. During this 30 day period, lucky for me, there were several difficult situations when eating cooked food would’ve become mandatory. For example there were marriage receptions and parties. There was even a function at my own home for my parents’ 60th Marriage Anniversary with several relatives and friends for lunch and dinner (and a lunch another day for puja at home). There were times when I hadn’t planned well enough to stock up fruits or roots. In all these situations I had to manage myself to not tempt into eating cooked food.
But the experiment was worth it. My health parameters had improved drastically. They look something like below.
Note: There is a qualifying comments on the HbA1c above. My result shown above was only one month after the diet change while the test parameter is a three month average. So if re-estimated for 3 months, it would perhaps be much lower. Also, my readings at home using my own equipment for fasting and post food indicate a significant reduction and into normal readings. For example after having two ripe juicy mangoes followed by my own created ice cream with plenty of honey, my blood sugars were 110 during a recent test.
The weight loss shown above at 11 kgs was achieved with 4 kgs loss during my sickness and losing 7 kgs thereafter post diet change. I look lot more ‘normal’ now than I used to be. Here are two pictures of before and after to give a comparison. Since I didn’t do this like the weight reduction centers in a planned way, I had to cull out from my past and recent photographs to compare both!
However, it is not about how much more handsome I may appear. To be honest, while I am definitely happy about it, this was never the reason for me to try this diet to lose weight in a big way; I ‘assumed’ I was only slightly over weight!). The objective was to improve my health. And it improved so much more significantly than I had expected. The corollary benefit was losing the 11 kgs weight. Appearance apart, me weighing lighter makes carrying around myself so much easier. I am able to do my yoga postures more accurately than I was doing in the past. My body flexes better. I am able to do a 10 km walk every day after (so called) dinner without too much of an effort. Squatting on the floor and having my meals is no longer an effort or something I have to hesitate. Since my childhood I am used to having dining table at home. So while squatting and having meals at religious functions and parties was not impossible, it certainly wasn’t something I looked forward to. I was always concerned of dropping food while I bring it to my mouth (!). Now that I can bend forward effortlessly, it no longer is an issue. In fact I have started preferring to squatting on floor for meals.
And that’s not all. I am feeling emotionally so much better. I guess this is partially due to vegetable juices and partially to my happiness of well being. And this led to my blood pressure getting to normal. Hypertension was one symptom that I was never able to bring to normal with the best my efforts with meditation, pranayama or other yogic asanas. I have since realized now that hypertension is caused by how we felt mostly emotionally. The common term used is stress. This need not be just a high work pressure. It is that constant lack of happiness. So even after getting into this diet and exercise, while I was doing very good on everything else from blood glucose to high triglycerides, my blood pressure did not become normal quickly. It was after two months or so, did it get to normal, when I had the constant undeterred happiness every day, every moment. I have no come to realization that hypertension is a result of unhappiness.
I have decided, this natural food diet that I have tried (I have since come to know through internet that this is widely practised diet, and they call it ‘raw food’), I will follow for the rest of my life, although the current resolution is to follow at least for 9 months. Baba Ramdev once said, any new health habit one tries, they should try for 9 months. That is the period it takes for a baby to form fully in mother’s womb. All cells, some with short life and some with long live, all of them would die and new ones are formed within 9 month. So a new body hopefully will emerge after 9 months.
And it is not as difficult as it may seem. I will still have normal meals of cooked food, about 2 meals in a week during the two day weekend. Earth rotates at about 1000 miles per hour. It doesn’t take a lot of time to reach a weekend after one is gone! And I ‘DO’ enjoy the several recipes I try out with raw food. More of that in another blog post.
All in all, I feel so much happier, healthier, and stronger; physically and emotionally!