Week 1 was easier than I thought.
Week 2 was tougher, but I only had minor slips.
Week 3 - I've lost interest.

Now I certainly didn't do this raw vegan month to kickstart a raw vegan lifestyle. I did it (see first post) to kinda cleanse, watch my energy levels, and reduce my sugar intake. I also need to lower my cholesterol.

As I said a few days in, the hardest part had been all the liquids in the morning and not eating until the afternoon. But the food was very good and I was happy. Many people experience some cleansing signs as their bodies detox. Such things as headaches, stomach growls, and feeling moody. At the same time, those with more chronic issues experience good things like the reduction of swelling and changes to their bodies. The ONLY thing I noticed during week one is the loss of 4 pounds. Definitely good. But I think that the reason I didn't experience anything else might be because I've always eaten well to begin with. I rarely eat processed foods and generally make my meals from whole ingredients or I eat at places that do. I don't eat at fast food joints.

The second week was still OK, but I was now craving hot food more than anything. Surprisingly it wasn't cravings for meat, sugar, or dairy - it was for hot.  So I cheated and got some French fries. I figured it was hot, but still vegan. My other cheats have been a couple of bites of seafood and hot chocolate when I got migraines - need the caffeine. In the scheme of things, I think I've done well avoiding meat and dairy and grains. Second week was harder, but I got through it.

I always have trouble on weekends when I'm bored. That's when I would cook/bake.  During this diet, weekends are when the urge to cheat is the hardest.

Entering week 3 is where I've run into problems and pretty much decided raw vegan is a very difficult lifestyle for me that I could never do.

While the meals have been good, they've also gotten repetitive. What I mean is that while the meals are all different, the elements to make the meals are becoming repetitive. The same sort of "bread", "cheese", and meat substitute component are returning in different dishes. Now add the fact that the food is still raw and cold, I've gone into rebellion. Yesterday (day 14) I looked at the meal that was packed and I just couldn't do it. Again, I didn't want to go running out for a burger, so I ran to Mother and got a vegan meal there - a salad and the fried okra.  Actually, I did that last week too. I ran to Thai Canteen and got a green mango salad to change things up.

Week 3 is when you are supposed to see the more dramatic changes to energy level, sleep, mood, etc.  I don't know if I will experience those because of my cheating or because I didn't experience those things in week 1 either. I don't want to bail on this diet completely. I paid for a month's worth of meals after all. I will probably continue as best I can, but with the occasional hot food item or bit of seafood. That much I'm determined to do - stay away from meat for the whole month. After all, I still need to lower my cholesterol.

Meanwhile, what do I think about my overall diet at this point?  Well I've learned that I can survive without meat, dairy, and grains pretty well. If I can continue that from now on, that's a win. After all, I had to have meat every day before and RARELY ever did a meatless day. I can also try to keep this willpower up enough to do less or lower sugar desserts.  The test will be to see if I can convert from sweets and meat every day to sweets and meats only one or two days a week - as treats. 

Less than 10 days to go.
pic courtesy of Cochon555

This year it's round 6 of the annual Cochon 555 tour. "Cochon" is French for "pig" and the 555 means - 5 chefs, 5 pigs, 5 wineries. What could be better than that?

Cochon 555 was established as a way to support family farms that raise heritage breed pigs. Since the start it has focused on supporting local agriculture as well. There are tour stops in 10 U.S. cities where the five chosen local chefs compete to make the best dishes from their assigned heritage pigs. The winners from each city then go on to compete in the Grand Cochon finale at the Aspen Wine & Food Classic. We are lucky in Northern California to have two stops on their tour: Napa (March 2) and San Francisco (April 27). 

Napa tickets are currently on sale for the March 2nd event and Sacramentans should take note. This year one of the competing chefs is Kelly McCown, formally of Ella and now at Goose & Gander in Napa. Kelly has worked at numerous restaurants throughout the West Coast such as La Folie, Fleur de Lys, Lampreia, Flying Fish, and the Michelin rated Martini House in St. Helena. He's also been spotted foraging ingredients in the Napa Valley area. I'm sure all of us familiar with his cooking know that he is a strong contender to win Cochon Napa. Let's show him some Sacramento support by showing up!

In 2012 another local favorite competed, Michael Tuohy. Recently returned to Sacramento, at the time he was Executive Chef at Dean & DeLuca. One of his assistants that day was James Beard winner, Hank Shaw.

Tickets for Cochon 555 are $125 (general admission) and $200 (VIP). Both ticket prices includes endless drink and tons of food. GA starts at 5pm. VIP starts at 4pm, and includes one-hour early access to all the food (premium access to limited experiences like Punch Kings, wines and spirits), a chance to hang with the celebrity chefs, judges and media. Everyone is invited to the After Party.  

The event is held at the Culinary Institute in St. Helena at the glorious stone structure of Greystone.
2555 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574
When: Sunday March 2nd, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
I am on Day 4, one of the most difficult days.

Due to a visiting guest and my not picking up my Green Boheme meals until Sunday, I started a day late, on February 2, Sunday. Now I'm on Day 4 at the peak of the initial cleansing phase. Your first 2-4 days are when your body is getting used to a different diet and purging itself of toxins. It's also when you feel hunger pangs the most intensely.  After all, this raw food has a lot less density and so my stomach says, "Put something in here! I'm empty!" 

So far I'm finding the hardest parts to be the daily eating schedule and the amount of liquids. I have juice and smoothie for the first half of my day. I don't get around to actual solid food until around 3:00.  Thing is, I've been waking up at 4:30 or 5 and so I've got a huge break between things. 

5 am  - probiotic drink
5:30 or 6 - green juice
11 am - green smoothie 32 ounces

That's a huge break between 6 and 11! Your mind begins to crave things.

Now add the fact that liquids run right through me and my workplace bathroom is a BLOCK away!  They are remodeling the bathrooms near my office and so we have to trek all the way to the other set, a block away (inside). TMI, but that means with a 32 ounce smoothie I'm running to the bathroom every 15 minutes for the hour after I drink it. Not fun.

Once I get actual food in me later in the afternoon, I'm ok. In fact, there is enough in the meal and snack to fill you up until bed time. It's all that fiber.  And the food is good! Which I knew it would be. I have yet to have anything from Green Boheme that I didn't care for.  One thing I'll say for sure, the food is SOOOO flavorful. I can't get over how good it is and, as I'm eating my savory crepe, thinking about how easy and rather enjoyable this month might be because I took that step to buy the full meal plan.  I don't have to think about what I'm eating each day, or about preparing it. 

In fact, with the opening of Mother showcasing fabulous vegetarian dishes as well, it makes me think about "maybe it wouldn't be too difficult to change my eating habits long-term". But we are only on Day 4 and I love dairy and pork. I guess we'll see.

Here are some examples of my first few meals:

  • fajita filled w/ veggies, Mexican 'rice' and 'beans' and a mango pudding
  • mock 'chicken' salad wraps and a chocolate creme cake
  • shepherd's pie w/ spinach salad
  • savory crepe w/ side salad
I've eaten everything but the shepherd's pie and chocolate cake so far. The fajita and and crepe dishes came with wraps to put the fillings into. Both were surprisingly pliable. They are made by making a puree, spreading thin, and then dehydrating. Rather good. 

I'll try to remember to take some pictures next installment.