I’m halfway through a 30 day pilates challenge with Studio Pilates and injuries limited my visits in the first two weeks of the challenge so I feel I’m running a bit behind the other participants.
Keen to catch up, I’m now booked in to classes six days a week until early September and I’ve decided to try to kickstart my diet into something a bit healthier (especially after the McDonalds/cheezels blow out while hungover last week).
Enter ‘Raw Till 4’.
The Raw Till 4 movement is similar to the raw Vegan lifestyle, but with a twist … basically you eat only raw foods for breakfast and lunch and then dinner can be a low fat, high carb, cooked meal of your choice (die-hard carnivores, like myself, can throw in some meat at dinner time or a grain like rice or quinoa).
I first read about it after I stumbled across the Instagram account of Gold Coaster Loni Jane Anthony, a devout follower of Dr Douglas Graham’s 80:10:10 diet—a vegan eating plan in which 80 percent of the calories come from carbohydrates (mostly fruit and some veggies), 10 percent come from healthy fats, and the rest come from protein.
Loni Jane’s photos are divine, her meals look delicious and, in all honestly, she has a super banging body. She also eats more bananas in one meal than I’ve eaten my entire life (I only like bananas when they’re cooked … into cakes).
Having trawled through Instagram for inspiration, I hit the fruit and vege shop on the weekend and came home with more food than would fit into my fridge.
I also did a serious pantry purge throwing out all the things that I knew weren’t good for me given my recent recommendation to try a mostly gluten-free diet.
I love that whenever you clean out the pantry, and it doesn’t matter how often you do it, there’s always crap that’s out of date and not by like a week or two, by years. I only cleaned it out a few months ago and yet I still found something that expired in 2009!
The best part of that is that I didn’t move out of my parents place until the end of 2010, so I clearly decided to take the expired Olive Oil spray with me?!
With four bags of rubbish taken down to the bin and my pantry looking pristine, it briefly crossed my mind to make my breakfast and lunch for work on Monday, but instead I ate peanut butter on toast while watching Rookie Blue and called it a day.
This is how my first day embracing Raw Till 4 unfolded:
7.45am. Have just spent 5 minutes gazing longingly into the chaos which is my fridge and wishing I won lotto so I could hire a chef. Or at least date someone who actually knew how to put a proper meal together. Normally there is nothing in there aside from alcohol, eggs and cheese but now there’s fruit and vegetables stuffed everywhere so I’m not quite sure where to begin. I reach for the gluten-free bread and toy with the idea of starting this whole process tomorrow but my calendar of Pilates classes stuck to the freezer shames me into following through with the plan.
7.55am. The kitchen now looks like I tried blending a salad without putting the lid on; there’s grated beetroot and carrot on the floor. And stuck to my leg. I’ve left it too late to attempt to make a banana smoothie or even stop and buy a fresh juice. Instead I grab the entire contents of the fruit bowl and throw them into my handbag hoping the strawberries don’t squish.
9.10am. Breakfast time. I use my (not so impressive) knife skills to chop up one mango, four strawberries and a kiwi, topped with coconut chips and ½ passionfruit. I’m pretty impressed. I think I’ve got this raw food thing nailed but I could be an angry, hungry beast by lunchtime.
10.35am. Okay, it’s been an hour and a half since breakfast and I’m already hungry. Hungry enough to keep nibbling away at the remainder of the coconut in my bag and thinking that I should have paid attention to how much was in the packet when I started so I knew whether or not I’d eaten half of it (one serve). It’s like crack, it’s so addictive.
10.36am. Time for a glass of water to distract myself. Thank god for hour-long meetings … being locked away in a glass box is the only thing that may save me from foraging for food.
12.08pm. I made it through without eating my arm, but I did think about the leftover crunchy coconut pieces about 1500 times during the meeting. Now the challenge is whether I can make it through until 1pm.
12.15pm. Rudy is eating fried rice. It smells amazing. I’m contemplating pushing him off his seat and stealing it, although that’s probably not appropriate work behaviour. Keep reminding myself this is mind over matter. And how much I want to buy a new pair of bikinis to wear by the pool in Noosa next month.
12.40pm. It’s lunchtime. I caved in early. Never have I been so excited about a salad. I unload my salad of grated carrot and beetroot, cucumber, tomato, spinach, snow peas, ½ avocado and red and cabbage onto a plate. It looks like rabbit food.
1.07pm. I’m halfway through my salad and all I want is a bite-size Mars Bar which I know is in the kitchen. Or some cheese. I’d really like some cheese. Just a little crumbling of feta over the top.
1.25pm. I gave in and ate the rest of the coconut chips. Damn them for being so tasty.
1.45pm. Time to Google dinner options. It’s my grandma’s birthday and her preference is Hog’s Breath Café. I can honestly say I’ve never been there and I would be pretty happy never going there. But it’s her choice. I can practically smell the fries.
3.04pm. The 3pm slump has hit. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
3.24pm. I’ve cut loose and am having three pieces of celery for afternoon tea. They would be much tastier with peanut butter. Or caramelised onion dip. Yum.
3.35pm. I’m two pieces in and I’m starting to really hate celery. And this meal plan.
4.17pm. Woohoo. Raw till 4 is now complete … I can eat something cooked. Still vegetables, mind you … but cooked ones. Hurrah. Unfortunately I don’t have a hidden stash of roast potatoes at my desk otherwise I’d be on them faster than a seagull on a hot chip.
5pm. Home time. Which equals some kind of food time, I hope. I’m not overly hungry, but I’m feeling a bit light headed … could be from all that celery!
5.45pm. I’ve got a bit of a headache starting up. Thankfully I’m on my way to a birthday dinner for my grandma and we’ve decided to go to the local pub instead of Hog’s Breath. I’m determined to make a decent dinner choice.
8pm. Urgh. I feel so sick. I fell off the healthy foods wagon in a spectacular way. Although I’m sure there was something low-fat somewhere in my Pumpkin and Feta Arancini Balls, Braised Cape Grim Beef Cheeks with Colcannon mash, buttered spinach & crispy prosciutto and Salted Caramel Tart with Milk Custard & Ice Cream.
So I survived my first day eating Raw till 4, and while I wouldn’t call myself any kind of success story that doesn’t mean I’ll give up. Day two and three also went okay with fruit for breakfast and no snacks (once I’d polished off the second and last packet of crack coconut chips on Tuesday), but I did cheat and have chicken on my rice paper rolls for lunch.
But I’ve mostly followed it and I was feeling pretty perky this morning and my stomach is definitely looking flatter so what’s not to love … And surely it’s totally normal to daydream about chasing giant cheese wheels down hills and across fields, or of barbecues with endless servings of sweet, sticky, ribs. Right?
Anyway, must go now, it’s time to chop up some salad for tomorrow!