Behind The Butter

A Day in the Life of a Raw Foodist—Welcome Gena!

Please welcome my friend, Gena, who graciously agreed to guest blog for me for a day while I play catch up! 🙂

gena-2

Gena is a book editor living in the Big Apple who actually just started her OWN blog! She is a high raw vegan and very passionate about sharing with others the knowledge she has gained about the raw food life. Since it has been such a hot topic lately in the blog world, I figured no better time then to see what a raw foodie really eats daily! And now, please welcome Miss Gena!!

[Enter Gena]

First of all, a HUGE thank you to Jenna (whose name is pronounced exactly like mine) for welcoming me onto EAT, LIVE, RUN! I’ve been a reader for a long time, so it’s a tremendous honor to be a guest blogger for the day. More importantly, it’s very exciting to be offering you all a glimpse of the wonderful world of raw foods and raw living. Today’s theme is “One Day in the Life of a Raw Foodist.” I hope to give you a realistic sense of what a typical day in my life looks like, and to share my enthusiasm for this way of eating.

Before I say more, I should give you guys an honest warning: I eat very simply. Most raw foodists do. This means lots of salads, simple dinners, and veggie juice. I thought about making a fabulous lunch or dinner for this post, but I ultimately decided that trying to impress you all (no matter how tempting!) would be contrary to what Jenna and I are trying to convey, which is my everyday life.

One of the prevailing misconceptions about the raw diet is that it’s tremendously time consuming, socially isolating, and difficult to maintain. And if there’s anything I want to impart to you all, it’s that it is possible to keep up a raw diet while living a hectic, normal, working girl’s life. Today isn’t quite as crazy as it could be—no business lunches or after-work commitments—but work promises to be busy. So pleas forgive me for not preparing beet raviolis with cashew cream sauce, heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagna with pignoli cheese, or nori rolls with jicama rice and avocado cream. These are just a few of the delectable raw entrees that are out there, and I do make these on special occasions. Today, it’s all about the everyday.

With that said, let’s move on to breakfast!

7:30 a.m.

Good morning! I’ve been up for half an hour or so, stretching, getting focused on the day, dressing, etc. On some days, I might rushing to the gym at this point, but I’m planning on taking a Vinyasa class at lunchtime, so I’ve got some extra time to kill. For this reason, I decide to enjoy the rare treat of “breakfast” at home, which means…

Juice. Meet my Breville juicer.

breville

Jenna, who recently fell in love with veggie juice, has asked me if I consider this baby a worthy investment. The answer is YES. I never imagined that I would juice enough at home to justify spending 150$ on a juicer, but believe me, I’ve had it for only two months now, and it has already paid for itself quite a few times. Today’s concoction is my standard: green apple, celery, cucumber, kale, and ginger. I make about 24 ounces, and I sip it as I check email before work.

green-juice

If there’s one major difference between the way I eat “raw” and the way I ate “cooked” (aside from the obvious subtraction of heat!) it’s in my morning routine. I usually drink a juice like this before work or as soon as I get there, and another mid-morning. This keeps me satisfied right until lunchtime. I know that this probably sounds nuts to many of you. And believe me, if you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be satisfied on juice till lunchtime, I’d have called you crazy, too. I, like you, was used to a hot bowl of oats and toppings every morning. And don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with oats. They’re nourishing and healthy and full of fiber, as we all know! But most raw foodists find that they crave a morning meal less and less as they progress into the raw lifestyle. I began eating raw with breakfasts of smoothies, raw granola and nutmilk, and sprouted bread with honey. Over time, I found that I was happy simply eating fruit until lunchtime. And as soon as I invested in a juicer, I found that green juice was all I wanted when I woke up. Obviously, this transition took place over a long period of time (over a year), and I don’t recommend it for anyone who’s not naturally inclined in that direction. But I personally find that eating lightly or juicing in the morning gives me sustained and incredible energy.

As I mentioned above, I don’t want to fill this post with fancy recipes that don’t reflect my own experience. But I do want to offer you three raw alternatives for each meal, so that you can see the rich variety of what’s available in this lifestyle.

Other raw breakfast options:

•Raw granola (Lydia’s is a great brand!) with almond or hemp milk

•Sprouted bread with honey, jam, or nut butter

•Smoothies! You all know the drill: fruit + ice + a little nut milk = magic. Add hemp protein, flax oil, or a slice of avocado for some healthy fat.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, give green smoothies a shot. The biggest item that most adults are missing from their diet are dark greens. (Which is too bad, since they’re pretty much the most nutrient-rich foods out there.) Green smoothies are a great and easy way to get some greens in before lunchtime! My favorite smoothie consists solely of banana and romaine lettuce, but you could sweeten that mix with a date or some honey. It’s rich, satisfying, and totally delicious.

Moving on…

11:00 a.m.

Time for more juice. On some days I find that I’m perfectly happy with my early juice, but it’s been a busy morning at the office, and I have a sweaty yoga class ahead, so I’m craving more. Thankfully, there’s a deli downstairs that has a juice bar and very reasonable prices, so I run down for another fix. This time it’s a mixture of carrot, celery, parsley, and cucumber that I drink up on my way to a meeting. The meeting is endless, and I don’t have a chance to take a photo, but the juice keeps me feeling energetic all the way until…

12:15 p.m.

AKA, yoga time. Here’s my yoga mat, nestled into the corner of my office. (Yes, that’s a bookshelf. If you guys are wondering what I do, I’m a book editor.)

yoga-mat

I try to make time for yoga on Mondays whenever I can. Monday mornings are typically stressful, with a long week looming ahead, and practice helps me to slow down and relax about to-do list. (For all you New Yorkers, I take the 12:30 Vinyasa class at the 14th street New York Sports Club with Sarah: she’s great!).

Off I go.

1:40 p.m.

Back at the desk and ready for some lunch. People often ask me if all raw foodists eat is salads. The answer is definitely no, but we do eat a whole lot of them. I eat a giant salad nearly every day for lunch, and I never get bored. Today’s is one of my very favorites: spinach and dark baby greens with cherry tomatoes, a few sundried tomatoes, sliced fennel, dill, avocado, and balsamic dressing.

salad-close-up-1

salad-close-up-2

It’s sweet, summery, and delicious. With it, I eat the other half of the avocado that went into my salad.

salad-spread

“Wait,” you’re thinking. “A whole avocado? Isn’t that a lot of fat?!” Sure, it’s a healthy dose of fat. Do I worry about it? Not at all. One of the best things about living raw, for me, is that I no longer pay attention to calorie counts, food groups, recommended daily allowances, and so on. I don’t obsess over whether I’m getting enough or too much. There’s a lot of talk these days about the notion of “intuitive eating.” Well, many raw foodists find that switching to raw foods helps the body learn to eat intuitively. I certainly did: I was always a healthy eater, but the simplicity of the raw diet has helped me to tune in with my own body’s instincts and needs in a way I never could before.

In addition, our bodies don’t recognize or efficiently digest cooked fats, so they tend to accumulate and stress our systems. But raw fats—including the fat in avocados (and other raw fat sources, like flax oil, nuts, seeds, and coconuts)—are easily recognized and assimilated by the body. For that reason, they won’t accumulate or “make you fat,” as you ladies may worry they will. I eat healthy, natural fat sources each and every day, with no ill effects.

This was a satisfying, tasty lunch. As I ate, I caught up on some food blogs (naturally) and read a bit of the paper online. Eating at one’s desk is never ideal, and for the most part, I do my best to focus my energy on food when I eat: no TV, no IMing, no email checking. But when I’m at work, I make do with what I have. I try my best to carve out some pleasant space for lunch, closing my door, reading for pleasure, and vowing not to pay attention to Outlook until I’m finished eating.

Now, much to my dismay, it’s time to jump back into the day.

Other raw lunch options:

•Any kind of salad your heart desires, as long as it’s raw and plant based. Add a whole avocado or some nuts for fat and energy. If you’re still hungry, eat a Larabar or some Ezekiel bread alongside it.

•A roll made from raw or steamed collard leaves, stuffed with raw hummus, a nut pate or veggies and a special dressing.

•An avocado and veggie sandwich on sprouted bread or wraps (like Ezekiel or the Alvarado St. Bakery). No, sprouted bread isn’t technically raw, but it’s the kind of food I classify as “raw-ish”—not raw, but cooked at low temperature, healthy, digestible, and totally worth eating.

People often as me if I’m 100% raw, and the answer is no: I eat sprouted grains, cooked root vegetables, dark chocolate, and other non raw foods. I don’t view “100% raw” as a worthy or meaningful goal: my goal is to get a wide array of nutrients from as many delicious, plant-based sources as I can.

3:30 p.m.

Lunch was really tasty. And it’s holding me over nicely, so I don’t want a snack. But I did want to interrupt the endless stream of phone calls and emails to offer you some raw snack options, if you’re curious.

Raw snacks

•Raw nuts and dried fruit, or a Larabar

•Veggies with raw dressing/dip

•Fruit

6:30 p.m.

Just got home! I managed to leave work at a decent time, mostly so that I’d have time to walk you all through my dinner prep. Tonight’s menu: cucumber rolls with almond butter dipping sauce and an Asian inspired salad.

This is a recipe that I’ve mostly come up with on my own. The inspiration was a hybrid of a recipe from Natalia Rose’s The Raw Food Detox Diet and another that I spotted online. These rolls make a terrific presentation, but they’re so easy to assemble. They’re also a great way to use up leftover veggies.

Step one: slice cucumbers from top to bottom thinly. I used my mandolin to do this. If you don’t have a mandolin at home, I highly recommend investing! They’re affordable and will cut down your kitchen prep time immeasurably. But you could also do this with a regular veggie peeler.

mandolin

Lay these out three in a row, overlapping slightly:

roll-step-1

Step two: Lay your stuffing veggies (in this case, red pepper slices, grated carrot, some sprouts, and some avocado) in the center of the roll, closer to one end.

roll-step-22

Step three: Gently roll the near end of the cucumbers over the filling, and keep going till you have a neat little stuffed roll.

roll-step-3

Two of these are enough to satisfy me with a side, but make as many as you wish! My accompaniment is a salad of kale and spinach from the farmer’s market, peppers, avocado, and carrots that I didn’t use up in the rolls, and some sugar snap peas. I also toss in a little cilantro and basil. If you’re not in the habit of throwing herbs in your salads, I highly recommend it! They make any assemblage of greens immediately more flavorful. I dress the salad with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of agave nectar—of course you could use a more interesting dressing, but I have a very simple palate when it comes to my salads.

I also whip up a quick sauce for the rolls, using a tablespoon of almond butter, a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of nama shoyu (a raw form of soy sauce; of course you could use soy instead) and a drizzle of sesame oil. Here it is on the rolls:

dinner-3

And here’s my spread at the table.

dinner-1

dinner-2

If you think life as a raw foodist is tough, try life as a New Yorker in a small apartment, trying to make dinnertime as ceremonious as possible! I do my best by clearing the table of work, computer, pens, pencils, and mail, and lighting a candle. Sometimes I read the paper online, but I really try not to; taking time out for a good meal is worthwhile.

I should note that this entire meal, from start to finish, took me exactly twenty minutes. Most of that was spent chopping veggies. Lunch was made this morning in ten minutes flat. This is certainly no more (and generally much less) than I ever spent preparing hot meals. So don’t worry that eating raw means spending endless time prepping food. Unless you’re getting overly elaborate with your meals—which is a tempting habit when you first start eating raw—you should find that mealtime is simple and fast.

So now that we’re at the end of my day, you’re probably wondering the obvious: why raw food? You can find a full account of my journey to raw foods at my new blog, www.choosingraw.com, in the “About” tab. But to make a very long story short: I had been living as a vegan (first by default, not eating meat, poultry or eggs and avoiding dairy due to lactose intolerance; then officially) for a few years. I felt good, but I was still troubled by IBS, which, as Jenna knows, is no picnic. I’d heard that raw foods can make a huge difference in digestive health, not to mention overall health, but I was dubious. I’m a born critic, circumspect about anything that doesn’t feel substantiated by fact, and at this point, I just wasn’t convinced that there was enough science out there to back up the claims. (The basic claim, if you’re totally unfamiliar with raw foods, is this: heating food about 117 degrees kills not only the natural enzymes in the food, but many of the nutrients as well. When you eat raw, you get a much higher dose of nutrients, and you digest far more efficiently due to the presence of live enzymes in the food. This all helps to increase energy levels and general health.)

I decided to give it an informal shot. I told myself that I would eat raw for a few weeks. And if it made a difference, I would keep it up.

And what a difference it made. Within two weeks of eating raw, I had twice as much energy, bouts of euphoria, more even-keeled moods, and rosy skin. I was shocked. I had never imagined that all the hype could be true. I had imagined it would be impossible to go without cooked grains, hot soups, and toasted bread. I had never told myself I couldn’t have those things if I wanted—it was an experiment—but suddenly I didn’t want them anymore. In fact, I had never felt quite so happy with my diet. And since I started eating raw a year ago, I’ve seen my IBS disappear. I’ve stopped having seasonal allergies. I no longer have menstrual cramps. I respond to stress less acutely than before; I’m still a workaholic, but the ups and downs of working life and city living just don’t bother me as much as they used to. But the best thing about being raw—at least for me—is that it transcends the food itself. I find that eating raw encourages a brighter, more energetic approach not just to eating, but to living. It has helped me to be more open minded, more energetic, and more curious.

I don’t prescribe a raw or mostly raw diet for everyone; clearly, it’s a very unique and very unconventional dietary approach. But I do believe that eating more raw foods can help all people experience better health and more energy,. If you’re curious about raw foods, I truly encourage you to try taking some baby steps in the raw direction: you may find yourself falling in love with the lifestyle, just as I did.

Other raw (and raw-ish) dinner options:

•Raw “pasta,” made from thinly grated or peeled zucchini and topped with pasta sauce or fresh pesto.

•Massaged kale salad, along with a steamed sweet potato

•Raw nori rolls, filled with fresh veggies or nut pate, served alongside a raw soup (like my carrot avocado bisque)

8:00 p.m.

So now it’s 8:00 p.m., and I’m getting a taste of what all you valiant food bloggers do each day. This takes commitment! And I’ve got some work to finish before bedtime.

I’ve had fun telling you all about my lifestyle. I hope you’ll check out my blog to learn more, and keep checking out Jenna’s as she explores the wonderful world of raw desserts! Speaking of, I suspect that a sweet treat is in my near future: probably some dark chocolate. Yum.

Goodnight, all!

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75 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily L.
    April 8, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Those cucumber rolls look divine! I want one RIGHT NOW.
    Thanks for guest-blogging.

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Great post, thanks so much for sharing!

    I’m going to try those cucumber rolls! 🙂

  • Reply
    polly
    April 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Wow thanks for posting! I am curious about the romaine and banana smoothie. That totally sounds like something I’d love! Do you add water? Can I do that with just a blender? I don’t have a juicer, so just checking. Thanks for any advice! XOXO

  • Reply
    Meg
    April 8, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    This was a great post as I’ve been very curious about raw. Thanks for showing us that it doesn’t have to be a time comsuminig lifestyle change!!!

  • Reply
    Courtney (The Hungry Yogini)
    April 8, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    What a great and informative post. Those little cucumber rolls are so pretty and I bet they are delicoius. I am definitely going to try making them!

  • Reply
    Jordan (FlowsDownYellow)
    April 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Gena, I loved this post! I also live (in a tiny studio with a lousy excuse for a kitchen) and work in Manhattan so sometimes when I read the blogs and see so many elaborate meals I feel frusterated and almost ashamed that my meals are so much more simple. Thanks so much for all of this info!!

  • Reply
    Victoria
    April 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Great guest post Gena! Those cucumber rolls look awesome!

  • Reply
    VeggieGirl
    April 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    GENA ROCKS BEYOND BELIEF!!

  • Reply
    Twinks
    April 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Those rolls look really good. I, however, would fall over if that was my day’s intake.

  • Reply
    Rose
    April 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I know you said you don’t count calories anymore, Gena, but could is that much food in a day enough for an active woman?
    What is your calorie guesstimate for Monday’s food?

  • Reply
    Tracy
    April 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I think I’d still be hungry too!

  • Reply
    courtney
    April 8, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    wow, this is absolutely incredible. I have always wondered what raw foodies eat, and everything looks amazing and very delicious. this is so exciting! I can’t wait to read your blog and keep up with your raw dishes :). I love these ideas, I would love to try and eat raw foods for a whole day, it would be so much fun!

  • Reply
    Sarah (lovINmytummy)
    April 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you for your post and glimpse at your lifestyle! I too am curious about your calorie intake as well as your protein intake. I am not a nutrition expert by any means, but I don’t think there was a meaningful source of protein in anything you consumed in that day. For me that would mean weight loss, and more specifically muscle loss. Your thoughts?

  • Reply
    Shannon @ TheDailyBalance
    April 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for the glimpse into your lifestyle! It’s so interesting…
    I agree that the calorie count seems a bit low… and I too am curious about the protein intake.

    But those cucumber rolls look delish! What a creative idea 😉

    I’ll be checking out your blog, for sure!

  • Reply
    Run Sarah
    April 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! I am looking to incorporate more raw foods into my diet, and the ease of preparation is really appealing!

  • Reply
    becky
    April 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I have to agree that this seems a little “light”. The owners of the yoga studio I manage (here in the city!) have been 100% raw for over 3 years now and I’ve seen what they eat. It’s A LOT MORE then this. They usually eat fruit in the mornings, followed by big green juices, then their “big meal” midday, salad PLUS nori rolls PLUS a raw dessert of some sort. And then more fruit at dinner and juice. They eat A LOT. It would blow your mind! I think while I think you can get plenty of protein from leafy greens (more then you think) I wonder if this is a good example of a menu to show those that want to go “raw”. You can still eat as much as you eat now, it’s not just meager piles of veggies and juice!

  • Reply
    stella
    April 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    that was a very, very restrictive day of food in terms of calories. not much protein, not much fat (even in 2 avocados), and barely any carbohydrates! even raw foodists can eat fruit, seeds & uncooked grain! i don’t know, i think it puts an unhealthy perspective on what raw foodists really eat: two glasses of juice, a salad, and (basically) another small salad?

    i would rather no post than this one.

  • Reply
    Michelle Hisae
    April 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I can’t wait to check out her blog! Guest posts are so fun! I hope everything is alright on the homefront!

  • Reply
    Shelby
    April 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    This is so great and informative, thank you so much for posting! I’ve been wanting to eat raw more often and I will be following your blog now as well =)

  • Reply
    Sammie
    April 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Definitely an informative post, but there’s no doubt in my mind that her eats for that day in particular were lacking in grains, varied healthy fats, and PROTEIN. Many other raw foodies eat much more than today’s example, and they definitely incorporate different types of fresh beans and legumes for more protein and substance.
    I’m sure Gena’s diet is usually healthy and varied, but this day’s example was much too restrictive, and can definitely send the wrong message to foodies, bloggers, and particularly individuals recovering from eating disorders. Maybe a follow-up post with a different day of Gena’s? Or another mostly raw diet? Anything like this would be much more helpful.

  • Reply
    Pearl
    April 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I don’t usually post comments aren’t positive- but I have to say, this doesn’t seem like an example of healthy eating. Calorie, carbs and protein-wise, this seems like way too little.

  • Reply
    Anais
    April 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Gena!!! Very very interesting post, I do have a question though! I thought juicing left out some of the fiber/protein (http://www.self.com/fooddiet/blogs/healthybites/2009/03/is-juice-healthy-advice-from-a.html) …Why not stick with the smoothie then?

    Not a question, but I also love doing yoga on Mondays 🙂 Because I look forward to my morning Bikram class, I don’t dread mondays as much 😉 And it’s funny, it seems that I already have a semi-raw diet – I love using zucchini instead of pasta 🙂 and I eat sprouted bread.

    Anyways sorry for rambling but great post, I am now very intrigued by raw food! I’ll definitely be checking out your blog!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    April 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    While I think some of these recipes look AMAZINGLY delicious (esp the cucumber rolls and some of the salads), and I 100% agree with how good I feel when I juice in the morning, I am a bit concerned at the message this sends out to people as well. It is entirely possible to have a healthy, balanced raw lifestyle, but as others have mentioned, there are a lot of missing components to this day in terms of needed nutrients and energy intakes. Maybe this isn’t necessarily a typical day? Those around me who have chosen to follow a raw food lifestyle have also done so for health reasons (such as the IBS described), and again I think it is wonderful if it works for you, but I also think it is important and responsible to make sure that all bases are covered (protein, fat, vitamins- maybe you take a multi?) especially if others who are unfamiliar with nutritional needs are going to turn to this site for advice and education.

  • Reply
    Alison
    April 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful post. I don’t think I could ever eat a raw or vegan diet, but I think it’s a good option for some people. It’s wonderful to see good examples of how to eat a healthy, balanced, and interesting raw/vegan diet. Very inspiring.

  • Reply
    K
    April 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for such an informative guest post – I loved reading every bit of it!!

  • Reply
    melissa (fitnessnyc)
    April 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Amazing post Gena. It’s funny, I remember our first dinner at pure discussing fruit and juice only for breakfast and you saying that you needed food in the morning and couldn’t imagine just juice. Even in the relatively short time I have known you, you have really deepened your raw lifestyle.

  • Reply
    melissa (fitnessnyc)
    April 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Oh just my IMO on smoothies vs juice. They are different, I used to think juice was a waste of calories because it had no fiber, but NOTHING makes you feel as alive as fresh pressed veggie juice, the cold pressed juice is literally an iv of health to your body. It actually extracts 3 times more vitamins and nutrients that regular juicers or squeezed juice. And juice is way more satisfying than one would imagine. Smoothies are great too, but they take longer to digest, so they are slightly more work for the body to digest, and thus it takes a little less time for your body to move on to removing waste from the cells. Still a good dietary staple and transition item though!

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    This was such a great post. Thanks for sharing, Gena! I did one day of 100% raw and I felt amazing. While it isn’t a goal of mine to be high raw (at least not right now), I do like the benefits of the diet. Your cucumber rolls look fantastic and I will definitely be trying them.

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Everyone!
    I am overwhelmed by all of these tremendously kind and lovely comments. Thank you, thank you!! I hope I’ll get to know all of you as I blog. For now, I’ll do my best to respond adequately!

    Polly:
    I do it in a blender, and it’s just two bananas, half a head of romaine, a date/honey, enough water to get the blender going, and ice. I sometimes add hemp protein. It’s great!
    Anais:
    Thanks for your kind words! I’m so glad you’re interested. Juicing, as Melissa so smartly points out, maintains all the vitamins, minerals, protein, and hydration of the veggies, but takes the fiber out. Fiber is awesome, but of course it gives the digestive system a workout. Many (I included) feel that when they let their digestion rest in the morning, they have more energy and feel better.
    Becky:
    I wouldn’t say my food was meager, but thanks so much for pointing out that there are MANY types of raw foodists. Some do eat very heaping quantities of nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. Some eat very heavy quantities of fats: several avocados in one sitting. Some eat only fruit, believe it or not. There are many approaches. I eat more than some, less than others. I love stuffed nori rolls and sprouted grains, and I DO eat nuts and seeds, but they aren’t what I ate on this particular day.
    Melissa:
    You’re the best.
    I totally remember that dinner AND that sentiment! It feels like another lifetime. It’s amazing how deep and quickly I’ve made my way into this lifestyle. Thanks for reminding me 🙂
    Re: Protein:
    Please check out my blog’s “Raw Foods 101” tab or “FAQs” to learn more about my views on protein.
    Re: Calories:
    Sorry, all: I’m not going to do an estimate. I believe that calorie counting is a useful practice for dieters, but it’s simply not how I live. If you’d like a more complete understanding of my world view regarding foods, though, please feel free to check out my blog!
    Re: Variety:
    I think it’s fair to say that not every one of us gets every single kind of nutrient in full force on every single day. Today, my body was craving avocados, leafy greens, and lots of vitamins from juice. This does not mean that on another day I wouldn’t have had nut-based dishes, or sprouted grains. But perhaps on those days, I wouldn’t want avocados!

    I really didn’t want to doctor my meals too much on this day for the blog’s sake, so this is an honest account of a day that was balanced and rounded off with all the vitamins in the veggie juice. It’s not an indication of every single thing I eat every single day (for example, I didn’t eat fruit on this day; but I love fruit!!)
    Re: Vitamins:
    Great question, Caitlin! Thanks!! I take Vitamineral Greens green powder, which has full spectrum vitamins from powdered, plant-based sources. It also has probiotics and enzymes, and I totally recommend it. I didn’t post this because I thought it was kind of boring to mention.
    Sometimes, on days when I drink a ton of juice, I know that my vitamin needs are MORE than met, and I skip the green powder.

    Again, everyone: raw foodism is unconventional, and the logic takes some time getting used to. I assure you that lots of variety is there, but it’s virtually impossible to squeeze it all into a single day.

    Please read my blog or email me if you have particular questions! And thank you so much for your feedback. I am so, so happy to share.

  • Reply
    Lisa D
    April 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    interesting day in the life!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    April 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Gena, thanks for providing some great insight on how to eat raw while maintaining a busy, urban lifestyle.

    I think it’s important that everyone keep in mind how much Gena stressed that this is only one day in HER diet, and that everyone has different needs and tastes (even going out of her way to stress the importance of eating fats, and providing suggestions for heartier snacks and meal options.) I personally would not have wanted to read a blog post that had been censored or fabricated out of fear of “sending the wrong message” — if reading certain food blogs will be detrimental to someone’s psyche, that person should not be reading those blogs. Just my opinion.

  • Reply
    Adi (oatonomy.com - repaired!)
    April 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Gena, I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for taking the time to share on Jenna’s blog. I’ve wondered about the raw food diet, and I find it intriguing, but I don’t think it’s a lifestyle that I could commit to. After reading your comments about IBS though, I can’t help but wonder if I should give it a shot because I have lots of troubles of my own. Anyway, thanks for giving me something to mull over.
    And Jenna, hope all is well!

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Everyone!

    OK, first of all, in spite of having set up a blog, I’m still a tech moron. So this comment might appear twice.

    Second: I am overwhelmed by all of these tremendously kind and lovely comments. Thank you, thank you!! I hope I’ll get to know all of you as I blog. For now, I’ll do my best to respond adequately!

    Polly:
    I do it in a blender, and it’s just two bananas, half a head of romaine, a date/honey, enough water to get the blender going, and ice. I sometimes add hemp protein. It’s great!
    Anais:
    Thanks for your kind words! I’m so glad you’re interested. Juicing, as Melissa so smartly points out, maintains all the vitamins, minerals, protein, and hydration of the veggies, but takes the fiber out. Fiber is awesome, but of course it gives the digestive system a workout. Many (I included) feel that when they let their digestion rest in the morning, they have more energy and feel better.
    Becky:
    I wouldn’t say my food was meager, but thanks so much for pointing out that there are MANY types of raw foodists. Some do eat very heaping quantities of nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. Some eat very heavy quantities of fats: several avocados in one sitting. Some eat only fruit, believe it or not. There are many approaches. I eat more than some, less than others. I love stuffed nori rolls and sprouted grains, and I DO eat nuts and seeds, but they aren’t what I ate on this particular day.
    Melissa:
    You’re the best.
    I totally remember that dinner AND that sentiment! It feels like another lifetime. It’s amazing how deep and quickly I’ve made my way into this lifestyle. Thanks for reminding me 🙂
    Re: Protein:
    Please check out my blog’s “Raw Foods 101? tab or “FAQs” to learn more about my views on protein.
    Re: Calories:
    Sorry, all: I’m not going to do an estimate. I believe that calorie counting is a useful practice for dieters, but it’s simply not how I live. If you’d like a more complete understanding of my world view regarding foods, though, please feel free to check out my blog!
    Re: Variety:
    I think it’s fair to say that not every one of us gets every single kind of nutrient in full force on every single day. Today, my body was craving avocados, leafy greens, and lots of vitamins from juice. This does not mean that on another day I wouldn’t have had nut-based dishes, or sprouted grains. But perhaps on those days, I wouldn’t want avocados!

    I really didn’t want to doctor my meals too much on this day for the blog’s sake, so this is an honest account of a day that was balanced and rounded off with all the vitamins in the veggie juice. It’s not an indication of every single thing I eat every single day (for example, I didn’t eat fruit on this day; but I love fruit!!)
    Re: Vitamins:
    Great question, Caitlin! Thanks!! I take Vitamineral Greens green powder, which has full spectrum vitamins from powdered, plant-based sources. It also has probiotics and enzymes, and I totally recommend it. I didn’t post this because I thought it was kind of boring to mention.
    Sometimes, on days when I drink a ton of juice, I know that my vitamin needs are MORE than met, and I skip the green powder.
    Kimberly:
    Couldn’t have said it better. Thanks:)
    Adi:
    So happy you liked this!!

    Again, everyone: raw foodism is unconventional, and the logic takes some time getting used to. I assure you that lots of variety is there, but it’s virtually impossible to squeeze it all into a single day.

    Please read my blog or email me if you have particular questions! And thank you so much for your feedback. I am so, so happy to share.

  • Reply
    zestycook
    April 8, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    WOW what a great post Gena/Jenna – Great to see you in action Gena. The cucumber rolls look great!

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 8, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks Gena! I have highly been considering going “raw” and seeing where the journey takes me. Thanks for the inspiration! And you’re a great writer!

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    April 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Such an interesting post! thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply
    Kate (Foodie on a Mission)
    April 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    I will definatley check out her blog! It’s been exciting to hear about all the “raw food” things you’ve been trying out latley. I’ve been curious about raw foodism for about a year now and have tried out several recipes, but this just inspires me even more. Obviously, I don’t think I’d ever go totally raw, but thanks for the link – I’m sure I’ll be making several of Gena’s recipes!

    Of course, I have to agree with several other comments on here – that doesn’t look like nearly enough for anyone, let alone an active woman. Doesn’t matter if you ate TWO avacados, it’s still not enough. That’s one reason why I won’t go completely raw (other than the fact that I LOVE cooking!): there’d be no way I’d be able to get enough calories without stuffing myself with nuts and seeds. As an extremely active teen, I need about 3,000 calories every day.

    Anyway, I didn’t say any of that to be offensive or insulting, I just wanted to put that out there, as many others have done. I do think that the raw concept is interesting though, and by no means is there anything wrong with eating a “raw” meal every now and then. =)

  • Reply
    Sharon
    April 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Oh wow, such an awesome guest post! I think it’s so interesting to see how a raw foodist eats!

  • Reply
    Meredith (Pursuing Balance)
    April 8, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Love sundried tomatoes and avocado! Great salad 🙂

  • Reply
    Angelea
    April 8, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Hemp protein…I MUST check that out. I’ve used soy protein in the past and it doesn’t make my tummy happy. Thanks to Jenna’s blog I just now discovered the yummy hemp milk at our local Whole Foods. So Good! Thanks for guest blogging, Gena. I’m in a smaller city (in the South) and raw food has been such a mystery to me. Very nice Raw 101!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    April 8, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Really interesting, but I still am 100% skeptical of raw foodists (as well as any other form of “unhealthy” eating including those ranging from low carb dieters to McDonald’s lovers) due to the potential for low protein/low calorie/low fat consumption. It could be really dangerous and should not be done without talking with your doctor!

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 8, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Jennifer: To be honest, I think the 100% raw thing is NOT the important or meaningful goal. Which is why I incorporate cooked root veggies and some cooked grains (like quinoa) into my diet. It’s important to me to think in terms of “how healthy and energizing,” not “how raw.”

    Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 8, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Great post, thanks for walking us through your day. I have been wondering about this whole raw food thing, and while I don’t think it’s for me, I can definitely see the benefits of adding more raw foods to your diet.

    Thanks for explaining this a bit more!

  • Reply
    Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food)
    April 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    What a great guest post! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I also wanted to ask if you normally eat this small an amount of food? It seems like you didn’t really eat anything all day. Do you find that you still have energy for yoga or whatever other exercise you do?

    For any of us out there who run or do heavy aerobic exercise regularly, I don’t think that this day would sustain that activity. Do you up your intake on heavy workout days?

    I know you definitely get a wide spectrum of vitamins, but that isn’t all it takes to support an active woman.

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 8, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Kristin,
    My days definitely vary. On this day, I coasted through yoga! (The portions looked smaller in the photos, believe me.) But if I have a long run, I typically find myself drawn to root veggies and sprouted grains (makes sense: carbs). For serious athletes, I definitely recommend root veggies, sprouted grains of all kinds, and hemp protein powder in smoothies: it’s natural, full of fiber and fats and protein, and tasty, too!
    Gena

  • Reply
    Kristi @ Sweet Cheeks
    April 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    That was a great, informative guest post!!

  • Reply
    Ann
    April 8, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Although I love learning through other people’s eating decisions, I can’t help but echo other comments that have been made here. I follow Jenna’s blog – much moreso than those of other foodies – because she shows an amazing way to live one’s life. Jenna chooses healthy foods but many with fun twists and doesn’t seem to starve herself. She emanates positivity, which is reflected in how she decides to fuel herself. I was excited to see how a raw foodist really eats, since I loooove veggies and fruit, but my big take away from this blog post is that raw foodists really don’t eat and use it as a tool in calorie restriction. Actually quite upset about this and am just missing Jenna. Who knew a 27 year old MBA could be down trodden by a raw food post??

  • Reply
    Lala
    April 8, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you!! This was really interesting!

  • Reply
    elise
    April 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    awesome post…cant wait to start reading your blog!

  • Reply
    eatavegan
    April 9, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Thanks so much for the informative post! It was super interesting, and I will most definitely be checking out your blog regularly! I gravitate more toward a high-raw lifestyle in the summers, when there is lots of yummy seasonal produce, but during the winters I like to do occasional all raw days… Even if it’s just one day, I find it makes a huge difference with regard to the way I feel and the way I approach food. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Reply
    And I’m Back! | Eat, Live, Run
    April 9, 2009 at 1:08 am

    […] Comments « A Day in the Life of a Raw Foodist—Welcome Gena! […]

  • Reply
    Sarah (now in FL)
    April 9, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Gena,
    I thought this was a really well-written post. You did a great job with food blogging for a day, and I appreciated that you included “other” options that a raw foodist might eat at various meals. I’m not interested in going raw, since one of the things I enjoy most about food is that it can make me warmer when the food is hot (I’m one of those people who are always cold!), but I liked learning about “a day in the life” of a raw foodist, and I always love finding out about the special products used by someone with a different diet. I also think it’s cool that you try to make an “environment” around your meals, even though you live a busy city life and could just do take-out like everyone else. Thanks for sharing “a day in the life” of Gena!

    Sarah

  • Reply
    Colleen
    April 9, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Do you think your “bouts of euphoria” come from not eating enough? I’ve heard of people who starve themselves having the same effect. I’m being totally serious here… 🙁 This makes me very sad.

    I just have to agree with most everyone else, this just doesn’t seem like enough food for someone who’s young and active! And I think by refusing to do a calorie count you’re just reaffirming that.

  • Reply
    anna
    April 9, 2009 at 7:35 am

    i’m sorry but this diet it’s INSANE I mean just lettuce? it’s not healthy at all. I used to be anorexic and this diet is worse.

  • Reply
    RunToFinish
    April 9, 2009 at 8:01 am

    wow that was great!! I am going to have to add you to my blog roll too!!

  • Reply
    mh
    April 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Although this is very interesting, It just wouldn’t be for me. As someone with an ED this is too restrictive for me (I ate more cals when I was in the depts of anorexia) but Gena, you know your body more than anyone else and I say do whatever works for you! Just please be careful! the cuke rolls look great!!

  • Reply
    Jess
    April 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

    This was really interesting and I can’t wait to check out Gena’s blog. However, it looks difficult to get enough calories to sustain a very active person. Possible, certainly, but that’s a whole lot of nuts and avocado.

  • Reply
    Katherine
    April 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

    While I appreciate this post, Gena, you must have taken in about 600- 800 calories in this one day. I think this sends a really poor message to women that eating like this is normal, OK, or healthy. Where are the complex carbs, the protein? The CALORIES? I dont mean to attack you, you can eat whatever you like, but when you bring it into the public domain, on a blog, and it is posted here as a fine example of healthy eating, it really rubs me the wrong way.
    Jenna, I love your blog, but you must realize that this “day in the life” probably has as many calories as your morning snacks and breakfast combined. Maybe.

  • Reply
    Thealogian
    April 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks for the post–it was very interesting and informational. I do have to echo some of the concerns about how low cal/lacking in certain nutrients this particular day made raw-food eating seem. My high-raw friends tend to incorporate more grain/legume/nut calorie dense foods into their diets. Perhaps after reading your blog (which I intend to do), these concerns will be diminished.

    I do have one important logistical question:
    “I take Vitamineral Greens green powder, which has full spectrum vitamins from powdered, plant-based sources. It also has probiotics and enzymes, and I totally recommend it. I didn’t post this because I thought it was kind of boring to mention.”
    –does this powder contain B-12 or do you get shots? My sister has to get B-12 shots and she had a VERY SCARY HEALTH SCARE/COULD HAVE DIED as a result of lack of B-12 in her Vegetarian diet. I just want to put it out there that B-12 deficiency is a big problem and if anyone wants to go Vegetarian/Vegan/Raw they really need to figure out where they’ll get their B-12.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Gena!
    I think that the foods you prepared look great and tasty! However, I’m on the side of this definitely not being enough calories for anyone. I am ALL for lots of healthy fruits and veggies in someone’s diet, but where’s the protein? The carbs? These are all things that our body needs to survive. Although, I am sure out bodies can learn to adapt to less calories, fat, carbs, protein etc, is it healthy to that to our own bodies? We NEED this things. While I feel these foods can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, these foods on their own do not make a healthy daily intake whatsoever. I agree with the commenter who said “bouts of euphoria” can actually be due to our body kicking into starvation mode. That was exactly what I thought when I read that. That this euphoric feeling is not from your body thriving on what you’re eating, but instead sending you signals that it is definitely not in a good state. I think “to each their own” is a great viewpoint on food and health, however I think there is a baseline for what a body needs, and you are not meeting those requirements. I encourage you to keep up your raw food diet if it suits you, but maybe treating your body right by giving it MORE of what it deserves.

    I do not feel this was a guest post that offered any kind of example for other young ladies to follow for themselves. While the raw food diet is an intriguing one, this wasn’t the best example I feel could be found of that.

    Good luck!

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 9, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    While I agree that the guest poster’s daily menu was lacking in numerous areas of what I consider healthy eating, I would hope that women reading it would not be so uninformed as to simply copy and paste Gena’s daily eats into their own lifestyle.
    How pathetic. Healthy eating takes research and finding a balance that works for each person, on their own.
    I am surprised at how many folks lambasted Gena. She’s not a dietician, just a raw foodie. Just sharing her day. Her way.
    If it makes people uncomfortable, why read it?

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 9, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you Gena for sharing! I have been transitioning to a raw-er diet for a few months now (using the Natalia Rose books and site) and have never felt better. It really rung bells for me when I initially read that most people actually eat too much and too many dense foods. When I’d read healthy eating books in the past, I’d always taken issue with a few things they said (e.g. soy’s great!) but this way of eating does seem so much more intuitive and natural.
    I have bookmarked your blog for more inspiration as I follow my journey too, so see you there!

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 9, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Emily,
    What a delight to hear this, and to hear that you’re following Natalia’s plan! I recommend the forum on her website — and my own blog, of course :). I’ll add you to my blogroll, if that’s cool.
    Gena

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Gena ~
    I have signed up for the forum! I have been loving the added support of the q&a’s available plus the recipes, of course.
    Sure thing with the blog, I have a very new food one too where I’m tentatively posting about my move into eating more raw foods at http://www.emilyeats.com. I’d like to add a link to you there also 🙂
    ~ Emily.

  • Reply
    ttfn300
    April 9, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    oh my gosh, how neat! i loved this day in the life 🙂 and i will definately go check out choosingraw! thanks gina. i’m not looking to go raw, but certain aspects I’d gladly try and work into my routine. my one thought reading this post is, where’s the protein?? do you ever feel the need for more gina?

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 9, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Hi ttfn300!
    So happy you liked. I do feel the need for protein on certain days — usually in the form of craving nuts. And I eat them: sometimes up to 3 oz (a generous portion) if I feel so compelled.
    I also HIGHLY recommend hemp protein powder, which is high in fiber, fats, AND protein, in smoothies. And don’t forget that dark leafy greens are protein-rich: even green juice (or wheatgrass) is great as a source. I know many vegan triathletes who swear by it.
    Gena

  • Reply
    Hangry Pants
    April 9, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Great Guest Post Gena! It’s funny how much I relate to this after my own raw challenge! I think I felt pressure to create fun things for the blog when really I could have gotten by with a some big old salads, which I usually have once a day anyway! Also, I wish I had a mandolin because I really want to make your rolls and more zucchini pasta.

  • Reply
    Shawna (Getting Fit and Happy)
    April 10, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’m typing this as I’m eating your cucumber rolls 🙂 They’re delicious, btw.

    I’m in the process of transitioning to a more raw diet ever since I realized how great my morning green smoothie made me feel throughout the day. I do have a tendency to eat more raw foods during the spring and summer months, but now I’m doing it with a bit more awareness. Although I’ll never switch to 100% raw or 100% vegan/vegetarian, for me, having a good variety of raw foods each day really does wonders for my energy and mind clarity. I would say eating 60-80% raw during the next few months is where I see myself, and then I’ll take it from there. At least this way, I don’t have to deprive myself of cooked foods that I enjoy, eating out isn’t a struggle, but I still get the benefits of raw, for the most part. It’s all about individual balance.

    Great post. I look forward to reading your blog. 🙂

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Shawna,
    Thanks so much for this awesome comment! And I can’t wait to read YOUR blog. I always say it’s about being 100% healthy, NOT 100% raw, so eat as much raw food as works for you. And enjoy!
    Gena

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I was happy to read this post, even if I agree it’s no where near enough calories. The truth is I know many raw foodists who subsist on very few calories. Ironically, they are not underweight, even if they are very thin. I think over time with this lifestyle the body adjusts and needs fewer calories. It’s actually one of my worries as I stay with it. I don’t want to get to a place physically that I’m not prepared for spiritually. I think being able to live on so little is both a physical and spiritual achievement. I’m just not ready to go there, maybe I still enjoy eating too much.

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 12, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Elizabeth,

    Nice to see you here! And this is a very, very insightful take on the issue. Thanks for it. See you on the online forum…

    Gena

  • Reply
    Alex26
    October 22, 2009 at 8:50 am

    A lot of apps are already written and can be downloaded now. ,

  • Reply
    Raw Vegan Isabella
    September 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Great diet, but breathing in clean, fresh air is equally important to health longevity; that’s why I fled highly air-polluted New York City; life expectancy on a Raw food diet there: 70’s…I am serious.

    Recommend moving down to healthier south.

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