COMMENTARY | Like many women, I have struggled with my weight off and on since I graduated from college. I tried many diets over the years including the three-day diet, the Slim-Fast diet, the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the onion soup diet and others with varying results. I usually lost some weight, but what it boiled down to was that the diets restricted my calorie intake for a short period after which I went back to eating my normal diet and would eventually regain the weight. After a long series of failed diets, I gave up and subsequently gain even more weight.
Two years ago, I started reading about the benefits of a raw food diet, namely the amount of vitamins and nutrients I could get from eating uncooked, whole food. A raw diet would also force me to give up weaknesses such as pastries, breads and other carbohydrate-intensive foods. I bought a juicer on eBay and went to my local farmer's market and stocked up on every fruit and vegetable I could eat raw. I also purchased rice protein powder to make up for the protein shortfall I would get from giving up eggs, cheese and fish.
Breakfast and lunch were the easiest meals to eat raw. I juiced different fruits, such as watermelons, mangoes, oranges, bananas and strawberries, and made fruit cocktails for breakfast. I always looked forward to lunch, because I'm a salad and salad dressing lover by nature, so eating a meal packed with raw cabbage, various types of lettuce, carrots, sunflower seeds and a tangy dressing was not that much of a departure from what I normally ate for lunch. I ate raw nuts and dried fruits for snacks in between meals when I got hungry. Dinner was the hardest, because I was usually famished by the end of the day and big salad and a protein shake wasn't enough to quell my hunger.
While I lost 40 pounds over the course of a three-month period on the raw food diet, I began to have unnerving bouts of symptoms similar to those associated with hyperglycemia, a potentially dangerous condition also referred to as high blood sugar, and experienced dry mouth, excessive hunger and fatigue which took about a year to straighten out after I stopped following the diet. Because of the symptoms I experienced, I returned to my normal cooked-food diet, minus the sweets that made me gain weight in the first place. While I'm not against the raw food diet, I recommend that it be followed under the supervision of a family health care provider or nutritionist and stopped if negative symptoms occur.