Yup. Raw vegan. Bet you never thought you would see that word on this blog.

Me either, believe me. Nutrition for me has been about finding balance with a whole food diet, including as much variety as possible (avoiding my personal food intolerances of course). I haven’t liked taking “extreme” approaches to food, nor cutting out whole food groups unless my body and digestion was sensitive. I certainly have always aimed to hit all my macros and made sure I was eating protein with every meal.

I never really thought being vegan or raw was necessarily the healthiest option for most people. Definitely not for me. Whilst I often ate raw produce and foods, I didn’t entertain the idea that eating ALL you food raw was good for you either.

I’ve always taken a more wholistic approach and felt that food variety is essential. I guess if you had to give my eating habits a label, I would say paleo-ish-gluten-free-mostly-dairy-free-minimal-sugar-wholefood-a-bit-weston-price style. You could even say I’m on the “Clean Eating” bandwagon (but I’ll roll my eyes at you if you did).

So I bet you’re wondering if I’ve gone raw vegan …

Yup. As of Monday this week, I have completely changed up my nutrition from a high protein, meat filled meal plan to be mostly vegan, high raw.

Yup. Let me unpack this now.

raw-vegan-salad-2

Why I’ve made such a change

You may have read a post on my Facebook page a few months back about how I had gained weight this year, despite my usual nutrition and training. Well I still have not had any progress to date, and I finally bit the bullet and went to see Dr Marilyn Golden two weeks ago. Marilyn is an integrative medical practitioner with a rather impressive list of credentials.

I had been recommended to her about a year ago (and yes hindsight makes me regret not seeing her earlier!) but had put it off as I knew she was a raw vegan herself. I was reluctant to take a step in that direction and thought there were other ways to do it.

However, one thing I value MORE than my own nutrition philosophy is my view that if something isn’t working, try something else and never think there is only one “right” way to do things.

The consultations

I saw Marilyn and we had an hour consult which floored me as she read through my previous bloodwork from 2 months prior. Finally a doctor that read the bloodwork how it should be – analysed in relation to me as an individual, in relation to each other and just not based on the lab ranges (which are basically based on an average of sick peoples blood work).

She instantly picked up things I had questioned previously but was told was fine. She was incredibly thorough and we went through a lot of history and previous approaches. Marilyn is also just an absolutely beautiful soul that both John and I really enjoyed chatting with!

At this point of the consult I knew I had finally found a doctor that I could work with and that really cared about getting me results.

After this first consultation, Marilyn sent me off for another comprehensive fasting blood panel to get a better picture of things. We tested the following:

  • Full blood count
  • Full haematology panel
  • Androstenedione
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Oestradiol
  • Progesterone
  • U-Creatinine (urine)
  • R-U-Protein (urine)
  • Thyroglobulin Ab
  • Peroxidase Ab
  • CRP
  • Insulin
  • Glucose Plasma
  • Cancer Antigen 125
  • Homocysteine
  • HDL
  • LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • TSH
  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Iron

I went and did them straight away the next morning as now I was just so keen for answers and to start doing whatever it was I needed to do. These blood tests showed a few things out of balance. During the second consult (which was 2 hours long as we did a lot of chatting too ha ha), Marilyn also did live blood analysis, took my weight, measurements and a number of other tests. It was incredibly thorough.

  • My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) has increase from 0.97 to 2.92 mIU/L over the past year, but my T4 has stayed the same which is interesting.
  • My cholesterol was a bit high as well, although I still had a good ratio of HDL (good) to LDL (bad) and triglycerides balance – but that could still improve.
  • Not only do I have low iodine (from test a few months ago) but my iron levels were rock bottom. No wonder I’ve felt exhausted.
  • My hormones aren’t balanced (again).
  • The live blood analysis was not great. I was pretty surprised by this, and Marilyn pointed out that it was not what my blood should have looked liked considering my ‘clean’ diet and having been on Juice Plus for so long.

(There were other things I can’t remember as we discussed so much during the second consult – but I will be sure to ask when I go back to compare).

The new nutrition protocol

Well it is definitely different to what I was eating, but at the same time, it’s not that different. I’m still eating most of the same foods, but I’ve just increased some and reduced others. If I sum it up in a nutshell, I would say it’s mostly-vegan-high-raw-wholefoods.

The most drastic change here was obviously the massive reduction of meat and protein in my diet. For the past 5 years I’ve eaten a high protein diet and done very well on it, but it’s not working now and with all the imbalances in my blood, hormones and gut – my body just doesn’t seem to be processing it well currently.

I’m now only having 3 meat meals per week. That’s about half of what I was eating in a day!

Otherwise, it’s just increasing my vegetables a lot and more fruit than I’m used to. Gluten free is the same of course and 100% dairy free is must with my PCOS (previously I allowed the odd exception to this e.g. haloumi heaven). I’m avoiding grains but can have things like buckwheat, quinoa and legumes – between those options and the fruit, I’m still able to get plenty of carbs in.

Fat sources are plant based as well like avocado, olives, sesame seed oil, raw activated nuts, seeds, chia seeds, coconut, coconut oil, tahini.

Supplements to support and kickstart

I also have a fairly long, specific supplement list at the moment to help get my body on track.

  • Hemegenics VegeCare (iron)
  • Adrenotone (withania and herbal blend for adrenal support)
  • Magnesium
  • Doubled up my dose of Juice Plus fruit, veg and berry blends (4 capsules each)
  • Sublingual vitamin B12
  • High quality probiotic (gut health)
  • Digestive enzyme with each meal (gut health)
  • Chaste tree (hormonal support)
  • Chinese herb blend of Bupleurum and Peony (hormonal support)

What does a typical day look like?

Marilyn gave me lots of good recipe ideas to use, so far I have just stuck to the basic plan she gave me as I want to give my body the best chance possible to get healthy and back on track again. But I’ll get more creative in the next few weeks.

raw vegan muesli and fruit

Breakfast
‘Goldiepops’ and fresh fruit (Goldiepops is a raw grain free ‘cereal’ of various nuts, seeds, coconut, fibre etc…).
Green Smoothie (pretty much the same green smoothie I’ve been drinking anyway – kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, zucchini, parsley, coriander, apple, lemon, ginger).

lean green smoothie

10am-ish
Another Green Smoothie and some extra fresh fruit or raw activated nuts if I need.

rainbow vegan salad

Lunch
The biggest, monster of a rainbow salad! All the colours of the rainbows veggies and leafy greens with yummy stuff like sundried tomatoes, olives, seeds, sauerkraut and avocado.

raw veggies and hummus

Afternoonsies
Raw veggies like celery, cucumber, capsicum, carrot and snow peas.

Dinner
Another big salad, green soup and chickpea socca bread (chickpea flour and water cooked like a pancake) or some stir fry veggies.
Also have lots of options for dining out and more creative meals like lentil dahl, thai papaya salad, raw nori rolls etc…

There are quite a variety of options and it’s rather fun as I love trying new foods and it feel likes a little adventure after eating same-same for the past 5 years. I love my veggies so no dramas eating them. I’m not missing meat so far.

I can still have some eggs and gluten free toast at the cafe on the weekend (which counts as 1 of  the meat meals) which is great as I love this little ritual after the gym. In fact, so far, this is the only “protein” meal I’ve had. I’m just enjoying experimenting with new recipes and more raw foods than I was before.

What’s next?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’m just over two weeks into this new nutrition program and will have bloods done again in a few weeks time before I go back to see Marilyn in late September. I hope we see some improvement in the blood work as well as in my fat loss. I’ll be sure to update you all here. x