A while ago I posted about getting a high power blender. I mostly planned to use it for food-nerdy things, such as making nut butters and obscure gluten free flours, but surprisingly (to me) I found myself using it every day for its primary intended purpose: green smoothies.
I used to try to follow a low fat raw food diet (specifically the 80/10/10 diet, if you want to look it up). I failed with the diet, mostly for practical reasons.
You see, the difficulty with low fat raw food diets is getting enough calories, as fruit is not calorie dense in general. To get 700 calories, you need to eat 7 bananas, or 14 apples. Eating 14 apples each meal is essentially impossible for someone who doesn’t want to live their life like a grazing animal. Bananas are a bit easier, being both high calorie and easy to eat. If you blend them into a smoothie, it’s doable.
I, however, discovered after much stubborn fighting with myself that I’m actually quite allergic to bananas. It was probably my general self destructive attitude at the time which made me ignore that glaringly obvious fact for so long. I wanted to eat low fat raw food because I thought it was right, in a very proud, mentally-oriented way. I didn’t want to do it because I actually cared about myself. I think this was the ultimate reason why low fat raw food failed for me, in terms of unconscious self sabotage and maybe even in terms of metaphysics. So long as I hated myself, I would find ways of turning healthful things into weapons of self harm.
I say metaphysics, because it’s interesting that just as I feel able to act caringly towards myself for the first time in my life, things fall into place as if by magic to allow me to do so. My high power blender, without me planning for it to do so, gave me the technical ability to make a low fat raw food meal work. I experimented, and discovered that I could combine dates (a cheap high calorie fruit on par with bananas) with frozen berries and greens to make a smoothie that easily provided 700 calories and tasted good. Without a high power blender I wouldn’t have been able to turn tough dates or hard frozen berries into a drinkable mixture. I’d tried before, and the dates just turned into a lumpy sludge.
Now I’ve been having a 700 calorie green smoothie every morning (except when travelling) and I’ve really enjoyed the effect it seems to be having on my energy levels and clarity of mind. I’ve noticed my body starting to crave the stuff.
My favourite recipe so far is this:
200g of dates (currently I weigh them out to be sure I’m getting the crucial calories)
200g of frozen strawberries
200g of spinach
Enough water to make a good consistency
I particularly like the taste of strawberries and I find the mix synergistic; the excess sourness of the strawberries balances the excess sweetness of the dates. The spinach is surprisingly mild and only adds a subtle layer to the taste.
I have the idea that maybe now that I’m consuming nutrient dense food I’ll need to eat less food in general. I used often to have intense cravings for food, harsher than what I assume “normal” hunger to be; perhaps, my body was craving “real” nutrition, and now that it’s getting it, it can be a little calmer. That’s my theory and I hope it is right.
I do also hope that I can lose some weight this way. Low fat raw foodists tend to report losing weight even when consuming enough calories or more than they need. Even if I’m just 1/3 of a raw foodist, I’m guessing I’ll get some of that benefit.
But even if I don’t lose weight I’m starting to be pretty happy with this lifestyle update. I’ve started to feel like I’m taking care of myself rather than being destructively “whatever” about what I eat. Besides a daily morning smoothie, I’ve also decided to have healthier food during the day when it’s not too much of a challenge; specifically to base meals around wholegrain rice and vegetables, and to avoid oil. I do like fancy, unhealthy food, and I’m not aiming to give it up at the moment and probably not ever, but there are actually many times when I don’t really care what I eat, and at those times it’s barely an effort to stick to whole foods. Fancy foods can be left for eating out and cooking for friends.
The thing is, if I’m honest, my mental disposition when, for example, having nothing but instant noodles for dinner has generally been a kind of “fuck you” to myself, a sort of lashing out at myself under the guise of laziness. Now, I seem to be breaking that pattern with the self love I’ve been developing. I can have unhealthy stuff lovingly as a measured cost balanced against pleasure or convenience. And I can prepare healthy stuff lovingly. Every meal is an opportunity for self love.
This is not just crunchy self help nonsense. I developed self love over a couple of years after beginning to understand how many of my actions were subconsciously designed to hurt me, despite me having other reasons for them on a conscious level. I gradually broke that pattern, learning to take actions towards myself that were charged with the energy of nurturing and caring. As my skill with this grows, it seems only natural that my focus should turn to food. And unlike before, this can be a real change, not one that is destined to pendulum-swing backwards into self destruction again.