If you know me, you probably know my history with food.
If you don’t, let’s just say Food and me – we go waaaaay back.
In fact, this relationship we have has been so ‘friendly’ at times that it’s been downright smothering.
Smothering, with whipped cream on top.
And claustrophobic, in the way that you get when you spend way too much time with someone. Shudder.
I won’t bore you here with a blow-by-blow description, but If you want to know some of the sordid details then you can read this article about my history with food addiction and compulsive eating.
To cut a long story short, I found Bright Line Eating in October of 2015, and my life has been transformed. And I mean that in the profoundest sense. It has transformed my life as profoundly as fruit has.
I know many of you are familiar with Dr Susan Peirce Thompson and BLE. Some of you have even dived in too.
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people asking about how I combined BLE with a raw vegan diet, since the standard BLE food plan is not necessarily raw.
Firstly, a bit of context. Years ago I spent some time in FA (Food Addicts Anonymous) and so I’m very familiar with the standard Bright Line Eating plan (since it’s very similar) – and it did work fairly well for me too, for a while. The rigid structure of FA, however, of compulsory weekly meetings, calls and losing certainly privileges when you fell off the wagon, didn’t.
It worked SO well, right from the outset, that I just kept going, tweaking things here and there. I found I had lots of energy, and never really experienced what a lot of other BLE’ers feel initially on the weight loss plan, but still lost weight very steadily, losing 22 pounds in just over 2 months and getting down to goal weight.
Since the beginning of this I have had a number of breaks, and have back-slid into refined food addiction from time to time. (I want to point out, though, that my relapses were not because of my plan). Like any food addict I got tripped up when I did things like go camping for a week with friends (with no internet connection and no support).
Hey, I’m an addict!
But always I knew that this plan worked the best for me, and kept finding my way back. When I eat this way, I feel so incredibly at peace with the world.
Eating this way gives me FREEDOM from food obsession, from overeating, from undereating. It removes the food obsessed blinkers from my eyes, and restores sanity and peace. The whole world opens up for me when I simply surrender my food.
Here’s what I do.
I’ve found success doing BLE by designing my own plan but following the basic rules of BLE –
1. No sugar
2. No flour
I looked at the rough calorie count of the BLE weight loss plan and decided on a figure for myself (which is a bit higher, since raw foods, I think, cause faster weight loss) then I designed a plan using cronometer (an online nutrition diary) that is pretty much 80/10/10 with a bit higher fat and lots of greens. (*update – I’m eating 80/10/10 at the moment).
I leave out the dried fruit completely (since their sugars are too concentrated for me and cause me to relapse) and focus on whole fruits and veggies.
I don’t usually do smoothies, as I drink them way too fast, but will sometimes make smoothie bowls with LOTS of chopped veg thrown in to chew on. But this is pretty rare. And I need to monitor the way my body reacts to blended food.
I’ve found this really works for me. Meals and bounded quantities has been absolutely key. A lot of raw vegans do fine just by eating an abundance of fruits and veggies. For me that still left me wide open and vulnerable to food triggers and relapse.
How do I get enough Protein?
A number of people have asked me about my sources of protein because that’s important in BLE. You can watch my video discussing ‘What is enough protein on a raw vegan diet?’. In terms of protein, specifically, I’m eating a low protein diet (but then I have done so since 2011) following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, which is that we need between 40 and 70g of protein per day – hardly any.
This amount can be achieved by eating lots of greens, fruit, nuts and seeds. At the moment I’m choosing to include some cooked legumes in my dinner, but that’s my only cooked food, and I may choose to ditch it later as my calorie count rises. The more calories one eats, the more protein one gets (since there is protein in EVERYTHING we eat)
Below I have included a sample of my current daily plan. This is a rough guide as I plan my meals each night using Cronometer and sometimes fruit quantities vary because of the varying calorie density of fruit – (e.g. banana is much more calorie dense than watermelon).
For dinner I generally always have 25oz of salad at night (mixed veggies and greens), 3-4 oz cooked or sprouted legumes, a fat and some fruit.
**Please bear in mind that there are other Raw Vegan BLE’ers that do it differently to me. In my mastermind group alone we have two of us who eat more veggies and fats than fruit. I’m the opposite. All of us have found freedom though. You need to find your own way with it but there are others who can support you in doing so.
Here’s a rough food plan for a day for me (at writing) at 1550 cals/per day ** (I still have a few pounds to lose since my last relapse so I’m back on weight loss)
Between 20-40oz of fruit (depending on the fruit)
20oz of cucumber
Between 20-30oz of fruit (depending on the fruit – no melons for lunch)
20oz of cucumber/celery
About 10 ounces of fruit
25oz salad *
1 oz avo or 1/2oz of nuts/seeds
3 oz legumes (cooked or raw/sprouted)
*When I weigh out my salad, I just get a big bowl, put it on my digital scale and put whatever greens and veggies I like into it that comes to 25oz. I don’t commit vegetables or greens in individual portions (that would just be too consuming for my busy lifestyle) and it works really well.
** UPDATE – Okay, so I began transitioning to maintenance after about 2.5 months on the weight loss plan. (Weight loss was fairly rapid). I am currently eating 2400 calories per day. This may go up further but right now feels like the right amount.
In transitioning to maintenance, I very slowly increased my calories (by about 100-200 calories) each 1 to 2 weeks over a two month period. I weighed myself once a week, and gauged my hunger levels, to determine the rate of additions. Increasing slowly also helps not to shock your digestive system too much. (You get used to eating a lower volume of food and when you increase food you’ll notice that you full much fuller).
If you are high on the susceptibility scale then I strongly recommend that you discuss your food additions with another person who is also on this journey with you (such as a buddy or mastermind group). The conversation for me goes like this:
Me: “I’m thinking about increasing my food by 100 cals/day this week, because I’ve been feeling increasing hunger this week and/ or my weight has dropped. I plan on doing it for a week then weighing myself at the end of 1 week to see any adjustment. What do you think about this?”
My mastermind group (who I’ve been working with for nearly a year now all know me fairly well) will respond appropriately. They know whether or not I’m emotionally stable and whether or not this is an arbitrary decision I’m making that’s more about compulsion or sound judgement.
Running any change you make by another person will help ensure that your saboteur doesn’t edge their way in and completely derail your progress.
Want to give it a go too?
There are four options for you:
#1 – Jumping into a BLE Bootcamp and doing the program – I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with food or weight issues, regardless of whether you’re raw, vegan, or standard western diet eater. Find out your susceptibility to refined foods HERE and join Susan’s email list where you can find out about the program.
#2 – Want to do BLE raw? – Create your own plan, write down your food in the evening, commit it somewhere publicly or with a buddy, and work out strategies to stick with it (see #4 for support, which you will need. Anyone can give out a diet plan. Support is crucial.)
#3 – If you specifically want to do BLE raw, but don’t know where to start with your own BLE raw vegan plan, then I offer private coaching and can help guide you in getting going. Find out about coaching HERE. (These packages always come automatically with my Fresh Start 90-Day program)
#4 – If you’re interested in connecting with others doing a BLE program the Raw Vegan way, then I run a private Face Book page for people who have bought my book The Raw Warriors Ultimate Kickstart Guide, which you can buy HERE for $17.
I look forward so much to sharing this journey of freedom from food with you.