Friday, November 21, 2008

Following Tim VanOrden's running raw experiment

When I first came across Tim VanOrden's Running Raw project, I honestly thought the poor dude must have lost his mind. The seemingly crazy idea of running competitively while eating a strict diet of mainly raw vegs, fruits, nuts and seeds made me laugh out loud.

Fast forward a few months. I'm still grinning, but for a different reason. I've secretly tested a similar program on myself for a total of 12 weeks now:
  • first a six week 50-60% raw lacto-ovo-vegetarian transition period 
  • followed by another six week 80-100% raw vegan 'detox' phase, 
The results have so far exceeded all my expectations: 
  • I'm now about 7 kg (15 lb) lighter - from about 69 kg (152 lb) to 62 kg (136 lb).
  • My body fat is down from about 12% to 6%. 
  • My BMI (Body Mass Index) has decreased from 21.1 to 19.0.
  • My health feels much better than before (although I wasn't really sick before, I had some skin issues etc).
  • My fitness is great in terms of endurance, however I have not tried any speedwork or racing yet.
  • I've been able to cut all dairy, meat, fish, poultry, coffee, tea (except herbal tea) consumption.
  • I didn't and still don't consume any soft drinks or alcoholic beverages.
  • My energy levels have been pretty high all the time.
  • I seem to require less sleep.
  • My mind is definitely much clearer.
I've decided to continue 90-100% raw food diet until the end of this year, and if it goes well, I'll probably continue in 2009.

We Like It Raw has recently podcasted an inspiring 57-minute Tim VanOrden interview. Check it out now - this runner really knows what he is talking about!


Primal Runner said...

After reading this post and following the links to the running raw site I have started eating more raw fruits and veggies. It's only been 5 days but I'm feeling good.

The more I look into it the more I am thinking about giving it a go. I find following the paleo diet that I have constant flow of energy and my recovery is good but I feel like I am missing some vitality.

Perhaps you can post some more information about how you have transformed the way you eat during your 12 week introduction.

Paleo Runner said...

After 15 years of paleo lifestyle I was in pretty good health. I just happened to get interested in this raw thing and decided to give it a go for a few weeks. Now after 12 raw weeks I feel so much better in every way that I don't think I'll go back to paleo ever! I basically followed David Wolfe's Sunfood book. I'll post more about that soon in my new blog

Primal Runner said...

I used to follow a more natural raw diet 10-15 years ago which included periods of fasting and periods where I ate nothing but fruit and remember feeling euphoric and full of energy.

Now that I have been following the paleo diet for some time and running well I'm disappointed that I'm not quite feeling as good as I should.

As with you I think I'll be going the raw food path and see where that takes my ultrarunning. I'm currently on day 6.

Paleo Runner said...

Yes when I was running slowly and felt very tired in one day in August it occurred to me that eating cooked paleo food might require more energy than running. So the main discovery for me has been that eating food in easy-digestable natural format leaves you with a lot more energy to run with. No amount of stimulants can do that, they will all fail sooner or later.

Second, when you lose weight, you'll probably also lose toxins stored in your body.

Third, your body will be a lot less acidic, which made a big difference for me.

Good luck with ultrarunning on the raw food path. It would be interesting if you could give a little update later on about how you are doing.

branden said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I'll start blogging my experiences about going raw and ultrarunning shortly.

I blogged my experience when I went paleo in preparation for my marathon (june 2008) and found that it kept me focused on sticking to my goals.