Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Review of The Garden Diet

My husband and I just finished the "28 Days Raw Transition" program with The Garden Diet.  I'd like to share how we liked it, and what it did for us.

There are so many raw vegan recipes available online.  When we first began our raw journey over the summer, I had focused on finding raw alternatives to our accustomed SAD (standard American diet.) Those recipes are often a bit complicated or required hard to find ingredients.  Although enthusiastic about raw food, I was sometimes discouraged by the amount of work involved.  This is because there are few raw convenience foods - no raw bottled salad dressings or packaged sauce mixes and certainly no frozen entrees.  I served several complex raw meals that took the entire day to prepare, (longer when dehydration time is taken into account) and a couple of the more successful meals made it to this blog.  I'm not sorry we went through this phase in our transition.  It was an important part of it.  I'll be making those types of meals again from time to time, but they aren't for every day.

The Garden Diet menu plan provided simple recipes that I could make as quickly as any SAD cooking mom could fry a pound of hamburger and open a cardboard box  of dry noodles and seasoning packets.  Often the meals were much quicker to make than the old "TV dinner in the microwave" routine.  The ingredients were mostly very easy to find, and there were readily available substitutions for those that weren't.  Simple can be very tasty and satisfying.

The great thing is that after 28 days, now I have a repertoire of quick, easy recipes that my family loves, and the confidence that I can keep this up without a lot of extra effort.

One of the ways in which The Garden Diet helped us was that it included complete menus.  I didn't have to worry about whether I was providing my husband and I with enough daily nutrition.  The menu plans in The Garden Diet were like "training wheels" that gave me the confidence to know that I could provide my family a healthy raw diet.  Shopping lists were also provided, which saved us time.

The Garden Diet also helped to re-educate us about our food.  One of the things that was hurting us when we ate the SAD was the size of our meals.  A "real meal" consisted of a salad, meat, starch, and a vegetable.  Sometimes we also had bread, dessert and some type of beverage.  We were eating ourselves to death a meal at a time.  When we switched to the raw lifestyle, I was trying to replicate those tastes and sensations with raw food.  We quickly learned that raw food is more nutrient dense and so we needed to eat less of it, but we were still making things way too complicated.  I was trying to serve too many courses.  During The Garden Diet, it was such a revelation the first time we sat down to a mono meal, which was a large bowl of one type of ripe, raw fruit.  Another revelation came the day of the water fast.  I honestly did not know that I was capable of going a whole day without food when surrounded by so many opportunities to eat.  I learned that I could not only do it, but would benefit from it as well.

Now I can serve my family twelve-ounce glasses of blended fruit and vegetable smoothies for dinner without feeling like I am depriving them.  Instead of starting a meal with a salad, often the meal IS the salad.  What a concept!

Before, special occasions and events were centered around food.  We had trained ourselves to expect food indulgences at those times.  Now, while we still make delicious raw vegan treats for special occasions, and I plan to make a raw feast now and then, we take joy from the moment and the love in our family without making it all about food.

The program also provided exercise programs, a collection of positive motivational articles about the raw lifestyle, an online community with supportive like-minded people, a place to write in an online journal, and daily happiness exercises.  For those who chose to participate, there was an optional study group based on the book, "A Course In Weight Loss."

The program wasn't strict or rigid.  If you didn't want to do the water fast or participate in cleansing week, they just suggested that you repeat another menu from the plan.  By the last week, I was varying the menu, using the food that came in our Bountiful Baskets order rather than shopping for what was on the menu for that week.  If we were hungry between meals, we simply ate more.  Since the food was healthy, whole, raw, nutrient-dense, lacking in chemicals and unprocessed, you couldn't go wrong.

If the individual needed to gain weight they offered tips for that too.  I was able to serve the meals on the plan to the entire family, and make additional healthy options available for our growing children.

I've lost 8 pounds in the 28 days, compared to the 5 pounds per month I was losing just by eliminating most cooked and processed food, animal-based food and alcohol during the previous three months.  I'm happy with the 8 pounds, and I know it might have been more if I had exercised as much as I intended to.  However, this is just the beginning.  Next we are doing the 21 Days Raw Cleanse offered by The Garden Diet.  Whether the rest of the weight comes off during this program or whether it takes a year, it doesn't matter to me.  I'm happy with the process.  I love how great I feel, and how loose my clothes are.

This wasn't a radical crash diet.  This was a lifestyle adjustment. After the 21 Days Cleanse, we will begin the process of fine-tuning our eating habits for maintenance and the changing needs of our bodies.

During this 28 days, I've looked honestly at myself, my spouse, and the way we live our lives in this family.  There are hidden gifts in our struggles, and I've come away with strong feelings of gratitude and optimism for the future.

Changing the way we eat has been empowering and that change is leading to more positive changes.  I can't change the entire world but I can change MY world.  This has brought deep feelings of peace and joy.  Switching to the raw vegan lifestyle is just one of many positive changes we are either making or plan to make in our lives.


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  2. Well thank you for the comment, but diet pills are not something we are interested in, nor are they something we would recommend. It doesn't fit our health philosophy.

  3. This has gotten strong emotions of serenity and joy. Changing to the raw vegetarian way of life is just one of many good changes we are either creating or strategy to create in our life.



So what do you think? Have you tried raw vegan food?