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Rawgust Wrap Up and September Challenge!

August 30, 2010

Weekends make me feel like this:

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(Eloise, Saturday, on our way to go hiking)

And Mondays make me feel like this:

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(Baxter, Monday, 10 am—dog tired already)

At least I know I’m not the only one!

Lunch today was simple: an ezekial wrap, filled with fresh avocado, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato:

DSC_0001 (35) 

Though August is not officially over until Wednesday, I’m officially wrapping up Raw-gust and getting started on my September challenge.  It just feels right to start a challenge on a Monday!

Rawgust Thoughts

So, for the last month, I’ve been loosely focusing on incorporating more raw meals into my diet.  I didn’t make plans to go 100% raw (which is good, because that definitely did not happen!), but rather tried to have at least a raw breakfast, as well as a mainly raw lunch or dinner. 

I think I took the raw challenge the most seriously during the first week, and, not surprisingly, this is also when I felt the most impact from the changes in my diet.  I began drinking green juice every morning instead of coffee; I’d have a raw smoothie for breakfast; and I’d eat either a raw lunch or raw dinner (occasionally both).  The first few days were rough, but after about three days, I actually really did notice a difference in the way I felt. I had a lot of energy in the morning, even without coffee.  I was very *regular*—’nuf said.  I felt, for lack of a better word, lighter.

Then, we had guests come into town.

And there’s the rub for me.  Back in January, when I did my vegan challenge, I basically reached the conclusion that if we only ate at home, as opposed to at others’ houses and restaurants, being vegan would be very simple.  I kind of came to the same conclusion with this raw challenge.  Fixing my own raw meals was a cinch, but eating out wasn’t always easy (or fun), and eating with others made it difficult for me to really commit to raw foods.  Sure, I could always find a raw salad on the menu, but, to be honest, who wants to eat salad after salad when others are ordering mouth-watering veggie burgers, wraps, and pasta dishes? So, yes, dining out and with others was a major issue I  had during this challenge.

Another issue I faced was dealing with cravings for cooked foods.  I think that doing this challenge in August was key, because on a hot, sunny day, I loved nothing better than slurping down a green smoothie for lunch, or eating some raw pasta for dinner.  However—the minute the temps dropped down to about 70, I was craving cooked foods! I definitely wouldn’t be able to  keep this up year-round—I think our bodies are made to crave warm foods in the winter, and I’m all about giving my body what it wants. 

On the positive side, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to “cook” raw meals—I think the raw foods diet gets a bad rap for being really complicated or difficult, and from what I experienced during this challenge, I will say that eating raw, much like following many other food plans, is as difficult or easy as you choose to make it.  Sure, you can make complicated raw lasagnas and dehydrated breads and raw desserts, but you can also slice an avocado, sprinkle it with a little sea salt and some sunflower seeds, plop it on some greens, and call it a meal.  Which I did, many times.  Raw salads, slaws, and soups were easy, and delicious.  Raw pesto?  A cinch!  This challenge opened up my eyes to the fact that eating raw doesn’t have to be difficult—in fact, it’s the simplest way of eating there is! 

All in all, I really enjoyed this challenge.  I won’t be transitioning to a raw diet, especially with the colder temperatures of fall right around the corner, but I really could feel a difference, and I think incorporating raw foods into your diet in some way is very beneficial to your health.  While I might not “go raw,” I’ll certainly still be enjoying several raw meals a week!  Until winter comes, that is.  🙂

The September Challenge

Looking ahead to the upcoming month, my next challenge isn’t about what I’ll be eating, but rather, how I’ll be eating it.  Ryan and I have become, for lack of a better word, total couch-eaters.  We’ve gotten into the habit of eating almost every single dinner plopped down on the couch, watching reruns of The Office.  Yuck! 

Many studies show that eating in front of the television tends to make people tune out hunger cues and ignore satiety.  People who eat at a table tend to eat slower and more consciously, and often eat less.  I’ve certainly had the experience of serving myself a full plate of food and sitting down in front of the tv, only to look down five minutes later and realize that my entire meal is gone.  Couples who eat meals together also tend to have better communication skills and stronger marriages/relationships.

I’ve always excused the fact that we eat dinner in front of the television by saying that we see each other so much during the day that we don’t have a need to sit down and eat our meal together, but you know—I just don’t think that’s true! I think it will be better for our health and our marriage if we really make an effort to eat dinner at the table. 

So—for the September challenge, we will be eating ALL of our dinners that we eat at home at the table.  In addition, we’ve agreed to walk every night after dinner, weather permitting. 

I’m excited to embark on this challenge!

Are you a couch eater?  Where do you tend to eat your meals?

Have a great Monday!

43 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 5:58 pm

    i am totally a couch eater…but i love that i get to sit down and relax on the couch and eat before going around and working/cleaning/working out like a crazy person!

  2. Emo permalink
    August 30, 2010 6:00 pm

    That sounds like a fantastic challenge! It’s in line with your philsophy of not always giving something up but looking for something to gain (or am I making that up? I feel like that was a discussion thread around Lent, maybe…)
    Jon and I eat a lot of our meals at the table. He’s a stickler for lighting candles, haha! lWhen I’m by myself, though, or we want to watch baseball or a movie, we eat on the couch — which gives Diego dog a great vantage point. Do Ella and Baxter beg more when you eat at the couch?

    • August 30, 2010 7:23 pm

      I wondered the same thing — another reason I eat at the table is because my dog makes couch eating really annoying 🙂

    • August 30, 2010 8:59 pm

      Yes, definitely talked about that around Lent– and definitely have more fun with the challenges that ADD something!

      I really like it that Jon lights candles for your meals 🙂

      Ella and Baxter actually beg more at the table…I think maybe they’re more aware that we’re eating or something?

  3. August 30, 2010 6:03 pm

    That’s a great challenge! I’ve started trying to eat less in front of my laptip (I don’t do in front of the tv anyway), so I’ll definetly be joining you on that one! As for walking after dinner, I think that’s a great idea 🙂 I like a walk after dinner.

  4. August 30, 2010 6:23 pm

    Yes! I love your September challenge. Nick and I walk together almost every night, but we definitely need to work on eating our meals at the table rather than on the couch.

  5. Kristi permalink
    August 30, 2010 6:27 pm

    I definitely see an advantage to your September challenge. I hope it becomes a lifestyle!

  6. August 30, 2010 6:37 pm

    I like this September challenge. it’s a good one!

  7. August 30, 2010 6:53 pm

    I am so with you on the raw thing. The thing is, I eat mostly raw, but I think when it is a focus, you start to crave other things. As far as where we eat, it totally depends on the day and what is going on. We don’t put a huge focus on where we eat or having to eat together. We do eat at the table with the boys most evenings, but sometimes the boys are so hungry when they get home from school and we aren’t hungry for a meal at that time…we just don’t always eat at the same time. If that is the case, the kids will eat a snack at the time we eat and then we will all sit together. Tony and I love our morning walks together! When it gets cooler outside, maybe we can get the boys to start walking some with us. Have a great afternoon!

  8. August 30, 2010 6:58 pm

    We used to be total couch-eaters. Then, Will came and forced us to be table eaters. It is some much better for all the reasons you describe.

  9. August 30, 2010 7:22 pm

    Love this challenge! My husband and I always eat at the table. During the work week, it’s really the first time we get to talk and we relish in making this our distraction-free time. That’s not to say we don’t plop ourselves on the couch once we’re done, though! The idea of walking after dinner is a great one, especially while the weather is still nice.

  10. August 30, 2010 8:17 pm

    You did so great with your rawgust challenge!! So proud of you!! 🙂 I love this next challenge. Andrew and I do eat at the dinner table when he cooks us dinner, but if it’s a leftovers night or take-out, we eat on the couch. I want to get to the point where we eat at the dinner table every night. It’s so important to reconnect at the end of the day over dinner.

  11. Lynette permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:36 pm

    We were couch eaters until Carson started eating, now we all eat dinner at the table as a family. Although I told Don maybe when the kids are older we can have a Friday night pizza movie night in front of the T.V. Enjoy your challlenge.

  12. August 30, 2010 9:42 pm

    Love the new challenge! I am not a couch eater, but I think that’s because my mother always made us eat dinner as a family at the table. It just doesn’t feel right to me to eat anywhere else lol

    • August 30, 2010 11:35 pm

      Yeah, mine did too– I think she’d be horrified by how often we eat our meals in front of the tv now!! 🙂

  13. highonhealthy permalink
    August 30, 2010 10:13 pm

    I’m not a couch eater but I am most certainly.. a computer eater. The majority of my meals are eaten as I sit in front of the computer and that is NOT good. I have the same problem – I’ll get my food, get in front of the computer.. and it will be gone without me realizing that I ate it!

    I’ll be joining you on this challenge. 🙂

    • August 30, 2010 11:36 pm

      I’m bad about computer eating at lunch…one challenge at a time 🙂

  14. Sweet and Fit permalink
    August 30, 2010 10:15 pm

    I try to incorporate some raw meals into my diet, but I could never go 100% or even high raw. I will admit that I feel amazing after drinking a green juice, but its a bit labor-intensive to keep up in the long run!

  15. Sweet and Fit permalink
    August 30, 2010 10:15 pm

    I try to incorporate some raw meals into my diet, but I could never go 100% or even high raw. I will admit that I feel amazing after drinking a green juice, but its a bit labor-intensive to keep up in the long run!

  16. August 30, 2010 10:23 pm

    “I will say that eating raw, much like following many other food plans, is as difficult or easy as you choose to make it. “–AMEN!!!!

    Raw food gets a bad wrap that it’s complicated or expensive. It can be, but it can also be a super cheap, easy, and economical way to eat. I am all about that. My “recipes” are very whole foods, plant based in as natural state as possible. I never really crave cooked food after being high raw but if i do, i eat it. I get my “warm food” fix thru coffee 🙂

    I just wanna congratulate you on sticking w/ the challenge and i agree that others, eating out, being out w/ others in restaurants, the need for cooked food, etc all can make it tricky but here’s to you for sticking w/ it!

    Couch eating. Scott and I used to do that and I miss it! Zoning out and just decompressing in front of the tv while eating is FINE! After you have a kid youll miss those days, trust me. Dont stress and just enjoy them 🙂

    • August 30, 2010 11:37 pm

      Thanks, Averie!! It was a fun challenge…and I have a newfound respect for the raw foodists in my life 🙂

  17. actorsdiet permalink
    August 30, 2010 10:29 pm

    we don’t have room for a dining room table in our house so all our meals are eaten on the couch, in front of the tv. i am taking advantage of it, though, b/c i know one day i’ll have kids and for the next 18 years i won’t have that luxury – so i’m soaking it up while i can!!!

  18. August 30, 2010 10:36 pm

    I’m a couch eater, mainly because I eat most of my meals at home. But I do love sitting down with my family!! I’m also making an effort to eat meals at my table in my new apartment, instead of on the couch. They both have a view of the TV, and at least it will save my clothes some stains!

  19. August 30, 2010 11:06 pm

    Well now I eat most of my meals in at my desk with a computer. It’s not ideal but it’s dorm life.
    I think your rawgust inspired me to choose raw more. I know that a larabar is just as filling a snack as a more-processed granola bar.

  20. August 30, 2010 11:16 pm

    We eat dinners in front of the TV too! Maybe I will join you in that challenge and try to eat at the table.

  21. Stacey permalink
    August 30, 2010 11:27 pm

    Love the September challenge, Anna! I forwarded this post to my fiance and challenged him to join you and Ryan. He’s game – hooray! Like you and your man, we share plenty of QT; however, eating is one of the most important things we do, and I think it deserves more respect in terms of how we do it, like you said. Cheers to Sit-ember (get it?! As in, sitting down at the table + September?) !

  22. Kristi permalink
    August 30, 2010 11:31 pm

    BTW, I’m with Baxter about Monday mornings.

  23. August 31, 2010 12:23 am

    Your September challenge sounds like a good one and a real treat. I am only a couch eater when I’m alone. I much prefer eating with someone else, and at a table. Meals are more enjoyable that way rather than just being something done for sustenance. (Which is a funny contradiction, because sometimes when I’m alone I eat too much or too fast or stuff that’s not nourishing when I’m in a hurry, or alone…)

  24. August 31, 2010 12:36 am

    I really think it’s great that you did the raw challenge. I guess I have always been a bit intimidated by the idea. I love your follow-up about it. Makes me want to try to incorporate raw foods now. Thank you. We are couch eaters. It’s the only time I ever sit down in front of the tv. I have noticed that during the winter, we ate at the table more – it’s in the kitchen and too hot in there right now.

  25. August 31, 2010 1:01 am

    I should adopt that goal, too — walking after dinner! Lily needs it, too! We eat all our meals at the table — we’re good about that 🙂

  26. August 31, 2010 1:13 am

    We were couch eaters until my daughter was born. Now eat at the table 🙂 Its all about setting the example… right? 😉

  27. August 31, 2010 1:18 am

    We don’t have a TV, which makes couch meals just plain uncomfortable and pointless. ALthough, I do enjoy a nice bowl of ice cream on occasion while curled up on those soft cushions. 🙂

  28. August 31, 2010 1:21 am

    I actually almost always eat at the table. But…I usually eat with my laptop or magazine in front of me so it’s pretty much the same type of distraction.

  29. August 31, 2010 4:22 am

    Awesome challenge! I’m looking forward to following along with it 🙂 Glad I stumbled across your blog!

  30. August 31, 2010 4:26 am

    This is such a great challenge!! My hubby and I eat all our meals in front of the TV catching up on the PVR!! Ugh..I love doing it but I also agree with your reasons not to do it. It’s a hard one to break, but I’m joing ya’ on this one 🙂

  31. amory permalink
    August 31, 2010 8:11 pm

    so basically what your telling me is you’re going to have a different tablescape every night like sandra lee?

    • August 31, 2010 8:16 pm

      Yep. I also plan on coordinating my outfit with the tablescape.

      Girl, you know you love her.

      • Amory permalink
        August 31, 2010 11:50 pm

        please be as tacky as possible. i will love it.

  32. August 31, 2010 9:27 pm

    I like this. We eat on the couch most nights while watching TV. I think I’m going to try it for September as well, but I’m going to save one night a week for the couch — Mondays with Bach Pad. My hubby likes the couch so maybe this will give him a positive connotation to the tv show. And I have to watch b/c my running friends on Tues mornings always discuss. Looking forward to Sitember!

  33. September 1, 2010 3:24 pm

    Since we moved to Florida, Meg has gently insisted upon the dinner-at-the-table tradition. At first I was annoyed, since I was used to watching tv while eating. But over the past two years I have come to appreciate it–its nice family time; I think it will become even more important as Rowan grows up. We usually have some background music, and Rowan is learning how to talk with us at the table (i.e., its one of the few places where she doesn’t get a permanent center stage, where daddy is allowed to talk to mommy without Rowan interrupting).

    Good luck!

  34. September 6, 2010 10:36 pm

    That wrap looks amazing!

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