It has always been part of my family’s cultural belief that raw foods are essentially poisonous to you. My grandma believes that if we eat raw foods, worms will grow in our stomaches and all sorts of diseases will fluctuate.

I used to believe that too, up until the age of 10 when I was pressured to try carrots and dip at a school Christmas party. I was scared, but it tasted so yummy.

This time, I tried a whole week of raw foods, and even though it made my grandma a little hesitant and confused, I learned very important lessons that perhaps you will understand better than my grandma.

1. My skin felt like a newborn baby’s again.

Photo by Artur Rutkowski | Unsplash

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I have really bad acne in the T-area (forehead and nose). Even though I’ve tried to maintain a healthier diet, sometimes a girl’s just gotta have her pizza days, especially after a long and exhausting midterm season. The first thing I noticed was that my acne cleared up, as if it purified itself and was reborn into a smoother surface.

My pores cleared up because I ate less dairy and carbohydrate-rich foods. By eating less of these foods, unnecessary oils stopped building up in my pores. My skin felt like a newborn baby’s again.

2. I lost weight and I ate less.

Photo by Brooke Lark | Unsplash

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To many people at least, one of the primary functions of a diet is to lose weight. Even though I wanted to see better differences in my health, I’ve noticed that I lost a small, but good, amount of weight. I ate less foods because the amount of times I’d get hungry decreased, along with my cravings for unhealthy foods.

I managed to lose excess fat by eating foods that were high in nutrients as well as less processed foods. Most raw greens and vegetables have the least calories, so compared to that beautiful juicy New York strip steak I ate until I was full, and it was still less than an unhealthy diet.

3. It has better nutrients.

vegetable, cabbage, broccoli, banana, carrot, eggplant, cucumber, garlic, cauliflower, apple
Eddie Ngai
There are studies that show foods, mainly vegetables, lose their nutritional value once they have been cooked. Thus, if you eat the foods as they are, you will gain as many nutrients as you can and get your money’s worth.

4. After a couple of days, it’s really hard.

cabbage, vegetable, pasture, lettuce, salad
Eddie Ngai
I remember my friend asking me on day three why I was doing this diet. When I told her how I was doing it for this article, she thought I was brave, while eating her Boston cream donut in front of my face. The cravings kick in at this point, especially with outside influences.

A part of me felt like my stomach was becoming a refrigerator because I missed eating a good steaming milestone soup or a juicy cheeseburger and fries. But I had to go on for this piece, and in the end, my stomach survived.

5. I spent less money, but more time preparing foods.

sushi, tuna, avocado, wasabi, salmon, sashimi, eel, caviar, rice
Eddie Ngai

I brought mason jar salads everywhere I went. Occasionally I had sushi for a change in eating palate. However,  I spent less money overall than a typical week of campus food and restaurant take outs. Even though I spend a little more time every night pre-making foods, my wallet was happy to take its well-deserved little break.

I’m someone that constantly wants to try different cuisines, diets, and eating habits. I don’t think I could stick to this raw diet forever, because there is just so many more foods out there in the world to try. I’d like to be able to come back to this raw food diet as a way to detox my body, and give it a break when it needs one.

I don’t think you should try this diet to lose those extra few pounds before the Christmas holidays—instead, I think you should try it if you want to try better foods, and be a better you.