Why Did I Attempt a Raw Food Diet as a Runner?

One of the biggest questions asked was why I felt the need to do the raw food diet. For those of you who think it is the most strange, absurd decision anyone could make, for someone who was battling an eating disorder, it might make “a lot of sense.” It all depends on perspective, what is important to us, and who we are as people. Nutrition happens to be important to me. It has always been a large focus in my life, probably because I had a focus on health as a runner since the age of five. Since my obsession with weight had escalated (to the point where I felt mostly food and weight mattered in making me a better runner) I went into the raw food diet thinking it would help my relationship with food, not hurt it.

running at houseman

I’ve been running for a LONG time

I hadn’t intended to start the raw food diet. I felt it wasn’t ideal for runners, that I wouldn’t get enough protein, that I would somehow become deficient and injured. But as I kept researching the raw food diet for my college research project (we could choose any topic), I found it scarier and scarier to eat cooked food (ignorance is bliss).

My doubts about raw food began to vanish. Maybe this was the way to eat. I didn’t know how I could go on eating what I was used to eating, because now I had all these other ideas in my head. Raw food had become some sort of “lifesaver.” I could lose weight while eating as much raw food as I want? I could finally have an excuse to give up the meat and run okay, if not better? I could give a “good” excuse and reasoning for only wanting the lowest-calorie foods and have the confidence to know I wouldn’t be deficient in minerals (according to the raw food gurus)?

It was a dream come-true. I didn’t have to seem weird or strange anymore for limiting how much I ate. I could mask insecurities around food with the raw food diet. To admit that maybe I did have a problem with food would be embarrassing, I thought. Raw food seemed to make my strange habits and obsession with healthy food more “acceptable.”

With raw food, I thought I could eat until I was full at last. I wanted to have an excuse to eat the safest, lowest-calorie foods without looking ridiculous. I thought I could never go back to cooked food after what I had learned about it. And all of this only set me up for a rollercoaster of different diets, for a realization that I my odd relationship with food was called an eating disorder, that I definitely had something more to fix than food itself.