I have always been skeptical of radical diets that require specific foods to be eaten at certain times. I would say this diet falls into that category. Surprisingly enough, I did do this diet for the Fall and Winter of 2014 after being vegetarian for many years.
This diet is now advertised by the peppy Freelee the Banana Girl, otherwise known as FREEyourself on Youtube. She has a massive following and is the creator of the Raw til 4 diet. So what is the Raw til 4 diet? An overview is that a person is a raw vegan from the time he or she wakes up, until four in the afternoon. Afterwards, you are allowed to have simply cooked vegan meals. The unbelievable part is that you can eat as much raw food as you want — while still losing weight. The creator of the diet also says it will cleanse your body, give you energy, and help you shed the weight. Freelee herself is rather skinny, attributing it to her vegan diet ( in addition to being an accomplished cycler). So overall it sounds pretty cool.
The vegan diet has numerous of benefits, but this is not what the post is about. It is about a critical review of the diet. People have claimed to either absolutely love the diet to smithereens or to say the diet ruined their bodies. With such mixed reviews, it’s already kind of a tell-tale sign that something’s up with this diet.
Those who are in support of it claim losing a small to moderate amount of weight, having an abundance of energy, and a general sense of improved health. The diet requires that carbs be the main source of calories, which will come from fruit and vegetables. Carbs are an essential source of energy in the diet, more so than protein and fat. Produce can be high in carbs and in natural sugars, so that is probably where all the energy is coming from that the diet claims to create. In general, the weight loss and sense of wellbeing is due to cutting out all the crappy processed foods from the diet. A person just naturally feels better. I will agree that veganism is an easy way to improve your diet if you are willing to not eat any animal products.
However, veganism in general is pretty cool in my opinion. It has plenty of health benefits besides the ones this diet lists.
Here are what the #haters of this diet say.
They said they were brainwashed by Freelee into thinking Raw til 4 was the ultimate diet. They claimed they were persuaded into thinking they were able to eat as much food as they wanted because it was “only produce” and other stereotypically healthy food. When they would feel sick and bloated, they would try to go purely raw in the belief it would give them relief. Besides feeling ill, a lot of people backlashed at Freelee because the diet actually made them gain weight. And quite a bit of weight too.
Well, Freelee claims she eats over 3,000 calories a day while maintaining a very slim physique. Huh.
I do not believe that to be true. Any female who eats around 3,000 calories is expected to gain weight. Unless they are an extreme endurance athlete like Freelee is. I know for sure that if I eat more than my 2,200 calorie diet ( a bit extra for weightlifting) I will get fat. Because I have eaten too much before for a prolonged period of time and gained some pudge. When the average (sedentary) women only supposed to eat 1,800 a day, the 3,000 calorie amount is an outlier that few can manage. Calories in, calories out. So, this is the inaccurate part of the diet if you were to follow it exactly.
So this this is my opinion.
If you want to follow this diet, I give you the green light. I have had positive results with this diet. I did not gain weight because I continued tracking calories every day. The increased amount of energy was definitely true, I got leaner, and I felt pretty f*cking healthy. The downside is that as a college freshman, having easy access to a wide variety of raw food was difficult. A year after the diet, I got a chronic illness that required me to gain weight to help recovery, as I was underweight at that time. I was advised to eat dairy and meat to encourage weight gain. Along with the diet change came faster muscle gains from the gym. Eventually, I stopped being vegan.
Another issue that led me away from the vegan lifestyle was how restricting diets often led me to relapse into an ED. Having food off limits or eating at certain times led me to view food as either good or bad. It isn’t a mentally healthy way to view food. While food is fuel and helps with my bodybuilding, I like to try to enjoy food by having flexibility.
Nowadays I do kinda miss it, which is why I am going from a omnivorous diet to a flexi-vegan one.
So, this is the gist of the diet and a general review. I hope this will help people make a wise decision for themselves.