There's nothing more fun than comparing two crazy diet experiments. When it comes to fully nourishing your body and encouraging metabolic recovery, both RRARF and the milk diet come closer than most. But for me they were totally different experiences and each had their own benefits. Here's how they compared:
RRARF vs The Milk Diet
One one hand, the milk diet is really easy: just drink the milk. A little at a time, throughout the day. But this can also get tricky. Working outside the home and social outings can be a little awkward when the only thing you're allowed to eat is milk. RRARF is a little more doable in these settings, though most food on RRARF should really be homecooked to reap the full benefits. You also basically have to drink milk all day long on the milk diet (every 30 minutes to be exact), whereas RRARF is more of a simple three-squares-a-day sort of plan.
Both diets require taking in a lot of calories, and this can be hard to adjust to. With RRARF, that means a lot of food to cook. On the milk diet, that means drinking a whole lot of milk... which means buying a whole lot of milk. For me this meant traveling 40 minutes out of my way at least twice a week to keep my fridge stocked with fresh raw milk (I was drinking seven gallons a week, plus my family was also drinking their regular amount of milk). So, unless you've got a milking cow in your backyard, I can't say the milk diet is nearly as convenient as RRARF.
Although I loved every minute of the milk diet and I do really well drinking lots of farm fresh milk, I can't say the same for everyone. Some people do well on milk, others don't. And I can't promise that going on the milk diet will magically raise your tolerance to milk (although some people experience it). So success on the milk diet is largely relative to the user. RRARF on the other hand allows for individual tolerances and preferences, which leads us to the next category...
This is important, because adherence is more achievable if a diet is flexible. While RRARF has some restrictions, overall you have a lot of choices when it comes to what and when you eat. You can tailor this program a lot more to what works best for you. The milk diet offers very little flexibility: all milk, all the time.
Winner: The Milk Diet (by a hair)
I imagine this is going to vary among individuals, but for me the milk diet resulted in the most dramatic rise in my basal temperature. While I saw some high temps on RRARF, on the milk diet my temps were much more consistently high and about half a degree higher on average. (On either program, however, my temps remained above the recommended 97.8 degrees upon waking.)
Winner: The Milk Diet (kind of)
This one's a little tough to judge because 1) I'm not weighing myself right now and 2) I'm also not counting calories. As I reported in this post, I averaged around 2,500 calories every day on the milk diet... and this resulted in a loss of a couple pounds (which is far from statistically significant). On RRARF I probably averaged closer to 3,000 calories per day and have definitely gained a little weight, although not much since I still fit in my jeans. Just to ballpark it for those of you who are curious, I probably gained 4-5 lbs on RRARF.
This one is easy. My skin improved somewhat on the milk diet. I noticed a little less inflammation and less blemishes than normal. But RRARF has taken my skin to a whole new level of clear. It's not perfect, but it's better than I've seen in my adult life, and I can't argue with that.
Winner: The Milk Diet
This is a tough one as well. RRARF started out strong as far as cravings are concerned. I was even able to pass up candy on Halloween (seriously). But during PMS my cravings got really strong and never really went away. It got to the point where I was sneaking some sugar in during the last few days because I was started to feel deprived. The milk diet (maybe because it's a mono-food diet or maybe because milk contains natural sugar) left me with very few sugar cravings, even around PMS time.
Winner: The Milk Diet
I've noticed before that my PMS symptoms always improve when I drink plenty of raw milk. I cut out milk during RRARF (as I was avoiding sugar and liquid calories), so this really put RRARF to the test. Unfortunately, it failed for me. Although my PMS symptoms weren't severe, they were still markedly worse than when I'm drinking milk.
RRARF vs The Milk Diet: A Final Word
The greatest thing about both RRARF and the milk diet was that each gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself and the way my body responds to what I eat. The milk diet was certainly fun, but I'll be the first the admit that RRARF principles can be carried into a lifelong eating plan whereas the milk diet provides less long-term guidance. So, my general conclusion is that milk dieting is for entertainment and therapeutic purposes, and RRARF-ing is for aggressively implementing lifelong principles for optimal metabolic health. But in the future I'll sure be including ample amounts of raw milk no matter what else I'm eating. The benefits I get from that stuff are no joke, my friend.
This is my final post on my RRARF adventure (at least for now). If you want to learn more about RRARF, you can download Matt Stone's RRARF ebook for free. You can also learn more about Matt's work in metabolic health research if you watch this video presentation or listen to this podcast on the body weight set point. (Beware, this material may permanently inspire you to change the way you think about weight, metabolism and dieting!)
And finally, if you need to catch up, here's some more posts about RRARF:
Day 1 on RRARF: What is RRARF?
Day 2 on RRARF: Why I'm Doing It
Day 3 on RRARF: Rest and Relaxation
Day 7 on RRARF: Benefits Already!
Day 8 on RRARF: Eat the Food!
Day 9 on RRARF: Adieu, Le Sucre!
Day 21 on RRARF: Deprivation is Dieting
Day 23 on RRARF: Life Without the Scale