Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Transitioning to a Raw Food Diet

 green juice ingredients
You may have thought about trying a raw food diet, or even given it a shot, but gave up after encountering some of the common stumbling blocks.There are a few things that are important to keep in mind when beginning a raw food diet or cleanse that can keep you from having the best results:

1. You don’t eat enough.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to eat enough QUANTITY of healthy raw food. When you make a salad, make a HUGE salad, like 3X-4X the size you would normally eat. If you’re eating all fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, you need to increase the quantity of food you are consuming because it is low in calories and high in water content.
That means it takes more volume to meet your caloric needs and give you feeling of satiety.I used to bring a huge bag of fruit and salad to work when I was transitioning to raw, and my co-workers made soooo much fun of me, but I did NOT want to be hungry!
Also, in the first 2 months or so, all I thought about was food, and I did feel like I had to be constantly eating. That subsided after my body adjusted to the diet. I lost about 20 lb even hough I was constantly eating, or so it seemed!

2. You don’t have healthy food on hand.
One thing the raw food diet is NOT is convenient. If you don’t make sure you have food on hand, in your house, in your car, in your bag, you will be sure to find yourself in a situation where you make choices you regret and you will feel like you have failed.
So make sure you have snacks-seaweed, fresh fruit, nuts, Lara Bars (or whatever raw bar you like), granola, smoothies, juice, a salad, avocado, raw chocolate, veggies and dip, etc…

3. You go out to eat hungry with friends.
When I first got into raw foods there were VERY few places to go out to eat. Now, at least in Los Angeles, there are plenty of places with raw options. But many of you may live in a place with fewer choices. If this is your situation, I recommend eating before you go out, so when you get to the restaurant, you can order a salad or a vegetable side and tea and not eat something you regret. I know that sounds crazy, but it just makes life easier. You’ll save money, too and your personal choices won’t become an issue for your family or friends because there’s nothing for you to eat.

4. Your meals don’t have enough variety or texture and you are bored out of your mind.
Ok, so everyone is different, but I have found that for me, my ideal raw day looks something like this:
Breakfast-fruit and/or smoothie juice, sometimes with a shot of wheatgrass, or raw oatmeal/chia pudding thingy
AM snack-a whole baby watermelon (do I look like I’m kidding) or dates
Lunch-BIG salad with chopped, crunchy vegetables for texture (carrot, cucumber, broccoli, jicama, radish) AND a side of something cracker like with a dip or guacamole. Sometimes I make or buy flax crackers or buckwheat crackers, and sometimes I just use sliced vegetables to eat the dip or guacamole. I find it weirdly more satisfying to have a side that was not a salad, and something crunchy as well. I also make dehydrated jicama and sweet potato chips that I eat as a snack and those are very satisfying. A creamy salad dressing can double as a healthy dip as well.
Dinner-a smoothie or a raw zucchini pasta are quick to whip up, or a raw soup. Dinner is my simplest meal of the day because I can prep for my lunch the next day, or try out some recipes.
PM snack-some fruit and tea before bed
When you go to the grocery store, try to buy fruits and vegetables that you have never tried so you get excited about the variety of seasonal produce. Also, get a few salad dressing and cracker recipes that you like (I’ll share some below)!

5. You don’t make time to plan and prepare your food.
I’ve already discussed that this lifestyle can feel a little inconvenient, but it doesn’t necessarily take more time than other types of meals.
It definitely takes less time to whip up a simple raw pasta than a cooked one! But that assumes that you cook for yourself already. In most big cities, you can buy raw dressings at Whole Foods, but honestly, buying prepared raw foods and crackers gets really expensive even though it’s convenient. I think you’ll find that if you take the time to learn a few simple recipes, you can save a LOT of money and will be happier with the results.

6. You let others discourage you from your goals.
When I first started following a raw food diet, I was very surprised at how many of my acquaintances ridiculed my food (especially my lunch which was when I was eating around the most people). There was always birthday cake and takeout at the office and I was declining all of it. I was the “weird” one at the office. But the funny thing was, the people who made the most negative comments were actually the sickest ones, or the most overweight. I realized they felt defensive about their own choices and it had nothing to do with me.
For you, it may be your family or friends. It can be difficult to feel unsupported when you are trying to make healthy, positive changes. You may even have to cook for others, and find the aromas really tempting. I have coached many people in this situation and have seen them succeed in spite of what others say when they adopt the following attitude:
Don’t expect others to understand you or approve of you. Don’t take negative comments personally, but see that they say more about the other person.
Offer to share your food as you experiment with new recipes, but don’t push it on others. And, most importantly, don’t lecture others or try to convert them to your point of view.
Don’t be afraid to go off the diet every once in a while so you can celebrate or go out with family and friends. It’s just food!

Here are a few basic recipes to help you along!Creamy Truffle Dressing
1/2 cups cashews, macadamia nuts or pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight and rinsed (discard the soak water)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/4 Tablespoon soy lecithin (optional)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 small clove garlic
1/4 Tablespoon peppercorns (to taste, bit by bit)
1/2 Tablespoon truffle oil

Blend until smooth. This makes a great sauce for zucchini noodles as well or dip for vegetable crudite.

Sundried Tomato Zucchini Hummus
1 zucchini, peeled and sliced
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup tahini or raw almond butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
2-3 sundried tomatoes, soaked about 30 minutes before using if dry
2 cloves garlic
Pinch paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)
¼ cup chopped green onions (folded in at the end)
cilantro and olive oil for garnish

Salt the peeled and chopped zucchini and place in a colander for 20 minutes. Press between paper towels before using. This ensures that your hummus won’t be watery.
In a food processor, add the lemon juice and the tahini and purée for about 30 seconds. Then add the zucchini, olive oil, cumin, garlic, paprika, sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper and process until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides of the processor occassionally so the mixture is smooth. Remove from the food processor, fold in the green onions and store in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving

What challenges have you faced with a raw vegan diet? I’d love to hear from you below in the comments!

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