Whether you are interested in a raw food diet for a short term weight loss jump start or detox, or are thinking about incorporating more of it into your lifestyle on a permanent basis, it can be a daunting journey to begin.
There’s tons of conflicting information about what is the ideal diet, or the benefits and drawbacks of specific regimens.
I personally always feel and look my best when I am eating a whole foods, plant based diet that is “high raw,” which means it incorporates a majority of gluten free, raw vegan foods, with a small amount of cooked, whole plant foods.
For me, the cooked foods are in the form of homemade soups, roasted or steamed vegetables, baked sweet potatoes and occasionally some cooked grains like quinoa. This is really helpful in the winter months especially, when I crave heavier foods.
The following suggestions grew out of my experience on a raw vegan diet, but are helpful to consider before embarking on any health journey!
1. Get inspired
- What got you interested in a raw vegan diet in the first place?
- Did you meet someone whose personal story intrigued you?
- Do you admire a high profile , vegan athlete or someone who’s healed a serious health condition?
What ever grabbed your attention, follow that lead! Read more stories that resonate with you, in books, online or wherever they find you. Inspiration reinforces commitment to be the healthiest version of you.
2. Set personal goals
The key word here is personal-you have to ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Often a life event might jumpstart the process, or cause you to re-evaluate your direction.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, heal, have more energy, or get glowing skin, if it’s important to you and clear in your mind, that’s all that matters.
3. Detox your kitchen and stock up on healthy pantry basics
- Get rid of foods that are unhealthy or tempting! Escort them out the door and never let them back again.
- Go shopping and have fresh fruits and vegetables that you love to eat eat on hand. Fruit especially is important, because youcan take it with you and it comes in its own packaging.
- One of the hardest challenges when you are new to this lifestyle, is not eating enough and not being prepared. The intensity of hunger that escalates quickly when you forget to eat will really surprise you. Eating sufficient quantities of raw food and having food on hand are essential for dealing with this reality.
4. Create a strategy
Think through what might be challenging for you before the situation arises, and come up with a positive strategy that will carry through.
- Are you tempted when you go out with friends to indulge? Call the restaurant beforehand to find out what healthy options they have, or even eat a little before you go out so you’re not arriving ravenous.
- Do you have late afternoon sugar cravings or energy slumps? Bring a few pieces of raw dark chocolate with you, a raw bar, or a handful of nuts for those cravings.
Also, you might be surprised how much more you need to eat to feel satisfied. Listen your body and eat as much raw fruits and vegetables as you want.
- Learn a few simple recipes to make that will bring variety to your diet, or that you can share with others!
- Don’t feel bad if you eat something you didn’t intend-look at it as a learning experience that will teach you how to take better care of yourself tomorrow.
For example, when I skip breakfast, later in the afternoon I have a hard time staying away from bready things and potatoes (and I work in a restaurant with a world class pastry case and fresh hot French fries within reach. All. Day. And it’s my job to taste them. All. Of.Them.) If I don’t want to wear those cinnamon rolls later, I have to make myself a green smoothie daily or I won’t be able to control myself. I work next to a grocery store, so I buy fruit there daily. See what I mean?
5. Keep it simple
While I love to cook, and am a chef by trade, I am also a very busy person. Coming home and cooking or making new recipes is not always something I have time for. One thing I really value about a raw, whole foods vegan diet is it’s simplicity. My perfect day looks like this:
- Breakfast: a BIG green smoothie with frozen berries and raw vegan green powder (like Garden of Life) with a snack of a few bananas later
- Lunch: a BIG fruit salad or fruit mono-meal with a date-nut bar for a snack (like Lara Bars)
- Dinner: a BIG green salad with avocado, carrot, tomato, cucumber and sprouts and a bowl of my favorite vegan soup, or a mini flatbread pizza made with homemade cashew cheese and pita topped with veggies. (I tend to eat cooked food at night in the winter, if I’m eating it at all)
6. Create a supportive community
One of the most surprising things about this lifestyle is the reaction of other people. There is something about telling people that you are a “raw foodist” or “high raw” or “vegan” that seems to invite their commentary about your personal food choices, and what they have to say isn’t always nice!
Even people who are dealing with a serious health condition and have been very successful in healing themselves, will hear criticism that comes from a place of fear, ignorance and self-defensiveness. It can be especially difficult to deal with criticism from close family and friends.
Finding a community that supports your choices is crucial, whether it’s online or a raw food buddy.
Only you can decide to care about feeling good and eating the best food for your body, but friends can help you along the way.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful!
What are your favorite ways to create abundant health?