For years, I promised myself I would attempt to live a healthier lifestyle. And for years, that fantasy was abandoned with plates of french fries, chips, and sugary vegan desserts. I’ve been vegetarian for years, but I never committed to anything more because I didn’t think I could. Plus, wasn’t being vegetarian already limiting enough? Then one day I stumbled upon a raw food blog, and after doing a number of researches, I figured this was something that was right up my alley.
For those who don’t know, a Raw Lifestyle is a dietary practice that consists of eating uncooked and unprocessed foods. This includes anything from seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. While I’m not yet a Raw Foodist, I plan to fully transition to the other side one day. In the meantime, here are the 5 things I’ve learned along the way that will help make your transition a breeze.
1. Research the different nutrients you need and how much of it is right for you. Many people find it hard to keep up a raw diet because they don’t know what to eat. Before I started to give up certain foods, I thoroughly researched the amount of nutrients I needed to eat each day to stay on top of my health. Everyone’s body is different, and there’s a lot you need to know to make sure you don’t under eat.
2. Download an online food log app. In the beginning, you’re going to try a lot of different foods; it’s important to remember what they are to continue adding those staples into your diet. This is where a food log becomes your best friend. It’ll help you keep track of what you’re eating to keep you on top of your daily nutrients, calories, and fat intake. Plus, it’d be easier to note all the foods that make you feel great versus all the ones that make you feel like your least favorite self. My favorites apps are FitDay, MyFitnessPal, or My Food Diary.
3. Make the switch to all organic foods. Let yourself get used to eating healthier by dipping your feet in the water first. Before you start the transition to all raw meals, begin by eating all organic fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. This means no processed foods and no fast food either. It sounds impossible, but take it from other raw foodists out there, it’s totally doable. Plus, the healthier you continue to eat, the more healthy and refreshed your body will feel. Soon you’re not going to feel like eating processed foods ever again. Yippee.
4. Slowly replace one cooked meal a day with a raw one. Once you’re used to an all-organic diet, slowly decrease the amount of cooked foods you eat per day. Begin by eating only fruits or a healthy smoothie bowl for breakfast; but still eating cooked meals for lunch and dinner. Then decrease the amount of days you eat cooked meals each week. For example, only eating a cooked meal four days in a week, and so forth. Some people find it easier to keep up the transition to a raw diet by allowing themselves to indulge on the weekends. Only when you’re ready should you forgo it altogether. This could take months, sometimes even years. Remember, every body is different, so do what works for you.
5. Load up each meal with a variety of healthy colorful foods. Eating raw doesn’t have to mean eating plain dehydrated crackers. Seek new foods to keep yourself happy and excited. Curate recipes from tasty ingredients you already like and enjoy. Follow raw food blogs, create new recipes, and compile your favorite ones into a personal cookbook. Don’t think of eating raw as sacrificing all the things you love—it’s only some of it. The secret to success is to be excited about the journey.
As a final note, I want to add that you don’t have to go 100% raw overnight. It’s a slow and gradual process–something our minds, body, and soul need to get used too. Don’t be discouraged if you relapse and have the occasional cooked meal or two. In fact, go ahead and have it if you’re craving it at the beginning. Eating raw shouldn’t be a punishment. It’s something to be loved and enjoyed. Some raw foodists jumped boats for a couple years before they fully committed. So take your time. In the end, if done correctly, the Raw Food Diet is a healthy and tasty lifestyle that can greatly improve your health.
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Photo: Mary Hood Luttrell