keep it raw and real
There are so many wonderful reasons to live vegan but there are even more reasons to incorporate raw foods into your diet. Before you embark on this lifestyle for the first time or if you are giving it a shot again, please remember to go easy on yourself! Too many people get caught up with percentages and perfection when it comes to eating a raw food diet. People assume that raw foodists are purists and never make mistakes or fall off track. This is the furthest from the raw and real truth. When I got into raw foods back in 2013, I would go back and forth to cooking my food many different times throughout the year. Just because I didn't do it perfectly the first time around, didn’t mean that I would never be successful in the future. Failure isn’t necessarily a negative experience, it’s a learning experience. The secret is to not give up. Remember, "If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average." -Les Brown.
Fall in love with real fooD
Make a list of your favorite fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds. Note your favorite foods and including the foods you dislike. I used to dislike peppers and even avocados when I was young but flash forward and today and I absolutely love those foods! Don’t be afraid to try new varieties of food and different recipes or smoothie combinations. You never know if you’ll fall in love with something again if you don’t take the opportunity to try new things. My favorite raw foods include: watermelon, mangoes, papaya, mamey sapote, passion fruit, guava, grapes, berries, persimmons, dates, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and green leaf lettuces just to name a few. It’s ok to eat your favorite foods every single day or even in large quantities. The body loves and thrives off of consistency. I never get sick of my favorite foods because my taste buds have changed over the years as I improved my diet and appreciate food in its raw and real state.
If you are interested in a raw food diet, I would personally recommend to start off on a plant based whole food vegan diet first before jumping straight into a 100% raw food diet. There are many reasons to eat a raw food diet, but if you don’t have a strong foundation of the environmental, ethical and health benefits of a vegan lifestyle then you may fall for a fad diet or abandon veganism all together when life gets in the way of your goals. I understand that a raw food diet is considered “extreme” especially when we compare it to how the rest of the world is eating. There’s a reason why we have more fast food restaurants than grocery stores right now but luckily, this is on the decline. My best advice for you if you are interested in a raw food diet is to simply replace one meal at a time with raw foods. Whether you have a fruit meal for breakfast, a big smoothie, a green juice, a large salad or gourmet raw restaurant foods, just work on one meal at a time. When you feel more confident, switch up to two fully raw meals a day and so on. The expert at anything was once a beginner so go easy on your self. One step and one meal at a time.
LEARN ABOUT this LIFESTYLE
As there are many ways to eat vegan, there are many ways to eat raw foods: Fruit based raw vegan, high carb/low fat raw vegan, high fat/high protein raw vegan and the very expensive and extravagant “gourmet” raw food diet. I have tried all of these diets long term and I have found the most stability from a fruit based high carb low fat raw vegan diet a.k.a #hclfrv on instagram. On top of being vegan for 7 years, I have eaten fruit based for 5 years (that’s fruit for breakfast and lunch) and I’m loving the way I feel. Digestion has healed up, skin is clearer, and overall I’ve never felt more alive. Just because this way of eating is working for me doesn't mean it will work for everyone immediately. To get my same results, you would need to put in the same effort over a long period of time. Either way, I'm not in the business of selling a specific diet to others, I am simply here to share my experiences, offer knowledge, and inspire people to improve both their diet and their life. I’ve come to the conclusion that all of the people I have worked with over the years have all improved their health by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diets. It’s as simple as that.
CREATE A PLAN
Create a plan for yourself. If you don't have a plan set in place, plan to fail. I take about 5 minutes each day to plan my meals throughout the week especially before I go shopping for food. I recommend to always have a backup plan (and even a backup plan for that backup plan too). Life can get in the way of your goals so implement a good < better < best strategy when it comes to food. If you constantly shoot for perfection all the time then get ready to be disappointed. Newsflash, we live in a world that doesn’t support a raw (nonetheless vegan) diet. Times are changing though and I want to be on that transition team! My advice for those who don’t know where to begin is to start writing down everything that you're currently doing right now. The key to success is tracking your progress every single day and tweaking the plan along the way if you need to. How else will you know what works if you don't have a written record of what you have been doing?
FOCUS ON THE FOOD
Focus on high quality, nutrient dense raw, living foods. Yes, nutrients are more important than calories, but when you eat raw you need to make sure you achieve a certain about of calories to sustain yourself on this diet. I recommend using the app Chronometer to track both calories and nutrients to make sure you are getting in enough. The average woman who is moderately active needs to eat a minimum of 2,000 calories per day and the average man who is moderately active needs a minimum of 2,600 calories per day. Specific calorie needs are based on age and activity level so these numbers are simply a baseline to shoot for to maintain your health and your weight. Restricting your calories to lose weight has been shown to be unsustainable long term which is why we still have a billion dollar diet and weight loss industry. Source the highest quality foods you can find and purchase them in bulk at farmers markets, wholesalers, Asian markets, etc. It’s best to keep a food diary and track it on chronometer to make sure you are eating enough. Write everything down so you can assess what really works for you and what foods make you feel your best.
Get creative in the kitchen
Search for raw recipes online, purchase raw food e-books from your favorite mentors and don't be afraid to play around in the kitchen! In the beginning of my raw food journey I made some nasty smoothie and juice combinations and even went overboard on nuts & seeds (like many newcomers do). In time with much experimentation, I grew confident in preparing meals and now this lifestyle comes as second nature to me. The expert at anything was once a beginning so jump right in and don’t be afraid to fail, because you will. Just learn how to get back up and fail better next time.
There are so many inspirational people out there on the internet. Seek out a community and connect with the people you resonate the most. These raw food enthusiasts offer recipe e-books, guides and free videos online to help you be successful on this lifestyle. Many of these people would be happy to coach and support you along your journey including myself! Keep in mind that everyone has a different approach based when it comes to raw foods based on what has worked best for their personal lifestyle. Not one person will have ALL of the answers for you, so keep an open mind and learn a little something from everyone you come into contact with.
Find your WHY
Write down all of the reasons why you want to eat a raw food diet. If your why isn't strong enough, then your excuses may overpower your goals. Always ask yourself why you are doing something, then check in with yourself on a daily basis to see if your actions are in alignment with what you say you truly want. Are you willing to do what it takes? Are you willing to give it your all? Are you willing to struggle for it? These steps can apply to almost any goal you may have for your life so be clear with why you want to achieve something. This will ultimately be the driving force anytime you want to give up. Question everything and do your own research! Question what other people are doing and saying. Sometimes its not always the raw and real truth. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. The expert at anything was once too a beginner and most importantly, love yourself through the process of change. Be grateful that you have the awareness to want to eat a healthy diet high in raw living foods.