When I tell people I eat nothing but raw foods, it usually brings to mind celery and carrot sticks. But eating a raw food diet can be filled with flavor, variety, and abundance. And you can create flavorful and satisfying raw meals in just a few minutes.
Making such a drastic change to our diet can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be! I've eaten a predominantly raw food diet for more than five years now, and I've come up with five tips to help you get started without feeling overwhelmed.
In addition to these five tips, I'm also sharing a typical day's worth of food to give you an idea of what a fully raw diet looks like.
Over time, these small changes will add up to an overall healthier diet.
1. Remember your why.
When you make any improvement to your lifestyle, write down your whys. Are you doing this so that you have the energy to get out of bed in the morning and start your day?
Do you want to eat a raw diet so you can play with your children, see your grandkids get married one day, stay active for your entire life, prevent illness and disease, and look in the mirror and love what you see?
Whatever your reasons for beginning a raw food diet, write them down and look at them every day, or better yet, multiple times a day. You'll constantly be reminded of why you're doing what you're doing and why you don't want to fall back into old habits.
2. Begin with small changes.
You don't have to eat a 100 percent raw food diet tomorrow. You can begin by incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily routine.
You might have a fruit smoothie for breakfast instead of your regular breakfast, or maybe you can add a raw salad to your dinner every night. Make changes that are doable for you.
Once you're comfortable with the change you've made, make another small change. Over time, these small changes will add up to an overall healthier diet.
3. Focus on fruit.
One of the biggest mistakes people make on a raw food diet is trying to base their diet on vegetables. Vegetables are great, but they have very few calories. In order to get enough calories from veggies like lettuce, celery, and carrots, we would have to eat all day long like cows and horses.
Fruit, on the other hand, has the calories and the fuel we need to stay energized throughout the day. It's best to eat fruit-based meals for breakfast and lunch, and once you've taken in most of the calories you need for the day, have a veggie-based meal for dinner.
4. Always be prepared.
If you're serious about a raw food diet and are at the point at which you want to stick to it most of the time, it will take some preparation.
If you're going out to dinner and aren't sure whether there will be much available for you to choose from, have a small meal beforehand. That way you can get whatever is available to you at dinner, even if it's just a skimpy little salad, without feeling deprived and hungry.
If you're going to be out and about running errands or traveling, bring food with you. There are many raw food bars on the market that travel well in your purse or tote. Smoothies are great to make ahead of time and bring with you as well.
5. Relax and be kind to yourself.
The best thing we can do when we make any big change in our lives is to relax. It's okay if we don't get it right the first time. It took me hundreds of tries and I'm still improving and learning all the time.
Be kind to yourself. So often we're too harsh with ourselves. Treat yourself as you'd treat a loved one or dear friend. When you make mistakes, dust yourself off, take a deep breath, and begin again.
A Day of Raw Foods
Now that we've discussed how to begin, here's what a 2,000-calorie day of raw food might look like:
- 4 bananas
- 5 dates
- 2 cups cherries
- 1 cup baby spinach
Blend with enough water to reach your desired consistency.
Lunch: Papaya + Cucumber Salad
- 1 large diced papaya mixed
- 1 diced cucumber
- 1 lime
Mix together and squeeze lime over the top.
Dinner: Zucchini Spaghetti With Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara
- 2-3 spiralized zucchini
- grape tomatoes
- sun-dried tomatoes
- fresh herbs
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- fresh chopped veggies of your choice (spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc.)
Blend sauce ingredients together and serve atop zucchini noodles.
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