How to Eat Raw – Tips to Get You Started on a Raw Diet

Feb
2013
04

posted by on Diet & Lifestyle, Raw Food Kitchen

2 comments

How to eat raw is really simple: grab an apple and eat it, but making raw foods a big part of your everyday life can be a little more challenging, especially if you are coming straight from a standard American diet of mostly cooked and processed foods. We mostly all know that eating raw foods, straight from nature is healthy. People heal themselves every day by simply eating more natural foods. Research is now showing more and more health benefits of eating foods straight from nature.  But it’s a big new learning curve. Cooking traditionally is ingrained in us and now we need to do it differently? Well, I am going to give my best tips on how to eat raw and guide you on how to get started with the raw diet.

Welcome to Eating Raw

Welcome to the raw food world. It may feel overwhelming at first, with all of the new procedures: soaking nuts and seeds, dehydrating, sprouting, fermenting and spiralizing! But I am going to propose a plan, give you some tips and guide you so you can ease into the new waters of raw foods more easily.

How to Eat Raw –  Raw Diet basket of raw foodsGet Familiar with the Basic Techniques of Preparing Raw Foods

An ideal 1st step would be to buy my book The Joy of Living Foods, and read the section on Food Preparation techniques (especially on dehydrating and soaking nuts and seeds) and the section on Equipment for the Raw Kitchen.

Without the book, read about soaking nuts and seeds (click the link) to get familiar with this concept. It is an integral and important aspect of raw foods ‘cooking’.

 

How to Eat Raw and the Raw Diet fresh vegetables

 

Get the Basic Equipment

To start I would recommend first: a blender, a nut milk bag and a food processor. I am assuming you have knives and a cutting board ;). The next item I would suggest is a dehydrator.

To get any of these items check out my selections for them on my Resource page.

I’ll assume now that you have the first few items, including a dehydrator. If you do not have a dehydrator, the dehydrated recipes can be made in an oven on the lowest setting. They may not be completely raw, but it is helpful to have these denser ‘dehydrated’ foods. They will give you that full feeling that we are used to from years of eating cooked, dense foods. Without them many people starting out have a hard time getting used to the lighter feeling. For some It can feel like you are always hungry and you can’t eat enough to get full. Like cooked foods, dehydrated foods take a little more work for the digestive system, but they are a lot healthier.

 

How to Eat Raw and the Raw Diet

Choose 10 Recipes to Start

If you want to go raw, it is really helpful to have a few recipes down, the basics. Even in an average cooked food diet there are a few favorite recipes than get made and eaten way more than most others, so likewise with raw foods it is most important to get some basic recipes down.

I am going to propose some and then every once in awhile, after you have learned these, choose another that looks appealing to you and learn it. This way you will gradually accumulate different dishes to change up the routine.

At the start the routine is novel, and we need to learn basics first.

Selection of good raw food recipes to start with

Almond Milk
Tropical Green Smoothie or Berry Green Smoothie
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Broccoli Salad or Beet Salad
Zesty Lemon House Dressing
Almond Cheese or Cashew Cheese
Multi Seed Crackers – dehydrated
Crispy Living Nuts and Seeds or Kale Chips – dehydrated
Rawkalicious Cookies or Hemp Protein Bars – dehydrated
Chocolate Avocado Pudding or Chia Pudding

Also great choices:
Zucchetti with Marinara Sauce 
Pizza
Green Goddess Spinach Herb Soup
Vegan Neptune Salad aka Mock Tuna
Brownies

 

How to Eat Raw and Raw Diet Health Apple

 

Tips to Help you Eat Raw

Figure out where you are going to shop and get your supplies. See what you can get that you will need to make your recipes at your usual grocery store and then check out your local health food store.  How much will you buy organic? Will you grow your own sprouts or buy them? Do you have someone who grows them locally? These are questions you will need to consider.

Always make sure there is food available, something quick & easy to eat, when you come home and are starving. Stock lots of fruits and vegetables that you really like. I always treat myself for eating so healthy, and look for new and unusual fruits to try. It feels great at the checkout counter to have a colorful cart or basket!

Always have bananas.. buy a few bunches at a time, at different ripening stages, you’ll get used to the routine, but make sure you have enough at first – You can always peel them and stick them in the freezer if you ever buy too many.

Keep almonds soaking in the fridge. So they are on hand to make almond milk, process into a pate, or just to eat. Quick sweet snack: Medjool dates with the pit replaced by an almond.  Medjool dates are big, soft and very delicious. They are expensive here, but if you can, treat yourself to some of these.

Make dehydrated food in bulk. It will store well in the fridge for a long time. Most dehydrated recipes will keep for up to a month stored in air tight containers and kept cool. Have crackers, bars, cookies or other healthy snacks made ahead.

Always have a salad dressing made up in the fridge. Processed dressings can be filled with additives and unhealthy ingredients. Make your own. Get a little container so you can take some on the go with you.

Get acquainted with avocados. They have very little taste and are filled with the very healthy fats that will fill you up and keep you going. Don’t worry about the fat content, good fats are good for you, and essential. It’s been my experience that eating them in moderation (1 a day) will help you lose weight.

If you are eating purely raw foods, make sure to eat enough. You will soon find that everything you learned about calories no longer holds the same rules. You can eat a lot more calories of raw foods and still lose weight than you would have eating cooked foods. You’re body will regulate itself to your perfect weight naturally providing you eat enough. I have never seen someone eating purely raw foods overeat or gain weight. ever. The only exception to this would be someone eating a lot of nuts, thinking they were raw, but they weren’t and feeling bloated. However, I have seen people get too thin by not eating enough. So if you are eating 100% raw,  be aware to keep your calories up.

Be prepared when you go out to have something on you in case you can’t find something healthy or raw locally. Usually there is a grocery store around with produce but having a raw bar, cookie or even a banana with you can save you if you suddenly feel hungry or get tempted for something unhealthy.

When you go out to eat be aware that most restaurants are happy to make you a special full course salad, even if there is not one on the menu. It’s been my experience that most chefs will be happy to  put something together for you and even get quite creative with it. Just tell the waiter that you only eat raw foods – vegetables and fruits – and ask if the chef can cut up a selection and make a salad out of whatever they have available. I have had some very delicious unique creations made just for me this way.

If you go to a friends for dinner, offer to make a big salad to take. Don’t be surprised if your salad is the first to go though, so make lots.

Have a support group or someone who can help you if you have questions, or need motivation and encouragement. A raw coach can be helpful. Check to see if there is a raw food group in your area. Ask at your local health food store, farmers market and check on http://www.meetup.com/ . If there is not one already, maybe there are others also wanting one and consider starting one. Many raw groups put on weekly or monthly raw pot lucks to get like-minded people together, encourage each other and share new recipes with. This can be great source of inspiration, learning and also friendship.

If you want to go 100% raw for a period, pick a date and get prepared. Tell people about it so they will know and be able to support you better. You will be more successful.

Be aware that many people may not understand what you are doing and may discourage you. This happens for many reasons, from being uneducated, to being educated from the wrong sources, such as believing what the media proposes as healthy living. Some people close to you may feel like if you change they will also have to (or should) change, and many people just do not like change.  This can be one of the hardest challenges. If you are surrounded with supportive people, who are on the same page as you, you are fortunate.

Surround yourself with inspiration, such as books, websites and documentaries.

Plan ahead and find any weak times when you usually go for unhealthy foods. Figure out another plan of action for when that time or situation comes. Know ahead what foods you will go for instead or change your hobbies or habits if they lead to unhealthy temptations. You know when your weak times may be, if you think it out ahead there is a much greater chance that you will choose a healthier option when that time comes.

Recognize that many cooked foods create an addiction. You are breaking free of these and withdrawal can be hard if you are not strong. Be aware and have a plan to help you get through the initial withdrawal period.

Get food that creates a temptation out of the house. Stay away from situations that will create a temptation, at least initially.

Meditate. Our cells hold emotional as well as physical toxins. As you detox physically you will detox emotionally as well, and so you will need inner strength. Deep breathing, meditation and inner reflection can help you go through any emotional detoxing. Recognize that this might happen so if it does, you can seek out sources to guide you through this period.

Do your best all the time and do not be discouraged if you make a bad food decision. Recognize all of the good that you have done, recognize how much better you feel eating healthy and continue on. It’s a lifestyle choice and it takes time to become ingrained in it. Cut yourself some slack, give yourself lots of pats on the back and keep on treating yourself well for the great choices that you do make. Soon it will be a win-win situation. You will come to love the flavors and feeling of eating healthy and so rewarding yourself for something that feels so good is just doubly awesome. 😉

 

Best of wishes on your health journey!

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  • Molly

    Sounds a bit overwhelming for my life, but exciting at the same time.

    • Vibeke Kale Vale

      Molly, I have been eating a mostly raw diet for two weeks now! It gets easier every day that goes by.