I’m not one for labels so I don’t refer to myself as a raw foodist or raw food practitioner. As a Registered Dietitian, I see (and feel) the benefits of including as much raw fruits and vegetables as possible into one’s diet. I aim for 100% vegan and high raw – about 85% intake daily.
So what lessons have I learned in the past year?
1. Don’t beat yourself up - If my goal percentages are off, I don’t consider that day a failure. For me, it’s a continuum but when my diet is off, my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) lets me know right away. For that reason, I do work hard at maintaining high raw.
2. Be prepared – It’s easier to maintain this lifestyle when you have meals and/or snacks at your fingertips.
3. Eat! – This style of eating is naturally lower in calories so you cannot be afraid of food. Even if your goal is weight loss, your focus should be on maintaining your energy and nutrient levels. The weight will come off so don’t fret about that. The chances of sliding back into your old diet habits are greater the hungrier you let yourself get.
4. Look for sales – I’ve been eating a lot of romaine the past couple of weeks because it’s been on sale (2 for 1!) at Sprouts. I then supplement with a smaller amount of other greens like spinach or kale to ensure variety.
5. Pick your staple fruit – Vegetables are a key portion of the diet but they are low in calories. The majority of your energy will come from fruit. My staple fruit is mango and fortunately, they have been on sale recently at Sprouts, too! Most people in the raw food world choose bananas as their staple. You can supplement with other fruits in smaller amounts like berries or my other fave passion fruit. Don’t forget to consider frozen varieties as well. Fresh veggies will round out the remainder of your daily intake.
6. Find a favorite transition snack – Mine is fresh guac (raw) with rice chips (not raw but vegan). I always have these ingredients on hand to help me through cravings or when I feel I need more calories. If you have a dehydrator, you could make your own chips/crackers and make your snack 100% raw.
7. Keep it simple! – The raw world is full of options from the most complicated recipes to the quick and easy. Don't get overwhelmed! I enjoy making gourmet recipes as a treat but on a daily basis, I'm all about a big bowl of fruit, giant salads and green smoothies.
Of course there are more tips but as you move forward everyday, you'll realize you're doing it and it's second nature!
What tips do you have for making a lifestyle change - raw or otherwise?
- Kareen, RD