I’m always asked about what a day in my life looks like with respect to Raw. So, I thought I’d share a few things.
First and foremost, your choices are abundant on this diet. You can eat a lot or a little. It can work for everyone! And, I mean everyone! You can do this a variety of ways.
I have to admit that it varies tremendously for me. There are days when I eat nothing but watermelon (and I’m always going to the bathroom to pee! haha) and there are days when all I eat are bananas (fortunately, I don’t make any monkey sounds even with all those bananas)...then there are the days that I can’t seem to get enough Raw desserts…yummeeeee! With that being said (written actually) here are things that helped in the beginning when I was new to Raw and things that help my clients.
Here is what worked for me…
Start out by picking just one day a week to eat 100% Raw. You’ll see how easy it is and how amazing you feel that you’ll be excited to do that more than one day a week, maybe two to three days.
After that, you start increasing to one week straight, then two weeks, then up to a month (leaving a little wiggle room here and there, for times you just “can’t” do it, perhaps due to social situations). Just find what works for you. The reason this plan worked better for me, as opposed to the method described above for gradually adding Raw food into each day’s diet, was that I was finding it too hard to give up the addictive cooked food. I found that, if I had even just a little bit of cooked food in the course of a day, it was a slippery slope â€” it made me want to eat more and more cooked food, despite knowing how unhealthy it was.
I worked much better for me to completely eliminate all cooked food for just one day, initially. My ultimate goal was to eat 100% Raw most of the time, with an occasional cooked meal. To do that, I had to have days that were solid Raw. I noticed that it was during the 100% Raw days that I felt the best and I soon became addicted to that high energy, waking up without headaches, feeling so great that I couldn’t stop smiling. Over time, quickly at that, I became close to 100% (reserving a couple of percentage points for times when the situation still required some flexibility).
Here is another way to start adding Raw food to your everyday diet:
Start your day with 16 oz of pure water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Drink this cleansing tonic while you’re getting ready for the day. Then have a powerful, nutrient-packed green juice, or delicious fruit or green smoothie. YUM!
Begin lunches and dinners with a salad and some fresh homemade Raw dressing, maybe dress the salad up with avocado or soaked nuts/seeds. Another option is to have Raw soup as a starter before your meal. If you snack, eat fresh fruit or raw vegetable sticks, and/or drink fresh, powerful nutrient-packed green juices as between meal snacks instead of other snacks. Drink pure water between meals.
Reducing or eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet:
Start by reducing or eliminating junk food, packaged snacks, fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, white sugar, and white flour. Here is the first step: Go through your cabinets and just throw them away. Don’t say, “I’ll just eat these but not replace them,” actually toss them out. Ceremoniously, if you like. I blasted the music to Rocky…Eye of the Tiger when I did this (the first time…ehem…yes, I ended up doing this a couple of times before I learned just not to buy the junk in the first place)
Then reduce or eliminate animal products, especially red meat and pasteurized dairy products.
Then reduce or eliminate cooked starches, especially wheat.
What does someone’s daily diet look like when they are eating Raw and living food? This varies for everyone, depending on your individual goals. It’s great in that this diet can be applied to anyone, at any stage of their life. The exciting thing about this lifestyle is that there are so many choices and it NEVER gets boring. This is the diet, or lifestyle, that people tend to stay on the longest once they embark on this path. That’s because it works! It’s balanced! It’s delicious! It’s fun! It’s easy! And, it’s the healthiest diet you can follow! This is why there are people who have been eating High Raw and 100% Raw diets for 20, 30, 40 years. It works, it’s healthy, there are no negative consequences and the food tastes so damn good. You don’t feel deprived. You feel better emotionally, physically and mentally. Like I said, you can make this simple to gourmet. When you’re short on time, you’re grabbing a fresh crisp apple for breakfast or a snack, and when you have more time, you’re making crunchy & sweet Raw granola with fresh almond milk and strawberries. The wonderful thing about eating a Raw food diet is that it can be so simple and still be varied.
One of the things I do is I’ll make a large portion of my a satiating and fresh nut pate on Sunday (for example) and it’ll last halfway through the week, which makes my life simple. Then, for variation, I will eat it rolled up in Romaine lettuce leaves as a “sandwich” one day, another day I’ll eat it on top of a salad and another day I’ll eat it stuffed in a tomato or bell pepper or with vegetable sticks. Sandwiches are great for lunch because they don’t leave you feeling heavy or too full because there is no bread, but they’re still so satisfying and filling.
Amazing Soups Another thing I do is make lots of soup, which is fantastic on your digestive system and you’ll experience skyrocketing energy (same goes for adding more blended foods in general). Soups are a great way to eat more greens, so you’re getting tons of minerals. When I make a soup, again, I make a large batch so it lasts 3-4 days. It might mean eating that soup for 3 days in a row, but it’s so delicious I don’t care. For variation with the soup, on the last day, sometimes I water it down a little and use it as a dressing on a salad or a sauce on zucchini pasta. The variations are practically endless. Some ideas to keep in mind when making soups are (I show you how to make a variety of delicious soups in my demonstration classes):
Use veggies with a high water content such as zucchini, celery (adds saltiness), tomato, cucumber (skin on or not), or bell peppers (be careful of having too much variety, for example, if you use red peppers and have green veggies in there like zucchini, you can end up with a brown soup, which might not be too attractive. So I usually stick to similar colors, or peel the zucchini or cucumbers if using with red peppers or tomatoes. The bright, bold colors are very beautiful! Add a leafy green for superior nutrition like spinach, chard, or kale. Add water Salty seasoning (Himalayan pink crystal salt is my favorite, wheat-free tamari, or miso (tamari and miso aren’t Raw, but they are a living, fermented food and very beneficial to your body’s digestive system) Adding a little citrus (orange or lemon or lime) perks up and brightens the flavor Add a fat (i.e., avocado, olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil, or coconut oil) Add seasonings THEN BLEND and ENJOY!
Entrees For entrees there are few things you can do to make it simple and delicious. Have dips, sauces, and pates done in advance. Many of these freeze terrifically if they have a higher fat content like nuts and seeds, isn’t that great? That makes it super easy to make large batches and freeze some for the following weeks. Then stack them with tomato slices in stacks, stuff them in a seeded bell pepper or tomato, or roll them in romaine lettuce leaves.
“Pasta” Pasta – everyone pretty much loves pasta, but they don’t generally like the guilt of eating so many carbs that are starchy and cooked. But when you think about it, pasta noodles by themselves are almost totally flavorless. What I find is that it’s not that people really want the pasta; what they actually want is the sauce and the soft, el dente texture! Wouldn’t you agree? People usually don’t eat just plain noodles (okay, maybe I did when I was four, but that was because I was raised in an Italian family with pasta every Sunday). Anyway, one of the all-time most popular Raw dishes (for both Raw Food lovers and SAD eaters alike) is called “Raw Pasta.” For the “noodle,” you use zucchini, which is so versatile and amazing, with a spiralizer for angel hair pasta or sliced thin with a vegetable peeler for great fettuccini noodles. Try it, you’ll be amazed! And you can eat as much as you like, without putting on pounds or feeling weighed down.
Side Dishes Vegetable side dishes are super easy and so delicious – your whole family will love them. You don’t even have to tell them the veggies are Raw, they’ll be gobbling them up. Kale is full of nutrition, minerals, and protein. Kale is a staple in my household and I juice it, make smoothies, and use it for sandwiches, salads, and many side dishes. If you use kale as a salad or side dish, there’s a great trick for giving it a nice texture that’s much easier to chew and makes it “seem” like cooked food – but it’s actually RAW! Simply shred or chiffonade the kale thinly and then massage in the dressing (usually olive oil and lemon juice with salt). That’s it. Then, you add some herbs and spices, maybe some Turkish apricots or raisins (I have a great kale salad I teach in my classes). It’s to die for! I also teach you how to make the absolute best vegetable antipasto dish in one of my classes or consulting. It’s fabulous.
Desserts I don’t know many people who don’t like desserts. The greatest thing about Raw desserts is that they appeal to everyone. They appeal to people who love desserts and people who actually don’t eat desserts that often. Raw desserts can pretty much be eaten ANY TIME of the DAY!!! And, still lose weight and be healthy! How awesome is that??? Every dessert you’d normally cook, you can make Raw and it’s super easy, in fact, it’s usually easier! One secret ingredient is avocado. You use avocado to replace butter and oil in recipes. Then, there’s the variety AGAIN. You can do so many things with a Raw mousse or pudding. I promise you’ll NEVER get bored!
Finally, whichever way you choose you’ll ultimately (hopefully) start living a predominantly Raw lifestyle that will knock your socks off. It’s important that you learn how to make foods and meals that replace your current diet and learn how to make Raw food prep EASY! Saturate yourself with this knowledge â€” it’s a lifestyle more than a diet â€” and it will become second nature. You’ll be SO HAPPY you did! Everything in your life will improve! The words “fitness” and “health” will take on whole new meanings because you’ll experience them in ALL areas of your life. You’ll be physically fit, emotionally fit, and mentally fit. I promise! Hope this helps. Cheers!
Chef Kristen Suzanne www.KristensRaw.com