For the first three years of my raw food journey, I was 100% raw vegan. I did not cheat.
Was I one of those weird, irritating people that just loves fruits and vegetables? Well, I am now, but I wasn't always this way. I used to hate vegetables!
Before I went raw, I absolutely loved chips and candy. I ate processed foods and loved them! I craved chips (All Dressed and Salt and Vinegar, mmm), donuts (apple fritters, mmm), muffins (lemon poppyseed or buttery blueberry, mmm), pasta (cheese please), candy (sour keys, Nibs, chocolates, mmm), and white bread products (doughy pizza bun, be still my heart).
But once I commited to going raw, I just gave everything up. Was it hard? Yes! Was it worth it, oh yes.........Because after a month of going 100% raw my tastebuds changed and I began to appreciate raw foods and vegetables.
You see, back when I wasn't raw and I ate all those very delicious (but kind of disgusting when you think about them) products, my tastebuds were used to all that processed food. I craved processed food, and food like fruit and vegetables just tasted bland, boring, and bitter to me.
Enter raw foods...
My journey into raw foods didn't happen overnight. I was vegetarian already, but, as you can tell, I ate lots of junk food. But one March I challenged myself to go 80% raw. I did it. But then for the next five months I only ate about 50% raw, but I didn't think about food too much. Then one day I just decided that I felt like crap and I would go 100% raw, and I did.
When I was 80% raw, I was sort in a detox-state, and I didn't really know what was going on. Fruits and vegetables tasted alright, I guess. I didn't get excited about them though.
When I went down to 50% raw, eating fruits--and especially vegetables--seemed like a chore. I did it anyway, but I wasn't happy about it. I certainly didn't ever enjoy eating a salad.
When I went 100% raw (with absolutely no cheating) after about one month I realized that I actually liked--no, LOVED--some vegetables. That a tomato or an avocado with some sea salt on it was freakin' delicious. I realized that my tastebuds were changing. I was starting to get excited about the salads that I had for lunch. After my first month 100% raw I was actually craving salads.
Things I've learned:
- Eating SAD (standard American diet) foods screws up your palate and tastebuds. Don't cheat and eat SAD foods! You are only shooting yourself in the foot. You have to give your tastebuds time to adjust and to forget the old SAD foods. If you keep eating SAD food you are making it harder on yourself.
- You don't have to love eating raw fruits and vegetables. You won't love vegetables overnight. But you will discover them eventually. Trust me.
- It's all about flavour combining. Do I love to eat carrot sticks? NO! BORING! Do I love to eat a salad with shredded carrots, olives, fresh romaine lettuce, flavourful tomatoes, a delicious raw salad dressing and slices of avocado? HELL YES! See the difference? It's about combining foods to make them tasty.
- You've got to bring raw food with you whenever you go out. Make sure you have some trail mix or easy to eat fruit (bananas or apples) with you, because hunger strikes anywhere. Temptation is the worst for me when I'm out of my house.
- Yes, temptation still exists. But it's not worth it! And don't forget that.
The #1 reason why I don't cheat and eat SAD foods is because I don't want to screw up my palate. I see my going 100% raw as an investment, and I don't want to throw it down the tubes for a bag of chips.