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Interested newbie! Where/What/How?!!

So I had heard of raw eating before, but until just yesterday, I hadn’t given it much thought. All last night and for part of today I’ve been researching and trying to learn more about it. I talked things over with my fiance, and I think I want to try eating raw. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it! I’ve heard how it can improve your skin, eyes, nails, digestion! I’ve heard that it can give you more energy and help with your athleticism. Right now I work out for anywhere from 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours a day, so I’m very interested in a diet that could improve my perfomrance.

I did have a few questions, though, that I haven’t seemed to come across in my research.

Do you have to shop somewhere special?

I live in Merrillville, Indiana (that’s in the Northwest of the state). I usually do all of our grocery shopping at Meijer. Is it possible to get everything I need there? I know there is a raw food store in Chicago, but I don’t think I could possibly do an hour commute every week just to get groceries. How does a raw diet work in regards to grocery shopping?

Are there any organized, charted, weekly meal plans on the web?

I’ve yet to find anything other than what people have mentioned themselves in various threads or blogs. It would be nice to see a spread of days laid out to get an idea of what to eat.

Can I eat raw without juicers, dehydrators, etc? Or are these considered vital?

I don’t mind buying a few things, but I’m worried that things could really add up. What would you say the absolute necessities are?

What is the expense?

Right now, my weekly food budget for two people is around 80-90 dollars a week (shopping at Meijer) so that works out to about 320-360 a month. We eat healthy right now- lean proteins, fresh produce, low fat diary- we don’t waste money on junk. I’m just wondering what kind of expenses I should expect?

If you go raw can you go back to eating cooked food?

One of my fiance’s biggest concerns if I go raw is that we’ll never be able to enjoy a night out again, and that if I go back to eating something cooked, I’ll just get sick. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Food is a big thing for us in terms of our relationship. We love preparing and cooking together, and enjoy one night out a week at a sit-down restaurant for our “date night.” If I go raw, we will have to have separate dinners (there’s no way in h*ll he’d ever go raw! ), and I’m wondering how things will work if we decide to still eat out once a week.

Is there a first-time-raw grocery shopping list?

I tend to be the cold-turkey-type, so if I do this, it will be one big trip to the grocery store and a week of planned meals and jump right in! Are there any guides on the web for first grocery trip, or first day raw, or first week raw, or anything like that?

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to answer the above! I really appreciate it.

This weekend I plan to go to the library and look for some raw books so I can continue researching it.

I really hope I figure everything out and give this a try. I think it’s something that I would really enjoy and benefit from.



  • wow… i’ll try a few:

    —raw food is not like living on another planet, any place that sells produce should be fine. i’d recommend buying greens and stuff you can’t peel ORGANIC, but that’s up to you… a nice ‘health food store’ that has a bulk section is useful for REALLY RAW seeds… check out purelyraw.com’s dead food list to see which things are best avoided in the super market.

    —click “meal plan” in the search box on the top right hand corner of this site. your idea of “healthy” is going to change ;)

    —yes. yes. and yes. whatever constraints we are given can yield amazing creativity! i would say a decent blender is useful though. i recommend the magic bullet as you can make mini-smoothies and the most amazing dressings, sauces, and dessert mousses ever!

    —you can spend a little or a lot. stay away from imported super foods to keep costs down. you can also type “money” or “cost” in the search box as there have been some interesting discussions lately about people’s budgets.

    —if you go raw you will notice the difference when you eat cooked food, but not at first because your body won’t be that sensitive yet. raw food prep is by far the most fun i have ever had. there’s so much creativity, color, smell, beauty… seriously, don’t worry about defending your eating habits yet… first, see if it’s something you want to defend. also, i have had a lot of success pre-ordering “raw” meals at restaurants, or just ordering a salad.

    —one trip to the grocery store should include: avocados, raw organic sunflower seeds (raw organic means non-irradiated as well as not heated or roastes), raw organic sesame seeds, raw organic pumpkin seeds, a MOTHER load of greens (collards, kale, lettuce…), lots of fruit, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, jicama, herbs (spring onions, dill, parsley, sage… whatever you like), a bottle of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, lemons, limes, chili peppers, celtic sea salt, RAW seeweed (check the back to see how it is dried and whether or not it is steamed)

    if you have an asian grocery get some young coconuts, durian, and LOTS of ginger.

    there was recently a post on what’s in your refrigerator that might help too. =)

  • p.s. one trip a week might be a little optimistic when you need so much fresh stuff. i make 2-3 small trips a week.

  • Great questions! I have a couple of answers, and I know others will have more.

    If the two of you still want to eat together, you can still share parts of your meals, and maybe just have different main dishes or he can supplement with cooked bread, meat, or whatever it is he still wants to have cooked. It can be a fun thing to try out new things togehter – I dated someone for a while who wasn’t interested in going raw, but every night we made a raw shake or something together, and he came up with some good combinations!

    As for eating out, a lot of restaurants have salad bars, fresh fruit, things like that, and some raw foodies bring their own salad dressing to put on a plateful of veggies frrom the salad bar.

    There are menu ideas in a couple of raw recipe books, and shopping/kitchen-stocking lists in some more. Check out www.alissacohen.com – she advertises that her book/program is “raw food made easy” so she may have shopping and meal-planning resources in her book or something. I haven’t read her whole book but like her attitude from what I’ve read.

    As for shopping, I go to several stores to get everything I need/want, but I could order it all online, too. So online might be a good way for you if you don’t have access to a lot of raw stuff in stores close to you.

    If it is a good solid relationship and this is something that is important to you, the two of you will find/make ways to make it work. Good relationships depend on the growth and mutual support of the two people involved. Changes like this can stretch you, I guess, but it shouldn’t destroy your relationship.

  • We were all in your place once, and the beginning is so fascinating and exciting. Angie and pianissima have covered a lot, but I just want to add that you can eat cooked food if you need to. In the beginning I was super strict about being as raw as possible so I avoided and dreaded going out to eat. If I had to I would suffer through the typical garden salad with no dressing since the dressings were far from fresh and natural. We travel a lot and so on our first trip I was forced to either survive on what little produce I could get, or throw in some cooked food. My stomach was usually fine, a couple of times it rebelled, but generally when I got home I would get right back on track. Now I don’t dread going out, I order something I like and if it’s raw, great, if it’s not, at least I’ll enjoy it and go back to raw in the morning. I tried to put it into perspective that eating maybe one or two cooked things A WEEK, is still pretty good in the long run. To go out to eat and not be miserable is the least I can do for my husband who eats my non-raw food at least two meals a day.

  • I agree with amysue that it sometimes may be better to throw in some cooked food than to find yourself feeling too hungry or deprived. Even though I love eating all raw and feel best this way, if I find/put myself in a situation where I will not have enough to eat, I make the best choice I can with the options I have. The important thing is to enjoy yourself and do what brings you health, happiness and JOY! :) For me that is raw, living food…unless it’s not (better to enjoy the company of a friend I haven’t seen in years even if it means I end up eating something that wouldn’t be my first choice because I chose to spend the afternoon with that person I ran into instead of going home to eat and missing the chance, etc. Life is for learning and for joy. Food is only one part of the bigger picture. :)

  • First off, thanks for all the help so far! I’m so glad that there is a lot of support on the web for eating raw!

    Okay, so I went to the library tonight after work and got four books. I just finished reading “The Raw Food Detox Diet” by Natalie Rose. I thought it was very good. I know I’m all about cold-turkey, but her transitional phases really make sense. After taking the quiz I found out I am a level 3.

    The other books I have yet to read include:

    The Sunfood Diet Success System by David Wolfe (looks like it’s crazy in depth!)

    Raw Power: Building Strength and Muscles Naturally by Stephen Arlin

    The Raw Food Primer by Alex Ferrara

    Are these books good representations for raw/living food eating? I know every book is going to take on the slant of the author, so I’m trying to be mindful of that. Are there any other books I should look into? Thanks everyone! :)

  • I haven’t read all those books (parts of Sunfood and none of the others), but I liked Hooked on Raw by Rhio as a starter book, and Alissa Cohen’s book is one I want to get because she seems really practical (life is more than just spending time in the kitchen, etc.) and she just seems really positive about life. I haven’t read the recipes, but I read a lot of the intro. and like her approach. I read The Wheatgrass Book by Ann Wigmore and I read Raw Family by Victoria Boutenko – that one is her family’s story, and it was good for me at the time I read it. It simplified things for me a lot, too, as far as eating raw by eating what appeals to me and not trying to follow a bunch of rules or make complicated recipes. Hooked on Raw gave me ideas for recipes as well as functional info. on what raw food is and what some of the ingredients and equipment are. I am amazed at how many raw books are out now compared to just a few years ago when I first learned about raw. I had eaten high raw for quite a while before raw chocolate was ever on the market – wow, I feel fortunate now. The recipes have gotten way better, too! Enjoy!

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    everybody answered everything so well but I have a bit to add about the grocery shopping. it was hard for me to shop for my first week since i hadn’t really ever lived all raw for that long to know what I would like. so i picked out some things to try and ended up going back a few times that week. (because I realized not I eat 2 bananas a day not just one, etc) the next two times (for big weekly shops) I planned ahead a little bit better. I think you could deal with just the regular grocery store but if you really want to stick to the diet, you may want to order something online or take the extra drive to get some special things. not that you will always need them but it could get you through the first week or two (for me it is lara bars). good luck! good for you!

  • Alissa Cohen’s book, as angie recommends, was the first book I read about raw and I was sold, although I had a bit rougher ride than what she describes. I would add Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko to angie’s list – all about green smoothies, and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine by Dr. Gabriel Cousens if you really want to get in depth and scientific about it all. To be honest, I spend a lot more time reading here than I do any book.

  • amysue – thanks! I haven’t read Green For Life yet.

    xeno – Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine DOES get scientific, but it is also very limited on what foods to eat and not eat, compared to the rest of raw foodom. I have eaten high raw for a few years and then tried Dr. Cousens’s eating plan from Rainbow Green and I felt I was missing some important things which he says to avoid. Whatever you choose, I am wishing for all the best for you!

  • Thanks for all the suggestions! I am on the third book now, out of the four I got from the library. The Raw Primer was mostly just recipes. The Raw Detox Diet was great. Now I’m working my way through Raw Power. It’s interesting the different takes on things. In Raw Power, I get a much different vibe from the author than from Natalie Rose. In Raw Power, he seems much more “hardcore” than Natalie Rose… not in a bad way, just more the “cold-turkey”-type than Rose’s “transitional”-type. Interesting.

    I tried to stop by Karyn’s Raw Corner in Chicago, based off the address in one of the books, but apparently she has moved. I google mapped her this morning, and now she’s on Halsted, so… we drove around on the North Side last night to no avail.

    After more searching I discovered there is a Natural Food store in Highland, IN which isn’t too far from me, so I’m going to check it out. I also stopped by a Whole Foods last night while searching for Karen’s but it looked like it didn’t quite carry what I was expecting. Anyone else spend time in Chicago? Just curious.

    I made up a grocery list yesterday based off the meal suggestions from the Raw Detox book. I only planned till, Wed, based off of all of your suggestions, that I’ll probably have to go more than once a week. I still haven’t been to Meijer yet to see what they have. I have a feeling it might work something like this: Meijer for the big initial grocery shopping trip, Natural Food Store (or maybe online ordering) for specialty items that Meijer doesn’t have, and then short trips for additional produce to a little store called Strack and Van Till that is 5 minutes away.

    Best of all, after many talks with my fiance I seem to have his full support. I think he still thinks I’m crazy, but he’s supportive of my interests! I’m glad we have such a great relationship where we can pursue our individual interests and still make things work as a couple!

    Anyways, sorry I just keep going on and on, but I’m so excited!

  • We understand! It does make life a little technicolor.

  • That’s awesome he is so supportive! It sounds like you’re getting information and a plan to make it work. Good! :) I love to hear the good things that are happening with people, so no worries if you feel like you’re saying too much – It makes life better for everyone, I think!

  • Okay, so I just got back from grocery shopping. Just made my first green lemonade, and sitting here sipping it while I type! :) Yummy!

    I am definitely wondering if everything I got will actually end up taking me past Wednesday (the day I had everything planned up to). For instance, the green lemonade recipe called for a whole head of celery, 5 stalks kale, 1 lemon, 1 apple, ginger to taste. She said it would be 8-20 oz, but it made around 40 something ounces!! O-O So I gave half of it to my fiance to drink! Hahaha!

    So the total came to around $130 and was a trip to Meijer and then a trip to the Natural Food store just down the street. After that, I also bought a Dehydrator, a Food Processor, and a Juicer. Right now we have bananas dehydrating, which my fiance is actually really excited about because he loves dried bananas. :) All in all, still wondering how much food I’ll actually need each week and the costs so that I can redo my monthly budget to account for it. It was quite funny shopping, though! My cart was stacked to the brim with about 90% produce, and people were giving me some pretty funny looks! Yeah, my fridge is stocked, now though… I barely had room!

    I had a few questions, too, now.

    I found some Almond Butter, but I wasn’t sure if it was raw or not. It was Almond Breeze brand I think. How do you know if it is raw? Do you have to call/email the company and ask? Also, the lady at the Natural food store said you can no longer get raw almonds in the USA? That all almonds either have to be lightly roasted or irradiated? Has anyone else heard of this?

  • Hahah, I thought you guys would enjoy this:

    My Kitchen Counter

    My Fridge

    I don’t know where my fiance’s going to keep his stuff!

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    xeno, that is awesome! i love your approach…get lots of yummy produce and eat it! i hope you love it. you are really going for it! i love the fridge pictures…i think we should all take one.

    as for almond butter, there are some issues with all almonds from california and being pasteurized. even organic ones are steam-heated. trader joes’ has some from spain. also you can get the living tree brand if you don’t mind spending some $$$. my coop has it or you can order online.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    oh, i was wondering what you were looking for at whole foods that you couldn’t find. i usually have to search because the good stuff is hidden at times. I saw the Chicago whole foods on “top chef”. it looked pretty nice.

  • You can get really raw almonds only if you buy direct (not through a store, who has bought wholesale, etc. www.realrawfood.com sells really raw nuts, or www.premierorganics.org for the best really raw almond butter. They also sell really raw almonds.

    I just looked at your pics – I am so jealous of your fridge; I have not many veggies/greens right now – That’s awesome! Have fun :)

  • angie I just placed my first order with realrawfood.com this week and I look forward to receiving it!

    xeno I am pretty new to raw and like you have sought to read as much as possible on the topic. All of the books that I have read so far are great, even though many seem to contradict each other, I find it helps me filter and process information best when I expose myself to that kind of variety. Therefore I’d recommend these in addition to the Natalia Rose “The Raw Food Detox Diet” (which I thought was a great intro.)

    “Living Foods for Optimum Health” by Briant Clement (of the Hippocrates Institute)

    “Rawsome!” by Brigitte Mars

    “Eating in the Raw” by Carol Alt (not vegan though)

    “The Live Food Factor” by Susan Schenk (I’m not done with it, but it is the best of the books I have read on raw food so far, and it gives leads to a great many other to investigate!)

    “The 80/10/10 Diet” by Dr. Douglas Graham (I still go back to this one a lot)

    “On Nutrition and Athletic Performance” and “Grain Damage” also by Dr. Douglas Graham

    “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko (green smoothies are a great thing to include in your diet!)

    Good luck to you. You sound like you are off to a great start.

  • I love the pictures – your kitchen will definitely evolve. I moved the microwave to the dingy basement and my stove is more of a countertop now. Also laugh at the produce bin in the fridge now. You may have to make more frequent trips to the store so you don’t end up with bendy celery and limp spinach, which will also help solve the full fridge syndrome.

  • lol, you have the banana holder thing. and the Brita water filter!!! I have that :D

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    AKA—if you had to recommend just one of those books which would it be? I have read most of Carol Alt’s while I was in the bookstore and I have “12 steps to Raw” by Boutenko.

    amysue-we moved the toaster to make room for the dehydrator. our breads are all raw now even though hubby is still only 75% raw.

  • Hahah.. yeah, I definitely don’t want my produce to get icky or limp! All of the stuff was actually intended to only last till Wednesday, but I have a feeling it will all end up making more than I expected. Live and learn, right!

    Day 1 officially starts today! :D

  • congratulations xeno on going raw!

  • Hi bitt, If I had to pick just one I’d say Susan Schenk’s “The Live Food Factor”. She quotes from a broad range of raw food books and studies that I think it gives you great exposure to a lot of what is out there.

  • AKA - cool! I haven’t even ordered from them yet; let me know what you think!

    xeno – I haven’t dried bananas in ages – thanks for reminding me. I LOVE to dry my own pineapple,too – yum! Yeah, it took me a while to get the hang of how much produce to buy and heve enough without it going bad – what am I talking about? I still have it go bad sometimes, but that is usually when I try to go to the store less often…

    Have fun!

  • bitt – what breads do you guys like? I’ve been wanting to make more raw breads but don’t know where to start.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    angie, jeez I have not made any breads, just really crackers. i musta been out to lunch when i wrote that. actually, i have been making the cinnamon rolls which are kinda like bread in a way. and pumpkin seed crackers. well those are very soft unlike flax crackers so they work well as a pizza crust, etc.

    since I have not had "real" bread in over 11 years well my definition has changed i suppose. :-P

    thanks for the book recommendations, AKA. I’m actually making a wish list for my upcoming b-day.

  • Speaking of bread and stuff, do sprouted grain breads count as raw?

    Somebody earlier asked what I was looking for in Whole Foods. I was only in there for about 5 min so I didn’t look to hard, but just glanced around for raw almond nut butter but didn’t see any raw versions available.

    Also, do you have to soak nuts before eating them, or is that just a digestive preference?

  • Speaking of bread and stuff, do sprouted grain breads count as raw?

    Somebody earlier asked what I was looking for in Whole Foods. I was only in there for about 5 min so I didn’t look to hard, but just glanced around for raw almond nut butter but didn’t see any raw versions available.

    Also, do you have to soak nuts before eating them, or is that just a digestive preference?

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