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The RAW dilemma...

I know I’ve been posting a lot lately, but I’ve just been trying to harmonize my body by experimenting with different ideas, as well as perhaps being a little overly inquisitive.

Transitioning to this lifestyle has been so hard, so hard. I never expected it would be this hard. I know for some going raw has been relatively easy, I’m quite envious of that, for I want nothing more than to actually be raw and enjoy all the benefits. I think my dysfunctional relationship with food is the main cause of the difficulty in successfully becoming raw, for me.

I think I may be doing too much at once. I jumped right into this, determined to be as raw as I could get…

I haven’t been able to stick with it for too long. I guess being primarily raw is too drastic for me. Many have suggested transitioning slowly, by continuing to eat some cooked food. I’ve been reluctant to do this because I’m stubborn and a perfectionist. I sort of have an “all or nothing” mind state: I’m either all raw or I’m eating junk food (and feeling awful).

I’d like to be able to experience all the benefits of raw foods… the weight loss, the energy, the vitality, the invigoration, the contentment, et cetera. I’ve got myself thinking that if I’m not 100% raw that I’m going to be deprived of these… wonders. I’ve already been disappointed too many times by the different alterations I’ve made to my lifestyle in an attempt to feel better. I’m afraid that even if I’m 80% that it’s not going to be enough… to help.

This diet hasn’t worked for me so far because I’ve felt sick and because I’ve felt deprived. It’s been hard for me to sever my attachment to certain foods, foods that I’ve grown up loving. I’m not saying that I would be unwilling to remove these foods from my diet; but going from foods with intricate flavors, warm foods, eclectic foreign foods, etc, to handfuls of grapes and salads, has just been tough. And I used to love to cook. Being the only vegetarian in my family, I learned to cook for myself. I would make homemade pizzas, making the dough from scratch, with mushrooms and courgettes and asparagus and goats cheese; I would make dishes of Ethiopian and Indian cuisine (being my favorite); I would make blueberry muffins, with extra blueberries… I feel sad thinking that I could never have a blueberry muffin again, even if there’s a delicious alternative. But, I’ve often heard that people who have been raw end up preferring the raw alternatives and no longer crave the cooked foods they once loved. I haven’t tried very many raw recipes yet. The ones I have tried I have either been extremely disgusted with or have felt extremely nauseated after eating… so, you can imagine why I’m so discouraged. Since, I’ve been trying to keep it simple by eating green smoothies, fruit, and salad. Which has been satisfying yet unvarying (so I feel slightly unenthused and deprived).

Okay, here’s my whole point: I need to allow myself some leniency. I would like to know what I can expect health-wise if I were to aim for, say, 80%-90% raw? I was thinking I would eat all raw except for maybe one cooked meal, and store-bought salad dressing. I know I could try to make some raw salad dressing, but the ones I’ve tried I haven’t been impressed with and I often don’t have all the ingredients to make a good tasting dressing… and I need some thing a little zestier than just olive oil and lemon. And, what should I try to eat when I eat cooked? What types of foods would be the best? Obviously, vegetables and fruits, but what could I do with those vegetables and fruits, how should I prepare them? And, I was wondering if any one knew where to find some good Vegan salad dressings, particularly, Ranch. Is there a Vegan salad dressing manufacturer, you know like “Kraft” or “Hidden Valley,” some sort of name I could look for in the stores? I’m assuming that these salad dressing are going to have soy. The salad dressing would top my greens, so they would be in small amounts; this isn’t so bad, right?

Ah. Another long post. My apologies. This has just been so hard for me so far. But I really hope to be successful with this, and to one day be able to say that I’m raw and healthy. I also hope to eventually UNcook more raw foods, but for right now, I


  • waterbaby12347waterbaby12347 Raw Newbie

    Maybe it would help if you set some goals, when I started my goal was to decrease my weight, B/P, cholestrol, bld sugar and aging… I learned that color was the key to antioxidants… So I tried to make sure everything I put in my mouth was full of color, dark red, orange and green… I found doing that, I didn’t have room for other things that I used to eat… So I didn’t feel deprived… I was so involved with I need to eat this and this and didn’t have time to think of the things I wasn’t eating… I have blood work that proves I have been successful and my clothing size went from 3x being tight to size 8 looking great… I have settled now between a 10-12 which isn’t too bad but have plans to increase my exercise and decrease my calories to get back to a size 8… Hope this help you change your thinking… :} Good Luck!!!

  • elizabethhelizabethh Raw Newbie

    I COMPLETELY understand your all-or-nothing mindstate, I have that myself, which is why I went 100% raw and never looked back. However, to be fair, I had it relatively easy because my whole family was really behind me and I had all kinds of resources available really close to me. I don’t know what you can expect from 80/90%, because I’ve never been there, but I can point you towards good cooked choices. Steamed vegetables and ancient grains (like kamut), legumes, and generally foods that are as natural as possible and are not processed (like white sugar, commercial breads, etc.)

  • I am not far behind you, I don’t think. We learned about this less than a month ago, and I can really relate to your post! I have decided that I would choose to eat food off of Zoe’s non-raw list to kind of help me transition. Especially since so many of them are in the ingredient lists of the new recipes that I am finding for raw foodies. Also, a bit of steamed veggies, rice and baked yams are good for dinner. I do not know if I will ever be 100% for long periods of time, but I do intend to “give it a go” (as our european cousins would say) for as long as I can; starting as soon as some of this detox calms down! We purchased some salad dressings from braggs that were pretty good! They are not 100% raw, but much better than Kraft or Hidden Valley!

    Also, it may help to use some aromatherapy. Not a lot has been said about this, but my biggest temptation for cooked food is the smell, not sight or even taste!

  • Rawbeginner, please don’t leave people alone. Everyone needs community. : ) Look into possibly a fresh juice fast to reset your system, cravings, etc. your body will then naturally gravitate to what it needs. freedomyou is a great website to get you started. I agree with elizabethh, stick with the ancient grains/seeds – quinoa is awesome. avocado is a great creamy base for dressings – if you like store bought – just stick with a good, organic balsalmic vinegrette. The foods you describe you prepare sound wonderful – why can’t you continue eating those? If you desire raw – just fill your plate almost all the way with raw vegetables and fruits and then the other portion with the foods you’ve always loved to prepare. Everyone has their niche and it’s burdensome to try to figure out the exact percentage of raw you should be. There is freedom in being free away from this percent or that percent. There may be days you eat mono-meals of raw fruits and veggies. maybe days you’ll eat huge salads and a slice of your delicious pizza. maybe smoothie days alongside of your scrumptious blueberry muffins. and indian food rocks! Part of our life is enjoying all the wholesome good things this world has to offer – culturally and culinary. It’s not like you’re horking down fast food. : ) Give yourself grace and enjoy the journey – the end results will fall into place.

  • I think 80-90% raw is fantastic; it’s what Dr. Gabriel Cousens recommends as the optimal diet, and it follows Natalia Rose’s guidelines for “raw done right”. She stresses the importance of eating quick elimination combinations, whether those combinations include raw goat cheese, steamed vegetables, or raw garden fare. If you do cook anything, try baking sweet potatoes (and the like) or steaming vegetables like broccoli. Also, take a look at this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/20/health/nutrit…

    So please don’t beat yourself up about it. I’d suggest trying the above for a while, focusing on your combinations and eliminations, and later, sometime in the future, moving to 100% raw, ONLY if you’re ready to JOYFULLY embrace it. (the joyfully part is from Natalia Rose—love her!)

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    You sound just like me when I tried to do raw out of desperation for the health benefits. I was addicted to junk food, so it was all raw or all pizza (not healthy kinds, either!), chocolate, & nutri-grain bars (that I ate to get something healthy for a change – eek!) Anyway, the recipes were too complicated, I got super busy & stressed, my sprouts always got moldy cuz I was never home to rinse them, etc. AND NOTHING TASTED LIKE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO!!!! No, really – I spent forever making raw “carrot cake” and it was a bowl full of carrot mush plopped into a crust (since when does carrot cake have a crust?) made of almonds & dates, and sunflower seeds blended with orange juice on top pretending to be whipped cream. Give me a break! That was nothing like carrot cake, and I had just spent a bunch of time and money on it. Things like that would leave me tired, hungry & frustrated. It was too much. I quit raw & went to eating worse than ever in my life, buying whatever was fatty, sugary, cheap & convenient. I also was not getting enough sleep, which made me eat more to try to have enough energy. I started gaining weight, went through major relationship stress, gained even more weight, etc. until I was at least 40 – 50 pounds overweight & realized I needed to make a change. I did some emotional work and became ready to take in exactly what my body wanted/needed. I immediately quit eating chocolate, white flour & sugar. Not because I had to; I just knew my body didn’t want them any more, so they didn’t appeal to me any more. I realized as quickly as I was ready to eat what my body wanted, that I was ready to start eating at least 65% raw and work up to a higher percentage within a couple of weeks. I would like to say it just came naturally, because it did to my body, but I remember one time in particular, a few weeks into this transformation: I cooked a frozen pizza for my then 3 yr. old son. Pizza had always meant parties, fun, togetherness, etc. for me, so what happened next was onoe of the hardest things ever – my son, unaware of the changes I was making, excitedly said for me to come on, let’s eat the pizza! I started to cry and had to leave the room, saying, “I can’t.” so that I wouldn’t sit down & scarf the whole thing! After that, I realized that I had more strength than I knew, and things started to get better. I have eaten high raw for almost 3 years now, and I love raw food, but I have never been 100% for more than maybe 3 months straight, and I don’t worry about that any more. The thing that happened is that I broke my addictions to things that were bad for me. I also started eating things simply, instead of doing the recipe thing, except for rare occasions. I ate lots of different fruits and veggies, and I discovered something weird – vegetables have flavors! I always thought zucchini had no flavor, because the only way I’d ever eaten it was with so much gunk on it that I couldn’t tell that it tasted like anything by itself :) heeheehee Anyway, thanks for letting me share – my turn for a super-long post!

  • What a great testimony angie.

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