The raw food diet has moved from the fringe to become a major trend. Its proponents rave about how it boosts metabolism, builds immunity, relieves chronic health problems and burns away the the fat. Making the shift to an all-raw diet, however, is a major stumbling block for people accustomed to convenience foods and restaurants. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to start implementing a raw food diet that makes the transition easier.
Take the slow and easy route in your transition to a raw food diet. Begin by aiming for 25 to 50 percent of your food being raw plant matter. People who switch to a completely raw diet in one fell swoop often have side effects that are not harmful but are uncomfortable such as dizziness, bad breath, lack of mental clarity and nausea.
Take the additive approach. Rather than subtracting from your current diet, aim to supplement it by adding more raw fruits and vegetables. Begin breakfast with a fresh fruit salad or a smoothie starting with a base of two bananas and adding combinations of fruit, fresh juices, vegetables and herbs. Add a salad or a raw vegetable plate to your lunch menu. Remember to consume the raw foods first, so that eating the cooked foods becomes optional.
Eliminate some of the worst foods first. Lose the fast food, the fried food and the processed food. Aim to have a raw breakfast in place of bacon and eggs, and then move to a raw lunch of salad, smoothies, sprouts, seeds, juice and nuts instead of a hamburger and french fries. You can also move to a raw diet for 3 days a week and to a semi-raw diet for the remainder. Part of adjusting to a raw food diet is making the shift in consciousness that a main dish can be fruit- or vegetable-based.
Eat with the seasons. Seek out community farms, co-ops and farmers’ markets that feature locally grown or organic produce. Adjusting your diet to the seasons guarantees that you will be eating fresher, healthier foods. The food will taste better and will be less expensive than imported foods where you pay a steep price for the fuel to transport it to the grocery store. Note that many smaller community farms employ organic practices without undergoing the complicated and expensive progress of becoming certified.
Get creative. A raw food diet is not a rabbit food diet. Try making spaghetti out of spaghetti squash or concocting your own muesli as a breakfast dish. The Living and Raw Foods website (see Resources below) contains recipes for stuffed mushrooms, zucchini chips, tomato cups, sushi rolls, cinnamon date bread, bell pepper crackers, sea vegetable pizza, raw hummus and mock meat loaf, among others. Many people starting a raw food diet crave sweets, so there are also recipes for apple raisin cookies, macaroons, carob tangerine candy, fudge, rainbow sorbet, pecan mousse, and a quick-and-easy apple pie.
- The side effects of transitioning to a raw food diet stop many beginners, but if you stick with it, the effects fade in about 2 weeks.