How To Start A Raw Food Diet
The Raw Food Diet has been around for decades, but it’s been gaining popularity more and more over the past years. This is mostly thanks to celebrities and models who swear it has aided them in losing weight, fighting illnesses, and clearing up their skin.
At first impression, this seems like just another fad diet, but in reality “raw foodism”, as it’s commonly referred to, is quite the opposite. It’s a lifestyle that has been practiced for decades and centers around the practice of eating more real foods in their natural state.
In this article, we break down the basics of a Raw Food Diet for anyone who wants to get started with a healthier lifestyle.
What Is A Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet is a lifestyle that encourages eating more unprocessed and uncooked food in their natural state to get all the vitamins and nutrients they contain without dangerous preservatives and additives. It is made up of fresh, unrefined foods; mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, which are consumed in their natural state without cooking. Adopters of this diet are commonly referred to as “raw fooders.”
The main idea behind going raw is that heat destroys your food’s natural enzymes and nutrients, and enzymes are needed to boost digestion and fight diseases. It is believed by raw food practitioners that cooking makes food toxic, and once you cook food, you kill all the necessary nutrients.
There have been many benefits of sticking to a raw diet, some of which include:
- Improving digestion
- Clearing up your skin
- Lowering inflammation
- Preventing or treating constipation
- Lowering the amount of carcinogens in your diet
- Providing more dietary fiber
Making The Change From Cooked To Raw
When making a drastic switch in any aspect of your life, some people go cold turkey, while others need to be eased into it. Many raw food diet converters say the best way has been to increase the amount of raw food in your diet, while slowly limiting the amount of cooked food. For example, you can start by replacing a sandwich with a salad and smoothie for lunch. There are many other ways, and every person should follow the methods that work best for them. Listed below are four best practices that may come in handy for making the healthy switch.
Ways To Get Started With A Raw Food Diet
For those ready to begin a raw food diet, whether you’d rather dip your toes in the water or dive in head first, you’ve got to start somewhere. Listed below are a few ways to get started.
1. Quick & Easy Raw Foods
Incorporate simple raw foods into your diet throughout the day. These are things you’re familiar with that are easy to prepare like salads, fresh veggies and fruits, smoothies, and green juices. These are no-brainer dishes that are easy to prepare and easy to find in cafes or restaurants.
2. Raw until 6pm
This is a common style for people starting off on raw diets, and is popular mostly for one of two reasons:
- It works well for those who have a family that doesn’t eat raw and allows you to adjust to their dietary needs.
- It’s a good option for anyone who is not particularly keen on going on an all raw diet but still wants to at least partially go raw.
This method is pretty simple to follow. You simply follow a raw diet until 6pm, and then for dinner you are free to follow a normal diet.
3. All Raw on Certain Days
If you’re ready to get serious about this and take it up a notch, pick one day a week and stick to an all raw diet for that day. Setting your mind to going all raw once a week is manageable and gives you enough time to plan your meals for that day.
You can incorporate more days like this into your week until you are on an all raw diet, or you can stop at any point along the way that you feel comfortable with.
4. All Raw
Now here comes the big one! Some people are all or nothing types, and you may just be one of those. If the three methods listed above don’t appeal to you and you have not eased your way into an all raw diet by now, this may just do it. Have lots of delicious recipes prepared to get you excited about this journey and keep your family in the loop so you have their support.
It’s also helpful to find out what kitchen equipment or appliances you’ll be needing, and the best and nearest places to pick up produce, and what nearby restaurants you rely on to have menu items you are able to eat. Start off with simple, easy to follow recipes before heading into Master Chef territory.
Raw Food Diet Vs. Raw Veganism
There seems to be a lot of confusion between raw foodism and raw veganism. While the two have a lot of similarities, having a raw food diet doesn’t necessarily mean you avoid all animal products. Raw meats or eggs, raw dairy products, and raw fish are some of the items which may be part of a raw food diet. You can also research vegan dietary supplements as alternative options to choose from.
Raw vegans don’t consume any animal products or animal by-products, which can be very hard to maintain for a lot of people.
Before deciding which one is better for you, it’s best to always do your research. Ask people who have gone raw what their experience has been like and see which raw diet suits you and your lifestyle best.
These are a few things to remember before you get started on your raw diet journey. You can also review our vegetarian diet outline for more information.
Listen to your body and taste buds. Eat foods that excite you and that you look forward to preparing. If you feel like you should be enjoying something that you really don’t, don’t worry about it. Your taste will develop over time, and you can find other alternatives for it.
Surround yourself with a supportive community. There are many forums, online groups, and blogs you can interact with to surround yourself with like-minded people who you can share your story with, get inspiration from, and exchange recipes with. We also have many other companies and brands we have researched that are vegan friendly such as; Sophie's Kitchen, Dollop Gourmet, VeganSmart, VeganEgg, Impossible Foods, The Purple Carrot and many others.
Have a meal or light snack before heading into any business or social event. Raw food options may be hard to come by and leave you starving by the end of the affair.
There you have it—the basics of a raw food diet. As always, check with your nutritionist or dietitian first before getting started on this lifestyle change.