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With more and more talk about the benefits of a raw foods diet, it’s important to stress the idea of transitioning to raw.
I don’t think everyone can go 100% raw overnight on their own, nor do I think that everyone needs to have 100% raw as the end goal.
Personally, I have never in my life been 100% raw for an extended period of time. Rather, I listen to my body, and adjust my diet preferences accordingly.
Raw as an Investment For Your Health
For many of us, food is a nuisance. It’s a drain on our bank accounts, our schedules, and our energy.
Sometimes we eat out of necessity, opting for the quickest option that we can chow down on so that we can get back to the real important stuff.
Other times food can be a way to medicate ourselves. We might eat when we’re bored, feeling emotional, avoiding problems that need to be solved or work that needs to be done, and so on.
Let’s take a different perspective of the food that we eat. What if the food that we ate was solely seen as the fuel for our bodies and minds? Just like you wouldn’t put random household ingredients into your car’s gas tank, you should invest in the correct fuel for your car.
In this case the food you eat is an investment for your body, for the long-term.
Raw Food Diet Definitions
In the spirit of accepting that every one of us is at a different place along our journey, let’s look at the different options that you have for incorporating more raw foods into your diet.
1. 100% Raw
People who go 100% raw overnight, tend to experience great benefits soon after they go raw. Sometimes however, being 100% raw is too strict and these people can flop back and forth between 100% raw, high raw, and going back to their original eating habits.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach, as long as you aren’t taking yourself too seriously, or are afraid of reverting back to your not-so-good eating habits.
2. High Raw
The definition of high raw is between 80%-99% raw foods. What this means is that people who are high raw intend to eat raw all of the time, but that there are certain circumstances that are beyond their control.
For example, they might eat a condiment or a sauce that isn’t raw, or even go for some cooked vegan options if they are stuck.
People who are high raw have the advantage of being lenient with themselves, and not beating themselves up for not adhering to their standards.
3. Raw Until Dinner
One of the simplest ways to add more raw foods into your diet, is to go raw until dinner. The idea is that you eat raw meals for breakfast, and lunch, and your snacks are raw.
Then dinner is up to you, you can choose to eat the foods that you always eat, but you’ll notice that soon enough you’ll be attracted to eating more healthful foods even in the evening.
4. Transitioning to Raw
If you just learned about raw foods, and you want to take the slow and steady road to eating more raw foods, transitioning is the way to go.
When you’re transitioning, you choose exactly which meals and what it is you’re going to eat for each day, and try to fit in as many raw fruits and vegetables as you can.
One effective way of doing this is to drink a big green smoothie in the morning, or as a snack in the afternoon. I personally transitioned to raw foods for over a year, before actually choosing to take raw until dinner path.
Be Gentle With Yourself
A lot of people when they first learn about raw foods, decide to commit to it completely. That’s exactly what I tried to do when I first learned about raw food.
I wanted to be 100% raw or nothing at all, but that proved to be too hard. And while I think it’s important to give yourself a 30 day trial on raw foods, I don’t think you should kill yourself trying to be perfect.
After all, we are only human. We have moments of weakness, and we all have things to work through. We all have issues with food that we probably didn’t know we had, which tend to surface when we start eating raw.
Eating raw foods really brings up all these old emotional patterns, whether they have anything to do with food or not.
There’s No Raw Food Police
I think that raw food is great as an ideal to work toward, but being at 100% raw and killing yourself is much worse than the alternative.
If you can eat 75% to 90% raw, without the guilt trips, without pulling your hair out, and without causing too much trouble in your household, isn’t it much better?
Whenever we choose to make changes in our life, we should understand where we’re coming from. If you’ve been eating a highly processed or standard American diet for the last 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years, how can you expect to go raw overnight?
You have to give your body and your emotions, time to catch up with your newly adjusted mental model.
Oh, and by the way food definitely has an impact on our emotions. So you’ll want to make sure that you’re not so hard on yourself.
All Or Nothing Vs Commitment
Sometimes it’s better to transition into raw foods slowly. Just like you wouldn’t try to run a marathon after years of inactivity without practicing first.
You wouldn’t want to overburden your body with the task of taking out the trash (all the toxins you’ve been gathering over the years) overnight.
When you go raw, there are so many different things that take place.
You’ve got to make different choices in your everyday life, and that’s going to bring up some resistance for yourself and for the rest of the people in your life.
You’ll also experience different physical changes. You might start losing weight, you might be bloated or gassy, you might sleep better or wake up in the middle of the night. You might have cravings, feel hunger pains, or lack energy.
All of these things are perfectly normal, but if you’re taking the stance of needing to be in this 100% raw, you might decide that it’s all too much at once and give up.
Going Raw At Your Own Pace
You have to understand that you’ll still be here in a year from now. So any small changes that you make right now will benefit you in the long term.
So even if you can just cut out coffee, and replace it with a green smoothie or green juice in the morning, you’re doing yourself a great service.
Building up small changes over the long term is a great way to include more raw foods into your diet, without causing you too much emotional stress.
Not to mention that taking it easy, is better for the people in your life. You don’t want to scare them or make them think that you’re going all crazy extremist on them, when they still enjoy eating steak.
What you want is to come up with an action plan that you will follow. You can do a 30 day raw trial, because that will give you motivation and results right away.
Your skin will get clear, your eyes will be brighter, you’ll lose weight if you have to, or gain weight if you need it, you’ll have more energy and you’ll sleep better.
But if you decide that after 30 days it’s going to be tough to keep going, then ease back to maybe 90% raw or 80% raw if that makes you more comfortable.
Because aren’t we all doing this raw food thing for a few simple reasons? We want to be healthier, and we want to live in a safe and healthy environment. So don’t make your environment more toxic by trying to go raw or die trying.