You may have heard all about the benefits of the raw food diet. And like any so-called diet, it is not without its risks. If not done properly, you could end up severely hurting your health, defeating the entire purpose of eating raw foods in the first place. If administered properly, however, a raw food diet can be a very healthy addition to your lifestyle.
If you’re new to the raw food diet scene, no doubt you’ve seen your fair share of opinions on the subject, and right now it’s probably nothing more than a confusing mess of information. Here are ten solid tips to get you started. While it’s impossible to discuss everything there is to know about starting a raw food diet in only a few pages, these ten tips will, at the very least, give you some guidance on where to go from here.
1. Educate yourself. Yes, that’s probably why you arrived on this page in the first place, but as mentioned above, you can’t possibly acquire a full education on raw foods in only a few minutes. It takes time to understand everything there is to know and you have to put in some effort. Read some books from certified nutritionists on the subject. Scour the Internet for authoritative voices who can offer some real insight into the changes you’ll be making and the health benefits you will reap, should you choose to embrace the raw food lifestyle.
2. Be careful what you tell your friends and family members. Contrary to what you might expect, your friends and family members may not be fully supportive of this new lifestyle. They’ll ask questions like “where will you get your protein if you stop eating meat?” and “how will you be able to enjoy eating out or eating at family events?” It might be a good idea to refrain from jumping in full force when it comes to your family, at least not until you’ve established what works for you. Instead of telling them you’re starting a new raw food diet, let them know that you’re trying to incorporate more raw foods into your existing diet. It would be hard for them not to support you on that decision, as it is much healthier anyway.
3. Learn what works for you. Everyone is different. Things that have worked for others may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods. Get creative and plan your menus ahead of time in order to maximize efficiency. Talk to others who are on a raw food diet and try what they’ve tried to see if it works well for you.
4. Start slow. Again, it’s best not to jump in full force when starting anything new, especially when it comes to your body. Just like you have to warm up before an exercise routine, you should warm up before embracing a whole new dietary lifestyle. Start by incorporating a few raw foods into your diet each day until you gradually build up to what is common for most people on this diet – 75 to 80 percent raw foods.
5. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables. Leafy greens are your friend. They contain the minerals you’ll need as your body detoxifies itself from the unhealthy lifestyle you’ve been living. Greens contain chlorophyll, vitamins, fiber and other essential nutrients to support your body’s health. Green juices and green smoothies are easy to digest and are able to pack a lot of punch when it comes to eating enough greens.
6. Don’t eat too much fruit. Everyone loves fruit. And if you’re going to have to stop eating meat and give up those cakes and cookies you love so much, you’ll need to satisfy your weet tooth somehow. But be careful. As tempting as it is, over-consuming fruit can lead to variety of health problems. It is important to balance your diet with a healthy amount of fruits and veggies. It is best to consume fruit in the morning or as an afternoon snack and mixing fruit with greens, such as on a salad, will keep the sugar from hitting you all at once.
7. Eat enough food and measure your intake. Not eating enough is probably the number one reason why people fail when first starting a few food diet. It is important to measure your daily caloric, fat and protein intake and make sure you’re consuming enough food, especially in the beginning when this is all new to you. Raw food is much higher in volume and much lower in calories than cooked food, so you must consume a lot more of it.
8. Consider supplements. Most people in developed countries are deficient in vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and essential fatty acids. Have your levels checked before beginning a raw food diet and consider taking supplements to make up for what your body lacks. Raw foods may also lack certain minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are needed for healthy bone development. Make sure you’re getting enough of what you need.
9. Drink A LOT of water. This is something everyone should be doing daily, whether you’re on a raw food diet or not. Raw foods actually contain more water than cooked foods, but hydration is still just as essential. While some of it comes from food, you still need to drink a lot of pure, natural spring water as well.
10. Live healthy in every sense of the word. A raw food diet is not a diet in the traditional sense. It’s not something you do temporarily just to lose weight. If you truly want to reap the health benefits of a raw food diet, you must treat it as a lifestyle more than as a diet. This means treating your body like it matters, by exercising and getting plenty of sleep on a regular basis as well. Try to live healthy in every sense of the word, and you’ll maximize the rewards.