So, guess what!
That’s right, I have been on a raw food diet for FOUR YEARS!
Amazing. Hard to believe! Well, not really.
When I first started on this journey, I had a deep feeling it would be for life. It was one crazy epiphany, you know? And I asked the universe to show it to me! Show me my answer, please! And there it was! Under my nose, so simple. Fruits + veg. Nature. Sunshine. Wow.
So here are the most important things I have learned over my years as a raw foodist .
I am still learning all the time, and will never stop. I consider this few years as my baseline – I only just now think I am starting to know enough to be able to lead others in the right direction.
1. If it seems daunting, read up, and go at a pace you can handle.
I read for a couple of months before I switched to raw. Seek out some books at the library, your local bookshop, or find some blogs you enjoy. There are so many out there – way more than when I started. Find one that speaks to you.
Don’t think you need to do it overnight, though you can if you like. For me, I started out for 2 months as a vegan, cut out refined white sugars, and then slowly cut out things over that 2 month time-frame.
Have a farewell dinner to your favourite junk foods – and make sure you have something similar to replace it with at first. Your tastebuds change pretty quickly – about 7-10 days, and then you will crave whatever it is that you eat the most of.
2. Set dates for your transition.
This is important so you can work towards something specific.
3. Expect detox.
This will depend on what your current health and diet is like. I was a vegetarian and did not eat a ton of junk, though I did eat a lot of candy. I didn’t think my detox would be very bad because of this – it wasn’t – I did get huge pimples and lethargy and diarrhea, but that was about it. If you eat a lot of animal products, meat, coffee, etc – you will probably have a much worse detox, and it doesn’t necessarily happen right away. The animal foods can stay with you for a long time, so expect a harder detox – things can still show up months later.
4. Be patient.
Don’t expect to be a glowing beam of light within a few days. You very well could be, it depends on your current lifestyle. Things will change, just give it time. Most people are malnourished and toxic. These things need to time to come out, time to absorb and replenish. For me, I felt amazing after 10 days.
5. Expect miracles.
They will happen. Your chronic issues will vanish, your moods will improve, your weight will drop + stabilize, your attitude will shift, your life will change in numerous ways.
6. Keep the carbohydrates high and the fats low.
Take note of this one especially – it’s the mistake I made and most raw foodists make – don’t worry about it TOO much at first, just eat as much raw food as possible. As long as it’s raw, eat it. But once you are used to eating all raw for a couple of months, start to really lower your nut + seed intake and ditch oils – up your fruit intake BIG TIME. Keep track of your calories and make sure you are getting a good amount. Your body needs carbs. Eat tons of fruit + greens right away. You might be able to eat copious amounts for a while – when I started i could eat 2-5 avocados a day, along with everything else – now I eat 1/2-1, and not daily.
Fat slows insulin in your blood. If the insulin cannot bring sugar into your cells quickly (we need those sugars to live on! our bodies run on glucose) then our blood sugars will rise. High blood sugar will cause a multitude of issues (candida, diabetes, etc). This is not the fruit’s fault, it is the result of too much fat. How much is too much? Keep your fats to about 10% of your total caloric intake. Put your meals into cronometer.com and you’ll see how much fat you actually ingest. If you go a bit over, don’t worry too much – it is consistency that is key. If you hit 15%, that is fine, but try to keep it around 10%.
I would actually prefer people to eat a partially cooked vegan diet that is high carb, low fat, than a high-fat 100% raw food diet. Potatoes, quinoa, rice, etc. It is not optimal, but it is your second best choice if you cannot fathom eating so much fruit. Complex carbs, however, have no taste, so do not slather them in fats and salts – find something else that will add some flavour instead of fats. You also want to avoid too much salt, but if you do use it, avoid table salt at all costs!
7. Gorge on fruit + greens = do not be afraid of overeating.
Fruit will not make you fat. If you have been starving yourself, you will gain weight – this is normal. For everyone else, you will lose weight. Your body needs glucose, your brain will probably be having a party once you start eating raw food. It will be so excited it will be insatiable. That’s good. Eat as MUCH as you can. If you crave calorie-dense food like animal products or starches with lots of fat added, you need more calories, not dense ones – more fruit is needed. It is the calorie source raw foodists need, without the mass amounts of fat.
8. Fresh, ripe, raw, organic is best.
Fresh = something that can grow in the ground or on a plant. Like it was just picked. Ripe = depends on the fruit. Most people don’t know what a ripe piece of fruit looks like, because it is not sold in stores. Bananas for instance, are not ripe until they have some spots. Pineapples never ripen once picked, and are never picked ripe unless you are getting them in Hawaii or somewhere similar. I’m not saying never eat pineapples, but know what a ripe piece of fruit looks like, because that is when it will have the most benefit to you. Raw = not heated over 115 degrees. Preferably never heated at all. Organic = grown without pesticides, herbicides, larvicides, fungicides, GMOs – “cide” means DEATH. Avoid conventional whenever possible. Failing that, at least eat organic when you are eating the skin of the fruit, or greens.
A lot of people eat a ton of dried fruit and dehydrated treats when they first go raw – that’s okay at first, but work towards these four particulars as the main components of your meals.
9. Health care is more expensive than eating healthy.
People who whine that eating healthy is expensive need to think this way – your health is gonna go to hell unless you eat properly. It just is. You may feel “fine” but for how long? Do you want to live an unhealthy lifestyle and pay the price later when it might be “too late?” The people who live to be 100 and still smoke, etc – what is their quality of life like? Are they still thriving? Are they on medications? It is likely. If you take care of your health NOW, then you will also be taking care of yourself LATER – degenerative diseases will not be a worry for you. Spend the money now (it’s a lot less than healthcare will be later) – it’s worth it. Make your health a priority. I went raw when I was making minimum wage at a part-time job.
10. Only listen to people getting results you want.
There’s plenty of people out there talking about their version of a raw food diet – are they vibrant, glowing, slim, fit, healthy, and actually interested in your health instead of their bank accounts? Make sure, or you could get swindled into things you don’t need.
11. Question the people trying to sell you supplements and expensive “super” foods.
A good way to look at vitamins + minerals is something I heard via Dr. Douglas Graham. Can you fit more gas into a gastank than it can take? No, it would just spill out. The same is true of your body + cells. Why is more of something a good thing? If you are eating something with 1000 times the vitamin C of an orange, do you actually absorb and use all of it? Nope, you probably pee most of it into the toilet. Also, when you eat a food in its whole form, any nutrients in that food are likely working together with other nutrients present in that food – refining something down to one vitamin, or one mineral – sort of useless. For instance you cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D present in your body. So you could take 10000ui of calcium – without vitamin D, it all gets pissed away, literally.
Fruits + vegetables do not make a lot of money for people in the health movement. But supplements sure do. They will tell you all sorts of nonsense to make you believe you need their product. Don’t listen to them. What you need is real food. There is only one vitamin out there that is difficult to get, for many reasons, and if your health was absolutely perfect, and our world was pristine, it would probably be a non-issue, and that is B12. I’ll talk about that later.
12. The simpler, the better.
The simpler you keep your meals, the better your digestion will be. That means, the better everything will be absorbed. It will also save you a lot of time. Raw food does not have to be a hassle. You could spend hours in the kitchen, or you could spend minutes. I like the latter. If I want something fancy, cool, but I know it’s not necessary.
13. If you fall off the fruit truck, just get back on and don’t make it a big deal.
I’ve had times where I went off raw food, briefly. I ate a little when I was in Europe with my family, and I had some potatoes when I was stuck in Seattle when I had a choice between Denny’s and a whack of fast food restaurants. I did when I had my heart broken, for a day. Did I berate myself, and give up? Er, no. I realized it was just a blip, and I took it as a blip.
Some people are super addicted to some foods. If you are a food addict, then be very careful if you have to eat something other than what is in your best interest. For me, I know the things I need to avoid, always. However, if I am stuck and very hungry, I know I can have some potatoes or rice and I won’t be too damaged. I’ll get a runny nose the next morning and back to fruit I go. if I eat bread, though – bad news. It will be very hard for me to stop myself, so I just avoid it forever. Know what your trigger is and avoid it like the plague.
14. Learn as you go.
You don’t need to know everything to start. Just grasp the basics. I am giving you the basics right now! Yay! Keep reading as you go and you will learn an amazing amount of information that is not widely known. This information is kept from the masses on purpose. Keeping the population sick and submissive is good for government, good for corporations, and how things typically work. We are all slowly waking up.
15. Shut yer yap unless questioned.
Let others see the changes in you – you will feel so amazing and youthful and ecstatic that you will want to run around yelling about raw food, and you might want to tell people they are killing themselves by eating whatever they are eating. Don’t. It doesn’t work. Let them come to you – they will.
16. Take advantage of your new energy.
Once you feel vigor again, use it. You might feel so great that you don’t know where to channel your energy – exercise! Your body wants to move. It needs to. Move it or lose it.
17. Join a forum, get support.
If you don’t have people around you for support, then an online forum is your best bet – even if you DO have people around you that are cheering you on! The more you are uplifted by others, and the more inspired you are, the better you will do.
18. Socialize with people doing the same things.
When I first went vegan I started going with someone to a restaurant where I met some new friends. I also started to go to raw restaurants and associate with other people in the lifestyle. I knew no one else before that – I knew a couple of vegetarians and that was it. I pestered my way into working at the raw restaurant, my vegan friends had raw potlucks – I made it easy for myself. I invited other people to eat with me at raw places, which they were totally fine with. Don’t make it a huge deal and it won’t be. Most people like yummy food no matter how it is prepared.
19. Find a physician who works with you and supports your lifestyle.
If your doctor is telling you this lifestyle is bad, consider that most doctors have no nutritional training, are parroting what they learned in school and that they get subsidies and are controlled by government and pharmaceutical companies. In many places it is illegal for them to suggest a lifestyle or dietary change. Society is a mess of greed and tactics to keep us sick and under control. The people trying to do this want our money, and they want us easy to manipulate – they control the masses, the doctors, everything – don’t let them. If you need to see a doctor, make sure they are cool with what you are doing, even if they didn’t suggest it themselves. Find one who will work with you, not against you. Eventually, you won’t really need a doctor unless you have an emergency.
20. Supplement ONLY with things you cannot get via raw plant foods.
This would be vitamin D and B12 – vitamin D is best received via sunshine, or a proper tanning bed in small amounts, with low pressure lamps and UVA+UVB rays. There are vegan D3 pills available now – the regular kind are not. D2 is synthetic and possibly no good. B12 must be the proper type – methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin. Get it in a liquid sublingual (under the tongue) form, or get injections. If you take pills they will most likely not absorb. Have a doctor test you via blood test AND urinary MMA test. Stay clear of cyanocobalamin, as you cannot absorb it (most types in stores are this sort). The types of B12 in seaweeds is also analog and cannot do you any good – it also blocks the right type from getting to you.
21. Share information in a kind, non-confrontational way.
No one likes to be badgered – people have strong opinions on food, because everybody eats. Mind your own business, allow people to question you, THEN share your answers and opinions.
Don’t preach. I share videos sometimes, and even that can get me some drama. The most effect I’ve had is by just doing my own thing, and getting a few people to watch Earthlings. Then they make up their own minds.
22. Put yourself first.
The only person you can control is you. If you don’t believe you are worth it, you will never change, and then one day you will think “Damn, I wish I’d done that.” I could have waited four years to start eating healthy – then I could have said, “Wow I wish I’d done that when I first learned about it.” Do it now, you are important. If you are healthy + vibrant, then you will be a happier person to be around, have more energy for others, and you will be able to better care and be there for your loved ones. You first, always!
23. Bring things with you.
I bring everything with me, wherever I go. I take a bag of food to work, I take my own food to family functions, and if I go to the movies, I have something in my purse – raisins, dates, dried apples – whatever. It’s easy to bring your own stuff, no one will mind. If someone has a problem with it, just say “My doctor put me on this diet” – you don’t have to tell anyone your doctor is YOU.
24. Tell yourself it’s easy.
A lot of people think that eating healthy or raw is hard. If you go into this with that attitude, then yeah, you will make it hard. If you think it is easy, it will be easy. And it is. Nothing is simpler.
25. Podcasts are your friends!
If you have a busy life, then podcasts and audiobooks are for you. I listen to them constantly when I am doing other things – when I work alone, when I drive, when I walk the dog. These are all opportunities to learn more, and so I take them. There are lots of raw podcasts to download for free.
26. Surround yourself with health + ditch the crap. Now.
Go through all your cupboards and throw everything out. If it’s salvageable from the trash, spray it with Windex or something, then you won’t be able to dig it back out. Give cans to the food bank. TOSS it, get rid of it. Then go and buy lots of luscious fruit. If you get hungry, that’s all that will be there. Eat it, savour it!
27. Use what you’ve got.
Some people think they need tons of fancy equipment to be raw – craziness! I had a really junky blender and a food processor that was given to me, plus a simple juicer. I used the blender most. You actually don’t need any of these things, but if you want to have something to start, get a blender. Get a cheap one, thrift one, or ask for one on freecycle.org. You don’t need a Vitamix, even though they are ultra awesome and worth every cent. I used a cheap blender my first two years raw – at the end it was being held together with duct tape. It still did the job.
28. Garden, forage, freegan.
Still think it’s too expensive? Plant seeds, learn to forage around your neighbourhood, go in to the forest. Along with that, check the dumpsters behind organic shops and groceries – you’d be astounded at the quality of stuff they throw away.
29. Keep inspiring yourself.
One of my favourite things to do is to read and listen to stories of what a raw food diet has done for someone – there are countless stories of transformations out there – massive weight losses, terminal disease turnarounds, “incurable” problems overcome. If there is a problem you have, guaranteed someone has turned it around via a raw food diet.
30. Ditch the people who vehemently oppose you.
There are always going to be people who don’t like what you’re doing. Most likely you are just making them jealous or they feel bad about their own lack of dedication. Put those people in the compost, find new friends. If your family is the culprit, ignore them and do what you want anyway. If they see how much you improve, they may change their minds in the long run. If not, well, move out, avoid conversations about food, etc. Put you first!
31. Enjoy yourself.
Don’t look at raw food as a restrictive diet. There is a huge amount of variety out there amongst “fruits and vegetables” – it seems like only 2 things, but really, it is thousands. I probably eat more variety of food than everyone I know, combined. It’s also a wonderful chance to try new things you never would have eaten before. For me, it was durian, sapodilla, horny melon, longans, kelp, daikon, jicama…on and on! I don’t like everything I’ve tried, but I sure have broadened my horizons.
Also, you can make some pretty amazing concoctions – gourmet raw is fun for treats, but not every meal. Even with the low-fat options, there is some amazing stuff you can do. It’s fun! I used to hate cooking, but I enjoy preparing!
32. Keep track of your progress.
I wish I had kept a better log of my first months of raw food. I have a few things written down – it’s odd that I don’t have more, because I tend to write everything out that happens to me. I could go back to it now and see how far I’ve come. To track diet, sleep, moods, and all of those things – that can be the key to success, so if you have problems, you can look and see the days where you felt the best, and what you ate and did.
33. Stay hydrated.
Just because you are eating lots of water-rich foods, does not negate the need for water on its own. You probably won’t need as much as someone eating cooked food (why do you think people are told to drink 8 glasses a day? It’s because they get no water in their food, it’s all cooked out!) but you still need it. Spring water is best, if you can get it. Otherwise filter it, or drink distilled. Failing that, tap water is better than nothing at all.
34. Get enough sleep.
Overlooked – sleep until you wake up. If you sleep 12 hours, that’s how much you need. You cannot oversleep. The body will not sleep if it doesn’t need it. Some people feel awful if they sleep “too much” – most likely they are just in need of massive detox, then wake up and feel the aftermath. Sleep is a healing time. It’s when everything repairs. If you are sleeping a lot, waking up still feeling gross – that’s why. Sleep as much as you need, ditch the stimulants. They just make you more tired by pumping you full of adrenaline and overworking your adrenal glands. This will eventually cause things like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Just sleep!
Food does not give you energy. Think of your body like a car. You can put in a full tank of premium gas, but the car will go nowhere without a charged battery. Your brain is the battery and to recharge, it needs sleep. To run, it needs fuel/food. You don’t get tired when you run out of food, you get tired when your battery is depleted. So recharge as long as you need to. Go to bed earlier. If you have more energy, the hours you are awake will be more eventful because you’ll be energetic enough to enjoy them. The earlier you go to bed, the better – your hormones and melatonin are linked to the sun and the rhythms of nature – just because you like to stay up late (I do, too) does not mean you are exempt from nature’s laws.
35. Keep your thoughts + wording positive.
The happier and more positive you are, the more good things you will notice – about others and about yourself. The more you accomplish, the better you will feel about yourself and then you will believe you can do even more. You can. Make it all easy on yourself. Believe it can be done. Believe you can afford it, stick with it, and make your life better.
36. Consider the produce section the only part of the grocery store that is actual food.
Your brain will eventually realize certain substances are not food anymore. You will not regard them as such. I walk past things I used to eat and I don’t even notice them – these are things I used to eat 3-5 times a day. Now it just looks like cardboard + poison (because it is).
37. If you’re an extremist you will get extreme reactions. Be prepared.
Not everyone is going to understand. Sometimes it’s best to keep things to yourself. If someone asks, that’s fine, but a lot of people will feel threatened by your changes. It’s funny, because it’s just fruits and vegetables. If someone is offended by what you do, keep doing it and shrug your shoulders. Don’t start drama. If someone has a question and you don’t know the answer, be honest. You will get monotonous questions. “Where do you get your protein” will be #1, guaranteed. You can answer with a studious reply (if you think they actually want to know), or you can say, “I don’t know, but I seem fine, and my doctor isn’t concerned, either.” (again, they don’t need to know your doctor is you!)
38. Get enough calories.
On a raw food diet, there are two sources of calories – fruits (carbohydrates), and fats. Protein is a non-issue. Don’t even worry about it! No matter what you do you will not be getting the majority of calories from protein. Don’t even think about it. There is no such thing as protein deficiency – only starvation. Some people try to live on green juice and lots of nuts. The problem with nuts is that they are acid-forming and are mostly fat. Yes, they have protein, but so do greens, fruits, and all other foods. You just have to eat enough of them to get what you need. Greens and vegetables are very low in calories, so in order to have enough glycogen to burn, and enough nutrition to thrive – fruit is where it’s at. Copious amounts of greens are also necessary for minerals, but the calories in greens are so minimal that you’d have to eat an insane amount to feel like a normal human being. Anything below 1500 calories is a starvation diet. Aim for 2000 calories if you’re a female, OR MORE, and 3000+ if you are male. This is a lot of fruit, yes, but think about other anthropoid apes – we are like them. We have the same anatomy and biology. What do they eat? Fruit and greens. A lot of them. Until they are full. One kind at a time.
39. Realize all the ways you are helping yourself, the environment, animals, other people.
This diet is great for your health, but it is also the most sustainable way to live. No animals need die for your meal. If all the land used for livestock was used to plant fruit trees, this world would be a happier, sweeter place. Everyone would have food. It’s a win-win-win-win situation. Win for your health, win for the animals, win for other people, win for the earth. The only things that lose are the multi-trillion dollar corporations that profit off of your ill health. You think they’re gonna give that up to tell you just to eat some simple fruits + veg!? Ha!
40. Love yourself!
To stick to a diet like this, you need to feel you are awesome. You need to feel that life is worthwhile. Feel it! Some of the most inspiring people out there were once completely depressed, suicidal, and had no self-worth. I was one of them. Every being on this planet is worthwhile, it’s just that most of them do not see it within themselves. It is so easy to become jaded. We are brainwashed every day to think we suck! There is so much awful stuff out there, but there is intense beauty, too! You must first love yourself before you can love another, or the world. It doesn’t make sense until you feel it, man. So feel it. Do it. This is the best, and first way to loving yourself. You will feel so good that you can’t HELP but love yourself and everyone around you!
Here are my top personal health benefits from adhering to this lifestyle!
1! Acne is gone!
2! Depression vanished in 10 days!
3! No more bladder infections (used to have chronic ones!)
4! Sleep very deeply, easily, and vivid dreams.
5! No flu, or colds! In four years! Worst I have had is a runny nose if I ate cooked food.
6! Lighter periods!
8! Candida/itchy skin gone after switching to low-fat!
9! Mental clarity like no one’s business!
10! More energy to do stuff! Woo wooooo!
11! Attitude shift! People who knew me before were like whaaaaaaaa?? especially my parents.
12! Delayed aging! Can you guess my age? I’m probably a lot older than you think.
13! A lot less irritable + more patient!
14! Lost 20 pounds with no physical effort.
15! Hair is glossier and thicker. It also grows very quickly.
16! Improved dental health (except for a stint eating raw honey).
17! Brighter eyes.
18! I don’t burn in the sun anymore (I do not use sunscreen).
19! I recover more quickly from any physical exertion, especially since lowering the fat in my diet.
20! I don’t have to worry about being smelly!
21! Healthy blood, no worries at yearly check-ups, and no medications needed.
22. No cold sores.
23. Perfect digestion.
24. Calm, positive attitude, but also very happy and excitable in general. I used to be a gloomy, cynical mess. I can still get that way, but it’s not as common, and usually due to winter and lack of vitamin D!
These are just some of the benefits I have experienced – many of these are typical, but people with worse problems have also healed.
So try it out! Don’t knock it til you have. I originally started a trial of 30 days, but deep down I knew it was for life.