1. Learn what detox is.
Seriously, I think this is the MOST important thing to do before switching to raw foods. Why? Because otherwise you will think raw food makes you sick, and that you can’t “handle” raw foods. That it might work for other people, but not YOU.
It’s garbage. You have the same internal organs as every other human (unless they were born with a genetic defect or had something removed beforehand).
You cannot expect to go raw overnight, or even within a week or a month without having some crazy “symptoms” – which is just your body cleaning out all the old crap you’ve put into it your whole life. This is a process!
I was eating some cooked food over the winter – not even anything “bad” – just potatoes, and steamed veggies! I went back to all raw at the beginning of June and had no problems, until a few days ago – then I got the same symptoms I always get if I eat cooked and go back to raw – sore throat (acidic, mucusy crap getting ready to heave!), a small cough, then mucus to cough up, a sniffly nose with more mucus to come out, and lethargy – I get light headed and very sleepy. Oh and I get zits. Yay.
All this from a few months of having a little cooked food.
Now imagine what will happen when you go from eating meat, or processed foods, or whatever else you have been eating your whole life? You will probably have a NASTY time and think that raw food is making you sick – actually, it is making you BETTER. It is not actually the food making you better or worse, though – it is the removal of everything that has been making you sick. When I first went raw I was HAPPY to get “sick” because I knew my body was cleaning out. I had read a lot about what would happen so I was like “Gurl, okay!”
I went about it over a course of two months and cut out things one at a time. I hadn’t had red meat or poultry for 12 years, fish for a year, and in those two months up to going raw I had zero animal products. So my detox was not so bad, but if I had not known what to expect, I may have blamed the food and gone back to what I had always done and just medicated myself forever. Booooooo.
If you have had a history of eating a diet with a lot of animal products, I can imagine you will get pretty “sick” so go slowly. You may even want to get colonics or do enemas at home. If you have a degenerative disease, you may want to look into supervised water fasting.
There is a lot of info out there about detoxing via raw foods, so look into it. Ignore the “detox” crap out there that is just looking to make money off you (the stuff you see in stores) – why detox to retox? You have to completely change your lifestyle otherwise you are wasting your time. Once you get through the crappy feelings, you will emerge a DYNAMO. Seriously. Expect miracles.
2. Be prepared.
Make sure you always have a bounty of food around you – fill your fridge with fresh produce. Fill your counter with fruit. Fill your garden with seeds! Fill your cupboards with bowls (you should not have much in your cupboards because you want fresh food – if anything is in your cupboards it should be nuts, seeds, seaweeds, dried herbs if you want. Nix oils, vinegar, salt.
Also be prepared to spend more money on food. You will save money in the long run on doctors, medicine, make-up, etc – you won’t need it. Invest in yourself.
Also expect to eat MORE. Raw foods have less calories than you may be used to, so the volume of food you will be eating may seem excessive. Eventually it will seem normal. Eat as much raw food as you want – the more fruit + greens the better – take it easy on the nuts and seeds (though at first, don’t worry too much – eventually you will not want so much of those things. I was eating 4-5 avocados a day when I started, now 1/2 is enough for me).
3. Toss out everything you won’t eat anymore, or donate it.
This is self-explanatory – but if it’s around you, you are more likely to have a weak moment and indulge, especially if you are not eating enough carbohydrates (FRUIT).
4. Have constant inspiration.
Read as much as you can, and watch videos. I do this daily and have for almost 5 years now. I never get bored of it, so find some good raw inspo. Here are my favourite blogs + youtube channels:
Fully Raw Kristina. My favourite! She is beautiful, eloquent, passionate, and exuberant!
Tannyraw! Excellent advice and a wonderful, peppy attitude.
Tim van Orden. He is the most INSPIRING guy! LOVE him.
Megan Elizabeth. A sweet slice of raw pie, this one! Great recipes and humour.
Blogs + Websites:
The Garden Diet. A long-term, raw food family.
Natalia Rose. She has some AMAZING old articles, check them out.
Books: All listed here.
5. Have an ethical stance.
Getting cravings is normal – you will have memories of certain things tasting amazing, or things that calmed you down, comforted you, whatever. Some of these things may be foods that come from animals or are animal flesh.
Without an ethical stance behind your decisions you may be tempted to eat these foods again. Make sure you know what goes on behind the scenes and burn those images into your brain.