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5 Know How Tips for the Raw Food Beginner
Are you new to the raw food diet and finding it hard to maintain? Do you feel like a raw food newbie, surrounded by thriving veteran raw foodists?
Fear not, dear reader! These 5 know how tips will give any raw food beginner the confidence and the know-how to succeed on a low fat, raw vegan diet. You'll be a thriving raw foodist in no time.
#1: Know How to Pick Good Quality Fruit
This is #1 on the list for a reason. Knowing how to choose fresh, ripe, and delicious raw produce - as well as knowing how much food you need for the day and what fruits you enjoy - is a huge factor in your raw success.
My original decision to give low fat, high fruit raw vegan a chance was rather impulsive. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and didn't know where to turn. I had been on what I thought at the time was the healthiest diet in the world: cooked vegan. The anemia, excess weight, and joint pains that plagued me screamed that the diet wasn't working and so raw foods seemed like the next logical step.
Unlike most of the decisions in my life, I just kind of went for it! I started by eating about 75% raw and saw results immediately. I had much more energy, experienced immediate weight loss, had more focus, etc. This got me so excited that I felt I had to go 100% raw right away!
Because I was still a new player in the raw food game, I had to go through a lot of trial and error. It became shockingly clear how little I knew about produce and what a newbie I was at choosing anything close to edible. I can't tell you the number of times I threw away wads of cash on rock hard, never to ripen, out of season, tasteless fruits and turned to cooked foods for sustenance!
My best advice to you is to take it slow. Gradually adding in raw, sweet fruit to your diet will allow you to learn as you go along without worrying about "slipping up" on cooked foods. For more on transitioning, I suggest you check out my free mini-course The Fool Proof Transition to Raw. A new lesson will be sent to your inbox each week and all you have to do is visit www.fitonraw.com and subscribe there.
Did I mention it's free?
#2: Know How to Make Simple (Yet Tasty) Raw Recipes
Many raw food beginners feel that a low fat raw vegan diet is completely tasteless and way too boring. I understand that eating foods in their whole states can seem a little bland at first. Okay, maybe REALLY bland!
Well, that's where raw recipes come in!
To get started, I recommend that you experiment with fruit salads, fruit smoothies and green smoothies. A fruit salad is just a few different varieties of fruits mixed together. For instance, I love equal parts of chopped papaya, orange, and pineapple mixed together in a big bowl. So juicy and refreshing!
A fruit smoothie is a few different fruits blended together. In most cases, the base is a denser fruit like bananas, mangoes, or papayas. Smaller portions of other fruits are then added to the base. My favorite smoothie is 3 bananas, 2 oranges, and 1 cup of wild blueberries. How much water you add to your drink will depend on how thick you like it. I usually start with 1 cup.
A green smoothie is just a fruit smoothie with greens added to it. These are great to help cut the sweetness in your meal and help you get in your greens for the day. An always popular green smoothie is 5 bananas, 1 cup of blueberries, and 2 handfuls of romaine. When adding greens, start with small handfuls. Trust me, a grassy smoothie is not very appetizing.
I also recommend that you have at least one savory recipe that you really, really enjoy. Salsas with lots of tomatoes and celery are great and you can use them as a dressing over greens to give a heartier feel to the dish. You can also make lots of delicious raw soups or blended salads using saltier veggies as your base.
#3: Know How to Eat Enough
Yes, I know I harp on calorie consumption A LOT. That's because it's important! The best quality fruit and the tastiest raw recipes will do NOTHING for your success if you don't eat enough. It becomes all to easy to slip back into cooked food eating habits when you're running on empty.
So how do you make sure you are consuming the right amount of food? First, multiply your ideal weight by 10. This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the calories you would need if you remained in bed all day. Second, add any calories that you burn during the day to your BMR. This is dependent upon your lifestyle. For instance, someone who works in construction will use many more calories than someone working a desk job. Lastly, add any calories you burn from exercise. Voila! Now you have a rough estimate of how much food you need per day.
It's important to remember that this is just an estimate. If you don't feel satisfied eating this amount, just gradually increase how much sweet fruit you eat during a meal. The general rule is that satiation should last between 3-5 hours after you have eaten.
#4: Know How to Move Your Body
Exercise can be a lifesaver if you are new to raw foods and struggling with cooked food cravings. As I stated in my How to Earn Your Raw Food article, breaking a sweat can create true hunger and actually have you craving simple raw foods. I've never enjoyed my simple fruit meals as much as I do after an intense workout!
If you're new to exercise, don't sweat it (pun intended)! A simple jog around the neighborhood or a game of badminton or a dip in the pool can do wonders for your eating efforts. A little exercise goes a long way! :)
#5: Know How to Have Fun
Just this past month, I had a lot of fun produce shopping. Not only did I visit my favorite farmers market, but I also learned about a Hispanic market a few minutes from my house. I had actually known about this place for quite some time, but was hesitant to go there because it was in a not-so-nice part of town.
Anyway, I headed over there with my Dad and was amazed by the variety and quality of produce available. There were at least 10 different types of greens that I had never heard of!
But the really spectacular part was the produce. Not only did the store have sapodilla, mamey, guava, and my favorite mangoes, they carried JACKFRUIT! I could not believe it.
It really is so much fun to come across foods that you have never seen in person or never even heard of. I am constantly surprised and amused by all the different varieties of produce out there.
And even "normal" produce is exciting! Just look at some of the foods you will be dining on: bananas, oranges, grapes, apples, peaches, strawberries, cantaloupe, pears, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, tangerines, mangoes, nectarines, apricots, blueberries, watermelon, romaine, boston lettuce, bok choy, celery, tomatoes, bell pepper...all of which can be found at your local grocery store!
And don't forget all the fun you can have making (and eating) simple raw recipes with these ingredients. The combinations and taste sensations are endless.
For more information on the best raw vegan diet, be sure to visit Fit On Raw and subscribe to Swayze’s newsletter Peachy Keen Ezine. By subscribing, you will also receive the free report The 4 Principles of a Healthy Raw Diet as well as the 5-week mini-course The Fool Proof Transition to Raw.