Wondering how to go raw? What's the first step in going raw vegan? Whether you are giving raw foods a week or a lifetime, reinforcing yourself with the raw food tools, education and foods you need to feel satisfied will keep you from lapsing back into cooked food. As with all things new, it takes a little extra time at first. You have new techniques, new ingredients, new lingo, maybe even some new gadgets. Soon enough, it will all be second nature.
Most raw foodists say the biggest hurdles are the lack of available raw foods in restaurants and social pressures. By fortifying your kitchen as well as your resolve, you'll be many steps ahead of the game when beginning with raw foods.
1. Stock Your Pantry
When getting started with raw foods, what could be more important than simply having plenty of food around? Since you are going to be making a whole lot of food now, you'll need to make a special trip to the market to stock your pantry with all the fun new ingredients of your life. Peruse your new raw recipe books for all those exciting new words like nama shoyu, wakame and agave nectar. Over time you can build up your collection of spices, nuts, and seeds. These are the investments in your new raw food lifestyle that will reap you many rewards and steer you away from the frustration of feeling like there is 'nothing to eat' when new to raw foods. Be sure to buy some raw cacao!
2. Prepare Food Before Going Live
Get yourself started by preparing some foods ahead of time, before you dive in completely. Having some yummy raw food munchies around like flax crackers, raw granola or dehydrated fruit can be life savers when you need something to hold you over. Jump into culturing with some cashew cheese, kim chi or sauerkraut. Having one or two raw food pates around is always a good thing. You can add them to salads, use them as a dip for fresh veggies or as a spread for a raw wrap or raw pizza. Clearly, having some raw food desserts on hand is one of the finest, and alas easiest, ways to keep your raw boat afloat when you're still new to raw foods.
3. Meal Planning and Satiating Substitutions
When getting started with raw foods, making a meal plan, even if you only loosely follow it, can relieve some of the daily pressure that can accompany a new diet and lifestyle. It saves you time at the market as well as time spent standing around the kitchen wondering what you're in the mood for. Amongst the most important nuances to plan for are new substitutions for the snacks and treats that are sprinkled throughout your days. Whether it's coffee breaks, birthday cakes, midnight snacks, or a day at the beach, you don't want to find yourself in the situation where everyone has some yummy little treat except you! So plan ahead and incorporate some of your favorite morsels into the kitchen schedule.
4. Educate Yourself and Others
Though awareness of the raw food diet is rapidly growing, there are still many people who have never even heard of it before. Prepare yourself to answer some questions about nutrition, where you get your protein and what you eat for dinner. There may even be times when you feel that you have to defend your choices. Having all the right information at the ready will be a big relief at the family dinner table when nobody can fathom that you aren’t eating mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. This knowledge will guide you through your days as you choose your meals, and it will permanently change the way you look at food.
5. Create a Strong Support System
A good strong support system is essential for anyone new to the raw food diet. Since you cannot always find a local group of raw foodists, it is such a good thing we have the internet. It is easier every day to connect with other raw foodists and communities while simultaneously providing support and validation to others on the same path. If you can join or create a local network, or even have access to raw food restaurants, you will feel the benefits of strength in numbers. Surprisingly, most folks won’t even notice what you are eating, or not eating, unless you point it out. You may find it easiest in the beginning to keep your choice private until you are feeling a little more stable on your raw feet.
6. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Whether the goal of your raw food diet choice is weight loss, improved health and fitness or alleviation of an acute condition, keeping your attention focused on the results continually inspires you to keep moving forward. Hang up pictures, images or inspiring words on your refrigerator, in your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. Visualization boards are all the rage these days. Try making one filled with images of succulent, juicy raw fruits, vibrant vegetables, verdant greens, people with bright smiles and glowing skin and inspiring quotes from other raw foodists or celebrities. Take a moment every day to imagine yourself having achieved your goals and feeling filled with vitality, strength and peace of mind. It is only a matter of time!