Eating raw food is in many ways a lot easier than consuming cooked meals. Food travels much easier and you don’t have to worry about heating things up. Why do you think sandwiches are so popular?
The best way to accomplish changing to a natural healing way of eating is to start slowly. Just try adding one new healthy dish at a time, substituting it for an established one, and go from there.
Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes. I was so fired up after taking my first class that I made too many raw foods at once. Being organic, they went bad before I could eat them all. I didn’t have any plan of action and threw out way too much stuff, a very expensive mistake.
That's one thing eating raw food does require - planning ahead. After you get used to it, though, it is no big deal. Remember, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
It’s pretty much a given that around noon on most days, you are going to need to eat something. The same thing goes for mornings and evenings. So don’t wait until those times to decide what you are going to eat. Plan in advance what you are going to have and prepare accordingly.(This takes a lot of pressure off of you, too. Who hasn't come home from work and stressed out over what to fix for dinner?)
A Word of Caution
If you jump into eating raw food without transitioning first, it may send you into major detox so I advise against doing that. Gradually add in eating raw food and monitor how you feel. Any amount of raw food that you can add to your daily diet will be beneficial to you.
Detoxing from eating raw food may send you into what is called the Herxheimer reaction, sometimes called Herx or Herxing for short. It is also referred to as a Healing Crisis.
is a very common effect and is to be embraced because it means that you
are making a wonderful, vital difference in your life: you are cleaning
out your system and gaining holistic health.Slowly transitioning into a raw foods diet will help minimize the symptoms of this reaction.
The Herxheimer Reaction
(from Jordan Rubin’s newsletter)
“Is it ever good to feel bad? In some cases, yes. When you start a new treatment for an illness, your symptoms might increase at first, leaving you wondering if you're really getting healthier at all. This is called a Herxheimer reaction.
This is the "die-off" effect that many people experience when they dramatically improve their diet and lifestyles. It is an allergic response to the toxic by-products produced when the body's pH is changed for the better. When this happens, large numbers of dangerous bacteria and yeast organisms die and leave the body.
During this period, you won't feel very well, but in reality, you are responding positively to treatment. After this initial detoxification period, you should see significant improvement of your symptoms.”
These symptoms may manifest themselves as making you feel as if you have the flu or a bad cold, but the mucous is just draining toxins from your body. Hang in there and see it through - it will be well worth it.
A few beginning guidelines for a raw food diet:
1. Try to buy organic foods wherever possible even though the price is higher than for conventionally grown food. Our local grocery stores are doing a great job of providing these as often as possible, but you will have to go to Whole Foods or Natural Foods Warehouse to get some items.
2. Always soak raw raisins, dates, nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. The first two are soaked (for one to two hours) because they take fluid from the body if not pre-moistened. Nuts are soaked (for eight hours) to remove the enzyme inhibitors, so always pour off the water from them.
Don't use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, because of the preservatives. Also be sure there are no sulfites as preservatives in the dried ones. Soak the dried tomatoes for at least two hours. This will prevent your food processor and blender from bouncing all over the counter top when you try to process them.
Soak beans (like garbanzos) just until they have a little "tail" coming out of them. If you soak them too much and the tails are longer, they will taste bitter.
Example: The picture of the vase on the left is of one cup of macadamia nuts before soaking. The picture on the right is after they have been soaked and the water poured off of them.
That is one cup of raw dried nuts soaked overnight. Notice how they have expanded somewhat in size and are white in color. They are now ready to use in a recipe.
3. Use a Vitamix blender if at all possible as they can take the severe use. All of the raw living foods recipes will fit into a 7 to 8 cup food processor, which is also a beneficial item to have.
4. A rule of thumb for peeling raw fruits and vegetables: if they can sit out on your kitchen counter for a week and be OK, then they have enzyme inhibitors on them and must be peeled or carefully washed (apples, bananas, oranges, avocados, etc.). If they need to be refrigerated to keep (zucchini, squash, bell peppers etc.), they can be eaten as is (one exception is cucumbers but that is because they are waxed).
5. You should only use filtered, bottled or “good” well water at all times. This is very important for long-lasting health in eating raw food.
6. All measurements are the pre-soaked amounts, i.e. 1 cup of raw almonds or raisins before they are soaked. The volume will increase in size dramatically after soaking.
7. Lemon juice is our only preservative in eating raw food diets and you will use it often. I personally do not buy organic lemons, unless I am going to use the zest of one, as they are pretty expensive. Just be sure to wash the conventional ones well with Veggie Wash or an eco-friendly soap (such as Seventh Generation).
8. To get pesticides off of produce, you may want to investigate purchasing a Lotus Sanitizing System. This does work very well, but it is a bit pricey and isn’t totally necessary.
9. Raw nuts are what we use to create “creaminess” in raw and living food recipes, such as salad dressings or “cheese” sauces. The most common ones used for this are macadamia nuts, pine nuts and Brazil nuts.All need to be soaked before using. Purchase nuts from an organic market if possible. In a pinch, you can buy macadamias at Kroger in the popcorn section (snacks) but they will be roasted and salted.
Raw pine nuts (also called Pignoli nuts) can be found in that section too, as well as in the produce section. (Woodland Farms organic is the best value for the price) and in with the produce, hanging up (brand name Melissa’s).
10. We use lots of coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil in eating raw food and these should both be organic. Natural Foods Warehouse has really good deals on the olive oil frequently and the coconut oil can be ordered by the gallon from Dr. Mercola’s site, as well as purchased at some local grocery stores in smaller quantities.
11. When you use garlic, it should always be raw and as fresh as possible. Ideally, you should eat a few cloves of freshly crushed raw garlic a day, but I realize that it is not always possible to do this.
All cloves of garlic are not created equal. The two pieces off the cutting board are the size of one clove of garlic. The one on the far right on the board is approximately two cloves and the one to the left of it is probably three or four. So judge according to size.
When peeling garlic, use the flat side of a knife to crush the clove first (improves the flavor, too.) Then the skins come off easily.
12. If you make too much of a raw recipe and can’t finish it all, it is okay to freeze it, although you lose 20% of the nutrients by doing so. Still, this is preferable to having to throw it out.
I am always eating raw food everywhere I go, even on trips. By putting it in individual
containers, I can grab and go if necessary (as it often is). So you can
have fast food after all! I call it Grab and Go Goodness.