Before you get started, it is good to know and understand the processes which influence your body when you eat cooked food. I will also go through some useful information and tips to take away your first doubts or possible fears to get you going. I will try to take you step by step through your start up and your transitioning phase. I have set up my website as clear and simple as possible so you can follow easily. Still, at the start you might feel overwhelmed but the more you prepare yourself and read, the more you will be convinced you are doing yourself a big favor by eating more, high or totally raw.
What happens when you eat cooked food?
First of all, when you cook your food all the enzymes and most of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids get killed.We lose up to 97% of all water soluble vitamins (B and C) and up to 40% of the lipid soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Heating changes the lipids, the biochemical structure and nutrient values of food. Changed fats get incorporated in the cell wall and interfere with its respiration. Protein and cell structures get disorientated and form new chemical combinations which can cause early aging processes and increase the risk for chronicle diseases, heart diseases and cancer.
Most of the water in your food goes up in the air and so can’t hydrate our body which is built up of 70% water. Your skin is your first indicator when you are lacking water. Sugars are caramelized and fiber is broken down so the food stays in the colon much longer than is good for the body. Molecules lose their arranged order, are destroyed, alternated into free radicals In short; cooked food can’t be recognized anymore by our body because of all those chemical changes and reacts by producing lymphocytes to fight the ‘intruders’. Still wondering why you are feeling tired and feeling like napping after each cooked meal?
What do you get out of raw food?
Raw food is alive; no essential part of it gets destroyed by heating or steaming processes. You will soak all enzymes which will make you feel just as alive, all vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and essential fatty acids will nurture your organs, tissue, muscles and brain. You will be no longer underfed and overweight, but become nurtured, well balanced and slim.
The most striking benefit as a consequence is the energy provided by its alive structure. You won’t feel tired after you ate a raw meal but be energized to go on with your day right away. This is thanks to the enzymes which take care of your digestion immediately: your body doesn’t have to fight toxins or produce enzymes to digest the food. All nutrients stay intact and available to be absorbed right away.
You won’t have to wait for clear changes very long, physically and mentally, because you will start functioning and feeling much better. Besides the bubbling energy you will experience a better concentration, alertness, clarity, inner peace. Emotionally you will feel more connected to yourself.
So it isn’t surprisingly that your mentality will change with it. You will long for honest quality gradually, either in food or in life and relationships. Your choices will be more in alignment with whom you are. This process will evolve in time and the more raw food you include in your diet, the more levels you will go through.
How raw is raw?
Being raw is not about being 100 % raw overnight. It is about adding as much healthy, organic, plant based food as possible gradually and leaving out the food that takes away your energy and health. Many, many issues or complaints will disappear as snow in the sun as soon as you eat 50% raw. From the moment on that you can reach and hold on to 80 %, your body will renew its cells and blood. It will become strong enough to heal itself from illness or uncomfortable symptoms it is suffering from.
If you don’t want to go all the way and become 100% raw, find the percentage that feels good to you. How can you decide on this and bring it into practice? Your motivation will guide you to discover how far you want to go. Other factors may play a role in your life as social pressure, a partner who isn’t interested in following your suggestion, living in an area where it is difficult to find raw products.
No matter how raw you want to be, each step forward is a personal victory and will lead you to feeling better and wanting more. Enjoying your body, being excited about the possibilities and opportunities, having fun while looking for recipes and experimenting are some factors that keep you going and evolve your lifestyle at its own pace.
How can you know how raw you are?
50% 80% 100%
If you only want to be raw for 50% but you would like to have some control over this percentage, you can make each meal half raw by putting 50% fresh vegetables on your plate.
To be 80% raw you can for instance have breakfast, lunch and snacks raw, dinner as usual. Or you can decide on eating raw during the week and eat ‘normal’ with your family or friends on Sunday or during weekends. The first option is the easiest and most consistent one but it is a possibility. You can also turn around the meals if you are having social commitments which involve a brunch for instance. Eat the rest of the day raw.
You are 100% raw when you only eat and drink unprocessed, uncooked, plant based foods.
Which foods can you eat?
Although you are leaving out a lot of foods when you go raw, they can all be replaced. Don’t think of what you can’t eat anymore but focus on the abundance of what raw food will be offering you.
- Alive foods such as sprouted seeds and grains, fermented drinks and foods.
- All organic, unprocessed, pesticide, GMO and preservatives free vegetables and fruits
- Sprouted legumes and beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried fruit
- Edible weeds and flowers
- Sea vegetables and algae
- Oils and apple cider vinegar
- Seasonings, stimulants as ginger and chili
- Flavorings such as vanilla extract
- Natural sweeteners such as Yakon syrup, Agave Nectar or Stevia
- Pure water
What can you make?
You can make a raw version of every cooked recipe. Don’t let the unknown and the first image you have when you hear the term “raw food” scare you off. Let the variety surprise you. You will still be able to make your favorite pizza or spaghetti. They will be even better! Have a look at some suggestions.
- Raw soups by using a blender or hand mixer. They can be just as creamy, spicy or savory as cooked soups.
- Milk made of raw nuts or seeds. Made in one to a few minutes, delicious and without health threatening issues.
- Raw muesli for breakfast made of raw nuts, seeds, raisins, dates and fruits of your choice.
- Green smoothies or fruit smoothies.
- Sushi’s, nori rolls without meat or fish. They are the best!
- Rice, made of shredded cauliflower or jicama, any white vegetable which gives the texture of rice.
- Steak of portobello mushrooms.
- Spaghetti or tagliatelle made of long vegetables. They have the same al dente feeling. You hardly notice the difference.
- Lasagna made of zucchini instead of pasta.
- Raw pizza’s are amazing!
- Hamburgers of nuts, seeds and herbs taste so much better than their origin
- Dressings and dip sauces of nuts, herbs and seasonings.
- Vinegars of cold pressed oils, raw apple cider vinegar and herbs.
- Breads of vegetables, seeds and herbs, crackers.
- Sprouted bread.
- Snacks such as all kinds of flavored chips, made from kale or sliced and dried vegetables, your favorite cookies.
- Raw tortilla wraps, green leaves wraps.
- Thai, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian dishes.
- Salads, seaweeds salads.
- Noodles made from kelp.
- Desserts such as ice creams, chocolate mousse made of avocado and raw chocolate are heavenly.
- Raw pie and cakes made of raw chocolate, cheese pies of berries, bananas or lime.
- Raw chocolates that can’t be compared with any others.
- Alcohol free cocktail drinks will give you a kick.
- Juices of any vegetable or fruit you have laying around.
Where can you find inspiration?
Start with simple, fast and easy recipes. Raw food can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It is such a misunderstanding that preparing raw recipes are time consuming. You can find many recipes which don’t require a lot of equipment and time.
Find some inspiration for three raw days in my free eBook “Raw for 3 Days!” for you. You can download it when you leave you email address in my sign up box in the right side bar. I am working on a next recipe source for you already and will let you know when it will be launched.
The internet is a great source if you are looking for something. The first time you are trying out something, follow the recipe as it is written to learn about techniques, combining tastes and to find out how much the texture and flavors are pleasing your taste buts. Next time you can change the things you would like to be different and experiment. After a while when you understand the properties of foods you will be tempted to create your own.
Buy a nice book you really like and enjoy trying out. The internet is offering many great books of great raw chefs. Look for a book which will inspire you, not frustrate you because recipes might be too challenging or complicated. Start simple and evolve as you are learning and discovering your style.
What can a raw day look like?
- Breakfast: a green smoothie or a fresh fruit salad with lots of bright colors or a raw muesli with nut milk
- Lunch: a big varied salad with tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, herbs such as cilantro, basil, parsley, sprouts, a vinegar and a spicy guacamole on top.
- Dinner: a raw spaghetti made of zucchini with marinara sauce
- Dessert: raw chocolate mousse with mango or raw chocolate ice cream
- Snack: trail mix of nuts, goji berries and chocolate nibs or a fresh fruit juice
- Tea of fresh herbs and some raw honey before bed time
- In between; a lot of water
Raw in seven steps
Getting started with raw food isn’t as difficult as you might think. When you feel ready to commit to this new lifestyle you will be amazed by the possibilities and opportunities. To be successful there are a few steps to go through. Some of them are about your thoughts, others are about action, practical organization or just having fun and feel excited.
You can take as many steps as you want or need toward raw food. This is a seven step program I am preparing for you. But following these steps, you can start yourself too. If you prefer to be guided and want help to get you through all stages, look forward to the launching of this Ravishing Raw FooDprint.
For now you can follow this lead to get the most out of it.
- Get your mindset together, your goal defined, your motivation up.
- Start alkalizing your body by adding greens to your diet. Your natural detox is starting here.
- Start leaving out the foods which aren’t good for you while replacing them with raw food alternatives.
- Time for action; throw out all food that might tempt you and distract you from your focus.
- Set up your raw kitchen and enjoy the new possibilities!
- Set up your system to make raw food as easy and nice possibly.
- Learn how to plan your menus.
Some tips to be successful
- The greener you start you day, the easier it is to hold on to your healthy lifestyle! The first taste or food your body receives is the one it will be craving and asking for during the rest of the day.
- If you cook or steam vegetables, do it as short as possible.
- Take the time you need and don’t force yourself. It has to feel comfortable, nice, challenging, encouraging, motivating. It has to be FUN!
- Vary your food and choose foods out of all ranges, don’t get stuck in certain food groups only as nuts or chocolate.
- Make some juices and/or smoothie(s) every day. It is the best way to get used to all the greens, receive more nutrients you ever had and to detox your body in a very natural way.
- If you want to eliminate toxins faster, fast a few days on fresh juices (as many as you want or need).
- If you want to take it slower but still effective, fast one day a week on juicy juices and add simple but yummy salads to your day when you are hungry.
- Make your meals as nice as possible, make them pretty, sit down in peace, and take your time to chew very thoroughly.
- Have fun with looking for recipes that can tempt you.
- Make some lovely chocolates and have them stored in your refrigerator so when you are craving, you won’t be drawn to old habits but to your very own creations.
- When you feel hungry, eat a raw chocolate: it will satisfy you and stop your hunger.
- Throw out all junk food and replace it by lovely fresh greens and fruits.
- Always have enough healthy ingredients in the house.
- Make a little bit more of special treats and store them in the refrigerator so they are within reach on difficult moments.
- Try to read and gain knowledge as much as possible.
- Start finding out about food combining and use more foods that are easily digested.
- It would be just great if you would schedule some colonics to get rid of many pounds of lifelong plaque in your intestines. It will clean your colon, energize you, make you feel lighter (lose weight) and make you leap forward in this great adventure!
When you change your diet from S.A.D. to raw, or when you simply add much more greens than you are used to, a natural detox process will take place. With every detox side effects can occur because your body is releasing its toxins and wastes. Each cleanse is different so I can’t predict how yours will be but you may experience reactions going from diarrhea, nausea, head aches, skin rashes or pimps, dizziness, fatigue and more coughing because of the release of mucus. Nothing to worry about and they will disappear by themselves after a while. That you are having these side effects also means you are detoxing indeed! So you are doing just great.
If you have been ill or are still suffering from a disease, old symptoms might pop up for a few days or current symptoms might worsening. Don’t let this discourage or scare you: it is totally normal and all discomforts will fade away, depending how toxin you are. Rest and be gentle to yourself. It might be over or much better next day already.
Another detox effect concerns your emotions; they too will be affected by this cleansing. It is possible that you will have sudden sad, lonely moments and dips throughout the day without any assignable reason. Although raw food makes you feel much better than ever, this emotional detox can appear in between the abundance of energy and general feel good. Just realize these are moments you are letting go of feelings that have been detoxing your life and that they will pass. A raw journey is a wake up call: it will open your eyes and confront you with your life, you will look at it differently, ask yourself if this is what you want. This might be painful but you will come out as a much stronger person.
Don’t let this scare you off though: there are a lot of ways to get the support you need. If this raw food lifestyle is what you really want, you are strong enough to get there. Just find out what can help you through this phase, books or maybe following a program, going to a workshop, listening at some teleclasses about the topic or you contact me for some one to one coaching. Also use my website and my blog to gather what you have to know to help yourself. I am constantly adding new content so you can always find something new.
Focus on what will come, get excited by your new, radiant life ahead and don’t look back but make a leap to what is waiting for you. Learn from people who are there already and who can teach you the skills to get there yourself. Find a good match to work with and to reach your ultimate goal, no matter what. Make this journey as easy and wonderful as possible for yourself because this is what it is: an inspiring and fulfilling (r)evolution.
How can you handle the side effects of a detox?
When you are having a lot of side effects, this might be a signal that you are detoxing to fast. Slow down a bit by eating a cooked meal that day.
Each time when you have a side effect, drink a glass of water and you will feel better in a few minutes. During a detox you have to drink more water than usual to flush all the toxins. If you don’t do this the released toxins won’t leave your body and you will feel sick. To know how much water you need for your constitution, use the following easy formula.
Drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water. For example if you weigh 160 pounds you need 80 ounces of water, meaning about ten glasses of 8 oz. During a detox, try to drink more water. The color of your urine is a good indicator to know if you are drinking enough. If it is dark yellow, you are dehydrating. Urine should be almost colorless.
Some tricks to drink more water are: start your day with a 8 oz glass of water. Drink a whole glass every hour. Always have a glass around and take sips all the time.
Social side effects
What if you are asked for a dinner in a restaurant? Or invited at a party? You don’t have to avoid social occasions. With some tricks you can avoid discussions if you don’t feel like explaining your new lifestyle. Bear in mind that you don’t have to justify yourself for your lifestyle. If people are showing genuine interest you can share your ideas with them with self confidence.
When you are at the start of eating raw, keep your new diet to yourself when you know the people you are with will have difficulties to understand it. If you feel insecure and they ask questions you can’t answer you might lose faith in what you are doing.
Wait with these kinds of confrontations until you have enough background information. Being able to answer their questions will enhance your self confidence so you can keep balanced.
When you are invited for lunch or dinner, you can make the best choice within your pallet of foods. Most restaurants offer salads. If not, stay as close to a healthy dish as possible. Maybe they offer steamed vegetables.
As a starter it is very easy to choose a gazpacho soup or a small salad. Or you can leave out an entree. An aperitif doesn’t have to be an alcoholic drink. Pick out a nice juice or ask the waiter if they can make a fresh juice for you.
As main dish pick a nice salad. No one will find it strange. You can always ask to leave off shrimps, cheese or meat and to add some more vegetables. Instead of a dressing based on eggs and diary, ask for a vinegar.
Once you are more used to your new lifestyle you can inaugurate your best friends and family without being afraid of their reactions.
Some common beginner mistakes
- Don’t overeat in nuts. A handful of nuts a day is enough. All nuts except for almonds are acid forming. To keep your body alkaline you can’t eat too many of them. Too many nuts can also dehydrate your body.
- Add enough variety in your raw diet to prevent that you get stuck. Keep looking for new recipes so you can stay excited.
- Raw food is much more than just salads. Dive into other possibilities and use different techniques so you don’t get bored.
- Try to play with all six flavors of food.
Staying raw on travel can be quiet challenging. These tricks will help you. The better you prepare your travel, the easier you can hold on to raw food without being hungry.
- If you are flying international, buy a box with several departments so you can take a nice fruit salad, a salad, a dressing and some raw cookies or chocolates with you. You can take some apples as well if you want to.
- If you have to fly intercontinental, dressings are a problem and your food can be taken away. Raw nori rolls are a very nice alternative then; the pate inside is firm and yet moisture enough to eat. Or you can make kelp noodles coated with a sauce instead of taking a dressing separate.
- Take sufficient food with you so you aren’t tempted to eat airplane food which can make you feel sick when you are raw.
- Make some crackers at home, some bread, maybe even some kale chips to take.
- Chocolates will melt when not refrigerated, but macaroons survive a long distance flight and stay fresh for a long time.
- Pack them well so they don’t get bad. If you make it look as if they are bought you might pass customs easier. Buy some carton boxes in a specialized store.
- If you are staying in a hotel, pick out the foods who are closest to healthy choices at the buffet.
- All hotels offer fruit or fruit salads and fresh orange juice in the morning.
- A lot of hotels have a blender. Ask them to make a smoothie for you with the vegetables and fruits of your choice.
- At lunch you can easily pick only raw vegetables and make yourself a nice salad.
- Take a small bottle in your suitcase with some olive oil. Amino Braggs sell small spray bottles you can travel with and use discretely on your salads to season them.
- Pack your favorite superfoods in their original package. Measure the amount you will use during the days you will be gone. If customs take your superfoods out, you won’t lose too much money.
- When you are going to another continent, don’t take hemp seeds because they can be related to drugs. Nuts and berries can be a problem as well because they are alive food and not allowed to take.
- If any problems with customs, you can always justify yourself by saying you are on a gluten free diet. It is a well known diet and customs might turn around then.
- Find a farmers market or a whole food store and buy some organic fruit and vegetables. A salad can be made so easily in your hotel room.
- Treat yourself on a personal blender which is strong enough to crush ice. The Tribest personal blender is a great solution, small, light and strong. You can get rid of it in a corner of your suitcase and you can make your green smoothies in your room.
- You can also take a potato peeler in your suitcase to slice up a zucchini and make a tomato sauce in your personal blender for a raw spaghetti.
- Look up and print some very easy and fast recipes to take with you. A guacamole or an avocado mousse only ask for a small blender and will complete your salad or take away a sweet craving.