Is 100% Raw A Nice To Have or a Must Have Requirement?

After first learning the concept of raw and living foods, one of two things happen to people. Either they want to go 100% raw today, or they decide that they just want to introduce more raw foods into their diet.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

A lot of health experts argue for and against all kinds of different foods: between eggs, soy, protein, and fish we have enough contradicting information to fill a New York City studio to the ceiling with paperwork.

One thing health experts never argue about, is that including more fruits and vegetables into your diet is a good thing.

Nice to Have Requests

I’m going to use the analogy of software “requirements” and “nice to have” features, because if you’re reading this I know that you know how to use a computer.

The requirements for your email client are that it be able to deliver and receive email, and that it not crash on you. A nice to have feature would be that it can filter your email into different folders and detect spam.

Eating 100% raw is a “nice to have”. None of us wants spam to get through the filter (okay, some people might be looking to grow certain parts of their body – but I digress), so we aim to eliminate spam with our email software.

Some people might wish to be able to just go raw overnight, eliminate all of the unhealthy foods they’re currently eating, and just live blissfully in the land of health foods forever.

Of course it’s not that easy to just go 100% raw overnight. So we keep this idea of being 100% raw as a “nice to have” goal for ourselves. Just like software developers have a hard time to build systems that catch all spam and filter it properly.

Must-Have Requirements

At the other end of the spectrum, everyone has a must-have requirement of eating more fruits and vegetables. In most countries governments recommend that we eat 5-10 fruits and vegetables per day.

Compare your daily intake of fruits and vegetables and see if you meet these recommendations. Didn’t think so. Well, I’m sorry to say but before software developers can release their email programs, they have to make sure that the software can send and receive emails without crashing.

The same goes for you, you need to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet. That’s a must-have requirement! Of course, no one is going to yell at you if you don’t, and I recommend you to be gentle on yourself if you fall short.

Simply becoming aware that you need to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet is the first step in the right direction.

How Close To “You 2.0″ Are You?

Just like software developers, you’re never done. Once a software release is complete, developers need to maintain the product, and get to work on the next version.

Usually requests that didn’t make it into the first version are included in the next version of a software application. If you’re not ready to go all raw, you can leave that to your next version.

How close are you to releasing your current habits and embracing the new you? It’s up to you, and as long as you’ve got an estimate and schedule for your lifestyle changes, you’ll be well on your way to increased health and vitality!

Go Raw or Die Trying?

The other day I came across a Facebook group called “Go Raw or Die Trying”. Since when did going raw become such a do or die situation?

Go Raw or Die Trying
Photo by Bram Cymet

I believe we should be nice to ourselves and our bodies. That means not killing yourself trying to reach the idealized concept of being a 100% raw foodist.

Be Gentle With Yourself

A lot of people when they first learn about raw foods, decide to commit to it completely. That’s exactly what I did when I first learned about raw food.

I chose to be 100% raw or nothing at all. And while I think it’s important to give yourself a 30 day trial on raw foods, I don’t think you should kill yourself trying to be perfect.

After all, we are only human. We have moments of weakness, and we all have things to work through. We all have issues with food that we probably didn’t know we had, which tend to surface when we start eating raw.

Eating raw foods really brings up all these old emotional patterns, whether they have anything to do with food or not.

There’s No Raw Food Police

That’s why I always say there’s no raw food police. I think that raw food is great as an ideal to work toward, but being at 100% raw and killing yourself is much worse than the alternative.

If you can eat 75% to 90% raw, without the guilt trips, without pulling your hair out, and without causing too much trouble in your household, isn’t it much better?

Raw Food Police
Photo by Nik Worthley

Whenever we choose to make changes in our life, we should understand where we’re coming from. If you’ve been eating a highly processed or standard American diet for the last 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years, how can you expect to go raw overnight?

You have to give your body and your emotions, time to catch up with your newly adjusted mental model.

Oh, and by the way food definitely has an impact on our emotions. So you’ll want to make sure that you’re not so hard on yourself.

All Or Nothing vs. A Commitment

Sometimes it’s better to transition into raw foods slowly. Just like you wouldn’t try to run a marathon after years of inactivity without practicing first.

You wouldn’t want to overburden your body with the task of taking out the trash (all the toxins you’ve been gathering over the years) overnight.

When you go raw, there are so many different things that take place.

You’ve got to make different choices in your everyday life, and that’s going to bring up some resistance for yourself and for the rest of the people in your life.

You’ll also experience different physical changes. You might start losing weight, you might be bloated or gassy, you might sleep better or wake up in the middle of the night. You might have cravings, feel hunger pains, or lack energy.

All of these things are perfectly normal, but if you’re taking the stance of needing to be in this 100% raw, you might decide that it’s all too much at once and give up.

Going Raw At Your Own Pace

You have to understand that you’ll still be here in a year from now. So any small changes that you make right now will benefit you in the long term.

So even if you can just cut out coffee, and replace it with a green smoothie or green juice in the morning, you’re doing yourself a great service.

Building up small changes over the long term is a great way to include more raw foods into your diet, without causing you too much emotional stress.

Not to mention that taking it easy, is better for the people in your life. You don’t want to scare them or make them think that you’re going all crazy extremist on them, when they still enjoy eating steak.

What you want is to come up with an action plan that you will follow. You can do a 30 day raw trial, because that will give you motivation and results right away.

Your skin will get clear, your eyes will be brighter, you’ll lose weight if you have to, or gain weight if you need it, you’ll have more energy and you’ll sleep better.

But if you decide that after 30 days it’s going to be tough to keep going, then ease back to maybe 90% raw or 80% raw if that makes you more comfortable.

Because aren’t we all doing this raw food thing for a few simple reasons? We want to be healthier, and we want to live in a safe and healthy environment. So don’t make your environment more toxic by trying to go raw or die trying.