Is It Necessary To Go 100% Raw?

With more and more talk about the benefits of a high raw diet, I think it’s important to stress the idea of transitioning to raw.

I don’t think everyone can go 100% raw overnight on their own.

Raw as an Investment For Your Health

For most of us, food is a nuisance. (I used to think this a lot before I went raw!) It’s a drain on our bank accounts, our schedules, and our energy.

Sometimes we eat out of necessity, opting for the quickest option that we can chow down on so that we can get back to the real important stuff.

Other times food can be a way to medicate ourselves. We might eat when we’re bored, feeling emotional, avoiding problems that need to be solved or work that needs to be done, and so on.

Let’s take a different perspective of the food that we eat. What if the food that we ate was solely seen as the fuel for our bodies and minds? Just like you wouldn’t put random household ingredients into your car’s gas tank, you should invest in the correct fuel for your car.

In this case the food you eat is an investment for your body, for the long-term.

Raw carrots, yum yum!
Photo by John Watson

Raw Food Diet Definitions

In the spirit of accepting that every one of us is at a different place along our journey, let’s look at the different options that you have for incorporating more raw foods into your diet.

  • 100% Raw: People who go 100% raw overnight, tend to experience great benefits soon after they go raw. Sometimes however, being 100% raw is too strict and these people can flop back and forth between 100% raw, high raw, and going back to their original eating habits. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, as long as you aren’t taking yourself too seriously, or are afraid of reverting back to your not-so-good eating habits.
  • High Raw: The definition of high raw is between 80%-99% Raw raw foods. What this means is that people who are high raw intend to eat raw all of the time, but that there are certain circumstances that are beyond their control. For example, they might eat a condiment or a sauce that isn’t raw, or even go for some cooked vegan options if they are stuck. People who are high raw have the advantage of being lenient with themselves, and not beating themselves up for not adhering to their standards.
  • Raw Until Dinner: One of the simplest ways to add more raw foods into your diet, is to go raw until dinner. The idea is that you eat raw meals for breakfast, and lunch, and your snacks are raw. Then dinner is up to you, you can choose to eat the foods that you always eat, but you’ll notice that soon enough you’ll be attracted to eating more healthful foods even in the evening.
  • Transitioning To Raw: If you just learned about raw foods, and you want to take the slow and steady road to eating more raw foods, transitioning is the way to go. When you’re transitioning, you choose exactly which meals and what it is you’re going to eat for each day, and try to fit in as many raw fruits and vegetables as you can. One of the ways of doing this is to drink a big green smoothie either in the morning, or as a snack in the afternoon. I personally transitioned to raw foods for over a year, before actually choosing to take the high raw path.

Bear In Mind

Everyone is different, and we all have different experiences with food from our past. It’s important to take into account that just because your mind has decided to eat more healthful fruits and vegetables, doesn’t mean that your body is in agreement yet.

Sometimes we have resistance when it comes to changing our eating habits. It helps to have a buddy who can keep you accountable. Having a whole group to support you is even better!

There’s no raw food police, and you don’t need to destroy yourself esteem trying to go 100% raw overnight.

Is Raw Food Contagious?

In this post I’m going to explore how contagious raw food can be. Not necessarily as easily “catchable” as the common cold, but it’s definitely catching on.

Here are some of the random occurrences of meeting people who were into raw foods.

Raw Larabars
Photo by Amy Vuong

The Checkout Girl

The other day I went to the grocery store to stock up on Larabars for myself and my dad. (The fact that my relatively small town carries Larabars is enough of an indication that raw foods are becoming more mainstream, but I disgress.)

We decided to take one of each different kind of Larabar, just to keep things fun.

When we got to the cash register, the sales clerk scanned the Larabars and then stopped to talk to us. She said she loved the Cashew Cookies bar, and that she had just tried the pistachio variety recently.

I told her that cashew cookie was one of my favorites too. She was surprised to see them on sale, since they were $.30 cheaper than the last time she bought one.

I told her that the prices had gone down, permanently. She was surprised and excited.

I don’t know about you, but when a chocolate bar gets cheaper, that usually means it’s because the product isn’t selling well or something. That’s not the case for Larabars though.

The smiling sales clerk was very excited, and said she would stock up on Larabars now.

She continued to check out the rest of the food that we were buying, which consisted mainly of green and leafy veggies. She seemed to have a bounce in her step, and she was very enthusiastic about how many Larabars we were buying.

I was happy that to find out that someone other than me buys Larabars! The higher the turnover, the more indication that raw food is taking the world by storm!

Raw Vegan Librarians!
Photo by Celeste RC

The Librarian

A few days later, while I was at the library stocking up on books, I ran into a librarian who I have known for years.

She asked me what I was up to these days, and I mentioned that I was starting a website about raw food to help people go raw.

“Raw food?” She asked.

“Yeah, it’s all about uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds,” I replied.

“Oh I know all about raw foods! I ate raw for many many years. I read books by Victoria Boutenko and her children,” She said with a big smile.

Now I wasn’t surprised, because this woman had been a vegetarian ever since I could remember. Of course being vegetarian in these parts of Canada is considered a little bit weird, so image how far out vegan or raw foodists might be.

In any case we discussed quite a few ideas and even a few simple recipes together. She told me that the only reason she stopped eating raw, is because everybody else around her was not eating raw.

She enthusiastically mentioned that she had the most energy while she was eating raw.

I thanked her for the books and for the nice chat, and I skipped all the way home like a happy bunny.

These are just some of my feel-good “raw food going mainstream” examples from the last week.

** Have you ever experienced any fun raw food moments that made you think “Yes, raw food can and will go mainstream!”? If so share below in the comments!

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.

Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Fudge

Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Raw Vegan Fudge
This delicious recipe is brimming with colorful antioxidants & superfoods!

One of the things that I don’t miss after going raw, are conventional deserts. I used to be the candy and cake girl, but now I no longer feel guilty to indulge my sweet tooth.

There are tons of healthy raw vegan desert recipes, and it’s just a matter of trying them out. I filmed this video to show you how to make this zesty Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Fudge!

The Ingredients

Grind the dried goji berries up first, then place all the other ingredients into the food processor except for the soaked goji berries and the orange zest. (If you used raw cashews instead of raw cashew butter, then grind those up before adding the rest of the ingredients.)

Then place your mixture into a serving bowl and hand mix the soaked goji berries and orange zest. Set the fudge to cool in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving. Garnish with the slices of your zested orange, and enjoy!

The Tools You’ll Need

If you have a high speed blender like a Vita-mix, then you can make the whole recipe in your Vitamix. However, you can just as easily make this recipe in your food processor. My recommended food processor is the KitchenAid 700-Watt 12-Cup Food Processor.

You can buy this food processor from Amazon, where it has a 4.5/5 star rating!

Also, you might want to pick up an orange zester that is better than the one I used in my video. It took me quite awhile to zest that whole orange, so I think you’d be better off using something like the Chef’n PalmZester Citrus Zester. Just saying.

Let Me Know How You Like It

If you’ve gotten the chance to make this recipe, then please let me know how you enjoyed it. I’m always looking for feedback and ideas on how to tweak recipes or create new ones. :)

Pendulum Swings Part 2: Birth Control Pills Gone Wrong

If you haven’t read Part 1 of The Pendulum Swings: From Junk Food to Raw Food, read it now before continuing.

I had just discovered the healing powers of raw foods, but my adventure was just getting started…

(Also, this post talks about menstruation, so guys if you’re squirmish, just skip the rest! Thanks.)

No More Menstruation

After stopping the pill, I went a whole year without menstruating. At first I was kind of excited, I didn’t have to worry about pads or tampons, and I thought it was completely natural.

I read online that there were other raw vegans who didn’t have their period. Now since there wasn’t any scientific evidence to the benefits of not having a period, I decided to investigate.

I’m still not sure whether it’s normal not to have your period on raw foods, but I know in my case, it was caused by a deeper issue, and not because my body was super clean.

While I was living in California, I made an appointment at a bio-identical hormone clinic. The doctors said they had never heard of a case like mine before, and that it would cost $2000 just to run the tests to figure out what was wrong with me.

To say that I didn’t have that kind of money, or enough faith in the medical industry, is an understatement.

Turning to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Since I had discussed everything with my boyfriend ahead of time, it was only natural for us to talk about the changes happening in my body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I was always tired, emotional, and still working through all of these changes. Change is hard, and I was under a lot of stress between my job and school.

When we returned to Canada, we went to see a traditional Chinese doctor. It took the doctor less than 30 minutes to figure out what was wrong with me. I paid him $20 for his time, and $100 for the first two weeks’ medicine.

The doctor also asked me what I was eating. I was afraid he would make me go back to cooked food, or worse, meat. Thankfully, he thought a vegan diet was perfectly healthy. He simply taught me how to eat foods that were warming, instead of cold. This is a concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine that talks about the yin and the yang.

So instead of eating a lot of cucumbers or radishes, I ate warm foods like bananas, lychee, and nuts.

The treatment consisted of me drinking dried herbs in a hot tea three times per day. Two weeks later, I got my period.

After a year of not having my period, worrying over my possible infertility, and being plain old tired, I was ecstatic.

Constant Struggle With Acne

Now that my period was back, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. After a few weeks following the Chinese doctor’s recommendations, I was feeling much better. I had more energy.

Yet I still had acne. The Chinese doctor told me not to worry about the acne. I trust this doctor, and I’m going to keep eating what makes me feel best, and let my skin detox by itself.

Now I’ve had my period regularly for over a year, and I’ve stopped taking medicine for it.

I truly believe that raw foods was my gateway to healthier and better ways of healing the body. I no longer poison myself with toxic and processed foods.

And when I’m feeling unwell, I go to a traditional Chinese doctor, who understands that he isn’t treating the symptoms, but rather the whole person.

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