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Beginning A Raw Foods Diet
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There are many reasons people choose to start eating a raw foods diet. Some do it to get more energy, or as part of a cleansing program, or to lose weight. Some even turn to a raw foods diet as a way to heal chronic ailments or cure themselves of long standing illness. Whatever your reason for choosing to go raw, if you stick to it for a little while you’ll reap considerable benefits to your over all health, your mood, your thinking and your energy level.

I recommend that you begin by keeping a journal. Yes it’s one more thing to add to your already busy life, but how will you know it’s working if you don’t spend at least a little bit of your time and attention documenting the changes you’re going to experience. You’ll learn a lot about the machine you’re living in. It’s like you’ll be writing your own custom owner’s manual.

First thing you want to do is spend a few minutes taking stock of what shape and state your physical body is in. I don’t mean how much you weigh or if you have fat hips or a beer gut. I mean what does it feel like to live in your body day in and day out. What does it feel like to wake up in the morning, what is your mood like, are the aches and pains, do you feel tired or groggy even after 8 hours sleep. These are the kinds of things you want to start paying attention to and write them in your journal. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You’ll also notice the changes that take place more easily. If you can write just a little bit every day, you'll be surprised at how much you learn about your own body.

One of the most difficult things about starting a raw diet is the initial “detox,” where your body becomes tired and achy and doing strange things like breaking out or keeping you up at night or making you sweat or have chills. Basically, you will feel really sick for a little while shortly after you start going raw. It’s probably a smart thing to consult a physician before you start because you’ll probably feel pretty bad for a little bit. Some people avoid this by starting slowly, switching to an all vegetable diet first, then slowly increasing the amount of raw vs. cooked food. I’m an all or nothing person and found it pretty difficult for a couple days. Especially because not only do you feel awful, you’re really really hungry. Ok, to be fair, I went from a sandwich and burger lifestyle to spinach and nuts, literally over night. The hunger goes away too once your stomach doesn’t expect as much food.

The next obstacle I found was just getting the raw foods. I would end up going to the wholefoods or farmers market three times a week. It took a lot more time and planning than I was used to. I stuck it out and now it’s part of my weekly routine. The turning point was when I was familiar enough with a couple of easy recipes so that I didn’t need a list, I knew exactly where things were in the store and how much of each thing I wanted to pick up. I started looking at the trips to the grocery as "me" time rather than a chore or a task that I would just have to get through. More like a reward for being good to myself.

That brings me to my next trouble spot, finding fast easy raw foods recipes. Seems like this would be easy since we live in a connected age of googling everything. I found plenty of fast easy recipes, but not all of them worked for me. I developed a core group of recipes that became my default plan of action if I didn’t feel like trying anything new. This was the big secret, finding just a handful of fast easy recipes that I could whip up with a minimum amount of shopping or prep time. Eventually I ended up with quite a few.

So now that I’ve told you how hard it was for me, I’ll tell you why I stuck it out and what I feel I gained from doing it. To be honest, the only reason I was able to stick with it is that I’m really stubborn and I had told too many people what I was doing so they would ask me how I was doing. Yep, good old peer pressure. After the first month it got much easier, and now it really is my lifestyle. I can’t even consider going back to eating the poison I used to eat. I have tons of energy, my moods are decidedly more optimistic, there seems to be more time in the day - I attribute this to being much more able to pay attention and just be present. I have lost more than 10% of my body weight and can now exercise more easily. In fact I’m actually starting to think that running is fun. i used to hate it but decided to give it one last attempt. It turns out that it’s much easier when you’re not fat. My skin is clear, my vision is clear, my hair and nails grow faster and seem to be more vibrant, I don’t have any aches or pains, when I go to sleep it lasts all night. When I wake up I’m refreshed and ready to start the day - I was never a morning person and I am still not, but I can get out of bed with out having to groan or go straight to the coffee maker. I get up and feel happy.

That’s the good and the bad of my experience beginning my raw foods diet, or rather my raw foods lifestyle. It wasn’t easy, but it turned out to be worth it. My reason for doing it was that I wanted to live longer and better and to be able to set an example for my kids. I found out the fastest way to go from a normal everyday joe to being superman is to have a kid. I’m just trying to be as great as my daughter thinks I am, for her, for my wife and for me. I guess now I wish I would have had kids a long time ago. I feel so much better for having made the switch. I hope you find this helpful and inspiring. If you're interested in sharing the raw foods recipes that work for you or to see my favorites, you can find them here.


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