Eating a Raw Foods Diet - challenges & tips
by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com
Going on a raw foods diet comes with certain challenges.
Freshness of foods may be a problem if they are shipped in from faraway locations. A good way to deal with this problem is to eat produce that is locally grown and in-season.
Raw food also does not keep as long as dried or processed foods. To make sure you have a good supply of fresh raw foods, you would thus have to do your food shopping more often than if you ate mostly cooked foods. Buying local would also help you get fresher foods.
One will face temptations all the time, especially when the vast majority of people eat cooked food. When I was going raw, it was extremely challenging when the aroma from my neighbors' cooked recipes drifted in through the window. Aaargh!
All in all, eating a raw foods diet is a lot easier and more convenient when you stock up on a large variety of fresh and delicious raw food in the house.
It is also important to have available ready-to-eat raw foods which you can munch as snacks, with little or no preparation. This could include apples, bananas, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Or else, when you are hungry, lazy, or short on time, that's it, you are going to succumb!
On the flip side, make sure that there are no junk foods in the house, or else, you are increasing the chances of you giving in to a dose of it.
Personally, I've found that a good way to get rid of temptation for cooked foods is to drink freshly prepared fruit or vegetable juices. They are packed with wholesome nutrition and they are just yum!
Also, foods such as avocadoes, coconuts, olives and various types of nuts and seeds contain fats and help to fill you up. This helps to control your desire to gorge on cooked foods.
To keep the enthusiasm going, improve your nutrient intake and to make sure that you give your taste buds new sensations, learn and try new raw food recipes. There are many books and websites which focus on this area. You can even attempt raw food versions of some of your favorite cooked recipes.
Then there are social gatherings and situations. Do you go? Can you resist the temptation of delicious cooked foods? Should you bring your own food? Do you want to face the comments, questions and perhaps even ridiculing of your friends and relatives?
Being aware and focused on your reasons for going on a raw foods diet is a good way to help you remain committed. As many raw foodists have said, the good and vibrant health as well as bountiful energy make the sacrifices well worth it!
For your raw foods, you may want to consider going organic. While organic produce is generally more expensive, again, the advantages and health benefits of organic food make them well worth it too!
However, having said that, the health benefits of eating raw and the potential harmful effects of cooked food more than balance this out.
Personally, I would also recommend taking a good whole food supplement. For myself, I take one which combines several of nature's superfoods, such as wheat grass, barley grass and spirulina, among others.
When eating raw foods, it is a good idea to chew your food well. This way, you are better mixing food with digestive enzymes, increasing the surface area of food, as well as breaking down certain compounds in food. These translate to better digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
In addition, you can benefit more from the enzymes and phytochemicals in raw plant foods. Chewing well is a piece of advice which applies, actually, not just to raw food diets, but to any type of food you are eating.
Lack of protein may result from eating a plant-based and fully raw foods diet, although this can be dealt with by eating enough beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, which are high in protein.
Listen to your body. I've read that the condition of one's hair is a good indication of protein levels - if it starts falling out excessively, it may be time to crank up protein intake.
In addition, because a raw food diet are generally lower in caloric content, you will need to learn to eat a good volume of raw foods to meet your energy needs.
If your body is of colder constitution or if you live in a cooler climate, you may also find that you feel cold more easily.
If you find that you are craving sweet foods, then it's time for you to eat more fruits or drink some fresh fruit juice!
As far as quantity of raw foods is concerned, I feel that there is no particular need to limit or restrict oneself while on a raw foods diet. I think it is okay to eat as much raw foods as one sees fit to, as it is quite impossible to overeat and to become overweight on a raw diet, simply because raw foods have very high nutrient, fiber and water content.
Overall, it is unclear, based on available evidence, if eating mainly or fully raw can meet the nutritional needs of people in various stages of life. More care and attention is thus necessary to plan and monitor such diets, especially for special groups of people such as children and pregnant women.
Certain foods, such as apples, bananas, raw nuts and perhaps even dried fruit, would be useful companions in such situations.
I feel it is actually okay to eat cooked foods, just try to consume as much raw and fresh plant foods as possible. 90%, 70% or even 50% raw is better than no raw at all.
Remember, there are healthy cooked foods, and there are unhealthy processed and cooked foods. It is more important to stay away from the latter.
You see, I would gather that most people turn to raw foods for health reasons. Thus, it makes more sense to focus on 'healthy' foods rather than dogmatically sticking to 'raw' foods. After all, don't you think it is pointless to eat raw foods which actually harm our bodies?
And even if you do succumb to unhealthy cooked and processed foods - pizzas, potato chips, chocolate cakes and the like, don't get too hard on yourself! Refocus, and pick up again where you left off. Remember your reasons for wanting to eat raw in the first place.
You may also wish to be aware that, when you first embark on a diet with an increased amount of raw foods, you may experience some symptoms, commonly called detoxification reactions. These could include headaches, tiredness, nausea, etc. However, rest assured that these symptoms would slowly fade away as your body cleans itself out.
Generally, the more you eat raw foods and the longer you do it, the easier it gets. Your body and taste buds slowly adjust, and you will most likely love the light and energetic feeling which raw foods give you.
Think about it, how do you feel after a heavy meal of burgers, steaks, fries and soft drinks? And how do you feel after a salad and some fresh juice?
Do be aware that raw foods diets containing solely raw foods may not be suitable for everyone - read this page discussing raw food nutrition.
Raw foods diets come with many challenges and also many advantages and health benefits. At the end of the day, how raw to go, is very much a matter of personal choice. Only by trying it out for yourself will you be able to tell how much you like it, and how your body reacts to it.
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