Transitioning to a raw food diet is an exciting experience, but it can also be an overwhelming one. You can expect your energy levels to soar, your aches and pains to subside, and your weight to level out to a healthier number, since your body gets dense sources of nutrients from whole foods. Because you’ll be eating raw fresh food as your main source of calories, there is a lot to learn in order to ensure that you don’t under eat and therefore sacrifice your health on this new diet.
And you may find that maintaining motivation is tougher on some days than others, in which case you’ll need a little support and inspiration. Luckily, there are many things you can do to make sure that your transition to a raw food diet is easy, seamless and healthy.
With the help of the following tips and tricks, you never have to be left to your own devices:
Use an Online Food Log
Using a food log is one of the most important things you can do to support yourself as you transition to a raw vegan diet. It helps to ensure that you’re fueling yourself with adequate calories and nutrition on a daily basis, and it helps to keep you accountable for the things you eat at any given time. If you have to record what you’re eating, chances are that you’ll think twice before picking up those store-bought cookies!
There are many awesome online food log services available – a couple of the most popular are FitDay and CRON-O-Meter. It doesn’t matter which program you use, what matters is that you actually use it every day. You’ll probably find that as time goes on you don’t need to use a food log daily in order to stay on track. The best part is, they’ll also break down your nutrients that you’re eating so you can see if you’re eating properly for good health.
Keep a Diary
When you first embark on a raw food diet, your mood and energy levels may change a little. With the help of a diary and your food log, you can easily document when you aren’t feeling up to par, as well as what you ate and did prior to those feelings. This will help to determine which raw foods aren’t working well for you (such as heavier nut-filled dishes or certain dried fruits that can upset your stomach in large amounts), so you can minimize them as once-in-awhile treats in the future. You’ll also be able to determine which foods make you feel your best.
It’s a good idea to use a notepad or paper tablet as a diary so it’s available at any given point throughout the day. Keep it in your bag or car while on the run, and carry it around with you while you’re spending time at home. By documenting your feelings and emotions on a daily basis, you may find that your diary helps you detect other area of your life that might needs some improvement.
Learn about Nutrition
Eating a diet based around fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds can be an extremely healthful diet as long as you’re implementing enough variety into your life. Learning about nutrition will enable you to understand what vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals your body needs so you can meet those needs without confusion or frustration.
This will also help you to determine whether or not you should supplement any nutrients, such as B12 (which is definitely recommended), in order to achieve optimal health for your own personal body. It’s a good idea to have your doctor run blood tests to determine exactly what your nutrient levels are before starting a raw food diet so you know what to focus on.
Join Support Groups
The truth is that being on a raw vegan diet can feel quite lonely in your day to day life if your friends and family aren’t embracing the lifestyle along with you. But the good news is that while you might not initially get the support and confidence you’d like from your loved ones, you can find plenty of support on the Internet. Right here on One Green Planet, you’ll get the entire scoop you need to lead a healthful green lifestyle that’s filled with fruits, vegetables, and compassion.
And there are lots of forums, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels out there that can cater to your every need and whim. You never have to be alone in the “raw food world” as long as you take the time to reach out to your fellow raw foodies online. You can also go to meetup.com and either find or start a local meetup designed around raw foodies in your area. You can either meet at restaurants, start a book club, host a meeting, or have your own raw food potluck!
Compile Favorite Recipes
It isn’t hard to find recipes for raw vegan meals online, but keeping track of them can be pretty overwhelming. Bookmarking your favorites can result in a slew of files to wade through just to find the one particular recipe you want at the time. If you want to make meal time easy, print your favorite recipes out and compile them in homemade books that are organized by type of cuisine.
You can create books for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, and desserts that take only second to locate when you’re in need of a quick meal solution. One Green Planet’s raw food recipe section is a great place to start your search!
And of course, you’ll need to keep a healthy kitchen full of raw foods if you’re going to eat raw. Ditch the processed stuff and donate it if you need to. Then head to the grocery store (or farmer’s market) and stock up on lots of fresh produce, seeds, nuts, avocados, coconut, and dried fruits too. A raw food kitchen and these tips will help ensure success much easier than just going at it alone. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with all the information and support you are about to experience. Take things one day at a time, and implement these steps one at a time as you’re ready. Raw food is filled with nutrients, benefits, and plenty of enjoyment.
If you’re a raw foodie, what’s your best tip for someone new to the lifestyle?
Lead Image Source: Geoff Peters/Flickr