Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Old Post: How I'm Making the Transition to Raw Foods

This post is the fifth in a series of posts done on an old blog, three years ago when I first went raw. At the time, I was pregnant, doing a high raw (80-90% raw) diet, and had gestational diabetes.
How I'm Making the Transition to Raw Foods - originally posted June 3, 2007

Being someone who doesn't really like to cook much (quite frankly, because I'm too lazy) I knew the transition to raw foods would be a challenge. I already liked salads and fruit, but there weren't a lot of veggies I liked raw. At least that's what I thought. I certainly wasn't looking forward to all the chopping and peeling. I'm just not a gourmet--all these complicated-sounding recipes intimidated me.

I knew I needed a plan. The easiest thing to start out with, in my thinking, was what I was used to. Later, I would have to get more creative to avoid boredom with my food, but I kept things simple to start. For breakfast, I usually have fruit. I may grab a banana to tide me over until the kids are eating their breakfast. Then I will sit down with something else, maybe an apple and a pear. I buy organic when I can afford it, so then I will just wash it and eat it with the peel on...good fiber. I may have some more fruit later for a snack--perhaps strawberries and cut fresh pineapple.

For lunch I would have a salad with lots of veggies--onions, red pepper, cucumbers, jicama. I still don't make my own raw dressing--for now I'm just using ranch. I usually put some shredded cheddar on top, but I'm trying to phase that out now. At dinner, I usually ate hummus and whole wheat crackers or egg salad in a pita (these are not raw, but I was eating only 70% raw at first) with some veggies, and a salad and salad veggies on the side. Later, when my husband came home from his second shift job, I would have a big salad, and maybe a little fruit later on before bed. Ironically, I've found my blood sugar in the morning tends to be lower if I eat a little fruit before bed.

All these meals are very good, and easy to make. The peeling and chopping can take a lot of time, especially if you don't have a food processor for the chopping, but I found a short cut. I do watch tv (I'm always giving it up then going back to it) so one night I sat down with a tray table i front of me, and a pile of veggies and containers. I spent a few hours slowly peeling and chopping while I watched tv. When I was done, I had a bunch of little containers full of pre-chopped fruit and vegetables. I then put the containers into rectangular plastic baskets to go into the fridge, one for veggies and one for fruits. This is much neater than a pile of produce that rolls off the shelf and bruises on the floor everytime you open the fridge. Plus produce won't get "lost" in the back, and be wasted. Now, whenever I make a salad, I pull out the lettuce and dressing, and the basket of veggies, and it is sooo quick and easy to make a salad.

A lot of fruit will turn brown if peeled ahead of time. You could toss is with a little lemon juice if you wanted to avoid the browning, or only chop one day's worth, and eat it soon. I like to peel an apple and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then I just unwrap it and eat it the next day.
[Edit:  this was only if it wasn't an organic apple, otherwise I ate the peel...though I strongly suggest that apples should be the FIRST thing you buy organic, if you can at all afford it, because they are the most pesticide-laden produce there is.] There is very little color change. One day I cut up a bunch of fruit, tossed it in a bowl with some soaked walnuts, and mixed it with a little bit of vanilla yogurt (yogurt is not part of an all-raw diet). Then I had fruit salad for two days. It was so nice to see the delicious fruit salad waiting for me the next morning. It wasn't as fresh the second day, but still good.

When I was eating egg salad, I boiled and peeled a bunch of eggs, and kept them in a plastic container to keep them from getting dry. When I needed egg salad, I took out one or two and made it quickly, stuffing it into whole wheat, whole grain pitas with as many salad veggies as I could fit. I usually used one egg per pita half, but you may need more for a larger pita. I found myself wanting to eat two or three pita halves, so I stopped making this. That is the problem with not going 100%'s like giving up chocolate MOST of the time...sooner or later you're going to slide down that "slippery slope" into no-no land, and eat too much. I've heard a lot of people ended up going 100% raw just because they couldn't stop the eventual binging on cooked foods when they were only partly raw. They constantly fell off the wagon.

Right now, I almost never feel tempted by foods. I haven't had fast food, diet soda, or chocolate in two weeks. For me, that is a miracle. Sometimes I see a food in the store and think "that would be nice to have", but it isn't a craving. The only craving I had was the day I was having a bit of detox, and that was very mild...and probably because I was hungry.

The first day was the hardest, and it wasn't that hard at all. I just felt a mild hunger all day, just a kind of "hey, I have some room in my stomach that I need to fill" feeling. I was adjusting to not having that over-full feeling you get from overeating cooked food. After a day or two of stuffing myself full of as much raw food as I wanted to eat, I adjusted. You really can't overeat raw food. You might have too many calories if you eat a lot of nuts or avocados on a regular basis--it varies from person to person. But generally, you're not going to get fat. Most people find their natural weight on this diet...some lose, and some even gain, because they were too thin to begin with. 
[Edit: some thin people will lose a some weight as they detox, which sometimes makes family members worry, but then afterwards their body normalizes and they gain most of it back, and look great.]  I look forward to finding my natural weight...I just hope I don't have too much sagging skin when I get there!  [Edit:  I have heard stories of morbidly obese people who lost 100-200 pounds on raw, and their skin snapped right back, and some of them were older.]

I'm really enjoying this way of eating. I love fruit, and salads are great. Now that I'm used to eating raw, it's time to start experimenting with more complicated recipes. My husband and children are starting to eat raw. And despite the fact that over the last year or so my children have become a bit picky, they are really adjusting to the new foods. I started them out with a lot of fruit in the mornings and some with other meals. Now I'm moving them into salads and veggies, and they (except my picky one year old) are doing great. My husband, after seeing my transformation, is becoming interested, especially since I haven't pressured him, and told him he doesn't have to become vegan or go 100% if he doesn't want to.

This has been surprisingly easy for me so far, and I'm looking forward to evolving into a healthy person! I'm on my way already!

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