Starting a Raw Food Diet
Getting started with a raw food diet isn’t really too difficult but it does take some planning to be effective. For some people who like simple meal choices there really isn’t a lot of preparation involved, while for others who may like to prepare meals there is more. Preparation method is a personal choice.
Before You Begin
When you first start a raw food diet or any dietary change there are some things you should be aware of before you do. First and foremost, you should talk to your doctor or nutritional advisor for guidance. The initial switch to a raw food diet will cause your body to go through changes and some of those changes could impact your overall health.
The sudden change from a cooked diet to an uncooked diet can possibly shock your body, especially your digestive system. If you have been eating cooked foods for years then your body has become accustomed to processing those types of foods. A general rule of thumb for beginners is to start out gradually, perhaps eating only one raw meal a day, and slowly working your way toward eating raw for each meal.
What to Expect
A raw diet consists of 70% to 90% raw foods. Eating raw foods will actually cleanse the body of toxins and your digestion will improve. Some possible cleansing side effects as your body adapts to this new raw food diet are headaches and nausea, as well as a mild depression. This is the case for any cleansing diet and these are only symptoms of your body making adjustments. If these symptoms persist over a long period of time you should talk to your doctor or nutritionist.
Planning Your Meals
An important part of raw food dieting is how you plan your meals. This is especially important when you begin the raw foods diet because your body will be craving the foods that you have been used to as you change your dieting habits. Some good examples of these craving are sugar and salts because our body doesn’t make these on its own but needs to get them from foods. Many raw fruits and vegetables have natural salts and sugars in them. You need learn to monitor your body’s changes and adjust your dieting plan accordingly.
If you find it difficult to accommodate your body’s needs with the raw foods in your diet plan you might want to consider adding dietary supplements to your diet. Some of the more common dietary supplements for people on a raw food diet are B-12 vitamins and aloe vera gel and there are many more supplements available at your local health food store. It is important for you, as you create your raw diet plan, to research raw dieting options. The purpose behind a raw diet is to improve your health, not make it worse.
Another important point about the raw food diet is not to mix raw food meals with cooked meals. The reason for this is that cooked foods, when mixed with a raw diet, will neutralize many of enzymes and nutrients in the raw food. This will basically defeat the whole purpose of being on a raw diet. Also, mixing these two types of diets can actually make your digestive system work harder, again defeating the purpose of the raw food diet.
As you make progress and become successful with your raw food diet don’t be afraid to try eating your raw foods in different ways. Some people on raw food diets prefer eating their foods in their natural state and don’t cut or blend. On the other hand, there are some who slice, dice, chop, and even blend their raw foods. It’s all pretty much a matter of personal preference, as neither way diminishes they nutritional value of the food.
Raw Food Resources
There are many great resources available for information and recipes for the raw food diet. Here are a few: