Raw Food Diet For Beginners – Top 5 Essentials You Must Know!

Now that you are finally convinced that Raw Food makes sense, and ready to make some changes, it is time for action! Whether you are using raw foods to heal from a chronic health condition, for its beauty enhancing properties, or just to lose a few pounds and get back in shape, there are some tips to help you succeed when you first embark on the journey:

1) Take Baby Steps

Remember: small changes on a sustainable basis go a long way! It is better to start with a small change every day which you can keep up, rather than dive nose-deep into a totally new diet only to spiral into a binge on junk processed food again.

For newbies, you can start by replacing one meal a day with fresh fruits & vegetables. I would suggest having an all-fruit breakfast. You can have anything – apples, papayas, mangoes, bananas etc. Just take note to eat enough to last you till lunch. Most people will not eat enough fruit and they get ravenous before lunch. Because of the high water & fiber content of fruits, you can’t eat much of them at one go. But because they are relatively less calorie-dense (compared to your conventional breakfasts of cooked noodles, corn-flakes, breads etc), you become hungry pretty soon again. The trick is to incorporate more bananas, mangoes and other more calorie-dense fruits to fill you up. If I’m forced to choose only one type of fruit, I would go with bananas. They charge you up with simple sugars, make you full, and can keep you going indeed! Do you know you would have enough fuel to run 10 km just on 2 medium bananas?

If it is possible for you, another way to start is to have fresh fruits before every meal you eat in a day. Now this is definitely going to benefit you! When you eat fruits on an empty stomach, the vitamins & nutrients are assimilated properly by your body and you reap all the benefits. As an added bonus, it also takes up some stomach space so that you will not over-eat the main course.

We often hear people complaining that fruits give them gas, or cause stomach upsets, and so they avoid fruits. Do you know why? Fruit gets a bad name here simply because they are eaten at a wrong time. When you eat a heavy meal consisting of meats, cooked fats & other processed stuffs, your body needs time to break them down. These foods move slowly in your digestive tracts. And what happens when you shove down that piece of fruit? It stays there & ferments while waiting for the rest of the earlier foods to digest. The process of fermentation produces gas, which is what usually people feel uncomfortable about. Furthermore, the nutrients of the fruit are not properly absorbed.

For anyone on a meat concentrated, highly processed & nutrient-void diet, any small change could save his/her life tomorrow or in future.

2) Exercise!

This is vital for anybody seriously looking to change to a healthy life-style! I’m not kidding – nobody can succeed on the road to health transformation without moving your body. Well nobody’s saying you should run a marathon, but even a few minutes of running up the stairs can do you good. It’s very simple actually, to incorporate just 15 – 30 minutes of brisk walking, or slow jogging everyday. If you can do 30 – 45 minutes of simple cardio 4 -5 times a week, even better!

For those who are really leading superman/superwoman lives with completely no extra time to work out, here are some tricks you may find useful to sneak exercise into your day:

o For drivers, park your vehicle at a fair proximity to your destination, and use that to do a fast walk to & from your car. Or try to leave the car on weekends, and take public transport to your travel points. If you travel with family or friends, you can take the time to catch up with them (interactions are more fulfilled since you don’t have to watch the road!), if you are alone you can read or listen to your favorite MP3. Unless you really need the car for transportation purposes, you will enjoy the break from driving!
o This one is a no-brainer – take the stairs whenever you can.
o Busy moms may find this useful – when you move around the house, try to tie a small weight to each of your ankles. If you live in a house with stairs, even better! You will find that just 20 minutes of moving around or doing light housework with this little trick can bring your heart rate up & if you move fast enough, even work out a good sweat! (Just remember to watch where you step in case you trip.)
o Another one for busy moms – put on your favorite dance music when you do housework and dance to it. Have fun & work out at the same time!
o If everything else fails, remember – just taking a short brisk walk of 15 – 20 minutes a day makes a huge difference to someone who does not move his/her body at all!

3) Know how to Make 7 Easy Raw Recipes

This is when you are past the fruit breakfast stage. I love fruits and I can survive on them all day! However, you may not be able to get everything you need from a pure fruit diet, so you will need to eat other vegetables & some nuts/seeds.

I suggest 7 recipes because these is the minimum you need to know to sustain yourself. You can rotate a recipe everyday & not get sick of them at all. When you are ready to move on to the next stage, then you may want to learn about making raw gourmet treats to indulge yourself!

In order to be sustainable & practical – the recipes should meet the following guidelines:

o They must be easy to prepare, preferably under 15 minutes.
o They should include easily available ingredients which you can get everyday from your local market.
o Of course, they need to be tasty to satisfy you. Hey afterall, eating is an enjoyment isn’t it!
o They must be filling enough to keep you full until the next meal.
o You should be able to easily make more and store for your next meal. (Although I don’t recommend this since it is much better to eat them fresh while the nutrients are still intact.) This is again for those of you who are already leading super-crazy lives.

4) Find a Support Buddy or Group

Humans are not designed to be alone! If you are lucky enough to stumble onto Raw Foods, chances are you are probably the only one in your family, neighborhood or even community. It takes tremendous strength & conviction to take on a change alone – and you already should be applauded for it! But also bear in mind that most people fall away because of peer and social pressure.

The solution to this is to find a Raw Support Group, or a Raw Buddy. Remember how gym instructors motivate us? And how exercise columns always advise us to find a work-out buddy? It’s the same theory. You need to have some form of support along the way, otherwise you will almost definitely fail! When you first start out, I guarantee that you will meet with criticisms, sneers, and defensive people who are out to crush you. But you do not need to focus on that…. Rather, focus on the positive. Feed what you want to grow, and ignore what you want to die (starve it & it dies!). Keep your mind on your objective & most importantly, don’t let others tell you what’s best for your body. Go and feel it for yourself.

Surround yourself with the right people. If you cannot find a raw vegan group, then surround yourself with encouraging, health – conscious people who are naturally more open-minded. Even if you can’t talk about raw foods, their positive energy will do you good.

When I first started out on a raw lifestyle in Singapore, I stood out like a sore thumb. People view me as a weirdo at best, and a lunatic at worst. Friends & family frown on my diet with disapproval. Social situations turned out extremely bad because I was still learning how to handle them. (By the way, you can manage family & social gatherings beautifully even on a raw lifestyle 😉 read my Socialization on a Raw Vegan Lifestyle – Top 5 Survival Tips You Must Know!) But guess what? I ignored the critics and listened to my own body, and I succeeded. And the reward for that is a list of amazing benefits which outnumbered the effort by far!

5) Observe Your Own Body

Last but definitely not in any way less important, you need to keep track of your progress! If you do not know how your body is reacting, what is going to keep you on course? And would you be even able to measure your results against your objective?

“Feel your body” is the most common advice I give to beginners. You need to listen to it and see what it is telling you, how it is coping, what you are doing, good or bad. Most of the time, we busy city dwellers don’t know how it feels to connect with our body, and by the time the signs show, it is usually too late. I’m not asking you to sit cross-legged and “ohmmm” your way to try and levitate. I’m talking about simple daily observation of your body system. How do you feel when you first wake up, do you wake up with serious bad breath and a coated tongue, how do you feel when you eat your first meal, after various different meals, how do you feel after a particular food, how do you feel after a good work-out etc… these tells you volumes about yourself! Someone who ignores how donuts & coke is affecting him will continue to eat them for decades until he/she hears bad news about their health. And by the way, the same donut & coke fella will not know how these foods make him feel because the body is already numb to it. Put him on raw foods for a week and then ask him how he feels!

Depending on the foods you eat, you will feel different. Humans are able to survive on many kinds of foods, but to the extent of life quality, health condition, fitness & how good you look outside? They can greatly vary! I choose to eat Raw Foods because I want the best out of my life. I want to live long, live joyful, look beautiful, accomplish more things, and save some money on medical bills later in life! I want to run like never before, break my own records, realize my maximum potential & perform at peak every day. Because for me, life is simply too short to be “unliving” 😉

Remember to always have fun – whether in Life or with Raw Foods!

© Copyright, 2008 Linda Loo

Linda has always been passionate about the Science of Nutrition for beauty, weight-loss, energy & longevity. She is also a successful Raw Foodist, Certified Raw Food Coach and is ever so delighted to share this gift of knowledge with fellow health enthusiasts! Visit [http://www.rawfoodlifestyles.com/] for more free juicy information on how you can eat your way to a flawless complexion, a sexy body, AND abundant energy now!

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