Here are what I think are some of the more important points to think about for those new to raw food, from my 15 years of experience experimenting with various raw diets. If you think I have missed anything, please let me know in the comments.
1. Don’t think too much in terms of giving up foods
Instead, think about adding new foods to your diet. Fresh juicy fruit. Tasty salad with avocado and olives. Switch in raw replacements for your favourite foods. If you like cake, learn how to make delicious raw cake. If you like chocolate, there is plenty of raw chocolate available or you can make your own. Try our monthly raw snack box for regular inspiration.
And don’t worry about being perfect or “100% raw”, etc. There are no rules. Eat in the way which works for you.
2. But try to avoid these foods
Having said that, there are a few foods that giving up would really help you on your journey: wheat/gluten and pasteurised dairy. If you still want to eat dairy, raw dairy is much healthier for you, although should best to limit.
3. Include fermented foods
These will help your digestive system and help you to get the most nutrients from your food. You can very easily make your own fermented foods, or you can buy them, but if you buy make sure they are raw/unpasteurised – pasteurised fermented foods are quite pointless as all the beneficial bacteria are killed!
I love to make sauerkraut (fermented cabbage and other vegetables), or you can buy ready made sauerkraut in various flavours. Jun is another favourite of mine, it’s like kombucha but made with honey instead of sugar. I also make a range of fermented drinks depending what fruits are in season, you can try all kinds of fruit, but here are my recipes for fermented tangerine or orange drink and fermented grape drink.
4. Make sure you eat enough fat and denser foods
Yes, I know this is probably the opposite to the advice many raw fooders will give, but in my experience it is important to eat enough fat otherwise you will either be hungry all the time, or eating all the time.
Personally I like avocados, usually one per day, plus hemp seeds (in my breakfast). Other nuts and seeds including sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds all play a role, generally always soaked, or ready prepared by soaking and then dehydrating such as this range from Raw Ecstasy.
I also eat three raw eggs per day (local, free range, from a friend who looks after the chickens and ducks well) and a small amount of meat or fish a couple of times a week, of course you need to find which foods work for you.
5. Keep being inspired
Get yourself some raw recipe books and keep making new foods. Or search for new recipes online, there are lots, including here on my blog. Go to potlucks and meet other people interested in healthy diets. Go to festivals, workshops and retreats and you will keep learning.
Let me know your best tip for transitioning to raw food in the comments.