Sometimes we get asked what do we actually eat as raw fooders. How does our lunch, in reality, look like? These days we get flooded with raw food recipes, ideas and suggestions how to improve our health and lifestyle by eating a better diet, but how does an average raw food lunch appear on our plate?
Many people do understand the health benefits that such a diet might bring, but they are somewhat terrified by the idea to eat raw carrots for lunch and call that a “happy lifestyle”.
This article will show you how to access the world of healthy eating without losing the enjoyment of good food.
The ritual around food
I must admit that I had the same worries, especially because – before becoming a mostly raw vegan – I was the classic Mediterranean gourmet who would eat almost everything that was considered edible, and it was always meant a great deal to me in which way food was prepared, served, or decorated – it had to look good, and it had to taste delicious.
I was never the guy who ate just to put something into his stomach, no; I enjoyed the whole ritual around food, and the enterprise of discovering new dishes and ways to prepare them.
Types of raw foodists
I think that anybody considering going raw should understand that there are many different types of raw fooders who eat quite differently from one another. Many people have probably the impression of a somewhat boring diet which takes an awful lot of time for preparation, and if you don’t invest that time, then all you can do is eat an apple or banana.
I’m not saying that this is a bad idea, fruits should definitely be eaten abundantly, since they give us most of our daily carbs, but in this era of fancy restaurants and exotic new kitchen styles popping up daily, you really need to have a strong determination to go through all of these distractions that are being offered to you on every corner of the street.
Like in any other lifestyle, there are sub-styles, which can be very different from one another. There are raw fooders who live almost exclusively only from fruits and are sometimes called fruitarians; others drink mostly juices made from fruits and vegetables and are sometimes called juicers.
Another huge group eats almost only salads in every possible way without being called anything; and there are raw fooders who visually prepare their food that looks like any other food – but it isn’t.
I believe it derives from your way of eating before going raw – although this, of course, does not apply to everybody – but it surely determines your approach to your new way of eating. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it to be different – after all – food should be appealing to you, otherwise there is little fun involved, and I myself believe that it should be!
Can I eat cooked food while being a raw fooder?
This is why we have decided to add another category to our raw food recipes, which will be called ‘main courses’, to give you some simple ideas how to combine different raw food dishes into a main lunch course, to show you that your lunch will overshadow any of the food distractions offered to you in outside restaurants or elsewhere.
Ah yes, and don’t make a religion out of food, but always keep in mind that it is – nevertheless – the most important fuel for a healthy body – and as we have found out – a healthy mind as well.
Don’t fall into the trap of punishing yourself because you have “sinned” and eaten some cooked food somewhere outside because nothing else was available, or because your meal contains just 50% raw ingredients instead of a 100. Do as much as you can; this is what really matters.
The understanding that raw food is the best possible nutrition is already a huge step, but of course, don’t stay there – make your next step.
Preparation of raw food
Keep it simple! Many raw fooders start out complicated by preparing all sorts of “exotic” food, which takes hours – sometimes days – of preparation, and as a result, people get the impression that raw food preparation is vastly time consuming. Well, it can be, if you are not organized.
We usually need 1-2 days to prepare our food for most of the week; it is much more effective this way. For instance, if you know that you are going to prepare a dish which will involve a raw dough, like for tacos, pizza, or bread, why not prepare three different dishes all at once?
The dehydrated food stays usually good in a refrigerator for up to seven days, so why not prepare pizza, tacos, and bread rolls or crackers all at once? At the actual lunch time, all you have to do is to prepare a spread, or sauce, or dip, which will take you no more then 10 minutes, and in addition to that perhaps a green salad, which will – as well – not take much of your time.
I know there are raw fooders who spent days making complicated nut cheeses and eat the whole thing in less than 15 min. (while delicious – no doubt). You can do that if you got the time and motivation, but for your everyday meals, you should find a combination of fast and easy to make food variations, which will never become boring to you.
Mix it up and think ahead, maybe for a whole week, or for 3-4 days in advance, to organize your time as good as you can.
Smoothies for three weeks
We are big smoothie fans, and like to drink – at least – one a day. For doing so, we sometimes buy 10 pineapples, and we cut them all at once, and put them into a freezer, packed into convenient little bags (reusable), which serve as a basis for making two smoothies, in which we add some bananas and some greens like fennel fronds.
If you are prepared like this, it takes approx. 5-8 min. to make a fantastic smoothie in no time. If you are organized, you will be able to make delicious food and drinks faster than an old-school microwave makes pizza – no joke. And the benefits and enjoyment of eating such food – immeasurable. So I ‘d encourage you to jump right into it, because your body can’t wait to see you start!
Is it still too much for you? Try this.
If you cannot do any of this, start a whole foods diet in which you will include as many raw ingredients as possible. Don’t be a perfectionist; do what is attainable for you.
I agree with Matt Monarch, from the Raw Food World TV Show, that most people will probably have an easier access into this world of healthy food through a somewhat downgraded variation of a raw foods diet, simply because not everyone is the kind of person who is ready to make such a 180 degree change over night.
He even calls himself an extremist – and I have to admit – we both are probably too. But not in the sense of doing something extremely wrong – no! But in the sense of being able to implement a decision virtually overnight, without much doubt, ready to start right away.
I believe diversity is a good thing, and that is why we people differ one from another in our approaches, to basically solve the same problem. I’ve always valued people who’d make at least some afford than none at all.
Look, as a starter, cook as you always do, but add some little tweaks to it. One of my favorites is to drop cooked sauces, like, for instance, for our spaghettis, rice dishes, quinoa dishes, pizzas, millet dishes, and so on.
If you add a raw sauce to your spaghettis and eat a green salad to it, you are already on a 60% raw foods diet! Cook some potatoes and add a raw sauce on top – 50% raw foods diet! You understand where I’m getting to?
As I’ve said it before – don’t make a religion out of it. If you can’t do it at once go slowly and try to discover this new world like an explorer would. Find your own rhythm and stick to it.
How to go from a standard diet to a raw foods diet?
Food should be delicious and not just a healthy nutrient; this is why I believe that you start gradually adding more and more raw ingredients until you get accustomed to your new diet. I mean why should you cook your sauces and dips anyways; there is no reason for it.
I understand that you are not a big fan of raw potatoes at this moment, but once you try a raw sauce; you probably won’t go back to cooked sauces. You will notice that most of the regular dishes have a sort of base like rice, noodles, or potatoes, and some kind of sauce or dip on top.
So by exchanging the sauces from cooked to raw, you’ve already done a lot. The next step should definitely be towards green salads – add them as a side dish whenever you can while in the morning and evening try to eat only fruits or any dishes made from fruit. If you manage to do this, you will soon feel a major difference in your body and mind. It’s inevitable.
After some time, try to drop all processed foods like spaghettis and replace them for whole foods instead. Try to avoid everything that is packaged in some sort of sealed container; simply buy fruits and vegetables as they are.
Meat & dairy
I haven’t gotten into meat and dairy this far, well, it’s one of the bases of being vegan, therefore, cut down on both as soon as possible. Perhaps you isolate it to one day a week until dropping it entirely.
Meat and dairy are not a matter of lifestyle – they are harming your body, and if you are already investigating into vegan food, I suppose you know that, but if you are still unsure about this, I suggest you watch this fantastic presentation of dr. Klaper, which we had published some time ago here on our website.
A way to resist restaurants
One of the most distractive things is to move through the streets of big cities where food is being presented to you on every corner. However, the good news is that raw food restaurants are more and more in numbers, and you will probably be able to find one not very far from you.
What I like is to have some prepared food with me, and sit with my wife somewhere, in a park or similar, eating our delicious food from home. And you know what we do afterwards? We go into one of those health-food shops and buy the best chocolate they have (no sugar, no milk) and enjoy ourselves strolling along the street – eating the whole thing!
I always try to answer as many questions as possible; I hope that you got yours answered today. If not, ask us a question or leave a comment below – we are always happy to engage into a conversation. Don’t forget to follow us on our Google+ page or via RSS feed! We are updating our content daily, doing our best to give you all information you need for a healthy lifestyle.
About the Author
Alen covers a wide range of topics, which include health and healthy living, permaculture, the perception of reality, and arts; as well as writing articles and commentaries on current events. He has sold his business to focus entirely on his website organictalks.com, which is a project he and his wife have put together with the help of many other inspiring contributors.