Starting a raw diet may seem scary but believe me; you’ll love and thank yourself for making the switch. Coming from a cooking-conditioned culture and being a master chef in my own kitchen, going raw initially felt similar to that one time when I had to give up my pacifier as a child. Obviously, just like quitting any other habit, it does require discipline and will power, which you have plenty of. I dare you to try it out (for at least a month) and feel the difference for yourself.

Physically

Most foods’ nutrients are destroyed once they are cooked at high temperatures (over 118º F), which means that you are missing out on their benefits. Cooking kills essential enzymes that can aid in digestion and detoxing. This being said, let me mention here that there are a few vegetables that are actually healthier to eat slightly steamed such as spinach, but a raw diet has additional perks. By eating a raw meal, you avoid that heavy and sluggish feeling you get after cooked meals altogether. Introducing a raw diet into your life is also amazing for your skin. I watched my skin transform before my eyes when I made the switch to raw. It made my skin look and feel younger, brighter and softer. What’s more magical is the years of persistent, visiting blemishes and the battles with breakouts ended – my skin completely cleared!

Your intestinal tract will also thank you. Raw foods are full of fiber, which cleanse the system and support regular bowel movements. Additionally, you’ll smell better – Fresh foods contribute to a fresh scented body odor (or none at all!) Many people, including myself, can confirm that body odor is neutralized or even pleasant due to a raw food diet. “You are what you eat.”

Mentally

Eating raw doesn’t only clear the skin – it also provides mental clarity. Cooking creates toxins in your food, which pollute the body and deteriorate the efficiency of bodily functions – cognitive included. This is why, typically, cooked meals tend to contribute to “brain fog.” I didn’t realize that my seemingly normal state was one of haze, though, until a few weeks into a raw food diet when I had gained a new perspective and was able to compare. All I have to say is, “Wow.”

Bonus: Fewer dishes to do, less trash to take out and more positivity in your life.

Step by Step

If you don’t want to go for the abrupt approach, you can give yourself a transitional phase where perhaps you still have one cooked item a day for the first month. You’ll still notice a shift in your overall health. What’s important is that you just try your best.

The next time you go grocery shopping pass on the processed “foods” – you know, those packaged into a cardboard box with a lengthy list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Actually, do yourself a favor and just skip the frozen isles altogether. Stock up your kitchen with living, fresh foods so you have no excuse.

Ready, Set, Go!

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Breakfast

  • Almond Milk
  • Nut Butter
  • Goji Berries
  • Granola
  • Cereals (not the Cap’n Crunch kind)
  • Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Herbal Tea made with warm water under 110º F
  • Chia Seeds
  • Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • Water

Why don’t you grab a bowl of granola and/or cereals with goji berries and almond milk? You can also cut up some apple slices and spread nut butter on them, drizzled with cinnamon. What a yummy and healthy way to start the day.

Lunch

  • Sprouted Bread
  • Arugula
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Lemon
  • Raspberry, Blueberry, Banana Smoothie
  • Water

For lunch you can make yourself a protein-packed spinach salad. Squeeze a bit of lemon over your salad sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. Pair that with a very berry smoothie with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries – add a banana for extra sweetness or lemon for an extra tangy kick!

Dinner

  • Seaweed
  • Bell Peppers (red are best)
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Quinoa
  • Ginger
  • Sea Salt
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Cold-Pressed)
  • Coconut Water or Fresh-Squeeze Fruit Juice
  • Water

Make yourself seaweed wraps packed with goodness for dinner. You can put anything (raw) your heart desires inside. Try some sun-dried tomatoes, red bell peppers, shitake mushrooms, ginger and arugula, or whatever else you come up with. Follow your gut – Use your imagination, be creative and have fun with it!

Snacks

  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Nuts (Almonds are best)
  • Raw Dark Chocolate
  • Homemade Guacamole
  • Celery and Nut Butter
  • Water

These snacks will provide energy and keep you going throughout your day. You can also mix and match these into your meals; For example – A guacamole seaweed wrap sounds scrumptious!

Give it a Go

Again, just give it a try and see the difference for yourself. And don’t be too hard on yourself during this process – It’s OK to slip up or even intentionally add some steamed goodies in there. The fact that you are actively attempting to go raw and doing something healthy for yourself is awesome. Mostly raw is better than barely raw. Good ahead now – May the force be with you.

Silvia Rodrigues

Silvia Rodrigues is a Yoga Instructor, Graphic Designer and artist who is currently completing her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification Course. She is a Portuguese native who was raised in Santa Cruz, California but decided to go back to her roots and is now enjoying life in the beautiful town of Cascais, Portugal. Silvia believes in keeping the body fit by staying active... Read More

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