The Healthy Vegan Virgin's Guide to Discovery
So you're interested in improving your diet? Great stuff!You've come to the right place. Here you can find out how best to start with raw foods as a 'raw food virgin!' Just remember to enjoy every moment, experiment lots with yummy raw dishes (as featured in the photos, on this page) and allow for natural progression when it comes to improving your diet for the long-haul...
- Take things slowly... If you jump in fast, you might find yourself jumping out again just as quick! Since it takes 21 days to change a physiological pattern and create a new positive habit, it’s just one more reason to take it easy. Enjoy each step, and feel your body react. Learn to listen hard to what your body is trying to tell you. If you find this difficult to start with, fear not, it only gets easier!
- If you drink tea, coffee or soft drinks (I like the way they call them ‘soft,’ I’m sure you wouldn’t refer to them as soft when you’ve seen what they can do to your internal organs!) start to cut down, in order to stop. If you like to snack during the day, start by introducing natural fruit only. This can be fresh or dried.
- You can begin adding either a freshly squeezed fruit juice or a raw fruit smoothie into your routine. The easiest time to do this is after you first wake up in the morning. After fasting for an evening (now you understand where the term break-fast comes from), break it with something natural. For some great ideas, visit our recipe section.
- Make sure that each of your meals contains at least 2 raw ingredients. This might be fresh leaves in your sandwich, and cucumber on the side. Or raw avocado and cheese, with pieces of mange-toute with your baked potato. Start cutting down on meat, and replacing with fish or vegetarian substitutes such as tofu or quorn.
- Make just one of your meals that day raw. Most of the people I coach have found breakfast or lunch the easiest meals to replace at this stage. If you choose breakfast, introduce lots of different fruits. Choose brightly coloured, ripe pieces and make it look yummy! If you choose lunch, buy lots of different types of leaves, add ripe, juicy tomatoes, green onions and whatever’s in season. Create a feast, that makes your mouth water, imagine how the flavours will tantalise your taste buds! If you’re feeling brave, you could even add a raw salad dressing.
- Replace a second meal with a raw option, and make this your largest meal of the day. Go to town and make yourself something great. By eating your biggest meal of the day at this time, you're giving your body the chance to digest when it's at its most active. Eating something really filling later in the evening will not allow for optimal digestion before you go to bed.
- When you feel ready, try a sample '100% raw day.' Make sure that you are fully ready for this stage - if the thought scares you, even just a little, then you aren't quite ready for it. In this case, just keep on with what you've been doing. If you feel you are ready, plan what you're going to eat that day and at what time, and what you're going to be doing througout the day. Planning is one of the keys to achieving - so make sure that you've bought in enough fresh fruit and veggies!
- If the sample day does well, alternate raw days throughout the week. Keep a journal to log what you've been eating. If you have a particularly difficult day, look back through your notes to see what might have gone wrong.
- Try a sample 100% raw week.
- If this goes well extend it to two weeks. If you 'fall off the wagon,' put it behind you. Read more about getting back on track.
- Reflect on how you feel. If you're feeling good (you usually are by this stage) aim for a raw month. Keep positive, focused and enjoy every day, as you'll be getting one step closer to the natural you!
Visit the transitioning section, for more information on the next stage.