This June, I decided to take National Fruits and Vegetables Month to the next level. Inspired by the fresh produce enthusiasm this past June, I cleared out my kitchen cupboards and prepared for 30 days of a strictly raw-vegan food diet.
I know the typical paragraph that follows these blog posts will give you some sort of exercise regiment; meal plan; weight loss goals, but that wasn’t what compelled to take the month-long challenge, and that isn’t what I want to share about my journey in sourcing my meals as locally, freshly and sustainably as possible.
Raw food hasn’t been cooked, processed, microwaved, irradiated, genetically engineered or exposed to pesticides or herbicides. It includes fresh fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs in their whole, natural state.
While it is no secret that a raw diet may result in rather immediate short-term or long-term weight loss, the raw foodist is far more interested in the natural enzymes and nutrients that are packed into uncooked foods, and how those individual ingredients are sourced. It can be considered its own food movement.
Sound hungry at the thought? The potential benefits make it well worth the try.
People have lots of reasons for getting involved: some are seeking a digestive cleanse; some are attempting to cure physical or mental ailments naturally; maybe a person is determining food allergies or trying to notice certain trends in food and feelings internally. There’s no one script and everyone arrived here in a different vessel, which is why it’s important to find what works for YOU.
Here are a few tactics I implemented and highly encourage.
Research food groups in advance. It’s important to maintain well-balanced diet. How else will you have the energy to get through the long workday? Learn what foods are best for which vitamins and minerals. If you know you don’t like raw spinach under any circumstances, then plan a substitute. The options are endless and the web is full of fast facts. One of the many things I learned, included the importance of being prepared. There was never a time of day where I did not have fruit, nut bars, and a variety of other raw snacks in my bag; at my desk; etc.
Get prepped and stock up!
It’s easier to clear out the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator before you start your raw journey. Keep waste down by using up all perishables before you begin your 30 Days. On the flipside, stock up on items you don’t typically use in your everyday diet. Changes for me included: raw honey, coconut oil, raw pepitas (and nuts of all varieties), cacao, and raw granola. I, personally, always bought my produce the morning-of my workday, but that is your decision. Your local farmers market is the best spot!
Food is fuel. Listen to your body. If it’s not getting something it needs, then it will tell you. If you feel lethargic or nauseous, or if you’re confident you aren’t consuming enough calories in a day, make accommodations. You may even find you need to adjust your workout routines at first, until your body adjusts to the new diet.
Be mindful. Notice what has changed over time with the incorporation of more raw foods, and less processed ingredients. It may be helpful to keep a journal to document how new or different foods initially make you feel. It’s also a good spot for all your new recipes and favorite ingredient combos!
Raw Granola Recipe
1 cup soaked and dehydrated buckwheat
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried, chopped apples
1/3 cup maple syrup (agave is also fine)
1 tbsp coconut or flax oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the maple syrup, water, coconut oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour over dry ingredients and mix them well with your hands. If you’d like to make a sweeter granola, you can add another tbsp maple syrup, or a few drops of stevia; the amount listed is intended only to add gentle sweetness and to bind the granola together.
- Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 10-12 hours, or until granola is sticky but adhering firmly. Refrigerate till ready to use; this will help maintain crunch and texture!
*Please ensure you are getting the appropriate vitamin and nutritional intake for your height and weight. Consult with a doctor or nutritionist before determining if this is an appropriate diet choice for your body.