Transitioning to Raw Foods

This diet is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You can begin gradually, see how your body responds, and proceed at your own pace. Here are some ideas for transitioning to raw foods.

Start with Smoothies

One good place to begin your quest for better health is the daily green smoothie. Green smoothies are blender drinks made from fresh fruits and leafy greens, which add important nutrients to your diet. This is a great way to increase your intake of leafy green vegetables. Delicious combinations include leafy greens with pears and lemon juice, romaine and mint with bananas, and spring greens with strawberries.

Just this single addition to your diet can create a dramatic improvement in your health and energy. The best time to make these smoothies is in the morning when you first wake up. You can have one for breakfast and take an extra serving with you in a thermos for a snack or an appetizer before lunch.

Why does protein matter?

You need to get enough protein to fuel your body for the day since protein is the raw material that becomes your infection fighters, neurotransmitters, and your enzymes. There are 20 amino acids that combine to make protein. Of these, 12 are essential but need to be obtained from food because the human body cannot make them. Good protein sources include nuts and seeds; green essences like algae, chlorella, and spirulina; bee pollen; hemp seed; and maca.

Progress Slowly

If you find that you like the green smoothie and you want to increase the amount of raw food you're eating, the next step would be to learn some basic food prep techniques. The goal is to practice one food technique until you get the hang of it before moving on to another.

For example, you might want to practice creating nori rolls or burrito wraps. Another good option would be to try making vegetable pasta with sauce — ribboned pasta made from zucchini, carrots, jicama, or daikon radish topped with tomato-basil marinara, pesto, or yellow curry.

If you are not accustomed to eating a high-fiber diet, you'll probably find these tips helpful: Eat melons and other fruits alone or at least 20 minutes before other foods. Do not combine fruits with nuts, seeds, vegetables, or grains. Do not combine starchy foods with protein-rich foods. Do not combine avocado with nuts. Do not combine sugar with oil. Following these rules can promote better digestion.

Another approach is to select one meal a day when you'd like to have raw food. It could be lunch, with a great salad and some form of protein. On the other hand, you may prefer to do the food prep in the evening when you have a little more time to try new entrées and side dishes.

Essential Nutrients

If you give up eggs, you need to replace the nutrients that you used to obtain through this food. These nutrients can be supplied through the good fats and proteins in foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds such as flax.

How can I be sure I'm getting enough protein?

If you have a lean, wiry body type or an athletic metabolism, you may burn a great deal of protein. In that case, you may want to supplement your protein intake with eggs, dairy, or protein powders and bars, based on your own values and requirements. You can get useful feedback from your body by monitoring your energy to see how much protein you need to be at your best.

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