Weight Loss & Maintenance
Eating a High Raw or 100% Raw diet does so many amazing things for your body. Foremost on people's minds is usually weight loss. This is attained effortlessly as pounds drop away. The easiest way to lose excess fat is to eat lower calorie foods that are high in nutrients. When you eat foods high in nutrients and you're able to assimilate them because you're body is clean, then your hunger tends to decrease, as well as your cravings for "bad foods." Wouldn't that be nice not to have so many cravings for "bad" foods? Half the struggle to losing weight is not having cravings or always being hungry and then feeling deprived. With my lifestyle of eating Raw now, I never feel deprived because everything I eat completely satisfies me, and if I want more, I can have it, because it's good for me. There are days that I have very little hunger and some days that I eat all day long. In either case however, I'm never gaining weight because of my Raw food choices. I get to eat things like Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, Caesar Salad with Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing, Arriba Tortilla Soup, Hummus and Falafel with Tahini sauce, Italian Lasagna (with nut cheese), Flying Dragon Broccoli, Rudolph Cherry Cobbler, and so much more. You can see why I never feel deprived. If you're interested in learning how to make these mouth-watering dishes, then see my Raw recipe books.
Raw greens and vegetables have the fewest calories per bite of any food. Fruits are the second lowest, and they give satiation because they raise blood sugar and reduce appetite. One of the things I do to prevent over-eating at a meal is that I start it with an apple or some pineapple for example. I eat the apple about 20-30 minutes before I eat my meal, because the apple contains pectin and fiber, which really help fill me up so I don't eat as much at the regular meal.
Eating high-water content foods will also help you lose weight, because these foods are lower in calories. For a high-water content, Raw weight-loss diet, try the following: During the first half of the day, before you eat anything else, drink water with fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice. Shortly thereafter, drink 16 ounces of green juice or a 16-ounce fruit or green smoothie (or just whole fresh fruit). If you're hungry later, as it gets closer to lunch, opt to have Raw soup and salad made with fresh organic ingredients. For dinner, make yourself some Raw pasta and marinara or Raw falafel with tahini sauce. This is just to give you some ideas. The bottom line is that if you consume plenty of greens, especially in a liquid form, your energy will go through the roof, you will feel full and satisfied, and you lose unwanted excess weight. If you follow this eating plan, you will get all the nutrients and water you need for the day without getting too many calories. You'll also feel full and be less likely to eat too much rich food during the day.
If your goal is to gain weight, then you can accomplish that by eating a High Raw diet and exercise program as well. If you wish to gain weight, this is best done by gaining muscle through strength and resistance workouts. You can easily get added calories needed for such training through additional blended shakes (I love adding Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder), sweet or starchy fruits such as dates or bananas, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
There's no doubt that including exercise or physical activity is going to compound the benefits of this diet. You'll find yourself with so much energy that you'll want to exercise. You'll want to get outside and enjoy yourself. As you transition to a higher Raw diet, you'll find yourself wanting to move around. You'll feel so good, you won't want to just sit on the couch and watch TV.
One of the main benefits of exercise is that it helps oxygen flow through your body and accelerates your lymph system. You end up sweating and removing wastes through your skin. Then, your lymphatic system gets rid of toxic cellular waste products. Some experts blame cellulite on lymph accumulation. So, eat healthy and pure, get physically active to keep your lymph system flowing, and you'll see some major changes. For my own body, my cellulite started to disappear in no time.
A Typical Raw Routine
This varies for everyone, depending on your individual goals. It's great in that this diet can be applied to anyone, at any stage of their life. The exciting thing about this lifestyle is that there are so many choices and it NEVER gets boring. This is the diet, or lifestyle, that people tend to stay on the longest once they embark on this path. That's because it works! It's balanced! It's delicious! It's fun! It's easy! And, it's the healthiest diet you can follow! This is why there are people who have been eating High Raw and 100% Raw diets for 20, 30, 40 years. It works, it's healthy, there are no negative consequences and the food tastes so damn good. You don't feel deprived. You feel better emotionally, physically and mentally. Like I said, you can make this simple to gourmet. When you're short on time, you're grabbing a fresh crisp apple for breakfast or a snack, and when you have more time, you're making crunchy & sweet Raw granola with fresh almond milk and strawberries. The wonderful thing about eating a Raw food diet is that it can be so simple and still be varied.
For entrees, there are few things you can do to make it simple and delicious.
Have dips, sauces, and pates done in advance. Also, many of these freeze terrifically if they have a higher fat content like nuts and seeds. Isn't that great? That makes it super easy to make large batches and freeze some for the following weeks.
Then, take your sauce or pate and stuff it inside a half of a seeded red (orange or yellow) bell pepper or tomato. Or, you can make a sandwich by wrapping the pate in collard greens or romaine lettuce leaves. It's so refreshing, satiating and delicious! For dozens of amazing Raw entree recipes, see my EASY Raw Entrees ebook.
I don't know many people who don't like desserts. The greatest thing about Raw desserts is that they appeal to everyone. They appeal to people who love desserts and people who actually don't eat desserts that often. Raw desserts can pretty much be eaten ANY TIME of the DAY!!! And, still lose weight and be healthy! How awesome is that??? Every dessert you'd normally cook, you can make Raw and it's super easy, in fact, it's usually easier! I teach you how to make some of the most decadent Raw desserts ever in my Raw desserts ebook (and my classes, if you're in Arizona).
Many things you can do for advance prep, which really saves you time. Juice your lemons for the week and keep it in a mason jar in your fridge. Crush your garlic and keep in a little jar with some olive oil drizzled on it. Have some of your produce already washed and ready to go. I typically do a lot of this on Sunday, for the week ahead. Then, look at some recipes you want to make to see if nuts need to be soaked. Then, the next day when you make the recipe, you're literally just putting the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mixing. Voila! That's usually it. Then you eat it. There is no cooking, no cleaning of grease covered pans or dishes. It's surprisingly fast. Get yourself a dedicated kitchen calendar that you keep in the kitchen for food preparation. You can hang it on your fridge or on the inside of a cupboard door. Then, note the night you need to put out the nuts or seeds to soak while you sleep. It's so easy and this will really help when preparing Raw foods! Use the calendar to note when you're going shopping, when you made certain foods so you can keep track of how long they've been in your fridge. You'll want to have lots of great, clear glass mason jars of various sizes to put all of your foods in. Glass is the best because it doesn't compromise the integrity of the food. You can go to any hardware store to buy a few dozen inexpensive mason jars.
Having a dehydrator isn't required to enjoy a diet of Raw foods, but it definitely adds much more to your dishes when you have one. With a dehydrator, you'll be able to do much more with your menus, as well as increasing the shelf-life of your produce and foods. When you have a dehydrator, for example, one of the best things you can do is to soak and dehydrate your nuts, which will increase their shelf-life, and they'll be ready to eat so you don't have to wait around for soaking when you want some nuts or seeds. The exception to this is if you're making a recipe that calls for soaked nuts/seeds, then you have to re-soak them. (For this reason, you might want to keep both soaked and un-soaked nuts on-hand.)
No Hot Food?... Even in Winter?
A common question asked of me is "how do you stay warm" in a cold climate, while eating a Raw food diet? People eat Raw diets all over the world, in all climates and it's quite simple. Some things you can do that you might not think of:
- Use warming spices like cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, etc.
- Warm your soup or sauce a little on the stove, but only to a temperature that you can still put your finger in it and keep it there. Or put it in a warm water bath.
- Drink warm herbal tea (it's not really Raw, but if it helps warm you up, then it's worth it).
- Eat and drink things at room temperature. If you keep things in the fridge, then take them out in advance to warm up to room temperature.
- If you have a dehydrator, one of the things I teach in my classes is how to warm up food using the dehydrator, which prevents it from getting too hot. You can put food in for about 30-60 minutes at 130 degrees and not worry about compromising the integrity of the enzymes. If you're careful not to leave it in for more than an hour, the food itself won't have time to pass 118 degrees, despite the fact that the air circulating in the dehydrator is 130 degrees.
These are just a few of the things you'll want to know... there are many more! The good news is, it's all fun and very exciting. The things you learn will assist you with living a life where the food you eat makes you feel better than you ever have before! To learn more and really get started with this stuff, have a look at my fun Kristen's EASY Raw food recipe and lifestyle books. (I highly recommend this one for getting started!)