Becoming a "raw foodie" is a new way of eating for some people. And it will take more than seven days to accomplish it. At least 75 percent of the raw foodist's diet consists of foods in their natural state -- raw and uncooked. These foods are chemical free and typically plant based. Raw foodists believe most foods contain more nutrients when eaten in their raw, or natural, state and that cooking foods at temperatures above 118 degrees Fahrenheit alters or kills valuable vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which help the body properly digest and absorb food. Instead of going cold turkey, by completely avoiding cold turkey, start making gradual changes during your first seven days to help your body adjust to its new way of eating. Listen to what your body is telling you by the way it feels. It will tell you what it needs.
Start slow. For example, replace that sugary doughnut with a couple of pieces of fresh fruit for breakfast during the week. Observe your body's reactions to removing and adding specific foods. Notice if you are feeling more energetic or lighter. Since you're not eating heavy, fat-saturated food, you may need to eat more often.
Add more fruits and vegetables. If you're like most people, you need more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet. Experiment with new vegetables, fruits and sprouts. Look for radiant, dark-colored produce, indicating that it's nutrient and antioxidant rich. Include a salad on each of the seven days. Many delicious salad recipes incorporating fruits, vegetables, and dressings made from healthy oils and organic vinegars are available online.
Add nuts, seeds, avocados and olives to your daily diet during the week. These nutrient-dense power packets are rich in fats, protein and carbohydrates that work together to give you long-lasting energy. They are also full of essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They contain phytochemicals, compounds that help promote health. Sprinkle your salad with sesame seeds or pine nuts or grab a handful of raw almonds for an energy-packed snack.
Avoid or cut back on coffee and soda to reduce your intake of caffeine and refined sugar and drink more water to stay hydrated and help flush toxins from your body. Get rid of processed foods. By eating raw for seven days, you're beginning to naturally cleanse your body since you're no longer feeding it additives, artificial ingredients, preservatives and other toxins from processed or fast foods.
Join a raw foodie group to share ideas, recipes and information. Look online for raw food meetups in your area.
Increase your intake of raw foods gradually if you decide to move forward with the raw food plan after seven days. Your body needs to adjust naturally to your new way of eating. Continue to experiment with new raw foods and observe the effects these foods have on your body's weight, health and energy. Since you are consuming a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are easily digestible, you may have to eat more food at meals or eat more often.
Resume gradually the diet you had before going raw for a week, if that is your decision. During your week of raw foods, your body began an internal cleanse and started to adjust to a lighter and easily digestible diet. If you decide to cut back on high-fiber fruits and vegetables and once again include significant amounts of foods high in saturated fats, such as meat and dairy products, and processed foods, you may experience bloating due to water retention from excess sodium intake and constipation due to lack of fiber.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water to remove dirt, garden insects and bacteria. According to Colorado State University Extension Services, avoid washing fruits and vegetables with detergent or bleach solutions since many types of fresh produce are porous and could absorb chemicals, thus impacting their safety and taste. The FDA advises against using commercial produce washes because their safety and effectiveness has not been evaluated.
Karen Curinga has been writing published articles since 2003 and is the author of multiple books. Her articles have appeared in "UTHeath," "Catalyst" and more. Curinga is a freelance writer and certified coach/consultant who has worked with hundreds of clients. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology.