Wednesday, January 14, 2009

10 Steps to Going and Staying Raw

Adapted from The Raw Food Blog, this outlines one way of approaching a raw food lifestyle. This might work for most people. Myself, the journey was more about really listening to my body and going with the flow. The point at which i made a significant shift was when i made my kitchen raw. Cleared out all the cooked foods, gave away my cooking gear and started using the oven as extra bench space. I had already been eating mostly raw, but this just nudged me over that point of no return.

1. Assemble the tools you need. A blender - any blender - a juicer, a dehydrator, some jars for sprouting, and a variety of raw recipes are the minimum requirements. If you can't bring it all together at once, then start with the blender and jars.
2. Assemble your list of suppliers. Where are you going to buy your food? Are you going be mostly organic? Will you be able to source from growers' markets or a food co-op? Find a supply of sprouting seeds - at least some alfalfa, sunflower and broccoli. The wider the variety the better. We've started the Living Foods Co-operative in Melbourne to support the raw community here.
3. Read your instructions. Do you know how to sprout, how to use the juicer?
4. Plan out what you're going to do. If you decide you'd like to make angel-hair pasta from zucchini, for example, you might find having a spiral slicing machine handy. This might put you back to step 1.
5. Set a starting date and create a support crew around you. Having a support group is the greatest. Check for raw groups in your area. If you don't know any raw foodies in your area, find a raw chat group or two for support. A professional Raw Coach is ideal, if available.
Share with them what you plan to do, and the date you're going to start. You'll find yourself more successful this way, than if you "go raw secretly."
6. Stay inspired. So build a collection of books, videos, and CDs so you'll have lots of material as you go raw. This will help maintain momentum. Videos are good for motivation. There are many places online where these can be viewed, The Best of Raw Food, and YouTube are just some. There are also an increasing number of films being released. Check some of my previous blogs for these.
7. Eat consciously. Research shows that it takes 21 days for a new behaviour to become a habit. This is just as true for eating as it is for any other kind of habit. So exercise your consciousness when you are eating live foods and be aware of your attitude towards the food.

Victoria Boutenko and Gabriel Cousens have written a book on the subject of eating raw and breaking that dependency on cooked foods - 12 Steps to Raw Foods. Her book covers the subject in detail, but here are her 12 Steps to Raw Food:
Step 1 - I admit that I have lost control of my addiction to cooked food and my eating is becoming unmanageable.
Step 2 - I believe that live vegan food is the most natural diet for a human being.
Step 3 - I shall gain necessary skills, learn basic raw recipes and obtain equipment to prepare live food.
Step 4 - I shall live in harmony with people who eat cooked food.
Step 5 - I shall stay away from temptations.
Step 6 - I shall create a support group.
Step 7 - I shall find alternative activities or hobbies.
Step 8 - I shall let my higher self lead my life.
Step 9 - I shall make a searching and fearless inventory of the real reasons for seeking comfort and pleasure from cooked foods.
Step 10 - I shall let my intuition help me.
Step 11 - Through clarity I will gain happiness.
Step 12 - I shall provide support to other raw fooders.

8. Part of changing diet and lifestyle is detoxifying the body. Not as a one-time detox, but instead, we should be constantly detoxing. That's where Dr. Ann Wigmore's program comes in. She taught much more than a diet. In her books and videos she lays out the procedures for a continuous healthy detox, including the foods we eat, how we combine them, the usage of colonics or enemas, the uses of wheatgrass juice, and more.
The basics are laid out in her book, Why Suffer? How I Overcame Illness and Pain Naturally.
9. Be aware, not discouraged. You're going to backslide at times, and it's normal. Don't feel like you've "failed" if you happen to go out for your favourite cooked meal. Instead, think about how well you've been doing, how much better you're eating than you used to, and how much better you're feeling since you started going raw.
10. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Knowing that I have addictions to comfort foods, I found new comfort foods. For me that's fresh blueberries, raspberries, and bananas.

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