Changing any kind of habit or mindset can be tough. One of the reasons a lot people can find changing to a raw food diet so challenging is that the modern diet has a myriad of addictive foods that can be very hard to say to goodbye to.
Studies have shown that meat, dairy, wheat, and sugar can trigger opiate like receptors in the brain. In fact, recent human studies have shown that sugar may be up to eight times as addictive as cocaine.
We also have a big emotional relationship with food, we eat to feel good (temporarily), to numb feelings and we eat when bored.
Below are the top 5 resistant thoughts you might find yourself thinking as you transition to a raw food diet. But I am also going to give you some very practical tips to overcome them.
Ah, time, perhaps the most precious resource in our calendar and to-do list riddled modern lifestyles. How often do you tell yourself “I would love to clean up my diet … I just don’t have the time to shop regularly and prepare meals” or “I’m too busy”, etc. etc.
The truth is, if it’s important to you, you will make the time and put in the effort.
Finding enough time to adopt a healthy raw food diet is the same as finding enough time to exercise …it’s all about your mindset.
If you are serious about making your health your number one priority (what good is it to be successful in our other pursuits if we are too sick to appreciate them?!) then you will do what it takes.
Scientific studies indicate it takes up to thirty days to lay down new neural pathways in your brain to creating new habits.
As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. The more energy you put into establishing new healthy habits, like setting aside a few hours over the weekend to prepare your meals for the week, the sooner your healthy habits will become second nature.
Rather than having to make time to go to the shops every second day, organize to do a big shop over the weekend, then freeze any fruits or vegetables that store well in the freezer (such as broccoli, pineapple, bananas) to use them throughout the week.
Buying in bulk and buying online will save you time (and it can save you money), a big bonus! So you see, with a few tips under your belt, the “I don’t have enough” time mindset can easily be overcome!
The motivation required to switch to a raw food diet may not be there due to the fear of change. Lets face it most of us resist change, or the thought of giving up the comfort (addictive) foods can be overwhelming.
So we encourage you to take baby steps to changing your diet, so that your existing diet is phased out SLOWLY and you get used to the changes.
This allows you time to experiment with how your body feels on raw food and as you begin to see and feel the benefits, and as you become more alkaline, the need or desire to include the old addictive foods in your diet falls away. Plus we have some great tricks such as superfoods and fermented foods to help ease up the cravings!
If you have a bad day and deviate from your plan, simply pick up where you left off the next day. Each new day is an opportunity to act in a way that will benefit your health.
Feeling guilty or exaggerating a small departure will only serve to make you feel miserable and keep you unmotivated. When you have a moment of slipping back into bad habits, explore that, what was the catalayst and see if you can learn the lesson in it.
Extra bonus for staying on the path – the more raw you go the more amazing you feel the more motivated you become!
3. FOMO – Fear of Missing Out!
Weddings, birthday parties, engagements, holidays – all events usually have a focus on food.
We don’t consciously realize it, but many of us suffer from food anxiety. Ever had a co-worker eating something new and delicious right by your desk that you just have to try, yet you can’t because you’re trying to be “good” and stick to your diet?
No one wants to “miss the opportunity” to be part of the family BBQ, friend’s birthday or social.
Here at The Raw Food Kitchen we talk about the 80/20 rule. You can still allow time in your diet, in your week, in your life for going out and having fun, it's just about getting the balance right and making sensible choices when out and about.
As long as the majority of your diet is comprised of whole, plant-based raw foods and these “occasional” departures do not begin to increase in frequency, then there is nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while. The less deprived you feel, the much more likely you are to stick to your new lifestyle.
When considering equipment for your raw food kitchen you might want to consider asking yourself: “Am I just starting out or am I loving raw so much I want to delve deeper and explore more techniques and recipes?”
The answer will determine how you go about establishing your budget and the equipment you choose to purchase.
At The Raw Food Kitchen, we advise when first starting out, to keep things relatively simple. All you really need is a good chef’s knife, a basic high-powered blender, and a food processor.
Most of this you’re already likely to have. As you begin to feel better than ever before, you may decide that raw food is a permanent lifestyle change you want to adopt, and then you can begin budgeting, saving and planning to introduce more expensive equipment into your kitchen.
Simple raw food meals require very little preparation and equipment. Fruits and vegetables are eaten in their whole food forms as much as possible. For example, you could have a few pieces of fruit or a smoothie for breakfast and salad for lunch. Snacks could be nuts etc.
Once you begin gaining confidence with the raw food diet and recipes, you can move onto slightly more advanced raw food recipes that merge simplicity and advanced food preparation, then you could consider investing in a high powered blender such as the Vitamix, food processor, Thermomix or Excalibur dehydrator.
Remember this: A healthy diet is affordable because you are investing in one of your greatest assets in life – your health!
And with a little planning, a raw food diet doesn’t have to be expensive. Again, baby steps. Start with what you can manage, and perhaps look at your existing budget. Is there somewhere you can cut costs to increase your fresh fruit and vegetable spend?
Most people find that by cutting out wheat, meat and dairy and substituting that with nuts and seeds along with their existing fruit and vege shop it works out about the same. Bonus!
Buying fresh produce in bulk at the markets over the weekend and freezing as necessary will significantly help you cut costs also. Similarly, while we encourage organic produce as much as possible, there is a list, known as the Clean Fifteen, of foods that are known to have lower pesticide content. If finances are limited, you may choose to purchase these foods non organic at the markets.
As mentioned any change can be challenging. We are creatures of habit who have an emotional relationship to food. However, as you begin to experience the benefits of a raw food diet almost instantly and begin feeling more energized than ever before, you will notice the transition becomes easier.
We are here to support you and give you all the tools necessary to make this positive change in your life. Check out our website where we have created a raw food diet plan tailored to support you in over coming all these challenges and make your transition to a raw food diet as successful as possible.
Here’s to life-long health!
Written by Amanda Brocket of The Raw Food Kitchen