New to Raw?

If you’re thinking about beginning a plant-based lifestyle, congrats! I can personally attest to how amazing it makes you feel. AH-MAZE-ANG! For anyone who is new to it, my biggest and best advice is to take it slow! This is not a “diet” – this is a change in lifestyle, not a race to the finish line. Here are some tips that may help you along the way:

Incremental Change

Being the Type A personality that I am, it took me quite some time to realize that I did not have to jump into raw foods 100% at the start. The benefits of changing even one meal to raw have been touted over and over again. For example: if you have a raw food smoothie for breakfast (see this delicious raw smoothie recipe video I did!), a salad and baked potato for lunch, and whatever you want for dinner… that’s 50% of your meals that you ate raw! If you begin to eat this way – and then eat clean for the rest of your meals – you will surely reap the benefits and see major changes in your inner and outer health and appearance. 

It’s EASY!

To those who say to me, “Going raw is so hard!” I say, “Really? How hard is it to pick up a banana?”

All those gourmet recipes you see people creating? You do not have to start out with that! Incorporating more raw foods into your meals is as simple as peeling an orange! Breakfast? Lots of fruit! Snack? Raw bell peppers and raw hummus! Dinner? A huge helping of kale salad (Mmmmmm… KALE SALAD! So delicious! Check out this video about how to make it). It does NOT have to be complicated, I promise!

Saving Money

Which costs more… filet mignon or fresh mango? I’m just sayin’. It’s all about perspective. 

Some say that it’s too expensive to go raw. While Whole Foods aisles can be truly blissful, no one says you need to shop there all the time! There are amazing cost-saving options that can help: Asian markets have amazing, inexpensive produce. Wal-Mart has organic fruits and veggies for less. Farmers markets give you access to local growers and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture – a great way to buy food in bulk and in season directly from farmers!)

Equipment

Dehydrators, Vitamixes, lemon zesters… WHAT?!? Most people believe that going raw will cost thousands of dollars in equipment alone! The truth, however, is that you don’t need all this stuff to get started. A blender, a good cutting knife and a cutting board is all you need. Will you eventually buy more as you begin to experiment with different raw recipes? Sure, and you should look forward to that! For now, however, do not let the price tags of these toys defer you. Start simple and grow from there.

Experiment

Here’s the BEST thing about plant-based living… you get to play with your food! 

Have you ever tried mulberries? Lychees? Dragonfruit? Asparagus? Nori? Well, now’s the time. All those fruits and veggies that you’ve been wondering about? Try them! Experiment! Branch out and see what produce you like. See what you DON’T like (so you know for future reference). Check out raw recipes on YouTube. Go to the library and check out raw food books. 

Eat. Play. Love! 

Questions, comments, things to add? Feel free to post them below!

18 thoughts on “New to Raw?

  1. Hi Carla – Girl you are so beautiful inside and out! I was introduced and inspired of going raw since April, 2011. I have been reading and trying to breath anything related to raw food! I came across your videos 2 days ago and have been hooked! Thank you so much…you are so inspriational!! This is my first juice fast and I am day 14! I have more questions….please e-mail me.

    • Hey doll! Great to meet you and congrats on the 14 days!!! Tell you what… if you have more questions, feel free to message me on Facebook. If you go to http://facebook.com/rawrawlife, that’s where you’ll find me hanging out. I answer questions both on the page and via private message. Happy to help!

  2. Hi Carla, I have now replaced two meals per day with either a smoothie or a juice and am now into the habit of having fish for dinner with steamed vegetables. I am just wondering however what you opinion is on soya milk? I use the alpro light brand. I have been reading it contains fat clenching hormones like eastrogen? Is this really true? I have a few more questions too if you have any more time?
    Best Wishes
    Ellie

    • Hey Eleanor! I, for one, don’t drink soy milk. I have a friend who had a drastically negative reaction to drinking soy over the course of many years, and that scared the stuffings out of me. I make my own almond milk – it’s easy as heck, raw, nutrient filled, and works great as the base for my smoothies. I’m not saying that YOU shouldn’t drink it, as it’s totally up to you. For me, though? Nah.

      More questions? Bring ‘em on!

  3. How long will something I make stay good (using blender)? A lot if recipes call for a lot more than a one-serving drink. If I put the rest in the fridge in the morning/evening will it still be good the next morning/evening?

  4. doing a raw diet can be dangerous to some. What about the Protein and other things are body needs? can U help me with that?

    • The amino acids in produce (especially leafy green veggies) are the building blocks for protein in the body, so the whole “not enough protein on raw” argument doesn’t hold water. The ONLY nutrient not readily available through a raw diet is vitamin B-12, and that’s why they make supplements. A raw diet is GREAT for the body!

  5. Hi Carla – I just began a 30 day Raw Food Challenge. I am on Day # 8 right now. I am enjoying it so far but I have questions as to how to “end” it or transition back afterwards. I don’t want to go and eat badly, but I’m uncertain if I want to be 100% raw afterwards either. Any thoughts?

    • Well, I’m a definite believer in thinking of the end at the beginning, so I applaud you for that. As for going “backwards” into cooked foods, I actually don’t have a lot of advice there. I suppose, like any transition, it would be important to reintroduce them gradually into your system, especially meats and/or dairy. It’s amazing how quickly the body adapts to pure plant food, so I would advise you to think consciously about what you choose to eat from now forward. Have you explored clean eating?

  6. Excellent as always!! I’ve just added two more fun toys as I call them to use….A spiralizer and Food Processor. Well worth the purchase!! I love my nutribullet, but I know I will eventually get a large juicer to make more of my favorite juices.

      • It is!!! I made some raw alfredo pasta last weekend. It was different, but so so wonderful. Each time I find a new recipe, I fall even more deeply in love for food. When I see the foods I use to eat, I research for a vegan version OR come up with my own recipe. I am loving my new lifestyle journey.

  7. Carla,
    I’m convinced that raw is eating is definitely the way to go for health and many other reasons. I’m in what I call a transition to a raw diet. Today, I had a small amount of shrimp but the rest of my meals for the day have been raw. My intent is to begin eating completely raw as early as Monday. My question to you is what should I expect in the first week? i.e. headaches, or what. I’m very excited about this transition.

    • So glad you’re excited, Shirley!

      When you transition to an all raw diet, you should expect similar detox reactions as you would from a juice fast. They may be less severe, as you’ll still be eating food, but they may still show up. Reason being, you are allowing the toxins from the processed foods to finally leave the body and are fueling yourself with unadulterated nutrients. This is a great thing!

      Detox symptoms are an individualized thing, honey. I can’t tell you exactly what to expect. I can just tell you to be on the lookout for ‘em!

  8. Hi Carla – I just wanta say THANK YOU! I’m on day 6 of my first ever juice fast (total carnivore before this) and feeling great! Thank you for your e-book it has pretty much walked me through this whole process and totally set me up for success. Your videos are such an inspiration and have helped me along the way too. Love your personality and realistic approach, I kid you not when I say I laugh right along with you! :) I just wanted to say thanks for kinda being my unknown juice mentor. Thanks for all your knowledge, tips, and encouragement! Looking forward to the next 6 days!

  9. Hey Carla! I have a little bit of a story to tell, and a big thank you. I’m 22 years old and I have always had a problem eating tons of junk food. Well, about a a year and a half ago I started running (I use that term very loosely) but I was replacing my meals with Lean Cuisines. I went from 190 to 145 in about a year. However, I still didn’t feel healthy. I did right after running but later on I felt I needed to run again to gain the energy back. Unfortunately, in June of 2013 I was in the hospital with my Dad because he got very sick. I stayed every night with him for about 2 weeks. Needless to say I didn’t eat a lot because I was scared to leave him in the room by himself. He passed away on June 16th and I went into a depression and started eating tons of junk food. In November I was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumor that was hemorrhaging. So, I was given a 5 lb restriction with absolutely no exercising allowed and wasn’t able to work so I started snacking even more. I gotta say, Thanksgiving and Christmas really hit the spot and bumped me up to 175 (; THEN I FOUND YOU! I read “New to Juicing” and “New to Raw”. Less than a week ago I started eating only fruits and vegetables, replacing a meal here and there with a juice…and saving my stocking candy until I absolutely had to have it. Whoops! I’ve lost 5 lbs! I feel so great and I’m not even exercising. I’m working my way up so in a couple months I can try juicing all the way! Sorry to be a buzz-kill! I know you hear it all the time but you sure gave me an energy boost. Along with everyone else’s stories :D

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