Tip #1 – Get Equipped
You will need a few basics to get started. The first item is a blender, you don’t have to go straight to an expensive model. I paid around $100 for mine and it does a great job. The second item is a food processor, again this does not need to be costly. I bought mine second hand off eBay and it works beautifully. A Vitamix or Blendtec high-powered blender is a great choice if you have the budget for one. A nut milk bag is a handy little item to have, they only cost a couple of dollars and again I bought mine off eBay. A mandolin will save you time in the kitchen and give your dishes a professional look. If you can afford one then I also suggest a dehydrator. I don’t have a 9 tray Excalibur (but I want one), mine is a Sunbeam and its one of those cheap round models. Great for doing things like museli, crackers, ‘roasted’ vegetables and stuffed mushrooms.
Tip #2 – Do it at your own pace
Some people can make this decision overnight and transition to a 100% raw food diet. I wasn’t one of those people. I started by going vegetarian then gradually eliminated foods that I knew were doing me harm. Next to go was dairy. Its difficult to throw away everything you know and try something new. For years we have been taught the food pyramid which consists of meat, dairy, wheat, fruit, veg etc… you’ve based meal times on this and have your favourite recipes and restaurants. Recognise that its going to take time to form new habits and that even taking away one bad item is a step towards better health.
Tip #3 – Start a recipe folder
I have 2 of these, one for savoury dishes and one for desserts. Whenever I come across a recipe on the internet or in one of my raw recipe books, I print it out or copy it and add it to the folder. The internet is a great resource tool, there are so many raw food recipes available. Think about what your favourite dishes are and do a search. For example, if you love chocolate cake, type in ‘Raw Chocolate Cake Recipe’ in the search section and see what you find. You’ll discover YouTube videos with demonstrations, as well as many other printable recipes. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on recipe books. Nearly all of the recipes I have tried I loved, but if there is something that I didn’t, I just removed it from the folder so that it only contains my favourites.
Tip #4 – Find people who inspire you
My main reason for wanting to transition to a plant based diet was to lose weight. I found people like Philip McClusky and Angela Stokes who had already done this successfully. I loved reading their stories and studied what they did to acheive their goals. I also have a passion for creating beautiful dishes so people like Russell James, the raw food chef inspire me. His website is full of amazing recipes, all for free. He also has some eBooks and home chef courses you can purchase.
Tip #5 – Don’t deprive yourself
If you feel deprived and hungry then you are not going to enjoy this transition at all. Make sure you eat plenty of the foods you love, there is no need to starve yourself. As long as your eating the right foods, you wont gain weight. You’ll find that because you are giving your body all the nurtients it needs, your appetite will reduce dramatically. This happened for me. I used to constantly think about food and crave all the wrong things. When I started juicing in particular, I noticed I no longer felt like these foods. My body had been craving nutrients all this time and I wasn’t recognising this. Have lots of yummy fruits available so you have something quick and easy at hand. Fruit is the best ‘fast food’.
Tip #6 – Get involved in social networking
It may surprise you that most of your friends and family may not be as excited as you are about your new way of eating. At first I felt really isolated and recieved constant criticism from those around me who were ‘concerned about my health’. They thought I would be deficient in all sorts of things like protein, iron, calcium etc. One thing that really helped me was to connect with other like minded people on Facebook. Facebook has a huge number of groups related to raw food. There are ones dedicated to sharing recipes even. Join the ones that interest you and ask questions, share your journey etc. You will be surprised by the amount of support you get. Also don’t forget to share interesting videos and links on your wall. I love posting photos of my recipes, this always gets a lot of interest. Its a great way of spreading the word without being ‘preacher-ish’.
Tip #7 – How to get your friends and family involved
I’ve found the easiest way to do this is by creating raw desserts. Everyone loves something sweet, you can create delicious raw desserts that are guilt free without any animal products, sugar, wheat etc. You’ll feel good about offering these to your children in place of sugary treats. Another idea is to invite your friends over for lunch and prepare some raw dishes for them to enjoy. Its a great talking point. Most people are suprised by what amazing food you can make and how good it tastes. When they hear ‘raw food’ they imagine boring salads and carrot sticks. You can make raw pasta using a spiralising tool (available on eBay or Amazon), create flax crackers and dips, yummy soups to name a few.
Tip #8 – Find a raw food class or demo
These are a great way to see a raw food expert in action and try some amazing food. You’ll also get to meet other people in your local area that share your interest. I did a series of 4 classes that ran on weekends. We got to see the food being made, take home recipe sheets and sample everything afterwards. She demonstrated making raw chocolates, pasta, burgers, onion bread, crackers, almond milk, green smoothies, museli, chocolate mousse to name a few. This was a real turning point for me. All the things she made were quick and easy and she educated us along the way on all the health benefits of individual ingredients. I learn’t about superfoods and enzymes etc. Great value for money.
Tip #9 – Be prepared for social situations
If you have been invited to a friends gathering, bring a plate of food along that you can eat and share with others. If you are going out to dinner with friends, ask if they can go somewhere healthy. If you don’t have any choice in where you are going, choose the best possible option. Either a vegetarian meal or ask if they can make you a salad off the menu. Just request your favourite ingredients. Just do the best you can and don’t feel bad about it. If you do slip up and eat the wrong thing, don’t undo all your hard work and go back to your old ways. Its not worth feeling guilty over. Just move on and continue on your journey to better health. None of us are perfect and there are going to be challenging situations.
Tip #10 – Track your progress
This will help you to stay motivated. When I started my journey I weighed myself and took some ‘before’ photos. Wear some figure fitting clothing so you can see the difference when the weight comes off. Maybe buy the same outfit in a smaller size so when you take your ‘after’ pics, you can really compare the two. Take photos from different angles, I did front, side and back. I also like to share my goals and progress with those around me. Even if it is on Facebook. The support I have recieved is fantastic and really keeps me going. I’m surprised by how many people I now inspire, you could be the same. Be a living example that this way of life is the best and gives you the best possible health, and the sexiest body!