Autumn has truly set in; the leaves with their different shades of orange and brown, the bare trees, the fresh chill in the air. Much like Spring, Autumn is also a time of renewal and regeneration. Consequently, many see this time as a chance to ‘start over’ and/or kick start new habits. With kids back to school and work back to routine after a busy summer, it’s a great time to follow these kind of ideas through and get ahead for the new year. Not only that but winter brings with it the festive season - mulled wine, Christmas parties and shopping galore! So November is that last month, the ‘quiet before the storm’. This post will present an idea to you, one that may seem challenging at first but delivers a rich reward. Ready? Why not try and go raw vegan for November? Here us out….
What is a Raw Diet?
A raw food diet isn’t a fad diet as such, despite the media attention it has received thanks to the celebrities that follow this way of eating. But a raw food diet, or ‘raw foodism’ is so much more than a diet. A raw food diet is made up of fresh, unprocessed, uncooked, unrefined, living, plant-based foods. To provide you with a few examples consider the following foods: nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, raw cold-pressed oils. All of these foods are consumed in their natural state, as nature intended. The beauty of this approach is that you consume foods in their purest forms and with all the nutrients and vitamins still intact.
As the name suggests, a raw vegan diet follows that you only eat plant based foods and in their raw state. But aside from this, there is no one right approach for how to structure the diet day-to-day. Some raw diets focus on obtaining calories mostly from fats which are also calorie dense foods while others look to carbohydrates. You might have even seen the more extreme takes on raw food in the form of eating only fruit. There are, of course, some things to take note of like for example, making an effort to get enough calories and variety of foods to still obtain the nutrient spectrum our bodies require. While going ‘raw’ removes the effort of cooking, it is still incredibly important to educate yourself on what the body needs and what foods have it.
Refresh, Rejuvenate, Reset
This time of year is the perfect moment to try raw vegan. Christmas means a time to indulge, to enjoy good company and to treat yourself. We cannot help but wine and dine but it does take a toll on our bodies. Once silly season draws to a close, there are two kinds of approaches that result: those who continue in this vain well into January, February and the new year and those who take action, join a gym and overhaul their diet in January. But have you spotted the error? Both deal with the problem after the fact! What if you could prepare now and reset your system in advance? Not only might it benefit you for getting to your new year’s resolutions faster in January, but it might also inspire you to stay ‘on track’ and indulge a little less over the holidays.
30 Days is All You Need
While in theory, you can survive and thrive on a raw food diet for the rest of your life, it can be difficult to implement or sustain for various reasons. For that reason, it’s not something you need to do all the time. Instead, you can benefit from keeping this raw vegan diet in your toolkit and simply referring to it when you’re in need of an energy boost, a reset or just to give your body a little break. There is no time period to follow so you get to create the rules! As a minimum, you can try 3 days and work to anything up to 30 from there. And who knows, if it feels good and you want to keep going, then do! If 30 days seems too daunting, take it a step at a time.
With all the fresh, living, plant-based foods you will consume, your body will simply love you for it. While you might notice a slight ‘detox’ period where you transition off processed to real food, some benefits you can expect to see include:
How to get started
A gentle approach would be to start by adding more raw foods into your diet. Try some of our favourites into your daily routine:
Leafy greens - make lunch a raw salad!
Seeds! Sprinkle on soups, salads, smoothies and/or porridge
Avocados - a great addition to smoothies, salads or served on crackers
Crudites - snack on raw veggies and hummus in the afternoon
Fermented foods like saurkraut and kimchi are amazing for gut health and a great flavour boost to any meal
Raw cold pressed oils - replace all your oils for raw cold pressed varieties.
From there, start by taking the following steps
With every meal, replace half of the plate with raw vegetables and/or some of the other items mentioned above.
For foods you do cook, change your cooking method to those that cause less damage. Instead of microwaving or boiling, look to gently steam.
Use only raw cold pressed oils in your cooking and on salads
Slowly start to transition whole meals to raw - change your porridge for a smoothie, you lunch becomes a sald and so on.
Get creative! This isn’t about restriction! There are so many ways to still enjoy your favourite foods - burgers, ice cream and even cheese! You just have to get a little creative.
Still not sure?
If you want a step by step guide, check out one of our meal plans here.
If you want to do it yourself but are stuck for ideas, come to a raw food class!