Raw Food Tips

10 Tips For Enjoying More Raw Foods

July 29, 2014|30Comments|


Hiya Gorgeous,

Over the next couple weeks we’ll be exploring how to add more plant-based raw foods into your diet. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with raw foods because there are so many fruits and veggies in season. Plus, light and refreshing raw recipes really hit the spot on hot, sunny days.

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with raw plant-based foods over the last decade. Why? Because they provide disease-fighting antioxidants, gut-friendly fiber, inflammation-fighting polyphenols, and a host of nourishing vitamins and minerals, and I wanted to get in on that good shizzle! But despite these benefits, I’ve noticed that this type of cuisine comes with a lot of baggage. Either it’s too complicated, too expensive or too rigid.

I love raw foods. They make me feel fantastic. But that doesn’t mean I’m 100% raw or that you need to be in order to feel the benefits of this way of eating. For me, learning to prepare and enjoy delicious raw foods is just about adding more healthy nourishment into my diet. And with a little know-how, it’s easy to avoid common pitfalls associated with any approach to healthy eating.

Today, I want to share some fabulous tips that I pulled together with my dear friend, Gena Hamshaw. Gena just released her new book, Choosing Raw, which is a gorgeous cookbook filled with delicious (and easy) high-raw recipes and knowledge.

You can also join me and Gena for my very first Crazy Sexy Cookbook Club here! We’ve put together a full day meal plan with recipes and shopping list, plus you have a chance to win her awesome new cookbook (entry details below). Now, let’s get ready and brush up on some helpful smarts that’ll prepare us for some fun in the kitchen.

10 Tips for Eating More Raw Plant-Based Foods

1. Add First, Subtract Later

As you begin any dietary transition, it’s tempting to fixate on what you’re eliminating. Instead, think about how this shift will expand your options. Eating more plant-based foods may encourage you to experiment with global cuisines, along with new herbs and spices. Integrating more raw foods into your diet will introduce you to innovative new preparation methods. Don’t think about what you’ll need to give up right now. Think about what you’re gaining.

2. Make Small, Sustainable Changes

It’s tempting to approach dietary change—whether that’s going vegan, going raw, or simply improving the quality of what you eat—as a seismic shift. But small, gradual changes are usually more sustainable than rapid and dramatic ones.

Don’t be afraid to take baby steps. Maybe this means adding a green smoothie or juice to your morning routine; maybe it means swapping out your regular lunch for a big, raw salad. Such changes can lead to profound health improvement over time.

3. Keep It Simple

Raw foods don’t have to be hard, but they can be. (There’s nothing easy about dehydrating a raw quiche, or making an authentic raw tamale!) As you get started, stick to the basics: soups, salads, slaws. These foods will help you to get acquainted with raw recipe creation without making you feel stressed out. Over time, you can certainly expand your repertoire and experiment with some fancier techniques. But master the basics first.

4. Keep It Fresh

On that same note, a lot of folks ask me whether or not it’s necessary to invest in a food dehydrator. My answer? No! Dehydrators are great for raw snacks (like kale chips, fruit leathers, and flax crackers). But these goodies will take up far less space in your diet, than salads, soups, smoothies, vegetable “pastas,” and other easy, accessible recipes that can be made with no more than a good set of paring knives and a rudimentary blender.

5. Prep Your Fruits and Veggies

Over the weekend (or on whatever day of the week you have a little spare time), take thirty or forty minutes to prepare your fruits and veggies. Wash produce. Grate veggies (like carrots) for salad. Peel, chop, and freeze bananas. Wash and dry your greens. This may feel like a chore, but being prepared will open the door to healthier choices through the week!

6. Plan Ahead

Speaking of prepping things in advance, a little planning goes along way. We all live in the real world, and it may not be possible for you to map out an entire week of meal plans or recipes each and every Sunday. But try to have a rough idea of two or three recipes that you intend to make over the course of the week, as well as a few staples (salad dressings, hummus, cooked grains and legumes). Purchase groceries accordingly and use leftovers wisely.

7. Shop In Bulk

Raw food diets are rich in nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, all of which can add up in cost considerably. In order to offset the expense, start to shop the bulk bins at your local health food store. The costs are lower, and there are often deals or specials. You can also find inexpensive dry legumes and grains, which are also an essential part of a well-rounded, plant-based diet.

8. Snack Smart

Raw food snacks are some of the easiest around. Simply pack up some raw almonds and raisins or goji berries. If you’d prefer, just keep a piece of fruit in your desk or in your bag at all times. It’s easy to snack well with raw foods.

9. Get Inspired

It’s hard to find food that’s more visually appealing, innovative, or colorful than raw food. If you’re just starting out, or if you’re in a rut and looking to be reinvigorated, simply browse through some raw food blogs or cookbooks. The images you see will surely put the wind in your culinary sails again.

10. Find Community

Having support makes a big difference as you undertake lifestyle change. Join a vegan meet-up or find a potluck near you. Check out Happy Cow to find vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. Use the Internet to your advantage: there are so many vegan and raw food blogs nowadays. Many of the folks reading these blogs are just getting started too, and you may be able to encourage one another.



Your turn: Add your raw food tips in the comments.

Peace & rawesomeness,

Kris Carr



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30 responses to 10 Tips For Enjoying More Raw Foods
  1. I’ve been on a raw foods diet for 6 days now so this is perfect timing. The hot summer days make it so much easier. Embracing lots of fresh herbs with warming properties to add to salads and smoothies to keep my naturally Vata body type balanced. You are always on point, Kris! Much love to you!

  2. An easy pasta sauce I use is blend together one raw red bell pepper, one cup nutritional yeast and one large onion. You can add garlic, basil, salt and pepper if you like but we eat it plain on hot pasta. For salads it is easy to snip in some green beans, toss in some fresh peas or cut corn off the cob.

  3. So Crazy, Sexy, Listen to THIS!

    I have been inspired by Kris’s blog and after reading her book cover to cover (and honestly what a beautiful book!) and dog earring almost every page I am reborn. CSD and also Dr. Davis’ book Wheat Belly have brought me back to the land of healthiness. I devoured both books and really studied and learned WHY products like wheat, dairy and sugar are the enemy. On May 26 I started the pilgrimage beyond breakfasts of gigantor muffins (aka cake) in the morning chased with enormous iced coffee laden with cream and fake sweetener. At lunch I stopped eating heavy sandwiches, chips and chocolate…only to still be insanely hungry…at dinner no more snacking on tortilla chips and pretzels the entire time I was cooking. I was hungry, at that time in my life, during every waking moment and it infuriated me. I know know the chemistry behind why that was happening (sugar spikes from the wrong foods cause you to be hungry!!!) That being said during week one I was miserable. I was sad and I was angry. But if you can get past the first week the promised land will be yours!!!! The detox fog began to lift…..and the rest you will see…is my life in the NOW!

    I am proud and shocked to report that I have been caffeine, dairy, wheat, gluten, dairy and alcohol free for over two MONTHS (as I write that I cannot believe it). First of all I have lost 20 pounds (with maybe another 15 to go). But most importantly I , at soon to be 50 years old, feel like a zillion dollars. I had been going to a dermatologist for 25 YEARS for acne and I have not been to one appointment in 8 weeks. My face is the clearest I ever remember seeing it. Not once did any of the doctors tell me to consider diet and with the amount of literature that is out there now this saddens and shocks me. Amazing. I sleep well and don’t need 10 hours anymore so more time to do fun stuff! I walk, run at least 4-5 miles a day and am loving life. The most amazing part of this is my new found love of GOOD FOOD. I used to never be able to eat a salad without drenching it in some kind of gooey, thick, creamy dressing. Now I am addicted to salads with fresh veggies , fish and/or chicken (I am only red meat free) and I use first cold pressed olive oil and apple cider or balsamic vinegar (as dressing) with some sea salt and its a party!!!! I cannot believe what I now TASTE.

    Thank you Kris. I Crazy Like You and all that you do to promote wellness, health, peace and happiness.

    Hugs,

    Cathy

    • Cathy Jenkins. …Thank you so much for your post! Every word you have written describes me to a tee….especially the hungry part…I get started down the eating healthy road only to get so hungry! Urg…

      • Just to clarify Wendy I WAS hungry all the time when eating poorly. Now I am very satisfied with my hunger since eating healthy foods. One of the main keys is to not have the sugar spikes …which ultimately makes you very ,very hungry!

    • Cathy! Right on, sister! So PROUD of you. Thank you so much for sharing. Your story inspires all. With so much love and gratitude. xo kc

    • Cathy, it really warmed my heart to read your post. I’m so proud of you!! My story is similar to yours in that I recently stopped eating dairy, sugar, most processed foods (and meat, too). I also have suffered from acne since about 14 years old. I have seen many dermatologists and used all the harsh creams available. I’ve even ingested dangerous meds like Accutane in an attempt to control my cystic acne. All this left my skin dull and flakey to say the least. After making the dietary changes my skin immediately responded. The acne was not gone but definitely improved. I cut out almost everything I was using on my skin one day out of sheer frustration. I discovered AnnMarie Gianni skin care products and began washing my face with aloe-herb cleanser; next I used a homemade apple cider vinegar/water solution on my skin as a toner. After that I used AnnMarie’s herbal oil for acne-prone skin. Today my skin is beautiful. No more cystic acne. I feel like I look better at 38 than I did when I was in my early 20’s. Diet alone wasn’t enough for my skin and I feel amazing to have discovered a combination that worked for me. Maybe something that worked for me might help you too. I wish you much success with your new lifestyle!

  4. Great tips Kris. When I first decided to get healthy I went from a SAD diet to 100% raw overnight! While I felt absolutely incredible the baggage as you so appropriately named it was too much. Over time I took a much more moderate approach, but keep the best aspects of eating raw. Simplicity for me now is absolutely key. Most of the raw meals I prepare now only take 5 – 15 minutes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. When I am crunched for time, I throw my veggies and herbs into the blender with some water, coconut water, or broth and have an instant meal. If I want them hot — like for soup — I heat up the broth/water first and pour it over the veggies, in the blender. It only takes about 1-3 minutes in my Vita Mix and I am done! If I want to add some leftover or fresh cut up veggies to the the soup to add some texture, I put them in the serving bowl and pour the hot mixture over them and sprinkle with the chopped fresh (or dried) herbs. “Souper” easy — “souper” fast!

    I like to make food look “good” and appetizing. In place of crackers, I also use sliced cucumbers or squash, cut in the round (about 1/8-1/4 inch) to make hors d’oeuvre-style cucumber-wiches or squash-wiches. Fill them with hummus, grated carrots/squash, chopped onions, chopped nuts, pesto or any of your favorite fillings. FOR KIDS, make a happy face with veggies, nuts, dried fruit on top. (A plastic straw makes the eyes on thin-sliced veggies, or just use pieces cut in shapes. You can add hair if you roll the top half in some hummus and dip it in grated carrots/squash. You can also use small cookie cutters for shapes.) If you cut the rounds in half, and put the round sides together, you can make a butterfly by adding a sliced carrot or celery stick (or cheese) in the middle — to make the antennae cut a small “V” down the top 1/4 of the stick. …Or you can make them open-faced with garnishes/herbs on the top. It really does not take that much time and is fun to eat. It’s all in the presentation!

    Thank you, Kris, for your inspiration!

  6. I tried to sign up for the weekly newsletter in the ‘hook me up’ section of this website and I couldn’t, I wouldn’t let me write anything in the two boxes. So I thought I’d try to sign up here!? Thanks

    • Hi Leanne, thank you very much for commenting here. Please email us with what happened at sales@kriscarr.com – we’d love to get to the bottom of your technical issue and we can subscribe you to our newsletter too! xo

  7. Liz said on July 30, 2014

    For a quick lunch that will last for a work week, I use one can of
    chickpeas (smashed using my hands), one cup cooked adzuki beans, diced
    carrots, diced celery, chopped scallions (and any other raw veggie near and
    dear to your heart). I mix that with either a large scoop of hummus or a
    cashew sauce then add herbs and spices. For me that means curry powder,
    smoked paprika, cumin and fresh basil. I eat this mixture either plain,
    with cucumber slices or atop a large salad. It is so versatile and has
    saved my lunches! Remember, you can play around with the veggies, herbs and
    spices to find your perfect combination :)

  8. Kris– what great tips– i have been vegan(ish) for over a year now and adding more greens and color has been a great way to boost my taste buds and acceptance of these foods.

    Changing habits sometimes requires outwitting ourselves! #mymostlife #eatclean
    Mo Faul

  9. Thank you for the great tips. You made it feel simple and therefore exciting. I’ve found Spork online to be a fun source too. Thanks again!

  10. thank you, Kris + Kris’ awesome readers + commenters. xo

  11. I love your blog and am doing my best to eat right despite my family thinking I am wacko and/or a “conspiracy theorist”( my human-kinetics-studying son’s words). I don’t keep track of what I eat overall, but meal by meal (especially when home alone) I try to eat raw by juicing and/or making smoothies. I have been off gluten for over a year, and have cut back on dairy, but am addicted to coffee and need milk to drink it. In the last two or three months I have lost about 15 lbs, which was not my goal, but is an added bonus! I have been sorta following your first tip, adding in new ideas for health and taking things out of my diet as I go. Peanuts are out, sugar is being eliminated as is possible while feeding my family, greens are going up and raw, especially in summer is getting very abundant at meals. Right now jumping in with both feet (especially on a limited budget) is not possible, but do I ever try!! Thanks for your input into my life!

  12. Thanks for the reminder to prep veggies!! :)

    Thanks, Kris!!

  13. For the past five years I’ve tried different things to get my energy level up, my weight down (and prevent cancer!).

    I was sugar & simple carb free, went off dairy, was vegan for a while, then close to being a raw foody… I then felt too weak, psychologically constricted, and did a one-eighty to a sugar-full diet (croissants every morning! pizza for lunch!) and gained 10 pounds in less than two months.

    So…after a lot of experimenting with eliminating, only eating certain foods, and driving myself crazy in the process, I feel that the most important thing for my overall FEELING of health is the percentage of raw foods in my diet. Not eliminating a certain food, but that.

    So now everything is “allowed”- including white sugar, pasta, some fish, eggs and dairy. I have only two “small” rules – on weekdays breakfast is a large portion of raw fruit (with Greek yogurt) and lunch is a big raw salad. After lunch, it’s theoretically no holds barred, but I feel so satiated and nourished that I don’t overeat! I would say this way around 60-70% of my diet is raw fruit & veg. My energy level is great, I feel so clean on the inside (if that makes sense) and psychologically free of too many rules. The weekends are even more lax: I eat whatever I want, but interestingly my body still gravitates towards fruit and veg!

    I think raw food is the real game changer in feeling better, more than anything else. Find any way that works for you to up your intake! And like Kris says, it has to be inspiring! I do that by choosing different fruits and salad combinations! Kiwi and mango for breakfast is very exciting :)

    Love to you all, and to darling Kris,

    Talia

  14. Great tips! After a recent stay at a raw foods health institute in Florida (inspired by you!), I came home feeling SO much better and really keen to increase the percentage of raw in my diet. It’s literally amazing what a difference eating whole, raw foods can make. I’ve been juicing more, making more salads, and just eating more veg and fruit in general.

    You’ve already covered the idea of keeping it simple (so important)–one reason why I love Gena’s book, too. No special equipment is necessary to really enjoy raw foods (though my high-speed blender sure can make life easier). I think more people would be willing to try more raw food if they knew you don’t need a dehydrator, spiralizer, or Vitamix to enjoy delicious, fresh recipes! I also think it’s important to be willing to experiment–I mean, who knew that corn on the cob, or sweet potatoes, or brussels sprouts, could be eaten raw (and taste good)? :)

  15. RAWsome! Thanks Kris.
    My best raw tip is to purchase a spiralizer. They are fun to use and raw pastas are quick, easy and delicious. They’re also man-approved to satiate pasta cravings and this means you can eat the same meal as your partner! x

  16. I adore the simplicity of raw foods. It can be so super easy to prepare or you can make it as gourmet as you like. I personally prefer quick easy light and fresh. Love your tweet Kris! So true.

  17. I am continually Tweking my food and spirit to build strong bones! My pursuit is to find the best foods to keep the calcium and minerals in my bones. Now that I have conquered Caffeine or reducing Stimulates, I am trialing how to eat my wonderful Organic vegetables and fruits. I love raw foods and I have read that you need a little Vitamin C on your vegetables for your body to absorb them. Is that your view?
    Next I will try juicing maybe when I win your Breville juicing contest!

  18. Hi Kris,

    I have been eating a green, clean diet for a few years. I can work myself to death trying out new recipes and feel like the chopping goddess (or wench) depending on my mood. I love minimalism and find keeping a few key points as my lighthouse makes me a more lovable wife and mama. I like to eat 1 pound raw and 1 pound cooked per day. That may sound like a like to some but a BIG salad will easily add up to 1 pound raw and a good soup can be your cooked ( or you can make that raw too.). Also, I like to make what I call cooked salad, which is a mish-mash of vegetables and add raw vegetables, seeds, etc. to it. It all adds up so fast and does not really require a recipe.
    There are loads of 5-6 ingredient seed/fruit bar recipes that can be whipped up by hand or the food processor, for those who need to tip-toe into adding raw food. You will find raw cashews/walnuts and unsweetened coconut to be your best friend.

    All the best,

  19. Hello Kris …
    I am enjoying your blog, your Facebook page and your cook books.

    Kris I just wanted to ask you a question regarding oats … I noticed on your YouTube clip for breakfast you may eat oatmeal three times a week. My question is I am getting confused with the information from wheat belly Dr William Davies tells you to stay away from all wheat/gluten products … So is this some different type of oatmeal you eat that contains no wheat.

    Sorry if it seems such a silly question but gosh there is so so so much information out there of what is good and what is toxic …

    Thanks again Kris … Off to enjoy my green smoothie now :)

    • Oatmeal should be 100% oats, which do not contain gluten. I eat mine with a sprinkle of raisins and craisins (dried cranberries).

  20. I love the following dressing/dip which you can prepare in the amount you need since you combine the dry ingredients first and those you can store. Then you just use the amount of dry ingredient mix and add some balsamic vinegar and water to make it the consistency you like and use it as either a dip or a dressing.

    I use 1 part raw cashews and 1 part nutritional yeast. Add the spices I like (curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, Himalayan sea salt and Italian herbs. You can take any spices or herbs you prefer). Blend in you blender until fairly fine. Put in a jar and keep in the fridge.

    When you need a dressing or dip you just add your vinegar and some water and voila. Letting it stand for 30 minutes will thicken it a bit and you may have to add some more water.

    I love this recipe and I actually brought it with me when we traveled in our camper for a month. Always fresh and takes less space as well than prepared salad dressings or dips. I also like the fact that there is not processed oil in here, just all the goodness of healthy cashews (a whole food rather than just the oils)

  21. Thank you for the tips! I wanted to start a healthy lifestyle for a while. Now that I found out my principal has a brain tumor I found the effects of a raw food diet a and I just want to help. Many people complain on how expensive fruits and veggies are however it’s our health that matters the most. So thank you for these tips❤️❤️❤️

    • Hi Monee, you are right about people complaining about the prices of fruits and vegetables, but if you would compare a lbs of apples for instance with a lbs of potato chips the latter ones are the ones that are expensive. This works with most comparissons. And what are many people bringing home with them on pop, sugary foods, eating out etc.

      Also people don’t really talk about how expensive medication is when they need it, but what if you can “invest” in yourself and spend the money now for the fruits and vegetables and save yourself from having to go on who-knows-how-many medications.

      You may not get your message across to all people, but starting with yourself and setting a great example is a wonderful way to convey a message and you will reap the health benefits yourself.

  22. I’ve been on and off the raw food diet since 2004. The diet is miraculous when treating chronic illness. I’ve seen it with my own 2 eyes. I’ve been to 3 raw food schools and have learned a lot about the flavors, textures and creation of foods. I get a kick out of creating recipes, so I like coming over to Kris’ blog to get inspiration when I’m a little rusty. She is wonderful and I’ve learned so much from her as well. All I can say is keep up the good work and keep spreading the message of healthy foods to the masses. You’re an angel Kris.