Raw: Nice and Easy
Like many of us, I stumbled across the raw diet soon after I was diagnosed with cancer, when I suddenly found myself looking for anything and everything to help me survive. I was only 37 and smack in the middle of unchartered territory, desperate to live more than ever before. It was like I had been on the road to California and ended up on the Jersey shore. So discovering the raw diet was a huge relief for me. It was a life-changing moment, my very own Oprah “Ah-Ha!” moment. There was no going back. I had just come across a miracle, and I was telling everyone about it! I’m going to survive this!
I read whatever I could get my hands on about raw foods: how to eat raw, success stories, and all about the amazing benefits of eating raw — not only for cancer, but for weight loss, diabetes and overall health. But, here comes the “but” … as I learned more about eating raw, I became totally overwhelmed with all the rules and expensive, foreign equipment I’d need to start eating raw. At this point, I didn’t even know what kale was. You can imagine my fear and anxiety. I was totally confused. And with an allergy to nuts, things seemed even worse. My meal options decreased like crazy. A lot of the recipes include nuts. And I mean a lot. I felt defeated even before I started. And I was already barely navigating through my cancer diagnosis and my treatment plan. I had just discovered hope through the raw diet but couldn’t reach out and grab it. I felt like if I couldn’t do it right, then why even bother?
After taking some time to absorb things, I stepped back, took a deep breath, threw out the raw rule book I had imposed on myself, and I figured out an easier way. I started eating raw with none of the fancy tools and eased into it. It was so easy that I started going raw during chemo! And my body actually craved green smoothies more than anything else I put into it. So if you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed about “going raw” like I did, no matter where you are on your journey, I’m here to show you that there’s an easier way. You can do it. Just think in “thirties.” Here’s how:
The First 30 Days
-Make a green smoothie for breakfast every morning in a regular blender. That’s it!
-Start with any type of lettuce, as well as celery, and cucumbers for your greens. They’re milder and won’t taste so raw.
-Use fruits you already know you like.
-Experiment with spinach, kale, chard and sprouts. Mix ½ lettuce and ½ of another green with your fruits.
-Don’t be afraid to experiment!
-Don’t be afraid to try and fail! You will make at least one nasty smoothie! It’s OK, and we all have.
The Next 30 Days
-Keep making green smoothies for breakfast, plus;
-Choose your next meal to focus on (lunch or dinner) and make it as raw as you can.
-Don’t alternate lunch and dinner, choose one, and stick with it for the next 30 days.
-Veggie sandwiches on sprouted or grain bread and stirfrys are a pretty easy way to start. Even if it’s every day!
-Try steaming your veggies.
-Try making kale chips and other recipes in the oven on low heat if you don’t have a dehydrater.
-Don’t worry about having the “correct” ratio of raw versus cooked foods on your plate.
-Add a little more raw on your plate than you’ve had in the past, and work on it from there.
-Start looking at recipes online and in raw recipe books.
The Final 30 Days
-Have a green smoothie for breakfast.
-Add in the remaining meal if you’re feeling ready; if not, try it next month!
-Keep experimenting with recipes.
-Keep working toward adding more and more raw to each meal at your own pace.
-If you have a nut allergy, start looking for alternatives like using coconut or seeds.
Over the course of the next 90 days, you’ll find that you naturally start learning more about how to eat raw your way and under less pressure to be perfect from the start. I encourage you to start looking into buying a high-speed blender and juicer as your first big purchases, when you’re ready. I was able to tolerate chunkier smoothies for as long as I needed to until I could afford the high-speed blender. That was for at least six months! You’ll just appreciate the quality of your smoothie that much more when you upgrade.
From there, you can decide if you want or need other items (like a dehydrator). It’s all up to you. I have a dehydrator that I never use, so it’s not a crime if you don’t get some of this stuff. Be flexible. Don’t get hung up on rules, and just do what feels right for you. It helps to remind myself that I’m eating more raw foods than I ever used to. And I keep trying to add more when I can and experiment when I have time.
Good luck! I believe in you!
Tracey Poffenroth is a breast cancer survivor. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Photo credit: saebaryo