Raw: Nice and Easy

By Guest Blogger   |  21Comments|

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

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21 responses to Raw: Nice and Easy
  1. Thank you for your words of encouragement. These are words that give hope… Hope AND possibility. This, perhaps can now widen the ‘health’ path, allowing us to move forward with less fear…maybe even some adventure of how to create yummy health. My husband is now in full warrior mode with the hopes of kicking his lung cancer to the curb. We are green juicing, eating organic veggies, mostly raw, along with drinking ‘greens’. We have just added a ‘soup’ created by the owner of a local company, Sun Farm Corporation. This is a mixture created to help save his mother with lung cancer at the time after the traditional AMA protocol could not.  THANK YOU, for the encouragement to move forward WITHOUT FEAR.  Collectively, we CAN HELP each other continue on our individual journeys, believing WE ARE NOT ALONE, but part of a larger family of kindred spirits.

  2. This is just what I needed to read today. Thank you so much. I’ve read countless books on a plant strong diet and would love to go raw, too. But it’s very overwhelming. I much prefer just sticking to what I like and slowly building on that.

  3. I have been on and off a raw diet for a year or so, but find it difficult to maintain when I have a couple of people in my house who do not want this full-time. Doing my best though and always feeling better when I can maintain a regular raw meal or 2 each day.

    My question: After having estrogen-fueled breast cancer I am acutely aware of not using plastics which behave like estrogen (read (Altering Eden): The Feminization of Nature, by Deborah Cadbury). How safe are food dehydrators with plastic trays? Is there an economical deydrator with good quality metal trays?

  4. I’m going to print this and re-read many times as it’s just what I needed to get back on track with eating healthier and using my vitamix & juicer that sit idle on the counter most of the time. I get easily over whelmed [ although already a vegetarian]. I’m not fond of spending much time in the kitchen–not lazy–just busy doing other things, so need my meals/ smoothies/ juices to be quick and easy.

    It would be nice to get rid of the 25 pounds put on from snacking on white refined carbs/ startch and sugar. I really wanted this to be my year to get completely healthy–thankfully I have no disease or ailments…just overweight. And here it is, almost June alreday and I haven’t accomplished my goal.

    Thank you for writing this.

  5. I think this is the recipe for success in lifestyle changes. It is what I teach my Clients and follow myself. Adding in more-greens, raw, water, etc. and monitoring along the way, adding and subtracting where necessary. The more you learn and listen to your own body, the path will become clearer s to wht works-for you! Thanks for te post!

  6. Lucy said on May 28, 2012

    Great advice. Going 100% raw isn’t always the best option for many folks (some on chemo cannot even eat raw) and lets not forget that some veggies are actually more beneficial to us cooked! I like your approach and it is a do-able and healthy one. Eat more veggies period! Good Job Kris!

  7. Last summer I read Crazy Sexy Diet and started juicing every day for breakfast. Just a sole juice of apple, celery and cucumber. And I cleaned up my diet to include raw fruit and veggies – nothing drastic Within a few days I was miserable. My throat felt like I had a lump in it all the time, my mouth felt like it was burning all the time, and I was in the bathroom all day long. I kept trying for 3 weeks and it just got worse. I eventually gave up out of sheer exhaustion and disappointment over feeling so much worse than I have ever felt before. I then got the worst sinus infection I have ever had which ended up with three different antibiotics before it cleared up. So I was even worse off than before.

    I keep reading how beneficial this way of eating is and how incredible people feel when they eat this way and I want to try again. Does anyone have a suggestion for me on how to make the transition period less painful?

  8. Thanks everyone! Your stories inspire me! Good question about the type of plastic that dehydrators are made from and the safety of it. That’s something I’ll definately be looking into for myself now and hope you do too. Thanks for bringing that up. Keep reminding yourself and focusing on the fact that you’re eating more raw than before and take the pressure off yourselves. There are no ‘rules’ and you’re doing GREAT!

  9. Kat said on May 28, 2012

    I am making the transition to a raw diet and I do get overwhelmed at times. I just have to remember that I have come a long way. Thanks for this post! :)

  10. Cyndi…sounds like you’d be a great candidate for Kris’ book (Crazy Sexy Diet) if you don’t already have it. Its a great starting point with the cleanse in the back and full of info regarding supplements to keep you steady and strong. My guess is it sounds like you were detoxing and maybe also weren’t getting enough of what you needed both at the same time? How about trying to go a little slower, see if my ‘think in thirties’ plan suits you. Start slow and ease your body into it over the next 90 days…and keep listening to your body. Everyone is different, but I have faith you’ll figure out what works for you! Just be patient and gentle with your body.

  11. Thank you!

  12. I totally agree with the slow start to going raw. When I got my cancer diagnosis last summer (stage 4 overnight) I quickly discovered the benefits of a raw diet. I couldn’t sustain my energy, though, and felt like I had to be planning my meals constantly. I got low blood sugar and felt hungry or anxious about my meals. Essentially, I just didn’t have the knowledge base to balance my meals raw. Then winter hit and the prospect of raw food in an English climate didn’t appeal. But I kept juicing twice a day, and trying to incorporate raw dishes where I could. Now spring has rolled around, I’ve added lunch to my raw diet (I don’t have to make it for my children so I can follow my palate and garden to the plate!). We have a raw side at dinner time, and so I suddenly realised that I have eased my way into about a 75% raw diet. Because it wasn’t an overnight surprise, the kids eat the raw stuff too and we all feel great on it! I still think I’ll be craving the roasted stuffed squash in the middle of winter, but there’s always a place for raw on my table!

  13. This is such a great “spring board” plan for going raw! You can make one change a day at a time for 30 days. And integrate that learned behavior with a new “30-day” behavior. Simply a no-fuss approach to changing your habits and your mind. Glad you are on the road to recovery!

  14. Nice point of view. I decided 2 years ago that I was going to become a raw foodist. It is only now, after many failed attempts at various versions of raw (all-fruit, no fruit, gournet, simple….) that lead to vegan junk food binges that I have decided to give the Crazy, Sexy, diet a try. I am not sure that all-raw is for me but I have grown to love my green juices, smoothies and big salads along with some gluten-free cooked meals.

  15. Finally, a post about raw that didn’t make me feel stupid and overwhelmed!

  16. Tracey-Thank you so much for sharing these helpful tips! I love the idea of 30 days for each change. I was also 37 when diagnosed with breast cancer, and pregnant to boot! Having no family history of cancer at all made me look closely at my lifestyle triggers. My family now consumes a high raw diet.

    I upgraded our diet very slowly, mainly because I became confused by all of the different options during my research. We progressed first into whole foods, then organic and grass-fed everything, then vegetarian and now mostly raw vegan. My husband and I moved through the upgrade process more quickly than our children, and I remember the frustration of wanting my kids to make better choices. I now help people bring their families along into a better diet. Everyone benefits from more raw fruits and veggies!

  17. I love this post, thank you! I too have been overwhelmed by the raw diet and have a nut allergy also. I found it very hard in the beginning as all the delcious looking raw recipes had a lot of nuts in them. I have yet to find another raw foodist or someone else who follows a high raw diet with a nut allergy!

    But like you say if you start slowly, 30 days a time, it can work. I think I may have finally found a balance for myself but I think this 30 day tip will be useful for my children and partner.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Kris..I listened to you at a Hay House event and then got your book out of the library. I’m almost to the end of it so will continue online in your community. Thanks for the inspiration and more ideas!
    Love, Karen

  19. Thanks for sharing this great information I have just spent the afternoon looking at loads of websites bout eating RAW, different recipes, and was very inspired. My next thought was where to start, and randomly came across your page thanks for the great steps. Hope your health is well thank you for sharing :)

  20. I love your video and I really share your essnutiahm for raw! I am vegan and have recently decided to try a raw food lifestyle, partly for health and partly because I had recently gained 7 pounds which was odd because for years, I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain any weight. I started at 50 % but now have been 80 % for about a week or two and I love it. I don’t really even want cooked food, I could do 100 % easily but I am allowing a window for Holidays, parties etc. And I lost the 7 lbs

  21. I have a question . What juice you will recommend me during chemo? any tip will be really appreciated. thanks.