The Challenges of Eating Raw Food
We all hear of the benefits of eating raw food, such as having glowing skin and effortlessly being able to maintain your ideal weight. Eating a raw food diet enables you to enjoy vibrant health and lots of energy whilst eating large quantities of delicious, fresh food.
But a raw food diet also poses significant challenges. Yes, there are some, but none so daunting that they can’t be overcome with a little foresight and commitment. Here is a heads up of some issues you may run into along the way, and easy ways to conquer those challenges!
Challenge #1 Finding Good Quality Produce
Preparing and eating raw food may seem fun in the middle of summer, when all you have to do is go out to your garden or hit up your local farmer’s market for a rainbow-coloured assortment of delicious fruits and veggies. Your imagination can go wild on all of the delightful things that you can make with this never-ending range of ingredients to work from.
But what happens in the middle of winter, when you go to your local grocery store and all you can find are some tasteless tomatoes flown in from halfway across the world, or some rapidly browning lettuce?
The key is to plan ahead. Whether you grow your own produce or buy it from local farmers, when something is in season you need to take advantage! Many things can be frozen to be used in smoothies or cold soups later. You can dehydrate most fruits and veggies. Other things can be canned and preserved for later use.
In many situations it is easy to create a root cellar to store things such as apples, carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic for long periods of time. With a little foresight, you can be enjoying an abundance of produce all year round! If you have the resources and space, consider investing in a hydroponics system for fresh veggies year round.
Challenge #2 Eating Enough
This may not seem like much of a problem at first, especially if you have lived a life of counting calories and trying to limit your food intake. What you need to realise is that on a raw food diet, you will need to take in more food than you may be used to in order to meet your body’s daily caloric requirements.
For example, raw fruits and veggies yield far fewer calories per bite than most cooked or fatty foods, so you need to consume more bites just to consume sufficient calories. You would have to eat 24 heads of lettuce to consume the same amount of calories that you would in four slices of pizza!
In order to get used to this new eating dynamic, allow your body time to adjust. The elasticity of your stomach will expand over time to get used to your new eating routine. Make sure to consume some calorically dense foods in your diet, such as nuts and avocado to up your caloric intake without upping food volume significantly.
Challenge #3 Balancing the Budget
Some foods that are included on a raw food diet can be expensive, such as raw nuts, raw cacao and raw honey. For these, you should look into ordering wholesale online or purchasing large quantities that can be split among friends. Other foods are surprisingly cheap, such as in-season fruits and veggies, especially if you grow as much as you can by yourself.
I bet if you compared your total food bill over the course of a year, you would still find that a raw food diet is cheaper. People that maintain a strict raw food diet have a tendency to stay in and cook more than they go out (especially if they do not live in a cosmopolitan city with raw food restaurants), so there can be significant savings by eating at home.
At the end of the day, remember your health is worth it. What you pay now in food, you can save later in medical bills!
Challenge #4 Finding Time for Preparation
The trick to eating raw food is planning ahead. If you can devote an hour or two one day a week to make some salsas, dressings, and dips, that will go a long way to being able to whip out a meal later in the week.
Make a list of meal ideas that use up ingredients you have on hand. Put it on the refrigerator door so that you don’t have to draw a blank every time you go to make a meal – you have options and ideas waiting there for you. The time that you save on not having to slave over a hot stove or clean greasy dishes can be put into prep time for healthy foods!
And remember to make it fun! Turn a Saturday afternoon into a day in with friends – drink some tea or wine, and get together to share recipes, ideas, and meals. Everyone can bring the ingredients to make a few dishes, and the idea is to make enough so that everyone can take some home.
Challenge #5 Social Challenges
When word gets out that you eat raw foods, you will be amused to hear some of the opinions that come out of the woodwork – and mostly from people who have never tried a raw food diet, and whose health is not exactly something to aspire to.
It is best in most situations to keep your mouth shut and just set a good example – when the weight starts shedding, and your skin starts glowing, and you have more energy than you have had in years, people will come around on their own and see that a raw food diet really works. Some of the biggest naysayers may become converts before you know it!
In some cases, dinner parties or outings at restaurants can get tricky, but eating raw food is no longer unheard of. Most chefs and hostesses will have no problem going out of their way to get creative and try to accommodate. Just make sure to give them a heads up in advance to avoid putting anyone on the spot.
Challenge #6 Resisting Cooked Food Cravings
Even the most die-hard raw foodies can find themselves craving cooked foods at times. First, don’t beat yourself up over it. Chances are you chose the raw food path for increased health, and intensely stressing out over something sure doesn’t help put you on the path to health.
Remember, the consistent choices that you make over time add up and affect your health more than a slip-up here or there. So if your diet is 95% great, pat yourself on the back, you are doing a wonderful job! Remember that 90% or 70% or even 50% raw is better for you than no raw at all.
Also, remember that there are healthy cooked foods, just as there are questionable raw foods, so if you are going to cheat a little, try to keep it to a healthy cooked food. And when you are done, forgive yourself, and get back on track. An old saying goes, “Fall down six times, get up seven.”
So while eating raw food does have some challenges, I hope that you can see that no issue is too much to overcome with a little foresight and creativity. The efforts that you put into your good health will repay you for years to come!
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