Rules to Follow
There is much debate about whether a truly raw food diet must consist of 100 percent raw foods or as little as 80 percent. Most nutritionists, including Dr. Gabriel Cousens, believe that dieters should eat at least 95 percent of their daily foods raw. Though there are many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and roots that would obviously be acceptable on this diet, there are a few rules for embarking on a raw diet. Any food item that ever had a face is off limits, which means all meats, cheeses and dairy products made from animals. White foods, such as sugar, pasta and rice, are also forbidden because they are processed and enriched. Because this is a raw diet, cooking oil is also disqualified, although there are cold-pressed unheated oils that are allowed as long as they're not hydrogenated. Green foods, including leafy vegetables and sprouts, should be the backbone of the diet. Anything in a package, such as frozen vegetables, canned soups or boxed crackers are also forbidden, because they are processed. All vegetables and fruits should be eaten fresh, never frozen.
Transitioning from a diet that consists of cooked, processed and raw foods to one purely composed of raw foods can be a shock to your system. You may notice changes in your mood, energy level and appearance in the days and weeks after you begin your raw food diet that you should prepare for beforehand. Purchase gum and aspirin, and keep a blanket or sweater on-hand because a raw food diet can cause bad breath, headaches and chills. One major complaint raw food dieters experience is dry skin. The skin may crack, bleed or become itchy. Heavy moisturizers, baby oil and talcum powder may alleviate this side effect.
Plan Your Daily Meals
To avoid temptation, burn-out and frustration, plan your meals out a week at a time. This allows you to fill up on fresh items at the grocery or health foods store every week, which means you'll waste less and, therefore, spend less. Aside from vegetables and fruits, the raw diet also emphasizes raw plant fats, such as olives, avocados, nuts, seeds and coconuts, according to EatSprouts.com. Aside from providing variation, they can also be used to create milk and yogurt alternatives, whose recipes can be found on EatSprouts.com. Keep flavor in mind when preparing your meals and snacks. Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables that emphasize different textures, flavors and colors. Note that seedless fruits, such as seedless watermelon or seedless grapes, are not allowed on the raw food diet.