I received a message from one of my readers, Shalz, this morning.

“Hi Ariel

How are you dealing with practical pressure after started eating 100% raw food? As I finally made my mind to eat 100% raw the only barrier for me is from friends and families…how to deal with it?”

My answer:

You see… Part of the problem lies in Shalz’s own question: trying to eat 100% raw when you are not prepared.

Eating a raw plant based diet should not be treated as a challenge, a race, or a competition.

Eating a raw food diet, in my opinion, should be about incorporating raw veganism slowly and sustainably in order to experience enormous health benefits while avoiding unnecessary social conflicts.

This is one of the reasons why, although there are many others, I don’t recommend that most people switch to eating 100% raw overnight.

If you are already eating 100% raw, and have already acquired the tools to deal with various social pressures, this article is not specifically aimed at you.

Here are some tips when dealing with friends who may challenge your commitment to healthy eating, or to try to drag you down:

  • Never make a big deal about being raw vegan, or even mention your diet when you are in social situations.
  • Try to socialize with your friends by taking walks or doing activities not related to food.
  • Make new health conscious friends who take care of their health and diet.

Many of your friends may not approve of your diet change, because it puts pressure on them to eat healthier too.

Also, in my experience, most people are not nutrition-conscious, which means they do not understand the link between nutrition and disease. However, that is their problem, not yours.

Even if some people don’t bother to learn about important topics such as health, that doesn’t mean that you have to be ignorant too.

Let’s put it this way. If your friend develops diabetes as a direct consequence of their poor choice of diet, would you want to suffer from the same disease, just because your friend has it? Of course you wouldn’t. Each person must take responsibility for their own lifestyle.

It is also worth remembering that people can be fickle. I bet some of your acquaintances wouldn’t like it if you were too successful and made a lot of money; they might even stop talking to you because of it, even if you haven’t done anything to them. It’s happened to me more than once, so I speak from experience. So, what are you going to do? Stop succeeding because others don’t approve?

I’m not saying that all your friends behave like that (I hope they don’t) but when these things happen, the answer is usually to make an effort to meet new people.

As for your diet and your family, I suggest you put your raw vegan dishes on the table for them to try. However, don’t insist. Lead by example.

It may take time for family members to adopt your lifestyle. In my experience, the older they get, the more health conscious they become.

No one likes to get sick, and when people realize the relationship between food and illness, they will look at the raw, plant-based diet with different eyes.

It should also be remembered that food is often the worst of all addictions. I know many folks who would rather die than change their diet; it is very difficult for many people to transition from eating addictive grains (pasta, pizza, bread, etc.) to eating fresh fruit.

Ultimately, you cannot derail your progress because others are not yet ready. Lead by example. That’s what leaders do. It is not easy to be a leader; but this applies to all aspects of life.

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Ariel Belloso

Ariel Belloso is an author and writer who transformed his health using the power of raw food. The former DJ and music producer’s life changed in 2001 when his mother was diagnosed with leukaemia. Already a keen student of nutrition, Ariel calculated that eating the correct raw diet could help his mother overcome her cancer. This became his motivation to learn more about natural health and the raw food lifestyle. Following her son's advice, not only did Ariel’s mother beat her cancer, she recently celebrated her 81st birthday! Using the knowledge gained from his years of ongoing study into natural health, Ariel has also managed to overcome some serious issues himself, as well as helping many others to regain their health and improve their quality of life. Ariel has written 4 books on the subject of natural health, nutrition and fitness.

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