When you’re starting a raw food diet, you need to be sure you have learned enough about nutrition, and more specifically, about raw foods, that you can achieve sustainable success.

Having thrived on a raw food plan for over 10 years, I am excited to share the ins and outs about eating this way and which actions you should avoid.

The biggest mistakes most people make when starting a living foods program is attempting to eat 100% raw from the start, whether with a “go raw for a week” menu plan or worse: a 21 or 30 day raw food “challenge” where they eat nothing but raw for a long period of time.

The problem with this fatal approach is that you are almost guaranteed to fail, which would make you think the raw food diet didn’t work for you, when in reality; the approach is flawed.

Here is an email I received from one of my readers;

This is what Valencia said:

I went 100% raw in April 2017. I followed Fully Raw Kristina. I did her raw meal plan for the whole month of April, adjusting to my taste, and I felt absolutely great by the end of the month. I lost 5 pounds without exercise on a daily basis and really liked the way I felt. I went on a cruise the following month and was not able to stick to eating 100% raw. The fruits on the cruise were not ripe and I had no knife to cut my apples. To stay full I had to eat cooked foods, which were a lot of veggie dishes, but I felt guilty because it wasn’t raw!

Since the cruise, I have struggled to remain 100% raw. I run out of food fast and once I spend the money set aside for groceries each week, I have no extra money to buy more food. Papayas, which I love for breakfast, are expensive and I cannot afford to buy more than two, sometimes one at a time. Bags of apples are expensive and to buy enough food to last me a week, it would take all the money I budget for food each week ($130). Mind you, I had two adult children living with me (21 and 19) who do not eat like me, and therefore I buy meat and other processed foods (cereal, bagels, waffles, etc.) to please them.

I am considering adding cooked foods back into my diet (vegan Kale burgers, black beans, Trader Joe’s cauliflower stir fry, and my roasted veggies – broccoli, squash, zucchini, multi colored peppers, onions, etc.). Although I would love to remain all raw, I’m finding that I do not eat enough calories, and therefore get tired and sleepy by the time I leave work in the evenings. I’m working on getting more sleep.

Any suggestions as to how I can increase my food budget would be great! Yes, I shop at Farmer’s Markets and Aldi’s, where I find the best prices for fresh veggies, but $130 is not a lot of money to spend on food for a household of three.

Thank you Ariel!

First of all, I’d like to clarify that I have nothing against Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram’s suggestions and I do not consider myself to be the sole owner of truth.

My approach is different, as I consider the transition period to a raw food diet to be as important as the diet itself.

Going raw “cold turkey” doesn’t work for many reasons.

In Valencia’s case, it was going on a cruise and not finding enough ripe fruit on board, but as you can guess, there could be dozens of other factors to keep you failing, time and time again.

These concerns could be family issues, work related matters, affordability, weather conditions, eating out, friends and social interactions, location issues, trying eating raw while travelling, certain health concerns, tooth loss among the elderly, the fact some people still LIKE the taste of some cooked foods… the list goes on.

But none of the obstacles listed above should detract you from enjoying the benefits of eating raw or mostly raw – if you do it properly that is, and without the “guilt” Vanessa suffered for not being able to stick to 100% raw, which in my opinion, isn’t necessary or healthy.

I believe you cannot reasonably expect to eat S.A.D (standard American diet) or even a vegan or vegetarian diet every day of your life for 40 years and use a 7 or 21 day raw food detox plan to convert you into a 100% raw foodist for life. It’s a good marketing technique to sell a book, but I am afraid the real world doesn’t work like that.

I consider food addiction to be the worst addiction, even worse than smoking and the consumption of other heavy drugs. If in doubt, ask most people on the streets whether they should go on a raw food diet; they would think you are crazy. That is how strong the cooked food addiction is.

I believe there is a much better way to make the switch to raw foods.

Do you know the first thing I did when I decided to go on a raw food diet?

I bet you’ll never guess?

I bought myself a steamer!

Why would you start a raw food diet by buying yourself a steamer? That’s “cooking” isn’t it?

Yes! That’s right!

I soon figured out that replacing all my S.A.D dinner meals with mostly steamed vegetables was the best way to massively reduce fat consumption and go vegan overnight.

And this method showed amazing results in matter of just weeks; I got rid of multiple diseases I suffered from for many years, while at the same time managing to overcome a vast array of addictions that were crippling my life, including smoking.

More importantly, I was able to sustain these improvements over time.

The pic on the left was taken before I started my raw food journey. It took me a few weeks since that pic was taken to get in good shape and many years later, by the age of 50, it still works. In fact, I believe I look much younger and fitter at 50 than I was at 39.

The pic on the left was taken before I started my raw food journey. It took me a few weeks since that pic was taken to get in good shape and many years later, by the age of 50, it still works. In fact, I believe I look much younger and fitter at 50 than I was at 39.

The first thing you should do when starting a raw food diet is concentrate on removing the bad stuff from your diet first, and replacing with healthier plant-based, low fat, wholefood alternatives.

Later on, you can, and will, start exploring how you can eat closer to 100% raw, but this process takes time; for most people, years. How long it will take you depends on individual circumstances and your lifestyle.

By doing the correct transition to raw foods, the positive changes you make to your diet will stay with you over time and you will be far less likely to revert to eating junk.

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Ariel Belloso

Ariel Belloso is a writer who transformed his health through the power of raw food. The former DJ and music producer's life changed forever in 2001, when his mother was diagnosed with leukaemia. Already a keen nutrition researcher, Ariel calculated that eating a raw, plant based 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 85th birthday! Using the knowledge gained from his years of ongoing study into natural health, Ariel has also managed to overcome several serious health issues himself, as well as helping many others regain their health and improve their quality of life. Ariel has written 5 books on the subject of natural health, nutrition, and fitness.

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