I think you know all about my obsession with raw foods. There is something about the simplicity and the health benefits of a raw, vegan diet that really gets the minimalist/health nut in me going. I have never committed any length of time to eating 100% raw, but starting today I’ll be embarking on a 30 day raw food journey! This idea is actually one of the goals I have set for myself in my 30 Things to do Before I Turn 30 mission. Being a huge self-improvement nerd, it was only natural that I do this.
Thankfully, I will not be embarking on this journey by myself. My ever adventurous, and devastatingly handsome life partner: Doodlebug will be doing this with me. Believe it or not, his omnivorous booty is totally into raw food too! I am glad to have the support because surprisingly enough the task of NOT cooking your food seems pretty daunting. Especially for someone like myself, who already has a jam-packed schedule. I’ll know more about the realities of this when I’m deeper into the 30 days. For now I’ll just cover the 3 initial phases – Shopping, Preparation, Execution!
Stock up on the staples. Most recipes and thrown together concoctions like salads or wraps include a lot of the same standard ingredients. The good thing about raw foods is that everything is open for creative experimentation. You can make almost any recipe substituting your favorite ingredient. Some typical staples are:
- fruits and veggies (all kinds)
- raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, etc.)
- raw seeds (pumpkin, hemp, sunflower)
- oils (EVOO, hemp, coconut)
- apple cider vinegar
- raw cacao powder
Bookmark a few recipes that look doable and list the ingredients you need. Bonus points if the majority of the ingredients are included in the staples. Until you get the hang of it, I would suggest only planning to make two recipes a week that require a lot of preparation.
Only buy enough to last a week. The abundance of perishable produce might be a bit overwhelming at first. Keep it to weekly increments to save money and frustration.
Cut up veggies. Odds are you’re going to be eating at least one large salad or wrap a day. Cut up all of your veggies and place them in separate containers in the fridge for easy assembly. Be sure to only cut enough for a week – veggies go bad faster when they are cut!
Dehydrate crackers, crust, breads, “burgers” or anything else that you know you will be eating on a regular basis. If you have no problem freezing these things you can spend a day making enough for the month. If you prefer to refrigerate, then make enough for about 2 weeks.
Balls of Goodness. I swear by the ball of goodness as a pre-workout snack, or a tasty pick me up. What is this ball of goodness, you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. It consists of a few simple ingredients blended and rolled into a ball, and then frozen! They usually come in dessert form, but can serve as energy balls as well. Averie over at Love Veggies and Yoga has an impressive collection of recipes and many can be found in Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Fitness and Thrive Diet books. Make as many of these as you want and then store in the freezer for easy noms!
Spreads, dips and dressings are great because they can completely change a meal. I would suggest making at least two dips for cracker snacking, 3 dressings for salads and wraps, and 2 spreads for pizzas. Also consider making different kinds of “sauce” for zucchini pasta. Each should store in the fridge in an airtight container for at least 10 days.
Plan out your basic meals for each day. To keep it easy I would suggest keeping everyday the same with slight variations. For example, here is what I am doing:
- Breakfast: Smoothie! Fruit, hemp protein, and maybe some nut milk if I am feeling ambitious.
- Lunch: A big ass salad or wrap! (For the wraps, I’m not going to bother making a fancy dehydrated wrap from nuts and veggies. A collard green or dinosaur kale leaf will do just fine.)
- Dinner: Juice and crackers with spread, or “pizza”. Perhaps a zucchini- pasta type dish.
- Snacks: This is the easy part. Fruit, veggies, nuts, balls of goodness or crackers are all options here.
Make sure there are lots of snacks, especially when you are just getting started and still trying to gauge what will fill you up and how often you need to eat. Keep snacks with you at all times and eat when hungry. This is especially helpful if you live with a snackasuarus (like Doodlebug tends to be).
Plan one or two fancy dishes for the week. More complicated dishes require nicely timed sprouting, soaking, and dehydrating. If you have time for more than two, by all means go for it! If you don’t have time for any at all, that’s cool too!
Be creative with what you’ve got. With raw food, it is pretty hard to mess something up. Experiment and create new dressings, desserts or crackers. Have fun!