Just in case anyone gets the false idea that I eat perfectly healthy raw food 100% of the time, I’m going to lay it all out there for you and tell you the truth. Sometimes, I eat chocolate…the non-organic kind, and sometimes I’ll scarf down a bowl of real dairy ice cream…especially if my roommate brings home Dryer’s Moose Tracks. How am I supposed to resist? I hate when she does that! 🙂
Recently, I took a road trip to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica with some friends. Being that I’ve been living on the Pacific coast where the typical food is bland rice and beans (not tempting), it’s been quite easy to eat a mostly raw diet. However, the Caribbean coast has a strong Jamaican/Creole influence which is reflected in the delicious, spicy food and the abundance of reggae music. The towns are full of one little funky restaurant after another, each with a full menu of local fresh fish with different coconut based sauces. Mmmm….
One day we literally ate at 5 different restaurants, trying a little bit here and a little bit there. One of our favorites was called Bread and Chocolate. I don’t need to explain the menu…the name says it all. I’ll be honest, I rarely eat bread because of a gluten intolerance, but their avocado sandwiches on rye were worth the bit of discomfort afterwards! And the chocolate…now you’re getting the real confession…we each got a dessert to share…chocolate vegan cake with homemade ice cream, chocolate mousse cake, and chocolate ice cream sundae. This was the real deal, too…no Rice Dream or Soy-delicious even compares! Ahhh….chocolate!
Now, the reason I’m disclosing my vices to you is because there seems to be a false myth floating around out there that if one is to start eating raw, he or she must aim to go 100% right off the bat. Maybe it’s just an excuse when people say, “Oh, I could never eat raw. I like bread way too much,” or “Raw food isn’t for me. I could never give up eating cheese.” I understand your concerns, but the truth is, you don’t need to give up anything, at least not right away.
Rather than be intimidated by the thought of eliminating certain foods from your diet, try taking the opposite approach by applying the law of addition. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. In the morning ADD a green smoothie to your breakfast and eat it BEFORE you have your bacon and eggs.
2. WAIT 15 minutes after your smoothie to eat anything else. You just might surprise yourself by not wanting anymore, but if you do, go ahead and eat it.
3. Do the same with lunch and dinner. ADD a big green salad to your meal and eat it BEFORE you have your cooked foods. Eventually, you’ll probably find that you are satisfied with your raw options and you may even begin to crave those greens!
4. Don’t deprive yourself of the snacks you enjoy, but reaching for other snacks FIRST. For example, before you guzzle your mid-morning Diet Coke, first stop at a juice bar and get a fresh squeezed OJ. If you still want the Diet Coke after that, then have at it.
5. Instead of reaching for chips or candy to get you through the day, have a stash of raw almonds, cashews, raisins and dates on hand. One or two handfuls of a combination like that and you won’t have much room left for Cheetos!
So, do you see the point of the law of addition? It’s a mental game, really. You don’t tell yourself, “I can’t have another bag of M&M’s if I decide to eat raw”, or else, sure enough, you won’t be able to think of anything else all day except for those darn M&Ms! Don’t play that game with yourself. Instead, simply eat something healthier first and fill in whatever holes are left in your tummy with your M&M’s later. It’s an easy way to get started on a 50% raw diet, and if that’s about 50% more raw than you’ve been eating, you’ll notice a considerable difference in your health! Have fun with this and let me know how it goes. In the meantime, I’ll be recovering from my chocolate/sugar hang-over and getting back to my greens!