So it's Day 4 of 5 of Stage One on your Journey to Rawdom. How are you feeling? Hopefully at this juncture you have a feeling that things are starting to make sense, are coming together inch by inch and you have a very safe feeling around what you are doing, perhaps for the first time to date, and a certain sense of calm may be enveloping you, knowing that you are approaching your raw eating habits in a very down-to-earth and ultimately doable way. If not so far, then hopefully after today's little exercise that will come.
By this point you should have completed your assignments for Days 1, 2 and 3 and be feeling pretty pleased with yourself. If you've got this far, well done and I do hope you are rewarding yourself appropriately? That's just as important!
Today is a very good day indeed : ) You get to think about food and indulge yourself in thoughts of all the raw foods you truly love. This is the day when you start to realise just how easy this can be, and how diverse, delicious, fun and interesting too!
So, if you're ready for foody-thoughts and Assignment 4, let's get to it!
Step 4: Choosing Your Vital Ingredients
Today's step is one of the most critical of all, as the bottom line is that you have to enjoy - no, I take that back, adore - what you are eating. Unless you are seriously ill and/or under strict instructions and your health will suffer if you don’t follow certain advice, please don’t fall into the trap of trying to follow someone else’s diet plan or recommendations if you really aren't fond of what’s listed on the menu – it’s a given that you won’t stick to it for more than a day or two, and quite honestly, why would you want to? There’s an almost limitless variety of raw foods you can choose from, no matter what your taste, so during today's assignment I encourage you to drop all excuses/ beliefs/ etc. and just be honest about your likes and dislikes - that is only go for foods that make you go "Mmmmm"!
Get ready with your clean sheet of paper or a new page, and follow instructions below...
1) List all of the foods you would like to eat in a typical week.
NB: Don’t think about what you currently eat, this about what you want to eat - whether it’s along the same lines or at the opposite end of the spectrum, it makes no difference.
If this part seems a little daunting for some of you, don’t panic! This isn’t as difficult as you may think. Reflect for a moment and you will realise that whatever diet people follow, usually only 15-30 different foods are eaten during a typical week, so your list doesn’t need to be extensive – just attractive and mouth-wateringly inspiring!
To give you some idea of what a list might look like, here is mine, in no particular order. It took me just 3 minutes to compile:
Tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, flax seeds, watercress, kale, lettuce, onion, avocado, nectarines, raspberries, bananas, mesquite powder, dates, nori sheets, coriander, Nature’s Living Superfood, macadamia nuts, almond butter, tahini, white cabbage, carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper, cashew nuts, almonds, hemp seeds (hulled), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sunflower greens, pumpkin seeds, Udo oil, olive oil, lemons, pure water.
This totals 35 items, all of which would ideally be fresh, ripe, raw, wild or organic. I could have added a few more, but kept it short so as not to overwhelm you! (We’re just focusing on ingredients for the time being, we’ll get to the meal suggestions shortly).
NB: In days gone by when I ate mainly junk food, my list probably would have totalled 20 items maximum – I generally ate the same foods day-in day-out, so when people ask if I get enough variety eating raw foods, well, there’s my answer!
So, make your list now using a clean sheet of paper and, if you are new or fairly new to raw food eating, aim to list one or two foods you’ve never tried before. No matter where we are coming from it’s always a good thing to continue to broaden our horizons.
2) Next, and very importantly, check that the items you’ve listed cover a wide range of food groups to ensure variety and adequate nutrition. (It’s also worth adding a liquid B12 supplement if you have any concerns on that front).
The nutrition check can be done by making sure that you have at least 2 items from each of the following food groups on your list:
Fruit, green leafy vegetables, non-leafy vegetables, herbs, sprouted beans and seeds, Omega-rich seeds or oils, Nuts and seeds (soaked or unsoaked), Sea vegetables or algaes.
NB: Make sure that when you buy these items that they are from the best possible sources – all foods are not equal. So think “organic” or “wild” or, even better, “organic and locally grown”.
3) If you now find that your list is lacking and all bases are not covered, add some other foods in, and consider adding a superfood or supplement to your list if you are in any doubt whatsoever. As you can see, I take Nature’s Living Superfood because it contains so many different whole foods (in a powder form) so I know I am “eating” all these things that I likely would never manage to find or eat as separate foods in my normal everyday life. If you need any help or advice on this issue, consult your nutritionist or naturopath or call The Fresh Network (0870 800 7070) who can help advise you as to the right one/s for you.
At this point you may be thinking, “Shouldn’t we be choosing our meals first, then listing the ingredients?” Ordinarily yes, but unlike conventional menu planning, this is about health and not just simply about taste and “what fills the hole”. If you pick the healthful ingredients first – and you love them – you can then have fun creating recipes that incorporate them and you have a win-win situation - this way you'll be eating for pleasure and your health – what a novel concept! (The flip side of this is that, if you pick your meals first and then list the ingredients you may find that your list isn’t broad enough in variety and so on, so you’d have to start over again).
Are you having fun yet? You should be : ) The pieces of the jigsaw are coming together nicely now and this exercise should only take you 15 minutes at the most, and leave you salivating, just a little!
Today's reward: Today, free reign to create your own reward suitably fitting for successfully completing the task in hand. Perhaps it will be to purchase one of those items on your list that you love but haven't eaten for a while? Or maybe to try one of those new things that you've added to your list that you've never tried before? Or maybe it's not even food related but something along the lines of taking yourself off to yoga or for a swim (my current reward of choice), or reading your latest amazon find.
Tomorrow, Day 5, is the last day of Stage One. Yes, you're almost there! Well done on all you've achieved so far; keep on going, the journey just keeps getting better and the rewards will be more than worth it.