Today is a great day indeed because today you get to pull all of the pieces together and have a ball imagining all of the great foods and meals you're going to be moving forward with. You also get a FREE mini e-book about menu planning that is well worth persevering for!
Today's assignment is going to be pretty lengthy - there's simply no way around that - however, I know that you're going to love it, thank me for it and be sooo glad you carried on even though you might feel a very strong pull to distract yourself and not go the final mile.
I don't want you to leave now, and I'll tell you why: You're a winner already. You're here and you're game. If you've completed Days 1-4 then you're ready, willing and able, and this means it's your time. Why stop now? It's Day 5 of 5, the weekend is almost here, this is the best bit so far, and if you're in the UK then you have Bank Holiday Monday to look forward to as well as the next two days off!
That said, I have a feeling that it's going to take you today and the weekend to really get to grips with this one, but what's 3 days out of your life (and only fractions of them at that), when you're going to come away with a winning plan that will get your eating habits bang on track and have you all set for Phase 2 of the big journey?
As tempting as it may be to drop the baton now, I urge you not to listen to that voice of self-sabotage! Taking this step now, fully and completely, will make ALL the difference between you playing at this and you really making it happen. Trust me!
Besides, as mentioned earlier I have a really cool freebie waiting for you ; )
So if you're ready for the final frontier of this particular leg of the journey, then follow me...
Before we get to today's assignment, let's just take a moment to reflect on the past 4 days.
Day 1 - You listed your pushes and pulls. You also found and named your BIG WHY- yay!
Day 2 - You put pen to paper and mapped out your typical day, including how many meals you want to eat and when.
Day 3 - You decided exactly what your goal is in terms of how much raw / cooked foods you'd like to eat at this particular chapter in your life.
Day 4 - You listed your raw Vital Ingredients.
That's a lot of information, right? You should be proud!
Well, today we take your work from Days 2, 3 and 4 and get to the really juicy bit about WHAT EXACTLY YOU ARE GOING TO EAT.
Here comes your assignment for the next 1-3 days, step-by-step:
1) Pull out your work from the past 3 days so that you have all of your answers in front of you
2) Take a fresh sheet of paper, and list down all of your favourite drinks and meals - cooked or raw, anything allowed - just get them down and be completely honest.
3) Take a look at your list and cross out any food and drink that doesn't sit well with you and where you want to go - you have to get real here! In the case of addictions or comforts such as coffee, bread, alcohol, chocolate or whatever, be realistic. These things may take weeks or months to wean off - don't forbid yourself from having them unless you genuinely feel ready to let them go. These things will fall away in good time - if you want them to.
4) Looking at the list of foods and drinks remaining, think about what ingredients make these things up - what other recipes or ingredients do you need to bring into this picture to tick all of the Vital Ingredients off your list? For instance, if you've listed parsley as one of the foods you really want to eat in your ideal week, but parsley doesn't appear in any of your recipes, then consider adding chopped parsley to salads or veggie burgers, or putting them into a juice or smoothie - just make sure it's in there somewhere! Then, keep going until all of those Vital Ingredients feature somewhere - ideally more than once.
5) Next, open the PDF file I've attached here for you...
Within this file you'll find some really useful guidelines for designing a Transitioners Menu and/or an All-Raw Menu as well as a sample menu of each. Finally, you'll see a blank menu planner for you to print off and fill in yourself. How cool is that?! Aren't I so good to you? : ) x
(If you cannot open PDF files, simply visit www.adobe.com and download Adobe Reader for free.)
6) After you've read the above file and are clear on which kind of menu you're going for, take the blank Menu Plan and start to slot in your favourite meals according to your goals and other criteria you have set for yourself. Remember - take it easy and don't aim too high at first. Your menu will always evolve, I guarantee that. Here I am, for example, 13 years into raw eating and my diet is constantly changing, just as it did right back at the start. This applies to everyone I have ever met who follows a raw diet - no-one stays the same and nor does what they eat.
7) When you're done, make sure that your menu meets the following criteria:
Inviting - you need to be inspired simply by looking at it. If you're drooling, well what can I say?! Star Pupil!
Easy and doable - you know you won't follow your plan - even with the best intentions - if it means hours of soaking, sprouting and dehydrating are required, so choose recipes that are quick to make and/ or that will last for days in the fridge. This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you at this stage. KISS - Keep It Simple, Sugar : )
Nutritionally sound - I'm assuming you don't have a serious health condition when I say this: You don't have to run this by a nutritionist (this is just a 1 week plan!) but do check that you have a good variety of foods as per the criteria set yesterday. Also think in terms of different colours as well as different food groups - try to eat all the colours of the rainbow, ideally every day - this is a classic guideline to go by for ensuring variety in any diet.
8) Anything missing? Do you have gaps? Are you confused? If you're very new to this then you may well be feeling a bit lost. Please don't! It really does get easy once you start experimenting and reading a little more. You soon find ways to adapt what you're used to eating and very soon it becomes second nature, honest.
Here's some ideas to get you off and running:
A good rule of thumb for breakfast is fruit (unless you have candida) - however much you want, whatever type/s appeal, until satiated. If fruit doesn't fill you up enough or you're looking for something else, then try a filling smoothie or nut milk. Or how about soacking some large dried fruits (like prunes, apricots and apple rings) in water until plump and pouring on a nut milk or rice milk? These are good standard choices that are quick to make and result in minimal clean up. A green smoothie is a particularly great way to start your day if you are up for it. Try about 5 or 6 large handfuls of baby spinach blended with 1 mango and see how delicious and easy they can be! After just 3 minutes of chopping and blending you'll have in your hands one of the most potent things you could possibly take into your body (so it has to be organic!). If you eat/drink one green smoothie a day your cells will be singing in no time!
For lunch, I'm assuming you're easing in, so try for 50/50. That would be something like a good quality sandwich made from wholemeal organic bread with a delicious raw filling such as avocado, tomato and cucumber. This was one of my favourite transitioning staples way back when. I also loved banana sandwiches - no butter, just bread with lots of ripe banana laid between the slices - very filling and very delicious. Or if you're eating out, then a good choice is a large jacket potato, no butter, but with a fresh coleslaw and side salad. I used to love smearing avocado inside my potato instead of butter - mmmm!
For dinner, again, try for 50/50 if you can. Select one favourite cooked item such as pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, fish, cheese, veggie burger or whatever, and serve with a large salad or some lightly steamed vegetables with a raw dip. It's really very easy when you think about it! One of my favourite meals along these lines was a large bowl of cooked wholegrain rice mixed with chopped avocado, tomato, red bell pepper, onion, cucumber and sprinkled with lemon juice - absolutely scrummy! I ate it night after night after night. Another favourite was boiled organic baby potatoes swirled in a mixture of olive oil, crushed garlic, finely chopped basil and lemon juice and served in a large bowl of green leaves with all manner of salad items around it. Both delicious and filling and, in the grand scheme of things, very very virtuous.
If you're still stuck, I don't want you to be... so email me - I'm here to help!
8) The last step now is to check in with yourself about the anomalies in life - eating on the run, in the car, while travelling, when hungry and in the middle of nowhere - that kind of thing. What can you make or pack that will help you out in those kinds of situations? I have one idea for you that I have recommended over and over again - create your own Trail Mix. All you need to do is find a large glass jar or Tupperware box with an airtight lid and mix a few handfuls of different nuts and seeds with a few handfuls of dried fruits (raisins, dates, apricots, gojis etc.). When you've nearly filled your container, give it a good shake - and voila! - you have a large amount of dried raw snack food that you can either keep in your office drawer, decant into smaller boxes or baggies for your handbag or briefcase, or keep in your car glove compartment, or wherever you're likely to need it. Great for kids too, of course. Also consider making or buying a stash of flax crackers or raw snack bars. These travel well and are more calorie dense than fruits and veggies so will keep you going longer. As time ticks by you'll soon find out where and when your vulnerable moments are and in time you can become better and better prepared for them.
9) When you have your menu all filled in and are 100% happy with it, all that remains to be done is to go shopping and have your kitchen stocked and ready for the week ahead! If you need to soak or sprout anything then do it this weekend, but ideally at this stage there will be very little of this going on as we want to keep it simple, quick, easy and doable, right?
10) If you've reached action 10, then you've done absolutely brilliantly and deserve a medal. Full permission granted to make the most of your weekend and look forward with anticipation to Week 2, which will begin on Tuesday because of the Bank Holiday. Use Monday to see how you fare at following your menu, and next week we'll start looking at all the little (and not so little) obstacles that may come your way or that you may put in your own way as you set out on the next stage of your Journey to Rawdom.
Until then, well done you and have a wonderful weekend : )