Going raw, whether it’s for the first time or the "next" time,
ideally needs some thought and preparation. As with anything in life, your
likelihood of being successful at something is seriously improved when you take
some time to get planned and prepared so you don't just rush in blindly! The
tips I'm about to share with are easy, fun and most importantly enjoyable!
The Kick-Start begins with the all-important...
The 3-Day Prep Zone
For most people it's usually unrealistic to think that you can dive straight into going raw (particularly after Christmas!), so I always recommend that you decide upon a 10-day period (starting as soon as possible) where you feel that you will have a good chance of following a plan and have minimal interruptions in your diary.
When you've found your 10-day window, mark it off in your calendar and commit to giving it your best, knowing that this could very well be the start of something rather special!
What To Do In The 3-Day Prep Zone
1) Clear your kitchen of any old food and any foods you no longer want to eat.
2) Find or buy a blender - a cheap one will do for now if necessary.
3) Find or buy a hand blender or food processor. This is not important if you're following a basic menu, but it is if you want to go more elaborate.
4) Put away as many cooked food appliances as possible, clean your kitchen well and see this as an outward symbol and commitment to a fresh start. (It’s more powerful than you know…)
5) Purchase a ring binder to file any useful notes or recipes in, plus a set of dividers so that you can separate out different information and recipes in a way that suits you.
6) Do your food shopping. For this you'll want to have some idea of your menu for the coming week, so planning out a one week menu first is necessary.
7) Consider keeping a journal during your week. Seven days may not sound like a lot but if you give 100% to what you do I guarantee that you will have a lot to talk about - and all of it fascinating stuff!
8) Make a list of projects or things you'd like to do, start or finish during your "One Week Raw". This can be as simple as giving the house a good clean, dealing with some outstanding paperwork, going swimming for the first time in a long while or going somewhere new at the weekend. As your energy rises you may very well find yourself wondering what to do with yourself next! While your old habit might have been to walk to the fridge to find something to get busy with in there, this week it's time to be a little more expansive and take yourself out for the evening, immerse yourself in a good book or watch something uplifting and inspiring, or into the study to pursue your other interests.
9) And finally, please take 5 minutes to pick a worthy reward to give yourself at the end of the week. It might be a present of some kind, an indulgent body treat such as a massage, a night out on the town or a book or DVD you'd had your eye on for a while. But make this conditional! In order to receive your reward you have to follow your plan at least 90% of the time or you won't have done what you set out to do. Agreed?!
How you can best support yourself
When you improve your diet it makes sense to also upgrade other aspects of your life at the same time. Quite simply when you have more energy or start to feel better generally then you're going to feel like doing more and will be able to get more done than you may have done for a long time. Suddenly life has even more possibilities.
There are lots of different ways you can do this, whether it's taking a closer look at your lifestyle as a whole (do you need more sleep, relaxation time, fresh air, sunshine and so forth?) or looking at one aspect of your life such as finances, relationships, career, home, family or social life. You may choose to do some things differently as you start to feel as if you have more energy to do them.
The athletic among you may have noticed that thus far I've made little reference to exercise and the importance of it. This is because most people just don't do it and my focus is on getting the food right first so that the body has more inclination to move! Unbeknown to many, the body does need the right fuel to feel naturally inspired to move, so we're starting here and the rest (hopefully!) will follow. That said, I do of course, encourage you to add some or more exercise into your week on raw. It doesn't have to mean running a half-marathon or playing squash for the first time in a decade, but it does mean that it's time to become a little more aware of what you do and don't do throughout the course of your day and to consciously add in an extra walk or some basic stretches or yoga moves or something.
By all means start small. Trying to launch into lots of different lifestyle habits all at once rarely works as we just feel overwhelmed and give up on the whole lot. We are very much creatures of habit and we have to start in one place, tweak that, get comfortable with it, master it or at least feel happy with it and then we can turn our attention to the next thing.
This way we change over a period of time and these changes tend to stick as they've been integrated wisely and at a pace that works for you.
So, do what you can do, but don't beat yourself up about it. You can bring more movement into your day in subsequent weeks as and when you feel more inclined.
I've made a list of other ideas I have for you as to what you can do during this One Week Raw. There's lots of different things to choose from, all of which will help support you as you bring more raw foods into your diet and all that goes with that. Here they are...
Other things you can do to support yourself during this week and beyond are:
* Commit to doing this with a friend or if you're alone with this at the moment join an online raw food chat group to see what people are talking about. You might not understand everything right away, but you will learn a lot and make new friends. To find some to choose from search within googlegroups or yahoogroups or search on "raw food chat group" through a normal search engine. (Also, definitely check out the “Raw Food Made Simple” program which starts next week – it’s awesome! See more below…)
* Choose to surround yourself with more positive people, surroundings and circumstances wherever possible. Nothing is more energy sapping than doing things you don't want to do in a place you don't want to do them and being around people you don't want to be with.
* Check in with yourself each day for 5 minutes and either journal your experiences, thoughts and feelings or simply ask yourself "How did I do today?" Just take the time to do this for yourself so that you can reflect on what worked and what didn't and why.
* Drink more water. I don't want you to flood your body, but do bear in mind that you may start to release some toxins as your raw intake increases and they'll need flushing out. So keep a glass or bottle of water near you at all times, and only drink a good clean water - not tap water, OK?!
* In line with this, do try to start your day with a glass of water to "wash yourself through". Think of it as an internal shower! Help flush out what was released in the night as your body went through its cleansing cycle and when hunger strikes - by all means add some fresh lemon juice if you prefer. When you are hungry, and only then, then it's time for breakfast.
* Treat yourself with compassion. Food is an emotive issue for almost everyone. Over the years it becomes our friend, our comfort, our distraction and much more besides. Sometimes we even define ourselves by our food choices, as in "I'm a vegetarian" or "I'm a meat eater". Know that you can eat whatever you want to eat whenever you want to, and you are in control, free to change at any time and to dip in and out as when you want to. But at all times do acknowledge that all choices bear fruit, some better than others and learn what truly works for you. When you change your relationship with food there is bound to be some turbulence. This is to be expected. Just use your week as an opportunity to lightly ponder on what role food has played in your life thus far and learn more about yourself in the process.
© 2013 Karen Knowler WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com.