I first heard about the raw, vegan diet about 3 years ago in a small book with different kinds of cleanses and detox plans. The author talked about how vibrant and healthy people on this diet become. She was on the diet for a few years herself, and said she felt better than at any other time in her life – filled with energy and optimal health. She reported that her eye color even got lighter and brighter while eating raw foods. She talked about how the skin glows on this diet. It sounded interesting but I didn’t think much about it, nor did I attempt to learn more or try it for myself. But a seed was planted in my mind.
Then, about 15 months ago, something sparked my interest in the raw, vegan way of eating. (I don’t remember what!) So, I started watching YouTube videos – anything I could find (and I found a lot!). Then blogs and websites. Slowly I started buying and reading books. I ordered cookbooks (un-cook books!). I became engrossed in the idea of trying this diet for myself. I was convinced it was THE diet for me. I wanted to BE a raw vegan. I was SUPER excited and motivated.
But it seemed too intimidating to just wake one day and do. In other words, I knew I couldn’t just become 100% raw vegan overnight. There was so much to learn! New foods and ways of preparing foods. A completely new way of eating. I would have to use recipes instead of cooking my old stand-bys on autopilot. I would have to find food items I’ve never shopped for before, and I knew weren’t for sale in my tiny, rural community. I had to buy kitchen items and appliances. This would take time. And I needed time to get comfortable with this new way of preparing foods, or I just knew I would give up. I had to be able to prepare meals very quickly because of my full-time and part-time jobs, and other responsibilities.
I also needed time to rid my body of old, unhealthy eating patterns, and to cut out certain food items. I was certain I had addictions to some of these foods and it wouldn’t be easy to just stop eating them overnight. To be on this diet, I knew I had to stop eating all animal proteins (meat, chicken, fish, eggs), all dairy (cheese, milk, butter), cooked grains (bread, cereal, tortillas, rice), alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and cooked foods. This meant I would have to eliminate virtually all processed, frozen, and prepackaged foods and snacks. My new diet would entail raw fruits, raw vegetables, raw greens, raw nuts, raw seeds, raw sprouts, raw seaweeds, and raw fermented foods: living foods. I was experienced eating raw fruits, raw vegetables and raw greens (salads, guacamole, and salsa). But I had limited experience eating nuts, seeds, seaweeds and fermented foods. And even less experience with actually incorporating these foods myself into homemade recipes. This would be almost a complete 180 degree change in diet and food preparation for me.
Luckily, for most of my life I haven’t been a big animal protein eater. I seem to actually prefer vegetarian options and meals. (It tastes better to me.) (I am going to write a blog post about this sometime in the future.) And luckily, I hadn’t been a big bread or grains eater for the past couple of years. (I can say “no” to the bread basket when dining.) And I hadn’t bought milk in many years. I just don’t drink the stuff. And I rarely bought eggs. But I knew giving up cheese would be a challenge. (Especially goat, blue, feta and parmesan!)
On top of all that, during this time was some of the busiest of my career: I had a new job and things were very stressful and busy at work. I was also teaching late into the evenings two nights a week (in addition to my full-time day job). Later, I was remodeling my house! And after that, I was teaching four nights a week (in addition to my full-time day job). It just wasn’t conducive to making an overnight change like this. So I decided to start with small steps. I decided I would TRANSITION to the raw vegan diet over a period of time. And I didn’t put a deadline in place. I would just do what I could.
So the following list is what I have accomplished so far in my transition. These are the steps I have already taken in the past 15 months or so. And I decided I had to do this blog post for myself so I could see in print how much I’ve gotten done! It’s a lot. (I need to pat myself on the back right now because I’ve been feeling down on myself, and somewhat discouraged with my lack of progress.)
The list is long so I am going to divide it up into two or three blog posts. Please stay tuned for the continuation of the list in Part 2. (Journey to a Healthy, Vibrant Life: My transition to a raw, vegan diet has begun, Part 2.)
But before I begin the list, I must say that the very first step I took in my transition to this diet was this: I decided I am going to do it. I decided this is the diet for me, and that I want to do it, and that I need to do it. I know why I am doing it and I am motivated. Since deciding I would one day follow the 100% raw vegan diet, I have not once questioned whether I would eventually follow this diet. This desire has not faltered even once. My mind is 100% made up – even if my actions haven’t quite followed yet.
Everything I have already completed in my transition to the raw vegan diet (and lifestyle):
- Got a dehydrator (it was a gift from someone)
- Read the following books: “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko; “Master Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels; “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” by Dr. Daniel Amen; “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay; “12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food” by Victoria Boutenko; “Never Be Fat Again” by Raymond Francis; “Never Be Sick Again” by Raymond Francis; and “100 Days to 100% Raw” by Tonya Zavasta
- Currently reading the following books: “Eating for Beauty” by David Wolfe; “Raw Food and Hot Yoga” by Tonya Zavasta; “A Course in Weight Loss” by Marianne Williamson; and “Quantum Eating” by Tonya Zavasta
- Read the following books (which are combinations of information and recipes): “Raw Food: Life Force Energy” by Natalia Rose; “Get Naked Fast!” by Diana Stobo; “Super Cleanse” by Adina Niemerow; “Raw Food Cleanse” by Penni Shelton; “Going Raw” by Judita Wignall; and “Raw Food for Real People” by Rod Rotondi
- Subscribed to, and read, dozens of blogs and newsletters on nutrition, healthy living, and vegan/raw vegan lifestyles (and continue to do this)
- Made motivational posters for my home office which state WHY I want to go with the raw vegan diet; I glance at these all the time
- Replaced hundreds of meals with freshly pressed raw vegetable and fruit juices (mostly green)
- Learned how to soak raw nuts and seeds before eating; have soaked many batches and used them in recipes and for snacks
- Got a really nice, high-quality, masticating juicer (Eric bought it for us); previous to this, I used my old centrifugal juicer
- Bought a Vita Mix (huge investment but absolutely well worth it!)
- Started composting; only put organic raw produce in there
- Watched hours and hours of YouTube videos on raw vegan lifestyle, philosophy, juicing, health, and un-cooking demonstrations
- Learned about why eating local is so important
- Replaced regular table and sea salts with Celtic and/or Himalayan salts for home use
- Supplementing Vitamin D daily (drops in my morning juice)
- Buy almost ALL produce as organic (our town doesn’t sell organic lemons or cucumber anywhere so sometimes I buy those conventionally grown, and peel them before use)
- Learned about the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in our foods (especially corn, soy, and wheat)
- Put inspiring, happy images on my wallpaper on my computer at work
- Learned why fasting is immensely good for our health
- Did a 36-hour water fast
- Juice fasted for about 100 days (not consecutively)
- Started using raw, organic coconut oil as a body and lip moisturizer
- Drastically reduced the amount of processed and pre-packaged foods I buy and eat
- Learned about the dangers of additives in our foods – including nitrates, MSG, fake sugars, etc.
- Joined two Raw Food Meet Up groups
- Bought young Thai coconuts for the first time, and learned how to open them; for the first time in my life, I’m drinking coconut water straight out of the coconut, along with using the meat for various recipes
- Cleaned out my pantry of all refined sugars and flours and other baking items; I have stopped baking entirely
- Very recently stopped eating meat, pork, fish and chicken entirely; prior to this, I only ate it maybe 2-3 times a week
- Bought and ate raw organic black sesame tahini (first time)
- Learned about food combining and am practicing food combining rules frequently
- Take digestive enzymes with meals
- Made dozens of raw soups, raw salads and raw salad dressings (experimenting with raw recipes)
- Bought lots of quart-sized mason jars and plastic lids for food storage, sprout growing/storage, and juice/smoothie drinking and commuting
- Learned how to grow sprouts, bought seeds, and made dozens of batches of organic sprouts (alfalfa, red clover, baby black sesame, and rainbow bean mix)
- Stopped using conventional (chemical-filled) toothpastes, soaps, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant; replaced with natural products and invested lots of time in researching each product I now use
- Reminded myself about the benefits of colon hydrotherapy and have had 7 sessions; learned more about the importance of colon health and care
- Found a great market (not a chain) in Tucson that sells wonderful organic, local produce and other health products and foods at reasonable prices; I regularly shop there now
- Learned why an investment in good, high-quality food is worth the money (and effort); no longer worry about spending $4-5 on some really wonderful organic produce, or $10-12 on some nutrient-dense, organic, raw nut butter (within reason)
- Bought kelp noodles and made two great dinners with them (raw noodles!)
- Bought Oil of Oregano and will use this as a pain reliever (headaches, etc.) instead of over-the-counter pills (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.)
- Learned about the importance of eating seaweeds due to their mineral content; Started buying dulse, wakame, and other seaweeds, and have used in some recipes
- Bought raw, organic hemp, flax and chia seeds to use in recipes
- Expanded my horizons in produce: I now regularly eat chard, kale, carrots, cucumber, avocado, apples, ginger root, and celery (which I rarely ate before); I now frequently eat kiwi, jicama, oranges, beets, broccoli, parsley, cilantro, and pears (which I rarely ate before); I also tried kumquats, dandelion greens, mulberry berries, and heirloom tomatoes for the first time!
Well, that is a long list. (And I’m not done yet.) And this was a long post. But for me, this was the most meaningful post I’ve done yet on this blog. I’m proud of all the changes I’ve made, and all the learning I’ve done. I’ve come a long way, and have definitely made progress in my transition to a raw, vegan diet.
And even more importantly, these were vital steps in my transformation to a healthy, vibrant woman!
Please stay tuned for Part 2!
–Gen X Gemini