I actually started my raw foods adventure by eating raw until dinner, although I wasn’t trying to live raw at the time. For purposes of discussion, when I refer to raw I am referring to raw vegan. Back in early 2012 I had simply set out to lose some weight and get healthier. So I began by switching to fruit or smoothies for breakfast, usually followed by another couple of smoothies for lunch and some fruit to nibble on in between. Many times I would also have a salad in the middle of the day to change things up. I was still eating meat at the time, but not a lot. Dinner would usually be either sauteing vegetables or rice and beans with a small piece of meat.
Looking back I would say eating raw until dinner is an excellent strategy for those new to the raw foods lifestyle as well as those who want to add more whole foods to their diets and be healthier, without necessarily going all the way raw. For the maximum benefit from this approach it is recommended that dinner be about 50% raw as well. The ideal approach would be a salad followed by some steamed vegetables.
So many people fail when trying to live healthier, lose weight and begin a new lifestyle because they try to make too many changes at once. While the attitude is admirable this is probably not the best approach, especially if you have been eating the standard American diet (SAD). Your body is going to go through detox and the severity will depend on how you have eaten in the past and the rate at which you cleanse your body. Even for those that are working to become fully raw a transition is recommended. And raw until dinner can be just that transition. Or raw until dinner can be your lifestyle. The point is to eat more whole plant based foods. Think of this as a marathon not a sprint. You want to be healthy for life so why not build a strong foundation that will assure your success. Be gentle on yourself in the beginning. Do your best but if you need to eat things for the evening meal that are not optimal don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s all about baby steps and heading in the right direction.
For dinner I would recommend eating as clean as comfortably possible. If you are used to starches such as rice and pasta, give quinoa a try. It is protein rich, has twice as much fiber as other grains, and contains iron, lysine, magnesium and manganese. If you are trying to go raw, vegan or raw vegan you might want to keep meat in some of the evening meals in the early going. Eat small portions of healthy organic meat until your body has cleansed to the point of giving it up entirely. If anything during this process of transition, I would highly recommend cutting out the dairy. BUT, as I will stress again and again, no judgment here. This is a place for everyone that is looking to improve their quality of life. There are many people out there that are quite healthy and eat cooked food. The main thing is to get plenty of raw living foods into your diet. If you are looking to transition to the raw vegan lifestyle you might try the approach a friend mentioned to me the other day. Eliminate the meat bit by bit. Take whichever one you like the least and eliminate it. You can start with pork for instance and over a period of time gradually eliminate beef, then chicken, and finally fish. Or you can do this in any order that works for you.
but for me, I went vegan by the process of elimination: I started eliminating a food that I wasn’t crazy about and then over a six month period, eliminating another food, etc. it started with beef, then pork, then poultry, etc
I will finish up and leave you with a few tips for staying with a raw foods diet until dinner. Actually I hate that word diet because people want to associate it with deprivation. That is not the case here. During the day while you are eating raw, you want to eat whenever hungry. You are eating good stuff and a lot of this stuff is not heavy in calories. While it is different for everyone, that was the biggest thing for me in the beginning; learning to eat enough! If you can, try and stick with fresh fruit, juices and smoothies until noon. For lunch you might have a green juice, green soup or salad. Check out Raw Tropical Living on YouTube for a few recipes and I will be posting some recipes here in the next week. Snack on fruits, raw soaked nuts and seeds and raw vegetables.
I will stress again that it is important not to let yourself get hungry. That is when the body will start it’s cravings for less than optimal food. Read, learn, educate yourself to the raw food lifestyle. You can gradually shift your evening meal to a raw vegan dinner. Try this even if you are not looking to live a raw vegan lifestyle. There are some very good recipes out there. I remember many years ago I found a vegan restaurant in Miami, the city where I was living. I didn’t know about veganism and wasn’t really all that interested. All I knew was that the food was good. The fact that it was good for me was a bonus I came to appreciate. So start from where you are and work on being a little healthier every day. In the end it’s not about raw food or any other particular path, it is about abundant health.