-- by Jim Carey
The biggest challenge we face in transitioning to raw living foods is enjoying the food. I remember my first few weeks - indeed, my first year - on a raw foods diet. After a meal I wasn't hungry, but I often didn't feel "full" or "satisfied." Two or three times a week, especially when I was already in town, I'd pick up a cheese pizza, or - once or twice - a rotisserie chicken. I'd been a vegetarian for several years, but suddenly found myself going back to meat upon occasion.
What I had to learn was how to satisfy that feeling of fullness that cooked fooders are used to having. That's where the "transition diet" comes in. In the transition diet we learn to make richer, tastier foods that mimic the tastes our bodies are used to. Mock turkey, mock mashed potatoes, mock pumpkin pie, mock chowder, and so on. There's a lot of use of oil (extra virgin olive oil, of course), honey and other natural sweeteners, and Celtic sea salt. There's also a lot more fruit in the transition diet than in a well-balanced raw food diet.
While transition foods are satisfying our appetites, our taste buds are slowly and subtly changing. Now, after three years of being more and more raw, I've reached the point that even the smell of most cooked foods disinterest me. I find them totally unappetizing. My diet has also become much simpler as time goes by, and I find myself eating more and more greens and grains, and much less fruit. I also don't need or miss that full and heavy feeling.
The best way I've found to learn a transitional diet is a visit to a hands-on school like Creative Health Institute. Not only do they serve tasty raw gourmet transition foods, they teach how to prepare it with hands-on work in the kitchen, they teach about how and why the body works, the technical reasons that a raw foods diet is better for your body - and the camaraderie and atmosphere of CHI makes it easy to be raw, because the guests and staff are all supporting each other.
Another feature of schools like Creative Health is the interesting people you meet there. In my numerous visits over the last three years I've met people from all over the US, and from Canada, Russia, Malaysia, Holland, France, Australia, Korea, Trinidad, Zimbabwe, Japan, China, England, Luxembourg -- it's like going to an International Summer Camp.