As always, right after the Holidays is a great time to change behavior patterns and to begin a new life. NOW is the time to start planning for those changes.
Whether you're looking at the raw diet because of your health challenges, or because you're looking to take your healthy diet to a new level, this is the time of the year to start!
Studies have shown that it's best to change multiple behavior patterns at the same time. In other words, if you decide to quit smoking, get more exercise, and begin a raw foods lifestyle - all at the same time - you'll be more successful than if you try to accomplish them individually or sequentially.
However - "the secret to success is having a plan."
It's not enough just to say to yourself, "I'm going raw." That will work for a while - a few days, perhaps a few weeks - but unless you have tons of willpower, very shortly you'll find yourself going back to your old habit patterns and comfort foods.
That's why a plan is important. Let's consider a plan for going raw:
10 Steps to Going and Staying Raw
1. Assemble the tools you need. A blender - any cheap, used blender - an inexpensive dehydrator, some jars for sprouting, and a variety of raw recipes are the minimum requirements.
2. Assemble your list of suppliers. Where are you going to buy your food? Are you going be mostly organic? You'll also need to find a supply of sprouting seeds - at least some alfalfa, clover, sunflower and wheatgrass (hard red winter wheat). The wider the variety the better.
3. Read your instructions. Do you know how to sprout, and how to run a dehydrator?
4. Plan what you're going to do. If you decide you'd like to make angel-hair pasta from zucchini, for example, you might find having a spiral slicing machine handy. This might put you back to step 1.
5. Set a starting date and create your support mechanism. Having a support group is the greatest. Check meetup.com for raw groups in your area. If you don't know any rawbies in your area, find a raw chat group or two for support.
Share with them what you plan to do, and the date you're going to start. You'll find yourself more successful this way, than if you "go raw secretly." Secret quitting doesn't work.
While I'm constantly reminding people that we don't have to justify our lifestyle choices to anyone, sometimes we can't avoid it. This video I made about Dispelling the Raw Food Myths will help you deal with the standard objections you're going to hear: http://www.chidiet.com/blog/free-stuff/dispelling-raw-food-myths.htm
6. Don't forget that you're going to need to stay inspired as you go raw. Build a collection of books, videos, and CDs before you start so that you'll have lots of material when you go raw. This will help maintain your momentum. Otherwise you might find yourself running out of steam before you get to the top of the hill.
I find that videos motivate me the most. Instead of watching the news or a movie at night, I'll pop in a video on raw foods and watch it, instead. chiVideos.com is a good source for these, and if you have high-speed internet you can watch raw videos online at websites like YouTube.com/chidiet.
7. Research shows that it takes 21 days for a new behavior to become a habit; if we move to a new house and now have to turn right instead of left when we leave work, it'll be 21 days before it seems natural to turn right when head for home.
In dealing with addictions the transitional period is longer. Yes, cooked foods are an addiction. Thus, we need to deal with them as such.
Victoria Boutenko has a good book on this subject - 12 Steps to Raw Foods. Her website is RawFamily.com and the book is on Amazon.com, too. Her book covers the subject in detail, but here are her 12 Steps to Raw Food:
Step 1 - I admit that I have lost control of my addiction to cooked
food and my eating is becoming unmanageable.
Step 2 - I believe that live vegan food is the most natural diet for a
Step 3 - I shall gain necessary skills, learn basic raw recipes and
obtain equipment to prepare live food.
Step 4 - I shall live in harmony with people who eat cooked food.
Step 5 - I shall stay away from temptations.
Step 6 - I shall create a support group.
Step 7 - I shall find alternative activities or hobbies.
Step 8 - I shall let my higher self lead my life.
Step 9 - I shall make a searching and fearless inventory of the real
reasons for seeking comfort and pleasure from cooked
Step 10 - I shall let my intuition help me.
Step 11 - Through clarity I will gain happiness.
Step 12 - I shall provide support to other raw fooders.
8. Part of changing your diet and lifestyle is detoxifying the body. Not as a one-time detox, but instead, we should be constantly detoxing. That's where Dr. Ann Wigmore's program comes in. She taught much more than a diet. In her books and videos she lays out the procedures for a continuous healthy detox, including the foods we eat, how we combine them, the usage of colonics or enemas, the uses of wheatgrass juice, and more.
The basics are laid out in her book, Why Suffer? How I Overcame Illness and Pain Naturally. While it's out-of-print, used copies can usually be found on Amazon.com for a few dollars.
Other great books of Dr. Ann's are Be Your Own Doctor and Rebuild Your Health, both available at Amazon.com.
9. Be aware, not discouraged. You're going to backslide at times, and it's normal. Don't feel like you've "failed" if you happen to go out for pizza or a hamburger. Instead, think about how well you've been doing, how much better you're eating than you used to, and how much better you're feeling since you started going raw.
10. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Knowing that I have addictions to comfort foods, I found new comfort foods. For me that's fresh blueberries, raspberries, and raw vegan pizza, made with flax crust in the dehydrator. It's a recipe I've included in my book. Victoria's Step 9, above, has helped me a lot, too.
Overwhelmed? I would be, too, if it weren't for the teachings of Dr. Ann.
Sometimes I get off the raw path when traveling the country, visiting family and friends. But when I get home I head to the market, stock up on good raw, organic fruits and veggies, then pull out my Dr. Ann Wigmore Raw Living Foods Home Study Program and get back to it.
I'm feeling better, more energetic, happier and de-stressed than I did in my old cooked-food life. MUCH better. My warning is when I felt the arthritis coming back in my knees - that's my personal sign that I'm not eating right.
Here's good news: There's a new Home Study Program. Bigger and better than ever, it's designed to lead you by the hand from raw-curious to fully raw and healthy.
The program even includes one-on-one consulting by phone and email with long-time Dr. Ann Wigmore Instructors, people that have been doing this MUCH longer than me, and know a lot about it.
This is the most complete collection and comprehensive overview of Dr. Ann's Raw Living Foods Lifestyle available, designed to get you started, keep you on track, and support you when you backslide. It includes:
The 300+ page 13 Step Raw Living Foods Success Guide
The 180 page Raw Living Foods Recipe Book
Grassy Roots - Back to the Roots of Healthy Eating - 14 episode Raw Food TV show on DVD
40 videos on DVD by Dr. Ann and her Institute Instructors
1 hour of free Raw Coaching - 2 sessions of 30 minutes
Free email consulting with Dr. Flora van Orden III, Dr. Ann's long-time assistant
What's in Your Lunch Bucket? Eat Light - Be Bright, by Jan Jensen, a handbook for active working women
Delicious Raw Food Recipes, by Emily Rutherford of RawFoodRestaurantGuide.com
Menu planners, discount coupons for hands-on programs and much more
I do this to help others attain a healthier lifestyle, and can find no better way to start people on the path to healthy living than this program.
While I totally support and encourage people to take a hands-on program at a Dr. Ann Institute, the Home Study Program is much more detailed.
You'd have to spend months at a hands-on program to absorb this much information. Plus, you have it at home for continual reference and inspiration
I'm really excited about this because, over the years, I've received hundreds of thank you letters and success stories from people who have benefited from the Raw Living Foods Home Study Program, and this is the best one I've assembled yet!
Here's the link: http://chiDiet.com
PS: Even if you're not 100% raw, how much better are you doing today than when you were on the SAD?
PPS: "[Because of their diets] nine men in ten are suicides." - Ben Franklin