Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead at illuminatedmind.net
At the beginning of the new year I decided to go Raw for 30 days. I’ve always been interested in eating a raw diet, but never had the guts to completely jump in and do it. I would eat raw for breakfast and lunch most days but would break down at dinner time and eat cooked food. I was eating about 60-80% raw, I just needed the extra push to move to eating 100% raw vegan food. I got that push after seeing these amazing before and after eating raw photos.
I decided the best way to know if something is all it’s cracked up to be is to try it. At the very worst if it doesn’t work out you can always go back, right?
What I found is that eating raw is not only easy to do, but makes you feel amazing.
It wasn’t easy to resist eating cooked foods at first. Just like breaking any habit, it takes time and persistence. Most of all, it helps to simply take it one day at a time and focus on only one goal. For the new year I decided not to make any other resolutions or goals, but to simply eat a raw vegan diet for 30 days.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned:
Live foods. It’s common sense right? A cooked seed won’t grow, but a raw seed will. Heating food over 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys much of the nutrients in your food. Cooking food also diminishes the natural life energy. I’d rather put living food in my body.
Enzymes. Cooking food destroys much of the natural enzymes (your body can also create enzymes, but can only do so much) in your food that are needed to break down nutrients. Eating raw eliminates this problem.
Insane energy. You won’t know this unless you try it for yourself, but eating raw gives you an amazing boost in energy. I used to get tired around 2 or 3pm during the day. Now I simply don’t have that problem. When I do get tired, it doesn’t last nearly as long and an orange or apple will recharge me within a few minutes.
Better sleep and less sleep needed. I’ve slept better than ever while eating raw. But most importantly, I don’t wake up feeling tired or groggy anymore. On most days, I wake up feeling full of energy.
Increased mental clarity. Eating raw has helped me focus on the things that are important and made me more emotionally in tune with others. I feel like a wall of fog has been removed in my mind. It’s easier to think clearly and focus for long periods of time.
Eat as much as you want. This isn’t really a health benefit, but it is pretty awesome. I never get that uncomfortable full feeling eating raw. You know where you have to unbutton the top button on your pants and take a nap? I don’t get that. I can eat as much as I want, and while I will feel full, I don’t feel weighed down or tired.
Less cleanup. Simply put, there aren’t many dishes to wash when you eat fruit and vegetables. Although if you do compost (like I do), you’ll probably have to do it more often.
No packaging. Eating raw means less packaging all around (well, I guess you could argue that banana and orange peels are “packaging”). This means less trash in a landfill and more room in your cupboards. Win/win for everyone.
More regularity. You should naturally have around two to three bowel movements a day. If you’re going less than that, it probably means your intestines are unhealthily clogged. A raw diet gives you more than enough fiber to keep you regular.
Connection with the earth. Eating food that’s been freshly picked just feels different. You feel more connected to the earth and more grounded. Eating lots of processed foods — frozen or from a box — makes creates more of a gap and leaves you feeling disconnected from the earth that sustains you.
Want to give it a try? If you’re interested in pursuing a raw diet, here are a few great resources to get you started:
Renegade Health – Great daily videos on eating raw and organic.
Living and Raw Foods – Vast archive of information and resources for eating a raw diet.
30 Day Raw Trial – Steve Pavlina’s introduction to his 30 day trial eating only raw foods.
It should be noted that you don’t have to go 100% raw to see the benefits of eating this way. My transition to a raw diet wasn’t a quick process. I’ve been vegetarian for seven years and in the past two, started eliminating most dairy as well.
You don’t have to drop out and becoming a complete raw foodist right away. Any increase in raw foods in your diet will give you noticeable, immediate results.
This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. To learn more about how to reclaim your life, grab a subscription to Illuminated Mind
Zen Habits is an awesome blog, you can find Leo's work here: zenhabits.net