Francesco Barone shares his Top 7 Tips for Staying Raw. Francesco is a classical guitarist, disciple of Jesus Christ and raw food enthusiast who has been a vegan for 12 years and a raw foodist for roughly the past 10. His raw food journey began at Arnold’s Way in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, when he was searching for a cure for his lifelong affliction with asthma. Francesco cured his asthma in 2006, but it resurfaced in 2012, when he returned to a cooked vegan lifestyle. A $2,000 trip to an emergency room and relapse redirected Francesco back to a raw vegan lifestyle and his recovery for the second time from asthma.
1. Eat bananas. Living a vibrant lifestyle on a raw food diet is impossible without a caloric staple. During my years of being raw, the only staple I have found to be sustainable (financially and available year round) is bananas. I have noticed that life is much easier with an abundance of bananas. Without this staple, you will crave and, over time, return to the high-calorie foods you ate before going raw.
2. Cultivate relationships and a community. Being connected to a community of like-minded people and building friendships with those who can help and support you is essential to maintain a raw food lifestyle. This is likely one of the reasons that I originally returned to cooked food. When I moved to Connecticut, in 2009, I did not take the initiative to network with the raw food scene in my area.
3. Keep a journal. There is no better way to know yourself in any discipline than journaling, and food journaling for the raw vegan is no exception. Maintaining a daily food log as well as an entry about how you felt will help you find the caloric intake, macronutrient proportions, foods and eating habits that are best for you. I have found success in journaling my diet as well as my practice habits and feelings.
4. Share your story. Sharing our raw journeys help us remember where we were and those things for which we can be thankful. Compiling this article has helped me remember how challenging my life was before adopting a raw food lifestyle and has helped me be grateful for how these lifestyle changes have helped me.
5. Get enthusiastic. The people who I have seen adopt a raw food diet for an extended period of time really embraced the different fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. They have fun finding foods that they like, new recipes and enjoy checking out raw food restaurants and attending potlucks.
6. Ensure access to high-quality fruit. Being a raw foodist will get old fast if you do not have access to sweet, tasty and nutrient-dense food. It’s important that you are subsisting on the freshest and ripest food that has been grown in the best agricultural environment possible. To maintain this quality, you will either need to live in a tropical location or have deep financial resources or connections to farmers and local food distributors. In my experience, it’s no fun eating carrot sticks and store-bought apples that have been sitting in a freezer in Washington State for 12 months. 🙁
7. Seek knowledge. When I first adopted a raw vegan diet in 2006, I read many books on the lifestyle to educate myself on sound nutrition. Some of my favorites are The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, The 80/10/10 Diet by Douglas Graham and Raw Food Controversies by Frederic Patenaude. This knowledge is the beginning to building the convictions to maintain a high- or completely raw vegan lifestyle.