1. Find your “fallback five.” These are five recipes that you know you love and that are easy to make. Make sure that you always have ingredients on hand to make any one of these five recipes. On days when you are lazy, tired, overworked, stressed or craving, you can make one of these go-to meals and not have to worry about falling off your new raw vegan lifestyle. Taking the time to learn how to prepare these meals quickly will be of great benefit to your success.
2. Tell yourself daily that you are a raw vegan. Find affirmations, meditate and remind yourself often in any way you can think of. Set alarms on your phone and post sticky notes on your fridge or on your toothbrush. Reminding yourself constantly and affirming to yourself that you are on this path will keep you focused and, eventually, you will believe that you are a raw vegan and will naturally stop thinking as much about other foods. Many times while trying to go raw, I forgot that I was even doing it. It was so “normal” to eat whatever at a social event and then arrive home and think, “Oh, shoot, I was supposed to be raw!”
3. Shop regularly. Buy bananas more often so you assure that you have ripe ones always ready for when you need snacks. Shopping more often helps routine and keeps your food stock fresh. It also prevents you from spending too much money by overbuying food that you might not have time to eat. If you buy only what you need for the next couple of days, it’s a lot easier to keep track of your budget.
4. Explain to those closest to you that you are trying to “eat healthier.” This will disarm them and bring them to a level where they can understand you. Telling them that you are a raw vegan might scare some people. Using “I am just trying to eat healthier” works wonders if you need to avoid a debate. Decide for yourself who you can give certain information to, but make sure that people know you are going to be bringing your own food to events, and bring enough to share! Make sure you eat in front of your friends and family. Some people “eat before they go out” to a casual family dinner and then barely eat when there. These people don’t see what you eat, and when they are exposed to nights of you not eating, they will start to worry. If you eat a massive salad in front of them, they will eventually stop questioning whether you are eating enough.
5. Stop using the words “moderation” and “transition” to justify eating things we know we shouldn’t. We understand how moderation works, but a transition can keep someone in transition for years if they constantly continue justifying things because they are still transitioning. Work with positive affirmations to change your usage of the words. Moderation should be more like, “I buy expensive tropical fruits as treats … in moderation” or “Once these potatoes are consumed, I will no longer buy them.” Remember that transitioning means that, at some point, you will no longer consume said items, so set dates and honour them because you are worth it.
6. Eat enough! I can’t stress this enough. If you are calorie-restricting or not replacing the calories you burn, you will be hungry and start craving anything and everything. Even the most devout vegan can potentially fall into temptation if they are not eating enough. This is my top piece of advice to those starting. We think that a large salad is a large salad, but we should be eating two to four times that amount. We are not used to eating a huge volume of vegetables and fruit. We are taught to restrict to lose weight. We are taught that eating is bad. It’s important to realize that it’s not eating a lot of calories that is ultimately the problem. Eating high fat is.
7. Eat low fat! If you eat too high fat, you will start to crave other foods. We need fat. This is a fact, but we do not need the higher amounts that we think that we do. Society has indoctrinated us to believe that we need so many “healthy fats,” not realizing that they may be causing the exact things that we think we are preventing by eating them. Snacking on nuts is not a great place to be when you are eating high fruit. Always snack on fruit and never nuts or seeds or protein shakes. Fruit and fruiting veggies with lettuce leaves are going to be your go-tos for snacks. Eat all the fruit you desire without stuffing yourself silly.
8. Be patient and consistent! You are where you are right now today because of the consistent choices you have made daily in the past. You never “patiently” waited to be overweight or sick. You were never excited to gain weight quickly. We have to change our mindsets when it comes to patience and realize that our goals are far out, that this lifestyle is not a quick fix. You don’t go back to the foods you used to eat. They are no longer foods to you.