You probably know that a 100% raw food diet is AWESOME when it comes to weight loss, nutrition, enjoyability, and simplicity.
However, there may be reasons why you can’t (or don’t want to) eat all raw foods all the time.
Perhaps you live in a cold climate and do not have access to enough fruits and veggies year-round.
Perhaps you can’t afford a varied diet of all raw produce.
Or maybe you just have no desire to go all-raw and would like to include some cooked foods in your diet.
No matter what the reason, there is a way to include some cooked foods on a raw food diet and still experience dramatic health results.
Here’s how you do it.
Eat Mostly Raw
Sorry to rain on your parade, but I did say some cooked foods. You can’t expect to see dramatic health improvements eating cooked foods all day with an apple or a small salad thrown in.
The majority of your calories should ideally come from raw foods. And when I say raw, I don’t mean so-called raw products like nut bars and chocolate truffles. Nor do I mean complicated gourmet raw recipes full of fat and salt.
I mean fresh produce, specifically fruit and easy-to-digest vegetable matter like spinach and celery.
Eat the Right Cooked Foods
As I discussed earlier this week, there are many cooked foods that are just empty calories (e.g. french fries), but there are several others that really aren’t so bad at all (e.g. steamed potatoes).
Let’s start with the empty calorie group:
First and foremost, you want to avoid heavily processed foods. I’m sure you know what I mean, but I’ve included a few examples in case you remain blissfully unaware.
- Breakfast cereals
- Corn dogs
- Frozen waffles
For the most part, if it comes in a box, bag, can, or jar, stay away!
Second, you want to avoid animal products:
- Meat (e.g. chicken, beef, and fish)
- Dairy (e.g. milk, butter, and cheese)
At the very least, remove all dairy from your diet and eat minimal amounts of grass-fed, organic, minimally processed meat and eggs.
Sorry Southerners, no fried chicken or BBQ allowed.
Now for the foods you want to focus on: carbohydrates.
Besides the fruit and vegetable varieties that can be eaten raw, cooking your food provides a few more options. These include:
- Squashes (e.g. butternut, acorn, and turban squash)
- Roots & tubers (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and beets)
- Grains (e.g. brown rice, oats, quinoa, and millet)*
- Legumes (e.g. garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils)
*It’s best to stick with gluten-free grains and pseudograins such as the ones listed above.
You want to process your cooked carbs as minimally as possible, enough to cook and soften the food to make it edible and that’s it.
Not only will your food retain more nutrients, but less acrylamides (cancer-causing chemicals) will be produced as well.
Choose steaming over boiling since nutrients in the food are leached into the cooking water when boiled (or use the water if you can).
Just like with a 100% raw food diet, you want to keep your diet low in fat, around 10% of total calories overtime. Notably, this means limiting high-fat foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, and oils.
You can use a food log resource like cronometer help you keep track of your calories and overall fat intake.
Putting it All Together
Here’s an example to show you what a healthy mostly raw food day would look like:
Breakfast – As much sweet fruit as you like (along with greens if you want)
Lunch – As much sweet fruit as you like (along with greens if you want)
Dinner – A large raw salad followed by (or along with) a cooked meal of steamed wild rice, sweet potato, and broccoli.
The amount is up to you, since it should be tailored to your caloric needs. You should feel full and satisfied after each meal.
If you find that you are still hungry after dinner, the best options are to add another fruit meal between your lunch and dinner meals or add some fruit to your raw salad to up the caloric intake.
Otherwise, you can add more rice, sweet potato, beans, or other relatively high-calorie starch to fill you up. Just remember to keep your fat intake low, your carbohydrate intake high, and to get the majority of your calories from raw, sweet fruit.
Go (mostly) raw and be fit,
P.S. Looking for healthy raw recipes to get you through breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Check out my low fat raw vegan recipe e-book:
“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”
Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal