There are many reasons to change to a raw vegan diet but for many people the most important thing they are looking for is more ENERGY.
Do you feel drained a lot of the time? No wonder. Our world is full of stresses and stimulations that can leave us feeling overwhelmed. People are having less sleep and poorer quality sleep than ever before. On top of all that it seems like working hours get longer and longer as globalisation demands higher and higher levels of productivity.
People are tired and looking for something to give them that boost.
Mostly, they reach for caffeine filled drinks. Many people are dependant on caffeine, hooked on it like a drug. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the feeling of being dependant on ANY substance. You should want freedom in your lifestyle choices, not addiction.
Many go further than that and take recreational or prescription drugs to prop them up. But we know that all of these artificial stimulants only end up STEALING energy from us…not giving us more. They can have nasty consequences over time that are really not worth it.
Cleaning up your diet, and removing these stimulants, sounds like the right thing to do. But still many people do not get the boost of energy they were looking for on a raw vegan diet. Some report feeling more tired than ever before.
Why is this?
Whenever you are feeling a lack of energy there are some basic things you should consider. This is a checklist I often run through with coaching clients that tell me they are struggling with a lack of energy.
1) Are you getting enough sleep. Consider this deeply, are you really getting enough? Are you getting the quality sleep you need? Perhaps you need to add in a nap during the day to make sure you are getting all the sleep you need (remember that animals often rest for long periods of the day on top of a full night of sleep in order to be fully ready when they have to take action)
2) What is the level of caffeine in your diet? Ideally, you should move towards a zero caffeine lifestyle. This can be hard at first and the withdrawals from caffeine addiction can be very intense, be prepared for cold and flu symptoms. A source of caffeine people forget about is chocolate, with dark chocolate often having more caffeine that milk chocolate. If you are eating large amounts of raw chocolate this could be having an effect on your energy levels.
3) Are you eating enough? A major challenge beginners have to this lifestyle is eating enough. Quite simple, if you do not eat enough calories to fuel you adequately you will feel drained after a few days. You will also feel a complete lack of motivation and you may start to feel irritable, depressed and like every is on top of you. These can be symptoms of the body crying out for more food, a banana smoothie should do the trick!
4) Fitness. What are your activity levels like? Are you exercising a lot and not giving yourself time to recover? Or do you never exercise and your fitness is at a very low level. To experience a high level of health we must also build our fitness.
5) How is your external environment and emotional life? Are there stresses in your life from relationships, from your job or from your home that are putting unconscious stress on you. It can be hard to make these connections but it is worth looking for and looking to make changes.
6) Inspiration. Are you inspired with where you are at in your life and what you are doing with it? Do you have things that you are working towards and looking forward to? This can have a big impact on your energy levels.
I have made a video about all of this on my youtube channel which you can view here:
Are you feeling a little clearer on what may be causing some unnecessary dips in your energy? Embrace your health and live a life full of energy and enthusiasm!
If you are just at the start of your journey to a raw vegan diet it is very likely you will make many of the common mistakes that beginners make.
You almost can’t avoid making these mistakes. A raw vegan diet will be such a big change for you that it will take some time to adapt.
But you can get there eventually and you will enjoy the huge benefits.
In this article you can expect to learn the 4 biggest mistakes people make on a raw vegan diet. You will also learn of the 7 steps to success on a raw vegan diet.
Let’s look at the most common mistakes:
1) Trying to live on Fat Or Vegetables
Many people coming from cooked to raw want to replicate many of the same flavours. We have been trained to believe that our main big meals of the day will be savoury meals. We have been told:
“don’t eat sweets before dinner they will ruin your appetite”
To try to replicate this you may end up trying to make big savoury meals of raw food in the hope of replacing your previous diet. There are a couple of problems here:
a) We can’t live on vegetables
Vegetables, though having lots of nutrients, can not provide us with enough calories to sustain ourselves. We would struggle to get enough on a daily basis.
If a person tries this, they will inevitably crash and burn in a few days as they will run out of fuel driving them back to cooked food immediately. Then they will tell people “i tried that raw food thing, I didn’t have enough energy”. Of course they didn’t!
b) We can ‘t live healthfully on fat
The other mistake is to eat way too much fat. To replace that “full” feeling from cooked food a person will start to eat a lot of fats such as oil and nut butters.
The raw vegan movement is famous for “raw gourmet” food which are recipes designed to try to emulate the texture and flavour of cooked food classics. These recipes then to be loaded in fat.
Nut butters, tahini, seed spreads, flax crackers and other raw vegan recipes are very high fat and low in carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source of the human body. Regardless of what the low-carb diet movement says, this is what all serious medical textbooks affirm.
Humans have always thrived on carbohydrates. So where do we get them on a raw food diet?
This brings us to the 2rd mistake:
2) Not eating enough fruit
It is natural when you begin on a raw food diet that you probably won’t feel the desire to eat a lot of fruit. Of course, we have all been trained not to eat too much fruit. It might give you a stomach ache right?
In reality, human beings are biological frugivores. What does this mean?
It means that over millions of years on this planet, we have evolved and are adapted to seek out, eat and digest fruit as efficiently and as quickly as possible.
We digest fruit quicker and with more ease than any other food. We delight in the sight and smell of beautiful fruits and they symbolise health and abundance to us.
Carolus Linnaes, the father of modern taxonomy (the branch of science concerned with classification, especially of organisms) stated:
“Man’s structure, internal and external compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables are his natural food.”
In the film “What The Health”, the case for humans being frugivores was made very strongly. You can see this clip here:
Also, Dr Michael Greger, from NutritionFacts.org has made a few videos on this. He is not a promoter of a fruitarian diet but he has made some videos in which he points out that humans are frugivores:
What is the natural human diet?
The dietary status of the human being is that of a fruit eater
Do you get the picture?
To thrive on a raw vegan diet we must choose to eat enough fruit. At first, this can be a hard habit to begin but in time it becomes a perfectly normal and enjoyable part of your diet.
3) Getting too concerned about supplements, herbs, cleanses, flushes and other gimmicks and fads
Too many people coming to a raw food diet get sidetracked. They become focused on gimmicks rather than focusing on the incredible nutrition that is abundant in fruits and vegetables.
Many veer off track wishing to believe that herbs, tonics, elixirs, supplements and other concoctions hold the key to health.
They believe that a 30 day juice fast is what they need to do.
Or the master cleanse or liver flush
Or they need to do colonics, enemas or sit in baths of cold water
Or they need to do a long-term water fast or dry fast
Or they need to take herbs, turpentine or some other toxic substance to clean out “parasites”
Or they need to drink their own urine
And so on and so forth.
None of these things lead to long-term success on a raw vegan diet. I have seen many people do long water fasts and long term juice fasts, cleanses, and all sorts of protocols and gone right back to cooked food after wards.
People want results NOW. The desire for FAST improvement in health can lead people to try these gimmicks rather than giving the diet and their body the time it needs to heal.
4) Not giving the diet enough time
Most people give up on a raw food diet very quickly. They want to see huge results almost over night otherwise it is not worth doing.
But think about this:
If it took you 30+ years to damage your health on the wrong diet, why should you expect it to take a short period of time to heal on the right diet?
Healing takes time. The longer you are on the raw vegan diet the more benefits and healing you will get.
Steps To Eating A Raw Food Diet
1) For success on your raw vegan diet make your diet “fruit-based”
Following on from the last mistake, the first thing is that our diet must be based on fruit. It is so easy to undereat on fruit that you should get familiar with how much you need to eat to sustain a raw food diet. You might be surprised by how much fruit you must eat, but you will enjoy the results and how you feel if you commit to it.
The average person needs somewhere in the region of 2000 calories per day. This can be less or more depending on physical activity and body size but let’s pretend this is where you are at.
If you were to just eat one fruit in a day, to cover 2000 calories you must eat:
10 to 15 large mangos (depending on size)
21 large apples
22 to 25 large oranges
25 to 30 peaches or nectarines
32 cups of grapes
7 cups of figs
Most people are not used to eating this quantity of fruit. Many people tell me “I feel full after one piece of fruit”. You must persevere through this as you are not actually full. The temporary rise in blood sugar gives the sensation of satisfaction but to fuel yourself for a busy and active day you must eat more. To do this regularly and successfully I would suggest the next step:
2) Pick a staple fruit
For me, hands down the best staple fruit has to be bananas. They are calories dense, consistently delicious, available all year and relatively cheap.
I never used to be a big fan of bananas, and if I am honest, they are not even in my top ten best tasting fruits. But they are by far the best staple food to eat on a raw vegan diet in my opinion.
They also make you feel fantastic. Most people are missing out on the best natural high of their life by limiting the number of bananas they eat.
3) Avoid raw gourmet dishes
At first, I believe it is best to try to keep your diet as simple as possible. I think that eating raw gourmet food and raw vegan restaurant food is an easy and quick path back to eating cooked food.
I would avoid these during your transition.
4) Always have fruit around and plenty of raw food
You must create an environment of success. This may be hard to do if you share space with others. But you must in your own personal space fill it with fruit and vegetables. Always have fruit around and you will find it easier to stick to raw
5) Eat enough early on in the day
Many people want to attempt the “no breakfast” plan or intermittent fasting. For a beginning raw fooder this can be a dangerous strategy. The less you eat early on the more your body will be demanding calories later on. You are far more likely to eat something you don’t want to eat later on in the day if you have not eaten enough early on in the day.
6) Eat as much vegetables as you care for
You literally can not eat too much fruit or raw vegetables. Focus on tender leafy greens rather than on crucifrous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. You will find them much easier to eat and digest in their raw form. You can get some great salad dressings and recipes from our recipe book.
7) Don’t overeat on nuts seeds avocados or oils
You may crave more fats on your diet. It is likely that this is a result of you eating too little carbohydrates from fruit.
Oils are a processed, refined food and are the most dense form of calories in the human diet. They are not healthy and should be avoided completely.
Nuts are often not technically raw and are generally dried to be transported and stored for long periods of time. In this state they are very easy to over eat. If overeaten, they can digest very poorly and lead to you putting on weight quickly.
Seeds are more likely to be raw but should not be used in high quantities. Once again they are very high in fat. Processed seed butter like “tahini” should be used very moderately and once again not seen as a staple part of the diet.
It is very easy to overeat on seed spreads, nut butters and oils and these will not lead to the health that you seek.
Avocados are a wonderful food but should not be your staple. If you can’t stop eating avocados you may need to consider increasing your sweet fruit consumption.
If you take these steps seriously you can learn to thrive on a raw vegan diet. To summarise:
1) Focus on FRUIT for the bulk of your calories and pick a staple you can eat every day
2) Eat as much vegetables in the form of tender leafy greens as you care for
3) Avoid oils, nut butters and seed spreads or use them sparingly
To get a real kick start you can get our FREE recipe book by clicking the link below.