So I have been on my raw journey for a little over 6 months now. It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride. First, I had no idea how to start out. All I saw in raw books were recipes that catered to SAD mindset meaning complex recipes, dehydrated recipes, recipes requiring a vitamix or food processor or even simple recipes with expensive ingredients. Being that I had no money, no dehydrator, no blender, no food processor, I was lost and Larabar was my light.
It didn’t help that half my family are meatavores and my mom (love her for this but it made things difficult at the time) is always trying to buy me treats and food I will enjoy. The fridge was constantly stuffed with my favorite SAD foods.
Being that I have had my fair share of ups, downs, and learning experiences, I thought I’d post sort of a mini-guide for beginners. Not necessarily a how-to, but more of an FAQ for the questions I had when I first started out.
First, and foremost. Start out with super easy meals, even if you think they’ll bore you. I hated salad when I started out and then I discovered I could put apples in my salad for an even better substitute for the crunchiness of iceberg lettuce (which has no nutritional value). Find recipes with less than 7 ingredients, ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store. If you feel like you can’t find any (which you can), look at more complicated recipes for inspiration and take out some of the ingredients. Examples I can think of off the top of my head include zucchini pasta with a simple marinara sauce, slaws, muesli, and marinated veggies.
Bananas are your best friend. When in doubt, eat a banana. They’re good for any meal, any snack, any time of day. They’re filling and sweet and delicious. Sure, there are other fruits besides bananas. And I recommend these too. Peaches, nectarines, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries, and grapes are some of my favorites. But bananas are the most caloric and therefore, the most filling.
Let go of your preconceived notions of food, and what constitutes a meal. This is both the hardest and most practical advice I can give you. When I first started, all I saw in my books were the dehyrated meals, the ones that were the most complicated and resembled my favorite SAD foods. I didn’t think three bananas was a breakfast, or that a smoothie could be really filling. I tried raw oatmeal, and found I hated the taste of raw oats. I ate Larabars, random crap, or nothing, and struggled with the first, and most important, meal of the day. I craved bread and pasta and tried in vain to find recipes to imitate these, but I didn’t have a spiralizer or dehydrator. Normal raw foodists don’t eat dehydrated bread, SAD imitations, raw desserts, etc. They eat fruit, greens, vegetables, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, avocado, seaweed. Let go of the notion that whole fruit, salads, and vegetables are boring. They can be as delicious and creative as you want them to be.
As you continue, allow yourself to buy a few expensive specialty items every once in a while. Eventually, you will have a pantry full of these items and you can make any recipe you want, but you’ll find you don’t actually make them very often.
Buy a variety of things at the grocery store. You’ll want to experiment when you are first starting, and buying a little bit of everything will allow you to do that. There’s merit in planning meals and buying accordingly, but if you do that too strictly when you first start out and a recipe fails, you get bored, or you don’t like something, you are set back more than if you dabble. Buy lots of salad ingredients, one package of nuts to make trail mix/nut milk, lots of fruit (bananas!, bananas!, bananas!), and maybe one or two specialty items to start you out on a couple of recipes.