So you hear the stories. You get excited and you want in!
Many people jump in, myself included and try to go raw overnight, or go on a cleanse of some sort. Juicing is really big right now and I have many friends doing that. No doubt it can make a tremendous change if you can stick it out. But for most of us these changes don't last long. Sure we feel great while we are doing it. Many people say they never felt better than when they were juicing or eating all raw. So why have they stopped?
Conversely there are those that said it made them feel too weak and ill and they had to go back to their old food ways to feel better. Leading to a yo yo eating effect between wholesome food and SAD (standard American diet) food and a lot of feeling bad about it too.
I have been both of these and that's why I keep slugging it out. I know I can feel better so I don't give up. I know better health and a better life comes with a plant based diet.
But why is it so hard? There must be an easier way.
Lately I have been noticing that the people who have made the biggest changes and most dramatic results are still keeping it up and it made me wonder...
How did they go raw and how come they stay raw successfully?
Here is the secret common denominator: They transitioned slowly.
|Mark Sonowski- Minus 115 lbs Raw|
Recently a friend of mine, Mark Sonoswski was interviewed on a radio show. Although I had heard his amazing story of transformation before, I listened again and as I did something he said really hit me.
He laughingly said that....
He didn't set out to go all raw or lose 115 lbs in the beginning.
He just started with adding an apple to breakfast!
Ding!! Ding!! Ding!!
In time that turned into a healthier salad for lunch and after a time he had to give up his home cooked meals made by his elderly mom, because they no longer tasted or felt right to him.
Meanwhile the weight melted, the medicine was discontinued and his life made an amazing turn for him.
He didn't struggle. He wasn't forcing through with willpower.
Nor was he suffering from detox symptoms. It was easy.
It was an organic transition to what felt and tasted better to him and it has not only changed his life, it is still how he continues to eat today.
His story made me start to think about others that had a similar beginning. Kathy came to mind.
|Kathy Caulfield Before and After Raw- Down 120 lbs|
That was the only commitment she made and all she thought she would do. But little by little her taste buds changed and her diet followed. She lost over 120 lbs effortlessly and is happier and healthier and still raw today. She says she is now so passionate to share this new found vibrant health and joy with others, especially after a life time of struggling.
|Angela Stokes Monarch- Before and now Raw|
Probably the most notorious raw weight loss story to date is Angela Stokes Monarch.
She initially did go raw overnight but had to quickly add in some cooked food to keep it going.
She was not all raw until much later in her journey but she is the queen of the raw lifestyle today!
I had read her story way back in the beginning for me, and she even recommends going only 50% raw to start. But I thought like a lot of people do, why take it slow? Why not speed up the healing process?
Turns out there is a good reason to take it slow:
When you have been eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables, chances are you have some stored up toxins in your body. Through eating but also from drinks, the air we breath, environmental toxins, any residuals left over from medications and even extra hormones like estrogen.
When your body is not busy digesting food, it is cleansing and healing.
When you eat clean unprocessed food, digestion is a snap and the body can get back to healing and cleaning. But when you eat heavy, acidic (meat, dairy, grains) or processed food, the body is overworked and often because of excess, does not get to process everything in a timely way. It stores these extra and complicated things aside to work on later when it has free time. Like when company is coming and you start throwing things into closets. Later you'll clean it out again when you have time. This is where fat storage comes in.
Think of fat cells as like little tiny soap bubbles full of toxins.
If you have been raised on a Standard American Diet, chances are you have some storage closets that haven't been touched in a while. We are often malnutritioned so the body keeps sending out signals for food, even though we are full. It wants real food but we give it more of the same. Due to the quality of our food and the amount we eat, most Americans are in a constant stage of digestion. We don't like the feeling of cleansing because often it feels like withdrawals and sometimes it is just that.
When you start eating a clean raw and wholesome diet of fruits and vegetables in their most nutritious state, your body readily processes them and then has time left over. So it starts digging around in that old storage closet- popping those bubbles and removing old debris. The problem is, those toxins are now back in the system and if there is too much all at once or it doesn't get removed fast enough, it will make you feel sick and tired.
The easiest way to slow this process down and relieve the queasy feeling is to start up the digestion again- remember if you aren't digesting, you're cleaning. And if you want to slow it even more, eat complex processed food that will keep the body occupied for a while, the more processed the slower. Not a suggestion- just what happens.
This is why people that jump from a highly processed diet into a fast of juice or even just fruit or all raw foods, can have a reaction of feeling ill. They then blame it on the clean food and chalk up the cleanse experience as negative.
So this is why it's important to start slowly with raw foods. Don't go popping all those toxic storage bubbles all at once. You won't like it and you'll quit before you even get started.
This is why the people that start out slowly on a raw food diet, adding a little at a time, do not experience this anxiety or healing crisis. Nor are the relying on pure willpower alone to make a change. They are cleaning the toxins out slowly and the cleaner they get, the more the body can handle and wants these highly nutritious foods. The cravings and tastes for those other foods just fade away on their own.
Start with fruit only or better yet skip it! Drink water and some lemon juice to continue the cleanse (remember when not digesting?) and elimination from the night before. This will be the lightest part of your day digestion wise and your body will start cleaning those bubbles out.
Add more fruit or a smoothie to get you going. This will take the body about 20 mins to digest.
You are still cleaning.
Try get in a raw salad to add some roughage to help move that debris from the morning's cleaning along. You are also starting to slow the cleaning process now by preparing the trash for take out.
Have a small salad or soup if you like, some steamed veggies or and even a baked potato if you are really wanting that full feeling. If you are still eating meat, skip the potato and have that with the veggies. When you are further along, you can make that salad a BIG salad and skip the cooked. You have halted the cleaning process but will be going into a long sleep when digestion can happen and the cleansing can begin again.
This would be the ideal but if all you get in is that morning fruit or smoothie and the rest is sandwiches and pasta and steak, that's okay too. This is all about what we are adding to your diet, not taking away and freeing up a little digestion time for deep cleaning. Add in those fruits and veggies!
Don't get me wrong, there are some really motivated people out there that can and do go raw overnight but they are not the majority. Also the worse off your body, the harder those withdrawal or cleansing symptoms will be.
If you want more of a jump start, try a juice fast or a fruit fast for one day and see how you feel. Actually it's not a bad idea to add into your week as a regular thing. Maybe like Mono diet Monday or if you are still eating meat on a regular basis try Meatless Monday as your place to start.
Whatever you decide to do, remember it's all about improvement. One step at a time will get you there.