Are you not getting everything you had hoped for out of your raw food diet? If so, you're not alone! Many, many people find themselve exactly where you are. I myself was struggling with my raw food diet for quite a while, until I discovered the information that I am going to share with you in this article.
Most raw foodists say they eat "a lot" of food. But the thing about raw food is that it is MUCH less calorically dense than the cooked food they were raised on. My first thought, if you are not feeling awesome, is that you are not getting enough calories. Are you tracking your caloric intake on a website like Cronometer.com? Doing this really helped me to better understand the foods I was eating, how much I should be eating, ect. I suggest aiming for at least 2500cals per day for women, 3000 for men, and significantly more than that if you excersize or are otherwise active.
Next, it's best to examine where your calories are coming from. Namely, are you eating enough fruit? On a raw diet, there are 2 places to get our calories from: fats (nuts, seeds, avocado) or sweet fruits. Obviously, greens/veggies could never supply enough calories to keep us going throughout the day. Fats are good in small amounts (maybe 1 avocado or 1 - 2oz nuts per day), but I don't think there can be much argument that we shouldn't be getting the bulk of out calories from them!
So that leaves us with fruit as the bulk source of our calories. What could be better? Everybody knows how nutritionally awesome fruit is. However, sadly, many people are scared to eat too much fruit because it's "too much sugar". I hope you haven't fallen into that trap. Remember that the sugar in fruit is accompanied by fiber, nutrients, water, ect. It is not refined and it is nothing to be afraid of. It is worth noting that generally any study that points to fruit as the source of health complications (such as obesity or diabetes) used isolated (refined) fructose or glucose, NOT whole fruit.
In fact not only is fruit not bad for us, but it is what our bodies run on most optimally. It is delicious, it digests so easily, and it kicks cravings like none other! The energy in fruit is very easy for us to utilize, as our bodies run on glucose. It takes very little relative effort by your body to convert simple carbohydrate sugars to glucose, which means more energy for you!
Now that we know fruit is the best source of calories, how much of it should you be eating? Fruit is far less calorically dense than cooked food or even raw fatty sources of calories like avocado, nuts or seeds. In a typical day I eat:
-breakfast: 9-10banana smoothie, w/ water (or other calorically equivalent smoothie) for around 1000calories
-lunch (I eat at school): green smoothie (ex: 5nanas, 1c pineapple, 1/2cilantro, 1c greens, 1c water) or monomeal (of oranges, this time of year), about 600cals
-2nd lunch (I eat again several class periods later in study hall): green smoothie or smoothie, about 600cals
-dinner: GIANT SALAD (1+ head lettuce, half a cuke, half an avo, 1 tomato, strawberries/apples/oranges, and 1/2c+ dried fruit or dates, + fruit-based, homemade, fat-free salad dressing (leave me a comment if you'd like some ideas, I'd definitely do a post on that), or a blended salad, 400 - 500cals
All this = around 2,700cals.
Eating this way, I feel AMAZING, better than I can remember ever feeling! I have so much energy. I am 5'2 weighing 100lb, and I've been eating this way for over a year now....so all the sugar in this fruit certainly hasn't made me fat! (;
(Oh, here you go, if you don't believe me:)
I was never fat, but I haven't always had a nice, flat stomach, either! Here's a before & after.
What does a typical day of food look like for you, in detail/numeric amounts? If you still have questions, feel free to post a comment below!
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