I’m diving headfirst into an intense week of raw eating to help demystify the diet and share its full effects with you but you don’t have to be so all-or-nothing in order to enjoy the benefits. In fact, raw food expert Stacy Stowers recommends you ease your way into eating raw, and I do too.
When I asked Stacy for her top tips for transitioning into a raw diet, she gave me two concise steps: add in and upgrade. It’s so simple and I love it! Use these two principals to reap the rewards of raw without feeling deprived, discomfort, or any sort of disatisfaction!
1. Add in
Stacy believes you should never deprive yourself, or take away the things you love, which is why “add in” is the first step in going raw. In this phase, you don’t have to change what you are eating at all, just add a little more raw food to what you already enjoy.
One way to do this would be to start the day with Stacy’s happy shake, which is what I’ve been doing. Once you realize how good your body feels you’ll naturally want to add more raw foods to your diet. And, because it’s truly satisfying, other, less healthy foods will drop out of your diet. Another option would be to add a salad to lunch or dinner, and fruit to breakfast or at snack time.
This piece of advice isn’t exclusive to raw food. It’s about doing just a little better, nutritionally speaking, than you did before. And it’s all about upgrading from where you are in your life right now. Stacy gave me one great example of a client who traded up from daily fast food meals to fast food salads. Sure he’s still eating at Wendy’s and Burger King but it’s a big step in the right direction. Here are a few more upgrades Stacy and I brainstormed:
Frozen pizza > fresh pizza > homemade pizza > whole wheat crust
White bread > whole wheat bread > sprouted whole grain bread > raw bread (like Stacy’s flagels)
White rice > brown rice > quinoa
Bottled fruit juice cocktail > 100 percent fruit juice > a whole fruit and glass of water
Sugary cereal > whole grain cereal > instant oatmeal > steel cut oatmeal
Bottled salad dressing > homemade salad dressing or oil and vinegar > fresh squeezed lemon and oil
Fried chicken >oven fried chicken >grilled chicken
Creamed spinach > sautéed spinach > spinach salad
Flavored yogurt > fruit on the bottom yogurt > plain yogurt with fresh fruit > plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
The upgrade options go on and on! In fact, if you want to trade up on one of your favorite foods tell me in the comments below so Stacy and I can put our heads together and give you some upgraded alternatives.
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.