Raw Vegan Food
6 Ways To Integrate Raw Vegan Food And Survive In A Non-Vegan Society
The fact is that raw vegan food is often considered to be boring and monotonous. This reflects in the statistics as only a tiny percentage of people in most countries live as vegans, not to mention an even lesser percentile as raw vegan foodists.
In Great Britain, there are as little as 1% of the popularity living on these diets. The numbers don't differ much throughout other Western European countries.
While raw vegan communities are merely a rarity over here, they appear to be well-established in the U.S. Special restaurants and cafes make it much more accessible to meet like-minded people. Supermarkets like Whole Foods and Waitrose in the U.K. offer a large selection of raw vegan foods so you're not solely dependent on expensive health food stores.
For those of you who once decided to switch to raw vegan foods or even solely raw foods, I'm sure have faced some minor problems along your way. And I do know of quite a few people that went back to vegetarian diets after "trying this vegan thing". Their justification often is that they felt they were lacking vital nutrients or the diet required a lot of effort to maintain on a daily basis.
But honestly, which diet doesn't require dedication whether you're aware of it or not?
Preparing and cooking meat dishes, making home-made cakes, pizzas, pastas and so forth can often require more time.
The common variable amongst (raw) vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters is that any dish you prepare at home takes time and effort to a certain extend.
It's only what you're used to! Yes, the old story of habitual behaviour. And old patterns will always take time to break and replace with something that you feel like sticking to.
For me, it's been such an interesting journey these past eighteen months and will continue to be as I'm constantly learning more about specific raw and vegan foods and how they help me to train and perform better.
The other interesting part of the journey has been learning how to meet my nutritional requirements when I'm invited to friends or going to a restaurant.
At the beginning of this great learning curve I was faced with the fact that here in Switzerland, virtually no raw vegan communities exist. None of the people in my social environment eat this diet so I'm sometimes considered an exotic creature.
I did notice, though, that people became genuinely interested in my diet.
What used to be a real challenge for my confidence has turned into exactly the kind of lifestyle I want to live - whether others approve of it or not.
Anyone of you who thinks about transitioning to a vegan nutrition or going a step further onto raw foods only has to be prepared to face little challenges in your social environment. It's in your hands how you handle (positive) criticism.
In every challenge lies the opportunity for change, chance and development. Almost certainly, you've been faced with that principle in your ultramarathon races.
How does this apply to our diets?
Being positive about your way of life is most important.
I was so convinced about the positive effects the vegan nutrition had on me, both mentally and physically, that I was like a magnet to friends and family who wanted to know everything about my newly-found way of eating.
So, what do you eat now? still is the most-frequently asked question.
This always amuses me as it implies that I'm limited by the foods I eat.
Interestingly, this question truly reflects those people's narrow-minded thinking towards their own diet. And when I, in return, speak so fondly about the changes I've made so far, it makes them think about themselves. I'm hardly a missionary as I don't put my way of eating onto others.
What I try and do is to feed other's curiosity about something that is, by definition, different to the standard and hopefully inspire them to take a moment to reflect on their habits.
The majority of the people that I know claim that they don't have the time to buy all that raw vegan food and specially prepare their meals while the spouses (and kids) eat differently. Fact is that preparing a vegan dish doesn't have to take more time!
What really appears to be true is that when something is high enough on your priority list, you'll take the time to do it.
Within weeks of eliminating all dairy products I became time-efficient and cluey at making tasty vegan meals and discovered that the lists of recipes for vegan and raw dishes are endless. The market is as crowded with vegan and raw cookbooks as it is with cookbooks about other diets.
I gradually discovered more and more foods that were un-known to me or that I didn't pay attention to. I have added 15-20 foods I'd not eaten before going vegan and raw. Talk about not having enough to eat on the table and living monotonously!
Now, check out a selection of the (raw) vegan foods that have become staple foods in my life and that I look forward to eating every time:
- Millet, Buckwheat, Amaranth
- Nut butters
- Avocado, Coconut oil, flaxseed oil
- Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and cashews
- Hemp protein, pea protein, maca root, bee pollen and chia seeds
- Dried fruits, mainly goji berries, figs and dates
- Fresh fruits such as mango, papaya, blueberries
- Leafy greens and in addition, more fresh herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley
- Sprouts like alfalfa, lentil and mung bean
- Sweet potato
- Soy products (occasionally) such as soy milk, tofu, mirin and soy sauce
- Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt
- Fresh ginger, very versatile as it can be used in smoothies, green juices and steamed vegetables
- Sea vegetables, mainly dulse and nori
And now imagine how much room for creativity these raw vegan foods leave you.
Recently, I've been getting quite a few emails from ultrarunners that are in a phase of wanting to switch to raw vegan foods but feel that they don't get enough support from their families.
Keep in mind that you are continuing to support them in their eating habits so expect a little help from them in return.
It seems to be a difficult task to please both your own needs and those of your beloved ones. Sitting down for a meal together can turn into frustration . Over time, the passion for your new lifestyle is being spoilt and it's all more hassle than it's worth.
It's in your hands only of what you put in your body. You decide! Instead of feeling stuck in a rut, be proactive and go that extra step.
Being patient throughout the process and changing your health for the better in the long run will be worth all your extra efforts.
After the initial novelty will wear off it's time to maintain the new lifestyle. After noticing how great you feel eating less processed foods but more fresh and natural ones you won't feel like going back to those old routines anymore. At least not voluntarily!
Let's explore six ways for you to enjoy your new lifestyle and still enjoy going out for a meal to a restaurant or take on friend's invitation for a meal:
- Stay true to yourself and don't talk yourself into making exceptions "just one more time". This will leave you unsatisfied otherwise. If you're invited to someone's house, bring along a tasty dessert that'll leave everyone astonished
- Openly talk to people about the effects and benefits your nutrition has on you and how interesting it is discover more and more new foods
- Discuss and communicate with your partner about how you feel and that you'd appreciate extra support. If your spouse wants a warm meal for dinner, warm up a blended raw soup, for example, and additionally serve with a dollop of sour cream
- Involve your kids, too, by letting them chop up fresh fruits and vegetables. Help them prepare their own smoothies by putting their favourite pieces of fruit into the blender. Take an extra special glass or colourful beaker so that they enjoy the experience even more
- Be the shining example of an ultrarunner that thrives on raw vegan food and notice how people compliment you on your radiant skin and lean body
- Invite friends around for a meal and spoil them with a vegan meal. Respectfully place a small meat dish on the side, if necessary
After all, raw vegan food is about keeping it simple and easy.
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