Do you aim to eat fully raw but struggle to maintain it longer than a few days? When you fall off the wagon, do you end up eating fatty, calorie-dense cooked foods?
If you find yourself giving in to cooked foods, this isn’t because you lack willpower or because eating raw is difficult. You simply aren’t eating enough calories.
The first time I tried going raw (years ago, back when I first went vegan in 2008) I failed miserably because I was undereating as well as eating too much fat. I would eat fully raw for a few days then crack and gorge myself on an entire pack of tortilla chips with salsa, or pasta, or rice. I thought I lacked the willpower to maintain this lifestyle but that wasn’t the case at all. I simply wasn’t eating enough, so no surprise I’d crave higher calorie foods like chips.
Eat fruit (lots of it) to avoid cravings.
Undereating leads to lack of energy and sours your mood. You might be able to undereat for a few days and not notice, but eventually, your body will scream out for more calories. When this happens, you will reach for calorie dense food, typically the stodgy cooked food you used to eat before you went raw.
Undereating is common among newbie raw foodists because fruit and veggies are higher in fiber yet lower in calories than cooked foods. If you are new to the raw lifestyle, your body isn’t used to eating this much fiber, so you’ll feel full well before you’ve eaten sufficient calories for the day.
Track your calories.
You must track your calorie intake when you begin a fully raw diet. Don’t just estimate them because your estimate will always be off. Track them in Cronometer so you are 100% sure you eat enough calories.
My first meal yesterday consisted of six oranges. This looks like a lot of food but in reality, it’s only 369 calories. I would need to eat 32 oranges to consume just under 2000 calories!
The average woman needs around 2000 calories per day, the average man 2500 calories. Of course, calorie needs vary depending on how physically active you are and your weight, but this is just a guideline. I don’t reach 2000 calories every day, but I do make sure I eat enough fruit to be comfortably satisfied. And if I crave heavy starchy cooked foods at any point, I know I need to top up on sweet, juicy fruit.
Bananas are a good staple because they are higher in calories, filling, and widely available. I try to keep bananas stocked at home 24/7 in case hunger strikes.
If you struggle to maintain a fully raw lifestyle, ask yourself these important questions:
- How often do you eat?
- What do your meals look like?
- How many calories does each meal contain?
- How many calories do you eat per day?
Once you’ve been eating this way for a few months, you should have a better idea how much fruit you need to eat. I don’t track my calories every single day but I know to eat more fruit the second I start to crave something like pasta. To succeed with this lifestyle, ensure most of your calories come from fruit. Feel free to eat some vegetables, but fruit should be the bulk of your diet.