Why You Shouldn't Try To Eat 100% Raw

I realize that the title of this particular article might make people think that I'm not promoting the idea of eating all raw food. That couldn't be further from the truth. I completely understand all of the unhealthy affects that cooking has on food these days. Notice that the title didn't say "Why You Shouldn't Eat 100% Raw", I have the word "try" in the title. What I am saying is that at the beginning, you shouldn't place too much of an emphasis on a certain percentage. Place more of an emphasis on developing better, smarter and healthier habits.

NOTE: I am assuming that the reader does not have a life threatening illness that requires an immediate shift in dietary practices.

I've been seeing on a few forums around the raw food community for quite some time now about how much of a percentage of raw food people are eating. Don't get me wrong I am all for eating 100% raw, I do so myself and have for quite some time and have never felt better. In the Rich Dad, Poor Dad book series the author talks about how to get smarter by making finer and finer distinctions about different subjects and ideas. The more distinctions one can make, the more they can drill down to the heart of the matter and come to a more educated conclusion.

The first point I'd like to consider is distinguishing how they come to the conclusion of determining an actual percentage. How are people even defining 100% or 75%? I have never been able to figure this out. Do they mean 75% of each meal? Does that include snacks? Or is it 75% by weight? I've heard some people defining their percentage by weight if you can believe that. Now I don't know about you, but I'm not taking a scale to my local restaurant and weighing the meal making sure there is only 25% cooked food on the plate. I have also heard (and I think this is probably what most people mean) that the percentage is based on actual food volume, not weight. Now I don't know about you but this is just too much thinking for me. As raw foodists we think about food too much as it is, we don't need to also be thinking about weighing the food or worrying about how much of the volume is raw by percentage or not. Imagine, if you sit down for lunch and get a smoothie at a juice bar but the base of that smoothie is cooked fruit juice and the rest of the smoothie is raw. Then you have a salad with some ranch dressing and perhaps a raw sandwich and a 75% raw cacao chocolate bar for dessert. How the heck are you going to figure that out? In my mind, don't try to and don't worry about it. If you choose to eat it, eat it with thanksgiving, happiness and love.

If you're interested checkout my thoughts about Starting a raw food diet.

We're not trying to over think this whole process here, we're trying to have fun, enjoy life and develop healthier habits in the process, that's all. I think there is this myth that once I've attained the elusive "100% raw" level, the world will open up to me or something amazing is going to happen to me. Don't get me wrong, my world has changed immensely since changing my diet but the change has occurred from all the learning, reading and listening I've done over the years, as much as it has by what I have and have not been eating. We need to make sure we don't get into a trap of always trying to attain this goal or that goal and if we fail we beat ourselves up over it. I know I was a part of that trap for a few years, always trying and always failing. I finally gave up and I noticed the desire to eat healthier and eat raw just increased. But it only increased because I increased my knowledge and the more I increased my knowledge the more my desire to eat this way increased. It's a fun little cycle of success, subtraction by addition with no guilt.

Another point I'd like to make is what type of 90% raw foods are you eating? Is it healthier to eat 50% raw (perhaps green leafy veggies) and the other 50% organic and vegan with enzymes? Maybe you're eating 90% raw but you're not getting any healthy fats and oils or you're eating primarily hybridized seedless non organic fruit. You say to yourself, "I'm eating 90% raw now, look at me I'm great!" You see it's not about the percentage at all. Perhaps you're eating 90% raw but you're way too acidic. There are many different aspects to health than just eating a certain percentage of raw food.

Just remember the old saying: Slow and steady wins the race.
I've written in other articles about how we oftentimes put a time frame on how long it takes us to eat 100% raw. Putting an unrealistic time frame on this puts an unnecessary pressure on us just as much as how much of a percentage we eat of raw foods. Let's be honest, for most of us we didn't come from a vegan, organic lifestyle growing up. Most likely, if we're Americans, we're trying to change 30 years of eating McDonalds 3 times a week. For most people giving up Pepsi or quitting smoking is a big deal. That is just getting up to level zero in my book. We're shooting for something way beyond that and we can't put unrealistic pressures on ourselves because we compare ourselves to other raw foodists.

What we should be more concerned about is how we can make healthier choices and how those choices affect our planet and ourselves. And we need to give ourselves and our bodies a healthy time frame whereby we can reach that goal. Many times going 100% raw just isn't in the cards for certain people and that's okay. I've known and we all have people who have eaten garbage all their lives and they live to 100 or more. It is possible and I've seen it happen. The person who is eating 75% (IF you can even put a percentage on it) raw could be healthier and live longer than a person who is 100% raw. It is possible, in fact anything is possible.

Eat raw to be healthy, not for a percentage label
So in conclusion the point I'm trying to make is that focusing on a percentage is like a person going to the gym to lose weight so that they can look better and fit into their skinny jeans. I realize we all have a reason for certain things and sometimes vanity can be a reason. But what I am saying is that once the goal is met, whether it's losing 5 pounds at the gym and fitting into the sexy jeans, or it is being 100% raw, then what? We should ask ourselves, are we now actually healthier? Focus instead on living healthier and the percentage (if you want to call it that) will come with time automatically. Be patient, stay focused and you’ll get there and you won't even have to try. When I realized this in my own life I breathed a sigh of relief.

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