Can't we all just get along?

This week I had a great conversation with a person I regularly follow in the raw food movement. After our conversation, it revived an itch I've had for quite some time regarding the raw food movement. I've been thinking about this for quite some time now and after our talk I finally decided that it's time I wrote some of this down.

I've been doing raw and living food for about 7 years now. I've been doing it intensely and learning as much as I can from as many different sources as I can. I'm a voracious reader and love to study, read and listen to audio and video lectures as well as attend lectures.

I love this lifestyle and at the same time I realize there are many different points of view as to what is healthy. If you've been into this way of eating for a long time you know exactly what I'm talking about. There are people who love David Wolfe, and there are people who cannot stand him. There are people who believe that eating high amounts of sugar is dangerous like many raw food "gurus" like Brian Clement and more, as well as people who lean more towards eating more fruit and low fat like Dr. Doug Graham.

Personally I have not read Doug Graham's book yet but it's on my list. I do not pretend to be an expert in the work that is put out from each of these people. My point here is just that these "gurus" have differing opinions as to what is healthy and what is not to some degree.

The problem in my opinion is twofold. The problem is the state of the person who comes into raw food as well as how they come in the door. The person, who is generally healthy and gets introduced to raw foods by somebody like Doug Graham, is going to have a radically different view of "health" than somebody who has stage 4 cancer and gets introduced to raw foods by somebody like Brian Clement or Dr. Cousins.

Think about it, there are so many factors to what is healthy. Where a person lives (Costa Rica vs. Alaska), their metabolism, age, previous eating habits and relationships with food, their current level of inner cleanliness and the list goes on. It's not as easy as saying, "Just follow 80/10/10
" or "You must get rid of all sugar from your diet immediately!" We need to take a lot of things into consideration before making these platitudes.

The real point is that with the advent of social media websites and networks, there is a lot of bashing and hate going on. To be honest it's just a bummer. People who come in from the outside don't care about whether or not David Wolfe is right or Doug Graham is right.

This whole process is a journey, why don't we just let each other figure it out ourselves without being so dogmatic? If I don't eat any sugar (I do) and I think that is the best way, what do I really care if you eat tons of hybridized fruit? Let's give people some grace here. We're all trying our best to just get healthier. It doesn't do me any good or my health any good if I have anger in my heart because X amount of people don't agree with me. All I care is that people put some intention back into their food program. If that means you cut out all sugar so be it. If that means you go from eating no sugar to eating tons of fruit, that's cool. At the end of the day we're only responsible for ourselves anyway. Let's approach this with love.

By putting intention into our eating program I just mean slowing down and asking some questions before you dive into that meal. For example asking simple questions like, "how does eating this food affect our environment?" or "what am I supporting by eating factory farmed meat" or "should I pay a little extra and support the organic farmer?" Simple questions that make us pause before we eat are huge.

To carry this whole idea a little further, I don't even like being called a "raw foodist" much. That's just a label anyway. Labels by nature are restrictive. Yes I eat raw and living foods but if you were to see me eating a veggie sandwich would you care? Why? I'm a person who tries to be healthy that's all. I don't care about percentages, labels or platitudes. We're all trying to do our best here.

Recently Dhru at had to kick people out of his website because of how they were interacting with people. Anthony at really ruffled people's feathers because he was walking away from veganism. People freaked out about it. What if that's what he needs to do in order to be healthy? Personally I support him all the way because perhaps he's onto something that we should all be aware of. It's time to open our minds a little bit about what is "healthy" and not just say; "I eat 100% raw." 100% raw can mean so many things. Just because you eat 100% raw doesn't mean you're as healthy as you can be.

Let's just look at this from a whole new perspective and stop with the fanaticism and the labels and the percentages and take a holistic whole body approach to just being healthier and making more conscious decisions with our eating program. If that happens to include eating more fruit, cool, if it happens to be eating raw dairy products, that’s cool too.

Life is about way more than the food we eat.

Ahh...I feel better already...

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Raw Food Affiliate Program

We recently launched a raw food affiliate program for our new raw food store called I've seen many blogs out there that have affiliate banners on their sites promoting various online raw food stores. This is a great thing because it benefits everybody.

If you really believe in a store or the vision of a company why not earn some extra money by putting one of their banners on your blog? The way an affiliate program works is that most of them are free to sign up.

If you would like to see what our affiliate program is all about, feel free to checkout our raw food affiliate program here >>

If you want to signup directly click here >>

Signing up is pretty easy, you just need to fill out a quick form. Then you can typically select from a number of text or graphic banners to put on your site. Don't worry you don't need to know any html or coding language. The affiliate program gives you this code and all you have to do is copy and paste it into your site or blog.

When somebody clicks on your new raw food affiliate banner that you just placed on your site and makes a purchase, then you receive a commission, just for the referral. How amazing is that?

What happens if the person who clicks on that new banner simply looks around and then doesn't buy? Well you wouldn't make any money off that. But most all affiliate programs have what's called a "cookie" length. That simply means that when the reader of your blog clicks on your banner and doesn't buy; they still have been "cookied." That means that even if that person goes directly to the merchants site X amount of days later (w/o going to your site and clicking on that banner first) and makes a purchase, you still get credit for that sale. Why you ask? Well the reason why is because you're being rewarded days later for "introducing" your blog reader to the merchant who sells products.

The trick is to look for raw food affiliate programs that have long cookie lengths. Typically most affiliate programs offer a 30 or 60 day cookie program. Ours has been set to 150 days. That's 5 months! You could refer somebody over to our site and they can wait almost 5 months to buy something and you still get credit for that order!

Another thing about raw food affiliate programs is that you have to accrue a certain amount of money in your affiliate account in order to get a check. Most of the time affiliate programs make you have to accrue at least $100 dollars before you can get a check. I've seen some as low as $75, we really want to reward our affiliates so we set ours currently to $50. All you have to do is earn $50 and you get paid!

Last but not least, you want to look for an affiliate program that has a high commission rate. Typically commission rates hover around 5%. I think even starts their affiliates off at around 4.5% Our commission rate right now is set to 8%. Our average order size is $120 so that means a commission check for each order just shy of $10.00! Imagine making an easy $10 for every order you refer and making some money for doing something you love like blogging about the raw food lifestyle?

I know that having an affiliate program on your raw food blog or website is not for everybody. If it is and you resonate with what we're doing, we'd love to have you on board.

If you'd like to see what we have to offer, find out more here! >>

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Raw Food Transition

Taking it slow...
There are many ideas of how to transition to a raw food diet. Many people like to transition in a fast way. They hear all the great results that you can get (and there are many) so they decide to jump right in and go 100% raw overnight or in a week. There really is no right or wrong way to transition. But in my opinion if you are 100% dedicated to doing this type of diet for any length of time, then there is no rush, and you should take it as slow as possible. If you're in a healing crisis like cancer you unfortunately, don't have this luxury.

Why is it better to transition slow rather than fast for most people?
Transitioning to a raw food diet is not easy for your mind or your body. The current diet that we had before going raw was probably in the least, about 20 years old. That means even if we got into raw foods at a young 20 years old, that's still fighting against 20 full years of our relationship with food. Assuming two people were in love, do you think a person who was in that relationship for 20 years could overnight start a brand new relationship without any emotional issues? It's just not possible. Many times the best thing for a person that is getting out of a long term relationship is to just be alone for a while. Why is that? Most likely because they need to see what life is like without that person. Food is no different. Everyday we have eaten all our lives, it has left its imprint on us whether we like it or not. Just ask anybody who has an eating disorder or a person who has food addictions. The longer a person has gone eating the traditional diet, the longer they should take to transition.

By taking it slow, you're also giving your body a chance to recalibrate itself when needed. We all need to find a new level of homeostasis every time we make changes. Don't get me wrong, it is possible to change overnight, people have done it. I'm just telling you what has worked for me. If you set a long term goal, years out for example, that you're one day going to be all the way raw then this is the best approach.

Because we've abused our bodies for many years we have low hydrochloric acid levels in our bodies. Because of this it's not easy to break down the roughage and fiber that comes in when we start introducing raw foods into our new diet. If we suddenly shock the body, we start feeling sudden symptoms of detox. The food is not being broken down and upsets our stomach etc. Also when people transition too fast they sometimes swing back and forth. They'll be 100% raw for a week and then eat no raw foods the next week and it becomes this pendulum swinging back and forth. We're moving towards the slow and steady approach.

As you are changing your current diet, your body will pull minerals out of your body to keep itself in balance and a sudden change can be too much of a shock for most people. Be kind to your body. You don't like waking up to an alarm clock do you? It's a shock to wakeup that way and not very natural. So give your body time to readjust itself over the long term. Thinking long term will help because you won't be focused on things like weight gain or weight loss or any of the other things that we think about for right now. You're in it to be healthy and you're in it for the long term and long term health.

It's all about small changes that you can get used to and being okay with whatever level or "rawness" that you achieve. I never thought to myself that I'd be 100% raw one day. I just new I wanted to start eating healthier and it just happened by accident really. I never tried to do it. That may sound strange. I never struggled. I never felt hungry all the time. I never felt detox and it was always fun. It took me 5 years to get to 100% raw. I was addicted to meat, sandwiches, pizza, burgers and my all time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie.

So how did I do it?
Well my first goal was to clean up my breakfast habits. I used to wake up starving. Now I wake up and can go till 4pm on just water and not even feel hungry. I'm telling you, your stomach changes and your need for food diminishes unbelievably. We eat because our body wants minerals. We can get them in half the amount of foods now that we eat raw. In any event, I read Fit for Life and decided to eat fruit until noon. But I was addicted to my two bowls of cereal and peanut butter toast. For a week I just ate 1 piece of toast. Then I'd have only 1 bowl of cereal with one piece of toast for a few weeks. Then I'd just have cereal. Then I did the fruit until noon trick and just did that and only that for a good year. I didn't care if that's all I ever did. But at that point I signed up for and started learning more and reading more raw food books. Tip: Learn as you go and experiment in the kitchen as you transition as well. There are a lot of great raw foodists out there. I've learned a lot from Daniel Vitalis and the Raw Vegan Radio Show.

At this point I thought I'd tackle lunch. I'd eat a salad with my turkey sandwich and chocolate chip muffin. But hey, my lunch meal was now 50% raw! Then I'd have a veggie sandwich with my muffin and salad for 6 months of more. Then for a good year I was raw at breakfast AND lunch, amazing. Then again at that point if that's all I ever did I was happy with that. No struggle, no addictions, no stress. It was easy as can be. Then I thought...."hmm if I can take care of dinner that's the whole show!" Then it took me a long long time to tackle the dinner issue and I'm telling you, it was the easiest way to transition ever.

What was my approach?
Fruit only for breakfast
Salads with lunch and dinner
A daily green juice and/or green smoothie if I had time.
Then all the cooked food I wanted, as long as I did the above things each day.

If that's all you did, you'd be eating healthier than just about any average American. Just imagine if all you did was have a green smoothie for breakfast for the next 20 years instead of bacon, eggs, hash browns and cereal. That one change alone saves your body 7,300 toxic meals. Isn't that amazing? If it takes you 5 years to transition to 100% raw", don't you think that is better than going on the seesaw diet constantly going back and forth struggling and fighting addictions? In the grand scheme of things taking 5 years to change 20 years of habits isn't so bad.

In order to do the whole show all the way you really have to have a mindset that this is what your eating program is going to be about. But it's really not important to be 100% raw or 90% and count percentages here and there. The point is just to keep adding and introducing healthier foods into your diet.

What do you do about addictions?
Having a sugar addiction is no fun, or any addiction for that matter. If you’re transitioning, just slowly lower the number and amounts of bad things you eat. For example, if you're craving 5 fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies, then tell yourself you can eat them only after you have a green juice before or perhaps a nice fresh salad, and try to eat only 4 instead of 5. The key is making yourself eat the salad first and then have the cookies. And be happy with that. No big deal. Pretty soon, and before you know it, you'll be eating a nice balanced healthy diet without even trying. Remember don't focus on avoiding foods, focus on adding the good stuff. More toward things, not away from things.

No struggling, no addiction and no effort. Make it easy and make it fun. Life is about way more than food anyway.

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