As I explained in my previous blog post about the 80/10/10 diet, it can be very hard at first to build a sustainable diet of mainly raw fruits and vegetables. If you ever find yourself struggling to maintain a healthy weight while eating mostly raw plant-based foods, these first three tips might help you out.
Tip 1: keep track of your daily calorie intake
Especially in the beginning of your raw transformation, it is very easy to ‘under-eat’. And when you are not taking in enough calories, cravings for calorie-dense cooked foods pop up. Don’t worry: your body is simply asking for more calories. If you are a female, your average daily calorie intake should be between 2000 and 3000, depending on how active you are. If you are a male, it should be between 2500 and 3500. Other factors – in addition to your gender and activity level – that will influence your daily calorie need are your height, age, metabolism, and stress levels. When you are new to the low fat raw vegan diet, I highly recommend you use applications such as Cron-o-meter (http://cronometer.com/) or FitDay (http://www.fitday.com/) to track your daily calorie intake.
Tip 2: think in terms of calories, not in terms of volume
Most raw fruits and vegetables are very high in water content. They are often composed of 85 or 90 percent water. This means you need to eat a lot of them in order to meet your daily calorie requirements. Let’s look at an example: a typical healthy breakfast should contain about 800 calories. If you choose to have SAD foods like bread, cereal or bacon and eggs, you only need to eat small portions to meet that requirement since those foods are so calorie-dense. When you transition to a low fat raw vegan diet however, you need very large portions of fruits and vegetables to meet that same amount of 800 calories. So forget about the belief that you need to eat small portions in order to maintain a healthy weight, and just eat to your heart’s content.
Tip 3: blend your fruits and greens for higher calorie intake
Blending your fruits, greens and healthy fats into smoothies, shakes or soups will allow you to take in more calories at once. This will prevent you from constantly snacking on sweet fruits and feeling hungry all the time. Although it is healthy to eat several small meals a day, continuous snacking on fruits will expose your teeth to high amounts of sugar, leading to teeth sensitivity, gum irritation and cavities. Blending your breakfast and/or lunch will significantly lower your risk of tooth decay. It will also boost your digestion and energy since it breaks down the cell walls of the fruits and vegetables, making their nutrients more available to the body. Another tip to lower your risk of tooth problems? Finish your fruit meal with a piece of cucumber, a stalk of celery or a green salad to prevent the fruit sugars from sticking to your teeth.
Are you curious to find out more about the 80/10/10 lifestyle? Three extra tips to maintain a healthy weight on a low fat raw vegan diet are coming your way soon.