I’ve been interested in raw foods for over a year now. Just over a year ago I attempted Brendan Brazier’s Thrive diet, but found it über complex and time-consuming. I probably only last a week on that diet, although I thought the food was really good. I tried a few juice cleanses throughout the year, which I hated because I missed chewing. I felt like I was sick and on a liquid diet. Around January or February I got into Freelee’s 30 Bananas a Day diet, which involves eating mono-meals of fruit (only eating large portions of one fruit).
It was all really overwhelming and I just decided raw foods were not going to be for me.
This spring I decided to take my mostly vegan diet to a new level and try to cut the majority of gluten out of my diet as well. I wanted to do this entirely for health reasons. Every time I consume gluten I feel bloated, uncomfortable and groggy. When I consume a lot of gluten I feel depressed. I also have a condition called endometriosis, which a dairy and gluten-free diet is supposed to help with. I’ve toyed with the idea of going gluten-free for a long time as well, but then I always think of things I love. Mostly, beer and bread.
In June I took on an extra minimalism challenge: No eating out for one month. Eating out costs more money, usually results in leftovers I don’t want to eat and almost always puts me in situations where I’m eating much more than I want to and foods that don’t make me feel good. Since I’m not eating out this month I thought it was the perfect time to try eating a raw food diet. A major factor in this decision was Fully Raw Kristina’s 14-Day Bikini Body Challenge. For two weeks she is providing daily meal plans and workout regimens on her website. I’ve followed Kristina on Instagram for a few months and her rainbow salad posts always make my mouth salivate.
So, why do raw foods interest me from a minimalism perspective?
Simpler Meals, Less Dishes
By eating raw foods I’m automatically cutting down on the amount of dishes and kitchen items I use because there is no cooking involved. All I need is some knives, bowls, jars, a blender and juicer. All of these things are super easy to clean up (I don’t even need to use a dishwasher) and the prep just involves cutting, blending and consuming. I already had all of these items as well, so there was no need to go out and buy anything new. I also love the simplicity of the meals I’m eating. I made a rainbow salad for dinner last night with kale, peppers, pineapple, blueberries, avocado, cherry tomatoes and a homemade orange juice dressing. It was beautiful, incredibly filling and there was no weird stuff in my food. The salad took me fifteen minutes to make and the only dishes I used were a knife and the huge bowl I ate my salad out of. Not too shabby.
A Deeper Connection With Nature
Many raw foodists claim eating this way gives them a deeper connection with nature, and I could see why. When you’re primarily eating whole plants you sort of feel like you just went to a farm and grabbed a bunch of produce. You have to be more aware of what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area, even if you’re still eating imported items. When I eat this way I also feel more alert, awake and at peace. I’m saying this diet makes me feel more human.
One of the biggest driving factors behind my minimalistic lifestyle is time efficiency. I want to have more time to devote to the things I enjoy which are: spending time in nature and writing. By adopting a raw food diet I’m dramatically cutting back on food prep time, kitchen clean up and time spent going out for food etc. Over the weekend I was camping in Onawa, Iowa, for the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar and I brought all of my food in a cooler. Rather than having to run to a restaurant (and not being able to find anything vegan or vegetarian) I simply ate what I had in my cooler. This gave me more time to talk to people, spend time in nature and write about the experiences I was having. It was also way less stressful and expensive than trying to find food to eat in Onawa.
In Inconvenience Comes Strength
Last week there was a post on No Meat Athlete called What Being a Vegan Runner Means to Me. Matt Frazier is really well-known in the vegan food and running community, and is someone I really look up to. His writing and podcasts have influenced my adoption of a minimalistic lifestyle. In this post he talks about how being a vegan runner isn’t more convenient. Being a vegan isn’t convenient. Being a runner isn’t convenient. Because these things are not easy it means you really have to want them to keep them up. But by continuing your practice, no more how inconvenient it is, you become a stronger person.
I also listened to podcast on Bulletproof Executive recently, where guest Peter Sage talks about the idea of internal validation. This concept kind of blew my mind. I have a real problem with giving in to other people. I don’t eat vegan in other people’s homes or at restaurants because I don’t want to inconvenience them. I am quick to give up my time to other people for fear of upsetting them. I don’t often speak out about my beliefs and it’s taken me forever to adopt raw foodism and minimalism because I’m afraid of what other people think. Peter Sage talks about being internally validated rather than externally validated. Have confidence in your actions and beliefs, and don’t expect others to like it. Don’t turn to them for approval. I always say I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and say I am living the best life possible for me. My best life, not anyone else’s. Minimalism and raw foodism might not be the path for you, and that’s fine. They don’t have to be. But this is the lifestyle I’m choosing for myself and I’ve already seen that it makes me healthier and happier… and isn’t that really the point?
To learn more about my minimalism journey and for tips on starting your own, sign up for my bi-monthly email newsletter. In the last newsletter I shared five lessons I’ve learned from adopting this lifestyle and some mini-challenges for those of you who would like to follow along with the challenge!