What to Do Next?
I have outlined some ideas for people to get started with changing their diets. Some people who eat a normal diet (SAD) will want to completely give up meat, dairy, eggs all at once and eat a good amount of raw, which is awesome. However, some will find it easier to give up things one at a time, which is what I have outlined. I want you to go at your own pace and feel good about where you are and not overwhelmed or frustrated. Eating healthy isn't just about food it is about living a healthy lifestyle. If you are super-stressed all the time about food it will be hard to get the results you want. Work at a level that is comfortable to you.
SAD (Standard American Diet)- begin incorporating more fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables into your diet. Figure out what goals you want to achieve.
-Do you suffer from an illness or disease?
-Do you desperately want to lose weight?
-Do you want increased energy?
-Do you want vibrant, healthy hair, skin, and nails?
-Do you want to be free from sickness?
-Do you just want to be overall healthy?
Depending on what your goals are, that will determine how intense you should alter your diet.
If you don't have any illness or problems but just want to begin eating healthier than maybe begin eating one meal a week that doesn't include meat. After awhile increase the amount of days you don't have meat, depending on how you feel emotionally and mentally.
When I first gave up meat, I barely missed it at all. There are lots of meat substitutes out there that really mimic the real stuff. I highly recommend using substitutes as you move away from meat products.
If you do suffer from an illness or want better health quicker- try giving up meat all-together. Really focus on meat substitutes if you need to. There are so many wonderful recipes out there that will help you have a smooth transition so take advantage of that. Work on feeling content in your food choices. You can also give up dairy and eggs right away if you want as well.
Vegetarian Diet- If you are successfully avoiding meat and want to achieve greater health benefits by removing dairy and/or eggs from your diet. Start off by figuring out how quickly you want to move. You could give up dairy one day a week or altogether. Go as slowly or quickly as you need.
I had to give up both dairy and eggs when I found out about my food allergies, but I continued to binge on them every few months. After I was ready, emotionally and mentally, to completely give them up I was them able to not even consider them an option anymore.
Take advantage of the many substitutions. Check out Vegan Substitutions
Vegan Diet- If you are completely avoiding meat, dairy, eggs, and other non-vegan items and want to experience even greater health, begin incorporating more raw foods into your diet. Depending on what level you want to achieve, from 50% raw to 100% raw this will determine how you eat your meals. You could start off with a raw breakfast of fruit or smoothie or even eat raw until supper. You could even give up cooked foods altogether. It depends on how good you are at self-control, your desire to achieve your goal, how committed you are to having vibrant health, your emotional and mental attitude about it and the financial means necessary to buy ripe, organic, fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds.
Hallelujah Acres- provides a meal plan that is helpful to transition to an 85% raw diet. (Juice, lots of vegetables, and some cooked vegan foods)
80-10-10 Diet, by Dr. Douglas Graham -provides the optimal diet for those wanting to do really high raw (focus on fruit for enough calories)
Raw Foodist- If you are eating gourmet raw foods, chances are you are eating way too much fat. If you eat nuts, oils, avocados, or seeds at every meal you won't be able to achieve amazing results for long, even if it is "good" fats. Too much fat has been linked to disease- "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell goes into greater detail about this concept.
Begin by incorporating a higher percentage of fruit into your diet. What is Fruitarian? will get you started. You can also purchase "80-10-10 Diet" by Douglas Graham, to get all the details about this lifestyle.
I am really enjoying eating a low-fat raw vegan diet. I don't get bloated and I have better digestion than when I was eating a higher percentage of fat.