Raw Food Diet Meal Planning and Book Recommendations

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Dear Mizpah,

I would like to know if you have any recommended books about raw food. I started to drink green smoothies from our visit to Lujan in Costa Rica and back in Canada I did a 21-day detox, then I started to diminish my cooked food but I don’t know exactly how to do meals, especially that my husband wants to go with me into raw. I wonder about a good book to have and how to do some week plans for a family.


Great question Melina and I am sure there are many people in the same situation as you. Going raw often means learning a whole new set of food preparation techniques and can involve a major adjustment in your lifestyle in the initial stages.

As far as book recommendations for someone getting started I really like The Raw Food Revolution Diet

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. This book contains some basic information about the health benefits of a raw food diet as well as practical information on how to get started.

It includes a section on meal planning and six days of menus. All of the meal plans are fairly simple and, with the exception of one day, they do not require a dehydrator. There is also a quick and easy meal plan that is suitable for when you are pressed for time or traveling.

One of the things that I really appreciate about this book is that the recipes are not very high in fat as is the case for many of the raw food recipe books on the market. Often raw food recipes contain a lot of nuts and oils, which can be very difficult to digest and can also lead to weight gain.

In addition, the recipes are very easy to prepare and the ones I have tried have all been delicious. The author of the book, Cherie Soria, is a raw food chef and instructor who now teaches others how to be raw food chefs, so she really knows how to make healthy raw food that tastes great.

There are a few dehydrator recipes and since I don’t own one I haven’t tried these, but there are plenty of other recipes that only require simple equipment; a knife, cutting board, and blender should be enough to get you started. Some of my favorite recipes in the book are the Caesar Salad, Zucchini Hummus, Vietnamese Salad Rolls, and Chocolate Velvet.

If you would like some more variety here are a few other raw food recipe books that I recommend:

Ani’s Raw Food Essentials: Recipes and Techniques for Mastering the Art of Live Food

Raw Food, Fast Food: Simple Recipes, Faster Than Takeout

Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods

Rawlicious: Delicious Raw Recipes for Radiant Health

Aside from that, I can give you a few other tips that might make raw food menu planning easier:

Keep it simple

Don’t try making too many complicated recipes. This will only leave you feeling that the raw food diet is too difficult to maintain as a lifestyle.

It is fine to make a special gourmet meal on the weekends when you have more time but there’s no need to make it a daily event. Simple salads and green smoothies can be the backbone of your diet that ensures you have high-quality nutrition that is fast and easy to prepare.

It can be helpful to gather a small collection of ideas for quick and simple meals that you know you can rely on when you are too tired or don’t have the energy to think about what to eat.

Make larger batches of dips, sauces, and dressings

If it is your first time with a new recipe it is probably good to try it out first to make sure you like it. But once you find something you enjoy it is helpful to make larger batches of items like dips, sauces, and salad dressings so that meal preparation becomes easy.

For example, a dip like raw zucchini hummus can be served with raw veggie sticks and a salad for dinner. Leftovers can be lunch the next day scooped into large lettuce leaves or collard greens with sliced tomato and sprouts. Nut and seed pates will keep for several days in the fridge and these are great inside nori seaweed and rolled up like sushi.

Most salad dressings also have a long life when refrigerated so you may like to prepare one or two batches of dressing on the weekend. Then for weekday meals you just have to chop your salad ingredients and toss with dressing and lunch or dinner is ready in a flash. To make it more of a meal add a side of any leftover dip or pate.

Raw marinara sauce on zucchini pasta is a meal that most people enjoy and if you make a large batch of sauce this could last you for several meals during the week. If you are still including cooked foods in your diet you could also use leftover sauce on top of steamed veggies or cooked grains like quinoa or brown rice.

Make sure you keep up your supplies

Keep things on hand that last for a long time such as dried herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, seaweed, sun-dried tomatoes etc. This will give you greater flexibility when you decide you want to prepare a new recipe.

I also recommend buying large quantities of fresh fruit and greens so you always have plenty around for snacks, fruit salad, and smoothies. You will find that your idea about the amount of fresh produce you need for the week is going to increase dramatically!

Ideally, go shopping twice a week so that your produce is always fresh and appealing. If this is difficult try to use your ripe fruit and tender greens like lettuce early in the week. Sturdier vegetables like celery, cabbage, and cucumbers should maintain their freshness at least until the end of the week and apples, pears, and citrus fruit also keep well.

If you have very ripe bananas you can chop them and place them in the freezer so that you know you will always have something available to put in your green smoothie. You can also use them to make banana ice cream for a healthy indulgent treat.

Liquid meals are really fast and easy

Green smoothies are extremely nutritious and so simple. Just throw your fruit and greens into the blender and you have a meal. So long as your portion sizes are large enough this should keep you going for several hours. To make a green smoothie more sustaining you can add avocado, soaked chia seeds, or coconut.

Even simple salads can take a little time to prepare but blended salads and raw soups are usually much faster. There are a couple of recipes for these in The Raw Food Revolution Diet.

Nut and seed milk can be prepared in the blender by simply putting your nuts or seeds in with some water and sweetener if desired, blending, and then straining in a fine sieve or nut milk bag. A combination of hemp and sunflower seed works well and doesn’t require straining, especially if you are using a high-powered blender.

So I hope this helps. The main things to remember are to keep it simple and have fun with it. A meal doesn’t always have to be structured in a traditional sense and you can save a lot of energy by relaxing about the whole process. Often a plate of a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables can be just as enjoyable as a gourmet meal when enjoyed at the peak of freshness and in good company!

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  1. Buenas dias!
    What do you think about food combining, excess frijole gas, and genetic/blood-type dietary norms, and cultural staple foods?

  2. Thank you so much Mizpah! Your answer encourage me and makes me feel I am at the right track. I just ordered some of the books and today I made a good shopping so tomorrow will try some of the recipes I have already.

    One thing I haven’t mention is that I am breastfeeding and sometimes I just want so much cooked food as a pregnancy;s desire. I suppose that it is part of the transition and that my needs for fat and energy are very hight now. So I am trying to take this smooth and happy.

    I have read the Green for Life book. I am very happy to have it. It was surprised for me the quality of her research and the information in the book. I feel I have real and good understanding about how greens are so good. I am trying to have lots to get proteins. This is so mindset breaking that I love it even more!

    Let you know how everything is going with this adventure.

    Thanks again.

  3. Buenas dias Ed. That’s a lot of questions and would take several blog posts to answer them properly. But I will try to answer them briefly here and when I have more time will write more about these topics.

    I believe that food combing is very valuable for those with digestive problems but most of us don’t have to be precise in our combining, especially on a raw vegan diet. I have found that the worst combination is a high fat food with a high sugar food. For example fruit and nuts together seem to cause a lot of problems. I have written more about this in my book and will do a blog post about it in the future.

    Excess frijole(legume) gas is a real issue. It can be reduced by sprouting and steaming legumes very well, eating small quantities and combining them with herbs and spices that reduce gas. Personally I don’t eat legumes very often and at the moment I only consume sprouted lentils occasionally, because they are very difficult to digest.

    Blood type/ genetic diets – there is some valuable information in these approaches regarding reactions to lectins in certain foods. Some genetic types are more likely to react to certain foods such as wheat. However as a whole the blood type diet does not seem to ring true. My husband who is a classic O type is doing really well on a raw vegan diet – so much better than when he was eating meat. There are so many factors involved in health and these approaches seem to narrowly focus on one aspect that does not appear to have adequate validity.

    Cultural staple foods. Well I guess you are talking about foods like corn, beans, plantains? In themselves these are good foods however the way they are prepared and eaten changes their properties. Portion sizes are too large, they are cooked in large amounts of processed fats. Unfortunately most corn is genetically engineered which carries a whole range of other issues but if you can get organic corn this is a great food when prepared simply such as steamed or boiled.

    Same goes for plantain. If consumed either raw ( only when very ripe) or boiled it is very nutritious but fried plantains and definitely a cause of weight gain and could contribute to increased risk of heart disease among other health issues due to the high amount of very unhealthy fats they contain.

    I see a lot of obesity here in Costa Rica so obviously the diet is very out of balance. Unfortunately the cultural staples, which once were the foundation of a healthy approach to eating, are now combined with a very high fat intake which is the most likely culprit.

  4. Hi Melina,

    It is important to listen to your body when you are breastfeeding. You will certainly have an increased need for calories so make sure you are eating enough. Foods like avocados, hemp and chia seeds would be very valuable. Also make sure you are getting plenty of greens. You might also consider adding extra protein in the form of sunwarrior protein powder, hemp protein or spirulina.

    It may be valuable for you to include some cooked foods in your diet so that the detox is not too fast which could potentially upset the baby due to the release of toxins. Good options would be gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet, brown rice and other foods like baked sweet potato and legumes.

    Yes Victoria Boutenko is a pioneer in the raw food movement and if I wasn’t for her I probably never would have been successful eating raw. Green smoothies changed my life as they have done for so many others too 🙂

  5. Hi Mizpah,

    I got the books and try some recipes for the last three weeks. All the recipes are so great! I don’t have always all the ingredients but i can improvise, and they taste great. My husband is surprised as well as some friends. For menu planning I can not do this very often, what I do is to see some recipes I want to try and to get the ingredients and I do them, but I am not sure if I am getting all the nutrients I need. I also noticed that I am eating more, actually I am eating all the time… this is reflecting my mood about many things to do and no time but also I feel hungry sooner. Is this normal? But I also have had times that I am really hungry at noon and I do a smoothie and this is enough… but at three I feel I want to eat more…

    I also have had some days that I get worry about my husband as I know he wants to eat “more substantial” so I do some rice or quinua, but sometimes pasta appears. I also see myself wanting this foods as well as rice crackers and I eat them a lot. I remark how I can keep eating this things but I stop myself, and just remember that I am in a transition and that it is ok. But I see how this desires are related with an thought of I am hungry, I want more I will be hungry soon again I prefer to fill myself now, but in reality I am ok and I thrust I will have the time next time I feel hungry to pick something raw.

    SO I have experience the nice sensations of just having a good salad for lunch and feel full of energy and all the cravings crossing my path. All the raw life style make so much sense for me, from the body sensation of lightness to the desire of having a permacultural garden with all the food I need, I can imagine myself going out to my garden each time I am hungry and be called by the plant I am suppose to eat and eat it with full of thanks and love and filling myself with it.

    So I am still motivated and keep going!

  6. I totally can relate when you say you feel like you are eating all the time. Especially when you get started it can feel that way because fruit and vegetables are so light and full of water yet low in calories so you need to eat a lot of them to get enough nourishment. If you are concerned about your nutrient intake I also offer nutritional analysis and you can see more about this on the tab at the top of this website that says ‘nutritional counseling’.

    It can be common to feel hungry sooner than normal, especially if the meals you are eating are not that high in fat. If this is inconvenient for you, you can try adding some extra fat to your meal to tide you over. For example add half to one avocado or a handful of nuts or seeds to your salad. To make a smoothie more satiating you could try adding some coconut, bee pollen, spirulina or sprouted rice or hemp protein. If you don’t mind eating frequently it is no problem to eat again three hours after a meal if you are feeling hungry.

    Personally I follow a four meal a day schedule with about 3-4 hours between each meal and find this works well for me.

    Rice and quinoa are good choices. If you do pasta I would recommend gluten-free if possible. Baked potatoes and sweet potatoes are another option if you feel the need for something more substantial. These are all fine while you are transitioning and can also be a valuable addition to a diet that consists mostly of raw foods. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, it is about finding what works best for your body.

    The cravings do gradually improve over time. One of the key factors is to make sure you are eating enough raw food in your meals and then you are much less likely to experience cravings. Actually Lujan and I were discussing this subject just this morning and we both agreed that eating enough food combined with the addition of certain superfoods has eliminated our cravings for other foods completely.

    I am happy to see you are feeling very positive about your experiences so far. Your vision of a nourishing garden is wonderful 🙂

  7. You know, I found out that my natural tendency has always been to eat less but more often and I had forced myself to eat “at times”. So it is really great to let my body be as it is!!! very nice add from the raw diet. But my timings are shorter, something as 2-3 at most, I suppose because breastfeeding. This goes along with the information I got when I did my first colonics last week. The doctor (an amazing ukranian woman) told me that it is very important to eat “our portion”, which is the size of our fist and to do NOT drink any water or liquid after eating. It makes a lot of sense to me. Do you have some information about portions you want to share?

    I also has been including some superfood but I am not very systematic in observing their effects. I believe I have been trying to put anything in for fear to lack nutrients for me and/or my baby. But well, at least my system is detoxing, so hopefully I will start to observe more the effects of each food in my cleaner body.

    I also listened most of the interviews on the summit RawmomCookeddad and some questions arose from them. First it is about teeth health on a raw diet, as it seams lots of people have teeth problems, do you know something about this? Second questions is about colostrum, from cow (no species specific) have you info about its convenience of including on our diet? I noticed that all my cravings on dairy products, specially Parmesan cheese, have completely gone, this happened from the beginning. But the need for fat has not totally gone. Even though for the first time in my life have experienced acidity in my mouth, and it seams it is contradictory with the habits of eating more green and veggies. Any ways, if you can help me with some comments about all this it is very appreciated but if you don’t no problem.

    I am absolutely considering to have a nutritional counselling form you but for now I can not afford it. So this must be to wait.

    Thank you for your support!

  8. Interesting post

    There’s nothing like being lean and healthy. In today’s era of fastfood, we really need toworkout occasionnaly and throw off our unhealthy diet habits. It’s not extremely hard. You only have to stick to a workout program and keep going until you reach your objectives.

    Thank you very much for sharing this with your readers.

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