For me, I don’t actually see raw foods as a diet at all, but rather a lifestyle. And although I have personally lost a significant amount of weight incorporation raw foods into my routine (over 35 lbs), there are other aspect of a raw lifestyle that I was drawn to, including the idea of connecting back to nature… to a more natural way of living. In fact, I think that living naturally, organically, sustainably, and raw is by far the most beautiful way to live!
And yes, I do still struggle on occasion especially around the holidays, but I try not to give myself a hard time over it. Instead, I give myself enough love and understanding to know that I'm always doing the best I can… a work in progress.
But ideally, I try to aim for about 80% raw vegan, gluten free. I try to focus on incorporating lots of organic leafy greens. In fact, I prefer greens over many of the “superfood” supplements promoted in the raw community. I feel that eating foods in their natural state is far more superior. But I do have a select few favorite superfoods that I occasionally use in smoothies and/or recipes to make sure all my essential nutrients are covered.
I love making low-glycemic green juices (see my Juice of Radiance recipe), berry-collard smoothies, tomato-herb soups, and hardy salads with avocado-base dressings. But I equally enjoy gluten-free whole grains, cooked. Some of my favorites include quinoa grain and organic brown rice pasta with raw spicy marinara.
Adding in some gluten-free whole grains makes me feel a bit more grounded. And as Rick and Karin Dina, D.C. (the Raw Food Doctors) once explained, nutritionally speaking steamed veggies over brown rice is probably better for you than "raw" cake loaded with fat and sugar, even though the fat and sugar is natural and unprocessed. For this reason I try to keep my diet balanced rather than getting caught up in whether or not something is "raw". My first priority is keeping it high quality and organic.
I also occasionally incorporate wild-caught fish into my diet, both raw and cooked. I find that my body responds well to the protein. And I've been known to eat unpasteurized raw goats cheese. So in that regard I'm definitely not vegan, but I do try to maintain at least 80% raw vegan, which is amazing considering I grew up in Russia eating meat and potatoes practically at every meal.
I am also very drawn to the Hippocrates approach to raw foods rather than the Natural Hygiene 80/10/10 approach. I find that the Hippocrates perspective on nutrition is far more balanced and well-rounded, whereas the 80/10/10 diet focuses on 80% carbs (from fruit), 10% protein, and 10% fat. I find this approach a bit restrictive.
But having said that, I also think that everyone has their own physiology, and therefore one must always tune in and listen to their body. The wisdom inside of us is always more accurate than advice of any expert!