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Friday
Oct232009

Raw Mistake # 7: Be dedicated, but not a zealot.

Raw Mistake # 7: 
Be dedicated, but not a zealot.

Over the past week we've covered six of the "7 Biggest Raw Mistakes".  Today, I'm going to tell you about the final killer raw mistake.  This one’s different from the others because it’s not really about what you’re eating or how you’re eating it.  Instead, it has to do with your mindset. 

When I first started going down the raw-vegan path I was extremely devout.  Actually, I think obsessive would be a more accurate word.  I wanted to call myself a true 'raw-foodist', so I wouldn’t touch anything that wasn’t raw.  In one respect, it was great that I was motivated.  My enthusiasm led me to do a lot of studying and experimenting, and it ultimately led me to successfully find what I was looking for in a diet and lifestyle. 

I should emphasize, however, that that is how devout I used to be.  Despite learning more and more about how beneficial eating a raw-vegan diet is to one’s body, over time I became less intense in my approach.  Why was that?  It’s because I learned through experience (and maturity) that problems can arise from being too extreme.  For starters, going into a diet with an expectation of absolute adherence puts way too much pressure on you.  Trying to go 100% raw-vegan and NEVER eating anything else for the rest of your life is unrealistic.  I used to try that — I’d even keep track of how many days I went without slipping.  I’d often go for many months, but every once in a while I'd eat something wrong... and of course I'd feel guilty about it. 

When approached incorrectly, a diet or lifestyle can become an obsession and your efforts will start to stray from their original purpose — to achieve great health.  When you try to be 'perfect' you begin to focus too much upon the negatives.  That's not a healthy mindset and you’ll put yourself down and discourage yourself. 

Furthermore, if you parade about claiming to be a raw-foodist you’ll become a spectacle, which can be annoying for everyone else.  Your peers may feel you’re trying to push something on them, which is a bad idea because nobody likes a know-it-all.  Plus, you’ll feel an increased load of expectations due to this spotlight you’ve placed upon yourself.  You’ll be afraid to be seen ‘cheating’ in public.  All this posturing and drama really isn’t helping anyone.  Rather than labeling yourself, simply approach your raw-vegan lifestyle with the mindset of being someone who likes to make healthy choices.  That should be more than enough. 

If those reasons aren't enough, I should also point out that being overly-devout can be socially limiting — or even isolating.  When I was over-the-top into being raw, I never went out.  I didn’t want to eat at a restaurant and go through the difficulty of finding something that fit my new 'religion’.  If you truly don’t want to go out to restaurants, that’s fine; and it certainly makes things easy.  I don’t go very often myself, and that’s usually only when I’m accommodating other people.  I feel much better staying away from restaurants and eating raw.  But if you're totally depriving yourself of things you want to do, you won’t stick with a raw-vegan diet.  I guarantee that.  You’ll get unhappy and frustrated with the perceived limitations.   I say ‘perceived’, because eating raw-vegan is only as limiting as you chose to make it.  If you're dedicated to you dietary choices at home and you do a good job of eating raw-vegan at work or school, don’t beat yourself up over the occasional slip.  If you want to go down to the coffee shop with a friend on your lunch break, or if you want to go out on Friday nights with your friends, you can still make sensible choices that won’t make you feel like crap afterwards.  I’m not saying be a bar star.  I’m just saying be realistic.  In the big picture, eating 75% raw in the long-term and being happy will do much more for your health than eating 100% raw for a month, burning out, giving up and walking away from it

Take the raw diet as far as you want to go, but don't push harder than you're ready for.  Baby steps are okay, as long as you're getting results and feeling better.  I'll always be here to help you along your way.

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This wraps up our little 7-Mistakes mini-series.  I hope these tips help you avoid some of the major hurdles beginning raw-vegans make.  If you've missed any of them along the way, take a peek back at the archives.  You can also get your own copy of "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes" when you sign up for the free monthly Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition newsletter.  If you're ready to take the next step and really excel with your raw-vegan diet, I strongly recommend checking out my book, "The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet".  It's the total, definitive resource for anyone wanting to get the most out of their raw diet.  You can download a free preview of the book by clicking on this link.

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

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