These days, we’re inundated with food fads and fabulous diet trends. Raw, vegan, paleo, alkaline, whole30, the list goes on (no really, it does). It’s hard to know what lies beneath the hype: what’s beneficial, what’s effective, and what’s not.

So, here’s a helpful crash course in one of the most recent popular nutrition trends: going raw.

What is the Raw Foods Diet?

What does going raw mean? It means embarking on the raw foods diet. And it’s pretty self explanatory, really. The raw foods diet consists of any food that is unprocessed, raw, and hasn’t been heated above 118 degrees.

It’s suggested that heating or cooking food above this temperature destroys its nutritional profile (its nutrients and enzymes). By only consuming raw food, you’re enjoying the food at the peak of its nutritional potential. Food nourishes and revitalizes the body more potently this way.

The raw foods diet consists mostly of raw fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, raw fish, and some unpasteurized dairy foods.

Those who have tried the raw foods diet rave about its holistic healing benefits. So, what can going raw do for you? Here are some of the benefits of consuming a raw foods diet:

Weight loss
Clearer skin
Better digestion
Lowered inflammation
Boosted energy

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Definitely. But there are two big drawbacks to the raw foods diet that must be addressed.

1) Preparation

Keeping up with a raw foods diet is a lot of work! If you don’t want to be munching carrot sticks 3 meals a day, not only do you need to be ready to invest a significant portion of time into your meal preparation, you are also going to need to get creative.

Delicious meals can absolutely be enjoyed on this diet. In fact, raw food chefs can imitate almost any food you can imagine using only raw ingredients, from pizza and pad thai, to burgers and lasagna.

But, it does take work. And some trial and error. And maybe an investment in a food dehydrator on your part.

It can be done, but it won’t be easy. However, those willing to devote the time and effort to preparing raw foods for their meals will see and feel the results in no time.

2) Food Cravings

Going raw is demanding. It means eliminating many of the tasty, delectable foods you crave and love. If you’re planning on trying the raw foods diet, you need to be prepared for the cravings.

Cravings can make or break a big dietary or lifestyle change. And yes, while eating this way certainly isn’t for everyone, it does have the potential to greatly impact your life for the better.

So, if you’re committed to sticking with it, how can you navigate the tricky terrain of food cravings? What do you do when you want that Big Mac after work, or crave an ice cream sundae after yoga?

You can, of course, give in. No shame in that, friend! Everyone needs a treat once in awhile.

Alternatively, you can power through – outright deny yourself the tasty confection you’ve been hankering for and wind up feeling irritable about it all afternoon.

But – what if there were a more effective method of putting those pesky junk food cravings in their place without too much hassle?

That’s where meditation can become your best friend.

How Meditation Can Help You Tackle Food Cravings

To be clear – what we’re talking about here isn’t full fledged lotus position mantra chanting (although, if you are interested, here is a fantastic meditation for beginners)

No, what we’re talking about is a momentary step back to observe what’s really going on.

Many of the food cravings we experience aren’t so much fueled by hunger as they are by circumstance. You catch the mouth-watering scent of funnel cake. You see a commercial for piping hot, gooey pizza. Cravings can hit anytime, anywhere. But what’s important is understanding what they’re about, and where they come from.

That’s where meditation can help us.

The next time you experience a food craving, try the following:

1) Stop whatever it is you’re doing.

2) Identify what it is you’re craving (chocolate, pasta, french fries, chips, etc.).

3) Acknowledge that you’re experiencing a craving, and congratulate yourself for being aware of the craving.

4) Now, ask yourself: What’s going on right now? Am I hungry? Why do I want this food item?

5) See if you can identify what was happening just before the craving hit. What were you doing? How were you feeling?

6) After you’ve honestly answered these questions, it’s up to you to decide how to proceed. Remember: it’s important to treat yourself. Just be aware of why you’re craving what you’re craving. That’s more than half the battle.

Often, when we take the time to acknowledge our cravings (instead of instinctively acting on them), they lose their power over us. When we confront them, address them head on without judgement, shame, or fear, they disappear. POOF! Like they never were.

Many cravings are fleeting, and can be swiftly forgotten. But if you have a craving that is persistent and powerful, it might be useful to try the above awareness meditation.

Have you ever tried any raw food dishes? Are you curious to try the raw foods lifestyle? Let us know what you think!

Author's Bio: 

Founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley Academy works with the best authors and the most innovative technology to provide learning experiences on personal growth, health and fitness, spirituality, productivity, mindfulness and more.

We serve over three million students, subscribers and followers worldwide, empowering our audience to lead healthier, happier lives and fulfil their greatest potential.We are ambitiously determined to change education globally and provide innovative, holistic education at all levels of life - from infancy to high school to late adulthood.

Our ultimate goal? To launch a school of growth and humanity for a billion people, unleashing the extraordinary in everyone, with the adamant belief that we can and will impact the world.