Firstly we need to understand how satiety is reached. The main elements that lead us to feeling satisfied after a meal are stomach feel, micronutrients, calories, taste buds, & the mental component. So, if you are currently feeling unsatisfied on your raw food diet you can troubleshoot your issue by altering any of the following:
Your fat intake. Most who are new to raw have the issue of over-consuming fat. In this situation we aren’t getting enough calories from sugar & are left feeling (among other things, like lethargic and gassy), unsatisfied after meals. To pendulum in the opposite direction, some strive for their idea of a perfect fruitarian diet and end up fearing fat. They find themselves always hungry because they haven’t met their fat needs.
If you’re under-eating calorically you are certainly going to feel unsatisfied. This is often the case with beginners on the raw diet because whole raw foods are calorically less dense than their cooked counterparts.
Water & fibre. A raw vegan diet is great for our health because of the amount of fibre and water that occur naturally in whole raw foods. Trouble can arise however when someone isn’t used to eating the high quantity of food that is necessary to sustain a raw diet. From their many years on a cooked food diet, they are used to feeling satiation after fewer bites. Secondly, dried fruit and other dehydrated foods may not be satisfying to some because they are lacking in water; juice may not be satisfying to some because it’s lacking in fibre.
Eating raw vegan means our diet will already be much richer in nutrition than a Standard American one, however some still find that they are not meeting their vitamin, mineral or phytonutrient needs. This issue may arise if your diet isn’t including the variety that you require. Or, if a good portion of your produce hasn’t been farmed organically.
There have been a few cases that I’ve known of where tweaking one’s macronutrient ratio to include more protein has been helpful. Still keeping protein plant-based and raw, but increasing it subtly, can be effective for certain individuals struggling to stay satisfied.
I’ve been in the position where it’s dinner time, I’m hungry but I don’t really want fruit any more because I’ve had that all day. I’ll of course have my regular salad or green veggies but I’m desiring something more substantial without wanting it to be high in fat. On these occasions, my secret weapon is starch!
Make sure you get your fill of naturally salty foods. For myself to feel satisfied I find it so important to have a savory meal every day. I think for most people this is true & in going without, one can feel like something is missing and futilely try & quench this emptiness with fruit. (I don’t promote the use of refined salt, ie. sea salt, rock salt, table salt etc., because I find it to interfere with the body’s ability to assess appropriate food intake levels.)
Most of us come to raw food still having to heal from the effects of our previous unhealthy, cooked diet. For instance, you may be left with impaired digestion after years of hardened plaque, you may have crohn’s or IBS…If digestion is challenged your body may not be adequately breaking down, absorbing or assimilating nutrients, which would surely leave one feeling unsatisfied. In cases like this, assisting with the digestion process by blending or juicing produce can be helpful.
Consider that you may not be letting yourself get hungry. Keep in mind that if you are never actually hungry, you can never be satisfied. Are you someone who is snacking throughout the day, eating and eating but never feeling sated? It might be enlightening to try some solid meal times. Give yourself several hours in between eating and then have a complete serving. In another case, consider that you may not be actually experiencing true hunger. Have you made a habit of reaching for food in times of stress, pain or discomfort? Lastly, I encourage experimenting with mono-meals. These help us get in touch with true satiation.
When first coming to a raw diet many do feel like they are missing out. They feel left out of the social aspect of eating. I’m all for simplicity, but raw doesn’t have to be & it certainly doesn’t have to be boring!
Try crafting special raw food dishes & share your treats. Create a new culture around the management & preparation of your raw food. Access the raw vegan community online and arrange or attend potlucks. Go to restaurants with your mates, just learn how to order differently.
Check out my recipe books! Learn to create the variety of textures & tastes to keep things interesting!
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