The 3 things you should never do to begin a 30 Day food challenge [30 Days in the Raw, Day 1]

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Today marks day one of our 30-day experiment eating exclusively raw foods. Now that I’m here, the whole idea is a little more daunting than it sounded a few weeks ago when I first had the idea. When my partner in crime and all things food-related, Chef James, looked over the meal plan I quickly drafted up for our first few days, his only comment was “This looks disgusting.” Sigh.

There are a lot of things you can (and should) do to set yourself up for success for an initiative like this. Planning, advanced food preparation, enrolling your chef husband… that sort of thing. Usually I’m quite organized and on top of things, but this time I threw all caution (and reason) to the wind and just plunged in.

Here are three things you should never do before starting a 30-Day Raw Food challenge. I tried all three of them out on your behalf, just to be sure.

1) Start a major dietary overhaul the day you get home from a month-long road trip

To be successful at any kind of major dietary change, planning is key. This means planning on every level – meal planning, advanced grocery shopping and food prep, clearing out your kitchen of tempting foods you won’t be eating, and also scheduling to allow a little extra time for meals.

Travel is stressful at the best of times and certainly throws you out of your groove. Getting home and immediately launching into a brand new routine for which you’ve left yourself no time to prepare mentally or otherwise, is a recipe for chaos. And grocery store meltdowns. But that’s a story for another day.

2) Binge on junk for the last few days before the challenge

Something we counsel our sugar control detoxers again and again is to NOT use those last few days before the cleanse as a mad free-for-all, stuffing in all the indulgences that are off-plan for the coming weeks. It’s very tempting to do this, but all it does is make the cleanse more challenging because your body is even further out of balance. A much wiser strategy is to use those last few days to wean off some of the most destructive foods you’re eating. This way the body is in better shape and the cleanse is a much gentler process.

These last few days, I used being on the road, seeing old friends at my high school reunion, and the very lame “but I won’t be able to eat this for a full 30 days!!” as my excuses, but all I’ve done is make my first few days harder on myself than they need to be. I even started drinking my nemesis, caffeinated coffee, the last couple of weeks of our trip, and so now I’ve got caffeine withdrawal to deal with on top of everything else.

3) Have a date night on the first day

Starting any new dietary program it’s always wise to make your first few days of food at home so that you’re in charge of ingredients and preparation. This way, you can also control what temptations are in front of you. Finding restaurant meals that comply with dietary requirements can be very difficult, if not impossible. And watching your dinner companions mow down on your favorite indulgences can be a cruel form of torture.

In our case, opera tickets we’ve had for ages happen to be unmoved-able and for tonight. Our dinner options are: eat quickly before we go at home, or find a 100% raw restaurant. Since we’re already starting a few steps behind (see points 1 and 2), I’m thinking option B…

And so, off we go for our 30 days.

How did you start your raw journey?

photo credit: Lauren Silverman.



  1. Rebecca Cody


    I have a few raw recipe books, but most of the recipes are quite involved. A couple fo the books – both named RAW – are just impossible, because every recipe seems to call for items that should have been started anywhere from three to one day prior to using them, and in both these books most recipes call for 10-20 ingredients. Yikes!

    However, raw recipe books have great desserts that are delicious and full of tasty, healthy ingredients, using dates and other fruits for most sweetening.

    Good luck with this. I’m not sure how you’re going to do this and stay Paleo. Should be fun to see.

    • @ Rebecca – I hear you! Most raw stuff is super complicated. But I believe that’s because so much of it is vegan and it’s challenging to get enough protein. So far the meals have been quite simple and actually not long or complicated at all. In fact, not cooking the meat takes a lot of the time challenge out of it. Beef carpaccio for dinner last night — just defrost the filet and thinly slice. Couldn’t be simpler!

      @ Kristi – I hear ya! 🙂

  2. Kristi


    I am sorry, I am laughing! Because, I could definitely see myself doing some of the same things. We just won’t talk about my first sugar control detox…. can you say, crash and burn? ahem. Thank you for sharing your ‘realness’. 🙂 Just get through the first few days and then it gets better, right? And how was the opera?

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