About Renegade Health
About the People Behind Renegade Health
by Frederic Patenaude, Editor-in-Chief
On this page, you’ll find a long description of what Renegade Health is in a question and answer format. If you’re a member of the press or the media, you will also find a short bio that you can use as you like!
Don’t let any of this bore you…
What is Renegade Health?
If anyone in your family thinks you’re a little nutso about your health, then you’re in the right place…
If you’re just starting your health journey and have never heard of green smoothies to lose weight, water fasting for chronic headaches or how flax seeds can lower your blood pressure, we can help you too.
Hundreds of thousands of people just like you visit Renegade Health every month for trusted natural health information and inspiration.
It’s a safe haven — far away from the craziness you can find with any Internet search.
We publish daily inspiration, health tips and multiple articles almost every day of the week on many health topics, with an emphasis on the benefits of fasting and the best diets for longevity.
Who are We?
Renegade Health was started by Kevin and Annmarie Gianni, and is now managed by yours truly — Frederic Patenaude.
Kevin and Annmarie…
spent two and a half years driving around the United States and Canada in a big, old RV — appropriately named “The Kale Whale.” It was the American Dream with a healthy spin.
On the road, they filmed the Renegade Health Show from 2008 to 2011. There are now over 900 videos in the archive that cover all sorts of different natural health topics. You can find all of these at your finger tips by simply searching this site.
You might be surprised to hear that my education background is in classical music, which I studied (with the guitar as my main instrument) at a Montreal University. However, I decided not to pursue a career in music because I discovered the raw food diet and natural health therapies like fasting, and felt that I wanted to become a health journalist instead!
At 21 years old, I moved to California to work with the new pioneers of the raw food diet movement that started in the late 90’s. I worked with David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, David Jubb, and many other important figures of this movement.
My early years as a raw foodist were filled with mistakes! A lot of bad advice was being spread and as a result, I experienced a health decline following this diet rather than an improvement. My symptoms were low energy, dental problems, and an inability to thrive on this diet.
Giving Up on the Diet
Having gone to an extreme in diet, it was natural that I tried going back to the other extreme: eating whatever I wanted.
There were periods in my life when I stopped attempting to eat a healthy diet at all: no more raw, no more vegan: I’ll just eat whatever I want!
I started out with rice and beans, then I added eggs. Then eventually I was eating every kind of meat possible, and going to bed right after drinking two or three beers. I slept like a baby.
This period lasted as long as I needed to get it out of my system, which was about a year or so.
Although the extreme of a raw food diet done the wrong way wasn’t working, the approach of eating whatever I wanted also led to other problems such as weight gain, lack of enthusiasm for life, and just feeling plain dull.
Finding the Truth in the Middle
I spent the next few years trying to figure out why so many people experience health improvements on a diet that leads to health problems in others.
This lead me to exhaustively research raw food, vegan, fasting, and other alternative therapies, in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The question that I tried to answer: what is the healthiest diet and lifestyle that can bring us health now and in the long-term?
I will not answer that question with a set of strict rules that imply: this is the way it has to be.
The reason so many people fail on the raw food diet is precisely because of this dogmatic approach that only sees what it wants to see and excludes all other possibilities.
At the same time, I will not leave you hanging with the vague advice of simply find out what works for you. I believe you can learn a great deal from my experience, but can also draw some conclusions for yourself.
So that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do.
It may come out harshly.
I may offend a few people on occasion.
And I may even be wrong from time to time.
But I tell it like it is, and I let you make up your own mind. Don’t believe everything that I say, but consider it.
One reader told me recently: “Hi Fred, I love how you make me think outside the square and really think about things!!”
Meeting Kevin and Annmarie
Around 2008, I met Kevin and Annmarie.
For a few years, we were managing my own health blogs about the raw food diet. We were both going separate ways, but I was often contributing to Renegade Health. One year, I was awarded “Best Health Blogger” by Kevin’s team.
Around 2011, Kevin and Annmarie started a skincare business called Annmarie Gianni Skincare, which offers truly unique, organic, wild-crafted skin care products. In 2013, Annmarie’s skin care business kept booming, to the point where they decided to dedicate their efforts on it full time.
It was a perfect coincidence, because I started getting a little uncomfortable in that space. I wasn’t the fruitarian people thought of me anymore. My diet preferences were changing. I had learned some things along the way that I wanted to share, but I didn’t know how to approach the subject with my readers.
In July of 2013, I became the editor-in-chief of Renegade Health.
I joined Renegade Health for a few reasons.
1. Kevin and I have been down the same road.
Essentially, we’ve had many of the same experiences in health. We’ve both gone deep into extreme diets, gotten burned, and now came out the other end with a lot of wisdom and common sense.
2. I’m passionate about health.
I’m 40 years old, but started out on this “health journey” when I was only 18. Natural Health and nutrition IS my life.
What is Your Philosophy on Health?
I feel simple is better, but not in all cases. Each individual has his or her own particular set of needs that may be wildly different from another. Here are some of the basics of our philosophy:
- Have fun!
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Don’t buy into diet dogma. Be careful with gurus who promise “amazing” health results if you’d only purchase their products…
- Eat a plant-based diet. Strive the get at least 80% of your calories from whole, plant foods. The other 20% is up to you.
- Strive to eat an SOS-free diet (No salt-oil-sugar). Apply the same 80-20% principle here!
- Find a type of exercise that you love.
- Consider incorporating fasting into your life. It’s changed my life, and it could change yours!
- Manage and reduce stress using techniques like EFT and mediation.
- Enjoy your job, family and relationships. Be sure to call your mom.
There are more, of course, but these are the ones that don’t seem to change for me!
What Books and Programs Have You Written?
Here’s a short list of the books and programs I’ve written:
- The Raw Secrets
- Raw Food Controversies
- The Sunfood Cuisine
- How to Eat Well on a Plant-Based Diet for Under $100 a Month
- How to Learn Any Language in a Flash
- How to Travel the World for Free
- How to Heal Dental Disasters
You can browse all of them here.
Didn’t You Used to be a Raw-Foodist? Why Don’t You Eat a Raw Diet Anymore?
Judging from what I eat, some people would say I’m a raw foodists. Purists would say no.
I’ve been eating a largely raw diet for over 20 years. The longest I went on 100% raw foods was over three years. I find the raw food diet to be a wonderful therapy, and I think that when properly done, it is a healthy diet that works for a lot of people. I also find benefits in eating a both raw and cooked foods, to get the best of both worlds.
I’ve been around many famous raw foodists and although many claim to eat a 100% raw food diet, they don’t do so in private. It’s not just about eating raw or cooked foods, it’s about WHAT foods you eat raw or cooked.
Many of the arguments used to promote a raw food diet are unscientific and needlessly confuse the public. For example, food enzymes are not necessary for our own digestion, and cooking food does not necessarily render it “toxic.”
The main benefits of the raw food diet actually come from the foods that it eliminates: refined foods, animal products and salt. We can get the benefits of a raw food diet without many of the potential problems by simply eating raw and cooked vegetables, fruit, whole plant foods, and a minimal amount of “rich foods” and animal products.
After Years of Research about Nutrition and Health, Do You Still Believe There are Good and Bad Foods?
Yes, there are bad foods; but, the foods that we consider “bad,” we don’t even consider “food.” So all the packaged garbage that you find at the gas station fits into the bad category.
I prefer to look at it in a different way.
There are whole foods, and there are fractioned or refined foods. Whole foods are always better. For example, an avocado is a whole food, but avocado oil is a fractioned food. Avocado will always be better than oil.
There are plant foods and there are animal foods. Our bodies are designed to function on mostly plant foods — which are the only foods loaded with fiber and anti-oxidants. That’s one of the reasons I believe you should get most of your calories from plant foods.
Ultimately, to determine what is working for you, you can do these two things. First, get your blood tested so you know what improvements you can make to your diet and, second, tune into what your body is telling you. Each must be used together for the best results.
Why Do You Fast? Isn’t Water Fasting a Bit Crazy and Won’t It Mess Up Your Metabolism?
I discovered water fasting when I was only 19, when I tried my first 3-day water fast. Like many, I have experienced many outstanding benefits from the practice of intermittent fasting, as well as occasionally going on a supervised, longer fast.
There are too many myths about fasting to debunk here. Let’s just say that there’s a reason why fasting has been part of every single major spiritual tradition. Our bodies are designed to fast on an occasional basis. It may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly a powerful health practice to know about. To read more on fasting, click here.
Don’t You Have Any Cravings?
When I was a raw foodist, cravings were part of my daily life. Over the years, I’ve understood why people experience cravings on their diet.
1) Their diet is too restrictive. We need some foods that are satiating and satisfying to eat. For most people, starches are a necessary addition to the diet to feel satisfied, get enough energy and avoid cravings. Eat more rice, beans and potatoes and your cravings will go away!
2) They don’t get enough calories. Eating a diet of raw vegetables and green juice sounds like a very healthy thing, but if you follow it for too long, you’ll starve to death. We need vitamins and minerals, but we also need calories. Not getting enough calories is a common reason for cravings.
3) You’re too stressed out about your diet. If you crave a bit of chocolate, it won’t hurt you to have it as a treat once in a while. Get 80-95% of your diet right and don’t worry too much about the rest!
What’s a Typical Day of Eating for You?
My diet has evolved over the years with everything that I’ve learned studying the science of health. I’ve also simplified it to the things that I enjoy eating the most. A typical day of eating might look like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal and blueberries, with walnuts, flax seeds and a few raisins. Or I might have fruit only, or a green smoothie, or skip breakfast entirely!
Lunch: Lots of vegetables, some rice, lots of beans. I enjoy these very simple stir fries with the right spices and seasonings! My treat: adding avocado on top.
Dinner: If it’s good for lunch, it’s good for dinner! I often eat the same thing for both meals. But I can also make a number of meals that I love eating: big dinner salads, delicious soups, and anything with sweet potatoes!
My favorite snack is fresh fruit.
Won’t All These Carbs Make Me Fat?
Low-carb diets are popular, and although they can lead to weight loss, they are not necessarily healthier. We should all eat foods rich in fiber and antioxidants, and those are found in plants. Plant-foods are synonymous with carbohydrates. As long as you eat WHOLE sources of carbohydrates, eat plenty of vegetables and go easy on the oil, you’ll stay slim and healthy.
Do You Ever “Slip” on Your Diet?
Do you? 😉
Do You Have any Guilty Pleasures?
I’m all about enjoying life! I get it right 90% of the time, but I don’t worry too much about occasional slips.
I can’t seem to give up caffeine entirely, so I view an occasional espresso as a guilty pleasure!
I do enjoy a glass of wine occasionally, and sometimes squares of chocolate do land in my mouth by accident.
Is That Cute Accent of Yours German?
When hearing me speak, many people have asked me if I’m German or Brazilian or French. I don’t think my accent sounds German at all, but it also doesn’t sound like I’m from Paris. That’s because I’m French Canadian. Luckily, I started speaking English when I was 12 — but too late to speak without a slight accent!
Where do you live?
I am stuck in snowy Montreal, Canada! Seriously, I love my city. But I try to mysteriously disappear for at least 1-2 months during the winter. It’s a good excuse to visit Kevin and Annmarie in California!
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I’m hooked to traveling and have visited over 35 countries. People always ask me what’s my favorite place? It’s a tough question to answer. Favorite for what? It terms of pure “awestruck” beauty, there is one place that comes to mind. It’s a very remote island called Fakarava. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve seen in the world. I hope to come back one day! (The bad news: nothing grows there besides coconuts, so almost every food must be imported!)
What Should I Do Now?
I’d love you to hang out here with me and spend some time on the site exploring all the natural health options there are for you. We have posts on specific topics, recipes, videos, interviews with health experts, our experiments and products to support a healthy lifestyle.
But, if you haven’t found any of this inspiring, maybe it’s best to go outside for a walk. It’s what we do when we need a change of pace. Enjoy!
Here’s Frederic’s Short Bio
Frederic Patenaude (b. 1976) is a health author, activist and blogger. He’s been writing and publishing about health and nutrition since the age of 18. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies when he was struck with the reality that heart disease ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. After trying a raw food diet for many years, he eventually found a more sustainable approach that incorporates the best of the traditions of raw foods, vegetarianism and the latest in clinical nutrition.
He is the author of several books including Raw Food Controversies. He is the editor-in-chief of the website Renegade Health, which reaches over 100,000 people a day. Frederic lives in Montreal, Canada, but is a world traveler who has visited over 35 countries and continues reaching people from every continent with his health message.