My Raw Food Advice Summarized

Monday Sep 2, 2013 | BY |
| Comments (45)

IF

In 1996, I was barely 20 years old when I decided to go raw.

My initial experiments on the raw food diet were arduous, hazardous, and—ultimately–a failure. My longest stretch of 100% raw was around three years, but after that I kept trying and trying. Now, 17 years later, I have not necessarily stayed raw the entire time, but I have learned a lot about raw food diets.

A raw food diet can be your friend or your crazy lover (the one that brings a stream of emotional ups and downs), depending on how you look at it.

Raw foods can be a tremendous tool for losing weight, detoxing, feeling better, and overcoming specific health problems. You can use a raw food diet as a short-term cleanse (lasting several days, weeks, or months), or as part of your overall health regimen. Some people choose to eat 100% raw and manage to maintain this strict lifestyle. But most people will use the raw food diet to achieve certain goals, as noted above.

If you wish to try a raw food diet as a cleanse or long-term program (50%, 70%, or even 100% raw), the following list will help you to avoid common problems.

1) Be Careful Combining Lots of Fat with Lots of Fruit

Many problems that raw foodists experience come from the fact that this diet removes all sources of complex carbohydrates and concentrated proteins. This means that calories on a typical raw vegan diet will come from either sugar (generally from fruit) or fat (oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados, etc.). Raw vegetables and salads, although rich in nutrients, contain an insignificant amount of energy. Consequently, a typical raw food diet may contain 60% or even 70% fat, by total calories. This is much more than the national average of 35% to 40%.

Fat is more difficult to digest and can leave you feeling sluggish. If it becomes your primary source of calories, especially when no concentrated sources of protein are consumed, you may not feel at your best.

Adding a lot of fruit to this mix can create additional problems. Because consuming more fat lowers insulin sensitivity and makes the blood more viscous, sugar consumed in the context of a high-fat diet (even from healthy sources like fruit) can lead to blood sugar imbalances and symptoms of Candida.

If you’re going to embark on a raw food diet, you should eat plenty of fruit and minimal fat, or be mindful of your fruit intake. In my experience, the latter option only works short-term. Because the calories on a raw food diet are restricted, if your consumption of carbohydrates is insufficient, eventually your energy levels will decline.

In my experience, a lower-fat, higher-fruit raw food diet works best if someone is going to follow this lifestyle for a long period of time.

2) Eat Enough Calories

Raw foods generally have a low caloric density. One pound of fruit typically contains only 250 calories, while most cooked foods have at least 500. Vegetables contain even fewer calories, at about 100 per pound, and most of these are not even absorbed. That’s why people can keep eating raw foods without ever feeling completely satiated.

It can be tempting to make up for the lower caloric density of fruits and vegetables by eating more avocados, nuts, and seeds. But over time, the excess calories from fat will take a toll on the body. And let’s not even talk about the problems associated with consuming excess omega-6 fats from too many nuts and seeds.

The solution is to eat more fruit. Whenever someone is following a raw food program and complains they don’t have enough energy, I have them dramatically increase their fruit intake. This solves the problem 90% of the time. Bananas, mangoes, and other high-calorie fruits are excellent choices. Blend them in smoothies to get even more calories in.

3) Exercise

On a raw food diet, you can either be a sloth or a high-energy monkey. Most herbivore animals are very passive and sleep most of the day. Primates who live on fruit are more intelligent and active. So if you’re going to eat a lot of fruit, you need to burn off that sugar through exercise. Otherwise you will eventually gain weight or develop blood sugar imbalances.

If you’re quite sedentary and just want to try a raw food diet to lose weight, then you can go easier on the fruit.

4) Dental Hygiene

It is true that raw foodists generally experience more dental problems because they consume more acidic foods (citrus, fruit, lemons, dressings, etc.), sugar (fruit, dried fruit, etc.), and sticky, dried foods (kale chips, dehydrated foods, etc.).

Dental health is a war against bacteria, and bacteria will feed on anything: sugar, carbohydrates, and morsels of food stuck in the teeth. Eliminate the root of the problem. Keep the bacteria at a level where they cannot do much damage through a precise and disciplined hygiene routine. For me, this means four minutes of brushing (in a certain pattern) with an electric toothbrush after dinner, followed by flossing, tongue scraping, and water irrigation with my VitaJet.

I also brush in the morning and before or after lunch. The good thing is that once you’ve been able to keep your bacteria level low for a long time, plaque no longer accumulates.

5) Eat Blended Greens

Eating green vegetables on a raw food diet is necessary to obtain enough calcium and other alkaline minerals, which are lacking in fruit and nuts. However, greens can be hard for the body to assimilate when eaten raw, unless you chew them for a very long time. That’s why I recommend some form of blended greens. Try green smoothies or a blended salad (I like Roger Haeske’s www.veggiestews.com). Once or twice a day, a big bowl or tall glass is about all we need.

6) Take Supplements

The raw vegan diet can be lacking in some important nutrients, and it can be challenging to get sufficient amounts of others. I recommend taking the following:

• B12: 100 micrograms daily or 2000 mc twice a week. More if you’ve been on a vegan diet for more than 2 years without supplementing.
Vitamin D: either 1000 IU of D3 or 2000 IU of D2 daily during spring, fall, and winter (less if you live in a sunny location).
• Calcium: 500mg to 1000mg daily, taken with vitamin D (there are supplements that contain both).
• Sodium: this is not a problem if you consume some salt, but if you don’t, increase the amount of celery you eat or add a pinch of salt to salads.
• Iodine: this can be lacking when someone avoids all sources of table salt (many of which have been supplemented with iodine). Iodine can be absent from certain soils, and you never know the exact iodine content of the foods you are eating. Try some powdered kelp on your salads (a type of seaweed that contains iodine) or a supplement.
• Selenium: include some Brazil nuts in your diet each week; this nutrient is often lacking in raw vegan diets.
• Protein: when a diet contains only fruits and vegetables and total calories are low, protein can be lacking. You will not become deficient, but a low intake of protein can cause other problems. If your diet doesn’t contain any concentrated sources of protein, I recommend adding one scoop of vegan, soy-free protein powder to your smoothie once a day, adding about 20-25 grams of protein. Rice-, pea-, or hemp-based proteins are all good choices.

I hope you enjoyed these quick tips on how to make a raw food diet work.

Question of the day: What is your experience with the raw food diet and what have you found worked for you?

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

45 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. suzanne says:

    I feel obligated to warn people who are embracing a raw food diet that many seeds, grains and legumes unless sprouted should not be eaten raw in any quantity. Some not eaten raw at all!
    these dormant foods contain anti nutrients that can inhibit the absorption of nutrients ( especially minerals ) and these antinutrients can potentially damage the gut. They should never be given to small children with developing digestive systems.
    As well if you have leaky gut (a damaged gut that allows undigested nutrients and toxins to pass through the gut wall into the blood) …you must be very careful as they can get into the bloodstream and cause havoc in your body …… be careful!
    Nature uses these anti nutrients to protect dormant food from pests in nature. Some can act as antioxidants in the body but care must be taken …. children with ADHD, Allergies, Autism …etc. should not eat dormant foods raw and some not even cooked. There is more and more research being done in this area. Sprouting or fermenting dormant foods can (not always) reduce or eliminate these antinutrients . Seeds, Nuts, legumes and grains can be nutritious foods but be careful not to eat raw in any quantity all at once or over time. If you eat these foods sprout or cook them and eat a lot of raw vegetables fruits and other living foods to complement the diet. … Suzanne

    • Gary Collier says:

      I agree completely. In addition, nuts should be soaked (not roasted) until the outer skin comes off of them, and for the same reason….

    • I agree Susan but at the same time using Hippocrates saying ” let’s food be the medicine and medicine the food”, even 2,500 years ago his teaching was considered treacherous by medical establishment of the time and he spend over 20 years in prison for his simple teachings. Now the just call someone with these beliefs a “hillbilly”, no more prisons, no more poisons like Socrates, but we have to learn how to eat food with “health benefits”.

    • Nadine says:

      Suzanne what would you suggest is the right diet for a child with Autism, ADHD, Allergies? Is there a way of helping children with these problems that they can benefit from eating a proper diet to what they normally eat namely carbohydrates etc. Does or will it improve their condition as such. Nadine

      • Marisa says:

        The GAPS diet has been known to heal Autism and other gut-related diseases. I’ll be starting it soon since I suffer (like just about everyone who grew up eating the SADD diet) from gut dysbiosis.

      • Paula says:

        Nadine, please look into the GAPS diet! I believe it stands for “gut and psychology syndrome.” This diet is supposed to have great results with the type conditions that you mentioned. You Tube also has some info on it–and the Dr. Mercola site. Fermented foods/drinks also are very healthful in these type conditions. Hope the information helps!

    • Joe says:

      sprout also could couse problem because it developed estrogen .

  2. Gloria says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am in full agreement. I very much want to know what your opinion is of
    digestive enzymes, probiotics, spirolina, kombucha and water keifer would be. I am asking because there are those who analyse live blood cells and say that these above items deteriorate human cells. Please comment!!!!!!
    I am in much appreciation for your comment.

    • Gary Collier says:

      Who is making these claims ?? I’ve never heard that. All the things you mentionsed are superfoods and should be included in anyone’s diet….

      • Gloria says:

        Hello,
        To answer your question, Robert O. Young a biologist and the author of The ph miracle has made statements about spirolina, enzymes and probiotics based on this research through LIVE blood cell analysis. Take the time to at least google him and you will find out what he has to say. I am a medical professional and know that simple blood tests do not mean much at all however, LIVE blood cell analysis says so much more. It is who we are and what we are made of.
        I am a little disturbed about this information as well and just wanted some of the raw food professionals to comment on Roberts findings.
        I have been knowledgeable about raw for about 24 years now and know that most of the big gurus are aware of his work.
        Check it out and please feel free to comment back.
        All in love,
        Gloria

  3. Venus says:

    When I was diagnosed with Breast cancer in 2009 and decided to not take the medical route of cutting, poisoning and burning but choosing the natural route instead, I ate mostly Raw for at least six months than went to 80%. I believe you can be 100% raw but it has to be done right. Personally I love to prepare food and I was missing out on the social life of eating out with friends. I do Vegan great and love it. I am cancer free and healed for good.
    I do agree that we must find out what works best for each and everyone’s different body types, since we are all so unique. So for now, I eat about 75 to 80% raw and the rest cooked on most days.
    Life is to be enjoyed not stressed over!
    Loved the article.

  4. Kendra says:

    Hi Frederick-great article.

    Question re: fats eaten along with fruit. I get what you are saying about how the Candida can feed on the fruit sugars because the blood becomes more viscous when you eat fat, and sugar hangs out longer instead of digesting quickly, allowing the Candida time to feed on it.

    What about adding a hemp seed protein powder or just hemp seeds (or any seed/nut/mylk while we’re talking about it) to a fruit & greens smoothie? Is the fat in the hemp, nut, mylk enough to create the same situation? I have been wondering about this for a long time.

    Also-adding a the raw protein powder keeps my hunger at bay longer, but doesn’t seem to digest all that well. I think it is the mix of protein and fruit-probably the worst duo in terms of food combining. Can you comment on this, as well?

    Thanks so much for all the great info and experience you share. Kendra

  5. Rhonda says:

    Hello Frederic,

    Great tips for anyone wanting to go raw. My personal experience has led me to add in more raw foods to my daily diet starting with greens and fruit smoothies to fresh foods from the garden made into salads or entrees. As you stated, I too have found my balance with having some healthy plant-based cooked items whenever I feel like it to keep variety and not adhere to a strict only raw for me 100% regimen. Everyone must find what works for them. I have known several athletes that live a strict diet, but then they may hit a plateau and need to add some supplements, powders or cooked potatoes or grains to get the selenium and higher calories from their food.

    Thank you for sharing your great tips from your experience with a raw food diet. If you get the chance, check out my newly released book Guide to Super Raw Foods and let me know what you think.

    My best to you and the Gianni’s,

    Rhonda

  6. Frederick,
    Overall, I agree with your advice in this column. For the past 10 years, I have been following roughly an 80% raw diet. My partner is still a “meat and potatoes” type, with no weight problems, and I find myself appeasing him in the evenings when we commonly have dinner together. I think if I lived alone, I would ratchet my “raw” up to over 90%.

    I have only one comment though: I would advise anyone supplementing with Vitamin B-12 to be discriminating with regard to the form of B-12 you purchase for supplementing.

    Most manufacturers market the cyanocobalamin form because it is less expensive to produce. However, I would suggest one buy the methylcobalamin form of B-12 because it is more absorbable. I have suffered from peripheral neuropathy and Vitamin B-12 is critically important for nerve regeneration, so I have been careful to purchase the more absorbable form. Also, there are sublingual forms of B-12 which are better than the oral capsules or tablets that are deteriorated in the digestive process. And, finally, there is a dermal form of B-12 that is applied to the skin behind the ear for optimal absorption. So, I guess what I am saying is that one should be knowledgeable about the different forms of any supplement and focus on what the research tells you about which form serves your needs the best.

    • Paula says:

      B12 as methylcobalamin can also be taken by injection. This is the tiniest needle and it really is not even felt. The injections would be more appropriate for someone who is dealing with a diagnosed deficiency and needing large doses. Most mainstream/integrative medicine docs give B12 shots in their offices routinely. B12 injections given to oneself at home, need a prescription and are filled at compounding pharmacies. Many have established mailing protocol, so one can order from an out of state compounding pharmacy. I use Coastal Compounding pharmacy in Savannah and have it mailed to VA. A great book on B12 is, Could it be B12? The book is a few years old but well written with solid info. B12 problems are poorly diagnosed by mainstream medicine and often not treated optimally either. This book really provides help on that.

  7. Gary Collier says:

    I rarely see raw-foodists or vegans talk about fruits properly, particularly those who have fallen into what I call “smoothiemania”. Here’s what I know about fuit:

    Rule #1: Fruits should be eaten alone and one fruit at a time. (Combining fruits causes fruit-digesting enzymea to conflict with each other and cancel each other out, leading to indigestion. Eating fruit with other types of food leads to similar results.)

    Rule #2: Fruit should be eaten a half hour before or one hour after a non-fruit meal.

    Rule #3: Fruit should be eaten before noon (and vegetables after).

    Rule #4: Don’t make big honkin’ glasses of juice out of squeezed fruit. (I.e., don’t juice a half a dozen oranges. You get too much sugar that way. Eat one whole orange, pulp and all….you get the most benefit that way.)

    There are a few exceptions to these rules, but you should learn to practice these first before you go looking for exceptions that you can get away with. If you follow these rules faithfully, you will have zero problems with fats.

    If you make smoothies, don’t mix fruit in with your greens. Yeah, I know, fruit makes greenies taste better, but leads to indigestion.

  8. Randyl Rupar says:

    Your comments are indeed necessary in these days of determining the proper diet for our individual selves.
    Been vegan for over 40 years and have experienced a plethora of reasons to remain true to a plant-based diet.
    First, was an epiphany of raw fruit fasting for 30 days on Maui and coming home and witnessing as Professor Arnold Ehret would cali a “Great Elimination” and saw things come out of my body that only colon therapists will believe.
    Also, in my youth tried out raw foods, fruitarianism, etc. Best thing was living in Fallbrook, CA. North County San Diego and having avocados be my fruit staple.
    Anyway, what I am attempting to say is that diet is as controversial as politics and religion and needs to be understood as a personal experience.
    Currently, my reason for choosing a vegan diet is by far for the betterment of our planet’s resources.
    However, still stand true to my vehemnet position of animal cruelty regarding the extremely poor treatment of animals as slaves for our eating habits and the moral aspects that arise from such choices, such as war.
    Hoping you will determine that some people’s choices are “right” for them and that sharing wisdom is so much more important than offering anecdotal information.
    Mahalo nui loa for your willingness to share your personal beliefs.

    • Randyl Rupar says:

      Oops typo corrections on pevious post…

      Commentary on Plant-Based Diet

      Your comments are indeed necessary in these days of determining the proper diet for our individual selves.? Been vegan for over 40 years and have experienced a plethora of reasons to remain true to a plant-based diet.? First, was an epiphany of raw fruit fasting for 30 days on Maui and coming home and witnessing as Professor Arnold Ehret would call a “Great Elimination” and saw things come out of my body that only colon therapists will believe.? Also, in my youth tried out raw foods, fruitarianism, etc. Best thing was living in Fallbrook, CA. North County San Diego and having avocados be my fruit staple.? Anyway, what I am attempting to say is that diet is as controversial as politics and religion and needs to be understood as a personal experience.? Currently, my reason for choosing a vegan diet is by far for the betterment of our planet’s resources. ?However, still stand true to my vehement position of animal cruelty regarding the extremely poor treatment of animals as slaves for our eating habits and the moral aspects that arise from such choices, such as war.? Hoping you will determine that some people’s choices are “right” for them and that sharing wisdom is so much more important than offering anecdotal information.? Mahalo nui loa for your willingness to share your personal beliefs.

  9. With interest I have read the story and of course the beautiful picture. I can safely say the article and even picture contained lots of truths but very little facts.

    First, concept of “raw food”. Most of the serious raw foodists agree that raw food is anything cooking to 49 deg C when nutrition is really released, except tomatoes which should be cooked to 89 deg C when nutrition is released.

    Second, all plants and especially greens contain oxalic acid a Nature’s way to make sure we as an animal species eat only ripe vegetables (unfortunately we consider ripe vegetables a spoiled, past it’s prime) and we would not eat them, therefore we have to cook them at low temperature.

    These are basic facts, eating non cooked vegetables over extended period of time causes illness, not wellness!

  10. Lisa says:

    1) I’ve read “farmed salmon” is bad and “wild salmon” is good… the above article suggests buying only, “raw and organically raised salmon (not wild), or wild salmon (as long as you buy from a reputable dealer who can certify its origins)” as good. Where does good clean “farmed salmon” and “wild salmon” come from?

    2) I just purchased my first kombucha drink (w/ ginger) and it was delicious… but I’m suspect of anything made from processed (white) sugar. In ancient days, before sugar was processed, what was kombucha made from? I’d like to make a healthy version of my own… but I don’t want any processed sugar in my house!

    3) What seeds, nuts, and legumes should never be eaten raw; but rather be eaten sprouted or cooked? Also, please provide more info. that children with ADHD, Allergies, Autism …etc. “should not eat dormant foods raw and some not even cooked.” Which foods not even cooked?

    Thank you everyone… for helpful info. and comments!

    • Liz D says:

      I too have been skeptical of any white sugar before actually making kombucha. I suggest you research more on it. When you drink kombucha you don’t get the sugar, you get detoxing acids (among other good stuff). The SCOBY eats the sugar and transforms it into what’s been said to be good. I recommend working through questions with a trusted naturopath or real nutrition counselor. I believe kombucha isn’t for everyone all the time. Sometimes detoxing the way kombucha helps with isn’t good and can cause alternate effects in unhealthy bodies. I had to stop drinming it and hope to pick it up again when my body can handle it. Back to the sugar, you won’t find another sugar that’s better for the SCOBY than white. Much luck on getting what you need. It’s a good, hard journey.

  11. Harm says:

    Hi, thank you for the info. Suppose you live a sedentary lifestyle, with only moderate exercise, say a stiff walk of half or one hour a day, what exactly does ‘going easy on the fruit’ entail? How do you tweak your diet so you don’t end up with blood sugar problems down the road. There are long term raw foodists – e.g. Fred Bsici – that warn for this type of problem. I’d appreciate your take on this.

  12. This is all craziness. This is misleading and NOT healthy.

    Let’s start with this: Fiber is NOT digestible by humans (this is why cows have 4 stomachs.) So when you go raw, this means that:
    1) You are simply filling your gut with a bunch of indigestible fiber which FERMENTS and ROTS. Think: what is the beer-making process? Let a bunch of grain sit in a warm wet environment for a while. Well, congrats: that’s your gut now. And then you OVER-feed all the flora and bacteria in your gut who CAN digest it, which is why you have a massive volume and frequency of poop. That isn’t the leftover waste from the food, that’s leftover waste from the organisms in your gut. They had a big party. Which is why after you eat all that raw rotting fibrous mess you 1) fart all day now, and 2) will develop colon cancer and other disorders later.
    2) You are NOT getting the nutrients out of it that you think you are (you need to COOK it to get it cracked open because not even juicing gets all the nutrients out). Really you are just starving yourself. Congrats. Eat a real meal with some actual protein and fat and you’ll feel better….immediately!

    So, the reason people “heal” of things like cancer and such when going raw,and feel “better” for a while is as such:
    1) It’s not so much what they ARE eating that’s so great, it’s what they are NOT eating that is so great. For the first time in their life they are not eating crap, bogging down their body endlessly.
    2) Meanwhile, if you are eating a lot of fruit, then you are simply filling your day with endless SUGAR. Yes, some of the fruit-based sugars burn slower than junkfood sugar, but still, you’re going to be on a sugar “high” all day. Feels nice. So does heroine. Good luck with that long-term. Just because people die from cake and ice cream doesn’t mean it’s the fat in it that does it. It’s the SUGAR. Stop eating so many carbs and your body will heal faster.
    3) Other than the sugar, there is a lot of FIBER. Because they are filling themselves with a bunch of waterous fiberous “food”, but not getting enough of the actual NUTRIENTS out of it and absorbed into their CELLS, they are essentially FASTING. Thus, most of that eating is simply irrelevant. Eat or not eat, doesn’t matter much because you are essentially starving yourself of nutrients. Which is why your energy goes to crap, and your moods go to crap, and you need all those supplements, and you look so gaunt and like you have one foot in the grave already. True, digesting food is about the most labor-intensive thing your body can do. Constantly eating huge non-raw meals all day, every day means your body puts a lot of energy towards digesting them before they too rot (think meat sitting in 100deg sun for a few hours. Doesn’t take long to putrify. So your body uses all its resources to obliterate it ASAP.) And so, when you are not eating all those digestible calories, then like all fasts, that’s when your body is able to take the excess digestive juices (acids and biles) and use them to”clean house” finally. Thus, heal of diseases.
    4) Other than the sugar and fiber, there is also a lot of WATER, which is good for cleansing of course. But only water-soluable toxins.
    5) The body ALSO needs something other than water to cleanse, something that most people don’t even realize. The body NEEDS good fats, and for two reasons. 1) to expel FAT-soluable toxins. 2) It requires good fats to build properly functioning cellular structures, specifically the cell walls. Without them it’s like building a house with crap lumber: it will fall apart over the course of the next months and years. Like so many misled people, this Patenaude guy has the stance that fats are bad. That is complete and utter BS. Yes, they pack a lot of energy, but they are NOT hard to digest…IF you get the GOOD ones. Yes, BAD fats are bad (vegetable oils, especially when hydrogenated, deep-fried, old and rancid, etc.) But, GOOD fats are good! (fats from good clean free-range animals, organic unrefined coconut oil, and good ol’ butter!) But, you go “raw,” and so for the first time ever you are NOT eating the really bad fats. OK. And then also for the first time ever you are eating some semi-decent ones (avocado, olive, and flax). But you don’t even know that most of them are already rancid by the time you get them, and even mixed and tainted with bad oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut, etc) from the Chinese distributors. Moreover, you are still getting too many oils from nuts and seeds which aren’t that healthy either. Small quantities are ok, but not jars of nut butter constantly (I agree with the other commenter Suzanne totally. Go easy and definitely sprout that stuff at least.)

    You want to feel good and eat the right foods? Humans have used fire for a LONG time and are hunter/gatherers (NOT grain-farming cultivators, which is a relatively new venture for the not-yet-adapted-to-it human species). So, yeah, have SOME fruit, but cook your veggies well, skip all the grains and flours (you do NOT need them) and have a damn steak once in a while. Not ready for that? Well, if you want to go “raw” then at least eat raw dairy and a few raw eggs every day with your well-cooked veggies, butter, and coconut oil.

    BTW – I finished and entire full rack of baby-back pork ribs while typing this very comment. Extra butter and sea salt even. SO DELICIOUS! I didn’t die, I won’t have ANY indigestion (wasn’t mixed with any solid carbs at all and very little sauce because I always ask for dry-rub only), very little poop mass later since my body will break it ALL down to the raw amino acids for rebuilding my body and leave NOTHING for the critters in my GI track to overpopulate and party with (and I eat a LITTLE raw yogurt, raw farmer’s cheese, kombucha, and yeast flakes every day to maintain a supply of good flora & bacteria), and I’ll have plenty of energy in a couple hours to work out. I know. I’ve been through every combination possible myself. (High-good-fat + low-carb) is the one that works for me and turned my life around. Meanwhile, you guys aren’t just fasting, some of you hard-cores knuckle-heads are MALNURISHING yourselves. Good luck with that.

    Like Venus said above: “Life is to be enjoyed not stressed over!” I’ll outlive all your raw-heads because I’m getting enough nutrients consistently, yet allowing my body to process them all, and expel all type of byproducts and toxins, AND enjoy every meal while doing it.

  13. Susan says:

    I know a vegan who eats soaked Chia Seeds instead of fish oil supplements. He said that is an acceptable alternative.

  14. Suzy says:

    I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, similar to rheumatoid arthritis, in 2000, and there were times I had trouble turning in bed, or getting up out of a chair. Following the diagnosis, over a period of years, I went vegetarian, then vegan, high raw, then 100% raw, noticing significant improvement with the raw diet. However, I did not completely recover until, at Dr. Cousens’ Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, in his Spiritual Nutrition Mastery program, I began following his “Phase I” diet: 100% raw, organic, vegan, and low glycemic. I ate very close to zero fruit for about 6 months, and recovered. I continue to follow the diet, now on phase 2; now I include 2-3 low-glycemic fruits daily (cherries, berries, or grapefruit), and an occasional fruit that is higher in fructose, and I remain recovered, off medication, lab values normal. However, I began to have mild recurrence of symptoms when I have too much fruit. Dr. Cousen’s recommends the Phase I diet to recover from any serious illness. So, in summary, restricted fruit can be healing for a variety of health conditions. I continue to study in Dr. Cousens’ Spiritual Nutrition Mastery program, because it has been such a gift to my health, and my life. I hope to help others with this lifesaving information!

    Blessings on everyone’s health!

  15. Nicki says:

    This is the most honest article of the raw food diet I have seen in a long time. Those who continue with a protein-free diet for a long period of time do suffer some muscle and joint problems in the long run. Raw food diet is great for detoxing and losing weight but it lacks some vital nutrients.
    Thank you for such a down-to-earth article.

  16. Chris Wark says:

    Great post Frederic! Very good tips.
    My biggest challenge on a raw vegan diet was getting enough calories,
    which is why I added some cooked foods back in.

    One thing I’d like to add. Citrus fruits soften tooth enamel.
    If you eat a lot of citrus fruit, it’s a good practice to rinse your mouth thoroughly afterward, but not brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes. Otherwise you can damage your tooth enamel.
    🙂

  17. anna says:

    I wish I’d had these tips when I ate 90-100% raw and vegan. Nuts were indeed my main staple, the rest were veggies and a little bit of fruit. I eventually added eggs and cooked grains to increase energy, but developed deficiencies anyway and some chronic conditions that I’d thought my clean diet would prevent. I hope your tips will save some people from depleting their bodies the way I depleted mine. My naturopath, a vegetarian himself, recently prescribed a diet that includes meat, because I’ve become sensitive to most nuts, grains, legumes, and many fruits and veggies. Not a happy outcome after 24 meat-free years!

    • Marisa says:

      Make sure it’s pasture-raised (grass-fed) meat and try to find a local farmer! :] They treat their animals the best, not to mention they offer infinitely higher quality than in the supermarkets.

  18. Hi Frederic, thank you for your raw food article. I just finished 18 months of BC treatment and I cannot take any of the five year pills so my only option is to eat right. I have a plan thanks to you.
    Ms. L

  19. Melissa says:

    I have done an all fruit and vegetable diet before but had issues with candida. I did not eat nuts, seeds, or roots. I also did a candida cleanse before I started. Any advice? I really liked the diet except for the candida issue. Also, I would love it if you had a meal plan with recipes that follow your advice. I have trouble keeping track of all the things I need to incorporate and also get bored and find it hard to keep the diet interesting. I’m very busy and don’t have time to get creative.

  20. Rebecca Cody says:

    I ate only a tremendous variety of raw foods and juices – mostly veggies, a few low glycemic berries, coconut, nuts and seeds – for many months following my breast cancer diagnosis. This and a whole lot of other therapies and supplements did NOT cure my cancer. I did, however, become depleted in protein. When autumn came up to my corner of the country I had to add cooked foods simply to keep warm. At first I added cooked beans and an occasional grain like rice. My protein levels only came back to normal by adding occasional meat, fish, fowl and eggs. I don’t even like animal proteins, but my body seems to require them. I don’t go by the blood type diet, but I am type O+, which is supposed to be a meat eater, so perhaps that diet does make some sense.

  21. Maria says:

    I recently decided to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. I have had a lot of issues with my hormones and changing my diet is the only thing that has eased the symptoms. I have been “vegan” for four years now and still something isn’t quite right with my hormones, which is why I decided to eat a diet of mostly raw fruits and vegetables to see if there is a possibility that I am still eating foods that are harming my body. I am waiting on the 80/10/10 book to arrive. What have a got to loose? So, I have found that eating a diet of unprocessed foods has worked miracles on my body, and incorporating more raw fruits and vegetables helps me to feel even better. Thank you for your helpful advice!

  22. C says:

    Would love to know more about the risks of eating raw cruciferous veggies for those with thyroid disfunction. That was not a risk named above, and would love to have that expounded upon.

  23. Susan says:

    On what do you base your comments that seeds and nuts should not be consumed in any quantity? I have been eating raw seeds, hemp, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, cashews, etc. for year and not aware of any problems. What anti-nutrient properties are you referring to and how do they work? if you have a leaky gut, one should look at GMO and avoid any products that are GMO. There are many in North America. So beware and research your foods carefully. Specifically GMO corn, soybeans, etc. One of the leading causes of leaky guts.

  24. Terry says:

    If you are deficient in iodine, the only sources to find it are in table salt (yuck) and seaweeds. Make sure the seaweed you source is clean and radiation free. Just because a seaweed says “organic” does not make it radiation free. Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company is one of the few on the West Coast that tests their seaweeds for radiation at the beginning and end of the seaweed season and the seaweed is radiation free. Know your harvester and don’t just buy “kelp” in a bottle unless you know where it came from.

  25. Alex says:

    Thank you for your contribution to Renegade Health, Frederic. I find your articles very informative and honest, without glorifying anything or bringing a sense of “elitism” to this diet. What I particularly enjoy about your advice is the warnings that come with following any one diet too blindly or “religiously”. I often find that raw foodists are utterly consumed by their lifestyle, as if their life revolves around their meals.

    I personally love eating raw and incorporate the foods in your #7 category in order to get high quality calories and protein so that I don’t have to eat a gigantic fruit and salad meal which for me would take hours just to chew! And SMOOTHIES! Smoothies are a lifesaver. Also agree with the sprouted/soaked/fermented comments, I have found that many foods are not ideal to consume raw and sometimes even cooking does in fact boost absorption and nutrition. What has always worked for me is not to subscribe to anything completely until I have thoroughly looked into all sides of any given argument. In this case, raw foods (for me) are a powerful healing tool and can be a sustainable lifestyle when done responsibly and thoughtfully.

  26. Susan says:

    I think that different people have different food requirements and body types. I have been 100% raw for almost 6 years. I began to have problems in the past year and found that it was best for me to reduce nuts and mostly only use seeds for my protein (hemp, flax and chia). I supplement with some walnuts that I have soaked and dried. I also found that I needed to eliminate fruit almost completely. This seems to be working for me. However, the article suggests that such a regime could cause problems. As others have requested, I’d like to know what the problems would be for this.

  27. John Call says:

    I confessed to eating this EXACT way at a raw food meetup I had started years ago. The raw food “purists” ostracized me for it. Even though I have been living this way since 2001. Apparently being slightly overweight meant what I was doing wasn’t working to people, regardless of the boundless amounts of energy and lack of illness my body had even after a serious motorcycle injury that left my ankle fractured beyond natural mending ability.

  28. angel says:

    My experience with eating raw foods has been amazing! Most of my diet consists of raw foods like fruits and vegetables with some mac nuts or coconuts here and there. I also consume cooked veggies as well as some grains like quinoa. The occasional bean when I feel like it. I am vegan and only take b12 occasionally. Feeling awesome after 8 years of a slow transition. I would say most of my calories come from carbohydrates. Fruits, veg, potatoes, corn. Next would be some leafy greens and fattier foods like avocado, coconut, and the mac nuts. It is my personal opinion that a whole foods vegan diet is where it’s at. Arnold Ehret’s teachings on diet are of great inspiration as well as Doug Graham’s. It’s been a process and I can honestly say I’m healthier at 40 than I was at the age of 30.

  29. lily says:

    I have practiced the raw food lifestyle since 2000. at first I was a hundred percent raw but for most of the time I have been more like 75 percent raw but a hundred percent tvegan.

    I really really appreciate this article because I continue to make some of the mistakes that you describe in it. Especially with combining fruits together and eating too much sugar and fat.

    I used to juice a lot of dark green leafy vegetables and parsley etc etc and certain fruits and I actually developed a buildup of oxalic acid crystals in my joints which really sucks so now I am bathing an apple cider vinegar and drinking apple cider vinegar and tons of water and I have stopped juicing greens for a few months now and it seems to be improving. If any of you have any opinions about this or suggestions I would really appreciate it.

    I live in a tropical climate so unfortunately I was eating a lot of fruits that are very very high and oxalic acid and I was also juicing purslane which is so delicious but also is very high in oxalic acid.

    Frederic I love all that you share and I am very grateful. Thank you so much

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