the raw food diet

I’m going to be talking for a while about the raw food diet.That’s the only “diet” I approve of (the very word is annoying, isn’t it?).Why?First, because it’s the biggest focus of this web site and the program of whole foods I promote: raw plant foods.Of the 9,000 new visitors to this site monthly, many are coming from the Standard American Diet.And like all things Americana (GSG readers come from 149 countries in the past year), the SAD has spread to all but the most remote parts of the globe.

But many others who read this site are committed raw foodists.The first group may find what I teach daunting.(BUT . . . this is for you, and you can do it.What I teach is very do-able by anyone who wants better health.)And the latter group may call my teachings “transitional”–a good stepping stone on your way to the ultimate, a completely raw diet.

I am unconvinced that 100% raw is necessary for ideal health, and I believe it may even not be ideal.But I do believe this: 60-80% raw plant food is absolutely necessary for good health.

Second, because this is the time of year to get the very best produce, in North America, at least.This is my favorite time of year, when my garden is exploding with vegetables and greens, and my trees are heavy with peaches and apricots.And roadside stands are selling the best foods on Earth.

If you think the raw food diet is some kind of fad–it is exploding on the internet for sure–think again.It’s been around since the dawn of time.In fact, degenerative disease began when mankind discovered fire and began cooking his food.We have gone downhill at an accelerated rate as we’ve discovered more ways to pervasively destroy the nutrition in our food.

Think about undertaking a raw food diet for a few weeks, now that we’re in the easiest time of year to accomplish it.You will need less sleep, as your body needs less recovery because digestion becomes a snap.You’ll have lots of energy, so plan in advance what you are going to do with the extra!Every time I go 95-100% raw for a couple of weeks to a couple of months, I’m always so happy I did.

11 thoughts on “the raw food diet

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  1. Amen to all of the above!

    After 16 yrs of being a diabetic I’m now completely off all of my diabetic medication and my blood tests came back perfectly normal, showing there is no diabetes! I started with Robyn’s 12 step program last April and that got me up to speed to do Dr. Gabriel Cousens, “There is a cure for Diabetes”. I’m on phase 1 and this is a very restrictive 100% raw organic vegan eating. Is it worth it, absolutely! Will I continue 100%, in about 5-6 mths, once i finish the program and get onto maintenance & i’m still doing well, then I will drop down to 80-20% & will alternate between that & 100% raw vegan. I feel great! I’m excited and very proud of myself! If you want to reverse any disease you can! But you have to really want to do it! Robyn’s program is a great beginning!

  2. I agree… it would be ideal if I could make my diet totally raw. But it might be a while before that happens. It is a huge transition especially when your husband is so used to the foods he grew up with! But I am glad because he agreed to go see Food, Inc. with me for my birthday! Hopefully that will help him see a few things! 🙂

  3. Hi Robyn,

    I’ve been drinking green smoothies for awhile and LOVE the way they make me feel. Periodically I’ll come across something about phytates and the need to cook your greens so that you can absorb the nutrients. Can you sort through this for me? I REALLY prefer raw spinach, kale, etc. over cooked but don’t like the idea of not getting as much out of them as I could. Thanks!

    Cindy

  4. Hi Cindy, I address phytates in detail (in grains, not greens–you may be thinking of oxalates?) in Ch. 9 of 12 Steps.

    I will blog again soon, in the next few days, on oxalates. Meantime, I did blog on that last year and wrote about it in Ch. 1.

  5. Robyn,

    Where do you get the bulk of your calories when you are 95-100% raw? My understanding is that there are two schools of raw foodism –

    1) low fat – those whose calories come from fruit, and

    2) high fat – those whose calories come from nuts/seeds/oils/coconut/avocado.

    Both camps seem to be fairly certain that the other people are doing it wrong and are going to be incredibly unhealthy. What do you think?

    Breakfast and lunch seem easy –

    Hot pink smoothie for breakfast (although I guess that’s only 70% raw by calories)

    Green smoothie + nuts for lunch (could be 100% raw)

    What do you do for dinners? I can’t picture eating just vegetables — do you do a lot of seed/nut spreads? Or do you need a lot less calories when you are 100% raw?

  6. Is there any problem with much of your food being liquid? I’m talking about breakfast being a hot pink smoothie, and lunch being a green smoothie, for example. I had the pink smoothie for breakfast, and now that it’s lunch time, the thought of the green smoothie so soon turns my stomach 😀

    I may be thinking of soft drinks as empty liquid calories and transferring that on to green smoothies. But I guess they would be treated entirely differently by the body since the entire food is still there, it’s just squished up 🙂

  7. Not a problem to have a lot of your food be liquid, nutritionally–it’s just boring, for most people.

    Dinners are the hardest for raw foodists (that’s when people like hot food), and yes, if you need to BOOST caloric intake, a variety of uses of nuts and seeds (and their pastes/oils) is one way to address that. I love AVOCADOES when I’m all raw!

  8. Yeah, I think it would get boring pretty quickly. . . .

    I LOVE avocadoes too, but I’m allergic to them! I first noticed a few years ago that my lips would get itchy when I ate them. I tried to convince myself it was the things I was eating with them (salt on chips, other ingredients in guacamole, etc.). But I’ve had them completely plain and had the exact same reaction 🙁 I get this with some other vegetables too.

    I finally read an article in the news about oral allergies, and it’s a known problem. But it sounded like as long as the symptoms didn’t bother you too badly, you could continue to eat those foods. It sounded like continuing to eat them wouldn’t worsen the problem over time.

  9. Two more questions —

    I don’t mean to be hung up on calories, I’m just trying to get a few things straight in my mind.

    1) What does the percentage mean when calculating how raw you are? By calories? I’m trying to picture how a meal would be 80% raw if it included any cooked foods at all. If you had 1/2 cup of cooked beans, that’s 125 calories. If that’s 20% of the meal, the rest is 500 calories. To get 500 calories of chard, for example, you’d have to eat 75 cups of it. I’m not trying to be obtuse here, just figuring some stuff out.

    2) I’ve traditionally eaten a ton of sugary/white-flour/fatty treats. When I eat all whole foods or all raw, it’s difficult to know when I’m truly hungry or just wanting junk. What do I do until my body gives me the correct signals?

    Again, I’m not really calorie-obsessed, I’m just trying to figure out what things mean.

  10. I guess if you look at this over an entire day, and the 1/2 cup of beans was the only cooked food in a 2000 calorie diet, then you’re still 94% raw. That makes sense.

  11. Yes, by calories would be the best way, although obviously most people (myself included) are guesstimating, so many people may ACTUALLY be basing their percentage on perceived volume. Let’s be honest: most of us don’t truly keep track of calories. Chard would be very low, as you said, but fruit like bananas, as well as nuts, or avocado, would be higher.

    Counting calories (if you’re even willing to do it, and if you really think it’s important based on your weight issues) may be the SHORT TERM way to know how much to eat until you get past that threshold where your body is not longer a slave to cravings. For many people, that’s just a few days. For others, it may take a couple of weeks.

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