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Defending That My Diet’s Not All Raw

Robyn Openshaw - Nov 10, 2008 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

I read the raw foodists all the time (Patenaude, Wolfe, Boutenko, and lots more).   I think their diet is fantastic.   Sometimes I go all raw, for a few days, weeks, or even months.   I wouldn’t criticize anybody for a minute who wants to do it permanently, as some of my friends do–they all enjoy excellent health.


So why don’t I eat 100% raw and promote it on my site?   I thought I’d lay out my defense of NOT being all raw.


  1. Yes, when man discovered fire and begin to cook his food, he altered it for the worse, killing the life force in the food.  But I think we’ve adapted biologically to thousands of years of eating whole, cooked plant foods, eaten as part of a diet containing lots of raw plant food.   I think 60-80 percent is usually enough to provide outstanding disease prevention and an ideal weight.   EVERY meal and snack should contain raw plant food.   What we’re NOT adapted to is cooked, REFINED foods or a diet heavy in cooked food.    
  2. I think that grains and legumes are good food.   They’ve been used for thousands of years by most of the populations of the world.   They provide good energy in the form of both carbs and protein, and the perfect amount of fat (which is to say, not very much).   Hundreds of studies say they prevent disease.
  3. Most people can’t afford to eat 100% raw.   Boutenko said several years ago that her family of 4 spends $1350 monthly ($45/day).   Because I feed my family highly inexpensive whole foods in the form of legumes and grains, I spend $800/mo. to feed 50% more people than Boutenko does.   In summary, my program is very do-able financially.
  4. It’s very hard to feed kids, especially teenagers, an all-raw diet.   Without grains and legumes to give them higher calories and faster food to prepare, moms can really burn out and teenagers get surly and . . . downright hungry.   I have tried it.   It’s really hard (nigh unto impossible) to feed a house full of competitive athletes and teenagers all raw.  
  5. On the other hand, it’s not very hard to eat 60-80% raw, at least after completing a learning curve (my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program is the learning curve, as I experienced it, flattened out for my readers to skip all the rabbit holes I chased down that were a waste of time).   It is, however, nearly a quantum leap, I’ve found, to go from 80% to 100%.   It’s like the effort differential between getting a B+/A- in college, and getting an A.   That difference is MUCH bigger than the difference in your effort, for instance, between getting a C and a C+.   A 60-80% diet is achievable for anyone, allowing for social events not to become a stress and excellent health to be achieved.

So don’t get me wrong: I love the raw movement.   But Boutenko writes about people going 100% raw and then swinging to almost no raw, back and forth.   I never eat no raw–always, always 60-80 percent, even while traveling.   (You can get salads almost anywhere.)

And I think that’s the most important thing: to be consistent about eating well, and keep your “raw” above 60 percent every day and always as high as you can, so you are providing lots of enzymes and not taxing and aging your organs.   I also recommend having periods of eating as simply and as close to 100% raw as you can–like a “detox week.”

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Mind/Body Connection, Relationships, Tools & Products

8 thoughts on “Defending That My Diet’s Not All Raw”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Tracy, there are a couple raw squash recipes in “Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen” by Ani Phyo. I think one is a butternut recipe and the other acorn, but you could use any hard squash. You chop the squash in a food processor until it’s small like couscous or rice.

    I tried one of the recipes a couple of times. It calls for nuts, dried fruit, cilantro, and some spices. I really like it, but my wife thinks it’s a bit bland. So, I’m going to start making it for my lunches.

    Also, the Boutenkos have a butternut squash cookie recipe on their website or in Victoria’s book “12 Steps to Raw Foods”. They are also good; although it’s a different kind of sweetness than you’d expect from cookies.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the info Jayroo!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Jaroo!

    I have used raw squash also to make a soups in my blendtec blender similar to their tortilla soup recipe they have in the blendtec recipe book.

    The point of my post was to point out that I think there are certain vegatables that are more palatable cooked, like russet potatoes. Sure you can eat anything raw but will you is the question. I know brocolli is good for me but I won’t eat it raw. I love it in steamed with lemon juice and salt on it. If I cook it this way I might not get the maximum nutrients but I will eat a 100% more of it than I would otherwise.

    Also what about the blendtec blender? I know our natural diet is not supposed to be fruits and vegatables whipped to absolute distruction in a blender. But it allows me to eat the things I know are good for me with ease.

    My plan for the future is to incorporate more wild plants in my smooties next summer. Without the blendtec I know I wouldn’t do it because they just don’t taste good.

  4. Anonymous says:

    but am I ruining the sole in any way having tap water (in the actually water WITH the sole) or am I cancelling out the affects by having crappy water?!!!

    Robyn what do you think about mount olympus?!!an okay choice instead of other water? honestly I can’t think of anyone i can borrow water from–though i really want to consider getting the RO and ionizer with tax returns (just gotta get my hubby on board)

    in the group order—the top mounted ones—how much space do they take and do they all have adjustable PH levels? (ie 7 for drinking up to like 12 for cleaning?!!) THANKS (I can email you questions–just don’t know if they’ll get lost)

  5. http:// says:

    Mt. Olympus may be much better water. I have not viewed the water report to know what contaminants it does/doesn’t have. No, you’re not cancelling out the effects of Sole using tap water.

  6. http:// says:

    Yes, the ionizers allow you to adjust the pH level.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ra: look for wood sorrel next summer. It’s often mistaken for clover, in fact most drawings of four leaf clover are actually drawings of four leaf wood sorrel. Anyway, it’s very delicious. Most people liken it to lemonade.

    I think it’s good enough to eat by itself. But it also has a nice flavor in green smoothies. Adds some sweetness.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If Wood sorrel is the little green clover with the tiny yellow flowers, I found that in my yard this year. I used to eat it as a kid. But I got an idea to mix this clover with dandelion. Dandelion is so bitter and it is hard to eat or drink. I thought maybe if I combined them together (the bitter with the sour) maybe they would cancel each other out. Seemed to work. So I was going to try it in a smoothie but didn’t get around to it and it is cold now. So next year I will try it again and hopefully it will help me get my dandelions (calcium) down. 🙂 Althea

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