(after reading Raw Freedom by Frederic Patenaude)
Guest Writer, Joanna Slodownik – GreenReset.com
I’ve just received the Raw Freedom package, and – after I’ve been reading through the chapters that caught my attention – I’d like to share a few thoughts with you.
First, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’ve followed Frederic’s career for many years now. I found him after I read the 80/10/10 diet and I was searching for more information about the high fruit, low fat raw food diet. Over the years, I really enjoyed reading his blog, and I appreciated his honesty and directness. Also, I’m passionate about living an internet lifestyle doing what I love, so I’ve been following his advice in this area– writing ebooks, building audience, etc. (I recommend Frederic’s course “How to write your ebook” – if you’ve been stuck and overwhelmed, it will surely get you going).
Although I’ve been interested in raw foods and the benefits of eating a high-raw diet for health, I’ve never been 100% raw. After I discovered green smoothies, I’ve been drinking them religiously every day – and lots of them, but other than that I’ve been eating a pretty average diet (although, definitely on the healthy side, when compared to the American standard).
I’ve been trying to reduce the cooked foods, experimenting with raw recipes, but in the end, I decided it’s not practical or feasible – especially if you have kids and a husband who wants to eat “normal” food. So, I’m very much in agreement with Frederic about incorporating cooked foods in a healthy diet.
Where I somewhat disagree with Frederic is on the issue of veganism. Let me explain.
Reflections On Being Vegan
I’d been debating the issue of eating meat for many years. I’d been curious about being vegetarian and tried several times to go off meat completely, but it just never happened. The idea of being vegan was not even on my radar until I started experimenting with raw foods – it just seemed too hard, complicated, and even…weird. Because of the pressure of those around me, as well as the lack of strong motivation – I always succumbed to the temptation of a piece of meat, a slice of pizza, or a bowl of ice cream.
However, I kept digging deeper and deeper. I really needed some definitive answers; for myself and my readers, as people started to come to me for advice on what to eat.
After lots of research and soul searching, here is the conclusion that I reached.
Framing the issue only in terms of health, taste and convenience, is why a lot of people are still stuck in the “animal food” mode, even if they may be ready to make a shift to more compassionate living and eating.
I know, because I was stuck for 46 years. Deep down, I knew there was enormous suffering associated with animal foods, but I was dismissing this issue, blocking it from entering my consciousness. After all, this is what everyone else is eating. Not eating these foods is inconvenient and makes you different.
But then, something began to shift. I started reading more about the environmental impact of raising animals for food, as well as the terrible conditions that most of these animals have to endure their entire lives. I still wasn’t convinced. I started buying “humanely raised” animal products and organic dairy. Then I read “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Fowler and that was it. I mastered the courage to watch some of the footage on the websites of Mercy for Animals, Vegan Outreach, and Meet Your Meat. That is also when I found the inspiring podcast “Vegetarian Food For Thought” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, The Compassionate Cook (highly recommended!).
Even though I’ve been vegan for only a year (and some of you may dismiss me as a “new vegan,” and say, that I’ll probably go back to eating meat soon); there is no going back for me. It’s been such an incredible experience, spiritually uplifting and transforming all the areas of my life and how I view the world and the animals that share this world with us.
I too believed that the change is hard. I too was doubtful about the safety of this diet. I too read about people who failed on vegan diet and went back to eating meat. I was afraid to even try. I didn’t believe I could make it work.
But I’m doing it, and it’s so worth it.
For those of you who are still debating the issue, I want to offer the following points to consider:
Vegan diet is a healthy diet for humans. As you’ll read in Frederic’s book, this diet is sustainable and health promoting. Even the American Dietetic Association says so, and this is not an institution that supports “fad” diets. Our bodies don’t require animal foods to get the nutrients we need. And if we need to take a few supplements, that’s fine too. (Ever wonder, where do cows who are not fed on grass get their calcium? They get it from supplements, because otherwise their milk would be deficient in this important nutrient. So why not skip the “middle cow” and go right to the source – plant foods. Or simply take the supplement, and leave the cows alone.)
Meat is not unhealthy (if eaten in moderation); however, to frame the issue in terms of personal choice or personal preference is not enough. It implies that there is no “other” being hurt for our culinary pleasure or convenience.
Animals are not here for us to exploit them. They feel pain and suffering, just as we do, and they want to live. Even the so-called humanely raised animals, still suffer. (Do you know what happens to the male chicks on egg farms, whether organic or conventional? They are either milled alive, or left to suffocate in garbage bags.)
The fact that there has never been a vegan culture in the world (Frederic talks about it in his Raw Freedom – as plant foods are not available year-round in many places), is indisputable, but it doesn’t mean that we cannot make it work in the modern world. We have the resources and technology. I mean, I’m drinking green smoothies with bananas, berries and greens year round, and I’m in New Jersey, US. There are no banana trees here or berries in the winter.
You don’t have to sacrifice your deepest values of compassion to stay healthy. You also don’t have to sacrifice taste. (Although you may have to sacrifice convenience a bit.) Eating a diet of mostly raw, as well as cooked vegetables, greens, fruits, mushrooms, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains provides enough calories, micro-nutrients, as well as variety – that making compassionate choices is easy. These days, you can find vegan cheeses, meats, burgers, ice-creams and cupcakes – not the healthiest foods, but much more compassionate choices, if you want them. (I’m not loving vegan meats or cheeses, but the cherry-chocolate soy based ice-cream I buy at Trader Joe’s is to die for).
If there are health issues that arise, it’s now possible to find a health practitioner who understands plant-based nutrition enough, to be able to help us in a way that would not sacrifice our values. I highly recommend books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman if you want a doctor-prescribed diet.
Change is slow and unpopular. There are many examples throughout the history. Just a few hundred years ago, slavery was viewed as normal. It does take time and determination, but as more as more people make the switch, the choices will only increase, making it easier for everybody else.
As Frederic says in his book: “Would be vegans and raw foodists have never had it better. But they should consider themselves pioneers and experimenters, and remember how unusual our modern food situation is in the historical context.”
We are so proud of our progress in other areas, so why not put compassion back into the equation. Once we know better, we can do better, so let’s!
About Joanna. Joanna is a green smoothie enthusiast and the founder of GreenReset.com website, dedicated to spreading the message about how healthy and compassionate food choices can help heal our body and the planet.
Guest Writer Gina Shaw, DSc MA AIYS Dip Irid Dip NH
As a high-percentage Fruitarian I receive a mixture of opinions in the circles I mix with. Amongst SAD dieters, people say ‘Aren’t you concerned that you’re getting too much Vitamin C from those oranges’ (a far cry from the old concerns of ‘Where do you get your protein?’). Raw food enthusiasts say ‘Oh no, I don’t eat much fruit because of the sugar content’. Everywhere I go, people are so concerned for my health because of the large amounts of fruit I consume! (even though my health has never been better since starting a high-raw diet back in 1998). So, let’s get this clear, I am one of the few people who actually follow Government recommendations clearly and consume a minimum of 5-7 portions of fruit per day. Fruit sugars do not cause diabetes, indeed a high fat diet is the leading cause of diabetes according to recent research papers. Fruits are combined with fiber which will slow down sugar release and fruit sugars will only become a problem if they are poorly combined, e.g. mixed with fats. Indeed, my body is more than able to deal with high doses of water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C if necessary, by eliminating it out through my kidneys, just the same as it will do from excess potassium, etc.
However, I, equally, on the other hand, am very concerned about their health! Most people consume far too much protein and fat and salt in their diet, much of which is the animal variety which has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc., etc.
How can you have an easily digestible healthy (high or all) raw food diet without eating lots of fruit? There are indeed many raw foodists who feel guilty after eating an orange or a few grapes. In my opinion, this is crazy and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be eating fruit (and lots of it) unless you are of course poorly combining it with other foods. That’s where Toxemia sets in. Toxemia is the saturation of the bloodstream by poisons, often caused by a SAD diet, or a lack of sleep, drug taking, alcohol, etc, etc.
So, how do these raw foodists maintain their weight without lots of fruit? The answer appears to be by eating lots of fat. Healthy? In a word ‘No’! A high fat diet, even on a high plant based diet is not conducive to health and will use up your energy in the digestion of food, and the body will have to convert the fat into glucose in order to fuel the brain cells, etc. This is a complicated process and it is far better to consume your calories from simple carbohydrates like fruit. So, are you looking for a raw food meal which will tick all the health boxes? Then look no further than your pineapple, mangoes, strawberries or melon.
Filed under Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude
Coconut water is Nature’s perfect refreshment in hot weather, but also during exercise. It’s low in calories but contains just enough natural sugar to give you a little boost. It’s also very rich in electrolytes (sodium, potassium), but in jus the right quantities.
In some countries, coconut water was used to replace IV fluid in intravenous rehydration. In fact the medical literature documents quite a few cases where coconut water was used for that purpose, usually in remote places with little medical technology.
What are the benefits of coconut water?
Announcement: Spring Cleanse on Monday
Before we get into that, I just want to remind you that next week I’m organizing a free Spring Cleanse.
Anyone can join! Tell your friends. To sign up, just go to:
First, it’s loaded with potassium. It’s got just enough sodium to maintain electrolyte balance. So it’s the perfect drink to use as a refreshment in tropical countries, and for light physical activity. For really heavy physical activity, such as running under the hot sun for long period of time, more sodium would be needed than what is found in coconut water. This is where a sports drink such as Gatorade would have an edge, in terms of rehydrating the person and preventing heat strokes.
However, in most cases, coconut water is the bomb.
First of all, most people need to take in more potassium because their diet is pretty high in sodium. Potassium balances out sodium intake.
Then, coconut water is low in calories compared to other refreshments. A can of coke contains about 140 calories, while the same can filled with coconut water contains about 60 calories. A huge difference.
So when should you drink coconut water?
- During exercise: it’s the perfect rehydrating fluid, containing just enough sugar to keep you going. However, like I said, if the exercise is very intensive and you sweat a lot, slightly more sodium would be needed.
- As a great “Pick me up” drink. The dose of potassium and the little natural sugar is great for energy.
- To avoid dehydration, in hot weather, and when doing light activity.
Now, how does coconut water compare to Sports drink such as Gatorade?
Let’s use a “can” of 330 ml as a reference. In this case, let’s compare:
- 60 calories
- 40 mg. sodium
- 680 mg. potassium
- A significant quantity of magnesium (10% of your daily needs)
- Source of vitamin C
- 70 calories
- 42 mg. potassium
- 153 mg. sodium
- Not a source of any other nutrients
So as we can easily tell, coconut water is nature’s Sports Drink, but is heavier in potassium than sodium. In fact, we could consider it a very rich source of potassium. It contains slightly less calories per ounce than Gatorade, which has been formulated to contain more sodium.
Although completely artificial, a product like gatorade would only be more effective, as mentioned previously, in cases where more sodium is needed. But most people already get far too much sodium in their diet already. Unless you exercise like crazy, more is generally not needed.
What About Bottled Coconut Water?
In the past, coconut water wasn’t trendy. In fact, it only started being marketed recently by companies such as:
- Amy and Brian’s Coconut water
In the past, the only way to drink coconut water outside of the tropics would be to buy young coconuts from Asian markets. But as we’ve learned, these coconuts are treated in a very toxic solution before shipping, so there’s a risk of contamination from that.
The main difference with bottled products is that they’ve been pasteurized, and sometimes vitamin C has been added. Is that a big deal?
I don’t think so. It’s much better to get coconut water that’s been pasteurized than “raw” coconut water of dubious origins where the coconut has been dipped in a toxic solution for shipping.
The little pasteurizations doesn’t affect the nutritional qualities (such as electrolytes) of the coconut water.
I’ve tried many brands. At the moment I enjoy the Vita-Coco water because its taste is very close to fresh coconut water, and it’s easy to get. Even Costco now sells it by the case.
If you decide to buy bottled coconut water, make sure it only contains coconut water (and perhaps vitamin C), but no added sugar. Most Asian brands of coconut water will contain added sugar.
In summary, coconut water, whether fresh or bottled, is a great drink to enjoy for rehydration or as an alternative to other sports drink. Only someone doing very heavy exercise, especially in the sun, might need more sodium than what is found in coconut water. Then, adding a pinch of salt to the coconut water will do the job!
Enjoy your next coconut!
PS: Don’t forget to sign up for next week’s Spring Cleanse. Anyone can join. It’s a great way to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle… and yes, coconut water is allowed during the cleanse Go to:
12 Reasons Why Raw Food Really Works For Weightloss
By Angela Valentine, www.RawFood-Weightloss-Guide.com
- With the raw foods diet, weight loss is often more effective, as you are typically taking in lower calorie foods. So you can eat a lot more than you thought, and won’t go hungry (and thus you’ll likely stick with it longer, too).
- Most raw foods – such as apples, cucumbers, celery, and leafy greens – are also typically higher water content foods, so you will become better hydrated. Improved hydration helps to flush out fats and toxins and helps all your organs function better.
- By taking in improved and increased nourishment, you will become healthier all over. And when your body works better in every respect, its natural ability to burn off fat will be greatly improved. A healthier liver, especially, will improve your body’s fat burning ability.
- It is hard to lose weight when your hormones are imbalanced. The plentiful nutrients contained in natural raw foods provide many of the precursors needed to produce those hormones. Plus, that nutrition will help to heal the organs which produce your hormones. Altogether, this helps you become more hormonally balanced so weight loss is easier.
- With the raw foods diet, weight loss also occurs through detoxification. As your body naturally begins releasing the toxins often held in your fat cells, many of those fat cells will begin shrinking – and you will slim down.
- You stop eating the toxin-filled, mucus-forming, hormone-imbalancing nutrient-poor dead, cooked, overly salted and processed foods that can cause weight gain and water retention in the first place.
- The clean raw foods you do eat will not contain the chemicals and neurotoxins that can make you ravenously hungry (like restaurant foods do). Therefore, after a short time on a 100% raw foods diet, you find your physical sensation of hunger has changed. It becomes milder, subtler and much less insistent.
- As you receive more and better nutrition, you become satisfied by less food. Your body doesn’t have to continue clamoring for more food to try to glean the tiny bit of nutrition that’s left in cooked food, if any.
- As you become healthier, your metabolism works better, and you start to feel more energetic. Plus raw foods are easier to digest, which frees up tremendous amounts of energy. No more 3:00pm energy slump after a heavy cooked lunch.
- As you have more energy, you are also more apt to begin or ramp up an exercise program, or become more active in your daily activities, which helps burn off more calories and fat.
- After you’ve eaten the raw foods diet for weight loss even for a short while, you’ll notice that your emotions tend to even out. Therefore, you’ll have less need for emotional eating patterns that often lead to overeating or binge eating for comfort. You’ll feel happier, more balanced and more peaceful. Many even become more spiritually inclined.
- When you become healthier than ever, you are no longer as “sick and tired” as you used to be, and it seems like your life improves in every way! You’ll discover that weight loss is only one of the many advantages of the raw foods diet!
To your success! ~Angela Valentine, www.RawFood-Weightloss-Guide.com
Last month I was with some friends at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver for the summer solstice. In case you don’t know, Kitsilano beach is this awesome beach in Vancouver that faces the ocean, downtown Vancouver and the beautiful North Shore mountains. On a sunny June day, you can lie on the beach and enjoy the warm sunshine, and at the same time look at snow capped mountains.
This was one of those days.
I ended up meeting a few people who knew who I was and had discovered my website. One guy had discovered my website a couple of years ago and had become a raw foodist himself.
He said he enjoyed my writings, and had remembered me saying something against dehydrated foods.
“I know you said something about dehydrated foods on your website, but I don’t remember why you said we shouldn’t eat them. I couldn’t live without my bag of dehydrated goodies!”
Then he pulled out a bag containing all kinds of dehydrated foods, such as dehydrated apple slices with cinnamon on top, and even a sort of dehydrated cabbage “cake”, sort of like a rice cracker.
Many raw food enthusiasts make heavy use of the dehydrator. And that’s a mistake. You shouldn’t go from using the oven and the stove to using the dehydrator for your main source of prepared meals.
I’m not 100% against dehydrated foods. I still use a dehydrator a few times a year, for the very few recipes I make that require it.
I also occasionally eat dried fruits, such as raisins, figs, and apricots.
But in general, I don’t eat dehydrated foods. And here’s why:
1) Dehydrated foods have lost their water. The main benefit of a raw food diet comes from eating water-rich foods that are easy to digest. Dehydrated foods defeat that purpose!
2) Because dehydrated foods have lost their water content, it’s easy to overeat them. They don’t fill you up in bulk like ripe, fresh fruit or large salads.
3) Dehydrated fruits are concentrated in sugars and can be difficult to digest, leading to a lot of intestinal gas and other problems when you eat more than a few pieces.
4) Dehydrated foods get stuck to teeth and promote dental decay. People I know who eat the most dehydrated foods have the worst dental health.
5) Most dehydrated raw food snacks are unhealthy, as they contain too many nuts, seeds and oils. Flax crackers contain even more fat than regular, store-bought crackers!
There are just no reasons to eat dehydrated foods constantly if you have healthier options available, such as fresh fruit.
Instead of bringing a big bag of dried dates everywhere, take some time in advance to cut up some melons, pineapple, peaches, or other fresh fruit! Take that with you instead of the dehydrated foods. To know exactly what to eat and how to make it work, refer to the information in my Raw Health Starter Kit.
That being said, you don’t need to avoid dehydrated foods completely.
- Dried fruits can be excellent “emergency foods,” especially good to keep in your car, or bring with you on a hike when you have little space, or take with you on a plane or a bus.
- You can make delicious seasonings with dehydrated vegetables to sprinkle on top of soups and salads to replace salt. I showed you how in my DVD series The Low Fat Vegan Cuisine.
Remember that dried fruits are concentrated! Most people shouldn’t eat more than a 5-6 dried figs at a time, or 10 dates. People eating giant bags of dried fruit at once are inviting intestinal and dental disasters!
Remember that dried foods will stick to your teeth, so brush them immediately after eating them, or chew on something solid, like an apple or some celery sticks, to naturally wash away the residues.
And please, don’t just dehydrate a bunch of random stuff together into a giant raw pellet. That’s just gross!
To discover the healthiest raw food diet, the best set of resources is the Raw Health Starter Kit. Check it out at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/starterkit
Filed under Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude
* Founder of Rawpower.com
* Co-founder with David Wolfe of the first raw-food company, formerly known as Nature’s First Law
* Author of the books “Raw Power!” and “Nature’s First Law: The Raw-Food Diet” (co-author)
INTRO by FREDERIC
I first met Thor in 1997, when I showed up as a scrawny raw foodist in California, looking to get involved in the raw food scene in any way possible. Back then, Thor was known as Stephen Arlin, and together with David Wolfe, he started the biggest company in raw foods. In no time, we became friends and we even started a magazine together, Just Eat An Apple. That was before I started my own business in 2000. Thor eventually left the company he started with David to start his own. Over the years, we stayed in touch on and off by email, and I finally convinced him to offer this exclusive interview. Enjoy !
Fred: First, Thor, could you let us know about your background and how you got involved in the raw food movement?
Thor: Sure, I got involved with the raw-food diet back in 1994, when there wasn’t really much going on with the “raw foods movement” and the Internet was still in its infantile stage. I grew up in San Diego and my neighbor and best friend, David Wolfe, had found an old out-of-print book about eating all raw foods in his parents’ house one day and decided to read it. He lent the book to me and I read it and was fascinated.
I then read Jay “The Juiceman” Kordich’s book on juicing and raw foods. Dave and I (and Dave’s cousin, RC Dini) all went raw together and started promoting the diet to pretty much every person we came into contact with. We would set up tables in malls, parks, festivals…anywhere, and put out baskets of fruits and vegetables and eat and talk to passers-by about raw foods all day, then go home and have raw food and juicing parties with whoever would show up. One party we had was a watermelon juice party at RC’s place (RC stands for “Raw Courage”). I think we went through about 30 big watermelons! Massive Abundance, we called it.
We had one of the first raw food web sites on the internet, which consisted of a single page of “health axioms” plus our email address and phone number at the bottom of the page. From there we published our first raw foods book in 1996. Our first week of selling books was rather interesting… Steve Jobs was actually one of the first ten people who ordered our book online, then later that week, another customer ordered a book and had us send it to Charles Manson, in prison. We were like, “Whoa, this is gonna get interesting…”
Before long, we started a full-time, full-service raw food business, the first of its kind, with all the resources anyone would need to adopt the raw food lifestyle. We also had the first Facebook-like web site for raw foodists long before Facebook was even invented. It was called, “The Premier Raw-Foodists of the World” and each raw food advocate had his or her own web page with their philosophies and contact information.
The main page was a big grid that had clickable thumbnail pictures of everyone on the site. We were also the first to bring many raw/organic foods to the US market and raw food community, including goji berries, hemp protein, coconut oil, cacao products, maca, truly raw cashews, pure raw olives, and many others.
Fred: You’ve been at the forefront of the raw food movement by co-founding one of the biggest “raw food” businesses in the world. After all that time, what has been your overall impression of the raw food movement?
Thor: Our goal back in 1995 was to help popularize the raw food diet to the point where every household on Earth would know about it and know that it is an option (like everyone pretty much knows what a vegetarian diet is). So, one positive impression I have is that the raw food information has gotten out there into the mainstream and a large percentage of people know about it, and eat more raw foods now.
On the negative side, one thing that we never considered would happen was that there would be such a division and difference of opinions amongst raw foodists (or, more appropriately, “raw feudists”). It’s just so ridiculous, and counter-productive, you know? I mean, one person says we need to be eating salads, another says bananas, another says celery or goji berries or whatever, and they’ll be online ARGUING about it or creating videos bashing each other, instead of actually getting out there in the trenches and educating regular people who are smoking cigarettes, eating fast food, drinking soda, polluting the planet, getting sick, and dying of unnecessary, self-inflicted diseases.
Obviously there are lots of positive things about the raw food movement as well, but that’s my overall impression. It’s turned into a growing number of people fighting over a fictitious finite piece of the pie, when the original goal was, at least for us, to help humanity get back on course. It all needs to stop, or the raw food “movement” will keep spinning its wheels while humanity plunders into the abyss.
Fred: When and why did you leave Nature’s First Law and what happened for you since?
Thor: I had been considering leaving Nature’s First Law, which I co-founded with David Wolfe in 1995, for a few years and finally left in September of 2006 (Dave left a few years later). There were a few core reasons why I left but mainly it was because my day-to-day experience there was no longer something I wanted to continue. In the early years, when we were building the business, we had a lot of fun…as you know! You were there in what, 1997/1998? Anyway, during those early years, we were more grass-roots and we did everything together. We answered the phones, packed orders, went to the post office, made copies–all the normal business stuff, and also traveled to events and retreats…you name it.
As the years passed and the company grew, and got very busy, we sort of just fell into specialized roles. Dave was great at PR and public speaking and my specialty was running and growing the business. As anyone who runs a good-sized business with lots of employees can tell you, it wears you down, big time. And since Dave was gone most of the time, we were no longer on the same page day-to-day, and our visions for the company’s future went off in different directions. And when we did re-connect and have meetings, it was difficult to agree on numerous things.
I’m not against conflict at all, in fact I think you have to have conflict in a creative relationship to have success. If people get along too well and don’t challenge each other, you don’t get the same results–the conflict is really what creates the magic. I’m a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of guy and I think our life paths diverged to a point where it was no longer possible to bridge the gap and have the required amount of mutual agreement that is crucial in a business partnership.
Dave and I are like brothers. We grew up together–we met when we were 10-11 years old–we were best friends through high school, and roommates during our college years. We have a very brother-like relationship. You know how it is, sometimes you feel like you just want to strangle your brother, but you would also fight to the death for him if anybody ever messed with him.
Another big reason for leaving Nature’s First Law was that our success had attracted countless vultures, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t take kindly to people of this sort. Instead of a once fun and exciting job, it had turned into a Groundhog Day for me of dealing with lawyers, insurance agents, governmental authorities, and frivolous lawsuits. During my last year with the company, there was a very positive article written about us in the business section in the local newspaper, in fact, we made the front page, and boy did the vultures come out in droves after that was published.
There was a lawsuit filed against us by a powdered milk company called “Nature First” because they said our company was causing customer confusion. We were like, “Uh, we’re a vegan company. We have NOTHING to do with milk, ok? In fact, we carry a book called Milk: The Deadly Poison!”
Another of the many absurd lawsuits brought against us during that time was by a handicapped “advocate” who would go around to businesses and count the number of parking spaces around that business and if the ratio of handicapped spaces didn’t meet the letter of the law, he’d file a lawsuit and DEMAND MONEY!…not ask a business to paint another space to meet the local code, but full-on shake businesses down for cash. We had about ten parking spaces in front of our business, all within 20-25 feet of the front door, and three quarters of them were always available.
We had a really great core group of like-minded people working there, so another thing that sort of took the wind out of my sails was when the company started hiring “regular” people–people that weren’t raw, weren’t vegan, weren’t vegetarian, some of them smoked cigarettes, called in sick, etc.
Dave and I had always been contrary to society, we worked on Christmas, fasted on Thanksgiving, all that stuff, and it was a big let down, for me at least, when the company grew to a point where we had to hire more and more people, most of whom would be in shock if they were told “we work on Christmas and Thanksgiving because everyone else doesn’t.”
I remember once telling a new employee, “Inside these walls, we’re in the Nebuchadnezzar, outside is The Matrix, it’s all false. See that school across the street? It’s 100% false. It’s a babysitting service, an indoctrination center, and those kids are doomed. But eating raw, organic food and getting off all the poison they eat can unplug them from The Matrix and they can begin to think on their own.” Some of those employees would get it and change their ways, for others it was just a paycheck and they would continue to take their cigarette breaks, talk about their television shows, and eat fast food for lunch, although we had a strict rule of no non-vegan food in the building.
So, really, having to deal with these kinds of things on a daily basis facilitated my departure from the company. I have a saying I have lived my life by for many years: That which disturbs your soul you must not suffer. If something disturbs me, I have to mercilessly purge it from my life. It’s my duty to myself. I would have liked to stay at that company for many more years, but I guess, as the saying goes, “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.”
To answer the second part part of your question, what happened after NFL is that I built a new web site, Rawpower.com, as well as completely re-wrote my Raw Power book, to bring it up to date. There’s a lot of new info in there now, more than 100 pages, based on my experiences with raw foods, superfoods and strength training over the last several years. I’ve really enjoyed this Raw Power business, sourcing and selling the quality foods my family and I enjoy ourselves, working with cool, down-to-earth employees, having the family around and being part of the business.
Fred: What’s the funniest moment you remember from those Nature’s First Law days?
Thor: Wow, that’s a tough question since there were so many. I’d have to say it’s a tie between the time when a raw food bodybuilder employee of ours, Scott Brodie, after many months of being driven crazy by the ice cream truck’s daily drive-bys (like a bunch of raw foodists were going to stop their work and go buy an ice cream!) stopped the ice cream truck, got down on a knee and asked the ice cream man to marry him!
The other time was when we were putting on a big raw food event at our warehouse and Dave’s band Healing Waters was playing and there was this girl who showed up who had a little bit too much of a crush on Dave, so the band started playing their song Stalker Girl and she went nuts, rolling around on the warehouse floor for several minutes, just totally absorbed in the music and in her own little world, she was getting filthy from the floor and it was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I was laughing so hard, my ribcage hurt.
Fred: You changed your name to Thor Bazler, tell us about that.
Thor: Yeah, I legally changed it back in the year 2000. My mother’s maiden name is Bazler and I was always real close with the Bazler side. They were the family I related to and spent the most time with. I married Jolie in 1999 and we had our first child later that year. One day, out of the blue, we came to the conclusion that we should change our family name to Bazler. And I changed my first name to Thor while I was at it. It just felt like the right thing to do for our new little family. Some people thought I was crazy though. I had built up a successful business, authored books, and met thousands of people with my birth name and was pretty well known. So, I had to deal with some things I hadn’t considered prior to changing my name.
Fred: That’s interesting. Like what?
Thor: Well, one thing was when I published my Raw Power book, a couple people contacted me and accused me of ripping off Stephen Arlin’s book! So I had to go through the whole, “No, that’s me. I’m the same person. I just changed my name.” Then other people would think, “Why would he do that? He must be hiding from the government, or he must be in some kind of trouble.” Geez, women change their names all the time, so when a guy does it he must be a criminal? Hey, I may change it again someday, you never know!
Fred: Are there some things the raw food “gurus” don’t want us to know and that we should be aware of?
Thor: The thing I’ve learned about these self-appointed “raw food gurus” is that most are either too open-minded, or too closed-minded. It is, of course, a good thing to keep an open mind to new ideas, but if the flood gates are always all the way open, one becomes susceptible to believing in anything. “Stand for something, or fall for anything,” the saying goes. And on the other end of the spectrum, it can be just as bad to not be open to new ideas and just staying with an outdated and unrealistic dogma.
Fred: What is some bad advice that you’ve seen others give about the raw food diet?
Thor: An easier question to answer would be, “What is some *good* advice that you’ve seen others give about the raw food diet?” because I could fill several volumes of books giving examples of “bad advice.” I believe that to live a healthy lifestyle and eat a healthy diet, all one must do is follow a simple set of guidelines. The moment the information begins to get complex, or when you start hearing 15-letter, scientific or Latin words, is when one begins to see bad advice. My simple set of guidelines goes something like this:
1. Eat a diet high in raw, organic, vegan foods (Make it fun with lots of smoothies and salads!)
2. Water: drink only purified water (every water source on Earth is contaminated except possibly frozen fresh water in Antarctica)
3. Exercise every day (Exercise guru Jack LaLanne once said, “Going one day without exercising is like committing suicide.” Now, I wouldn’t take that too literally, but Jack did have a point. The Law of Inertia states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body in rest tends to stay in rest. Even on my days off from weight training, I like to stay active.)
4. Breathe clean air (if you need to move to a place with clean air…move) (I actually had a guy call me once and start complaining that he didn’t feel good and he asked me what he should do. I asked him where he lived. He said, “In an apartment in New York City.” I said, “Sir, you’re basically living in a polluted, negative void and you’re wondering why you feel like crap every day? If I were you, I’d hang up the phone, collect a few of your favorite things, walk out the front door of your apartment and never go back. And don’t stop walking until you’ve reached a place that makes you smile and feel amazing.”)
5. Associate with positive people
6. Get outdoors in fresh air and the sun and experience nature
7. Think powerful thoughts
8. Delve into the mysteries of life
9. Avoid mass media, television and other time- and mind-wasters
10. Live in a place that is conducive to good health (fresh, clean air, low crime rate, local recreational opportunities, etc.)
11. Have (or find) a really cool, balanced partner to share life with
Your life is either a chore or a celebration. The choice is yours.
Fred: Can you give me an example of some of the big issues that raw foodists face in the modern world?
Thor: Good question. Like everything which becomes successful, big, greedy corporations have infiltrated and are now taking over the raw and organic food industries. Wal-Mart even has an organic food section now. And what happens when these corporations get involved is these foods become more available, yes, but quality takes a big hit, and before you know it, raw and vegan diets, which started as salads, fruits, veggies, etc. have become less and less fresh and more and more dehydrated packaged snacks, raw chocolate bars, and the like.
I think the raw snacks are fine additions to a high fresh raw-food diet, but they shouldn’t be the primary foods in someone’s diet, and they shouldn’t be the first thing someone thinks of when they think of the raw food diet. The cooked vegan food industry is even worse, way worse.
My wife has been vegan for over 20 years, and she told me, in the past, being vegan meant salads, fruits, and veggies, mainly being pretty raw, and definitely about whole foods. Now, there are vegan “meats,” vegan “cheeses,” vegan everything, and most of it is not what I’d consider to be part of a healthy diet. One can order vegan at Taco Bell! There are now 300-pound vegans who don’t eat any raw fruits or vegetables, how the heck is *that* healthy?
Fred: Do you think a 100% raw food diet is for everybody?
Thor: A person doesn’t need to eat 100% raw all the time to achieve tremendous results. For the vast majority of people, 100% raw just isn’t a realistic way to live. It took me a while to finally realize that, but it is the truth. Most people do well on a high-raw diet. If one aspires to and thrives on a 100% raw diet, then great for them.
For years, I just couldn’t understand why the vast majority of people were not able to stick with it for an extended time (no matter which raw diet they were eating). There seems to be, for the most part, a revolving door of people who experiment with it for a time, then move on. I think it’s a great thing for people to try. It really teaches people about their bodies, and they’ll never think of food the same again.
Fred: Do you think most people who follow a raw food diet are actually healthier that way?
Thor: Yes, however, one key principle of health I’ve found to be undeniably true over the years is that more important than what you’re eating is what you’re *not* eating, especially in today’s world of quick and easy convenience foods. In fact, the best thing about eating raw, organic foods is not that they are “magical,” but that you are not eating the junk that the majority of people are eating! Raw foods are special, yes, but they are not a cure-all. Eating raw food all by itself won’t completely improve your life, but it’s a great start. The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.
Fred: Tell us about your family. I worked with you and Jolie all those years ago, and you had one baby then. I understand you two have four sons now!
Thor: Yes, I met my wife Jolie on Maui in 1998. We were both working for companies sponsoring the first “raw-food retreat.” Now it’s almost fourteen years later and we have four awesome sons (ages 12, 10, 7, 5). As any parent can testify, it’s challenging, but also very rewarding. Jolie homeschools the kids and does a great job (I help with the math!). And they have the healthiest diets of any kids I’ve ever known. “Mom, can we have a snack?” means a big plate of raw/organic fennel, celery, purple cabbage, carrots, radishes, etc. We have a fun family. The kids and I put together a video to show you and your readers what’s it’s like around here:
Fred: Is there anything you would like to share about raising children on the raw food diet? What is the reality versus idealism?
Thor: Raising kids 100% raw vegan from birth is tricky and not something I would recommend to parents. We tried it for the first few years and there were definitely some paradigm shifts for us (and for many families, I’ve since found out). However, with that said, our kids still eat more raw vegan foods than anyone we know, and have super healthy diets, have never been to the doctor for an illness, have zero cavities, have never eaten junk food, candy, soda, etc. I recommend to new parents that they feed their kids a high-raw diet, strive for all organic, and make healthy choices with everything else, and definitely stay away from all the junk out there.
Fred: What is your take on supplements?
Thor: I think the majority of them out there are a complete waste of money and actually harmful to your health. Most are fractured, synthetic, commercial, cheap garbage. The “supplements” I personally take don’t resemble anything like this. They are simply concentrated, 100% raw, organic food. One example is a wild dried berry from the Amazon called camu camu. Camu camu berries contain hundreds of times more vitamin C than oranges, by weight. So, I don’t take a vitamin C supplement, I just put a teaspoon of camu camu berry powder in my smoothie a few times a week.
A couple more examples of the “supplements” I eat daily are Raw Power Protein Superfood Blend, and Thor’s Hammer cold-pressed, high-protein tablets, both of which are made entirely from 100% raw, organic, pure, vegan food. The “Godfather of Fitness,” health guru Jack LaLanne once said, “I am a huge believer in vitamins and minerals, and even though I eat right, I take supplements as an insurance policy. I take everything, from A to Z, and it’s all from natural sources.” So, I would agree with Jack on the insurance policy comment and take it one step further and say all supplements should be in the form of 100% raw, organic, pure, vegan food.
Fred: What about cacao?
Thor: Cacao (the main ingredient in chocolate) is ok to use in small quantities, if you’re using it as a flavor (like vanilla beans, or cinnamon). I’ve never been a chocolate person, so I rarely eat cacao. If you do, always use raw, organic, and very clean cacao from a reputable source. When cacao is heated above a certain temperature, such as in the process of roasting, the heat produces acrylamide in the cacao, a compound that has been shown to be both neurotoxic and carcinogenic. Also, cacao beans are notorious for being a food that is commonly contaminated with molds.
Peanuts are another food you need to real careful of when you source them. There are two big cacao farms I know of that go the extra mile in making sure their cacao is 100% clean, and they even wash the beans in a purified water and food grade hydrogen peroxide solution to make sure they are 100% clean. The cacao (and all other food items) that we carry at Rawpower.com have been meticulously tested, and for over ten years have been found to be the cleanest products on the market. We have tested dozens of other companies’ products and have sometimes found that they are teeming with contamination. One popular brand of cacao nibs we tested came back with a microbe reading of TNC, which means “too numerous to count.” Scary!
Fred: Do you consider yourself a raw foodist? What do you eat on a daily basis?
Thor: Well, I consider myself a husband and father, because when it is all said and done, that’s how I’d like my success as a human being to be measured. I don’t like to define myself based on what I eat, however for the sake of this interview, yes, I’ve been 90%+ raw since 1995 with long periods of time at 100% raw. Some of the raw foods I eat on a regular basis are: green-leafy vegetables, olives, celery, avocados, purple cabbage, berries, bananas, citrus fruits, green juice, sea vegetables, lots of smoothies with Raw Power Protein blend, Thor’s Hammer tablets, and various raw superfood powders.
Fred: Tell us your thoughts on “superfoods.”
Thor: As I say in my book, some people don’t “believe” in superfoods. But you know, it doesn’t have anything to do with belief. It is a *fact* that some foods are vastly superior to others in terms of purity, density of nutrients, degree of mineralization, etc. A superfood is a food which contains unique (and even medicinal), health-promoting properties. These are foods which are more nutrient-rich, or concentrated, than normal foods and typically have higher levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, etc. than commonly-consumed foods. Superfoods allow us to eat less, but take in more nutrients at the same time. I strive for eating the most unharmful, most nutrient-rich foods possible. This is what eating superfoods is all about.
After 17 years of eating raw foods and trying different approaches, my conclusion is that the best diet is one in which a combination of fresh, organic raw foods and concentrated low-temperature dried, organic superfoods are eaten. For more and more people, supplements are being replaced by raw, organic superfoods, which I think is great. For years, the pharmaceutical companies have been taking plants and superfoods and extracting the medicinal qualities out of them—-and making medicine to sell people at exorbitant prices. Now, everyone has access to these real, raw, superfoods. So, heed what Hippocrates (the father of Western medicine) once said: “Our food should be our medicine, and our medicine our food.”
Fred: What’s the one secret to health and success that you really don’t want to share?
Thor: That’s a funny question because I remember watching a bodybuilding documentary from the 1970s called “Pumping Iron” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In that film, Arnold was explaining how he used to give people the wrong advice so he’d always have an edge over them! I thought that was hilarious, and I even did a little bit of that over the years myself. Not anymore though, I’m more into sharing info these days as compared to years’ past. Answering your question, I don’t think there are really any “secrets” to health and success, but there are a few important guidelines, like the ones I listed previously.
Fred: I remember interviewing you ten years ago for “Just Eat An Apple Magazine.” That article was called “Interview with a raw-food bodybuilder.” Are you still into weight-lifting?
Thor: Yes, even more so now than ever. I still lift weights 5-6 times a week and I developed a new weekly routine, and takes just 45 minutes per day and is the most effective routine I’ve ever practiced. It’s outlined in detail in the new Raw Power book. With it, I’ve built up my strength to bench press 30-rep sets of 100-pound dumbbells. Some say that’s the equivalent of bench pressing 225 pounds on the barbell for sets of 30 reps, which is on par with NFL football player strength. I live in the mountain forest of Northern Idaho now so I also get a lot of exercise hiking and exploring, chopping wood, moving snow, maintaining the property, playing sports with my kids, etc.
Fred: You created a line of Raw Power raw protein powders. Can you tell us a little more about what went into the creation of this product?
Thor: Yeah, the Raw Power Protein/Superfood blends were created several years ago out of my wife and I wishing such a product existed for our own use. We would talk about how it would be great if there were a 100% organic, 100% raw, 100% vegan, 100% clean, 100% HEALTHY protein powder out there, with no fillers and no average ingredients, strictly the best high-protein raw, vegan ingredients planet Earth has to offer. After a few years of trying dozens of different ingredient blends, I finally got it just perfect. My wife, kids and I make it a part of our morning smoothies.
Fred: Many raw foodists claim they can build muscle on just fruits and vegetables as long as they eat enough calories. Do you think it’s necessary to get extra protein when body-building, and why?
Thor: Well, sure people can build muscle on just fruits and vegetables. The question is, how much? I have a chapter on this in the Raw Power book called: Protein: How Much is Enough? In it, I write, “A raw-food, vegan diet is fantastic for slimming and overall health but, to build super strength and muscle mass, extra protein is required. There will undoubtedly be people in the raw-food community who will tell you differently, but it’s usually a guy who weighs a-buck-thirty, or a guy who can run a marathon, but has the physique of a thirteen year-old boy.” People have to decide what they want.
Personally, I’m not interested in being thin and running marathons or cycling on a tiny seat for hundreds of miles. I’m talking about building large muscles and attaining NFL-football-player strength eating raw and vegan, something that a very, very small percentage of people on this planet ever attain. Completely different. If one desires to be an endurance athlete, lean and fit…great, then they can do the 6% protein thing.
If you want middle linebacker size and strength on a raw vegan diet, it ain’t gonna work on 6% protein. Here are some things I’ve found to be essential for the person seeking this kind of size and strength on a raw vegan diet: eating enough calories and protein daily, consistent exercise with weight-bearing exercises, a strong and level-headed mind, staying properly hydrated, getting enough sleep, eliminating stress, getting sun on the skin, etc. Protein intake should be 1/2 gram (or more) per pound of desired body weight per day.
Fred: Besides those who want to have extra muscle, who typically purchases your Raw Power Protein products and why?
Thor: Mostly just anyone who is looking to add clean, usable nutrition and premium-quality, raw, vegan protein to their diets. Our customers also include NFL football players, national fitness competitors, models, personal trainers, yoga practitioners, lots of bodybuilders, and lots of moms and dads wanting to give their family the best.
Fred: What do raw vegan bodybuilders eat?
Thor: In addition to the normal raw-food diet fare of salads, fruits, veggies, smoothies, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, etc., all of them I know of add some sort of extra high-protein food sources, or “supplements.” I prefer the Raw Power Protein blend for its quality, taste, and versatility. Another fantastic raw, organic bodybuilding product I take every day is such an important part of my diet, I named it Thor’s Hammer, after the Norse god Thor’s powerful weapon of choice. It has a 70% protein content and comes in the form of 100% raw, cold-pressed tablets, containing only pure ingredients, with no fillers or binders. I eat handfuls of them at a time, up to 300 per day, which provides me an extra 50 grams of protein per day. My kids all take the tablets daily, so do my employees and many of my friends. I also eat a 100% raw, organic Protein Bar on most days, which contains 22 grams of protein per bar.
Fred: Any new projects in the works?
Thor: As I mentioned, I recently re-wrote my Raw Power book. It details all my strategies to gain super strength and muscle eating a diet of raw foods and superfoods, based on over 15 years of my experiences with a raw-food diet. The book also includes all my unique personal workouts, raw-food recipes and lots of other stuff. I was never really that happy with the first three editions (1998, 2000, 2002), as they were more “thrown together.” With this new edition (2011), I took my time, stripped the old edition down to the bare essentials and then added in over 100 pages of new information. The new workouts I came up with were inspired by a raw foodist I met who out lifted the combined efforts of 10 people. You can read about this amazing story in the new Raw Power book as well. Another book is in the works as well as a workout video. Stay tuned at Rawpower.com!
NOTE FROM FREDERIC: By popular demand, we now carry Thor’s book and a few of his products at www.rawvegan.com
Make sure to also check out his website: raw power.com
Filed under Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude
Last week I stopped by a restaurant, as I was out of town and needed to get a bite to eat. I spotted a health food restaurant that offered a giant buffet, including a salad bar where you could pay by plate size instead of by weight.
They had two different salad prices: small and large. I of course chose the large one.
Whenever the deal is “fit as much as you can on your plate for this price,” my caveman instincts kick in, just like everybody else. So I started to pile an unrealistic amount of salad on that plate, filled with all kinds of veggies, some slices of avocado and other good things.
When I made it to the counter to pay, I thought I had a pretty big salad, but I still felt I could have piled even more on top of it all.
When the cashier saw my salad, he started laughing.
To my surprise, it was not just a pleasant, friendly laugh.
The guy actually started to laugh uncontrollably! He just could not contain himself and started laughing and laughing while making comments at my salad.
At first it was “wow, that’s a really big salad”… and then he started gibbering nonsense. “Oh my Go… oh no, that salad, oh no, wow, oh man…”
I did not know whether I should feel insulted for being treated like a freak, or whether I should start lecturing him on the virtues of eating high-nutrient-dense foods.
But as he kept laughing more and more, I ended his party by looking at him straight in the eye, with the most serious Poker face I could muster, and asked him, “How much do I owe you?” trying to sound like I was a high-paid CEO talking to a low class subordinate.
I could not believe that a health food employee would actually insult my salad!
At first, I was wondering if he was laughing so hard simply because I was taking advantage of their $7.99 plate of salad by piling more than most people would fit onto such a plate.
But then I kept thinking of other buffets where you pay by the plate, and all over the world I’ve seen people do the same thing: pack as much as they can onto the tiniest, cheapest plate possible.
There’s a restaurant in my city called the “Mongolian Grill” where you can get a pretty good vegetarian stir fry. You take a bowl, and pile as many vegetables as you can onto it, and a guy will cook it in front of you on a giant hot plate.
At all of those restaurants, I’ve always witnessed people pack in as much meat as possible, and if they’re vegetarian, as much veggies as they can possibly fit onto that plate, so much that sometimes stuff starts falling off it as they bring it to the counter.
So after this health food store employee laughed uncontrollably at my salad, I came to the conclusion that he was actually laughing because I was going to EAT such a big salad, not because he though I was ripping off his store.
In his mind, eating such a giant salad would be the equivalent of someone else eating a three-foot sub sandwich!
I’ve actually had similar reactions from people in the past when they saw the sizes of my fruit meal.
I was once interviewed by a local Montreal newspaper that was doing a feature on raw food diets. When I told the reporter that I was often eating 8 to 10 bananas for lunch, he also started to laugh uncontrollably, as did the filming crew. It seemed so odd to them that I would eat that many bananas at once!
Let’s stop for a moment to talk about caloric density.
Less than two years ago, I was in Hawaii for my Honeymoon doing a dinner cruise with my significant other. We signed up for an organized package, but asked for a special meal to be prepared for us.
As we sat down to eat, I looked at what the “regular” meal looked like. People received a seafood appetizer (shrimp), followed by lobster and rice, then steak and potatoes, then finally a big chocolate cake dessert.
I took out my iPhone and started analyzing the caloric density of that meal. I calculated that most people ate anywhere between 3000 and 4000 calories, not including the alcoholic beverages, for that meal alone! That’s almost twice as much as most people should eat in a single day.
On the other hand, our meal of salad, fruits and vegetables was less than 800 calories, and we had way more food on our plates.
The Importance of Caloric Density
Caloric density is one of the most important concept in health and weight loss.
It’s simply a value of how many calories are in a certain weight of food, either by pound or kilo.
If you eat foods with a low caloric density, you get full much faster because you have more volume to deal with, and more fiber to keep you full.
If you eat foods of high-caloric density, you get fat because you tend to eat more calories than you need.
Study after study has shown that caloric density is the most important factor in making a diet work long-term.
Because if you eat foods of low caloric density, you get full much faster, and it’s literally impossible to overeat and gain weight.
For example, lettuce has a caloric density of only 100 calories per pound, while olive oil has 4000 calories per pound.
Now you’ll say… yeah, but nobody just eats olive oil!
True! But whenever you add olive oil to a food, you increase the overall caloric density.
For example, a famous study showed that when they fed a group of people the same food but without the added fat, people ate the same amount of food, but consumed fewer calories, and lost weight. But, the other group being fed the same food but with extra oil sneaked in gained weight. They were taking in extra calories without realizing it!
At the same time, if you add lettuce to any meal, you lower the caloric density.
That’s why they’ve found that when people had a large fat free salad or a big apple before their meal, they ate less at the meal and were able to lose weight. That’s all because of caloric density!
Let’s take a look at the average caloric density of different food, in terms of number of calories by pound.
Caloric Density Per Pound
|Fresh raw or cooked veggies||100|
|Fresh raw fruit||250-300|
|Cooked Starchy Vegetables, Intact Whole Grains||450-500|
|Legumes and Beans||550-600|
|Processed grains and Flours (even if made from whole grains)||1200-1500|
|Nuts and Seeds||2800|
Keep in mind that this is an average across a category. For example, we know that bananas contain more calories per weight than apples, but overall fruits have a similar caloric density.
Looking at this table, you’d be tempted to only eat vegetables, as they contain only 100 calories per pound. It’s important to note that nobody can live on just vegetables, and that you’d get so hungry on a diet of just vegetables that you’d eventually break down and eat something else! However, you want your diet to contain plenty of raw vegetables by weight.
The concept of caloric density is to look at the overall caloric density of your meals.
If the caloric density of your food is below 400 calories per pound, you will lose weight no matter what you do!
Many traditional diets of long-lived people have a caloric density of around 600 calories per pound. If the caloric density of your food is below 400 calories per pound, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight without counting calories and even without exercising.
When people laugh at you when they see the size of your meals, tell them about caloric density. Tell them that you can eat as much of these foods as you want because of their low caloric density!
The next time someone laughs at my salad or my fruit meal, I’ll point at their sandwich and say:
“Laugh all you want, but did you know that I could eat two salads like this and still eat less than 600 calories? Your sandwich alone is 800 calories and I know you’ll be hungry in two hours, looking for a chocolate bar, while I’ll feel full because of all the delicious food I ate. That by the way, is why I’m slim and you’re not!”
Okay, maybe I won’t say the last part. But I’ll think it for sure…
Filed under Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude
I recently received the following question from a reader:
A few years back my mom was following pretty much Dr Robert Young alkalarian diet – with NO fruit at all, where he considers fruits – high sugar content ones specially – to be acidic, as a perfect and only greatest discovery diet ever.
I would like you to say something about this ‘insanity’ of not eating any fruits. What do you think about high content sugar fruits to be acidic to the body?
To be more specific, I have been eating much more fruits than greens nowadays, and my family is pretty much concerned about my eating choices, so I want to be able to show them a consistent answer about this choice and why it has nothing to do with Dr Young’s Alkalarian diet.
Hope to hearing from you soon.
ANSWER BY FREDERIC:
I’m familiar with Dr. Young’s approach, and as I’ve always said, every diet has something to offer usually because of the bad things they *remove* rather than what they add in. The Alkalarian diet by Dr. Young does a good job at removing some of the most unhealthy foods most people eat, but is completely misguided when it comes to its recommendation on avoiding fruit.
First of all, Dr. Young is wrong in implying that what you eat or drink has any effect on your body’s PH. It’s actually pretty embarrassing that he would even say something like that, given that he pretends to be a scientist.
Your body and your blood maintain a stable PH that *never changes significantly* no matter what you eat or drink! Therefore you cannot make your body “acidic” or “alkaline” by eating a certain food or avoiding certain foods. In fact, if your blood’s PH changed significantly it would mean *very bad news* for your health, it would mean your body did not have enough mineral reserves to buffer the change and bring yourself back to neutral.
The body always wants to be at homeostasis, if it changed constantly one way or the other you would likely not be alive, the body is very intelligent and has evolved in a way that it can handle almost anything you drink or eat and yet remain at the same PH.
That being said, the foods you eat can become acidic or alkaline *after they are digested.* This means that certain foods, after they are digested, will produce acidity in the digestive tract, and others will produce alkaline base materials. But remember that technically speaking, the digestive system is *outside* the human body! F
rom your mouth to your colon is a complete system that is not actually part of the rest of your body, nothing goes directly into your blood without being processed, and filtered. Picture a date and its stone pit, the stone being the digestive track and the date itself being the body. One is inside and one is outside.
Some people test the PH of their urine and think it means anything, but it doesn’t since urine, again, is outside of the body and bloodstream. The only way to test the PH of your body would be to test the blood.
Your digestive system and organs only use what it needs and not everything you eat or drink “hits” your bloodstream. You cannot make your blood acidic or alkaline, it always stays the same PH. The body uses what it needs from the digestive tract and discards what it doesn’t through waste products and those never “enter” the body or affect your PH.
Whether a food produces an alkaline or acidic reaction after digestion is measured by a chart known in medical science as the “Renal Acid Load Chart.”
If you study this chart, you’ll discover that *all* fruits and *all* vegetables are alkaline-forming. On the other hand, animal products are quite acid-forming while grains and beans are slightly acid forming.
The acidity created from the digestion of certain “acid-forming foods” must be buffered by the alkaline mineral reserves of the body. That’s why it’s important to eat diet composed mainly of alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables.
What this means to you, is that you need to eat more fruits and vegetables to have more alkaline mineral reserves generally in your bones. If you eat only meat and grains, your body will take alkaline minerals from your bones to buffer any extra acid produced in digestion and that can lead to problems like osteoporosis where you have weak or brittle bones from a lack of certain minerals like calcium which is alkaline.
Please note that I said it’s important to eat “fruits and vegetables” and not just “vegetables.”
Also keep in mind that the body and the blood themselves are not getting more alkaline or acidic by the foods you eat. Anyone who says the contrary is just making stuff up, and claiming that fruits are acid-forming because of their fruit “acids” and somehow harm the body is even more ludicrous.
Ask any medical practitioner or even med student and they will tell you that it’s impossible and that the blood or body cannot change PH based on what you eat. It just doesn’t work that way.
This also goes for alkaline or acidic water, water is buffered by the body just like food, so don’t be duped into thinking the PH of your drinking water means anything, especially when you’re eating a high mineral diet of fruits and vegetables. Your body is getting more than enough to maintain it’s reserves to buffer any slight change from what is produced by digestion.
Eat your fruits, eat your vegetables, and you’ll be healthy!
Filed under Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude
I often get questions about the amount of fat we should eat daily. Many people who have read my books are trying to eat less fat. However, the question of *exactly* how much fat is healthy is often debated.
Someone asked me recently what are some differences between my approach and the 80/10/10 Diet, by Dr. Doug Graham.
In case you don’t know, the 80/10/10 Diet is composed of at least 80% carbohydrates, and a maximum of 10% of fat and protein by calories. That’s where the name comes from.
Although I’ve been aware of the dangers of high-fat raw food diets since 2002 when I wrote my book “The Raw Secrets,” it was not until 2005 that I truly gave the 80/10/10 approach a try.
Dr. Graham’s information is truly top-notch in the raw food world, and more people thrive on an 80/10/10 diet, or something along those lines, than any other form of 100% raw diet.
Ever since 2005, I have learned a lot about the 80/10/10 Diet and met a lot of people who have followed it. I also worked with Dr. Graham on a number of projects, the main one being the Perfect Health Program, that is still considered today by many low-fat raw-foodists as one of the most complete courses on the topic.
However, because I do not follow a strict 80/10/10 Diet as taught by Dr. Graham, many people have been asking me what I think of it and what I would do differently.
Everybody who experiments with the raw food diet eventually either gives up or finds their own approach that works for them. In my experience, a low-fat raw food diet with a LOT of fruit and a LOT of greens works for the greatest number of people.
However, through my own research and experience, I’ve come to slightly different conclusions.
My teachings are still very close to the 80/10/10 diet in many key areas, such as:
- The importance of the low fat diet
- Eat enough fruit, and don’t be afraid to do it
- Eat lots of greens
- Fitness is just as important as nutrition for overall health.
Here are the few areas where I’m different.
1- No obsession about 100% raw. I recommend a diet based on fruits and vegetables, but I’m not as strict about the 100% raw part as I used to be in the past. In fact, I say that low-fat cooked items such as yams or vegetables are healthier than large amounts of raw fats found in most gourmet raw recipes (although the 80/10/10 Diet probably agrees with that too).
2- Fat. I allow more than 10% fat, over the course of a month. Although I have done the “less than 10%” thing for a while, I prefer to stay in the 12-18% range, with 15% being a good target for most people.
Many 80/10/10ers have such a fear of fat that they’ll avoid all nuts and seeds. Thus they end up eating only fruit, or only fruit and little greens. However, there are important nutrients in nuts and seeds, such as essential fatty acids and minerals, that are hard to get from just fruits and vegetables. Therefore, if your fat is coming from healthy sources, especially certain high-omega 3 seeds such as hemp, chia or flax then it’s okay to go above 10%.
I find that it’s actually easier to follow the diet that way, while keeping the overall fat content fairly low compared to most people. But, if you need to cleanse or heal, or have extra weight to release, then by all means go for a while without overt fats.
3- Supplements. I am no supplement whore. In fact, I’m one of the few raw food promoters to never have launched a line of supplements. That’s because I find that 99% of what’s on the market is useless in comparison to fresh foods.
But, certain supplements can be intelligently used, and it would be hard to argue that they don’t have their place.
For example, as I explained in my new book Raw Food Controversies, and even in my first book Raw Secrets, most raw foodists should take a B12 supplement to avoid any possible deficiencies that can offer lead to disastrous results. Vitamin D can also be an issue, and intelligent use of a supplement is often advisable when you live in a northern climate year round.
4- Condiments. Although in theory I agree with the idea that a condiment-free diet is best, most people, myself included, find such a diet too boring and ascetic.
In practice, I have found that using some fresh herbs, spices, and even some raw hot peppers can make food much more enjoyable. Try to avoid or limit salt though, and keep in mind the best condiments are raw herbs like dill and basil.
I also don’t mind using some “non-raw” condiments sometimes, such as salsa in a jar, as I find it to be a more suitable way to add zing to a salad rather than using a fatty dressing.
The most important thing is to eat a lot of greens and vegetables. If you find it easy to eat them plain, then by all means go for it. But if you’re like me and find your salads and raw soups more palatable and enjoyable with a bit of spice, then don’t feel guilty for not being “perfect.” It’s far better to eat salads and soups more frequently with a little seasoning than rarely and stay 100% natural hygiene.
To be honest I have noticed that a lot of people who are so strict about staying 80/10/10 don’t eat the right balance of nutrients. Many even get rid of all sources of fat in the diet, including nuts and seeds, even though Dr. Graham never advised to do that. They like to call this the 90/5/5 plan (less than 5% fat and protein) or the “no fat raw food diet”.
Even though nuts and seeds should be limited, let’s not forget that they contain important nutrients that cannot easily be found in fruits and vegetables.
It’s also noteworthy to consider that the 80/10/10 Diet is rather new, and almost no one in the history of mankind has actually eaten that way for more than a couple of decades.
Therefore, it’s quite obvious that not *all* answers have been found and that although I think that 80/10/10 has so much to offer, there’s still room for improvements (such as food quality and variety) and individualization.
A lot of people trying to follow a low fat diet have trouble eating enough greens. They know what’s recommended, but fall short and simply don’t get all the nutrients their body needs.
And just eating mono meals of lettuce or celery in massive quantities is not something most people are willing to do.
One way to get all your greens in a truly enjoyable way is to try out Roger Haeske’s “Savory Veggie Stews”. Check it out at:
I’ve raved about Roger’s program since it came out a year or two ago, as I found it’s the best way to beat dinner-time cravings for cooked foods. Roger’s “Stews” are also super-delicious, and I dare to say my top favorite raw food meal besides fruit.
Roger uses some healthy condiments to keep things interesting, but stays clear off salt and garlic. And you know what? You won’t even miss the salt as these Savory Stews are truly delicious on their own. So it’s a great way to eliminate or reduce salt intake.
If you find it hard to stay raw and low fat, and crave something more than salads for dinner, give Roger’s program a serious try at: http://www.veggiestews.com
As for the discussion about the differences between my approach and Doug’s 80/10/10, I will just say that even though my message is essentially about low fat raw vegan foods, I have found over the years that some people take it to an extreme and omit all fatty foods from their diet completely (like avocados, nuts, etc.).
They may feel great in the short term, but they risk serious problems in the long term, some of which I have witnessed with my own eyes in people trying out this more extreme approach.
I have talked extensively about this in my new book Raw Food Controversies.
If you’d like to discover how to avoid dangerous deficiencies while getting the most from the raw food approach, make sure to get your copy at:
That’s it for today. I just got back to Vancouver after a quick trip to the East Coast to see my family and move a bunch of stuff to my new place. After traveling for almost a year, I’m ready to sit down and not go anywhere for a while!
I hope today’s article answered some questions you may have had.
One reader recently asked me what I think of an article published by Dr. Joel Fuhrman on raw foods versus cooked foods.
Dr. Fuhrman in his article writes that:
“Raw food advocates mistakenly conclude that since many cooked foods are not healthy for us, then all cooked foods are bad. This is not true.”
In his article, Dr. Fuhrman points out that:
- It is true that high temperature cooking or boiling destroys many nutrients, but more conservative methods preserve many of those nutrients
- Steaming vegetables and making vegetable soups breaks down cellulose and alters the plants’ cell structures so that fewer of your own enzymes are needed to digest the food, not more.
- In the end, Furhman thinks there are no benefits and only negatives from not including cooked greens in your diet, because cooked greens are the most nutrient dense foods. He thinks the ideal diet includes 50% raw vegetables and 50% cooked vegetables.
I tend to agree with Fuhrman’s reasoning, but not necessarily with his conclusion.
It’s true that some nutrients are more easily available after vegetables have been cooked, while others are destroyed or reduced by cooking.
It’s also true that by eating only raw vegetables we’re missing out on a lot of nutrients, since they could be “locked” in the fiber and not always assimilated properly.
The ideal way to get your nutrients would be to eat your vegetables raw and chew the heck out of them! However, due to poor dentition and lack of time, most people are not able to eat enough raw vegetables and chew them well enough, so that they can extract all the nutrients.
It’s true that cooking breaks down the fiber of vegetables and makes them easier to chew and digest (in some cases). For example, steamed broccoli is a whole lot easier to eat than raw broccoli!
But if you cooked all your vegetables you’d be missing out on a lot of important nutrients that could be damaged by heat.
Like Fuhrman, I believe that green vegetables are so important that we should make an effort to eat them in large quantities on a daily basis. About one pound of greens per day is the minimum for most people, to get sufficient amounts of calcium and other nutrients in a raw diet. I recommend two pounds a day for optimum health.
You should also eat your vegetables in a way that your body can totally assimilate them.
For some people, that may mean steaming some vegetables so that they are easier to chew and digest. I personally like to eat some cooked vegetables like spinach and broccoli on a regular basis.
However, my number one, favorite way to eat greens is in green smoothies!
By blending greens with fruit in smoothies, you get the best of both worlds. Your vegetables stay raw and nutrient-dense, but the blending process makes them easier to digest and assimilate.
If you drink one or two liters (or quarts) of green smoothies every day, you WILL totally transform your health in a matter of weeks or months.
Can’t wait to get started and need some motivation? In just a few weeks we’re going to start a new Green Cleanse, a yearly program I run, where my participants spend a week drinking nothing but green smoothies and eating nothing but fruit. The results are dramatic!
For more information on the Green for Life program, go to: