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Why People Fail on the Raw Food Diet

Last week I was giving a conference on the raw food diet in Montreal, Canada. This is my home-town, but I haven’t given a talk here in a long time. One reason is that I’m more of a writer than a speaker, but also because even though I’m French Canadian, most of my material is in in English.

The talk I gave was in French this time, at the loft owned by Montreal’s only raw food restaurant, “Crudessence”, and organized by Ildiko Brunner (

The information I presented was in big contrast to what most people are used to hearing on the raw food diet. There was no talk about enzymes, no discussion on the “miracles” of wheatgrass juice, and no promotion for sprouts.

Instead, I showed my proven principles for succeeding on a mostly or completely raw diet, and the mistakes that are commonly made by most people who try out this lifestyle.
I explained that the raw food diet is like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be extremely powerful and beneficial. On the other hand, it can harm you and hurt you if you don’t do it properly.

It’s not that fruits and vegetables are dangerous… but the incomplete advice people often get from books on the raw food diet will lead many people to new health problems they didn’t have before!

Twelve years ago, the same thing happened to me. I was in perfect health, then went raw, and started getting sick! I had no energy, and felt like my vitality had been sucked from my body. Why did this happen? I just subscribed to the philosophy of “as long as it’s raw, you should eat it. If it’s cooked, don’t it eat.”

It took me many years to learn to do it properly… and even though many people have read my books and others describing those common mistakes, I see people making them over and over again!

7 or 8 years ago, I was very active in the Montreal raw food community, when I lived there. I hosted many potlucks, and attended most of the other potlucks by other raw-foodists.

At my talk last week, even though we had a full house, I saw NONE of those same people again. Are they still raw-foodists? I seriously doubt it.

It seems that after 5 to 10 years, the raw-food community completely renews itself and the people that used to do it have either dropped it, or are doing something different. New people are coming on board, and the same cycle starts again.

I’ve seen the same thing happen everywhere.

People don’t stick with this program because the way raw food is taught by most people simply doesn’t make sense and doesn’t work!

In my talk, I explained exactly why that happens, and how you can make the raw food diet work in practice.

HINT: a lot of it is about following basic nutritional principles that every nutritionist knows, but most people think no longer apply to eating raw.

Big mistake!

In the Q&A session, people asked me about all kinds of things.

For example:

“What do you think about sprouting?”

“What do you think of superfoods?”

“Do we need to eat organic foods”?

I explained that all of these things, in the right context, can have some value but their importance is quite secondary in the whole picture.
Focus on applying the principles of a low-fat, raw vegan diet first, and THEN, and ONLY then, can you worry about more “advanced” things like eating organic, or maybe sprouting some seeds in the winter to have some fresh vegetables.

People tend to focus all of their attention on these little details that make literally no difference in the beginning and forget the whole picture!

In the grand scheme of things, starting and maintaining a successful exercise program will be 1000% more effective than just worrying whether everything you eat is organic, or whether every food they eat is a “super” food or not.

But few people want to hear this!

In the beginning of my talk, I asked people:

“How many of you would like to have a simple, powerful way to increase your vitality and improve your health without using supplements and products that often don’t work?”

Everybody said yes.
Then, just for fun, I asked:

“How many of you would prefer that I just sell you a magic pill instead?”

It made people laugh, and only one person raised their hand, but quickly said they were joking. But in reality, this is what people want!

If I could buy a magic pill that would transform my health with no effort, I would do it without a second thought, and stop talking about this raw-food non-sense!

But in reality, it doesn’t work like that. At least, not without side-effects…

The raw food diet can be incredibly powerful. But it can also destroy your health, if you do it improperly.

The best thing to do is master one important principle at a time. For example, I always tell people it’s more important to eat a low-fat, vegan diet than just eat raw.

Master that level first… and then move on to the rest by making your diet more raw.

If you want to get started immediately and increase your health and vitality with the raw food diet, while avoiding all of the common mistakes people make, get your copy of the Raw Health Starter Kit, my most complete raw food program, at:

It contains everything you need, and more. And, if you don’t like it, you can return it so you have everything to gain by giving it a try.

I will be giving more talks in Europe in the next few months and I will post excerpts on my blog as well. Stay tuned!

Yours for health and success,


PS: The Raw Health Starter Kit includes my book “The Raw Secrets”, my recipe book “Instant Raw Sensations”, my “un-cooking” set of DVDs, my new book “The Raw Vegan Coach”, and more! Take a look at what’s available and get your copy at:

Pictures From Seminar

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

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