February 10

Animal Products and Raw Gurus, John Fielder Speaks His Mind

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

Now Check Out My Afterthoughts on This Last Interview!

Comments on the John Fielder Interviews

We had a wonderful time with John Fielder in our visit to Australia. I must say that John is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. We had some interesting conversations before we met, which led to our recording an interview.

John only eats two meals a day, one at noon and one for dinner. His lunch meal is a fruit meal, and I would estimate that it provides about half of his total calories for the day. He told me that he eats a small handful of nuts as well as one avocado a day, on average, as well with his salad. So I would estimate that his diet is about 40 to 50% fat by total calories.

This is much higher than I recommend, but John seems to be doing well on his diet. His total caloric intake must not be very high, but he stays active and fit at the age of 80.

Regarding the animal products, John believes that there are certain nutrients that can only be obtained in animal products. He consumes about one cup of goat’s yogurt/kefir per week, which is not much overall. He can spread this out over the week and have a few tablespoons of it a day. He also uses sauerkraut for the beneficial bacteria.

I personally do not think there are “undiscovered” nutrients in animal foods that are essential for health. However, if one uses animal products in such small quantities, I don’t think it would lead to any negative side-effects, especially if they are from a clean source. I’m not certain that it would have much positive benefits, but I’m open to different points of view.

I do not make animal products a part of my daily diet. Over the years I have experimented with them, and occasionally I might eat a dish containing egg or ingest a soup that’s not 100% vegan because there’s not much else available where I’m traveling, but I personally have not found any benefits in animal products. I supplement with vitamin B12 and occasionally vitamin D, as deficiencies in these nutrients are common not only in vegans but also in meat eaters.

I do think that the reason many vegans have problems is that they don’t have enough nutritional knowledge and either eat an insufficient amount of calories, or eat a diet that’s too high in fat or low in green vegetables. However, I have known certain people who claim they have experienced better health by including a small portion of animal foods in their diet (usually eggs, fermented dairy or raw fish). It’s possible that due to some unique genetic differences some people simply do better with this way of eating. In my experience, that’s less than 5 or 10% of the population though. So I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone.

Growing children often do a lot better eating some animal products than being raised on a pure raw vegan diet. The issue may be with the protein content of the diet, which may be too low in just fruits and vegetables. I think this issue could be solved by increasing the amounts of nuts and seeds consuming, giving them more cooked and blended greens (one cup of cooked spinach contains 5 grams of highly assimilable protein), use some spirulina (1 TBS of spirulina contains almost 5 grams of protein), and making sure they eat a lot of plant food in general. I don’t think anyone has written the official book on raw vegan nutrition for children, so I would certainly approach the issue with care. Growing children need a lot of food!

My good friend Karen Ranzi has written a great book with lots of insight on her experience with growing children called “Creating Healthy Children”. You can find her book here:

Adults, on the other hand, need very little protein because they are fully developed. Experiments dating to 1905 by Russel Henry Chiltenden (who published a book called Physiological Economy in Nutrition) proved that adult humans can thrive on 40 grams of protein a day. He even made his point by putting seven athletic Yale athletes (the equivalent of Olympic level athletes today) on 40 grams of protein a day, and they all improved their athletic performance. 40 grams of protein is what you’d normally find in about 2000 calories of fruits and vegetables with less than 15% fat.

So those are my thoughts on some of the controversies in this interview with John Fielder.

I hope you found it interesting and I’m looking forward to your comments on the conclusion of this interview.

23 Responses to “Animal Products and Raw Gurus, John Fielder Speaks His Mind”

  1. Paul says:

    I don’t know about you but eating just 5% animal will make me much more subject to colds and the flu- while I’m almost never sick if I stick to a vegan diet. So, yes, eating a little animal product will make you sick, at least indirectly.

  2. Mike henderson says:

    Dear frederic,
    I thank you for your video blog on the above and you come over far more
    diplomatic than a previous occassion regarding wheatgrass juice-ie.sometimes you come over a little dogmatic in your article blogs.
    I don’t know what your opinion of energy workers are-but an interesting
    story from Donna eden of ‘energy medicine’ claims in her writings that she
    was unable to eat fruit and she traced this back to a weakness in one of
    her energy lines-once tracked and addressed she was able to reintroduce
    more fruit into her diet but she still eats animal products.
    If we took our nutritional needs from an energetic perspective and used
    proper measurable and repeatable ways of measuring healthy energy in
    the body then we would build a fuller picture of what our TRUE needs are.

  3. Carrie says:

    My opinion is that John looks awful. He looks so frail a puff of wind would blow him away.

    It is hard to tell how old he is but he is probably younger than he looks.
    Not a robust healthy looking individual at all. Scary stuff.

  4. Audrey says:

    I don’t believe in the dairy or meat eating. I know as I have been a cancer-free woman for over 21 years eating 80% live food and 20% cooked food that I have never felt better in my life. I know that as an wellness educator myself and what I have learned and studied that dairy and meat are addicting and can cause disease which is sickness in the body. It has been removed from my diet and I look younger than I did in my 20s. I think never stop learning, but I will stay where I am because I know dairy is scary and I know that people who eat their meat, meet their maker sooner than they want too. I tried to eat meat again after being healed and it made me sick. So now nothing taste better than I feel. Thank you for your great work.

  5. Sally Negus says:

    Carrie, John is 80 years old. He also looks to be of fragile constitution…hence why you think he doesn’t look that great. I also did a 23 day water fast just like Fred..the refeeding and re entering was very very brutal and I loved what John had to say about not doing longer fasts. I have as well intoduced some raw grass fed milk…The difference in my health, energy, tooth strength and stamina has been profound.. I come from a line of Celtic people who drank raw milk and ate raw fish..Most lived very very long disease free lives, and walked as sheep herders and farmers..Also, I’ve started supplementing (I’m 54 yrs) with 2 % Lugol’s iodine solution…And in two days I feel reborn..The hard science coupled with the epidemic in low thyroid functioning calls for it.. Sharing to help Sally

  6. LMitchell says:

    Carrie, he’s 80 years old, as it states in the article. I though he looked good for his age, certainly much better than many.

  7. Damian says:

    I’m experimenting with my diet. I was eating for a while just raw food- I had a lot of problems with digestion, gases etc. and I was very thin, but my skin was clean(what was the only advantage). Last months I eat almost only cooked vegan, a lot of rice(parbolic and brown), and I add flax oil, I eat a lot of steamed vegetables, some raw salads. I get from it about 75(to 80)% of carbs, 10 % of fat and 10% proteins. I feel better, digestion problems almost disappeared. Also I experiment sometimes with eating a chicken meat. I found that when I eat a chicken breast in small quantities(from time to time), I feel definitelly more energetic next day. But eaten more often and in bigger portions it doesn’t work so good for me. So maybe small quantities of animal products are good for some people in reasonable quantity?

  8. Tamee Becker says:

    I find it strange how some here jump to criticizing John for having ideas that they may not be comfortable with. The man has been a raw foodest for many decades if eating raw is as good for you and keeps you as sharp as you say then maybe he knows something you have not learned.
    To go as far as saying he looks frail? The man is in his 80’s he looks great his mind is sharp he moves well. I see no crippling but I guess if you had not experienced many older adults you may think that he is frail.
    I work in a hospital and for the most part I am working in the ICU units. believe me he looks good. What surprises me is that most any given time half of the people in ICU are younger than me. I am 56. I take four flits of stairs to work 5 days a week. That is about all the exercise I get with my busy schedule But I look far better than many of the 30 and forty year olds.
    I get sick but not that bad and not for long. Only two or three times a year. Maybe 10 hours then a day to re coop. I am not a Vegan, I am not even a vegetarian.
    I am very aware of what I put in my mouth. My foods are whole. I don’t often eat breads nor do I eat dairy very often. Mostly I eat fruit, Vegetables beans, rice, and Sashimi. I love fish. I do drink coffee and probably always will. Unless of course I see that it is harming me in some way.
    I am wondering if the reason some seem to need animal products has to do with blood type? I do eat by the preferred diet for my Blood/Geno type. I have type A blood and I should be more vegetarian. Certain Fish is allowed.
    I do have an interest in eating more green but I do not intend to stop eating fish ever.

  9. sophie says:

    shazzie has done some interesting research on raising raw vegan children.. you can find a bit about it on her website.. and i guess in her book ‘raising an ecstatic being’ she goes into more depth with it but i’ve not read that
    i feel that extended breastfeeding is a very important part of raising any child but especially raw vegan, babies and young children do need nutrients from dairy products, from raw mummy milk! not other species
    love sophie

  10. Gunda says:

    Thanks Frederick for helping to clarify this very contentious issue.

    Carrie, in my experience all the 80 something year old people I meet do not have anywhere nearly the mental clarity or peace of mind as John Fielding. Nor would any of them be able to do a taped interview for several minutes and keep my attention. I do not see anything scary here.

    The LFRV diet allowed my then 52 year old body to heal to the point I no longer use asthma inhalers, and and colds are no longer a part of my life. Neither are visits to chiropractors and physiotherapists several times a year. Constant fatigue and joint pain are gone. I may not look like a million bucks either but I sure feel like it.

  11. danny says:

    Hi Fred

    A very interesting interview,
    but I must admit that in comparison with the one you led with Albert Mosseri when you visited my country, John does not comply with 100% raw,
    Up to 40% of calories gotten from the fat and I personnaly have nightmare when I eat 15% of fat but it seems he’s fit for his age, so keep it up for him !

    Do genetic change interfere there ? Are we all equal ?

    What is interesting is that I am 30 this year, exactly the same age when John started his raw approach , so I guess, we can talk of this topic when we both reach our EIGHTYS…!

    However there is an interesting point, but unfortunately, you recorder your interview outside, and I could poorly understand what he said about rats fed right the same and the one that developped 93% chance of cancer ???
    Has this to do with the level of temperature for food intake (cycles of the body) ?

    By the way, do you recommend a blood check on regulary basis for any diet (just to check out how the cells react ?)

    Cheers from France !

  12. Chris says:

    Frederic: I’m so GLAD to hear you’re not turning anti-vegan. I was raised eating animal products and was sick ALL the time.

    Since becoming vegan 27 years ago. . I have had many healing crises in those early years, but its truly the BEST thing I’ve ever done. I would NEVER go back to animal products.. and use mostly green vegetables with nuts and seeds, and only limited fruits. I thrive on this diet and look and feel great every day.

    So yes perhaps we have differences, but I say being raw and vegan is truly an amazing lifestyle. Every day I am so grateful I found this way to live and heal my body. The longer you live this way, the better it gets..

  13. Chris says:

    oh, and p.s.: No, I don’t sleep all day in a tree (or anywhere else) like the koalas by my eating heavy greens and only very few fruits. In fact I bounce out of bed at 4:30 or 5 every morning. . and go, go, go all day until bedtime. . 9 or 10 pm. . sometimes later depending on the day. I live a full life..and have done this for years.

    Mostly I think I have springs in my legs I want to bounce all around. . Life is really good when one feels good . . . and I feel really good. My moods are even and I’m a happy girl . . . of (55++ years).

  14. Tamee Becker says:

    No if you are talking about my eating by my blood type/genotype, no you only have to know your blood type. You should also know if you are a secreter or not that will change some of the food (lectins) that your body reacts to.
    I have studied further and I actually try and eat by my Geno type now.
    I read eat right for your blood type by Peter D’Adamo and started there. I felt so good and for the first time in my life my hunger could be satiated. Then I Read his book he wrote after furthering his study GenoType Diet. That eliminated chicken from my diet.
    Chicken was a main staple in my diet most of my life. I was raised on a farm with hundreds of chickens purchased for food. I immediately stopped having pain in my frozen shoulder. That and Shrimp.

  15. Frederic Patenaude says:

    I think this is where genetic weaknesses play in. Some people can “get away” with eating things like animal products, cooked food, seasonings, having more chemicals in their food, while others can’t.

    Some people I know are fine eating a little cooked food, some people cannot eat anything but 100% organic or they get headaches, while others eat only a little organic and mostly conventional and report no problems.

    So of course, don’t eat foods that cause your body sickness and work within your own limits.

  16. Daniela says:

    I had the privilege to meet John in persons twice and he’s the healthiest looking individual I have ever met. He might look frail because he’s thin, but that’s part of being an hygienist, you’re never going to look “normal” in size, you’re more likely to look skinny, which he is.
    He has a glow to his skin which you would never find in someone his age and even less in someone younger than him. I have met 2 hygienists and their skin is amazing.
    John is everything but frail. He works he land (300 acres I believe?) every day. Whenever he travels he prefers to walk to and from places (we’re talking miles here) instead of taking an means of transport. I’d give anything to have his energy at my age (mid 40′) let alone at 80. He’s a true inspiration.
    Not everyone might agree with his choice of foods but we can all concurr that he’s been on this path for 50 years now so he might know a thing or two that we don’t. I don’t believe there are many individuals like him out there so he’s a living proof of what he professes.
    He’s a very kind and gentle individual, I can only speak positively about him and I feel like I can only learn from him.
    The other reason why he uses animal products and does not agree with fruitarianism is because he tried it himself and it did not work.
    Now, it might be that “his truth” does not apply to everyone, but he has a wealth of knowledge we shouldn’t shut our minds off to.
    Thanks Frederic for posting these videos. I found them very interesting and they gave me an extra boost in my raw journey (which at times I struggle with! Sadly!).

  17. Daniela says:

    I remember John telling me the story of the rats’ study.
    That’s truly fascinating. The study was conducted on rats that had cancer.
    Both groups were fed the same amount of food in the same conditions. The environment and quantities of food were identical.
    The only difference was that 1 group of rats could eat all day long, the other had its meal only once a day and at a specific time.
    The latter group had a 90 something % recovery from cancer which reinforces his theory on skipping break-fast, hence giving the body additional time from your last meal in the evening, to heal and regenerate.

  18. Nicole says:

    Personally i feel that humans should be vegan, if you look into all the different issues, i.e. environment, rainforest cutting versus farming with animal food coming from the third world and people there dying from starvation and climate change, due to desertification, the terrible suffering that the world of animals is subject to, all the way from farm animals,birds and more to the smallest insects, the sea becoming empty, are all sentient creatures, the universe is alive and feeling. And even if i am innocent of all that, think of India and China modernising and westernising by becoming meat eaters and destroying their beautifull lanscape.
    Rawfoodism and natural hygiene can only be an improvement on veganism although it can be hard as we have many thousand years and a life time of programming of cooked food but when we think about it, cooking is bound to destroy and damage a lot of ingredients.
    As to animal food like kefir, as mentionned by John Fielder, could we look at it as a way to regulate the population ? Are not seven billions of humans on this planet a bit exagerated ? And would not raw vegans live a long life and not need to reproduce as they are happy as they are and do not need to pass on their ambitions onto their children out of frustration about themselves and hope the kids will make it instead. ?

  19. lola says:

    Fred, you said you ate ceviche in Peru which is raw fish in citrus, not-heated-raw fish. What other animal products do you eat occasionally? Is there any animal product you would definitely not eat under any circumstance? I am just wondering in what order from best to worst would you consider if this is all that was available: Fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk.

  20. Absolutely PARAMOUNT, Frederic- most people who want to be healhty do not have basic knowledge of nutrition and CALORIES NEEDS!! This is so imporant and the CRUX of every “raw, vegan, or diet” failure. As an aside, I would also like to mention that, inspired by your “can eat some cooked carb food” such as sweet potato, or some beans, slow cooked, etc.. I tried adding a few supper meals a week for two weeks since being 100% raw for eleven years and was able to increase my calories of course! but… unfortunaely I experienced some gas, *you do not get gas when you eat properly. EVER* and it took much longer to fall asleep on those nights (I eat my last mouthful of my supper at 5:30 and retire at 10:00). I also noticed a 15% drop in my energy level for my intense weight training the next day (I did not notice much difference in my cadiovascula workouts (endurance increases and prowess are so easy to achieve when you eat raw; they are no big deal). I also noticed that any sorness I developed lasted three days. 100% raw, mostly fruit of course, I hardly get sore and if i do I recuperate in a day from the soreness, and systemically three times faster than with cooked (the way most cooked athletes do. Raw really decreases your healing time across the board, inside and out as anyone who tries it is aware). I also noticed my breath was a little “off”. And I got a little congested. So all I can say is that I went back to 100% raw, and just had an additional 800 calorie smoothie . No more cooked food experiments for me. God bless those who need it, but I do not like to compromise the way I feel or my performance. I can see that begginners who are only raw a few days or weeks and they live in a place where they cannont get even fresh bananas and even frozen blueberries may need this “crutch”. But in my experience with myself, my raw freinds and others, there is never a problem when one just buys enough fruit. And not only that, cookind is more work, even though it takes less planning. That is my two cents anyway.

  21. Frederic Patenaude says:

    To Chris: I think it’s different for everybody, but a big issue is also adaptation. Staying a 100% raw and then eating some cooked root vegetables might cause some gas, etc. As your body just isn’t used to this anymore. But eat cooked yams every day for a week or two and the body totally adapts to it and can digest it no problems. However, I agree that objectively raw is best.

  22. Austin says:

    Frederic Patenaude,

    I find this very interesting and am thrilled by your open-minded approach. I think John definitely has wisdom that we could learn from. He has lost muscle mass with age like expected, but he could always build muscle if he chose — definitely no health issues that I see.

    First, I was a little surprised about your reference to “complete protein.” All whole foods that I know of have all the essential proteins, and most whole foods have them in high enough amounts to provide what a person needs assuming that person eats their daily calorie requirement from that food in a raw state (since cooking denatures protein) — according to the FDA’s listed protein content of various foods. I have even read quotes from the author who originally introduced the idea of “complete proteins” where she declared that she was wrong.

    John implies that the women he knows eat similarly to him, and he also claims to benefit from occasional animal products. The women may have suffered from not enough protein, specifically the essential amino acid lysine.

    A successful strength trainer will say, proved by science, that the human body doesn’t store protein for more than about 3 hours. The body must consume muscle for protein after that for daily processes.
    Lysine is found less in meat/muscle and least in plants but needed in great supply for growing minds as well as in reproduction. Lysine is high in dairy products (as well as human breast milk). It is possible that the two meals do not provide enough lysine over a long enough amount of time to be adequately utilized for high-lysine processes. The women might have gotten a passable amount of lysine from the fermented dairy.

    I would enjoy knowing what and how much they eat/ate so that I could make a substantial conclusion rather than a mere hypothesis. A very curious case indeed.

    As for the rat study, not eating for extended periods of time, such as in the study, puts the human body into “fasting” mode which promotes healing. It is expected/known that a person will recover/heal faster in a state of fasting. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be best for the rest of the body’s processes on a frequent basis (especially one such as reproduction). How rats’ bodies react to such circumstances I do not know, but the trend matches that expected from a human study. I also do not know for sure (from scientific studies) how the fasting state affects the reproductive processes, but I think it would be flawed to assume that it affects them positively when the fasting state is optimized for healing.

  23. Frederic Patenaude says:

    To Lola: I have never been to Peru, but I have eaten fish ceviche a few times in Costa Rica as an experiment. I can tell you that over the years I have occasionally eaten animal products, including fish, eggs and dairy products. Right now it’s pretty rare. I really avoid all dairy products, although a few years ago I was eating yogurt occasionally.

    It’s still somewhat of a debate (what is best: vegan or not). I can tell you that I’m pretty sure that less than 3-4% total calories from animal foods would probably not be bad for health and might have some benefits, although that part is not clear.

    A little fish would probably be the best animal food because it can be so rich in B12, vitamin D and EFAs, but now that oceans are so polluted it’s really a mixed bag.

    Dairy products from cows are probably the worst of all animal products .

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