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Ramblings About Nature’s First Law

– Word From The Editor
– Nature’s First Law
– How Raw Science Has Evolved
– Questions and Comments from the Readers (That’s You!)

I can’t believe it when I look at what happened in the last 10 years.

I remember when I was younger, my grandmother would tell me: “life just goes by too fast”.

I never thought I would be someone who would eventually think to myself: “Wow, those last 10 years went by so fast!”

And I’m glad I don’t feel that way. Honestly, those last 10 years of my life don’t feel as if they just “went by”. They are so packed with events that it doesn’t quite seem that “yesterday, I was 22.”

When I first started on the raw food diet, it was the summer of 1996, and I was 20 years old.

I had just read a book that had completely changed my outlook on life. That book was “La Nourriture Idéale” by Albert Mosséri. This book has never been translated into English, but it roughly means “The Ideal Food” or the “Ideal Diet”.

This book contained, among other things, a word-for-word translation of the book “Raw Eating” by Hovanessian.

After reading it, I was shocked!

I instantly understood that everything I thought I knew about nutrition was possibly wrong!

The author said that eating raw foods would “cure all diseases” and that every single disease under the earth was caused by cooked food.

Albert Mosséri, however, did not believe that — as no rational person should — but he wanted to include parts of the book “Raw Eating” in his book because he thought that Raw Eating was one of the most enthusiastic, inspirational book ever written on the subject of health.

And he was right!

Mosséri himself recommended a diet composed of mostly fruits, raw vegetables, and some steamed vegetables and very small amounts of nuts and avocados.

So in a sense, it was a low-fat raw food diet, although not completely raw.

After reading that book, I immediately started following this Natural Hygienic diet, and reading everything I could on the subject (including the 20+ books that Mosséri had written).

I corresponded with Mosséri, and have maintained contact over the last 12 years. In 2005, Mosséri gave me permission to translate all of his books and reprint them. I have so far only translated some of his works, which I published in my book – The Raw Secrets.

Eating a mostly raw diet, alone in the heart of the Canadian winter, at 20 years old, living with my parents and going to school… was not an easy thing.

Even though Mosséri had given me great information to follow, I was still confused about a lot of elements of this diet/lifestyle.

Nature’s First Law


Eventually, in the summer of 1997, I discovered a strange website by three naked guys in avocado trees. They had published a book called “Nature’s First Law: the Raw Food Diet”, which I immediately ordered.

I wrote to Nature’s First Law, with a good, old fashioned hand-written letter that I dropped at the post office, and surprisingly got an answer back from David Wolfe himself.

I had offered to translate his book into French, and he invited me to come visit him in San Diego to talk about it. This led me to spend almost three years in Southern California. The year was 1997.

Although the project of translating Nature’s First Law into French never realized, I eventually started working with their company, and then went on to publish my own newsletter “Just Eat An Apple”, which is how I first got involved and known in the raw food movement.


My First Experience Versus My Second Experience

Going back to my story, when I first went raw, I did it the “traditional” way, which is: I ate a lot of fruit and vegetables.

I didn’t know about smoothies (unfortunately), or raw food recipes (fortunately!), so I just bought as many fruits and vegetables I could carry on my bike every day, and ate them simply and in few combinations.

I would ride miles and miles on my bike every day to get from one supermarket to the next, in order to find the best produce.

One store had papayas — a tropical fruit I had never tried before — so I was excited! Another had ripe avocados. And yet another store had dried figs.

It was my final year in music school, and I had decided to move to Southern California as soon as the summer was over and I could save enough money to leave.

When I left in November, 1997, I already had over one year of Natural Hygiene under my belt, and almost 5 months on a 100% raw food diet.

I was feeling pretty good!

At the time, Greyhound had a special on bus fares. You could go anywhere in North America for the same low price of $80.

So I paid $80 for a one-way ticket to San Diego, the farthest place I could go except Alaska!

It was a three-day trip, and the only thing I ate during the trip was apples and dates. I brought with me a giant bag of apples, along with some dates.

When I arrived to California, I felt pretty good, in spite of the long journey.

The first day I arrived, I spent the day at the beach with a few raw-foodists I had met: Don the “Raw Guy”, R.C. Dini (the Raw Courage Vegetable Guy) and Heidi.

When I arrived at Don’s house, RC showed up with a giant bowl of garlic-flavored guacamole, and invited me to dig in.

I was hesitating because my Natural Hygiene background led me to believe that raw garlic was not a good thing (and in fact, I was right…).

But I thought, “What the hell,” and enjoyed the meal, which was followed by more “combo-abombos” or “combinations-abominations” as RC affectionately called his raw-food recipes.

I remember how Don Meritski looked me in the eyes and said: “Dude, you’re going to eat SO much food while you’re in California, you’re not gonna believe it!”

And indeed, he was right…

In 1996, I started out with a pure, natural hygiene perspective.

Then in California, I was confronted with the greatest and coolest raw food movement on the planet, and discovered gourmet raw food recipes I never though I could eat before.

Over the course of the next two years… I lost pretty much all of the health benefits I had gained over my first year on the program.

I was eating several avocados a day, because they were free, often “harvested” from local trees in the neighborhood. I was eating a ton of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and combo-abombos.

The general rule I got from the raw-foodists was: Eat anything you like. If it’s raw, it’s cool!

After a little over a year on that program, I was already sick.

After two years, I had less energy than I ever had in my life, and I was starting to develop more serious problems such as cavities and blood-sugar imbalances.

All of that from the “perfect diet in the world”.

How “Raw Science” Has Evolved

It’s a lot easier for someone today to succeed on the raw food diet than ever before. Although more “bad” information is available, the good advice is also more readily available from different sources.

When I first started, the diet I was following was not bad. I was eating fruits and vegetables, and avoiding excess fat and combinations.

I was on the right track… but I just needed some extra guidance, which I didn’t have at the time.

The second diet I tried is the “high-fat” raw diet that a lot of people still promote today. On it, I reached the lowest level of health I ever reached in my life.

Here are just some of the insights that I didn’t have at the time, which are now clearer to me than ever:

It’s important to eat enough calories from fruit to meet your needs, otherwise you’re going to look everywhere and crave anything to fill the need.

Smoothies can make it a lot easier at first to get those calories in a more concentrated and easily digestible form.

The raw diet should be a diet of raw fruits and vegetables, with very little of anything else concentrated.

Green smoothies are one of the best ways to consume enough greens.

Dried fruits and other dried items such as nuts should be minimized

Special attention must be paid to dental health

There are over 100 insights such as these, that I have described in detail, in the Raw Health Starter Kit.

As usual, this is getting to become a pretty long introduction to my ezine.

The reason I started this rambling is that pretty soon, I’ll celebrate my 33rd birthday.

As I was looking at the last 10 years, I realized it might be time to write another book. Not an eBook, but another real, published book, a sequel to “Raw Secrets”, so to speak.

But to write it, I need your help. What would you like to hear about? What do you think I should write about?

Post your comments at the bottom of this page!

Do you need to detox? In just over a week, we’re organizing our annual “Green Cleanse”. Only 50 spaces total are available. Join us at:
Click here to find out more.

Who Else Wants to Overcome Cravings, Deficiencies, Dental Problems and Achieve Their Ideal Weight?”
iii Watch in awe as the Green for Life helps you shed pounds, overcome deficiencies, reverse signs of aging and make you feel just awesome!

Click here to find out more.

To leave a comment or question, go to

Books Selling Miracle Diets

I just wanted you to know how much your articles/newsletters have meant to me. I’ve bought every health book out there, my digestive problems are currently so bad that I can only tolerate liquids! I feel helpless/hopeless and all those books that did nothing but make me try to force someone else’s miracle diet on me.

I loved your article on the raw food movement; it’s just not that complicated is it?! We are destroying ourselves looking for every and any way around doing what’s right and natural, I hope to have learned my lesson. Thank you for being there for me and for all of us.

Sincerely, Meredith Machin

Not Everybody Can Move to Costa Rica

Dear Fred,

I admire your generosity in the information you give, thanks.

However, everyone cannot move to Costa Rica, if even a million people take your suggestion and move they will destroy the country because not everyone is respectful as you.

I know what it is like to live in the tropics and I wish I could live there again but it is not practical. Enjoy your new lifestyle. Not every one can join you.

As it is Costa Rica is now gaining a lot of attention by those who want to go green and they loooove the planet and want to escape the rat race. They are bringing their selfishness and greed with them in their quest to escape America.

RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: Thanks for writing, but you sound a bit negative. Do you seriously think that millions of people would move to Costa Rica after reading my articles? It’s estimated that the North American population in Costa Rica is less than 100,000, even after 20 years of PR and promoting Costa Rica as a retirement destination. In comparison: a popular book on retiring to Costa Rica sold over 250,000 copies over the last 20 years.

No, living here part time or full-time is not for everyone. But honestly, I wish more of my readers would make the move. This country (and other countries) needs more health-conscious, raw food enthusiasts.

By the way, I haven’t found that people moving here bring their “selfishness” and “greed” with them. At least, not more than in any other place. Maybe you should reconsider your negative position by actually spending some time here?

Private Consultations With Frederic

Dear FP,

Thanks for explaining that you are a very private person. I am not a very private person. Perhaps because I am still struggling to achieve optimal health. I would very much like to correspond with you about my personal issues. I realize that sharing about health is your business and I am willing to pay for support. Is this an option?

Sincerly, Regina Eldred, San Diego CA

RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: I don’t offer personal consultations at the moment but I do correspond publicly and privately to my Raw Vegan Mentor Club members on our discussion forum at

Come to Canada!

This is my 3rd comment in the last 3 years… same comment! I live in Toronto… just wondering WHY you do not offer workshops/retreats in CANADA! There is a need!!


RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: Good question! I haven’t been involved in doing many lectures since 2004. But this year I should participate in many live events. I was scheduled to speak at a raw food festival in Canada this year, but the organizers have canceled it. However a workshop should be organized soon in the Ottawa area. More information will be sent soon…

The Importance of Green Smoothies

Hi Frederic,

Thank you for reiterating the importance of Green Smoothies. I signed up for your “green” information even though I have been drinking green smoothies and have been raw for more than a year. I just keep giving my Green for Life books away. As far as I am concerned, Green Smoothies are the mainstay of the raw diet.

The importance of the greens and this drink cannot be overemphasized. My husband and I have our Green Smoothie after our morning five mile run. It’s the best breakfast I have ever had!

I first learned about them when I heard Victoria speak at Arnold’s Way, the raw cafe in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Your good friend Roger Haeske has been there a couple of times. Arnold is doing wonderful work promoting raw food and Green Smoothies. He is tireless and generous of heart. There were probably close to 100 people at his potluck last night, a testimony to the good work he has been doing.

If you don’t know of Arnold Kauffman, you should check out his website: However, since you have both been active in the raw food world for some time, I imagine you may be familiar with Arnold’s Way. By the way, you can catch my husband and I on Arnold’s Way YouTube. Again, thank you spreading the message of the Green Smoothie.

Best regards, Leslie Arnold

RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: I know Arnold’s Way, of course. And thanks for your comments about Green Smoothies. In just over a week we’ll be leading our next Green Cleanse. In just 7 days of eating green smoothies you can see amazing results. More information here.

Eating for an Exam

Hello Frederic,

First off, I have to say that your website and the information contained in it is amazing! I have a question: I intend on taking a graduate school exam (MCAT) soon. I was told to eat protein mixed with carbohydrates for energy (since the test is 5 1/2 hours). I was wondering if fruit would work to eat in the morning of the exam, as it may induce me to running to the bathroom and this could mess up concentration as the test is time sensitive. I was wondering if you had any tips on raw foods I could eat in the morning the day of my exam that would not induce me to running to the bathroom consistently.

Thanks, Maya

RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: I would be tempted to recommend fasting, although for such a long test it would probably not be a good idea. I imagine that the average person doing this test must at least drink something during the duration of the test?  The best choice if you want to get mental energy during the test is eating fruit. However, you don’t have to eat large quantities which like you said, might necessitate a few trips to the bathroom. Just a few pieces of fruit, consumed at regular intervals during the test will give you the energy you need. Bananas and dried fruit at that time would be a good choice (even though I don’t usually recommend dried fruit).

Food Combining Question

Hi Frederic — Many thanks for all the great health tips! You have been so helpful!! How many hours should I wait after eating fatty foods (like oils, nuts seeds) before eating fruit? Is two hours enough time? Or vice versa, how long should I wait before eating nuts and seeds after eating fruit?

Thanks for your input.

RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: If you eat fruits FIRST, which is what I recommend, you don’t have to wait very long to eat other types of foods, such as salads containing fat. Just waiting 15 minutes or so is enough in most cases.

Acid fruits combine also fairly well with fatty foods. So after eating something containing fat, you could have an orange or another acid fruit.

Don’t make food combining more complicated than it should be on a raw diet. The only combination to really avoid is concentrated sweets with fats together. For example: nuts and dates.


Have you ever tried acai berry? What are your thoughts on purchasing it as a juice/concentrate?


RESPONSE FROM FREDERIC: I have eaten Açai when I visited Brazil in 2004. For those who don’t know, Açaí (pronounced AH-SAW-EE), is a slightly fatty, anti-oxidant rich fruit that grows in Brazil.
The Brazilian buy it frozen in big blocks. They make a national dish by blending it with either honey or guarana syrup, and serve it with granola. It’s simply delicious.
However, its recent use as “miracle food” is deplorable.
People buy it at a 10 or 20 times markup.

Even though Açaí is a decent food, it’s not necessary to eat it to stay in great health. There are other great, anti-oxidant rich foods available such as blueberries or pomegranates. You don’t need to pay an outrageous price for this exotic juice.

If Açaí were available frozen at a reasonable price, then I would suggest making some sorbets with it, similar to what the Brazilians make.

Do you need to detox? In just over a week, we’re organizing our annual “Green Cleanse”. Only 50 spaces total are available. Click here to find out more.

Who Else Wants to Overcome Cravings, Deficiencies, Dental Problems and Achieve Their Ideal Weight?”
iii Watch in awe as the Green for Life helps you shed pounds, overcome deficiencies, reverse signs of aging and make you feel just awesome!

Click here to find out more.

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.