February 26

Ramblings About Nature’s First Law

Filed under Questions & Answers, Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude

– 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 www.replytofred.com

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 www.fredericpatenaude.com/mentorclub.html

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: http://www.ArnoldsWay.com. 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.

27 Responses to “Ramblings About Nature’s First Law”

  1. Christine says:

    Dear Frederic,

    thanks for a wonderful article and the courage to tell things as they are.

  2. Rebecca says:

    for you book – I would like to know more about dental health – mostly gum health – and anything you know about curing immune diseases with raw food diet.

  3. Louella Hansen says:

    Keep reminding people to keep it simple. There is way too much Gourmet garbage out there. Just remind us, again.

  4. Les says:

    Dear FP, its a shame you felt the need to bring up the plagiarism thing with David Wolfe, seems that allot of 811’ers and type love to dis-credit everything everyone else is doing if it does not fit to their Natural Hygiene type method. I know your gonna say but i said he was hard working, but you threw mud first. Its a shame you have lowered yourself to this level. Have you never heard of taking the high road?

  5. Frederic says:

    Upon reflexion Les, you are probably right. So I just revised my article. No need to bring this up.

  6. Les says:

    Thats great Frederic, you do such good work and i pass parts of your newsletter on to many friends who are looking at raw and i think david does allot of good too that there is no need to sabotage him like so many are at the moment. it has put allot of people in my circle off the whole raw thing of late.

  7. Charles Long says:

    Nice article. I’ve been getting David Wolfe’s emails for a long time now. To date, I’ve not ordered his book or anything else off his site. I’m not sure what this plagiarism thing is you guys are talking about. I don’t really care to know. I try to learn as much as I can from as many different sources as I can and use the “supermarket” approach. I take what I like and can use and leave the rest on the shelf. And I leave the mud-slinging stuff to others. I don’t care to get involved.

    It is interesting to hear how your health suffered under the mainstream raw diet that seems to be majority opinion. However, a lot of people seem to thrive with that approach.

  8. Micah David says:

    I need to know what you mean by keeping dried fruits raisins (without any extra ingredients) at a minimum! I need to keep my weight up and the only way to do that as a teenager is to consume denser foods such as raisins. Maybe you could include how a teenager could become and maintain the raw food lifestyle while still getting around 2500-3000 or more calories., that would be really useful!!

  9. Wig&Sword says:

    I very seriously doubt there is more benefit to avoiding garlic than consuming it, at least for certain groups of people. I have been eating close to 90% for one year and from 2000-2004 ate only one (just one!) cooked vegan meal per week.
    Some days I ate garlic and other days not. I experimented with 50% Fruit Days but these left me with an empty feeling so I stopped. The best routine both then and up to now has been fruit & yerba mate (or cacao) in the mornings, a salad luch, a salad dinner. I often use raw habaneros and on days I skip garlic my body ASKS FOR IT!! I also eat 1-4 avocados daily plus nuts & ferments. Around the year 2000 I lost 40lbs. on this regimin. I am convinced ‘ONE PERSON’S PANACEA IS ANOTHER PERSON’S POISON’ is the best GENERALIZING RULE, but some (maybe most) should eat close to Fruitarian often. Energy levels and Mental Openness are the key!

  10. Jeff Ferguson says:

    Hi Frederic,
    I think the most important issue right now for anyone who values their freedom of choice and how it relates to their health and their ability to buy herbs, vitamins, natural supplements, etc is the pending passing of Bill C6 in Canada and Codex in the USA. This is avery scary topic. It appears that our government and Big Pharma are not going to let the Natural Health Products industry cripple their control on the health of Canadians and Americans. We must all stand up and fight this. I urge all Canadians and Americans to write and/or e-mail their government representatives and demand they not support these attacks on our freedom of choice.

    Fred, how do you feel about this? I’m afraid that if this passes, it won’t be long before every piece of raw fruit and vegatable is irradiated, GMO’d, and filled with poisons in order to keep us sick. I am ashamed of what has become of the human race all in the name of corporate greed and profits.


  11. Govinda McGeary says:

    For those of you who are confused about the value garlic onions chives etc. Smell they soil the grow in ! It smells like decomposing flesh! and if you eat just a little ..notice how your skin smells..and how dull your mind becomes.
    A vedic vegetarian will not go near onion and garlic…and other plants from that group.

  12. Frederic says:

    Jeff: How do I feel about that? It’s pretty obvious that we are going towards LESS freedom in the future as a society. But I do not agree that this is because of “corporate greed and profit.” It’s only because we have a big, powerful government who has a promiscuous relationship with big, powerful companies that any law that favors a small minority (and in exchange, gets sponsorship to the political parties) that this is possible. So yes, I agree with you. I just don’t agree that companies are the real problem. It’s only through big government that their power is expanding so much.

  13. Charles Long says:

    What’s the deal with raw garlic? I thought garlic was supposed to be good for you.

  14. Frederic says:

    See my comment under the Interview post about garlic:

  15. sapphire says:

    garlic and herbs are healthy and prevent and cure nad treat ,many disease all naimals in nature eat herbs
    i am 80 percent raw vibrant and healthy
    each person needs differnt foods and amounts for their body

  16. Sharlene Patnaude says:

    Namaste Frederick,

    I recently visited the Tree of Life in Patagonia, Az. I was amazed at how the employees had such white scleras. Why do you think that is? Is it because they have been doing more cleansing? Maybe that they live in a less polluted area?
    You could write about how to get whiter scleras.

  17. Jeff Ferguson says:

    Sorry Sapphire…
    Despite what we all have been led to believe, garlic is an irritant and a low level poison to the body. As are onions, leeks, chives, etc. The same with many herbs. The only way raw garlic can be eaten is if a small amount of it is mixed with other flavours like olive oil, lemon juice, etc. Garlic must be cooked to make it palitable. That should tell you something right there. For any plant to be considered a valuable food for the human species, you must be able to make a mono meal of it. Have you ever sat down to a delicious bowl of raw garlic? I doubt it. And no animals in nature eat garlic either.

    A small amount of garlic in an otherwise proper raw diet will not cause much harm. Just don’t confuse it with apples, mangoes, peaches, grapes, cherries, oranges, etc. which are truly nourishing foods.

    All humans need the same foods. And those are foods that we are biologically adapted to eat. And garlic is not one of them.

  18. Jean says:

    I used frozen Açaí in Green smoothies for a while and loved the taste, however when I went to have my teeth cleaned the little particles in the Açaí (My guess is maybe seed hull particles) had gotten between teeth and gums and was rotting the gums. The dentist said she had never seen anything like it. The particles were as hard as metal. Açaí was the only new addition to my diet and the problem stopped when I stopped using the Açaí.

    So proceed with caution where Açaí is concerned.


  19. heather says:

    dear fred, i sorry that you think was being negative about costa rica. i obviously did not communicate in a way that got my point across in a positive way. costa rica has a wide variety of fruit like most other tropical regions . i was born on tropical island. i have seen the results of people who come looking for a different lifestyle and end up with this fantasy of what they created in there own minds. from your writing i know that you are a responsible person . don’t take this personally. others are not like you. i saw the pictures of all the fresh fruits and i miss home.what everyone calls” raw” or vegan is what i was used to eating everyday. i lived on a property that had mango trees , banana plants, breadfruit , papayas, soursop, star apples, custard apples and my favorite jack fruit. these things grow wild in some places. these are everyday food sources for the ” natives ” . i do know what i am talking about. anyway have a good time . i wish i was there. i am going to make myself a winter smoothy. wish i had a sunripe mango or papaya right now.

  20. MOHAMMED says:

    Les is right. The “science” of Raw Eating & its relation to Health is just evolving. Undue criticism among raw “scientists” will only intimidate others
    who wants to try/learn the benefits of raw eating. Frederic is doing a great

  21. Polina says:

    Hi Frederic,
    I would like to know more about feeding my 3 years old daughter raw diet.
    I know you do not have kids of your own yet, but maybe you could help with that too. I have a difficult time because I do not want to harm her health in any way. Is raw food lifestyle good for very young kids? And what do they need to eat to maintain good health?
    Would you recommend the new book Shazzie Evie’s Kitchen: Raising an Ecstatic Child ?

  22. Sivia Tabak says:

    Dear Fred,

    I am a real raw foodist (actually about 80%) for the past two years and lost 40 lbs and feel great. Thanks to you and all your wonderful books and emails constantly encouraging me. However
    I do have a problem of constipation. Can you suggest something that I can add or subtract from my diet. I do NOT eat avocados, nuts, or dried fruits.
    Thank you and all the very best,

  23. Sivia Tabak says:

    am patiently waitng for a reply from Fred.
    Thank you

  24. Jeff Ferguson says:

    I can tell you what worked for me. Upon waking every morning I have one or sometimes two large glasses of pure water. This really helps get things moving. Hope this helps.


  25. David Rice says:

    In the Essene Gospel of Peace it is recommended that we eat daily only 1-2 minas of raw vegetarian food daily (2-4 pounds app.) and ideally only 1 meal a day. Do you believe that there is a calory myth? Perhaps as our bodies detox they require fewer calories to do the same work. Many talk of energy highs during fasts.


  26. David Rice says:

    correction: 1-2 minas = app. 1-4 pounds.

  27. Frederic says:

    There is no such thing as a “calorie myth”. It’s a proven fact the body requires a certain number of calories per day.

    Therefore I completely reject the idea to consciously try to limit your food intake to an unhealthy low level.

    Fasts cannot be sustained for long periods. Yes, you may get a “high”. But ultimately if you continue the regimen you will starve yourself to death.

    Limiting yourself to one meal per day is also unhealthy and will force you to eat too large quantities at that meal. 2-3 meals a day are best.

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