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Are You Confused About the Raw Food Diet?

Are You Confused?

The following except is taking from the Raw Vegan Mentor Club newsletter, a monthly printed newsletter I send to members of my Raw Vegan Mentor Club only.

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One of the biggest enemies to your success on the raw food diet (and in life in general) is confusion and self-doubt.

It’s what I call a “silent killer” because this enemy is very sneaky and insidious.

Confusion and self-doubt will creep in your mind and lead to a chain of thought that will eventually lead to failure.

So let’s talk about it openly and also find some strategies to deal with it and insure your success on the raw food diet.

First, let’s start with a basic concept:

The area of highest leverage in our lives is our thoughts.

I want you to ponder that for a moment.

Everything you see around you that is man-made is the result of someone’s thoughts:

–    Cars
–    Skyscrapers
–    Windows
–    Computers
–    Etc.

Everything we create in our lives starts with a simple thought. Everything we destroy and every failure also starts with a thought.

The most valuable piece of information I got for succeeding in life was when someone told me:

The main reason people fail in life is the thoughts they allow in their mind.

And the most valuable piece of information to succeed on the raw food diet came when I applied that realization to succeeding on the diet.

Of course, other things matter, such as getting the right information in the first place.

But let’s assume that you actually have everything you need to be able to succeed on the raw food diet, to take your fitness to the highest level, to achieve vibrant health and to reach your highest potential in life.

With the information that is now available to you, there is no reason to think that you do not have the basic pieces of knowledge it takes to at least make dramatic progress on those areas.

If that’s the case, then why are you not succeeding at the level you desire? Why are you constantly going through setbacks and “falling off the wagon”?

I believe it’s because of the thoughts you allow to creep into your consciousness.

And the beauty about it is that you only need to start being aware of that fact to be able to control it.

So let’s start with the area of confusion and self-doubt and then move on to some specific strategies that apply to the raw food diet.

Sources of Confusion

I’ve found that one of the biggest reasons for confusion and doubt that lead people to try all kinds of different diets and never find the one that works is being confused by contradicting information.

For example, let’s say that you’ve read my books and Dr. Graham’s books and other hygienic authors and through your own experience and rational thinking, you come to the conclusion that the low-fat, raw vegan diet combined with a fitness program is probably your surest bet to achieve the highest levels of health you’ve always wanted.

But let’s say that one day, you read something from an author that is now saying something completely opposite of what you thought you believed.

That author might even look healthy and be very convincing in his reasoning, and now you’re in doubt. You’re confused and you don’t know what’s true anymore.

What if he’s right? What if you’re wrong? Could it be that you might be on the wrong path?

Or could it be that you’ve taken this raw-food stuff too seriously, and need to loosen up a bit and instead just find a middle-path that works for you?

You’re starting to have all of these thoughts creep into your mind, and suddenly, you’re finding all of this a good reason to try the other program.

But one month from now you read something from a different author and then she’s also saying something that contradicts some of the information you thought was true. What are you going to do now?

When that happens, some people despair. Some give up everything and just go back to the Standard American Diet. If the gurus can’t agree between themselves, how can I know what’s true?

Others try to mix bits and pieces of different, contradicting systems and end up with a mish-mash that doesn’t fully give them the results they desire but at least “works for them” for the time being.

I see that happening all the time.

The moment someone, anywhere says anything with any kind of authority that contradicts something they thought they believed but haven’t fully integrated in their lives, confusion begins.

And that confusion leads to an inevitable train of thought that brings about failure.

Why is it that we’re so malleable and weak that we can’t just look at different available options, decide which one is the best and then stick with it for the long run?

Do You Believe Any Guru That Comes Around?

I’ll give you an example so we can put this discussion in perspective.

There’s a man in California who promotes a diet of raw animal products.

He eats raw beef, raw liver, raw butter, raw honey, raw milk and even raw chicken, with a very small amount of fruits and vegetables.

He claims to have healed himself of cancer by eating this way, and wrote a pretty well-written book on the subject.

A lot of people have come to me and asked me about this man over the past 10 years.

They’ll say “How can you be right with your fruit-based diet when this guy says the complete opposite, and appears to be completely healthy and even thriving on the diet?”

The people who ask me these questions are usually in the “searching” mode (nothing wrong with that) and are very confused about nutrition.

Unfortunately, they’ve naively made a few fatal assumptions. Let’s review them one-by-one.

–    They assumed a wrong cause and effect relationship

The first wrong assumption is the cause-and-effect relationship. They assumed that the only way the author got well was because he started eating such and such food.

In reality, most healing occurs when you remove certain foods from the diet.

That’s why so many diets appear to work even thought they all promote different foods — they all remove enough offensive items to create some positive changes in health.

Most diets either eliminate grains, or cooked foods, or animal products.

It’s entirely possible that someone can dramatically improve their health by simply removing a few major categories of food from their diet, without going 100% raw vegan.

In addition to food, they probably made a lot more changes in their diet, such as:

o    Eliminating drugs and medicines
o    Exercising
o    Moving to a less toxic environment
o    Changing their relationships
o    Improving their state of mind

All of these changes and more can improve your health dramatically. But it doesn’t prove that raw animal foods (or anything) are the main healing factor in that mix!

–    They assumed that the author didn’t lie about his story.

I’m so surprised that most people assume that because someone wrote a book, that he necessarily told the truth about what really happened in it.

Not so fast!

In just the first few years of my exposure to the raw-food movement, I saw many authors lie repeatedly and admit it totally openly in private.

In my own experience with the aforementioned author in 1998, I remember clearly some annoying discrepancies on some figures that he gave.

I remember seeing him live for a presentation, reading an interview with him in a magazine, and reading his book.

In each of those instances, the numbers he gave regarding one element of his story of recovery were completely different!

So don’t assume that just because someone wrote something, that it’s necessarily true. They may have exaggerated or altered the facts to fit their story.

–    They assumed that the self-diagnosis of the author was right.

How many people have found a “cure” to cancer and then published a book about it?

What’s funny is when you actually dig deeper, you’ll often find that their diagnosis for cancer is often very dubious.

For example, one of the oldest and most popular natural health book published is the Grape Cure, by Johanna Brandt.

In it, the author claims to have healed herself of cancer by going on a grape diet, with other protocols.

As it turns out, her “cancer” was self-diagnosed. It’s entirely possible that she didn’t have cancer in the first place!

Often certain authors will exaggerate the facts in order to make their story more dramatic.

–     They assumed that because the author is “good-looking” that is “healthy”.

Most people equate looks with health. They assumed that just because someone looks good, they automatically must be very healthy.

They forget that health is about reaching the maximum potential of each individual, and that the manifestations will vary from one person to the next, but will be mostly hidden to the eye.

Some people are good looking, but unhealthy. Looks are not a guarantee for sure!

However, some signs of health don’t lie:

•    Healthy skin
•    Breath and body odor
•    Fitness levels
•    Etc.

But don’t assume that just because someone looks “great” that he is necessarily healthy on the inside.

Claims of Failure

In addition to the stories of authors who promote a diet that is entirely against everything that raw veganism stands for, you will also find all sorts of people in the raw food movement who will be happy to tell you their story for why the diet failed for them.

Some of them may actually be influential with a website or blog with a lot of traffic.

Will you let confusion and doubt overcome you as you read these testimonials?

When someone says that the low-fat, raw vegan diet didn’t work for them, you might want to consider the following:

–    Did they really follow the program?

I know plenty of people who claimed that the raw vegan diet didn’t work, but yet never actually practiced it properly. At some point, I was even convinced myself that the diet couldn’t possibly work, and was looking for all sorts of evidence to support that belief.

The problem is that when I was having those thoughts, I also knew that I never actually practiced the diet as I should for a long enough period of time. I just wanted to find an excuse to make it not work.

Unless someone is giving the exact details of what type of diet they were following, most likely did not really follow the program that they now claim does not work.

Even if they claimed to have followed it, as I’ve explained before, omission of truth is part of human nature.

As Dr. Spock once said, “not a lie, an omission” (This is the first time ever that I quote Star Trek).

–    Is it possible their symptoms might be caused by something else entirely?

The raw vegan diet is not a guarantee for perfect health. There are all sorts of illnesses that can be manifested by all sorts of causes that don’t have anything to do with diet.

Someone could be following a perfect, low fat, raw vegan program and still get sick. The chances are much slimmer, but still exist.

My belief is that it’s always more advantageous to put all of the chances on your side. Even if a particular health condition cannot be solved 100% through diet and fitness alone, it could still get a lot better, or avoid getting worse.

If a well-known raw food guru were to succumb of a particular disease, it would not be enough to make me doubt the program, especially when it’s an isolated case.

If a naysayer claimed that the raw vegan diet doesn’t work because they got such and such problem, or failed to solve such and such problem, what does it mean?

It doesn’t automatically mean that this problem was caused by the raw vegan diet or that it can even be solved by diet alone.

Complainers Have a Voice

“The internet gives everybody a voice, and the internet has a tendency to give the complainers a louder voice.”

If you feel contempt about something, it’s really easy to voice your opinions online.

That’s often a good thing, but it also means that naysayers and complainers have a much louder voice than before.

In the past 10 years, I’ve travelled all over the world and met thousands of people who have followed the raw food diet at some point or another.

I’ve found that the most successful, healthy people I’ve met were quiet people who had little interest to become involved in the movement.

There are a ton of people out there who are getting fantastic results with the raw vegan diet. Most of these people will never write a book or be known as “gurus” in the movement.

So when someone asks me, “why aren’t there any centenarian raw-foodists out there?” I answer: there are. But you just haven’t heard of them.

Instead, we tend to hear more from people who voice their negative opinions or talk about their negative experience or sell their expensive supplements as the answer to everyone’s problems.

Reasons for Confusion

I believe there are some basic reasons why many people get confused by the contradicting information in the natural health movement.

•    Reason #1: Lack of Basic Principles

The number one reason why people get really confused with health and nutrition is that they are not operating from basic, fundamental principles.

Instead, they gather bits and pieces of information here and there and never manage to organize them into a consistent system.

Nowadays, it’s easy for me to guess the content of a new health book — one that presents a new “revolutionary” theory.

Usually, they’re all the same. Their basic error is operating from the point of view Cure (which is the way of thinking of all Western Medicine) rather than Health.

Most health books — whether they admit it or not, are just following the same path as traditional, Western medicine based on eliminating symptoms, rather than addressing the cause.

That’s their basic fault.

And it’s very easy to see it once you understand fundamental principles of natural hygiene and health.

I’ve never really covered this topic in any of my works (except briefly in some of my books), but since it’s so important, I will start to review these principles, one by one, starting with the next issue of the Mentor Club newsletter.

•    Reason #2: Refusal to Choose One Philosophy and Make it Work

Another big reason for confusion is that most people try to mix together bits and pieces of contradicting philosophies.

I believe it’s fine to learn from different teachers and take some insights from each. In fact, each person has something unique to contribute.

But you shouldn’t try to mix different systems and philosophies that don’t agree with each other.
Instead, choose the one that makes the most sense to you, and really work at applying it in your life.

Years ago, I rejected the naturopathic way of thinking and adopted natural hygiene as my main health philosophy. That’s the philosophy that made the most sense to me rationally.

I can still listen to a lecture by some popular raw-food authors and get some great insights from it and walk away with some useful information.

But generally, these people and others will be in fundamental disagreement on some of the basics of what I consider essential health principles.

So I do not try to follow their approach and mix it with mine, because I know that can only lead to confusion and failure.

Instead, I can get insights from them in other related topics that I might not have investigated as well.

Here are some examples of these basic “errors” and fundamental differences:

–    The use of foods as “medicines”. Natural hygiene fundamentally rejects the idea of using certain foods to cure certain diseases, or taking it certain foods for certain nutrients.
–    The “fear” of fruit. Most nathuropatic philosophies refuse to see fruit as the most essential item in the diet and instead vilify it in every way possible.
–    The use of stimulants: promoting certain foods for energy rather than understanding the true energy-depleting nature of stimulants.

–    Reason #3: Unconscious Desire to Fail

This might actually the most essential reason for confusion: we don’t actually want to find out the truth because we’re scared of chance.

Unconsciously, we desire to fail.

I know how it works because I’ve been there many times.

It’s perfectly okay to decide to eat certain foods or do certain things because you openly admit that you’re not ready for change.

But because that attitude requires a great deal of self-knowledge and awareness, most people try to justify it in some other way.

They prefer to think that the diet failed for them rather than they failed the diet. So they’ll find all kind of evidence to support that.

This was just an except of my monthly newsletter. The same issue also contained a complete description of detoxification, how it works, what to expect, what to avoid, and more description of other symptoms. If you liked it, learn more about subscribing at
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.