September 22

What raw foods should be avoided?

Filed under Questions & Answers by Frederic Patenaude

IMG_0618.JPGI’m here in Calgary, home of the Calgary Stampede and nicknamed “Cow Town”. Funny thing though, no one is eating like a cow here…

I went to a local vegetarian restaurant for their weekly featured “raw dinner” and what I got was a gourmet meal high in fat, loaded with salt and you guessed it… low in fruit. Typical of most raw restaurants, unfortunately…

I went home starving after this meal, even though it had a lot of calories! I was still unsatisfied.

Has the same ever happened to you? Do you  wonder how this supposedly healthy raw diet can be so unsatisfying at times?

Tomorrow is my talk “High Fruit or High Fat?” – If you’re in the Calgary area, don’t miss it! You can RSVP at or check out the flyer at for more details.

If you can’t wait to get started, check out my Raw Health Starter Kit, the best way to succeed on the raw food diet without making the common mistakes that can potentially hurt your health. Get the details along with a special bonus we will no longer be offering soon:

Today I’m answering your questions! Please feel free to comment below.


PS: The highlight of the weekend was a visit to the wonderful city of Banff. A true postcard from any angle… Check out pictures on my Facebook at, I will accept your friendship 🙂


“How I Beat My Salt and Dinnertime Cravings”

Do you find it easy to eat raw during the daytime, but find that when dinner comes, you’re tired of just eating fruit and you’re craving something more substantial and savory?

If you do, you’re not alone!

For those of you who still crave savory things and cooked food at dinner time, you’ll love Roger Haeske’s new program on Veggie Stews.

It worked for me, and it will probably work for you! Check it out here. It might still be available at a discount price:


Questions from the Readers (That’s You!)

What Raw Foods Should We Avoid?

I love your website and your videos. I have not seen any reference to raw eggplant: Some websites say it is edible while others say it is not. What is your opinion? Are there other veggies or fruits that should not be eaten raw? Thank you for your time.


Rather than making up rules about what can and cannot be eaten raw, I’d rather have you trust your taste buds. I don’t see anything wrong with raw eggplant, except for the fact that it’s not very tasty. In the past I have marinated it for some recipes, but I don’t think I’ve eaten raw eggplant in the past 5 or 6 years!

A few comments about some fruits and vegetables:

Raw legumes (even soaked or sprouted) should be avoided due to the toxic enzyme inhibitors found in them, as well as high quantities of raw starch. Beans should never be eaten raw.

Potatoes and other very starchy vegetables should also never be eaten raw.

Buckwheat greens should be avoided in large quantities due to a substance contained in them called fagopyrin, which can cause hypersensitivity to sunlight.

Rhubarb is a vegetable to avoid because of the high concentration of oxalic acid.

I recommend moderation with any strong or bitter-tasting green such as dandelion, watercress, culinary herbs, etc.

Here are other foods that are not lethal or toxic but can be considered “borderline” but might be used as a seasoning

•    Garlic: due to the Allyl methyl sulfide produced from the digestion of garlic and the way it is exuded from the skin pores, causing bad breath and smell, I personally prefer to avoid it!

•    Onion  family: quite strong and best used in moderation, or oxidized by chopping them in a food processor and leaving at room temperature for a few minutes for the strong oil to partly evaporate.

•    Hot Peppers: The substance that causes the heat sensation in hot peppers is called “capsaicin.” It binds with pain receptors that are responsible for sensing heat. So it “tricks” the brain into thinking that it’s sensing heat or pain. The physiological response is the same as when an actual burn has occurred, even though the tissues have not been harmed. Heart rate is raised and perspiration is increased, with the release of endorphins. Hot peppers are a stimulant. Knowing that, I still personally enjoy a little “heat” sometimes.

•    Mushrooms: Many types of mushrooms are toxic. The cultivated varieties are relatively safe but I wouldn’t class them in the same category as fruits and vegetables. I rarely enjoy them raw but sometimes I might eat them in a recipe.

There are no reasons to avoid any common fruits sold at the supermarket.

Mixing Fruits With Fat

Hi Frederic! In the Raw Secrets book it states that we should not mix fruit with fat foods (nuts, seeds, oils) because the fruits may ferment since they digest quicker. So, how long should we wait after eating fat foods to eat fruits? Is two hours enough time? Thanks.


For the answer to that question, please refer to my last article on food combining!

Hot Water

I know you believe in limiting eating/drinking ice; what about drinking boiled, hot water? Also just a question about what 100% means: is eating nori seaweed, carob, agave, dried fruits 100% raw, or just acceptable? Thanks!


I have nothing against drinking hot water, if it’s to “warm you up” during the winter. You could even add a little lemon juice. Just be careful not to burn yourself! The lining of your esophagus is very delicate.

As for the other foods you mention, most likely they are not truly raw, but can still be consumed on occasion. I’m not really a big fan of seaweed for reasons mentioned elsewhere, but a little on occasion to make sushi rolls for example, is okay for me. Agave nectar is a concentrated processed sweetener that I don’t recommend either. I prefer to use sweet fruits such as mangoes, if a recipe calls for agave nectar. I might use it occasionally in a recipe if mangoes are not available…

Dried fruits should be avoided most of the time, because they are difficult to digest, tend to ferment and also can stick to the teeth and cause dental decay. However, they can be very useful in exceptional circumstances when carrying fresh fruits would be difficult. For example: traveling in the desert, hiking across a national park, visiting remote islands in the South Pacific, etc. Just make sure you increase your water intake to compensate.

Fruit Ripeness

How can you tell when a fruit is at the “ripe” point to be considered the most nutritionally nutritious (i.e., mangoes, melons, bananas, etc.) Why are mangoes so hard to cut and what is the woody part of the fruit? I have yet to buy a mango that doesn’t get wasted because you cannot cut through the woody part. They are pretty expensive for so much waste.


Every fruit is different, but most fruits are ripe when soft and sweet. That is also their nutritional peak. Bananas are ripe when they start to get some brown spots (although that can be different for some exotic varieties.) Mangoes should be soft and juicy, and certainly not hard like you described. Of course, don’t eat the center seed, cut around it. There are many videos on youtube showing how to cut a mango.  Check it out.

Eating Fruit and Running

I took the giant step towards a raw lifestyle about a month ago and while I’m not 100% yet, I feel great. Leaner, cleaner and just overall better. My big concern is can a raw food diet maintain the fuel/energy requirements of an athlete. I’m a runner. I run about 30 miles a week and compete in races monthly during the race season (mostly 1/2 marathons). Because I haven’t been able to figure out the best way to carb load on a raw diet I still have my bowl of pasta the night before. I’m afraid not to. Have you already addressed this in a previous article or series? If not, I think this would be a great topic for a future one! Thank you for making raw foods look so easy and delicious! The switch can be intimidating when you don’t know what you are doing and you make it look so simple.


As an amateur runner myself, let me give you some tips. I don’t run as much as you do but I have done as much as 20 miles a week.

On a low-fat, high fruit diet you’re going to have much better results with your training. First of all, you don’t need to “carb load” because fruits, unlike cooked complex carbohydrates, are easily digested and provide quick energy.

The problem with most runners is they don’t eat enough simple carbohydrates, which is what the body really needs when you’re running.

The most important thing is to get enough calories and carbs overall. As a runner you’ll probably need to eat at least 3000 calories a day. That’s about 30 bananas, or less if you add in some vegetables and other varieties of fruit.

When I run longer than 90 minutes, I take some fruit with me, usually blended, seedless watermelon or a smoothie made with water, bananas and celery, and drink that every 15 minutes.

You don’t need to “carb load” when you’re eating enough carbs (and most runners aren’t, unfortunately).

For the best information, I recommend the book “Nutrition and Athletic Performance,” by Doug Graham, available on Amazon. It will answer all your questions and more.

South America & Candida

I wanted to recommend you go to South America! I am from Uruguay and if you can work your way around all the meat that the people eat there. You can find great organic raw foods. Also I have a question that you don’t have to respond to if you don’t want. But can you recommend me a diet to kill off my Candida issues..? Thanks and bless!


There are too many countries to visit and not enough time! I have spent a month in Brazil in 2004 and really enjoyed it there. Maybe one day I’ll visit your country as well.

As for Candida, I hope that this report will help you sort it out:

“How I Beat My Salt and Dinnertime Cravings”

Do you find it easy to eat raw during the daytime, but find that when dinner comes, you’re tired of just eating fruit and you’re craving something more substantial and savory?

If you do, you’re not alone!

For those of you who still crave savory things and cooked food at dinner time, you’ll love Roger Haeske’s new program on Veggie Stews

It worked for me, and it will probably work for you! Check it out here. It might still be available at a discount price:


8 Responses to “What raw foods should be avoided?”

  1. Josephine says:

    Hi Frederic
    Love your articles and your inspiration. I love fruits and vegetables so I have no problem eating raw. My problem is that I seem to have a sugar sensitivity, according to blood work, and I continue to gain weight. My weight is settling in my tummy and midriff area and I’m quite concerned about that. If I cut back on the fruit, the scale starts to go down. I work out every other day from 25 to 45 minutes. What is going on here?

  2. Patricia says:

    I am a diabetic and even small amounts of fruit send my blood sugar very high. I love bananas but can’t eat more than one bite at a time because my blood sugar will go over 200. Will this change once I start to eat more raw foods?

  3. Paul Durham says:

    hey Frederic, I have a question I’ve always wanted to ask you: I am 6’4" and between 164 & 168 lbs. I have never weighed more than this and the only times I have weighed less is when I’ve tried out the raw food diet (in which case I’ve immediately lost 10 lbs, which is not something I can really afford to do). also, I am often cold — even when others aren’t. the weight and the cold issues have kept me eating lots of heavy food (I have an extremely fast metabolism and often eat 4 or 5 full meals of meat, dairy, beans-grains per day). while I eat very "well" according to conventional standards (lots of organic greens & fruit), I know I don’t feel as well as I could. also, I live in Montana (don’t ask me why) where it’s winter 8 months out of the year, and the cold thing is pretty intense. given my genetics (and location & intense lifestyle), a raw food diet seems impossible for me. any suggestions? thanks bro! pd

    ANSWER: Hey Paul. At 6’4” and let’s say 165, your BMI (body mass index) is 20, which is actually quite normal. I weigh 150 at 5’10” so my own BMI is only slightly higher than yours. But I’ve also weighed as much as 170 pounds and believe me I did not feel better. Sometimes "skinny" guys like us feel like if we could only weigh more we’d look better and feel better, but that’s not the case. In your case even weighing as low as 154 pounds would still be considered normal according the the basic BMI guidelines. The problem is that weight in itself doesn’t tell us a lot. You’d need to know your body fat percentage to know if you’re actually too skinny (I doubt that because almost nobody is), or simply that you could use more muscle mass. For example, For a guy the ideal body fat percentage is 10% or less. That’s the athletic level. Last time I checked I was at 12%, I might be as low as 9% now. I like that level because I feel strong yet super lean and it feels a lot better too.

    A lot of guys are what I call "skinny fat" guys. They look skinny yet their body fat level is too high. Often we’ll check the body fat of a so-called "skinny" guy and it will be above 20%, which is way too high, even according to standard recommendations, and very far from athletic levels.

    Keeping that fat on is never healthy, even if the person would look even skinnier without it. What they need is building their muscle mass, and lose that fat.

    Also, I do think that raw food diets where you immediately lose 10 pounds and feel worse are not very healthy. If you’re active and tall you might need 3000 calories a day. Now that’s a lot of bananas my friend! On a low-fat raw diet with enough fruit, it’s very hard to become too skinny. The people I see getting too skinny on raw foods are eating a high-fat raw food diet.

    If you’re naturally cold you can’t expect that to go away eating raw foods. You will feel colder initially. But in my experience the body adapts to it and eventually you will withstand cold better than before. However it may take a full winter to adapt to it. During that time drinking plenty of hot water, wearing extra sweaters, engaging in lots of physical activity and weight lifting should make you feel good and warm.

    I think a raw food diet is suitable everywhere, even in Montana. It’s more a matter of deciding your health is really important and wanting to do it, and you’ll find answers to your questions. I don’t think that eating according to the low-fat guidelines will have you lose more weight. I think in fact you might lose some body fat but if you also exercise and lift some weights at the same time, you’ll also gain some muscle mass.

    Eating fewer times a day will help slow down your metabolism and gain some weight too. I would suggest eating a pretty huge breakfast and dinner of as much fruit and banana smoothie as you can handle, and see how long you can go with that.

    You’ll need to track your calories too, to make sure you’re not undereating.

    I know it sucks not feeling as well as you know you could, but having something in your mind preventing you from doing something for your health and making a huge shift.

    Also, you can’t do this on your own. You need to talk to other people doing this. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

    I think that the issue with weight is easy to manage. With cold it will suck the first winter, but you can manage easily and nothing prevents from having hot soups and stuff like that.

  4. Maria says:

    Hello Frederic,

    I have questions. To give you an idea, when I eat 100% raw on one day to four days, I eat 5 to 6 bananas, 4 apples, 2 oranges, 2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 slice lemon – – no avocadoes, no oils, etc…

    Althought I don’t exercide like walking or doing the exercise machines, I keep moving to do house jobs, sometimes 4 to 5 hours straight of just cleaning the house, etc…But at the end of third to 4th day, I noticed the following:

    1. My legs and most often, my feet, get cramps. But when I drink raw milk, my cramps go away.

    2. When my menstrual period is approaching, I feel so bloated when I have lots and lots of fruits. But when I eat raw salmon, my tummy is relaxed.

    3. I noticed my teeth have aching sensation during times when I eat lots of fruits. My gums as well had receded like muscles around it were lost. But when I eat whole grains, they also go away.

    Can you please give me insights why? Thanks.

  5. Dustien says:

    Hi Frederic! I have a big problem, but can’t solve it on my own. I eat about 20 bananas, 5-10 apples or peaches, about 1kg of grapes, and a few cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers or similar vegetables per day along with some greens (lettuce or baby spinach) and lemons, oranges, tangerines or pears every other day or so. I make 3-4 meals out of that. I’m 25 years old male and right now I weigh 47 kg and I’m 175 cm tall. I lost 3 kg in 29 days on this raw fat free diet, and I believe I will lose more if I continue to eat like this. Also, I’ve been feeling very weak for the past several days. Two weeks ago, I was able to do up to 15 chin-ups and up to 100 pushups at once, but now I feel exhausted after only 6 chin-ups and 20 pushups. I was already following hygienic diet for several months and even fasted for 5 days just before I started to eat food low in fat, so I believe these are not the detoxification symptoms. I didn’t believe vitamin and mineral deficiencies were possible on this diet, but right now, I’m starting to suspect since I also look very pale in face, my skin is very dry and my nails became weaker than ever before. What are your thoughts, why’s this happening to me and what should I do?

    COMMENT: Note that I DONT recommend a fat-free diet, especially for someone like you who was already underweight to begin weight. You’re probably eating enough calories, but I don’t know that because you didn’t mention your activity levels. Adding some avocado, nuts and seeds to the diet is what I would personally do if it were me. Avoid low-calorie fruits like apples or pears. You could try blending more things and greens for better assimilation. That works for a lot of people.

  6. KLEOV says:

    Hi Fred,

    A good topic to touch on.There are some plant foods I would like to ask about.Like a lot of wild greens in Greece that are too fibrous to chew when raw and some are bitter tasting.I thought bitter greens and dandelion were good for you and I have tried juicing them but the juice was too strong.I also have beet and collard greens raw.I have read some vegetables have uric acid also.In Greece it is said that greens starting with an S are carcinogenic.How much parsley should be consumed ? Can it irritate the kidneys being a diuretic ? Would you eat green beans ? I have read about cayenne protecting the heart and aromatic herbs like oregano have antioxidants and medicinal value .What is your opinion on tumeric ? I read it could be harmful.Thanks.

  7. Melissa says:

    Hi Frederic

    I have been raw since 2003 but I feel I need to expand my knowledge in the raw food. I want to be a raw food chef and hopefully one day open up my own raw cafe or restaurant. But I am having a difficult time deciding where would be the ideal school to learn. I have taken courses,workshops, gone on retreats and purchased several books, but I need something hands on. Alot of the classes, retreats were all a bunch of bullony. I was hoping you were able to give me your advise where you think would be a great place to learn so I can follow my dream. Any suggestions and advise would greatly be appreciated. Thanks for all that you share and give to us. Peace & Light M:)

  8. Frederic I loved your lecture in Calgary tonight!!! Thank you so very much for sharing your passion about your approach to Raw Food. Enjoy and share the love you have found in Calgary with others….Also, I have been hunger on your Low-Fat Raw Food Diet, but with your advice tonight I will eat more fruit until I am totally full and skip the dried fruit snacks!
    Walk in Beauty!

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