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How My Battle With Cooked Foods Ended

So there you go, I finally have settled on a name for my next book. It will be called

Raw Freedom: Combining Raw Foods With the Healthiest Cooked Foods to Create the Ultimate Diet

Still working on the sub-title though…

As for the other names I had come up with before (Such as “Raw Fusion Diet”) they were protected by trademarks. Raw Freedom is the name that after numerous tests I found to be the best. My readers have spoken!

Bottom line is: the new book is coming out next month!

Here’s a quick article that’s not really a chapter in the book, but should give you an idea what this book is about…

How My Battle With Cooked Food Ended

For many years, I lived in an inner state of struggle surrounding my diet. On some level, I accepted the raw food diet as the ideal diet. I followed a 100% raw diet for about 3 years, when I was younger, and since then, I had many periods of going back on 100% raw for some periods of time. But every time, I fell off the wagon, and went back to eating some cooked foods.

Sometimes, I beat myself up for it. Sometimes I didn’t. But the truth is that a part of me still believed that I could be doing better by getting closer to 100% raw. And whenever I met people that had been eating 100% raw for many years, I always envied them and thought they were more disciplined than me.

But the truth is, I’m not a sloppy person. In some areas of my life, discipline is my second name. I learned discipline when I was in music school and had to practice 4 hours of guitar a day, 1 hour of piano, plus 4-5 hours of other classes, and some studying on top of it. So I know about 12-15 hour days.

I learned languages. I studied enough Spanish to speak it well in only a few months, and I also learned German, Portuguese, and a few others.

In terms of work, I’ve been known to go through phases of extreme productivity. I also know how to be lazy, and sometimes I crash and can’t do anything. But still, I don’t think that a “lack of discipline” was my problem when it came to not eating 100% raw.

What I honestly thought is that there was a part of me that didn’t want to eat that way. Some raw foodists would even say that I had some “issues that I still needed to deal with around food.” Some would even add, “emotional issues.”

So I was torn. I accepted the raw food diet as an ideal diet on some level, but on other levels I saw all of these people failing on the diet. There were success stories, but horrible failure stories too. And personally, although I felt eating a raw food diet gave me great results and made me feel great in some ways, I always felt significantly dissatisfied with this diet in other ways.

Social issues are an example. In my days of 100% raw, I got around the problem by surrounding my existence with everything raw food related. All of my friends were raw foodists. My entire life was a bout the raw food diet. So of course, in this case, eating a raw food diet didn’t create many social conflicts. But also, I was in my early 20s when I did it. My life, since then, has changed significantly. Now, if I ate 100% raw again, I know it would seriously hinder my social life.

Still, raw food experts kept claiming that all of these problems could be dealt with. “Whenever you go to a restaurant, eat something before then, so you’re not hungry.” Or “just tell people you’ve just had dinner, so you’ll just order something small to eat.”

These tricks can work. But they didn’t make me happy. And the diet, although in some ways worked, didn’t make me happy either.

For one, I was bored with it. Eventually, the thought of drinking yet another giant banana smoothie for lunch was almost nauseating. I craved change. I craved other foods, if at all just mentally.

There were a few problems that for sure, were related to the raw food diet as far as I was concerned. Issues with dental decay, but more importantly tooth sensitivity have only bothered me when I got closer to 100% raw. And the reason is pretty simple: I had no choice but to consume larger quantities of fruit, many of them containing acids, to get the calories I needed. And acid can wear out the enamel. It’s a reality, proven by the fact that so many raw foodists suffer from similar issues.

Sure, an impeccable dental hygiene program can make a difference. But on the whole, the 100% raw food diet (or close to it) had significant disadvantages when it came to my dental health.

So I kept being torn. On the one hand, this diet is great for health. Blood pressure is lower. Risks of heart disease and cancer are almost obliterated. Resting heart rate is great. Body fat is low. The body is working optimally in many areas.

But in other ways, I didn’t want to follow it. I missed cooked foods. I didn’t like eating many raw food meals. I got bored with them. I felt cold on the diet. It impaired my social life. And I had doubts about how it was affecting certain aspects of my health, notably my dental health.

But more importantly: I wasn’t happy with it.

So for years, I tried and tried. It was a battle. I tried different approaches.

But the main kicker was that whenever I went back to cooked foods, after a period of eating 100% raw, I felt ill. (This by the way, is one of the most important issues that I will discuss in my new book Raw Freedom, to solve it once and for all).

So I felt trapped. I felt like I wanted the best of both worlds, but I didn’t feel it was possible.

How My Battle With Cooked Food Ended

So how did my battle with cooked foods end? Pretty simply. When I stopped trying to be a raw foodist. When I literally abandoned the raw food “ideal.”

I ate cooked foods. I eat cooked foods now. No shame about it.

I eat raw foods too. But I also eat cooked foods. I’m not trying to be a raw foodist anymore. I’m not trying to “get back into raw foods” or always go on some new form of raw food cleanse. I’m not trying to slowly increase the percentage of raw food in my diet.

What I do, now, and the reason why I feel better in every way, is to follow a consistent program. Instead of yo-yoing back and forth between raw and cooked, I keep my routine pretty stable.

I eat a certain percentage of raw foods, and I eat a certain percentage of cooked foods. I try to do more or less the same thing every day. I’m not trying to be a raw foodist anymore. I don’t think of myself as a raw foodist. But I’m someone who knows all about the power of raw foods and I make sure to “power up” my diet with a lot of raw foods.

This is, in essence, my Raw Freedom program. It’s about finding a balance, and stop the struggle.

The book goes into the details of the method. Each person is different, so if you ask me what percentage of raw foods I eat, it won’t really help you find the right balance for yourself. In general, people needing to lose weight need more raw foods, and people needing a lot of calories or working on muscle gain, should eat less raw food.

There’s a specific formula to follow. But there’s also common sense. There are traps along the way, particularly the problem of “feeling like crap” when you eat cooked foods on a mainly raw diet. This is a problem that can be easily solved once you understand what creates it. This is in fact, the biggest and most important chapter in my new book.

So this was just a taste of what the new book will be about. I will post probably some excerpts soon for your enjoyment.

Let me know what you think by posting comments on this article!

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.