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My Top 10 Raw Health Principles

A quick update for you:

I’m currently in Panama City, not in Florida but in Panama. I’m surprised by how cheap food is here. I was walking down the street and bought some fruit from a street vendor, already cut up and sliced. For 5 thick slices of delicious pineapple plus one of watermelon, it cost me only $1.25!

I’ll be reviewing this country as a place to live for raw-foodists as part of my course “How to Move to a Tropical Paradise”. For more info, click here.

Raw Cacao: a Healthier Alternative

With all this talk about raw cacao, people often forget that cacao is a fruit. In Costa Rica, we buy it to eat the delicious pulp around the seeds, and then throw those seeds away in the compost. There’s not much fruit on them, but they have an amazing flavor, reminding me of jujube candies with a hint of cacao flavor. Check out this quick video filmed at my friend Jesse’s farm, an a fan of exotic tropical fruits, who has planted over a 100 varieties so far!


How to Move to a Tropical Paradise


My Top 10 Most Important Health Principles

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.To learn more about this newsletter, go to

I prefer to look at health in terms of principles to follow. Here are the main ones that make the most difference:

1.    Eat low-fat — This one took me a long time to understand. At first, I understood that it was important to “not eat too many nuts”, but the low-fat concept took longer to be incorporated. It’s a key principle. Most people eat an overly high-fat diet. For ideal results, keep the percentage of your diet below 15%, and ideally below 10%.

2.    Create demand by exercising — Whenever I don’t exercise for several days or weeks in a row, I start feeling like a caged animal. To quote from an article from Parade magazine, by Dr. Henry S. Lodge:

“The hard reality of our biology is that we are built to move. Exercise is the master signaling system that tells our cells to grow instead of fade. When we exercise, that process of growth spreads throughout every cell in our bodies, making us functionally younger. Not a little bit younger—a lot younger. True biological aging is a surprisingly slow and graceful process. You can live out your life in a powerful, healthy body if you are willing to put in the work. (…)

Though we’ve moved indoors and left that life behind, our cells still think we’re living out on the savannah, struggling to stay alive each day. There are no microwaves or supermarkets in nature. If you want to eat, you have to hunt or forage every single day. That movement is a signal that it’s time to grow. So, when you exercise, your muscles release specific substances that travel throughout your bloodstream, telling your cells to grow. Sedentary muscles, on the other hand, let out a steady trickle of chemicals that whisper to every cell to decay, day after day after day.

3.    Listen to your body and fast when necessary — One of the best things you can do when you feel a bit “out of it” is to skip a couple of meals. It’s amazing how quickly our good mood comes back with a little fasting. You just have to pay attention to your body and avoid eating when you’re really not hungry — but just have an appetite for something.

4.    Avoid stimulants — Stimulants are a double edged sword. On the one hand, they appear to give you energy. But on the other hand, that energy is only borrowed, and you have to pay it back later, with interest to boot. The most common culprits are caffeine and Theo bromine (in cacao).

5.    Fruits and vegetables are our natural foods
— I don’t like the “raw is law” principles. Most raw-foodists have an extremely unhealthy diet because all they try to do is eat raw-foods and avoid cooked foods. A lot of raw foods commonly consumed — such as cacao products, raw cakes with coconut oil, nut bars, and many others — are not really healthy. What we’re designed to eat are fruits and vegetables. Eat only raw fruits and vegetables, and you will be very healthy.

6.    Follow a strict dental hygiene routine — I used to think that diet was the most important factor in dental health. I thought that if you have a good diet, your teeth would be healthy. Years later (and 30+ cavities repaired), after lots of research, I understand that this disease called dental decay is actually contagious. It’s a war against bacteria. The bacteria will feed on anything: sugar, carbohydrates, morsels of food stuck in the teeth. If you try to win the battle with food, you will lose.

You have to eliminate the problem at the root: by keeping the bacteria to a level where they cannot do much damage. The way to do this is to have a very precise and disciplined hygiene routine. For me, it means 4 minutes of brushing (in a certain pattern) with an electric toothbrush after dinner, followed by flossing, tongue scraping and water irrigation with my VitaJet.

Then I also brush in the morning and before or after lunch. The good thing is once you’ve been able to keep your bacteria level very low for a long time, plaque no longer accumulates. Then if you get lazy one day and don’t brush, the bacteria won’t really be able to do any damage. The problem is when someone has had any problem with their teeth — a standard form of dental hygiene is simply not enough to eliminate the problem at the root. For more information, go to

7.    Keep your body hydrated — You need more water in hotter weather, and less in cold climates. It’s very hard to trust our sense of thirst to guide us. The best thing is to actually make a habit of drinking extra water when you think you’ll need it. In the tropics, I have to drink at least 1 or 2 extra liters of water every day. A good habit is to start the day with one liter of water with some lemon juice.

8.    Keep your body alkaline
— It’s very simple: fruits and vegetables make your body alkaline. Most nuts and grains are acid-forming. Animal products are the most acid-forming of all. To keep healthy bones and low-levels of inflammation in the body, eat alkaline foods at least 90% of the time.

9.    Get the right amount of sleep you need — There are different opinions on sleep. Natural hygiene generally recommends sleeping as much as possible. However, it’s also possible to get too much sleep. It’s been found that the one thing all depressed people have in common is getting too much sleep. As soon as they put the alarm clock back on, a large percentage of these depressions go away.

So to me, it’s more a matter of finding the right amount of sleep. I found that in my twenties, I needed more sleep. I could not do well if I got less than 9 or 10 hours of sleep every day. Now at 33, I find that I need less sleep. I also function better on the days I don’t get enough sleep. I do well now with 7 to 9 hours of sleep, depending on my activities for the day. More than 9 hours makes me feel a bit “comatic”, so I avoid oversleeping as well.

10.    Eat some blended greens — Eating some greens will make a big difference in your health. But more if you can actually assimilate them. Try to consume some greens in a blended form: either in a blended salad (or Veggie Stew) or as a green smoothie. Once a day, a big bowl or tall glass is about what we need.

This was just an except of my monthly newsletter. The same issue also contained a complete lists of all my “top lists”, such as “my top raw recipes”, and “my top favorite health books”, and much more! To find out about becoming a subscriber, go to:

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.