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I Quit… and Here’s Why!

I’ve got some life-changing news for you. It’s more than important)

Today might be the start of a new adventure, or the end of a long relationship. 

After more than 20 years in the world of raw food and plant-based diets, after so many books, conferences, and projects, including this newsletter that I’ve been running in some form or another since 1999, I’m announcing that:


I’m essentially retiring from the raw food world, closing down most of my business and radically changing this newsletter (more on this later).

A Quick Recap 

Everything started out in 1997, when I was just 19 and had recently become a raw-foodist. At the time, I felt I had discovered something great, and needed to travel in order to meet other people who were living this way. 

I won’t go into the full story, that I’ve told before (read my book « The Raw Food Controversies » if you haven’t already), but let’s just summarize the main steps of my career in the raw food world.

I started out full of passion and enthusiasm. 

I moved to California from Québec, learned a new language (English), met some incredible people. But along the way, I also realized something:

The promise of « Paradise Health » never came to be. I thought the raw food diet was the answer to everything (I was young and naive), and I came back home with a mouthful of cavities, chronic pain from a bike accident caused by my trying to heal my eyesight naturally, and chronic fatigue caused by an untreated infection. 

I came back home defeated. I was confused, and I felt betrayed. 

In the years that followed, I questioned everything. 

But that time, I wasn’t only questioning the official dogma (the « SAD diet » and « big Pharma ») but also the questioners themselves: the alternative health dogmas I had believed.

I was willing to go in whichever direction truth would take me. 

Through a lot of thinking, trial and error, I realized that some core ideas behind the raw food diet were still true, but there was also a lot of false information mixed in with it. 

I re-discovered the principles of Natural Hygiene, and the low-fat diet of Doug Graham. 

I wrote « The Raw Secrets » to talk about the mistakes raw-foodists make that hurt their health.

I continued to grow my website and ezine, and my goal was always to find out the truth about health and nutrition, and share it with others.

My passion was still there, in spite of my setbacks.

In 2005, I was at my peak. My health was back, I was finally making a living with what I loved, I was a pioneer in a field, and I was getting recognition for it. Even media attention (I did a few big TV shows in Canada), I was traveling all over the world, and « living the dream, » as they say. 

In the years that followed, I experienced two major setbacks.

  • One was a major personal catastrophe in Costa Rica, involving the illness of a friend, but also a big project that completely fell apart.
  • The second one was my marriage, which started out in a big way (with a trip around the world, etc.), but also ended after only two years.

Throughout this, though, I retained my passion for natural health. I adapted to new circumstances. 

It had now been years since I’d been living like a « digital nomad ,» before the term was even coined, but in 2012, I moved back to my home city of Montréal. 

I was no longer the same person. 

I was ready for a change. 

The change came through the opportunity of working with my friend Kevin Gianni, by replacing him as the writer and publisher of his website Renegade Health.

The first few years of Renegade Health were great.

First, my audience was much bigger. We had over 100,000 subscribers at some point. 

I had to write about new topics. Sometimes, I had to publish things by other writers that I didn’t completely agree with. 

In other words… I was becoming more mainstream. 

Throughout this, though, I tried to remain true to my principles. 

I admit it, it didn’t always work. 

Sometimes, we promoted products that I found somewhat questionable. They didn’t fit my health philosophy. But yet, things had changed, and I felt now that I had a job to fulfill. 

Renegade Health lasted a few years, and my goal was to take the website and make something new with it. 

However… it never happened. 

After all these years, I had lost the passion for natural health. 

The world had changed, and I had changed.

If I had been completely honest with myself, I had realized that I would never have found this passion again, and I needed something new. Truly new. And I would have quit right then and there. 

But when you’ve been working on a business for more than 20 years, you can’t give it up overnight. And I still had hope that my passion would come back. 

So for the next few years, I tried to keep my business alive, but my level of interest was decreasing all the time.

I thought perhaps I needed to take a break: I did that.

I started new projects.

I realized that that my passion in life wasn’t gone: it simply had shifted to other interests, like my love for learning languages. 

But when it came to natural health, I just didn’t have it in me to continue. 

I couldn’t stand the idea of doing a video. 

I just didn’t picture myself as the « guru » anymore. Not that I had gained weight, but simply because I didn’t see myself in that role anymore.

Don’t get me wrong: I still continued following my health principles to the best of my ability. But, it’s the « guru » part that I didn’t want anymore. 

You could say that I was burned out. You could say that I truly needed something new. You could say that I didn’t want to « reinvent myself » in the raw food world in some bullshit way.

All of those things are true. 

So recently, I went back to school to complete a college degree in languages I had abandoned, way back in my 20s. 

I also started teaching, and have been loving it. 

So what to do with my business… what to do with my 30+ books and products? With my email list? With what has given me a sense of fulfillment for my entire adult life?

The answer came to me this year. 

Yes, I’m quitting. 

But, I’m also « cheating » a little by keeping a piece of it.

Here’s what will happen…

I’ve already stopped selling most of the products I was selling before. But I’ll continue to make my best books and products available. For those who want the printed version, they’re now available on Amazon. 

Starting in the fall, my ezine will no longer exist.

Instead… I will start a new ezine with a completely new format:

  • Only 1-2 emails per week, MAX! You will not be bombarded with promotions. 
  • I will write exclusive content whenever I feel I have something useful to share. 

Essentially, I want to keep the conversation going with those who have appreciated my writings. 

But it won’t be a « business ». I’m no longer relying on this to make a living. 

Because of this, I feel I will be more free to share everything I believe is true and useful. For the sake of it and not because I have a product to sell. 

And to thank everyone who has followed me over the years, I’m going to give away over almost ALL of my past eBooks and products, soon to be out of print.

So that’s it… expect to receive an email about this soon. 

It’s going to be a transition, so this summer, you’ll still receive my regular ezines.

But after that…as we say in French… qui m’aime me suive!

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.