Healing is a holistic process! Meaning, you can’t keep eating the same foods and continuing the same lifestyle that created disease and expect different results.
For years I tried making small changes, buying “superfoods” and adding expensive herbs, but the only thing that worked for me was a total overhaul. My miracle came from bulk greens and cheap fruit, not a pile of snake oil and false promises. Walk away from anyone who tells you that your healing is contingent on potions and specific expensive products. I have met hundreds of people who healed using conventional produce and a little determination!
I follow a low fat, high fruit raw vegan diet which isn’t going to be for everyone but I enjoy my lifestyle because it helps me reach my health goals. However, everyone can find their own balance between diet and health results that works for you. Raw fruits heal the fastest, cooked vegetables are slower. But moving away from animal products and processed foods is good for everyone.
The people who succeed with a healthy diet often transition slowly. The detox process becomes manageable and we slowly adjust to enjoying healthy foods instead of finding them boring.
Here are the steps I used to clean up my diet. These suggestions are not intended to be taken as Medical Advice and are simply based on my own experiences. If in doubt please consult with a medical doctor before making changes to your diet. I take no legal responsibility for anyone else who wishes to take the same path however if you happen to start feeling wonderful, I will be very happy for you.
Our bodies accumulate so much over the years that you will possibly experience headaches, chills, low moods, fatigue and faux colds at first when you start making changes. If it’s worse than that, back off immediately and slow your transition. Coffee and sugar were brutal for me. This is simply detoxification as toxins leave and overgrowths of things like candida die off. Drink lots of distilled water and if it’s in your budget – consider a professional colonic. But minor discomforts are worth finding out your true health potential. I had no idea I could feel this good and haven’t been sick since I went raw. I not only got rid of my sickness but I feel healthier than most of the people around me. It’s wonderful to feel good!
Step 1: Feed your mind!
Forget everything you thought you knew about food – a positive attitude towards dietary changes will make them much more effective. I found raw foods by being a voracious reader and still read something new every day. We all need to reprogram years of lies and poor information. Start your journey with a foundation of information that will only improve your motivation and conviction.
The China Study by Dr Colin T Campbell, Eat To Live/Super Immunity by Dr Joel Fuhrman, Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman, any books by Dr Dean Ornish (who saved Bill Clinton’s life with plant based diet) and the The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Essylstyn are fanatic introductions to plant based, whole food eating and how they can help create true health.
For those interested in raw diets, the best books are: Green For Life/Raw Family by Victoria Boutenko, 80 10 10 by Dr Doug Graham, The Vibrant Diet by Dr David Klein and The Mucousless Healing Diet by Arnold Ehret.
Powerful movies on diet/health: Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, Super Juice Me and Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
My Favorite Books:
Green For Life: Incredible research on the true diet of Chimpanzees, which is high in greens and flowers. The author teaches us that we can boost our health with “Green Smoothies” and does an impressive study on how they can improve health, even when people don’t change their diets completely.
Crohns & Colitis: Excellent plan for anyone with digestive issues. Cooked options available. Stresses the importance of sweet fruit for those trying to heal leaky gut.
Vibrant Diet: My favorite book on raw foods.
Eat To Live: The best information and research on why plant based diets are best for our health. A good transitional or cooked food option.
80/10/10: The classic book on raw foods. I disagree that we need large amounts of calories or that we don’t need to take supplements, but it has excellent information and menu ideas.
You Can Heal Your Life: Because we need to learn to be kind to ourselves also!
Mad Cowboy: Why I no longer eat meat or dairy.
Step 2: The Whole Foods Plant Based Diet Extravaganza
“Food is really and truly the most effective medicine.” Joel Fuhrman
Rather than jumping right into raw, I spent some time developing a healthy, high raw vegan diet first. If you are eating a junk food diet and have health issues, going right to raw foods from a terrible diet may make you feel too sick to make it sustainable. Detoxing too fast makes people sick for no good reason, I’ve seen it happen many times. We spent a lot of time making ourselves feel unwell, so taking time to change our diets properly is essential.
There is a big difference between vegan and plant based diets. Although vegan diets are better than the average diet – they are often loaded with processed foods, sugar and grains which are all acid forming and can contribute to disease. Ideally we want a ratio of 80% alkaline foods (fruits and vegetables) and 20% acid forming (grains, beans, nuts, fats, meat, dairy). Therefore this explains how someone can be very healthy and trim eating fish twice a week and a vegetable based diet rather than a vegan eating a processed grain diet with baked goods, french fries and potato chips. Although I am also an ethical vegan – I think we promote our values better from a place of radiant health.
If you want a healthy way to eat cooked foods or are transitioning to a raw diet slowly, Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman is BY FAR the best approach. He focuses on nutrition and people who follow his diet experience healing albeit a little slower than raw diets. I went beyond Eat To Live to raw because I needed that deeper healing and am sensitive to grains, legumes and allium vegetables but his program gave me a great start and a wonderful education.
Dr Joel Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Pyramid
Gradually remove all gluten, fried food, processed food & animal products from your diet over the course of a month. Alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, table salt, soft drinks and cigarettes are all highly toxic and should be the first to go. If you’re suffering from chronic disease ‘everything in moderation’ shouldn’t be your mantra. No processed food means no barcodes – buy fruit, greens, limited whole grains and vegetables.
Corn, soy, gluten, eggs, dairy and meat are the most common allergens which can contribute to health issues and diagnosed food sensitivities so work them all out of your diet over time. You can always reintroduce items later. 90% of all corn and soy in the US are also GMO, which means they have been modified to contain certain insecticides. Yuck!
Frying foods creates carcinogenic compounds called acrylamides and heavily damages the nutritional content of foods. Grilling also creates acrylamides. Try baking, steaming and soups in your new diet. Eat as many raw foods as you can stomach. Blending greens in “green smoothies” makes many nutrients available. Chew your food well.
Oils are a nutritionally devoid food that have been marketed to us under false pretenses. Max Gerson found that fats caused the return of certain cancers in his patients. Fat should be 15% or less of your diet and found in whole food sources such as avocado, coconut (the real thing), nuts, seeds and olives.
Use Google to help find simple recipes that use minimal oil or salt. Eat fruit or fruit/green smoothies for breakfast and one very large colorful salad with oil free dressing every day. For a more structured approach, The Engine 2 Diet and Eat To Live by Dr Joel Fuhrman are wonderful guides to follow. Your goal should be eating the most nutritious foods possible – for example squashes instead of white rice, kale chips instead of potato chips, avocado instead of cheese, baked sweet potato instead of fries. In restaurants, order a salad, steamed vegetables with pasta sauce or simple whole grains and veggies. For salad dressing I like avocados and lemon.
When you are comfortable on a whole foods plant based diet that includes fruit and lots of greens, you can either stick with it or dig deeper – depending on your goals and whether Step 2 was enough to get you dancing again. Always remember that it’s not changing our diets which is extreme – it’s living a life of pain and suffering without trying different things to provide relief.
Transitional Steps Towards a RAW diet
To provide optimal levels of protective micronutrients, a diet must be vegetable-based, not grain-based. Joel Fuhrman
Step 3: Release grains, flours and legumes from your diet.
I love grains, but I didn’t start going into remission until I gave them all up! Every time I reintroduce them I get pain and fatigue back. I thought it was just me but have met many other people with the same issues. I even need to be careful with nuts and seeds.
Grains and legumes do have nutrients, but aren’t right for everyone because they are said to be:
- Hard to digest & often trigger IBS
- Contain glutens, lectins and antinutrients that react in sensitive people.
- Are dead foods that are often contaminated with mold.
- Have been linked to autoimmune conditions in certain sensitive individuals. (link coming)
- Can be addictive – I never see raw foodists calling back onto steamed kale and butternut squash. They always reach (including me) for white rice, white potatoes or pasta which have all been linked with parasites, candida and mold/bacteria overgrowth.
- Leave an acidic ash in the body (apart from Millet) – it is best to eat alkalizing foods to help shift our bodies into remission.
Alternatives to grains: Buckwheat (fruit seed – nutritionally superior to grains), squashes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, mashed peas, steamed beets
Possible Day Plan: Fruit or green smoothie for breakfast, Giant Salad for Lunch with lemon/avo dressing and steamed vegetable dinner. Stuffed squash, a hearty soup and salad. Nuts and fruit for snacks.
I stayed at this step for 6 months, at first I healed and then I found myself getting no better but no worse. I needed to go deeper and move towards raw foods.
Step 4: More fruit! More Greens!
The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. – Moliere
Gradually increase the fruit in your day until you are eating fruit or green smoothies all day. I prefer little meals rather than giant ones. Fruit meals should ideally be one fruit.
I do very simple Green Smoothies with just bananas, lettuce and water. They are excellent!
Then for dinner you can either do a salad with steamed vegetables or a salad and a nice soup or baked sweet potato. When you are ready, try a few nights with just a raw salad at night. If it feels good – then you are ready to try a raw diet!
Step 5: Going Raw
“Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.” – Socrates
Whilst I think raw diets are the most healing and energizing, they’re not for everyone.
There is no “better” on the scale of whole food, plant based diets rather than what works for each individual. Therefore, if raw is too intense for someone, there is no shame or failure in that. Find what is sustainable for you, whilst avoiding processed foods and animal products. That being said… here’s how to eat raw!
I chose a low fat, high fruit diet simply because I make decisions based on results. Not only my own, but so many people I met who healed crazy conditions on high fruit. Before you start it, be sure to read the books I referenced above to truly understand how fruit sugar acts differently on the body than processed or refined sugar. Do your research rather than just taking my word for it. Not only for your convictions but also to really understand how to do it properly.
People have seen remission of diabetes (both types), crohns, trigeminal neuralgia, Lyme, the Big C, autoimmune, cerebral palsy, MS and lots of other things on a high fruit and greens diet. Not just random faces on blogs, but people I chat to in Vegan Fruitarians, a Facebook group I run with a friend. You can heal too!
I switched to raw to heal allergies and set a very short term goal. Two weeks. We are all so emotionally attached to foods. when we get to the point of considering raw food – the idea of eating it forever is enough to make us panic and run and binge on soy dogs. Like anything new, take it one day at a time.
Dr David Klein recommends making sure you are getting at least 1800 calories a day, however do not overeat or under eat purposely. Personally I try to consider if I am truly hungry, thirsty or just want to eat because I am bored. Buy the 80 10 10 by Doug Graham book and use it as a great guide, with meal ideas and a solid foundation.
Typical day: Fruit, in meals as simple as possible (mono or one fruit eating is best for digestion) and then a large salad at night with a low fat homemade dressing and lots of color.
My Typical Day
Meal 1: Personal Watermelon Smoothie
Meal 2: Large Green Smoothie or Maradol Papaya when I have them.
Meal 3: Banana and Raw Carob smoothie or ice cream
Meal 4: Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with chopped red cabbage, diced apple, avocado and a lemon juice dressing.
– Keep fat under 15% of total calories and always eat fats with dinner and never near any fruit. Never ever blend fats with a fruit smoothie.
– If you have even a SMIDGE of digestive issues, eat sweet fruits only, blended with leafy greens and no fats for the first few months. I got very sick when I increased my orange juice intake as it’s acidic and I have celiac disease/colitis. Sweet fruits are bananas, dates, melons and papaya.
– Don’t forget to EAT YOUR GREENS! Juice celery.Blend greens everywhere you can. I prefer tender leaf greens. Rotate them. Pick dandelion and grass. They are essential!
– Drink only distilled water if possible – tap water has too many chemicals. Drink 16oz water when you first wake up but avoid eating within 30 minutes of meals – you can dilute your stomach acid.
– Never try to go raw while still smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking coffee or doing drugs. The diet will intensify the effects of these things which could make you feel very sick.
– Switch household cleaning products to mild green products. I like simple vinegar. Do not ingest vinegar, it’s toxic.
– Get lots of rest and consider daily meditation. Fill your mind and life with positive people, programs and books. Avoid the news and anything else you can’t change.
– I avoid most spices and stimulants as they trigger my arrythmia. Most successful raw foodists try to keep things as simple as they can bear. Ignore recipes with oils and raw soy sauces – they are not healing foods. Nutritional yeast is an addictive irritant that acts on the body like MSG. Throw it away. If you use any salt, which you should avoid, use only real salts such as Himalayan in very small quantities.
– When eating out, eat before you go to make sure you don’t cave! In the early days, eat before going to the grocery store too. Make your own salad dressing and enjoy large salads out with friends. Don’t feel deprived – you have abundant health which is worth so much more than what they are eating!
– When travelling, bananas, nuts and dates are your friends.
– Find cheap produce at Costco, Aldi, Asian Markets, Sprouts, Wegmans and Farmer’s Markets. Buy organic greens if you can. Learn to grow your own food. Bananas are a wonderful staple for the budget conscious but only eat when spotty and ripe:
– If you are suffering with terrible cravings beyond 2 weeks, a colon cleanse may help. I recommend the Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse Kit Ginger. Read Richard Anderson’s book called Cleanse and Purify Thyself to understand why you would need to do such a thing.
Although I can’t afford organic produce, I can’t stress the need to DIVERSIFY as much as possible! Eat as many different types of fruit and veggie as possible to make sure you are getting a wide array of nutrients. Don’t eat the same thing every day. Limit nuts and dried fruits such as dates and focus on ripe, whole, fresh fruits, fruit vegetables like cucumber and greens.
Buy a spiralizer and learn how to make noodles from vegetables. Cucumber, zucchini and summer squash all make wonderful ‘pastas’ which can be dressed with raw sauce of your choice. It’s amazing how I have come to enjoy these foods more than the originals. Google “raw soups” in the winter – which can be warmed to just over room temperature and remain raw.
There is another type of raw diet called the “Hippocrates Diet” that limits fruit and concentrates on greens and fat. I saw more success stories in the fruit camp so I chose low fat – also because we match the profile of a frugivore much more closely than a herbivore or omnivore. So remember that just because something is raw, it’s not automatically healthy. Keep raw cheeses, cheesecakes and pizzas as occasional treats rather than staples. High fat causes so many problems, I feel awful if I overdo nuts or other fats.
It’s essentially our bodies which self heal when given easy to digest foods. Arnold Ehret taught this 100 years ago and it still stands today. Raw foods take the burden off our bodies, especially fruit and we are empowered to heal and feel better. Beware the raw food gurus pedding deer antler supplements, superfoods and even some herbs. These obstructions may even hinder our body’s natural healing process. The best herbs such as dandelion are free and grow in your own garden. I love putting wild herbs in my smoothies but that’s another story. I also do green juices when I can afford it – or herbal teas
Where will I get protein?
My research has suggested that instead of raw vegans getting too little protein, the general population is getting too much. I remember saving up to buy my dogs high protein dog food, only to have their urine turn into pure acid that burnt my lawn. Unfortunately protein turns into acid in the body, which puts strain on the kidneys as most of it needs to be excreted. We can only use so much, so no matter how much we eat, we won’t grow muscle from it. Exercise grows muscle.
I highly recommend buying Dr David Klein’s book the Vibrant Diet for a more in depth understanding of our true protein needs. Not only do fruits and leafy greens contain protein, but we don’t need that much! Mother’s milk contains 5% protein which is slightly more than a banana. Harvard scientists determined that we need a minimum of 21 grams of protein a day, which was doubled to be conservative to form the guidelines we have today. We also reuse 90% of our protein. And unlike meat protein which needs to be taken apart to be useful, or cooked protein which can get damaged/denatured in the cooking process – raw foods give us raw protein which is the best kind! So naturally we need to eat less of it. I typically get 40-50g a day which actually meets the RDA for my weight and height. But for those worried, nuts and seeds are very high in protein which is why they should be consumed in moderation – or not at all during deep healing. Protein = acid = bad. Hemp seeds blended into your favorite smoothie with bananas will give you a full profile if concerned. I just do fruits and greens.
The tiredness during detox when changing over is often mistaken as a protein deficiency. The truth is we use simple sugars for fuels, not protein. It’s for building not energy.
Protein was a big concern for me when I started, but I soon found out I don’t get muscle soreness on a fruit based diet. Meaning I can work out longer and better than I ever could. I surfed 5 consecutive hours on a recent trip which I don’t think most people could do. Michael Arnstein is someone else to look up. He runs and wins 100 mile races on all fruit. I’ve seen some heavy guys too, with big muscles eating raw. I have more muscle than most women my age so I’m at peace with my protein intake. My hair and nails also grow crazy fast which would not be possible if I had a deficiency.
Do I need to buy anything?
The only herb kit that really worked for me was Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse Kit Ginger. They have coupons online or you can try and make your own. It’s easy, works for people with sensitive stomachs and clears out “stuff” that causes cravings and impaction. If you are coming to raw from a poor diet, you will be amazed at what happens. I will spare you the details! Their website and the reviews explain it best.
As for other products, it’s up to you but I prefer to save my money for fruit and travelling. 🙂
I am a firm believer in annual blood tests and supplementation if needed. But only if needed. We don’t need to overdose on vitamins that we will only pass through urine. However, I developed terrible deficiencies as a meat eater and most of us come to raw veganism from a place of sickness so we need to be vigilant. Iodene is simply not available in a raw diet (most SAD eaters get it from table salt and have deficiencies also) but can be obtained from kelp or a barley grass juice supplement. D3 may be low for people in cold winter climates and DHA is available through purslane, a weed – or else can be supplemented. Some people can manufacture K2 and B12 through their stomach bacteria, others can’t. Best to monitor all of the above annually.
Supplements I take:
There are no side effects from taking B12 but many horrible diseases can develop in a deficiency, which even meat eaters develop. Monkeys eat bugs to get through this but we can simply find a high quality vegan supplement. I see many people try veganism and refuse to supplement, but then go running back to animal products. We have depleted soils and genetic weaknesses that make supplementation and deficiencies nothing to be scared of. Deficiencies are common no matter what we eat – so it makes sense to do the raw vegan movement credit by staying happy and healthy. For more information on supplements check out Don Bennett’s Health 101 Website
Above all, take it slow and remember healing takes time. However the tallest mountains have the best views. I had to go all the way to raw to reach perfect health but no matter where you are in your journey, we can all enjoy more produce!
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