Thoughts on Raw Vegan, 80/10/10 and Paleolithic Diets

by Joanne on June 28, 2009

in Food and Nutrition, Health of Body

For years I advocated a plant-based diet as the healthiest. But I could never swing it myself despite several efforts. Now that I’m studying the paleolithic diet, I feel like I’m starting over with a mountain of information to climb. I haven’t been posting much because I’m reading, reading, reading. I’m reading even more than that.

I am coming to believe that a high-carbohydrate diet is harmful over the long haul, and that a high-fruit diet is possibly the worst. I feel unqualified now to advise people on diet. It’s disconcerting to find that what I’ve believed the past five years might be way off base.

Why We Eat

We eat for energy and for the nutrients necessary to build, maintain and repair our bodies. Our bodies can store a great deal of this energy and nutrients, which is why we are able to fast so long, an adaptation necessary when food supplies are uncertain.

Prior to the agricultural revolution that occurred 10,000 years ago, our main fuel was fat and protein. Once we started growing grains, starches shared time with meat and fat as the primary fuel source. Now we are completely reliant on grains as our main fuel source. We eat them and we feed them to animals we eat. While growing grains freed us from having to follow herds for meat, the switch caused our species to start having health problems.

Study of human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts shows that the introduction of grains and other cultigens and the increase in their dietary focus resulted in a decline in health and alterations in activity and lifestyle. Although agriculture provided the economic basis for the rise of states and development of civilizations, the change in diet and acquisition of food resulted in a decline in quality of life for most human populations in the last 10,000 years. –Clark Spencer Larsen

Most populations are able to live in relative health with the help of grains as a supplemental fuel supply in addition to dairy and meat. Weston Price found many such groups of people living in good health subsisting on grains, dairy, meat and vegetables. It was only when flour, sugars and canned food entered their food supply that chronic diseases began to afflict these populations.

The current high consumption of grains (predominantly wheat and corn) following the industrial revolution–along with the rise in vegetable oils!–has led to a host of inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, colitis, any number of “itises.” A lot of people just react badly to grains and don’t even know their health problems are caused by them. And since grains contain opiates, they are addicting, and people are not happy to give them up.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Caloric Energy?

Many sensitive people can’t bring themselves to eat slaughtered animals. Some of our greatest philosophers were vegetarians. So what do they do?

Cooked vegans switch to legume-like meat substitutes (like soy) and grains, such as pastas, whole wheat and rice.

Raw food vegans eat sprouted legumes and fats in nuts and oils.

Raw 80/10/10ers, because of their high sugar consumption, must keep fat intake low, so they consume massive amounts of fruit.

Breakfast: Smoothie made with 4 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice blended with 2 cups of mango flesh
Lunch: 7 extra-extra large bananas blended with 2 cups of frozen wild blueberries
Dinner: 5 Haitian mangoes, pause of 30 minutes, then I made two huge blended salads consisting of:

* 3 large tomatoes
* 2 mangoes
* 6 cups of spinach
* 10 stalks of celery
* juice of 1 lime squeezed on top

I had that blended salad in two sittings (two blendings). I also had about 1 third of an avocado somewhere in there. –Frederic Patenaude

Sheesh! Just thinking of all the food and sugar I ate trying to comply with the 80/10/10 diet makes me nauseous.

Most any whole foods diet in the short-term (up to five years or so) will help to rebalance the chemical/mineral/fatty acid makeup of the tissues and result in a significant decrease in toxins. So people feel much better when switching to whole foods or switching from processed foods to a vegan diet.

But over the years, malnutrition of certain key nutrients (such as B12, vitamin A and certain fatty acids) begins to take its toll in many people. Victoria Boutenko wrote a bestseller (Green for Life) based on her observation that she didn’t feel as good a few years into raw veganism as when she initially switched to raw food. Her answer was to mimic the dietary habits of chimpanzees. I guess that’s okay if you want to mimic an animal that spends all day eating, but I think humans are too smart for that. We have better things to do, which is a result of the brain we developed on a meat-based diet. Maybe some day we’ll evolve from spear-throwing hunter/gatherers to leaf-eating Vitamix users.

I recently read a blog article discussing TC Fry’s death. TC Fry was a natural hygienist responsible for promoting an all-fruit diet as the optimum diet. The article blamed his death largely on Fry departing from the diet he advocated by gorging on fatty and carbohydrate-rich foods at the end of the day. But my question is, If he was consuming the healthiest diet for humans, why was he gorging on these poor foods late at night? Probably the same reason I was. Lack of fat and energy from a plant-based diet. I would surmise his body was starving of something and gorging late at night was his only relief. But he gorged on garbage just like I did. What would have happened had we gorged on wild-caught fish or venison or pasture-raised poultry?

I think the key difference between vegan and paleo diets is that vegans must supplement with nutrients that their food is missing in its natural state (B12 is a prime example) whereas paleos supplement with nutrients that should be in the food they eat but are missing because of degradation of food quality (such as fish oils). But I’m just learning, so don’t quote me. Paleos don’t ever have to worry about getting complete proteins, but vegans must research the amino acid profiles of foods to make sure they’re getting all the ones they need. I was always short on iron.

I also find that as a paleo eater I really need only fire. Well, a pan helps too. As a raw food vegan I need a juicer, food processor, blender, maybe even a dehydrator. And they say eating plants is more natural than eating meat! But I do love how easy cleanup is when I prepare a meal from plants.

Is Fat Bad?

Within the raw vegan community you have the 80/10/10ers disparagingly calling the other raw foodists “high fat” vegans and being mad about their advice. Well, if you’re eating a lot of sugar, as fruit eaters are, then high-fat is bad. But not because fat is bad, but because it’s bad with a high-fruit diet. Just as a lot of fruit is bad on a low carb diet. But around most of the globe where humans habitate, fruit is only available seasonally, whereas meat is available most of the time. Paleos run on fat, vegans run on sugar, and SAD eaters run on both of poor quality.

Most of the wild fruits eaten by most hunter-gatherers did not provide the abundance of sugar supplied by modern hybridized fruits. Modern fruits supply large amounts of fructose, which Stanhope and Havel report can cause dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, which perpetuate a metabolic state dependent on sugars. –Don, Primal Wisdom

Why is it humans are biologically adapted to store fat for lean times but can store only so much sugar? And too much sugar gets turned into fat. Why doesn’t fat get turned into sugar? Well, maybe because we’re supposed to be eating fat. From what I understand, if you’re on a low-carb diet and then you eat a lot of fruit (like what a hunter/gatherer would do in the fall), you’ll put on weight. And isn’t that what you want to do prior to the winter so you’ll have some energy stores to carry with you?

And what’s the effect of continually having high blood sugar and the resulting need for your pancreas to keep pumping out insulin? And of forcing your digestive apparatus to process food numerous times each day and never getting a rest?

I encourage every person who eats a vegan diet for health reasons to read Weston Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It was a mind opener for me. And for those who are vegans for ethical reasons, think about this: Every time a field is plowed to raise plant foods, rodents and other animals are killed. An acre of grass might feed a few cows that get eaten or it might kill hundreds of rodents. Are ethics of eating determined by individual souls or bulk weight? A conundrum for sure!

I have a lot to learn. And then I’ll pass it on to you. Now I’ve got to study up on the whole saturated fat/cholesterol issue.

(These opinions are subject to change.)

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris June 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Hi there

glad you have discovered the paleo diet. If you are still reading and researching, there are some resources I would recommend. I am glad you have found Stephan’s blog (Whole Health Source) and Richard (Free the Animal) has some excellent material. Mark Sisson’s material is also fantastic.

A more recent addition is Paelo Nutrition

Keith at EvFit has some good resources too:

one of my favourite blog in this area is Matt Metzgar’s especially his free book:

My own blog has some good links too – try my interview with Dr Tamir Katz:

Written by a doctor.

Joanne June 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Fantastic! Thanks a lot for the additional links. I seem to be spending four hours a day reading blogs now.

Stan (Heretic) June 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm


Doesn’t it feel really good to find out being mistaken, then openly admitting of being mistaken, then doing specific action to correct that! Been there done that too! 8-:)

I find it strange that most other people do not seem capable of doing that and could never quite understand why!

I think that the first couple of years on a low fat vegan diet may improve some aspect of health for some people, is not due to “detoxification” but rather due to the fact that any hypo-caloric diet that results in a steady weight loss, is by definition a ketogenic diet while they burn their own body fat. It is healthier because it is ketogenic until they run out of fat and then it starts hurting! I have seen so many interesting testimonials on various vegan fora, that it seems to form a reliable repeatable pattern. I posted more thoughts on that in the past, see:

Stan (Heretic)

Melissa June 30, 2009 at 6:06 am

Stumbled upon your blog at…

I, too, have recently adopted a primal diet. I’ve spent most of my life eating a standard omnivorous diet, typically higher in carbs than lean proteins. I adopted a vegetarian (ovo-lacto) diet in early 2007, then went strict vegan in late 2007. I continued this until mid-2008, then resumed eating meat. I have always had some digestive issues and thought they were because of meat and dairy…well…not so much.

As a vegan I was disgruntled with eating “soy” meats in place of the real thing. Over time they did not sit well with my stomach. I’ve followed Mark Sisson’s blog for the past few months (thinking he was bats*** crazy at first, but realized he was making quite valid points about lifestyle and nutrition). I’ve rather been transitioning into a more primal diet, eating a lower-carb Zone diet for the past 30 or so days, cutting out wheat, refined flours, sugars, etc. whenever possible. Yesterday I really took the plunge and eliminated grains and legumes entirely. I also lift and do interval training, and the Primal diet fits in very well with this.

All I can say is I wish I read Mark’s blog when I was a vegan. Wow.

Joanne June 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

Melissa, I came to the vegan raw food lifestyle from a standard American diet (SAD) and natural hygiene (NH). I immersed myself in that culture and its literature, and it all made perfect sense: no other creature in nature cooks their food. And since we have little experience with raw meat in America, meat was obviously not biologically suited to us. NH is so wonderful in many respects, but it’s a mistake to accept an entire philosophy or branch of science because most of it is correct.

Weston Price’s book is what really floored me. Here were all these isolated populations thriving on meat and a little vegetables. Say what? But it wasn’t until I started eating a lot of meat that I realized how satiating the diet was. And I’ve never had any digestive problem eating meat.

Now I’m learning about the role of insulin and glucagon in sugar regulation, and reducing carbs seems to clean up all the dirty corners, even the carbs in fruit. And the importance of healthy fats seems underrated in vegan and raw food circles.

Grains and legumes. The biggies! Congrats on that.

Cynthia June 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm

I really respect you for being able to change your views and admit you were wrong. We all have been wrong it seems in accepting the conventional wisdom about diet, and have paid a big price for it in loss of health. Everybody wants to believe they are right, and invariably will say how great they feel on whatever diet they’re on (though my son was honest enough to admit that an all meat diet didn’t make him feel as great as he thought it should). When health problems show up, people quietly make changes, but you’ll seldom hear about it. So that makes it hard to really evaluate the effect of diet.

I am certainly not an advocate of veganism, but I suspect that certain elements typically lacking in a vegan diet can be supplemented from natto (excellent source of K2), and sun exposure (D3, if you’re young enough anyway). Not sure about B12 though and it’s a biggie, though it’s easy to supplement with B12 using a multi-vitamin. I guess it defeats the purpose of having a natural healthy diet to have to use supplements though.

It will be interesting to see what you come up with from all this reading!

Joanne June 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Thanks, Cynthia. Who knows? I might be wrong again! But at least I’m still learning.

I’ve read that we require 0 carbohydrates as a fuel source because can make them from fats and proteins. That may be true, but I think an all-meat diet is lacking in alkaline minerals. Animals who consume all-meat diets also eat organs, skin, fur and bones. I prefer a good salad to a hard thigh bone.

Joanne July 1, 2009 at 6:05 am

Hello, Stan. Thanks for jumping in. I’m sorry it took so long to approve your comment. My spam filter had quantined it, probably because of the link.

Don’t you think there might be some detoxification benefit to switching to such clean fuel? And alkalizing of tissues?

I read an interesting comment on one of your posts saying that high-glucose diets over time damage the cells of the heart. I’d love to hear more of that. I also read somewhere that wrinkles are pretty common on raw vegan diets, though I don’t know the mechanics.

The raw vegan movement does seem to consist mostly of people who’ve been on the diet only a few years though you have your few who claim decades of success. But a lot of those on alternative diets who study and care about diet are those who’ve tried vegan or raw and suffered ill health.

Rudy August 29, 2009 at 12:27 am

Thank you Joanne. I don’t share your dietary preference, but I certainly join you in your call for respect and civility regarding our dietary differences. I am uneasy with the assumption that good nutrition is “one size fits all.” And I’m not comfortable with the fact that the world of nutrition has become war zone.

I am 56 years old and have been a student of nutrition for the last 25 years or so, seeking to resolve my own chronic health issues. For the past three years, I’ve been on a raw high fruit and veggie diet, in accordance with the 80/10/10 Diet (for the most part). Thus far, it has worked for me better than any other diet I’ve tried. My energy is good, no more afternoon fatigue, no more cravings for sweets (because I’m eating all the sweets I want in the form of fresh fruit), my chronic athletes foot, jock itch and nail fungus are gone, body odor is way down and my poop doesn’t stink anymore.

Any rough spots that I have encountered in the last three years have been due to me straying from 80/10/10, and in particular, getting more than 10% or so of my calories from fat. For example, last year I did a little test: After a couple of months of eating massive amounts of fruits, lots of veggies and very little overtly fatty goods, I measured my blood sugar. It was 79, which is excellent. After that, I reduced my fruit and ate substantially more fatty foods. The result? I didn’t feel as well, my armpits started to stink and my blood sugar climbed to 90, which is still not bad, but I got the message.

Will I continue to get good results if I stay with this sort of diet? I don’t know. I will wait and see. Do I assert that everyone should eat this way? Certainly not! That would be the height of arrogance and ignorance.

Over the past six years, I’ve developed a nutrition course that I teach to massage students as well as the general public. The course includes a survey of the major diets that are out there, including the Paleo Diet and the Low-Fat Vegen (80/10/10ish) Diet. In class, we examine each diet and discuss their respective strong points and possible weak points.

Regarding my students’ own eating habits, this what I advise them to do: Gather as much info as you can, and then do what feels right to you. Yout best guidance is your inner guidance. Your Innate Intelligence does not abide by any doctrine. Neither is it contrary to any doctrine. It simply guides you along the path that is most suitable for you.

I advise my students to learn from the experts, learn from the promoters of the diet, and then listen to what the critics have to say. The critics will give you info that the promoters are likely to (consciously or unconsciously) withhold. Learn from those who succeeded with the diet, and learn from those didn’t succeed with the diet.

With regard to the idea that refraining from eating meat makes you more “spiritual,” I can say this: Years ago, when I had started eating a (cooked) vegetarian diet, I was preparing a meal and found myself entertaining the notice that eating this ways would make me more spiritual. That’s when a voice in head chimed in and said, “No one is further from Heaven than an arrogant vegetarian.” I laughed my ass off.

And so, Joanne, I celebrate your success and good health. It’s easy and natural to celebrate our dietary differences when our knowledge of nutrition is nested within with a deeper wisdom that says, “For every thing there is season and time for every purpose under Heaven.” As I see it, this bit of wisdom from King Solomon comes natural to us when we are connected to our Innate Intelligence. It’s easy to respect our differences when we are connected with our personal inner guidance. Why? because when we cultivate a strong connection with our own Inner Guidance, we are free. And when we are free, we allow others to be free.

Joanne August 29, 2009 at 7:50 am

Thank you so much for contributing your thoughts here, Rudy.

I was reading a paleo blog a couple days ago where the owner was telling vegans to “fuck off all day long” and calling their diets garbage. As annoying as I often find vegans, this man’s comments were completely out of line. Up until that time I thought the paleo community was, intelligent, level-headed and scientific-minded, and I even commented as such but he declined to publish my comment.

Good luck on your diet. I hope, if and when the time comes that your body says it’s not enough, that you’re open to try something different.

George October 29, 2009 at 8:39 am

You should check your info, our brain did not develop any further since we switched to meat, on the contrary, it has stopped developing and even shrunk since we started to eat meat, however it is hard to find this information because most books are trying to promote something else, if not themselves. Vitamin A is made by the body through Beta-Carotene, as needed. Almost every fruit has Omega 3′s in it, especially the berries. E3 live, Marine Phytoplankton, Golden Algae, and Purslane all have either DHA or EPA, however the parent form of Omega 3′s found in Hemp, Chia, or Flax is enough for most healthy people, especially when combined with coconut. B12 comes from bacteria, which live in healthy soils, and in the insects that used to be in/on our fruit, unfortunately, we do not have healthy soils anymore. The body stores B12 and reuses it, on average it takes 3 years to form a deficiency in it, some as many as 20 years, some as little as 1. There are natural sources of B12 as it comes from bacteria, Fermented foods like Kefir (preferably from home made nut milks ;)) and Kombucha have B12. Also, a company named Premier Research Labs has developed a natural living B-vitamin complex derived from bacteria. Max Stress B Nanoplex is the name of the product. My argument is this, if our brains have stopped developing and actually started to become more primitive since we adopted the hunter/gatherer/paleolithic diet, why do you feel the need to ignore that and keep proving that our brains developed with meat? I highly recommend adding “Left In The Dark” to your list of books to read. We used to have huge amounts of delicate phytonutrients, all of which are known to be so powerful to our hormones that they are considered endocrine disruptors, over 95% of them are gone now. How can we expect to build the most complex neural system on earth when over millions of years our hormones were dominated by a predominantly fruit and leaf based diet? Since we moved out of the jungle about 200 000 years we have been on a decline, granted, technology has some great accomplishments, but it seems we are always one step behind it trying to clean up the damage done from the previous era of technology and creating a new technology to fix the mess the old one has done. Our view of the world, ourselves, our health, etc is so fragmented, maybe our brain is now damaged from this sub-optimal diet most of us consume. This is actually a new hypotheses proposed by Tony Wright (Left In The Dark) that is garnering nothing but respect and further research by progressive scientists. If you think that predominantly fruits and veggies is wrong, how come there are many more success stories than not, and how come after two years of this, I am faster, stronger, smarter, happier? Eating predominantly fruits and veggies, with a small amount of nuts,seeds, seaweeds, and algaes has changed my life. I eat almost no concentrated sources of protein, and my body is lean, my muscles are strong, in fact, at the gym I curl the same as people twice my size? I am 5″10 and 170 lbs. Ultimately, there is no limit to what humans can do, and it takes time to adopt something new, and it’s rough at first, but it is totally possible, and HEALTHY, but it takes a real open mind, not a website called open mind. I have been open and am still open to any good debate and people from all walks of life. But to rule something out because you lacked the discipline and consciousness to make it work doesn’t mean someone else can’t. Let me make it clear that I am not advocating a raw or 80 10 10 diet for everyone, I am just saying what has worked for me, and that I found it took a more open mind to apply something so radically different, and to be patient with it, than it did to go back to something I was more used to/comfortable with. I have tried every diet, and I believe the greatest hindrance to any diet is one’s lack of discipline, faith, determination, and belief in it to adhere long enough to EXPERIENCE it’s benefits. Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Amaranth, Quinoa, and Spinach all have better Amino Acid profiles than Beef. ( Peace, Love, and Ultimately RESPECT.

Joanne October 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

Please provide evidence substantiating your claim that we came out of the jungle 200,000 years ago and archeological evidence proving we ate predominantly fruits and vegetables for “millions of years.” And WHEN EXACTLY did we start eating meat?
As for why you feel better…the same reason people going on any other planned diet feel better. They are eliminating the junk and eating real food. It could just be that going off gluten contributes to major changes in health for you.

Just make sure you’re checking your serum B-12 from time to time as well as homocysteine levels. And from what I’ve been reading, ALA converts to EPA somewhat but poorly to DHA, and beta-carotene is poorly converted to vitamin A.

I’m glad you’re on a diet that makes you feel good. If you enjoy eating chia seeds for dinner, more power to you. Me, I’m going to roast a chunk of cow.

George October 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm

you have to scroll down to page 49, in the right hand column, shortly after the beginning of the first new paragraph to read about how recent evidence shows that we shared common ancestors with the chimpanzees 5-7 million years ago.

In a book named “Short History Of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson, Pg 448 talks about how moving out of the forests and an increase in brain size have nothing to do with each other. How the brain uses glucose, and lots of it, as fuel. Pg 454-457 talks about how we moved out of Africa around 150 000-200 000 years ago. Again, I highly recommend reading books that don’t promote diet through paleoanthropology lessons that promote their diet. But rather, look at all the evidence with innocent perception, and make the choices than.

I also highly recommend watching this video:

I am glad you make the choices you do as I am glad I make the choices I do!

Stay True :)


Prakash December 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Interesting content on your blog J. Thanks for sharing.

George, the video was great and so was the pdf article.

My two cents:

Vegans can get a bit too heady about their diets and choices. But I also know of vegans who let others be as they are and make their own choices. So not all vegans are bad. :)

As for the 811 diet J, you tried it for 5 days and gave up? and you kinda blame the diet for it? Well something as radical as you describe, needs to be tried and tested for a few weeks to give a fair chance and to measure the benefits or the lack of them on yourself. You shared certain opinions on why the diet won’t work. Let me share mine, why and how it works

a. Organic fruit can get costly. I agree. But when you compare it with the reduced costs in so many other aspects of your life, now and in the future, they all even out. I mean if one has to be healthy at 60, they have to start now! Also as more and more folks chose healthy fruit, there will be more demand, and with it the prices will eventually drop due to more supply. And among all the fruits, bananas are actually the cheapest. And when you buy in bulk, you get special discounts. I have built a relationship with my grocery store produce manager and get special cases and discounts reducing my fruit bill by almost 30 %! It’s all up to the individual if he can find solutions than find problems. I mean if you agree with the benefits of fruit and only discard the diet due to the cost factor, then my point is – Its NOT a factor, or not a big enough factor to stop the trial

2. Diet of only bananas. This is a myth. As you yourself mentioned in the video, the seasonal menu plan shares a variety of fruits. Not bananas only!

3. 12 bananas a meal?? Well, do you workout? exercise? play? The diet encourages us to be fit and agile and think and live like an athlete. Why do we think that fitness is only for pro athletes? We need to imbibe fitness routines in our life for a variety of benefits (I am sure you know why exercising is important at any age). When you workout, you will naturally get hungry and desire to fuel yourself. Instead of choosing meat, eat fruit. And you will notice, the 12 bananas just go down so easily.

But this doesn’t happen in a 5 day trial. You are making a paradigm shit for yourself and your body. Anybody starting something new, starts off slow. Start slowly as most of us have shrunk stomachs anyways due to the SAD lifestyles. Detoxification will happen, excess water is lost, and when you will feel light and limber, and start being active, you will naturally get hungry and eat more.

3. Its tough to do this alone to begin with. Find yourself online or real life communities around you and work with them. Or consult some 811 practitioners and work with them. Everyone needs a coach! Usain Bolt has all the world records he wants, but he hasn’t fired his coach(es).

My point – Give it a fair shot before discarding it for ever!

Joanne December 6, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Prakesh, thank you for taking the time to post your two cents. I will address each point.

Prakesh: As for the 811 diet J, you tried it for 5 days and gave up? and you kinda blame the diet for it?

Joanne: My point that I thought I clearly made is that I tried going raw for years and could never last long because it was too difficult. And on the 80/10/10 diet, within 3 days my gums were bleeding, and within 5 days I had painful urination. A diet shouldn’t be this hard to adhere to, even despite cultural conditioning.

Prakesh: Organic fruit can get costly.

Joanne: It is very costly and environmentally unsound. I would have to rely on foreign countries to produce a great deal and fossil fuel to get it to me. Also, large tracts of land have to be converted to orchard. It’s easy for raw food gurus to expound on the wonders of coconut, for example, when they’re selling thousands of dollars worth of educational material or living in the tropics.

I’d rather eat a local cow living on pasture that sustains much more wildlife. Pound for pound the cow is also cheaper than organic fruit and I need to eat much less of it. And our land is preserved, our farmers are supported, and anyone with a little land can feed themselves year round. You can’t do that on a fruit diet. It is unsustainable.

Prakesh: 12 bananas a meal?? Well, do you workout? exercise? play?

Joanne: I have no interest in shoving that much food in my mouth three times a day to get my caloric needs met. I begin to gag after two bananas.

Prakesh: Start slowly as most of us have shrunk stomachs anyways due to the SAD lifestyles.

Joanne: I’m sorry, but this is nonsense that Graham made up. Considering I could put away a large Round Table pizza or a bowl of pasta and then of ice cream, I did not suffer from a shrunken stomach. But the human stomach has shrunk in the past 70 or so million years because we went from a low-energy plant-based diet to a densely nutritious meat diet. Monkeys and apes have large stomachs to handle plant matter. Ruminants have large stomachs. Humans do not. Eades wrote a great article on this subject.

No, I tried this diet and it was incredibly expensive, time-consuming, destructive to my health, isolating, and nauseating. Good produce is difficult to find in my city, but a pasture-raised cow was only an hour away and is now stored in my freezer to feed me for months. I could eat a steak for dinner tonight and not be hungry until dinner tomorrow. Living on fruit kept me hungry most of the time. And I like having healthy gums and urinary tract.

Rawman December 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Sounds good. Raw food diet is not for you. Meat eating suits you best.

All the best

Merinda April 23, 2011 at 2:39 am


I feel that it must be true that there is no “one perfect diet”, as Rawman and yourself seem to exemplify.

My understanding of myself and the world seems more and more immersed in the idea of evolution and the incredible complexities and interplay of life. I feel that sometimes we look at evolution as something that HAPPENED to us way back 200,000+ years ago, rather than something that HAPPENS to everything continuously. Perhaps there are cataclysmic occurrences in the balance of nature that lead to swift and profound evolution within species – ‘leaps forward’ – but the continual ‘experimentation’ inherent in nature and procreation happens always.

Perhaps we are not really all that much the same as we might think, and hence why there is so much debate and diversity of experience surrounding this issue of what to eat. If we were free to wander and eat from the countless variety of wild foods, perhaps we would be more intuitively ‘connected’ to our bodies and what they need, as opposed to society’s current understanding of ‘food’ as presented by the supermarkets: incredibly limited in variety and artificial i(including hybridized fruit and vege and even animals?)

I have not done much reading into the nuances of evolution on humans, but I wonder if you have read anything, Joanne, that might support or rebuke my ideas?

Joanne April 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

Hi, Merinda. I also have not read much on the nuances of evolution on humans. I’ve read a great deal on nutrition, though, and my conclusion is that nobody knows the answers. We’re all just hypothesizing.

What is clear is that everyone is different. We have different genetics and different physical makeup because of the foods that built our bodies and control our metabolism. One person may do well–for a season–on a raw, vegan diet because their body at that point in time, constructed of certain prior foods, needed that change. Ditto the person on a paleo diet, or low-carb, or whatever. Some people run well on meat, some on vegetables, some on grains.

I’ve abandoned the “paleo” concept and am incorporating more carbohydrates into my diet. My body temperature is too low (and my feet are always cold), which happens on many of these diets that restrict certain macronutrients. Doug Graham boasts that 93 degrees is a healthy resting temperature for athletes on a raw vegan diet. I don’t buy it. (I think I read Patenaude claim that body temperature was low in the beginning because the body was healing itself from the inside out.) And some of my prior problems are resurfacing. So the paleo, low-carb was good for me for a short time, but that time is over.

Plus I’m just sick of researching and reading all the conflicting information about what to eat and living with guilt when I diverge from “healthy” eating. You know, you get to the place where you just know too much for your own good.

How did the diet of our ancestors 100 years ago differ from ours? Well, it wasn’t processed. They grew it or bought it locally and cooked it themselves. It wasn’t grown on depleted soil with chemical inputs. Their lives were simpler in many respects, they worked harder physically, didn’t spend all day on a computer, and they weren’t inundated by chemical toxins.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if man could eat just about anything from whole foods–and occasionally from junk–but no longer can because his body’s toxic burden is so great. And the effects of stress can ruin any well-intentioned diet.

Your idea of being more connected to nature helping us understand what our bodies need sounds good to me. And I think that if we surrounded ourselves with whole foods from which we could select our menu, that our body would intuitively know what was needed. But the nutritional “static” we health freaks hear all the time interferes.

I bet I would be a lot healthier today, and way less stressed about food, if I never learned a thing about nutrition.

Mette August 3, 2011 at 9:47 am

I totally agree Joanne! I´ve spent so many houers reading about diets because I´m hypothyriod and have fat on my hips:-( I´ve eaten low carb high fat and 80/10/10 and I´m still confused:-(

Karen December 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

I hear you, Joanne & Mette! It can all be SO confusing! I just watched a VERY disturbing and confronting video called “Earthlings” and recently another one called “Eating” and another called “Healing Cancer from Inside Out”, all of which have me convinced that a plant-based diet is definitely the way to go. But then I read about B12 deficiencies and it’s back to the drawing board. Perhaps Dr Mercola hits it on the head when he states that there is no one perfect diet for all people. Some require more protein, some more carbs, and some a combination etc. For the record I think he eats about 95% raw vegan, and 5% grass-fed organic beef etc.

And our health is based on more than the food we eat. It’s also our sleeping, our attitude, our relationships, our stress levels, clean air, community etc.

I think there are certain consistencies between the major healthy food philosophies and they are (it seems to me): lots of raw fruits and vegetables (especially greens, but realistically a variety is best), no sugar or processed foods of any kind. There are differences in terms of meat vs no meat, cooked vs raw etc, but the basic idea of eating unprocessed, fresh foods has got to be the simplest answer, common to all people. And if we focus on that, and listen to our bodies, perhaps we’ll just “know” what is right for us at any given time? I loved this: “I think that if we surrounded ourselves with whole foods from which we could select our menu, that our body would intuitively know what was needed.”

This is much more freeing than drawing a line in the sand and stepping either side of it to align ourselves with a particular philosophy that we may later decide we disagree with.

What do you think?

Joanne December 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Hi, Karen.

I’ve come to believe that the diets that are healthiest for us exclude foods to which we are allergic. Diets like the paleo or raw vegan automatically exclude many allergens: wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, etc. Somebody could be intolerant of beef or chicken or pork, and by giving up meat they feel better. They end up thinking meat is bad. But truly only a certain meat is bad for them.

I did really well on the paleo diet. Got rid of arthritis in my hips, occasional uncontrollable movement of my right eye, stick ankles and sore back in the morning, etc. Those problems were all because I’m allergic to wheat. (Never did get rid of the dizzy spells.)

But then these things started coming back when I learned how to cook Asian stir-fry and Thai food. I was also eating a lot of dairy. Turns out I’m allergic to dairy, soy and peanuts, and that’s why my health issues were coming back. And I think dairy is what gives me vertigo.

So you’re right. There is no one perfect diet for all. There’s only the perfect diet for each individual, and that’s a nutrient-rich diet to which the immune system doesn’t object.

Kristina B. April 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I would like to thank you for your website and blog! I am intentionally keeping this brief so that I can continue reading every inch of your site, but your posts are very well-written, informative, all-inclusive, and you manage to remain unbiased in your script while also managing to give your unfiltered opinion on particular topics/diets/trends. Just wanted to say thanks for providing a great service!

Joanne April 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

You are most welcome, Kristina. Glad you enjoy my blog. You should check out my interview blog, too: Joanne Unleashed.

James Hardiman May 20, 2013 at 3:08 am

Just discovered you in a really roundabout way (someone on a Ketogenic Diet FB group mentioned Jockers and his website led to Jordan Rubin and Googling that name led to your critical post).

I am enjoying your writing!

My 10¢ worth here: I am exploring KD as a way to combat obesity. I have an almost religious conviction that low-carb in one form or another is the way to go and that for a whole host of reasons raw veganism doesn’t cut it as a viable nutritional option.

And then I read about Scott Jurek (book: “Eat and Run”) who has won the Badwater 130 (ultra-marathon, 130 miles across Death Valley, in the summer, with thousands of feet of climb) several times … On a raw vegan diet.

I am reminded of the Christian woman saint (forgot her name) who survived for 20 years on a single communion wafer each day.

The human body is amazing and a complete mystery!

There was a news article recently about a 17 year-old English girl who was rushed to hospital after she collapsed at work. Turns out she has eaten ONLY chicken nuggets since she was two. Doctors tell her that unless she gets some other nutrition into her she will die. No surprise there. But in her photographs she looks fine!

James Hardiman May 20, 2013 at 3:15 am

Therese Neumann:

I guess that’s a 100% carb diet!

Joanne May 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

Thanks for commenting, James. I’m glad you enjoy my writing.

If you can follow it, raw veganism would be a very “cleansing” diet. You would probably lose a lot of weight while replenishing nutrients not found in the typical diet. But since raw vegan diets often lack other nutrients, I don’t recommend it long term. I bet three or four months would do wonders.

I’m on the fence about diets with high fat that are often promoted by the KD or paleo folks. While fat is nontoxic, it’s also poor in nutrition.

Ultimately, I believe the mind builds the body, but I’ve yet to figure out how to use my mind in that regard.

James Hardiman May 20, 2013 at 10:06 am

Did the whole veggy, vegan, raw thing for about 10 years. I was forced to give up when my knees gave out. Went back to animal protein and was walking and cycling again within days.

But now I’m 65 and T2 diabetic, I can’t look a carb in the face! But this morning we discovered low carb (7gm), wheat-free “bread” rolls (just baked a batch) which go under bacon SO well!

As for fat being low in nutrients, go have a chat with the Inuit, particularly the older people! Not a lot of orange trees in the Arctic.

BTW I live part of the year in Florida. If you go hiking in the Florida backwoods you Occasionally come across a native orange tree, with fruit. If you take a bite it gives you an idea of what fruit-tree breeding can do! Not a lot of sugar.

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