written by Nina Shantel, blog: RealDietHelp.com, published April 12, 2022
(if you are viewing this on email or on social media, please visit site at http://www.realdiethelp.com for the most updated version of this post; it looks better, and it shows me an accurate count of views)
Raw vegans proclaim that their diets are the best and encourage others to join them in their extreme eating habits, but just like there are debates about whether people should avoid bread, there are factions in the raw food community regarding whether a raw vegan fruit-based diet, or a raw vegan diet that limits fruit and contains more fat from avocados, nuts and seeds, is better for health.
In this post, or you can watch the YouTube video at the end of this article, I compare Dr. Doug Graham’s low-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-fruit, raw vegan diet, with two popular high-fat, raw vegan diets: one that is commonly referred to as gourmet, and Dr. Brooke Goldner’s hyper-nourish protocol for reversing autoimmune diseases. In addition, I’ll cover the positives and negatives of each of these raw vegan diets, which is healthier, and why I and other people try these extreme diets.
Who should try a raw vegan diet?
People who try and sometimes fully transition to a raw vegan diet are people who have typically tried other diets and have failed to lose weight, clear up acne and/or reverse serious medical diagnoses like cancer, and autoimmune conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
What foods aren’t allowed on a raw vegan diet?
I consider a raw vegan diet, one of the most extreme diets, because not only are all animal products, beans, peas, lentils, potatoes (except for sweet potatoes because they can be eaten raw) and grains excluded, but all cooked foods, even gently steamed, are not permitted on a raw food diet.
Why are raw foods healthier than cooked foods?
When food is cooked, oxygen is released, enzymes are destroyed, proteins are reduced, and nutrients are diminished. Cooked foods become higher in carbohydrates and are more glycemic. If you eat a raw banana or a raw sweet potato verses a boiled banana or a steamed sweet potato, the carbohydrates are significantly higher when that fruit and vegetable is heated, which results in higher blood sugar spikes.
The higher the heat and the longer a food is cooked, the less nutritious the food is and the more carcinogenic it may become. For instance, if you broil or grill food, the blackened pieces should be thrown out because those burned food pieces are carcinogenic.
Why do cooked foods cause autoimmune diseases?
For those with an overactive immune system, such as those with an autoimmune condition, their bodies confuse their own tissues and organs as foreign invaders, which is why they are being attacked. When these same people eat cooked foods, their bodies overreact and see cooked foods as toxic, so the assault continues.
When people with autoimmune conditions avoid inflammatory foods like dairy, sugar, processed foods, oils, and animal flesh and meat, the inflammation is reduced, and some or all, of the pain, attacks, and antibodies go away.
Sometimes eliminating unhealthy foods like dairy, sugar, processed foods, oils, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and fish is not enough to reverse autoimmune diseases, so eating solely plant foods in its unadulterated state (without cooking or heating it), is what’s required to reverse their diseases.
High-raw vs. 100% raw
Sometimes people just need to eat a raw vegan diet for a limited period of time, for example: from six to eight weeks, and then can transition to a high-raw diet, where they eat 80% raw and 20% cooked vegan plant foods like tofu, beans, lentils, potatoes, grains and other baked or steamed vegetables, to regain a healthy state.
For other people, they don’t feel well if they eat any foods that are cooked, even after a two-month strict raw vegan diet, which is why they remain on a raw vegan diet.
I’ve read on various Facebook pages that people feel ill even after eating a boiled potato, a bowl of plain rice or cooked oatmeal, because it’s a cooked food.
Why raw vegan diets are becoming popular
People don’t give up their favorite foods and foods of convenience unless they are in serious pain and in dire circumstances, which is why raw vegan diets are becoming more popular: more and more people are extremely sick.
There are many variations of raw vegan diets, but the ones I’m covering, Dr. Doug Graham’s 80/10/10, raw vegan gourmet, and Dr. Brooke Goldner’s autoimmune hyper-nourish protocol, are very popular and help to heal people, in varying degrees.
The 80/10/10 high-fruit, 100% raw vegan diet, explained
Dr. Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 raw vegan diet consists mainly of fruit. Eighty percent of the diet comes from carbohydrates. Ten percent comes from protein, which is derived from nuts, greens, raw vegetables, seeds and fruit, and the last ten percent comes from plant fats. All plants contain fat, even blueberries have naturally-occurring fat.
Since you cannot get enough calories from raw vegetables and greens, on a low-fat (10-15% from fat) diet, you must eat a massive amount of fruit on Dr. Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 diet program.
What is not allowed on the 80/10/10 diet
Dr. Doug Graham does not permit fermented foods, dehydrated foods which involves low heat, dried fruit, cocoa, cacao, vinegar, coffee (it’s a roasted bean), dried herbs (they are heated), herbal teas, unripe fruit, or frozen fruit since it is not in its natural state (you don’t pick frozen fruit off a tree and eat it because it would be unripe and frostbitten).
He allows foods to be blended but not juiced because removing the fiber is unnatural. Removing the fiber is changing the way the food was naturally designed.
I read Dr. Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 book, cover-to-cover, and followed his rules exactly, for one week, because that was all I could handle. While I love fruit, so much fruit made my blood sugar high (I’m a Type-1 diabetic), I didn’t feel satisfied, craved beans (probably because I wasn’t consuming enough protein), and felt generally unwell.
Dr. Doug Graham recommends eating 1-lb of raw cruciferous vegetables each day so I would also make large salads, raw cold soups (which feels terrible and tastes awful on a cold winter day), and vegetable plates with an avocado or nut sauce.
I lost three pounds in one week on Dr. Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 program which I found alarming because I’m already underweight. I just cannot consume enough fruit to be a healthy weight.
For people who like fruit, but also want to enjoy lots of nuts and seeds and be able to recreate their favorite foods like pizza and cookies can do so on a gourmet raw vegan diet.
Gourmet raw vegan diet guidelines
On a gourmet raw vegan diet, it’s not 100% percent raw, so there is a lot of flexibility. There’s no maximum or minimum amount of carbohydrates or fats. You can enjoy as much fruit as you like. You can incorporate dried fruit like dates to make desserts. You can dehydrate foods to make coconut cookies. You can use coconut oil to make desserts and use olive oil in your salad dressing.
Agave and/or maple syrup are sweeteners used in place of sugar. A variety of nuts are chopped up to make nut cheeses, pizza crust, or pie crusts. Nut butters are used to make creamy dressings or cookie fillings.
When I was diagnosed with Type-1.5 diabetes over a decade ago I bought several raw gourmet cookbooks and made many recipes, some of which were terrible, but I enjoyed most of the rich, sweet desserts.
I tried a raw vegan diet because I read that if you start soon enough after being diagnosed with Type-1 or Type 1.5 diabetes it’s possible to reverse it.
Type-2 diabetes can generally be reversed when the fat intake is lowered considerably, regardless of what type of diet they eat, but a high-carbohydrate, very low fat, whole-food vegan diet typically reverses Type-2 diabetes the quickest and is the most sustainable.
Gourmet raw vegan – the negative aspects of gourmet raw vegan diets
My blood sugars increased on raw gourmet foods because there was too much fat from the nuts, coconut flakes, carob and coconut oil. The raw vegan foods I consumed contained too many calories so I couldn’t lose weight, which, at that time, I wanted to lose eight pounds of bodyfat.
My high blood sugars were made worse not only from the excess fats I ate, but also from the highly glycemic dates and agave.
My stomach constantly hurt from eating so many nuts, even though I enjoyed eating them. Nuts are difficult to digest and are high in healthy fats. Eating too much of even healthy foods, can cause harm.
I was frustrated by how much preparation it took to make a lot of raw vegan meals; for instance, it took 24 hours to make a raw vegan pizza, and 6 hours to make a raw burger in the dehydrator. It was also upsetting that a lot of the vegetable meals that included lots of steps and took a lot of time to make, didn’t taste good.
I ate raw vegan gourmet recipes for about three months before I gave it up and went back to eating all cooked foods.
Why I tried Dr. Brooke Goldner’s hyper-nourish raw vegan diet
Flash forward to 2019, I started having swelling, redness, reduced blood flow and pain in my fingers and toes. After numerous doctor visits, I was diagnosed with two additional autoimmune conditions, erythromelalgia and Raynaud’s. I started searching for ways to treat and reverse these rare conditions and came across Dr. Brooke Goldner’s autoimmune hyper-nourish reversal program. She’s written three books, one called “Goodbye Lupus.”
Lupus is a potentially deadly, but reversible autoimmune disease. Most people don’t know that they can reverse lupus and lupus-related conditions with food and lifestyle changes.
I thought that if she can reverse lupus, she may be able to help me, so I purchased and read one of her books, and paid the $45 for her five-hour lecture from her website, which is really fascinating and well worth the price. I was impressed and signed up with Smoothie Shred, where I received her raw green smoothie recipes and got approved into her Facebook group.
Dr. Brooke Goldner’s hyper-nourish autoimmune protocol:
1-lb of raw cruciferous vegetables (mostly baby salad greens)
96+ ounces of water
½ cup of ground flax or ground chia seeds
No more than 25% fruit
No dehydrated or dried fruit
The guidelines for her diet plan are not a secret; she has public YouTube videos where she shares what to eat and not to eat on her channel.
Dr. Goldner recommends putting all ingredients into a large Vitamix and drink it throughout the day. For people who don’t like green smoothies, she allows salads with the above ingredients.
She says you can eat as much avocado as you want even though it’s high in fat.
She advocates no more than 25% from fruit because she’s found that excess fruit slows down the autoimmune reversal process.
Why a raw vegan diet may not reverse lupus and autoimmune conditions
Dr. Brooke Goldner acknowledges that a perfect diet, by itself, is not sufficient, as other factors can hinder disease reversal such as inadequate water consumption.
How to reverse autoimmune conditions without changing one’s diet
Our bodies cannot repair or flush out toxins without adequate water so Dr. Brooke Goldner recommends drinking a minimum of 96 ounces of filtered water, daily.
Not sleeping enough. Sleep is when your body does the majority of healing. Without adequate sleep, your body is put under excess stress. Excess stress equates to more inflammation.
Make sure to sleep at least 8 hours each night, between 10am-5am, which is a human’s circadian clock range, to balance hormones, digestion, and the immune system.
We need adequate sleep to repair and maintain our bodies and our health. Without proper sleep, we become stressed and aren’t giving ourselves enough time to recover, which sets us up for cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Chronic Stress. Chronic stress causes not just an emotional response, like agitation, but many negative physical responses. Chronic stress causes us to get sick and stay sick. While you may not be able to get rid of toxic relationships, your response to situations and people makes a huge difference in your wellness.
Negative mindset. Being negative will affect your stress levels and your ability to heal. Try to think positively, even when everything feels like it is falling apart, because your negative thoughts can literally break you.
Get outside. Most of us are stuck inside our homes or offices, with stuffy air, possibly mold or asbestos around us, and toxins from paint, carpet and upholstery, that we breathe in. Get outside for fresh air, and sunshine. Vitamin D is low in people with chronic diseases, and taking a Vitamin D supplement is not always sufficient, so getting outside in the sun to absorb nature’s vitamin D on your skin for 20 minutes a day is ideal.
Get your omega 3’s up. Dr. Goldner says the extra amount of omega 3’s she recommends with the ½ cup of ground flax/chia seeds won’t negatively affect blood sugars and helps speed up healing. That’s how she came up with the name “hyper-nourish,” she’s giving the body more than what it needs, to flood the body with excess nourishment.
Not only are seeds high in fat and calories, consuming excessive amounts of fat, even healthy fat, leads to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, circulation problems, and other medical issues.
I consulted with my plant-based doctor about Dr. Goldner’s protocol, and he said to modify it, to eat less fat and chia/flax. I made the green smoothies with 3-4 tablespoons of ground chia or ground flax with water, frozen bananas, frozen green grapes or mangos, mixed greens, celery, and sometimes raw broccoli.
What I didn’t like about Dr. Brooke Goldner’s autoimmune diet
When I made Dr. Brooke Goldner’s smoothies with 75% greens, as she recommends, the green smoothies tasted terrible, like grass. One time I threw up the entire smoothie while sitting on my couch watching TV. I don’t believe the texture or the taste of the green smoothie caused me to vomit; I think I got food poisoning from the raw broccoli I put in it. Other people on her Facebook page, were also throwing up and getting food poising from the raw green smoothies.
I drank these green smoothies and ate the large green salads several times, always ending the strict diet after three days, because the food tasted terrible, I had chronic stomachaches, and felt miserable. Many people have had great success at reversing their autoimmune conditions with her program, but my blood sugars got worse drinking the green smoothies.
What the percentage of fat should be in a healthy diet
Raw food diets, when the fat content is under 20%, has resulted in better health for many people (although limiting fat to 10% has been shown in medical studies to be percentage proven to reverse and prevent disease).
Are gourmet raw vegan diets healthy?
Gourmet raw vegan diets typically result in worsening health if lots of dried fruit, oils, and excess seeds and nuts are consumed regularly. Low and lower fat diets with lots of variety, not just raw food diets, typically results in health improvements.
Are raw vegan foods just for sick people?
Raw vegan plants are foods everyone should incorporate into their daily diet. Raw vegan foods, like green salads, are in its natural state, that’s not adulterated by heat or processing, contain lots of nutrients and promote healing.
There are specific foods that promote healing the best, such as baby greens, cruciferous vegetables like arugula, bok choy and broccoli.
Growing your own sprouts will help increase the protein intake on a raw vegan diet (or even on a vegan diet).
You want to eat raw green greens/vegetables every day. The goal should be, a minimum, to consume one pound of raw vegetables daily.
Why I don’t eat a 100% raw vegan diet
Today I continue to eat raw salads with lots of fruit and put ground flax or chia seeds in my fruit smoothies, but I do not feel well and cannot maintain a healthy weight without eating legumes and cooked starchy vegetables on a regular basis.
I don’t enjoy eating raw broccoli, raw zucchini, raw asparagus or raw Brussel sprouts. It’s better to eat lots of these cooked vegetables than to limit or avoid them altogether.
To help balance my blood sugars, I do eat highly glycemic foods like cooked sweet potatoes, but I pair it with foods that are less glycemic, like squash, spinach, bell peppers, onions, and steamed broccoli.
Presently, I eat some raw foods, but mostly cooked foods. In the wintertime, it’s too uncomfortable for me to just eat cold foods. I need warm soups and stews to keep me warm on cold days.
Raw vegan diets are extreme, but they can be healthy or harmful over time, depending on how much of certain foods are eaten. The more fat one consumes, regardless of the type of fat, when the percentage exceeds 10-15%, increases a person’s likelihood of being overweight, and becoming riddled with disease. Low carb diets and gourmet raw diets (and also the standard American diet) are not healthy: they are all too high in fat.
Just because fats can be problematic, fatty foods should not be omitted from any diet. A raw vegan will have trouble consuming enough protein if they avoid plant fats. In addition, foods that are high in fat are needed for many processes, like cushioning our joints, but we only need to eat plant fats in small amounts (animal fats are not essential and have proven to be harmful to our health).
The fats to eat are avocados, nuts, and seeds, not to exceed 10-15% of your daily calories. The fats to avoid are oils and animal products.
The healthiest raw food diet is one where greens and a large variety of plant foods are eaten, is high in whole-food plant carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), about 80-75%, is low in protein 10-15%, and low in fat 10-15%.
Some people consume a high-raw diet, where 75-80% of the food is raw and 20-25% of the food is cooked. For people who have absorption issues and have stayed away from cooked foods, vegan enzymes may be all you need to add to your diet, because enzymes are destroyed with high temperatures.
I use and recommend Plant Fusion’s vegan digestive enzymes (link and photo below) because it really helps me with bloating and digestion. It’s also vegan, because I don’t want to eat animal products or pancreases from other animals, which is in a lot of enzyme supplements. You also want to choose food-based enzymes, since synthetic enzymes can be harmful.
The diet that is optimal for all humans is one that is primarily plant-based, so regardless of which vegan diet you like best, as long as you get all your vitamins, minerals, calories, the diet has a lot of variety, the food doesn’t harm the planet, animals or people; and it makes you feel good, and you are free from disease, that diet is one that’s perfect for you.
Play the YouTube video below to hear me talk about the differences between high-fruit and high-fat raw vegan diets and which one is optimal for human health, and why.
P.S. This is my 924th blog! I’ve been publishing blog posts on this platform, consistently for over seven years now. I can’t believe it’s been that long. To prevent burnout, and to provide helpful, interesting, educational, unique content, I’ll be posting blogs once a week from now on instead of twice a week.
I don’t make any money on this platform. If you’d like to donate to my page, to cover website fees, click the PayPal link below. Any amount is welcome, no matter how small. Thank you!