There's No Such Thing as
"The Raw Vegan Diet"
By Don Bennett,
that's because there's more than just one raw vegan diet. And some are
healthier than others, and one is the healthiest, and at the other end
of the spectrum are the ones that cause people to fail-to-thrive over
time. How do I know this? From decades of researching and counseling
raw vegans who've failed to thrive.
is one of my most important presentations that I give when lecturing
at an event, because if a person's first exposure to a raw vegan is
one of the less healthy ones, they are likely to crash 'n burn
at some point, finding their health going downhill after the
usual initial improvement (from what they stopped eating: animal
foods, cooked foods, etc). And with no guidance or knowledge of the
other versions of the diet, they then blame the diet, and their friends
say, "See, I told you it was a whacky diet." I've seen this
scenario over and over, with some people even going back to their former
typical Western diet. And this is sad because it's all because of a
lack of proper education on the part of the raw vegan educational community.
a nutshell, here are the seven different versions of the raw vegan diet
(not in any particular order)...
with too much or too little fat or a very unbalanced ratio of 6s to
I've seen new raw vegans having more fat in their diet than when they
ate the typical Western diet! This is thanks to avocado, nuts, and/or
coconut pulp (all technically unnatural sources of fat for humans, but
all heavily promoted). The "raw gourmet" raw vegan diet is
famous for too much fat. More on this subject in the reference at the
end of this article.
that include harmful foods
Not everything in the produce section of a large market is "our
food". We're led to believe it is (as long as you don't have to
cook it), but there are some fruits and veggies there that have both
beneficial and harmful properties, and my philosophy is to eat only
those foods that have beneficial properties. Now we're not talking about
a lot of foods, just a handful. But if optimal healing and optimal future
health is the goal, it's wise to steer clear of them. They are: The
Nightshade foods, the cruciferous veggies, and the avocado (more on
why the avocado in the reference articles at the end of this one...
and if you assume that I can't know what I'm talking about because I
dare to say that the much beloved avocado is unhealthy, then you'll
not be able to appreciate my articles and almost half a century of research).
Nightshade foods that raw vegans would eat are tomatoes and bell peppers.
They contain a substance that is inflammatory to the body. Some people
are super sensitive to this and react acutely, so they know not to touch
them because they can't, but for the others it can take many decades
to see the negative effects, usually in the form of arthritis.
foods like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower contain a substance
that interferes with the body utilizing iodine (an essential nutrient,
and one that most people are deficient in because they're not getting
enough). So it's also wise to stay away from these.
the beneficial properties attributed to the above mentioned foods are
not just in those foods... they are in all fruits and greens,
including the ones that have no detrimental properties. So why eat the
ones that also have harmful effects? Because you love them? But they,
unlike the other foods, don't love you back.
that are less than 100% raw (60/40 raw/cooked)
I have lots of articles on the downsides of eating cooked food... even
a small amount of it will cause continued autoimmune reactions in the
body. And that's something to be avoided if optimal future health is
the goal. The "Raw Till Four" diet is based on a raw vegan
transitioning tactic and was never meant to be a diet in and of itself.
But two charlatans (in my opinion) turned it into a diet (complete with
T-shirts) and had the nerve to imply that it was just as healthy eating
their diet as the all raw diet (that's what should make people suspicious).
with no attention to food miscombinations
The best most easily digested meal is a mono meal (a meal of just one
item), which is how all the other animals on this planet eat... except
us. But when we start mixing together at one meal foods that, if eaten
on their own, would have different digestive environments, digestion
will not be easy-peezy, and you will not get the most out of the foods
eaten as far as their nutritional value. And since those foods are already
grown in nutritionally sub-par soil, we need all the nutrition we can
get out of the foods we buy from the store. And the more difficult the
digestion, the more "nerve energy" it will require, leaving
less for healing.
I'm not saying that when changing over to a raw vegan diet you have
to start by eating mono meals... this can and should take time to get
to, even years. But if you're not taught about the benefits of mono
meals, habit will have you continually eating meals of multiple things.
This is again where the raw vegan educational community has failed people,
by not teaching the value of mono meals, even occasional ones. And at
least teaching about food miscombinations should be done so that decent
combinations can be made when eating more than one thing at a meal.
Article on this at the end.
with no worries regarding nutrition
This is a biggie, and maybe the number one reason raw vegans fail-to-thrive
over time. A popular raw vegan educator still to this very day says,
"Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have
to worry about nutrition", but this is incorrect. And this is not
an opinion. All this info is squarely in the realm of objective fact.
So while what he said was true a very long time ago, it isn't today.
Article explaining why at the end.
with no attention being given to the other basics of health
Yes, there are educators who teach about the diet. But diet is just
one of the "basics of health", and since many people come
to a raw vegan diet because of health challenges or because they are
forward-thinking enough to want the best future health they can have,
shouldn't any talk about diet also include the other "basics of
health"... even a brief mention? Of course! But this also does
happen enough in the raw vegan educational community. And you could
be eating the best most perfect diet containing the most perfect foods,
but if you're not paying equal attention to the other equally important
"basics of health", it is physiologically impossible to be
as healthy as your DNA can allow you to be, which is super important
if you never want a diagnosis of something life-threatening.
healthiest of the raw vegan diets
This is what I seem to specialize in... but this is what all raw vegan
educators should specialize in, no? Of all the different versions of
the raw vegan diet, logic dictates that one will be the least healthy
and one will be the most healthy. So if optimal healing and future health
is the goal, wouldn't people want to know about the healthiest version,
or at least know that there are different versions? I think so. And
that's why I talk about it, so that if a person's first exposure to
the raw vegan diet is to one of the less healthy versions, at least
they will come to now this, and can decide based on how
healthy they want to be which version of the diet they want
to stick with going forward.
that get into all of the above, are here.
There are also 3 different categories
of raw vegans
1) They became
a raw vegan for their health, to deal with existing poor health
2) They became a raw vegan for their health, to prevent future
3) They became a raw vegan because it's the most counterculture
diet there is, and their health is not necessarily a priority
(they consume alcohol, do recreational drugs, don't exercise,
is an insightful, reality-based author, and health creation counselor
who uses the tools in his toolbox like logic, common
sense, critical thinking, and independent thought to
figure out how to live so we can be optimally healthy.