This month I have been experimenting with the 80/10/10 approach to the raw food diet and am finding tremendous value in the high fruit diet. I am really appreciating the simplicity of this way of eating and have started to experience benefits in my health, particularly with improved digestion.
Personally I don’t advocate a completely fruitarian diet as a long term eating plan. It is very difficult to balance nutritional intake and even with the addition of greens it can be a challenge for many. I also see the benefits of increasing the variety in the diet both from a nutritional point of view and also just for the sake of enjoyment.
I absolutely love eating a lot of fruit but I also enjoy some foods that are not generally included or are limited in the natural hygiene and 80/10/10 approaches to the raw food diet. Foods such as spirulina, bee pollen, seaweed, avocado, young coconuts and durian can add nutrition and interest to the diet. I also like to eat raw Thai food, raw curries and soups which include spices.
I also believe both from my research and personal experience that those of us with a history of chronic illness may require more protein especially during transition to a 100% raw food diet. Green foods, bee pollen, nuts and seeds can have a nourishing and stabilizing effect in these situations.
Probably the biggest thing I have come to realize while experimenting with the high fruit low fat approach is that the quality of the food matters to a far greater degree than its macronutrient composition.
Most nuts are heated to some extent during processing so are not even truly a raw food. The same goes for processed oils unless the label specifically states that they are produced at low temperatures. The descriptions of ‘extra virgin’ or ‘cold-pressed’ are really meaningless and you would be mistaken if you believe that you are eating a 100% raw or ideal diet while consuming these foods.
If we all had access to really fresh nuts and pure oils then these would be a good addition to our diets but unfortunately many of us do not. Of course in this situation our intake of nuts would be limited to some degree because of the effort required to get them out of the shell.
To me this indicates that nuts and seeds are probably not ideal to eat in large quantities, however regardless I still believe they can make an important nutritional contribution to our diet.
On the other hand durian, coconut and avocado are high fat raw foods that probably can be eaten in abundance without adverse effects for most people. Personally I find I can eat these foods in large quantities so long as I combine my foods properly. However nuts, seeds and oils invariably cause digestive problems and fatigue if I eat them in any more than moderate amounts.
There is no perfect dietary approach for all of us and we may potentially thrive on different diets both individually and at different stages in our life. There are also health factors and genetic differences to take into account, which may increase individual requirements for certain nutrients such as protein, minerals and essential fatty acids. We are all different and no single diet is going to be good for all of us all of the time.
For example I am living in the tropics and this environment is very conducive to a diet based on fruit. I feel little need for anything beyond fruit and salads most of the time. However someone living in a cold environment may do better with less fruit, more nuts and seeds as well as spices and perhaps dehydrated foods.
Although I appreciate the value of natural hygiene philosophy I also believe it has the potential to close our minds to other approaches that could be of profound benefit. Traditional systems of herbal and dietary medicine such as Ayurveda and Chinese medicine can teach us a lot. These are approaches that are thousands of years old and based on practical knowledge and extensive experience.
My personal philosophy is to listen to my body and do what feels right. However I always evaluate my theoretical knowledge in conjunction with how I am feeling in order to gain a deeper understanding of what is occurring at any given time.
If you are just getting started eating raw it may take a couple of months to really tune in to your instincts and learn what works for you. It is also a good idea to learn as much as you can about nutrition or work with a raw food coach who can assist you in interpreting these messages.
With patience and experience you will start to understand the signals your body is sending you and instead of rigidly following the opinions of others you will follow the direction of your one true adviser.