1. You Can’t Get Sick
Bullshit. While it’s true you are much more unlikely to get colds, flu, and all the other things people routinely get, if you don’t have other aspects of your life in check, you are just as vulnerable as anyone else.
I haven’t had a cold or flu in years EXCEPT for when I was highly stressed last winter and barely sleeping. This led to a month-long cough-of-death, cold sore, and bladder infection, none of which I’d had in years. Anything else resembling a cold was very brief and always followed a short time with cooked foods, and was extremely minor. Do I have any notions that a raw food diet will get rid of my nasty infection? Fuck no. But I do know it has helped in me having FAR, FAR less of them. Over my years of being raw, I have had little stress and lots of sleep. I did have periods of insomnia and I know now that it was underlying anxieties and stress causing it (which led to the aforementioned sickness of January 2013). I have never had a problem sleeping since then.
Eating raw is not ENOUGH to be healthy. You must get enough sleep, be hydrated, move your body, deal with your shit, keep a positive attitude, be around good people – all are very important to your health and ability to stay well.
2. You Are Always Happy and Nice
Nope. You are very likely going to feel euphoric at first, and will be happy a lot more of the time. It will also help you stay more positive. But there is this lame myth that you will just be this happy hippie at all times, and you can feel like a fraud if you’re not. Drop it. I know plenty of people who eat raw who are mean, grumpy, passive aggressive, deal with depression, etc. Of course, those people are not like that all the time, either. We are all HUMANS. WOW, go figure! We have fluctuating moods depending on our own personal circumstances!
Now, you will likely feel good most of the time if nothing crappy or stressful is going on in your life. If you are depressed for NO reason, then you are likely lacking something (but not necessarily!). This happens to me in the winter and I either get on a plane somewhere warm or I get in a freaking tanning bed once in a while.
To become happy “all” of the time, you really have to do a lot of personal work. Raw food was a pathway for me to heal a lot of my emotional turmoil. It is still not completely dealt with. I don’t know if things can be completely dealt with, anyway. Things also come up that will set you back (like my last relationship – massive set-back in my mental health) – so don’t expect raw food to make you this magical, happy person at all times.
Also, stop looking at famous raw foodists this way. They are human, too. Stop having expectations of them to live up to your perfect ideals and start looking at them for health inspiration, not as gods.
3. You won’t get enough protein.
Answer this question – what do you need all this protein for? Are you growing? Are you body-building? Likely the answer is no. I understand the desire for more protein if you are a body-builder – but that tends to be about aesthetics, not health. If you feel like you need more protein, eat a bit more hemp or a lot more greens. If you don’t care about being 100% raw there are other options for you like beans and quinoa. You don’t need as much as you think you do. If you’re wanting to build muscle, then eat more! But don’t obsess over it if you’re just an average person, and choose healthy sources.
4. Cooked Food is Poison.
As much as I like to stick to 100% raw, once in a while I relent, especially in winter. In winter I want soup, usually only when the weather changes to REALLY cold. Once I get used to the cold, I go back to raw. I have zero issues sticking to raw in warmer months. When I do eat these things, and I go back to raw, like I said in point #1, I get a minor “cold” which is a runny nose, basically. Is this food poison? No. It depends what KIND of food you are ingesting. If you are having beans or potatoes or quinoa, you are not going to have a huge issue. You do not HAVE to be 100% raw to be healthy, though you will probably feel phenomenal when you are. Also, don’t feel like a failure if you do eat cooked foods. Just make them plant-based, eat enough (don’t starve OR stuff yourself), keep your fat intake between 10-20% (focus on omega 3s), and make as much of your diet raw as possible.
The more the better.
5. You Need to Eat Less and Sleep Less
Here’s the thing…you need to eat more raw food in order to feel full. Regular foods that people are accustomed to take a long time to digest and stay in the stomach longer. They are more calorie dense, so you get full faster. Your stomach may get full VERY quickly with a small amount of raw food at first – but you need to eat more or you will be ravenous. It digests fast.
That being said, I do NOT agree with eating more than you need to. Stuffing yourself with bananas and coconut sugar and all these other things just to get “more carbs” is ridiculous. The only time you need excess calories is if you are an athlete, and I certainly would not recommend refined, processed foods.
For sleep – sleep as long as you need to. Some nights you might need more than others. Just sleep when you’re tired and wake up when you are ready to – that is how much sleep you need. If you’re relying on stimulating foods or drinks, then you need more sleep.
6. It’s Restrictive
That depends on how you look at it – even though cooked food is not necessarily poison, a lot of “food” out there IS. If I told you that you can’t eat pus, would you be upset? Probably not. You’d be thrilled. So when I say don’t eat dairy, why think that is restrictive? It’s no better for you than pus, and is filled with it anyway.
Think about what you eat most of the time, too. Probably the same things on a regular basis, right? The things you like most. Well, I can say for myself and many others, that your world actually expands when you eat raw – you start trying foods that you probably had never heard of before.
Also, most processed foods are made of the same ingredients – corn, soy, wheat, egg, dairy, sugar.
I actually started to enjoy myself in the kitchen when I went raw, too. I got creative. My idea of cooking was mini-pizza in the toaster oven, or toast with cream cheese. The fanciest I got was potato skins. Guess what they all had? Cheese and starch. What a huge variety.
7. It’s COLD
Actually, most raw food is room temperature. Unless you are keeping food in the fridge, it won’t be cold, and most fruit should be kept on your counter, anyway, so it can stay ripe or get ripe. Some stuff can be warmed, too. I really need to find a good raw soup for winter that I can warm up!
8. It’s Time-Consuming
Not really. If you get into raw and are making all the gourmet meals, YEAH. It’s crazy time-consuming. But if you are eating simply, fruit as a focus, it’s FAST. The most I spend “making” food for myself during the day is 5 minutes for a smoothie or to grind date paste or cut something up. In the evening I spend maybe 20-30 minutes making a huge salad.
I’d say that is much less time than the average person, unless they’re living on microwave meals and sandwiches.
9. It’s the Only Way to Be Healthy
Like I said before, you do not have to be raw to be healthy. You DO need to incorporate a lot of raw foods to be healthy, though. There are a lot of ways to be healthy but DO YOUR RESEARCH. Who is giving you the information? What are their credentials? What are THEIR physical and mental states like? Never follow ANYONE blindly. There is so much conflicting information out there and seriously, I don’t agree with any of it 100%. Some of it I find completely baffling. The goal is to be healthy, not dogmatic or RIGHT. The goal is to prevent yourself from getting cancer and heart disease and other things that will KILL you and take over your life in the meantime – who has time for that?!
I know I feel my best physically AND mentally on raw. Do I know it’s 100% the way to true health forever and ever with no room for error? No! NO ONE DOES, even if they claim to.
What I do know is that the majority of people who really want to be raw and stick to it, at least very high raw, feel better than almost everyone else alive. How many people do you know that feel fantastic almost all the time? I am willing to bet hardly any. Outside of the raw community I can’t think of anyone who feels so great, but I know most people want to.
Raw foodism is something great to aspire to, and it can be intimidating for people. Just take steps. No one says you have to do it overnight. I didn’t.
10. You’ll Get Too Skinny/Too Fat (!?)
If you don’t eat enough, yeah, you will get too skinny. If you have an underlying issue, you might get too skinny. The remedy for that is to eat more. If you still can’t put on weight, then you might have something else going on.
If you are gaining weight on raw, then you are eating too much, despite what many people say. I see this “stuff yourself” mentality in fruit/starch land, and despite what many people say, you cannot just eat until you want to barf and stay skinny unless you are exercising a hell of a lot. I know this because I did gain weight – not a lot, but enough! I have no background of caloric restriction except for a brief time in 2006 and even briefer in 2007. I have eaten to my heart’s content ever since, but last year I was eating a LOT more (stress and also running) and I gained weight. This is when I was having some steamed starches, too. I put on 10 lbs, even though I was running 5k on a regular basis. When I dropped the starches and went back 100% raw with some gourmet and even more fats, all that weight came off. I was satiated sooner and didn’t feel like stuffing in so many starches at the end of the day. I also stopped eating a billion bananas, which I don’t like much anyway.
I highly doubt anyone would get TOO fat on fruit, though, but if you are eating a ridiculous amount of calories, you will, I don’t care what anyone says. But eat as much as you like – don’t FORCE it. If you want to eat 4 bananas instead of 10, that is OKAY! Eat until you are satisfied, not nauseous (which I have done…no thanks).
As an endnote, please never take what one person says as gospel. I do not claim to have all the answers. All I can share is my experience and views, which change depending on new information I might take in. If it does not work for you, keep learning. *I* am also still learning – everyone is, unless they think they know everything, and those are the people who you should be very wary of. NOBODY knows all the answers about perfect diet and nutrition for humans, and even if someone did, our current world state does not allow perfection anyway.
I wish you the best possible health and I will answer all and any questions you have, as best as I can, or at least I can lead you in a good direction. :)