The 80/10/10 diet is a raw food variation of the plant-based diet made popular in the documentary, Forks Over Knives. Created by Dr. Douglas Graham, the main concept of the diet is: 80% of your daily caloric intake come from carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) 10% from protein, and 10% from fat. Dr. Graham argues that fruit is the best possible fuel for humans. He encourages followers to consume mono-meals (eating one food in large quantities for best possible digestion.) He also suggests that you eat up to a pound of leafy greens each day. A typical meal for a raw foodie can be up to 4 lb. Of watermelon! This lifestyle is not about calorie restriction, it is about fueling and listening to your body. The people who have been following 80/10/10 for longer and have a more active lifestyle may be able to consume 1500 calories in one meal while others may only be able to consume 2000 calories a day. That’s ok. Eat as much that feels right for you and your body based on your lifestyle, but do not restrict, and ensure you are getting enough calories in for the day. People on the raw food diet must also get plenty of sleep, water, sunlight, and exercise. For those with limited access to raw fruits and vegetables, you can consider following another variation to this diet: Raw till 4. The same concepts still apply, but you will eat a high-carb, low-fat cooked dinner (rice, pasta, or potatoes.)
Many people argue that this diet isn’t healthy. What about protein? Well, according to the World Health Organization, we only really need 2.5% of our daily calories to come from protein. One of the diets most well-known followers, referred to as the Banana girl, Free lee has been criticized a lot. She recently appeared on Sunrise News in Australia to talk about her diet. Can someone really eat 51 bananas in one sitting? Eating nothing but bananas for a month? To prove critic wrongs who say that eating that much fruit will spike your blood sugar to dangerously high levels, Free lee presented her blood results which were perfectly normal. She has been following the diet for 7 years and is 20 kilos lighter- beating anorexia, bulimia, and chronic fatigue. Fruit does not make you fat. Fat makes you fat (cheese, milk, and over consumption of animal products.)
I talked to two followers of the 80/10/10 followers, Stephanie and Kim to discuss results, grocery shopping, and people’s reluctance to this lifestyle:
1. What made you make the switch to 80/10/10 high carb low fat vegan?
Stephanie: I decided to switch over to this lifestyle after doing much research and reading “The China Study” by Doctor T. Colin Campbell and watching various documentaries like Forks over Knives.
Kim:When I switched to the high carb lifestyle I had already been following a vegan diet for ethical reasons for almost 2 years, but I didn’t really pay much attention to nutrients and macros. All I knew was that protein was important, so that’s all I looked for. I ended up eating a diet very high in fat and protein and was struggling with the same problems as before being a vegan (being overweight, suffering from migraines and other health issues). In 2012, a year after going vegan, I first heard about the book “The 80/10/10 Diet” by Dr. Douglas Graham. I was so intrigued by the concept that I ordered it immediately. I read it and agreed with everything, but I hated fruits and veggies so I failed pretty quickly. A year later I read the book “Breaking the Food Seduction” by Dr. Neal Barnard because I was constantly craving dark chocolate and fatty foods, which lead me to gain even more weight. I started eating a cooked high carb low fat vegan diet and after a month, the cravings were gone and I also noticed that I had significantly fewer headaches and other pains. Shortly thereafter I came across one of FullyRaw Kristina’s YouTube videos. She recommend having at least one raw vegan meal a day, so I decided to try that. I quickly got used to it and soon had two raw meals a day. I felt great, so I decided to very slowly transition to a fully raw lifestyle.
2. What benefits have you noticed since you made the switch?
Stephanie: It’s astonishing how much my energy levels have increased! I don’t feel groggy when I wake up, I am able to think clearly, and exercise has become something I look forward to!
Kim:I have more energy, more focus and I’m generally much happier. My outlook on life has changed significantly, the things I wish for are now much more simple and basic. On a physical level, I noticed better digestion, practically pain free periods (I used to take 6 pain killers a day during my period), clearer skin and weight loss. At first I was a bit frustrated, because I lost weight very slowly, but in under a year I went from 44% body fat to 28%, which I’m incredibly happy about, although I still need to lose about 30 lbs to reach my goal weight.
3. How long have you been following this lifestyle?
Stephanie: Its only been a few months, although I must say I don’t follow it word for word, I learned to adjust it to my own life, its important to remain flexible!
Kim:I started transitioning a year ago. I’m still not 100% raw and I’m not sure I’ll ever be, but I’m mostly raw and always high carb low fat. I don’t mind the occasional cooked high carb meal like steamed potatoes with veggies, but I do notice that I feel best when I eat raw.
4. What advice do you have for people want to follow this lifestyle?
Stephanie: Slowly transitioning into this lifestyle is the key, you can’t just wake up and decide today is the day! Your body needs to be eased into it! I would recommend starting out your day with a big fruity breakfast, and then incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Kim: I would tell them to take it slow and stress the importance of looking at it as a lifestyle and not just any other diet. Another important thing is to educate yourself, I would start by reading the book “The 80/10/10” Diet and checking out different Youtubers like FullyRaw Kristina, Megan Elizabeth, Evan Rock, Mango Island Mamma, Rawsome Healthy and Foodnsport (there are many more). Some of these sell affordable recipe ebooks that can be very helpful too. Last but not least, I’d advise them to make exercise a priority. That’s something I didn’t do in the beginning and that I’m still struggling with, but I realize more and more that exercise and 80/10/10 go hand in hand.
5. What are your tips for grocery shopping?
Stephanie: Buy in Bulk!!! It will save you tons!
Kim: Simplicity is key, the more mono meals (eating only one type of fruit for a meal) you eat, the cheaper it’ll be, especially if you choose cheaper staple foods like organic bananas. Another tip would be to buy in bulk or join a local co-op. I generally like to shop at the farmers market about twice a week. It’s easy to under- or overestimate the food you’ll need, so I suggest planning ahead, at least in the beginning.
6. What exercises do you like to do?
Stephanie: I love to simply just run, and I’m currently training for a half marathon! I also enjoy slack-lining which is a new and upcoming sport!!
Kim: I like to do Yoga (mostly Ashtanga) and I’m now slowly getting into running and also want to do some HIIT workouts.
7. Would you ever go off the high carb low fat diet?
Stephanie: Not anytime soon! I love this lifestyle, and I feel best eating this way.
Kim: I don’t think so. I can’t guarantee that I’ll stay raw, but I definitely think that a mostly organic high carb low fat vegan diet (raw and cooked) is the best thing for me. I lost a close family member to poor health a few years ago, so health is at the top of my priority list. Plus, I really wouldn’t want to go back to taking about 30 painkillers a month on average. I’m not saying that I’ll never have a high fat vegan treat, but that’ll be the exception.
8. What is your favorite thing/ least favorite thing about this lifestyle?
Stephanie: I love everything about this lifestyle, but it does pose challenges trying to explain to others what its all about. And also bananas don’t ripen fast enough!!
Kim: My favorite thing is the great online community that I have become a part of thanks to this lifestyle. I have met a lot of incredibly inspiring people and I can’t wait to meet some of them in person at this year’s Woodstock Fruit Festival in Upstate New York. My least favorite thing is how expensive this lifestyle can be, but even that is manageable. You just need to prioritize and put your health first.
9. Any words to people reluctant or confused about this lifestyle:
Stephanie: It may seem crazy! But you really don’t know unless you try! I used to think vegans were extremists, and I would never have imagined being one. But once I educated myself on the food industry it became clear to me that it was not extreme what so ever. If you are reluctant I recommend watching Forks Over Knives it will change your life!
Kim: To anyone who’s reluctant or confused, I would just say that I totally get it. Not too long ago it seemed like the craziest thing on Earth to me. I was convinced that we needed animal products and lots of protein to be healthy. I also thought that too much fruit was fattening because of all the sugar. Keep an open mind and do some research before dismissing it. Just take a look at the people who’ve been living this lifestyle for years, they’re all lean and healthy.
To those looking to find more information about this diet: do research! Great books to start out with would be “801010” by Dr. Douglas Graham and “the China Study” by T.Colin Campbell. You can also find a lot of useful information in the documentary Forks Over Knives, which is on Netflix now. There are many raw foodies who document their meals and will help you make the transition into this wonderful lifestyle. You can find Kim at: @brusselsvegan and Stephanie at @stephsplate
Check out FreeLee the Banana Girl here!