There are many challenges when one makes the transition to a raw plant-based diet. Discover the secret to dietary balance and the solutions to achieve maximum benefits.
Now if you have read my previous articles, you know that we should be eating a diet rich in raw plant foods: How do we do it? How do we make the transition? How do we stay balanced? These questions and others will be answered in this and following articles.
WHAT DO I KNOW?
Since beginning my speaking career in 1994, I have become the world’s leading voice on raw nutrition. I have spoken to hundreds of thousands of interested people at seminars, retreats, on radio, and on television. I have coached people over many years about eating raw plant foods. Doing this type of work has brought me into contact with many people all over the globe, who have been successful with raw-food nutrition in the long-term. I do not know of another person who has communicated with as many successful raw-foodists as I have. I feel, through experience, that I know what the challenges are with raw diets, what the solutions are and how we can experience the maximum amount of benefits with insurance for success.
Knowledge, we know, rests not upon truth alone, but also upon the understanding of error. Genesis 1:29 tells us to eat ‘herbs and fruits’ but it does not tell us how much of each or which ones! I know where the gaps are in the knowledge; this article and my book The Sunfood Diet Success System, are designed to fill those gaps.
THE DISCOVERY OF A PATTERN
From studying both the successful and unsuccessful, I have deduced a startling pattern that I have seen in every single person who has been successful with raw-food nutrition in the long-term. To me discovering this pattern was a revelation; it was like the sun bursting through after 40 days of clouds and rain. This distinction improved my understanding of nutrition tremendously and tuned me up to an incredible level of balance.
I discovered there are three essentials to rawfood nutrition (actually to any diet) or imbalances will occur. One can eat other foods, but these three elements must be there to achieve harmony. Here is the dietary pattern I discovered: If one of these food classes is missing in the diet for a significant period (ranging from a few weeks to several months), imbalances will occur. In fact, I have never discovered any raw-foodist to have gone more than two years with one of these food classes missing.
Every raw-foodist who follows this pattern, whom I have met, has attained a nice dietary balance which helps one advance into the realms of extraordinary health and clarity. As raw-foodists tend to be more in tune with their diet and how it influences each facet of health, and also tend to experiment more with the effects of raw foods on the body, we may conclude that the collective wisdom which has attracted long-term raw-foodists into this dietary pattern brings forth a powerful insight for us all.
I have found this insight of the three food classes to be extremely useful in assisting thousands of people to improve and balance their diet, no matter what kind of diet they were following. I have found, even with people on standard diets, that if one of these three food classes is entirely missing in the diet, imbalances will occur within two years, and often much sooner.
THE THREE FOOD CLASSES
Anyone who makes 80% or more of their diet consist of green-leafy vegetables, sweet fruits/foods and fatty foods (from raw plant sources) will begin to feel a startling level of magic and transformation. These three food classes balance against each other in the Sunfood Triangle outlined below:
Triangle of Sunfood:
- 33% SUGARS Sweet fruits
- 33% CHLOROPHYLL Green leafy vegetables
- 33% FAT Fatty fruits, nuts, coconuts and seeds
This is how it works: if one eats green-leafed vegetables, for example, then sweet fruits/foods and fatty foods must be eaten in the same day to balance the body. If the greenleafed vegetables one is eating are very stimulating (i.e. kale), then stronger sweet fruits and fatty foods can be eaten to balance. If one is eating green-leafed vegetables that are not very stimulating (i.e. butterleaf lettuce), then less stimulating sweet fruits and fatty foods are all that is needed to balance.
A FEW EXAMPLES
- If one eats avocados (a strong fat), then deeper green-leaves (cilantro), along with stronger types of sweet fruits (such as oranges), may be eaten in the same day to balance.
- If one eats bananas (a strong sugar), then heavier fats, such as nuts (which go well with bananas), may be eaten along with dark green-leafed vegetables in the same day.
- If one eats cucumbers (a non-sweet fruit), then that individual will remain centered as non-sweet fruits are low in stimulation and are located at the very center of The Sunfood Triangle. This, by the way, makes non-sweet fruits (such as cucumbers, okra, bell peppers, tomatoes, noni, etc.) excellent snack foods.
For optimal results, all three food classes should be eaten each day (unless one is doing a fast or cleanse of some type). All three can be eaten at each meal, or two can be eaten at one meal, with a third eaten later, or all eaten separately throughout the day. Find out what works best for you and your digestion.
I have found that sweet fruits (carbohydrates) as the dominant food in the morning, greenleafed vegetables as the dominant food at lunch, and fats as the dominant food in the evening works rather well.
We must keep in mind that each body has its own biochemical individuality, and that the exact ratios of green foods (protein), sugars (carbohydrates) and fats/oils differs from person to person. Through insights I have gained by working with Dr. Gabriel Cousens (author of Conscious Eating, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine and Spiritual Nutrition), I now have more tools of specificity in which to design diets for different types of people. However, you can design your own diet, by following your intuition. A good place to start is to eat 33.3% greenleafed vegetables, 33.3% fatty plant food, and 33.3% sweet fruits/foods by dry weight (total food weight minus water). This puts one at the exact center of the triangle. For example:
Daily Menu Item Dry Weight
- 2.3 kg Macadamia nuts (18% water) 100 g
- 450 g Avocados (75% water) 140 g
- 680 g Apples (84% water) 110 g
- 1.13 kg Oranges (87% water) 120 g
- 450 g Kale (65% water) 160 g
- 900 g Lettuce (93% water) 60 g
- 450 g Cucumbers Not applicable
- 230 g Tomatoes Not applicable
From this example we can see how balanced this daily diet would be. All the dry weights balance out: fats at 240 g, sugars 230 g, and chlorophyll at 220 g.
If you would like to work out this type of analysis for certain meals, I have provided the chart on the next page.
Now I do not recommend that you break down every single daily menu as I have here to determine whether you are balancing chlorophyll, sugar and fats properly. This example is simply to identify two simple relationships:
- A small portion of nuts and seeds balances against a large portion of fruits and vegetables, because nuts and seeds are low-water content foods. (If nuts are freshly picked, or soaked in water, they can be eaten in larger portions, as they will have about twice the water content as listed in the chart above.)
- Green leafy vegetables need to be eaten in significant quantities as they are actually high-water content foods.
The best path is always the simplest path. Balance the three classes in the easiest way possible, by intuition. If you feel low in greens, eat more. If you feel low in fats and oils, eat more. If you feel you have overdone sugar, eat more fats and greens to balance. Just by knowing that these three classes are the essentials, you will have the tools to stay in balance.
IMBALANCES AND CRAVINGS
Understand that if the quantities of one class are too low, one can go longer than a day, even for many days or weeks or months without requiring much of that food class — but eventually it will catch up. This helps us understand cravings. If one goes without sugar for several weeks, the desire can become great, and the body will grab for sugar however it can get it, raw (fruit) or even cooked (candy or cake). The same holds true for fat. If the body is deficient in fat, the craving will become overwhelming and one will grab for it, raw (avocados or nuts) or even cooked/pasteurized (cheese or ice cream).
Imbalances are caused by consuming one class of food that stimulates the person away from the center of The Sunfood Triangle. For instance, deficiencies may be caused by consuming excessive sweet fruit (sugar), which can run minerals out of the body. Frugal eating, and fasting, often correct deficiencies because they balance one from excessive stimulation and bring one back towards the center of The Sunfood Triangle.
The fear of fruit (too much sugar), the fear of vegetables (too bitter), and the fear of fatty foods (too fattening) leaves one confused and with dietary health challenges. Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins provides a good metaphor for FEAR: False Evidence that Appears Real. Remember my earlier advice: Stop listening to anyone in any field who is not getting the results that you desire. Make the decision to dismiss any fears of fruits, green leafy vegetables or fats/oils.
Chlorophyll, sugar and fat are the three classes of foods that comprise humanity’s natural dietary character. See chart on the next page.
WATER CONTENT OF FRUITS, VEGETABLES AND NUTS
- Cucumber 96%
- Mangos 83%
- Honeydew Melon 94%
- Pears 83%
- Tomatoes 94%
- Raspberries 83%
- Watermelons 94%
- Blackberries 82%
- Bell Peppers 93%
- Cherries 82%
- Cantaloupe 93%
- Litchi 82%
- Grapefruit 91%
- Nectarines 80%
- Okra 90%
- Persimmons (soft) 80%
- Strawberries 89%
- Figs 79%
- Apricots 87%
- Grapes 79%
- Tangerines 87%
- Prickly Pear 79%
- Lemons 85%
- Huckleberries 78%
- Mulberries 85%
- Avocados 75%
- Apples 84%
- Olives (Sun-ripened) 70%
- Oranges 84%
- Dates (fresh) 55%
- Plums 84% P
- Prunes (dried) 35%
Vegetables and Nuts (unsoaked)
- Endive 94%
- Coconut water 99%
- Lettuce 94%
- Coconut flesh (young) 64%
- Asparagus 93%
- Coconut flesh (mature) 35%
- Celery 93% Almonds 26%
- Watercress 91%
- Walnuts 25%
- Green Cabbage 90%
- Macadamias 18%
- Bok Choy 87%
- Brazil Nuts 15%
- Onion Root 87%
- Pine Nuts 15%
- Parsley 79%
- Kale 65% S
- Sunflower Seeds 15%
- Garlic Root 64%
(Sources: Paul, A.A., Southgate, D.A.T., McCance And Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, 4th Revised Edition, London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1978; and various other references.)