Adventures in Raw: 80-10-10 or Gourmet?

I want to preface this post by saying I don’t believe there’s one right way of eating for everyone. Not only is it a matter of personal preference, but it’s also a matter of what works for YOU and your body and lifestyle. I do think that the SAD (standard American diet) way of eating isn’t good for anyone, but within the spectrum of healthy eating, there are millions of variations and one way doesn’t work for everyone.

If you do any research into the world of raw foodism, you’ll most likely stumble upon two different ways of thinking and eating. The most-discussed one is the 80-10-10 diet, which is based primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables, with the addition of some overt fats (things like avocados, coconut and raw nuts) very occasionally. The name ’80-10-10′ refers to the macro breakdown: 80% carbs, 10% protein, 10% fat. 80-10-10ers believe that it isn’t fruit or the sugars in them that make us fat, but the combination of sugars (primarily processed ones) and fats. They consume mostly fruit in order to get enough calories (and they generally recommend at least 2500 calories per day) and eat greens and other veggies to get more vitamins and nutrients.

An 80-10-10 approved mono meal of peaches.

An 80-10-10 approved mono meal of peaches.

On the other end of the raw spectrum is gourmet raw foodists. They also shun processed foods but focus their diets on raw, plant-based sources of fat–coconut, nuts and seeds, avocados. They generally get upwards of 50% fat in their diet, with relatively low carbs and moderate protein from the more protein-rich fat sources. They still eat plenty of fresh produce, but veggies and especially fruit are rarely the base of their diet.

Even though I’m not strictly 100% raw right now, I’ve still been considering both of these forms of raw foodism. Where do I fall, and which one is better? For me, I believe a balance between the two is optimal. I think fresh produce should be the base of everyone’s diet, but I’m not about to eat 15+ bananas in a day and nothing else. I also think greens are very healthful, but there’s honestly no point in eating them if they aren’t consumed with a fat. The nutrients found in fresh veggies can’t make it to the bloodstream as easily if they aren’t eaten with a fat–numerous articles and studies are coming out saying that having some fat with your salad is actually a good thing, and better than having a salad with fat-free dressing, for many reasons. I’m not a fan of most salad dressings from the store, but I love topping my salads with raw seeds or guacamole or a homemade cashew-based dressing. Am I freaking out because I’m eating more than 10% fat? Heck no! I definitely don’t want to go back to my eating disordered days where I was scared of fat. I’ve come to love my healthy plant-based sources of fat and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying these whole foods. However, I don’t plan on going to the other extreme and consuming most of my calories from fat–there is a limit to how beneficial fats can be and I wouldn’t want to crowd out other nutritious foods just to eat more fats.

I prefer more balanced macros, as seen in this banana softserve creation--still raw, but with protein (Sunwarrior) and fat (pumpkin seeds).

I prefer more balanced macros, as seen in this banana softserve creation–still raw, but with protein (Sunwarrior) and fat (pumpkin seeds).

I’m also probably eating more than 10% protein, from the nuts and seeds and Sunwarrior powder and sprouted legumes I eat, and that’s okay too! I don’t buy into the hype that we need so much protein (because we actually don’t), and 10% seems to be the magic number or at least the minimum for even active people, but I do like to have a little more than that to fuel my lifting workouts. Protein is in so many things, even vegetables, that it isn’t hard to hit 10-15% or more eating just plant-based sources.

A lot of things, especially eating, always seem to be so black-and-white, like one way is wrong and the other’s right, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You can eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and still enjoy plant-based fats and protein on a raw diet–it doesn’t have to be high carb low fat or high fat low carb. Moderation is always best, and when it comes to diets that are already pretty dang healthy as it is, there’s no need to nitpick over the logistics. Just eat whole foods from the earth, raw if you roll that way and don’t stress if it isn’t ‘perfect’.

What’s your take on the ongoing diet battles? 

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8 thoughts on “Adventures in Raw: 80-10-10 or Gourmet?

  1. My thoughts on the whole “which diet is best debate?” Well, first of all, I think that any diet where you stick to a specific ratio of foods can spell trouble for many people–it can easily lead to obsession or restriction. Unless, of course, you have a medical condition that requires you to eat only certain amounts of certain foods. Even though I think raw foods are extremely beneficial for our health, I don’t think that an 100% raw diet is necessarily the best diet to follow. This is because certain foods are actually more nutritious when cooked–for example, the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes is much better absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked, such as in spaghetti sauce or tomato paste. Also, some vegetables such as carrots are thought to be more nutritious when cooked. And in the winter, many people crave warm and cooked foods such as stews, rice, or roasted vegetables. As for the whole fat debate, I completely agree with you that healthy plant-based fats are extremely beneficial for us. Because I am on the thin side anyway, and dance five days a week, I don’t measure how much fat I eat, since I know I need a fairly large amount. But I agree that we shouldn’t go TOO overboard with fats, just as with any food. Balance is important. Personally, I am a proponent of a vegetarian or vegan diet, but I don’t judge or look down on people who aren’t. It is so easy to get caught up in obsessing over what you eat–I learned that the hard way. Still, I think most of us could agree that we’d be better off avoiding highly processed food, fast food, artificial sweeteners, and “food” that contains more chemicals than anything else!

    • I agree with you here 100%. I’m with you on being in favor of plant-based diets, but I know they aren’t best for everyone. Having a good balance is key though no matter what way someone eats–even though I’m a big fan of raw foods, I know it’ll be harder to sustain a high raw lifestyle in the winter, and I still enjoy some cooked foods.

  2. Ugh, I can’t think about any more numbers right now. That is way too much to focus on. Just eat what you like and enjoy your life. I know it’s not as easy as it sounds but seriously. Since getting my own place and buying my own groceries I’ve been a lot happier with my food and eating even if it’s not completely “clean.”

    • Kat says:

      I agree 100%!
      First off,paying so much attention on getting a certain amount of whatever or sticking to a weird for of diet just to “fit in” is NOT normal.
      As a second,it makes enjoying life SO hard actually… Cause honestly,who knows the cutrirional facts of everything he puts into his mouth each day? I only did that at my very worst point of anorexia,when I even weighed SALAD LEAVES and ripped off pieces if there was 2 gram too much on my plate… Only the thought of this makes me want to cry nowadays!
      In my eyes,trying to label yourself is one of the worst things you can do. We all are unique,and we all deserve to be treated the way we like to be treated – so why shouldn’t we be kind to ourselves and allow our bodies the care they need?
      Go with your cravings,eat what you enjoy,let yourself LIVE.
      It’s easier said than done,definitely,but it’s not impossible.
      Oh,and Aja – I am happy to read you’re happier now,that’s absolutely wonderful. 🙂

      • I love what you said here Kat! I did the same thing at my lowest, analyzing only the numbers of the food I was eating–I certainly wasn’t enjoying it and it was anything but healthy because it became so obsessive. But I’m glad that we’re not paying so much attention to what we’re eating anymore and actually can enjoy our lives, because that matters way more than food in the long run!

  3. I LOVE the fact that you mentioned that most nutrients from low cal foods like fruits and veggies can’t even be absorbed unless consumed with fats! This is so key to eating a balanced diet and it’s something that most people forget or choose to ignore! Great post Ash!

    • That’s actually one of my biggest sticking points with the 80-10-10 way of eating–I hate how it demonizes healthy fats, especially when combined with vegetables, which is when they’re most necessary!

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