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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Detox (My Experience with 80/10/10) Part II

My last post concerning low-fat raw veganism was rather long-winded, so I split it up into two sections.

Part I highlighted what 80/10/10 means, but now I would like to dive into what I got out of trying the diet.

My daily consumption looked something like this:

(Pre-workout): Hot tea with stevia
(Post-workout) Breakfast: Raw "Shamrock Shake"

Lunch: Lots of whole fruits (ex. 4 apples, 6 clementines, 1 mango)
*Although I call this lunch, I didn't eat it all at once. I pretty much snacked all day between breakfast and dinner, otherwise I got way too full

Dinner: Small bowl of melon,
Large salad with homemade dressing (2 tbs. avocado + 2 tbs. nutritional yeast + lemon juice)

Snacks: Dates/dried figs, berries, raw dark chocolate

As you can see, the only fat I was getting was from the avocado (plus a little bit from the chocolate).

No grains, no legumes, no oils for me. Anything that I couldn't eat straight from the ground (or tree or bush) was off-limits. The one exception that I made was the chocolate, because everyone knows a daily dose is a much-needed part of a healthy diet! Besides it was still raw...

I ate this way for 4 days at first. My cravings by the end of the "detox" were pretty strong. I longed for peanut butter, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and other healthy foods that Dr.Doug deems off-limits.

I started to eat them again on day 5, which was somewhat of a shock to my system. I realized how light and energetic I had felt when eating strictly fruits and veggies.

This was how I convinced myself to transition back to low-fat raw... For good. I knew that, given my history, this would scare my parents. Anything to further restrict my diet would not appear as a good thing. 
I tried to get my parents into my boat by preaching the benefits of raw foods to them.
I asked for their support and worked with them to ensure we had enough fruit in the house for me to get sufficient calories.

At first things were fine and dandy. I felt good.
But fast-forward to a few weeks down the road and it was a different story.

My knuckles were rough to the touch and the rest of my skin wasn't much smoother. My hair was significantly thinner. It had lost it's shine, settling for a dry and brittle visage. Most terrifying of all, my weight began to dip. I was losing my muscle tone and posing a serious threat to my body.

I saw these signs, but I was in denial. I was convinced that these mal-effects were just "detox symptoms". Or that was doing something wrong- not that the diet wasn't working for me.

Maybe I was doing something wrong. Maybe I needed more calories, or more greens. But I know my body well enough to know that this wasn't the only reason my health was deteriorating. I couldn't thrive on carbs alone.

I finally came to terms with my poor health when my parents approached me with worry. I chose to see what they saw, not what I wanted to to see. I have put my body through enough in the past. The last thing I needed was to fully embrace an extreme diet that put my personal health at risk.

I do not think that the idea of low-fat raw veganism is bad. In fact, I have seen it work for a lot of people. However, it does not work for me. Everyone is different and therefore has different nutritional needs. Something that works for one person may not work for another.

Here is what I have now realized since my "experiment":

1. I benefit from eating high amounts of raw, plant-based foods (and you can too!)

I have much more energy when I eat more carbs- especially simple, unrefined carbs from fresh produce.
The fiber that these foods contain make me feel my best. They are almost fully void of any cholesterol and saturated fat. And of course plants have plenty of vitamins and minerals- good for the skin, brain, heart, and more.

2. Humans need fat in our diets, although the amount needed may vary from person to person.

Fat is necessary to cushion our organs. It insulates the body (especially important during the cold winter months). You need some fat to properly absorb the nutrients from all those fruits and vegetables.
Over half of our brains are composed of fat! So limiting fat intake can impair brain functioning. 
It can also have serious hormonal effects. I haven't done much research on testosterone, but I know that insufficient fat intake can severely lower estrogen production.

A typical day of completely raw eating would leave me somewhere between 10 and 20 grams of fat- not nearly enough for my body to function properly. It has only been about 2 weeks since I introduced healthy fats back into my diet, but I already feel much better.

3. enjoy certain cooked vegan foods- and I would rather allow myself to eat these when I feel like it rather than trying to achieve what I perceived to be "perfection" in my diet

I think that legumes and the occasional cooked grain is important for a well-rounded diet. Well, for my diet, that is. Once again, there is not one perfect diet for everybody. 
Different strokes for different folks, folks.

I want to be able to eat out with friends and not have to worry about whether there will be a big salad on the menu, let alone if the dressing is raw.

I want to indulge in vegan baked goods every so often- not turn them down because they are cooked.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my goal is to achieve balance.
I say that time and time again, yet orthorexia is quick to tell me otherwise.

What are your thoughts on these so-called "extreme" ways of eating? Are they all they're cracked up to be? 
I want to know what ways of eating do (or don't) work for you all!


  1. In February I started the 80/10/10 lifestyle. I have lost 15 pounds and feel great. I too needed more fats, but I get more by eating more avocado and coconut oil (the good kinds of fats). Eating more fruits and vegetables has significantly helped my autistic son function better. I am so grateful that I have learned about this way of life, and although I do not take it to the full extent as described in the book our health, mind and sleep is so much better now.

    1. That is so great to hear about your son! As someone who is interested in holistic treatment, I love to hear about nutritional approaches that others take (rather than the traditional prescription drug route).
      I have noticed better sleep as well. I thoroughly enjoy eating raw, I just realized that I can become much too rigid when given a set of "rules" to follow

  2. Hi Quincy :) I too come from an 80 10 10 background, and I stopped because I wanted to experiment with other ways of eating such as higher fat with good source of animal products. I noticed when I was on 811 for months that I felt great but my lower belly began to swell up a little. I wonder if it was fat or water retention? did you ever experience that? Now it's gone with the more fat I've been eating.
    Here is my blog link if you'd like to connect :) I make recipes that are raw & sometimes with superfoods in them, & others are more leaning towards paleo.

    1. Did the swelling last the entire time you were on the diet? I would get bloated at times but I noticed that this disappeared almost completely when I practiced proper food combining.
      P.S. I just checked out the blog.. Love it! Thanks

  3. I love this post - thank you :) As someone who eats mostly vegan, and a bit raw, I think balance and flexibility and health trump anything else. I am sure some people can be fully healthy on a vegan, low-fat, raw diet. For me, I don't think it would be the best option, for reasons similar to your experience. I also think the 'all or nothing' stance of being strictly vegan isn't the best match for my obsessive personality, and so I keep the possibility of occasional dairy when out or travelling. It works for me, even though I know it wouldn't work for everyone.

    1. I'm glad you like it! I whole-heartedly agree that balance is key (as I also have an obsessive personality).
      I admire the fact that have found something that works for you! And the fact that dairy is a "possibility" for you rather than a certain yes/no is great as well. Although I avoid animal products for ethical reasons, I have found that a being flexible in extenuating circumstances won't kill me or make me a "bad vegan".

  4. Wow, I had almost the exact experience on 80/10/10! Lots of benefits, but ultimately, felt like it was majorly triggering my orthorexia. I still eat high-raw, but really think it's better for my whole health (mind/body/spirit) to avoid adhering to a strict 811 diet. Thanks for posting!

    1. As awful as the disorder can be, it is extremely helpful to find people who can relate! Thanks for your input

  5. Haha I love your honest writing style and your photos look so yummy! =)


  6. Thank you for sharing this. The problem could've been that you didn't eat enough calories - your fruits don't add up to the crazy amounts that Kristina eats for example. I struggle with this. Right now I eat very similarly what you are describing up there (I do eat a slice of bread with my evening salad...) and I too lost weight (not good!) and didn't notice benefits yet. However, my instinct is telling me that this is the right diet or at least I should give it a shot in the 'right way', meaning eating even more fruit...and perhaps cut out even raw chocolate and such. On the other hand, I don't believe that there is one right diet for everyone so this may just not be for you or at least not for you at this point in life. I want to give it a try...I will post about my experiences once I up my fruits even more. Thank you for sharing your experiences! How is your diet now? Did you gain the weight back? Are you feeling more comfortable eating more fat? Are you still eating lots of fruits or cut down on them?

    1. I agree, I think that may insufficient calories have exacerbated the problem. I was eating a lot, but possibly not enough to meet my activity levels- because fruit is full of fiber/water and therefore eating it in large amounts takes some getting used to.
      I know that for me, a less rigid diet was better since I have a history of being overly restrictive. Now I still eat mostly raw, but I also throw in some "extras" for good measure- cooked beans, sprouted or cooked grains, sprouted bread, and more raw fat sources.

      I am currently in the process of getting my weight back to a healthy spot. I'll admit that at first it was scary but I know it's necessary for my health. Plus I feel much better eating more fat. More energy and I am not cold all the time (:
      My diet still consists of a lot of fruits and veggies but not as many as before since I added in new things. It really varies day to day because my body has different cravings and I generally listen to them.
      I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experience! Please email me if you have any more questions or want to discuss more (:

  7. Great recap! I'm glad you gave it a good try, not just a week to really see how you body would react. A majority of people do not do well on a low fat diet. When you see the stories about "ex-vegans" almost all of them had a really restricted diet, which caused them problems. Every body is different and you gotta figure out what works best for you. There is not ONE diet or the BEST diet, but the no-oilers really push their diet like it's the holy grail of diets and it's causing a lot of people to suffer over time. After giving up processed foods and sugar a month ago, I have found that I feel best with a mix of cooked and raw foods, more protein, a little fat, and 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. Best of luck on your journey!

    1. So true! I am a vegan for ethical reasons so I don't want to shy away from it just because I was overly restrictive.
      I also believe that no one diet is right for everyone. I'm glad to get support from so many like-minded people like you! Thanks for your input.

  8. Oh my, Quincy. I must say, I'm very glad you moved away from this "detox" and 80-10-10 business. So much psuedoscience in that particular realm. Your body needs a balance of fat, protein, and carbs, and limiting any one of those groups can be hazardous -- to say nothing of the fundamentally disordered mindset of "detoxing" and "cleansing" and forcing yourself to abide by a certain amount of raw food. I hope you're leaving this well in your past!

    1. "Pseudoscience" is the perfect description. I have definitely moved away from 801010 (or other extremist diets, for that matter) and back toward a more balanced approach to eating. I am glad that I have had lots of support around to talk some sense into me (:
      Because although I know logically that no one way of eating is perfect, I will still sometimes convince myself otherwise

  9. Simply put, you were not eating enough calories. Many people benefit from an 80-10-10 lifestyle, so long as they consume enough energy. Remember, food is fuel! As an active female you should have been eating anywhere from 2500-3500 calories a day - this post clearly shows you were eating NOWHERE near that. It's easy to blame the caloric ratios of this lifestyle when it doesn't work for someone, but in reality most of the time people just don't know how to carb up! Regardless, good luck in future health endeavors. :)

    1. I agree with you there, I did need more calories than I was getting at the time. (I was, however, eating more than what is pictured- I just did not document everything). Just curious, where do you find your calculations for the 2500-3500 bracket?

      I have seen the diet work for athletes consuming large amounts of calories (therefore getting more fat and protein grams overall)- but do you know of any research/success stories from anyone with lower calorie consumption? Just a thought.

  10. Thank you for sharing your experience! I just hope it is not off-putting to your readers who may want to try the lifestyle in the near future. you deffinetly didn't eat enough calories! I have been thriving on 801010 for a few years now. Active females should be consuming no lower than 2000 cal...preferably 2500-3000. My nails and hair have gotten thicker and longer, my skin is moist, my athleticism has improved...everything! You just need to give it a fair chance, increase the fruit calories, add lots of greens/celery to lunch and dinner and practice proper food combining. Read dr graham book for sample diet menus and extra help :) wishing you all the best in your health journey! always do what works best for you but also allow readers a fair look into a wonderful, vibrant lifestyle :)

    1. Thank you for your input. I actually returned to 80/10/10 a few months later with a significant increase in calories but still did not feel as though it was the best diet for my lifestyle and wellbeing.
      I believe that I was allowing readers a fair look, I was simply sharing my experience and weighing the pros and cons.
      That is so great that you are happy with the lifestyle and have found something that works for you!
      Thanks for your concern.