What is 80/10/10 diet? Just Another Fad, or Vital to Our Health?

What is 80/10/10 diet?

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Mathematical formula, or the best ‘diet’ for your body, your mind and your overall health? Luckily, the 80/10/10 lifestyle is indeed the latter, and it’s much less complicated than it first appears.

If, like me, any numbers involved with food immediately send you into blind panic, never fear; there is no need for strict calorie counting on this raw vegan lifestyle, which follows the simple theory that, for optimum health, around 80% of our total calories should come from carbohydrates, along with 10% from protein, and 10% from fats. Before you run for the hills, determined that you are not, under any circumstances, going to try another complicated, short-term fad-diet, this is not a complex concept, and certainly not a fad.

Described as ‘the diet for a lifetime’, it follows the theory that, if our bodies are continually replacing our cells, then ‘the foods we eat are constantly in the process of becoming us’. Created by Dr Douglas Graham, the lifestyle therefore advocates a whole foods, raw vegan diet, and says that, with it, we can achieve optimum health. After all, the idea of that grease-filled, fat-laden burger seeping into every pore of our bodies, determining our health, inside and out, is enough to send you straight to Wholefoods to buy every medjool date and organic mango you can get your hands on.

Why should I try it?

Thinking about it, it’s really just common sense; the Western world, thanks to its terrible diet of greasy, fried and processed foods, is suffering.

Dr Graham explains how, instead of changing the fundamental building blocks of our health through what we eat, we try to mask our diseases with drugs and aids, desperate for some relief from the pain and depression we’re experiencing. But, ultimately, we’re simply painting over the problem, not achieving true health.

Luckily, the 80/10/10 diet, full of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, provides everything you need to battle against illness and disease, in both mind and body. In fact, plant-based diets, in their infinite wonder, have been linked to everything from preventing cancer to reversing heart disease. So the diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, will replace your old cells with pure and energetic new ones, and could even help to extend your life.

What’s more, Dr Graham also explains the diet from an evolutionary standpoint. We might look at our two teeny-tiny ‘canine’ teeth, and use these to explain our ‘need’ for meat. In fact, compare these to our very carnivorous animal friends – the lion, the tiger, the shark – and we can safely say that we’d look pretty silly trying to justify ourselves as true carnivores in a police-style line-up. Ever tried catching a deer with your bare hands and ripping it to shreds with those ‘deadly molars’? Maybe not.

And it’s not only our teeth that are different; our digestive systems are worlds apart to those of carnivorous animals, just like our diets should be. Whereas they have very short intestines, to prevent flesh rotting and decomposing inside of the animal, our intestines are around 30 feet long, allowing for the slow digestion of nutrients from fruit. Given that it can take us as long as 2 days to fully digest meat and fish, you can imagine what goes on in your gut after eating that half a pound of dead flesh. Not that you’d like to..

In fact, Michael Greger, in his book, ‘How Not to Die’, describes studies showing how the consumption of meat leads to an increased risk of colon cancer and how eating processed meat, well-cooked meat and fried foods may correlate with a higher risk of one of the most aggressive forms of cancer: pancreatic.

80% carbohydrates? But I thought carbs were bad?

We’re bombarded day in and day out with false messages about nutrition, the myth that carbs = evil being one of the biggest. But the thing is, not all carbs are created equal. Whilst simple ones like white bread and pasta are far from innocent, healthy, complex carbohydrates, found in fruits and veggies, are the complete opposite: vital for the proper functioning of our brain, red blood cells, and nervous system. As Dr Colin Campbell explains in ‘The China Study’, diets high in complex carbohydrates can reverse diabetes and heart disease and prevent a range of chronic illnesses. Concerned about weight gain? Campbell describes how diets low in protein and fat, but high in complex carbs, help you to shed excess weight. In contrast, low carb, high fat and high protein diets have even been shown to be a danger to our health. No carbs, heart failure and an early death? Stuff you, Atkins!

Raw vegan? Where will I get my protein?

Now I know what you’re thinking. No meat? Won’t I collapse in the middle of the street? Will my limbs stay attached to my body? Luckily, your limbs will indeed remain attached and, with an abundance of carbohydrates and more than enough healthy plant protein and fat to maintain healthy muscles, you should manage to stay upright. In fact, you’ll be living your best life on this diet, with all the energy to zip through your chores, get the dinner ready, and have some left over at the end of the day for some precious you time. And you certainly don’t need to worry about protein…

Perhaps even more prevalent than the carb myth is the protein myth, which is not only one of the biggest, but one of the deadliest. David Gerow Irving, author of ‘The Protein Myth’ explains how humans only lose about 10 grams of protein a day, so we need just a small amount to make up for what we lose. He similarly describes how excessive consumption can compromise our health because the body cannot store protein, leading to an ‘accumulation of toxic by-products’. Indeed, researchers from Loma Linda University, California, found that those who ate more meat had a 60% increase in risk for heart disease, whilst those who ate mostly vegan protein, such as nuts and seeds, reduced their risk by a whopping 40%. But what about the fat content!

As Erican Palmcrantz Aziz explains, eating is about sustaining energy, not calorie counting. Even though nuts and seeds have a higher energy density, they provide vital fats and proteins, which, when eaten in moderation, help you to look and feel your best. In fact, whole almonds, per 100g, contain around a massive 29g protein, the same as 100g of chicken. Try this awesome raw almond butter, and team a tablespoon with some apple slices for a plant-protein-packed mid-morning snack that will fuel your brain and body.

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But won’t I go hungry?

One of the biggest advantages of this lifestyle is that you will not go hungry. In his book, Dr Graham offers some meal plan examples, suited to every season, all abundant with vitamins, minerals and fiber from an array of beautiful fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds; you will thrive on this diet. Say goodbye to hunger pains, sugar crashes and moods that go up and down like a roller coaster. You will not miss them.

An example for a summer menu from the 80:10:10 diet is this:

2lbs cherries

Sweet peach salad: 1lb bananas, 1lb peaches, 8 oz. blueberries

Course one, Apricot Blueberry Salad: 1lb apricots, 8oz. blueberries
Course two, Mango Fennel Soup: 1lb mangoes, 1 large sprig of fennel
Course three, Apricot Celery Salad: 1lb butter lettuce, 4 oz. tomato, 4 oz. celery, 1 lb. apricots

Three courses for dinner? What’s not to love?

This meal plan will offer you 45g protein, 2240 calories and a carb to protein to fat ratio of 89:7:4; I guarantee it will leave you feeling full, satisfied, and full of energy.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to Dr Graham’s meal plans, found in his book, to reap the rewards of the 80/10/10 lifestyle. Try ‘Healthy 80/10/10 Raw Vegan Recipes’ and ‘Simply Delicious Raw Recipes: 80/10/10 desserts’ for some beautiful dishes that will help you to look and feel your best, whilst getting those creative juices flowing (no pun intended).

Follow Fully Raw Kristina on Instagram for a serious rainbow of raw vegan color, and take a peek at her YouTube channel, where she takes you step by step through a multitude of amazing, and easy to prepare, raw vegan recipes.

I get the pros, but are there any cons?

With a lifestyle like 80/10/10 that is so different to the standard American diet, the biggest downside is having to get used to a completely different way of life. We’re so used to eating packaged and processed foods, sometimes at every meal, and it doesn’t help that advertising for it is everywhere. Try watching TV for more than 3 minutes without a junk food ad being forced down your throat or walking more than 100 yards down the street without seeing a billboard for candy, chips, or fast-food.

Junk food companies, the meat and dairy industries and the pharmaceutical industry are big business. They rely on us ignoring the undeniable risks associated with eating their food, and, in return or our continued service, offer us everything from joint pains to digestive issues, to diabetes and cancer. I can think of better loyalty schemes…

What’s more, to mask the illnesses we’re experiencing, we turn to the billion-dollar drugs companies to help us, with the side effects from pills making us feel even worse. The problem is, advertising and marketing execs earn big bucks in return for keeping us misinformed. Imagine if tag lines were accurate: ‘Beef: it’ll give you everything from diabetes to cancer.. Enjoy!’ Somehow, I don’t think they’d go for it.

Where do I sign up?

Stick it to these destructive industries and experience the life-changing benefits of the low fat raw vegan lifestyle, or 80/10/10 of course. As with all change, I recommend starting slow and steady. We have to remember that, by going raw vegan, we must completely change how we see food.

Instead of guilty pleasures, treats, or ‘naughty’ choices, think of food as nourishment, necessary for your physical and mental well being. We must recognize the healing power of food, and its ability to make us look and feel our best.

Start by having a read of Dr Graham’s book, which offers a comprehensive explanation of the science behind the lifestyle. Introduce more raw fruits and veggies into your daily diet, whether it’s through juices, smoothies, soups or foods in their natural state. The feeling of not being weighed down by damaging fats and toxins might even spur you on to be more creative in the kitchen, made easy with these raw vegan kitchen essentials. For optimum health, remember to get the vast majority of your calories from energizing carbohydrates, found in fruits and veggies, with a small amount of nuts and seeds to give you those vital proteins and fats.

For more information about how to give raw vegan a go, have a peek at my guide.

So before you run for the hills, I recommend giving this diet lifestyle, rich in life-giving nutrients, a go. It just might transform your health, in body and mind – no mathematics degree required.

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