The 7 Biggest Mistakes Made by Raw-Foodists

The raw food diet is one of the best ways to obtain a wide variety of dense nutrients and improve your health in many ways, whether you choose to eat all raw or even high raw.

But these days, many just watch a few episodes of a popular YouTube channel and decide to have a go at eating raw without reading any literature and doing the necessary research.

I have been coaching people eating a raw diet for over 5 years, and I see people making the same mistakes over and over again, so I decided to compile a list of those issues in an effort to save you time, health, and money.

1- Not eating enough

The first and most obvious mistake is that people often do not eat enough when changing to a high raw food diet.

If you change to a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, you have to eat slightly more volume, because generally speaking, plant-based raw foods have less calorie density than most cooked foods.

It’s critical to understand exactly what makes up a healthy raw diet and then learn to get sufficient calories from those meals.

Fruit is a healthy source of carbohydrates in the form of natural simple sugar and should form the basis of the raw diet in terms of providing your calories.

2- Overeating nuts and seeds

When switching to eating a raw food diet, it takes a while for people to get into the habit of eating enough fruit to pick up their entire daily requirement of calories, so they tend to compensate for the lack of calories by binging on calorie-dense foods, such as nuts and seeds.

For this very reason, I don’t recommend trying eating 100% raw from the start.

I believe the best approach is to replace eating unhealthy cooked food by eating healthier “low fat” and plant based cooked food alternatives, until you get used to incorporating more raw food into your diet.

This way, you will not binge on nuts and seeds and you will have a smooth transition.

3- Eating insufficient quantities of greens

I do not recommend a diet exclusively made up of fruit, nor have I ever.

This is because everyone I have ever met who attempts to sustain him or herself exclusively on fruit for an extended time runs into serious health challenges.

Fruit is a great source of energy and vitamins, but it doesn’t contain enough minerals to be a balanced food.

Plenty of green vegetables must be consumed to provide those essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium.

4- Sleeping too little

Not getting enough rest, sleep, relaxation and time to recover is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when trying eating a raw food diet.

A proper raw diet will result in improved health, but I must emphasize that it is the body, not food, that ultimately creates health.

It is important to listen to your body. If your body asks you to rest, you should rest. You can’t compensate lack of sleep by consuming stimulants.

Lack of sleep compromises all other human functions, including physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social ones.

5- Doing insufficient physical activity

Physical activity is so intricately linked with nutrition that failure to master one aspect will automatically lead to failure with the other.

Our bodies develop through use, and they waste away through disuse.

Let’s also stress the fact that a raw-food program is actually a high-energy diet. It is compatible and really works if we add plenty of physical activity to our daily routines.

6- Consuming unnecessary supplements

Eating a healthy raw diet should provide you with all the nutrients you need. If, for some reason, you’re going through undue stress and need more vitamin B, for instance, you could correct the problem by taking some supplements and then making the necessary lifestyle and diet chances to correct the underlying problem.

Supplementation should not be used regularly, but rather as a supplement in exceptional cases and only if necessary.

Health is the natural outcome of living healthfully. Health has to be earned – it can’t be purchased in a bottle.

Raw drugs include various supplements and super-foods, which are sold in the raw food movement for their “energy-boosting” properties, just like various caffeinated drinks are sold for the same purpose.

We must emphasize, however, that energy doesn’t come from stimulation. It can only come from sleep and as the outcome of healthful living.

7- Being obsessed with “perfection”

It is too common in the raw-food movement and in the natural health field to see people completely obsessed with their diet, stressing over it, and forgetting about the other important aspects of life.

Eating raw is not the only criterion when it comes to healthy living. You must remember that in order to thrive in good health, there are other elements to our wellbeing that are as important as food, such as good rest, exercise, mental balance, and so on.

Therefore, you should never be fanatical about food alone, because you will be missing the point.

In Natural Hygiene, we say “your health is as strong as its weakest link”, which means that you can eat the most perfect raw food diet, but if you aren’t getting enough sunlight, for instance, you’ll suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, which could kill you!

Looking for easy ways to boost the nutrition power of your meals? Check out the real-world-tested recipes in  The Raw Dinner Recipes eBook.

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53 Responses

  1. Orly cohen says:

    Wow i’m not rawroodist but i’m reading a lot about it. I’m not living a healthy life and i don’t know where and how to start. I always look at the people that living healthy lifestyle and feel that i’m not in the good direction i my life. Thank you for your article and shering your knolage.

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      Thanks for your comment mate. Sign up to my mailing list and you will get some directions of how to start. 🙂

  2. It is irresponsible to suggest to people not to take supplements, especially B12! B12 is found mostly in animal products, so a raw vegan diet is insufficient to provide all of what the body needs. I know several raw vegan people who ended up with permanent nerve damage (the consequence of low B12) because of an insufficiency.

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      Please read the article properly before commenting, thanks. x

      1. And you can supplement b12 with seaweed and nutritional yeast instead of lab made supplements.

        1. Exactly I supplement with seaweed everyday people don’t realize that animals get it from vegetation or else they would be lacking as well

    2. Camille Teichert Unbehaun says:

      Beth… B12 does not come from animals. It comes from the earth/ground .. But as our soil lacks vital nutrients we have to give animals a b12 supplement as well.
      Read studies about it…. Or go to a farm and you’ll turn vegan in no time 🙂
      We do not need to let our vitamins go trough dead flesh to get to it…
      Besides he never said anything about not taking b12
      It’s vital.
      Blessings from Camille

  3. Genevieve says:

    Read an article the other day that when it comes to B12 vitamin, we seem to know too little about it. The article suggested that meat eaters do need it to break down the animal tissue in comparison to vegans who do not eat animal products and hence are not in need of much b12. Very interesting suggestion. Any thoughts on that?

  4. The article suggests there is an issue with Nuts and Seeds but doesn’t make clear what that is. Are you talking about it in a sense of too many calories in them for someone to lose weight. I’ve just moved over to a raw food diet. Some of the Raw food uncook books include a hell of a lot of Nuts and seeds as replacements.

    1. Nuts and seeds are hard to digest and they will hurt your liver. I know this first hand so Avacado is the best fat for any diet I eat them everyday to get my fat and calorie count

  5. To Ian,

    I’ve been mostly raw for several years now. Seeds and nuts can be difficult to digest and so cause some toxicity–for me, in the form of skin anomalies. My method right now (always evolving base don what my body tells me) is to use seeds and nuts as condiments, not as staples.

  6. Great article. I’m especially guilty of number 7.

    I would add as 8th–not staying well hydrated. My husband and I both tend to think we’re tired and hungry when we’re really just needing hydration. We’ve started making great veggie and fruit juices with a masticating juicer and that helps remind us to hydrate. But we still need to work harder on drinking water between meals. Sometimes we add a little Himalayan salt to a glass of water–poor man’s mineral water. That helps too.
    Good health to all of you.

    1. I agree ?

  7. So refreshing to find someone not sellng zillions of supplements.

  8. Hi, Thank you for the article!

    I try to eat raw, but I get very full after eating 3 apples, what should I do if I get so full?

    Secondly, is it possible to get gas from eating fruits (only) ? and how to solve this problem?

    Thank you!

    1. Glenda Lassen says:

      Chew chew chew, make sure you have really activated your saliva before you swallow.

  9. Gradwell Fisher says:

    Thanks for the article. My biggest mistake in the past was lack of exercise.

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      Thank you, I am glad I am able to help. 🙂

  10. Pamela J Spears-Bradford says:

    Thank you for this article! You don’t know how you helped me!! I have been 75% raw and 25% cooked vegan since 2013! I decided to make it my life style because I had been suffering with periodic constipation. This lifestyle practically cured it! However, after having knee replacement surgery, I gain what I lost and some more besides! I do have a tendency to eat a lot of nuts and seeds and don’t hydrate enough especially during winter. In winter, the more water I drink, I have trouble keeping warm. This happens even if I drink warm water! I have been trying to figure out if this is because of some deficiency of some kind? What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      Eat more fruit and do more physical activity is the short answer. Eating lots of nuts and seeds is not good. More fruit is the way. 🙂

  11. Over usage of nuts and seeds is not advisable as it throws you omega 6 and 3 off. It is a trap raw foodists fall prey to as they seek healthy forms of protein. Dark leafy greens are a far mire bio-available source and don’t affect your omega balance. The book “Raw and Beyond” covers this beautifully.

  12. Interesting article. I’m interested in starting off the day raw, to begin with, and then eventually incorporate as much raw food as possible into my diet. I probably won’t go totally raw, but I won’t rule it out

  13. “exclusively on fruit for an extended time runs into serious health challenges”
    Curious to hear what people run into?

  14. Marsha Chevalier says:

    Interesting debate on seeds and nuts. I find that I tolerate them better if I soak and pour off, sprouting the seeds. Then I make nut milk and strain the fiber. If I am camping, I still soak and pour off and I peel the outer brown part off of almonds and filberts before eating them. The theory is that the phytates are in the husks and skins. I’ve also had good luck with hulled hemp seeds soaked.

    Hope this helps,


  15. Great article ! Finally someone understands the basic truths of Natural Hygiene and is able to distill it into practical advice.

  16. Paavo Airola, ND and PhD, suggests 80 per cent raw diet at the minimum with focus on vegies as the base, then nuts and seeds and finally, fruits at the top. Read his stuff before you give advice because I am not so sure you are on point. Supplementation in this day and age is almost necessary due to the toxicity of the planet. Food is not fresh, therefore not nutrient dense like a fresh picked berry, leaf, etc. (I can attest to this, I was picking wild berries this summer after sun exposure, which depletes vitamin c and I got a little burned, well, I have tried vitamin c pills to relieve the burn, I have tried vitamin c foods, not picked fresh but bought and it didn’t help, the fresh blackberries I could literally feel relieving the burning from the sun as I ate them.)
    We live in a planet of poisons, from glysphosphate to nuclear toxins, so vitamin c supplementation is necessary to protect the cells from these toxins. Also, use fermented foods to keep the gut healthy, especially if you eat a lot of non-organic foods. Read the book “how to get well” by doctor Airola. It is available on amazon for a few bucks.

  17. BTW, Dr. Airola is the father of modern juice fasting. He studied around the world for folk remedies etc.

  18. Glenda Lassen says:

    Great article thanks

  19. On hydrating in winter, I’m finding lightly heating my water for tea helps me stay warm. I have very little body fat, so I need this. I also use coconut butter on my salads and in my smoothies and yogurt made homemade seeds and nut milks (seeds and nuts soaked and poured off first). This ballast plus a little iodine supplementation is making a real difference this winter.

  20. Ralph I Coffman says:

    Ahhhh Arnold Ehret was a great mover in my life. I started studying him in 1969 as well as Paul Braggs, The Miracle of Fasting. I worked at Shangri-La and lived at Hippocrates. I was even on the Board of Directors of Nirvana. What a Quirky life I’ve led… I’m following this site and looking forward to a period of cleansing and then a Reboot, just what our entire country needs right now…

  21. Homemade Kombucha has B12 😀

  22. I don’t understand what is wrong with fruit. I became raw vegan two months ago due to serious illness. Graves disease and much more. I can feel the problem with nut digestion and read a considerable amount about what balance of fruits and veggies to eat. Over time, I spent at least five weeks of my life at optimum health Institute, based on the Ann Wigmore protocols, similar to the Hippocrates Institute.

    For me it is too complicated to be sprouting, making rejuvalac, dehydrating and constant colonics. I read the book 80-10-10. It was suggested to me by a raw food coach who also does not have the extensive kitchen and appliances. It seems to me that as long as you practice proper food combining that fruit is good for you.

    Admittedly, I do need to be strict about food combining, particularly anything involving fats, nuts and seeds. Also admittedly, I am experiencing severe detox symptoms that include not being able to sleep.

    I just don’t have it in me to do all the kitchen work and fruits seem to be an easy way to get nutrition. I always add a large handful of greens to my fruit smoothies and always have a large salad for dinner.

    What is wrong with this? Why can’t I sleep? When will I get over my detox symptoms?

    1. Dear Ellen,
      Hi Ellen,

      Try also yoga and energy work. I have been a vegan for over 35 years and all raw for the last 2. I am 70 years old. I have found that adding yoga and energy work to my health regimen has really improved my sleep, digestion and general feelings of well-being. Also, don’t eat meals within 2 hours of bed and stay hydrated.

      Hope this helps,


  23. It’s so wonderful to read all these response and information. I became vegetarian 50 years ago, after an epiphany, when I came through I was shaking and crying, and had that horrible realization that I was a cannibal, and was eating my brothers and sisters. Shortly after I went to live on commune and was eating all raw (I think the body needs a transitioning time, maybe of a gradual change is needed) when all the sudden my body was purging more than I could keep up with, and I thought I was dying! The next door neighbors saved my life, by having me breathe Eucalyptus steam, so my mucus could break down enough not to be chocking me. I did start eating some cooked foods again. The remarkable healing that came from this experience is that my anemia that I had all my life disappeared! I am vegan, I eat raw when I can, I am still eating some cooked foods, I mean to go totally raw, however right now I work full time, run a non-profit and produce and direct local Marin Television, and It would take more dedication to go raw than I have now. At any rate all of us who are vegan and those who eat raw do contribute in the biggest way to the health and healing of our planet. Amazing what is good for our Earth is what is healthiest for us. I am almost 74 and full of vitality and energy and I am always sharing through media and one on one the importance for us and the planet to all be doing this! If ever there is a question love is the answer. Tune in to the only live one hour show in Marin, “The People’s Environmental News” Tuesday’s 7 p.m. on Marin TV channels or on Repeats of the show, on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. @CallingAllEarthAngels

  24. I disagree with you over the fruit issue. Humans are actually frugivores and MANY people are maintaining excellent health by being frugivores.

    I am a raw foodist not yet a frugivore. I have utmost respect for those who succeed at it. So I ask you to keep an open mind and not give out inaccurate information. It would have been more appropriate to say that there ARE individuals who are frugorivous but that like going raw food it takes time, energy and self education!

  25. This article is excellent Ariel… question is this, when you’re trying to heal cancer shouldn’t you consume 100% fruit? I am very much an advocate of Dr. Robert Morse and he teaches that 100% fruit is the ONLY way to heal cancer along with deep healing herbs. Do you agree with this opinion or do you think cancer can be healed with an ALL raw diet….meaning fruits AND vegetables?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      Thanks for your comment. Food does not heal, only our bodies can heal. Good health embodies much more than eating the right food. I don’t agree with 100% fruit diet. Greens, vegetables and healthy sources of fats are essential nutrition. I respect the work of Naturopaths but I don’t treat herbs as “healing” foods of great importance.

  26. My comment is on nuts, they can be included as they contain enzimes that are good for us. But to benefit from them, they need to be soaked before including them and no more than a small handful per day. I also feel that herbs and spices are a good addition. I have some serious health problems and follow an almost full raw fruit and veg diet. I do eat one warm dish a day but finish with raw. However, I believe one should listen to the body and adjust accordingly. Thnk you for your artices and recipes and sharing your experience with us all.

  27. Marsha Chevalier says:

    Good wisdom, Suzi. Always listen to your own body. Have you tried making nut milk yogurt with presoaked and poured off seeds and nuts? It’s pretty easy. I use Lou Corona’s probiotic powder, but any good probiotic will do. It makes the nuts and seeds more digestible.

  28. cece edwards says:

    Your list totally fits my personal experience of vegan for 20 years and lots of 6 plus years of 100% raw.

  29. Great article. You said we don’t have to overeating nuts and seeds . What does overeating means? For example , if I eat every morning (or afternoon) 4 hydrated walnuts are too much ? I like to eat them at work along with 1 banana. I have an autoimmune disease and I like walnuts very much . Thank you in advance .

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      I don’t think eating 4 hydrated walnuts every day is too much. Your overall fat intake (in percentage of calories) should keep around 8-12%. 🙂

  30. If you get raw, it is the deadliest to follow the ideas of traditional nutritionists.

    Forget calories!

    Eat, what your body asks for. The first time, if you follow your appetite, sometimes you will fell a need for tons of bananas, apples or salads or any other plant. That’s because your body is in very need of substances, he only knows what and where to get. These things will have a heavenly taste while your body is in need. When its enough, the same tastes nothing or even like pepper.

    Follow your body, i.e. your taste, your smell. That´s the way to eat raw.

  31. Stacy Mail says:

    Great article that highlights all the key pitfalls. Although I’m new to raw foods, it makes so much sense to me. Thanks

  32. Great knowldge and wisdom

  33. Thanks so much for the article, i have been vegan for 2 months now and i am really enjoying the variety of food but i am battling so much with my stomach and the pains and cramps that i am getting daily. I have been eating beans, chick peas and lentils to get my daily protein. I have also been eating lots of different veggies and salads. I have been eating brown rice and gluten free vegan bread. I am a personal trainer so i exercise a lot and drink plenty of water and taking my collagen vegan protein supplements as well as omega, magnesium, vitamin d and vitamin B every day. My questions to you is what can you suggest i do to help with the cramps and uncomfort i am experience which i am assuming is from the legumes and i have never eaten much of them before.

  34. Thanks so much. You have said this so well. I have been studying and trying to follow this for 20 years and you have made so many things more clear in a few words than I have heard from so many other sources. I wish I had read this list with the additional comments on each area many years ago.
    It is still difficult for me to eat this way when I am in social, and family gatherings for an extended period of time. I encourage others to take on this healthy lifestyle at a young age as it is much easier to keep a young body healthy than to reverse years of abuse. Blessings
    . .

  35. rena young says:

    thanks so much for all the info u are sending out. I am at present WFPB but very interested in raw. Wondering, I use my IP a lot but only steam veggies for 0 min which is then only steaming for the warm up time and leaves them little hard still. would this fit into a raw life style? also, do u have to have a dehydrator?

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      You are welcome. 🙂
      Steaming is one of the healthiest way of cooking.
      Most of my recipes don’t require dehydrator.

  36. YVETTE N HUNTER says:

    Thank you Ariel! I’m in my 9th week of eating a plant-based diet. So far I love it! In the first 3 weeks, I noticed the aches that I had in my knees is gone! I need to improve on points 1, 3, and 5.

    Thank you again for this article!

    1. Ariel Belloso says:

      Thanks Yvette, so glad! Best wishes.

  37. About Nuts being difficult to digest. I soak mine in water for a few hours before using…. most of the time. I must admit that I like to crunch them too. Apparently soaking nuts helps to release the enzymes and are easiier to digest. I don’t often use seeds in fact very rarely, it is something I may need to correct.

  38. I have been dealing with Type Ii diabetes and find fruit to keep my sugars too high.