The Ideal Diet for Humans
The Diet that Nature Intended
Why has eating become so complicated? Every day, we hear some new piece of nutritional advice or some new diet recommendation that forces us to constantly reevaluate our food choices. In the process, we have completely forgotten the simple way that nature intended for us to eat. This lense will show you why a natural diet of raw, low-fat, fruits and vegetables (a frugivore diet) is the ideal diet for human consumption.
The Diet in a Nutshell
These are the essentials for successfully maintaining a frugivore diet. Many of these guidelines come from Dr. Doug Graham's book, The 80/10/10 Diet. See below for more details on each of these topics.
- Only eat raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Eat plenty of leafy greens.
- Keep overall fat consumption low.
- Exercise frequently.
- Get plenty of sunlight.
- Get enough sleep
What benefits will I experience on a frugivore diet?
These are only some of the many benefits that you will experience on a frugivore diet. For a longer list, click here.
- less sickness
- better mental clarity
- improved athletic performance
- amazing skin
- less body odor
- heal chronic injuries
- better sleep
- improved mood
- better eyesight
- faster-growing hair and nails
- reach your ideal weight
Why Fruits and Vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods you can possibly eat. They provide your body with all the nutrition that it needs to thrive. In fact, there is not a single vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient, lipid, amino acid, etc. that is not provided in sufficient quantities by fruits and vegetables.
For millions of years, all humans naturally ate a diet of raw fruits and vegetables. We only began to change our diet within the last 100,000 years when we were forced to adapt to climate change. Moreover, all of our closest genetic relatives (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, etc.) still eat a diet of primarily fruits and vegetables. These animals will eat other food in times of desperation, but they prefer raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Physiologically, we are still very similar to these animals.
It's true that humans can survive on almost any diet. We are very adaptive creatures. However, we can only thrive on a diet of fruits and vegetables. No other diet compares. Meat, dairy, legumes and grains are all difficult to digest, acid-forming, and full of toxins.
But what about protein? Yes, fruits average around 5% protein and vegetables average around 15% protein. That is more than enough for growth, maintenance, and muscle building. In fact, the standard american diet usually doesn't have more than 20% protein.
How about vitamin B12? Contrary to popular belief, small amounts of vitamin B12 are present in all fruits and vegetables. Raw bananas and dates are especially rich in B12. And even if you weren't eating enough B12, the body can produce and recycle its own B12 through the process of enterohepatic circulation, so it is nearly impossible to be deficient.
Note: Make sure you eat 2-6% or your calories from leafy greens. They are much richer in certain minerals and lipids than fruits are. Leafy greens are essential for good health.
All nutritionists agree that cooking damages food. Here is a list of reasons why you should avoid cooked food:
- Cooking denatures proteins. Denatured proteins are very difficult for the body to digest.
- Cooking saturates fats. When this happens, the body cannot digest them, and they often end up clogging your arteries.
- Cooking carmelizes sugars. Carmelized sugars are a dangerous carcinogen that should be avoided.
- Cooking destroys vitamins and minerals. Almost all vitamins, and some minerals are damaged by cooking. Some people defend cooking because it makes lycopene and beta-carotine easier to digest. This is true, but cooking also destroys a significant amount of lycopene and beta-carotine so that overall, you are still digesting less.
- Every other creature on the planet eats their food raw. There are over 23,000 species of land animals on the planet, and out of all of them, we are the only one that cooks food
- Cooking confuses our taste buds. Cooking makes foods such as meat, grains, and legumes taste good that would not appeal to us raw. Cooking confuses us into eating these unhealthy foods.
- The body attacks cooked food. After eating a cooked meal, the white blood cell count in the body increases to four or five times the normal amount because the body thinks that the food is a dangerous pathogen (this is called leukocytosis). When we eat raw food on the other hand, this does not happen.
- Humans are not adapted to eat cooked food. Humans have only been eating cooked food for less than 50,000 years. This is not long enough for a significant evolutionary change to occur. On the other hand, humans have been eating raw food for millions of years, so we are well adapted for that.
Fats play an important role in the body. They transport and store fat-soluble vitamins, insulate the body, regulate the production of hormones, and much more. But it's important to realize that a little bit of fat goes a long way. If you eat too much fat, your body will struggle to uptake and transport oxygen to the billions of cells in your body. In the short term, this will cause foggy-headedness, indigestion, fatigue and mood swings, but in the long-term, this will lead to serious blood disorders and degenerative diseases.
This is why you should keep your fat consumption under 10% of total calories. Most fruits and vegetables already have a healthy amount of fat in them (fruits have around 5% and vegetables have around 15%). Others, such as avocados, olives, coconuts, nuts, and seeds have a higher amount of fat, and should only be eaten in very small quantities (if at all).
In nature, fat is very scarce. High fat fruits, nuts and seed, are only available for few months right before winter (september, october, november). Eating a low-fat diet is the most natural thing to do.
Sleep and Nutrition
We depend on sleep to regulate hormones, mood, energy levels, digestion, and more. When we don't get enough sleep, our body can not properly uptake and deliver the nutrients of the food that we eat. Sleeping is just as important for nutrition as our food choices.
I recommend getting at least 10 hours of sleep per night, and napping during the day. Learn more about how to improve your sleep in my other lense...
Exercise and Nutrition
The human body evolved for millions of years to be active. Exercise increases blood flow and stimulates all the organs and glands in the body. Humans rely on physical movement for proper delivery of nutrients and for expelling of waste. Moreover, exercise allows us to eat more, and when we eat more, we consume more nutrients. Exercise is necessary for nutritional adequacy.
I recommend being moderately active everyday, and to do intensive physical activity (heart rate over 120) at least 3 times per week.
Sunlight and Nutrition
Getting enough sun is crucial for proper health and nutrition. Sunlight is the only way for the body to get enough vitamin D, an essential nutrient for metabolizing calcium. Moreover, UV rays from sunlight are the only reliable way to disinfect your skin of harmful bacteria and toxins. Sunlight also plays an important role in controlling mood, regulating hormones, and adjusting your body to its natural circadian rhythm.
I recommend exposing your full body to sunlight for at least 15 minutes every day (weather permitting of course). Moderate amounts of sun exposure will not cause burning, cancer, or other types of skin damage.
Tips for Getting Started
- Eat Enough Calories. In the beginning, you will need to make an effort eat enough calories on a frugivore diet. Most people are not accustomed to eating large quantities of fruit. As long as you eat enough calories, you will feel satiated and satisfied with the diet.
- Track What You Eat. This will help you to eat enough calories when you first start out. I recommend using the free program Cron-o-Meter.
- Buy Produce in Bulk. This will save you time and money in the long run. Grocery stores will give you a 10-15% discount if you buy produce by the case.
- Fully ripen your fruit. You will not properly digest fruit if it is not fully ripened. Ripe fruit will taste better and satisfy more. See my Fruit Ripening and Selection Guide
- Join a Frugivore Community. Check to see if you can find other frugivores that live near you. If there aren't any nearby, join 30 bananas a day, the online frugivore community.
- Use bananas and dates as staples. Bananas and dates are both inexpensive and high in calories.
The Best Frugivore Book
This book is absolutely essential if you're considering a frugivore diet. Dr. Douglas Graham is the authority on the subject. He's been eating a frugivore diet for 30 years and coaching athletes all over the world.
Low-fat Raw Vegan Recipes
Other Books by Doug Graham
SquiDirectory - A categorized Squidoo directory featuring an interesting variety of different subjects ranging from arts and literature, shopping, and eco friendly tips, to vehicles for sale, travel, and everything in between.
Doug Graham talks about the frugivore diet
This is a fantastic video! If you have time, I recommend watching all the parts of this lecture.
Doug Graham on Empty Calories
If you're interested, check out the rest of his lecture youtube.
All feedback is appreciated!