As mentioned in yesterday's post, I am at the beginning of my 30-Day Raw Food Vegan Challenge and have just finished reading Dr. Douglas N. Graham's The 80/10/10 Diet: Balancing Your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life, One Luscious Bite at a Time. The book discusses the health benefits of a low-fat raw vegan diet as well as the scientific evidence that support this type of diet. The figure "80/10/10" represents what Dr. Graham believes to be the desired caloronutrient ratio for optimum human health: 80% carbohydrates (primarily from whole, sweet fruit), 10% protein, and 10% fat.
The first chapter of the book focuses on what a "natural" human diet would include. There is a thorough breakdown of why our bodies aren't meant to consume meat, nor do they thrive on starches, fermented foods, or milks from other animals. A lot of what is found in this chapter is contrary to what our society taught me growing up, so I approached it with a blend of skepticism and open-mindedness.
Dr. Graham addresses several common concerns about high levels of fruit consumption in the next chapter. He clarifies that slow-digesting fat, not fruit, cause blood-sugar problems. The chapter also explains how fruit does not cause chronic fatigue, candida, cancer, diabetes, acid indigestion, and tooth decay. There is a strong defense for fruit and Dr. Graham paints a truly frightening picture of how harmful excess fat is for one's health.
The book contains a very detailed explanation (spanning four chapters!) of why Dr. Graham proposes and has faith in the 80/10/10 caloronutrient ratio. Following that section of the book, the "big surprise" is revealed: raw foodists average 60%+ fat, which is way larger of a percentage than people on the Standard American Diet (SAD), vegetarians, and vegans. Dr. Graham makes the argument that a high-fat raw vegan diet is not optimum for health and suggests that people who want to improve their health focus on lowering their fat intake.
The rest of the book includes a chapter that addresses some of the challenges of going raw and includes sample menu plans to help the new raw foodist (like myself) get started with the diet. There is a helpful Frequently Asked Questions chapter and some testimonials from people who have followed the 80/10/10 diet and achieved positive results.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I am placing a great deal of faith in the book because I have heard great things about it from successful raw foodists like John Kohler and Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram. I figure that it is worth a shot to give the diet an honest try. Ultimately, I want to achieve the highest level of health that I can in this lifetime, and my path has been leading me toward this next step for a long time.
However, I remain somewhat skeptical by some of the claims in the book, especially some of the stories from the testimonials section at the end of the book. Some of the book struck me as too good to be true, and there were some moments while reading that my eyebrows were raised higher than normal. In addition to some of the boastful health claims, the editing of the book is not very good at all. There are typos and grammatical errors throughout its pages. As a writer and someone who pays close attention to editing, I was disappointed by the book's presentation. I actually feel that if it had been edited better, I would be less skeptical of its message.
The only way to judge a book like this is to give it an honest try, which I am doing right now. My plan is to stay as close to Dr. Graham's low-fat 80/10/10 approach as possible. If nothing else, this was an interesting read and isn't too hard to get through. I would advise it for anyone who is interested in or considering trying a raw vegan diet, especially after reading some of the horror stories about folks who switched to a high-fat raw vegan diet and had a wide range of health issues as a result.
4/5 stars. 374 pages.