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The best perspective for your health

4 Types of Raw Food Diets

You can see from this article that there are many variations of a raw food diet. Don’t select a very rigid plan, at least initially. Learn as you go.

Many colorful vegetables in different containers on table. Vegan food incl. Herbs.© CC-0 1.0, Foto Rabe, Pixabay

The 10 articles relating to raw food were revised in 2014. All of the other articles are new.


This article deals with the various types of raw food diets. Some may appeal to you while others may not. Each of the authors provide reasons why they and others have chosen to eat a particular type of raw food diet.

People do not all have the same critical mind, but many can be persuaded to adopt the first best idea, and they then cling doggedly to these views. This is what makes it possible for sects to develop.


Sects are either smaller church organizations that elevate a secondary issue to the main position or they have a philosophically or politically “narrow” group of followers. Each sect acts in its own way.

Similar situations arise in the case of many ambiguous types of nutrition. Intentional or belief-based “otherness” is created — usually by skillfully written and convincing books that only look at one side. Such authors also confuse secondary issues with the main issues.

A person who eats a “normal” diet and has never read much on the topic of nutrition may consider raw foodists to be in this category.

Honestly, what would you have thought if you had met a raw foodist before you knew anything about the measurable positive effects of this type of diet?

And we also have to remember that no matter what type of diet change you make, you will experience both positive and negative results.

But what all of the types of raw food diets do have in common is that they at least temporarily improve a person’s health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) understands health to be a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

If a person experiences this type of well-being when they change their diet, they, of course, will swear by it. And even if the diet they chose may later begin to cause problems, they won’t want to change over to something unknown.

You should strive to achieve effects that are as long-term and perfect as possible. But in reality, pretty much everything is made up of compromises. This is why the practical feasibility of a diet and your efforts to optimize it are more important than maximization at any cost.

Salad with green leaves, onion, tomato, cucumber, carrot and a black olive.© CC-by 3.0, Peng, Wikipedia

Be critical, and at the very least examine the different types of diets by reading relevant background information so that you can find the best possible option.

Your choice may well be different depending on your health condition and taste preferences. Success is often directly measureable. Don’t let anyone pigeonhole you. Learn as you go. Experiment.

1. Types of raw food diets

Just as with cooked food, we also find numerous and very different types of raw food diets.

Not included are the countless number of popular healthy diets and also diets that should be rejected.

  • Both in cooked and raw food diets, we should distinguish between short- and long-term diets. According to the definitions here, short-term diets serve a specific purpose and are separate from our regular diet.

Beware !

Beware of books that include subtitles similar to this one: Die einzige Methode die an der Ursache für Fettsucht und Übergewicht ansetzt und diese für immer beseitigt (The only method that addresses the cause of obesity and adiposity and eliminates it for good.)

There are thousands of cookbooks and books on the subject of diet.

Older books can be found at bargain prices at flea markets, second-hand stores, thrift stores, and used bookstores or at higher prices in antiquarian bookstores. You will find the most incredible special diets.

Once you are done reading, you practically won’t be able to eat anything anymore.

2. Description of diets based on ingredients

The terms that apply to cooked food diets also apply to raw food diets. But laypeople often don’t understand how raw food diets are different or they think that people on a raw food diet are all vegetarians. I will therefore focus here on the different types of diets that are eaten both in the cooked and raw varieties and come under an established, defined category:

2.1. Vegans

Raw food restaurant vegan in New York City: Tartar - with tomatoes instead of meat.© Courtesy of Erica Graff, Nicky Quinn, Pure food and wine

Vegans are actually “strict vegetarians” as they eat exclusively plant-based foods. Some even refuse to consume honey or don’t wear leather if they are eating this type of diet for strictly ethical reasons.


A subgroup of vegans are those who eat a macrobiotic diet. This type of diet exists only as cooked food since cooked rice is a very important part of it.


Since grains were introduced fairly recently — as compared to the dawn of humankind — some people avoid them altogether and instead focus on fruits and vegetables. You may find this to be over the top. However, a large number of people today live with some type of hidden intolerance to grain products.


Some people restrict their diet even further. Fruitarians (Frutarians, Fructariers, Fructaners, Fruitaners, and Fruganers), for example, eat only fruits, nuts, and seeds. Allergies can occur with this type of diet as well. Such a diet can easily lead to deficiencies of vitamin B12, selenium, calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine. However, this movement has existed since at least 1893.

Redaction comment

Certain fruitarians do not want to harm or kill plants by uprooting them or tearing off leaves. This is most likely not a balanced diet, even if it may seem to go well for up to a decade. But instead of just disqualifying such a diet, I’d like to collect people’s opinions about it. If you are on this diet, it would be great if you could send me some information about your personal experience.

I especially want to find out how the Jain religion (Jainism) has been doing this for more than 2'500 years and what the results are. Jains are not fruitarians. But they eat according to specific rules and protect living organisms to an extreme. Strict followers don’t eat anything from a plant that would kill it. Given the risk of deficiencies, this diet may indeed be feasible, but not at all optimal for the body in the long run.

Food intolerances ( for all diets)

Healthy vegan diet: buckwheat seeds for persons with gluten intolerance, e.g. Celiac disease.© CC-0 1.0, FreePhotosART, Pixabay
Buckwheat seeds may be eaten by people with a gluten intolerance, for example, celiac disease. Many people not only react to gluten (gluten protein), but also to dairy products.

For all diets:

We have known since 2005 that many more people suffer from gluten sensitivity than was previously thought. A food intolerance that is identified early on is not a problem, but then it is very important to cut these foods out of your diet.

If you aren’t feeling 100 % healthy, check your blood pressure and pulse rate, cut out grains for a short while, and then check these again and compare them to the original values. You should see positive results.

Digestive troubles (malabsorption) often show up as temporary bloating (meteorism, flatulence, or indigestion).

Botanically speaking, pseudograins such as amaranth (also Amaranthus cruentus and Amaranthus caudatus), quinoa, white goosefoot (all Amaranthaceae), and buckwheat (polygonaceae) are not grass seeds. These are therefore good substitutes for those who have a gluten intolerance, such as celiac disease.

Redaction comment

An increasing number of children and adults cannot consume gluten or casein (in dairy products) and therefore eat a gluten-free and casein-free diet (GFCF diet).

People with autism, ADHD, and certain other disorders should strictly avoid dairy and grain products.

Unfortunately this fact is not very well known. But the difference is huge! See also this book review on "Die Ernährungslüge" (The diet lie).

According to Wikipedia, between 3 and 15 % (depending on the test) of the general population have antigliadin antibodies (AGA), which are associated with an idiopathic gluten sensitivity (GS, nonceliac gluten sensitivity, NCGS, and gluten intolerance).

It must mean something if an article on Wikipedia (German version) contains the comment that a recent publication even asks the question of whether wheat is actually healthy for anyone at all. The publication appeared in 2006.

It wasn’t until 2006 that scientists were able to determine whether someone was suffering from gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE). This is a precursor of celiac disease (sprue), and celiac disease can now be avoided through early detection of GSE and appropriate diet changes.

Just this fact alone makes it obvious that trendy diet books will lead you astray. The issues are much more complex.

2.2. Lacto-vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians

Lacto-vegetarians do not cut out all animal products. They don’t eat eggs, but they do include milk and dairy products in their diet. And the opposite is true for ovo-vegetarians. They don’t consume milk or dairy products, but they do eat eggs.

2.3. Lacto-ovo vegetarians (vegetarians)

Lacto-ovo vegetarians are people who do not consume any food products that come from dead animals. This includes land animals, fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. The narrower terms given above serve to describe stricter groups. Lacto-ovo vegetarians are usually just called vegetarians.

Terms such as vegans and lacto-vegetarians put additional restrictions on a vegetarian diet.

2.4. Semivegetarians and pesco-vegetarians

People who eat fish are actually not vegetarians; at the most, they are pseudovegetarians. Nevertheless, some people still use the terms semivegetarians, part-time vegetarians, or near-vegetarians for people who avoid red meat, but occasionally eat fish or poultry, or who eat meat only very rarely.

If the “dead animals” aren’t warm-blooded animals, but are instead marine animals, then the terms pesco-vegetarian and pescetarian (pescetarianmism, lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarianism, and pesco-vegetarianism) are used.

The issue of the supply of vitamin B12 for vegans

As long as the issue of the supply of vitamin B12 for vegans is not entirely clarified, I understand that some vegans eat fish every now and then.

However, in reality eating fish occasionally does virtually nothing for a person’s vitamin B12 levels. The body can only absorb a very small amount of B12 at each meal, even if a lot is consumed.

There are supposedly also people who are antipescetarians.

As a vegan raw foodist, I first ate a very strict diet for seven years, but then decided to eat raw fish occasionally in order to “be on the safe side” in regards to vitamin B12.

It was not because of iodine, vitamin A or E, or the now much-touted omega-3 fatty acids because you get plenty of these if you are eating a balanced raw food diet.

It was because of the vitamin B complex, which you can also get by the way of regular dry yeast or nutritional yeast — although these do not contain enough vitamin B12.

I will discuss the problems concerning vitamin D and B12 later in more detail. Nutritional yeast is actually not a raw food; it is yeast that has been inactivated by heat.

2.5. “Pudding vegetarians”

On the topic: What is definitely the wrong diet?

Pudding vegetarian often eat food such as spaghetti, chocolate mousse etc. - so unhealthy.© CC-by 2.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland

Several decades ago, vegetarians had a great desire to eat a lot of sweets.

Today, younger people may avoid eating meat for animal welfare reasons, but then they consume larger quantities of foods containing flour and sugar (e.g., pancakes and pudding). Such vegetarians may end up having an unhealthier diet than people who eat a “normal” diet.

Long-term studies show that vegetarians eat much healthier in many respects than people on a “normal” or whole foods diet, but because of variations in the different subgroups the results differ greatly. “Pudding vegetarians,” in particular, do vegetarianism a disservice; they harm the reputation it has of being a good health choice.

It has also been determined that a surprisingly large number of people who are vegetarian or are on a raw food diet give up smoking and drinking alcohol or they choose to only drink alcohol on rare occasions and then only in small amounts.

3. Famous vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists

As I have taken this list from the book "Warum ich Vegetarier bin" (Why I am a vegetarian) by Helmut F. Kaplan (Rororo Publications, nonfiction book 9675, 1995), I cannot guarantee its completeness, nor confirm that the people listed actually lived as vegetarians and if so, for how long.

Animals are my friends — and I don’t eat my friends. George Bernard Shaw (poet)

At the time I wrote this article, the German Wikipedia site contained only an incomplete list of prominent vegans, a historical overview of vegetarianism, and a listing of the first vegetarians. And the page about famous vegans has since been deleted! However, there is a much better description in English and an extensive list of famous vegetarians and famous vegans.

True human culture will only exist when not only the eating of humans, but also the eating of any kind of meat is considered cannibalism. Wilhelm Busch

I know that Mahatma Gandhi, who helped India to achieve independence, ate a raw food diet. Jesus is also said to have been a vegetarian or vegan (as an Essene, see sprouted bread or essene bread). However, we should distinguish between evidence and myth.

Vegan does not mean raw. Everything is probably cooked here. Showcase with finished food.© Public Domain, Zeetz Jones., Fickr

Famous vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists

A very incomplete list (from 2001): actress Lil Dagover, author Karl Heinz Deschner, theologian Eugen Drewermann, inventors Thomas A. Edison and Albert Einstein, actor and independent scholar O.W. Fischer, singer Nina Hagen, author Lotte Ingrisch, singer Michael Jackson, authors Franz Kafka and Manfred Kyber, singer Madonna, musicians Paul and Linda McCartney, singer-songwriter Reinhard Mey, poet Christian Morgenstern, pianist Elly Ney, politician Madeleine Petrovic, authors Volker E. Pilgrim, Romain Rolland, and Jean Jacqes Rousseau, actress and author Barbara Rütting, theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician Albert Schweitzer, and writer and Nobel laureate Isaac B. Singer.

On the website [], we can find a list that includes many more celebrities from the entertainment and media industries who are vegetarian or at least close to it: Dirk Bach, Kim Basinger, Elizabeth Berkley, Linda Hair, Blümchen, Doris Dörrie, Amelia Fried, Richard Gere, Woody Harrison, Elke Heidenreich, Chrissie Hynde, Stephie Kindermann, Katja Lührs, Stella McCartney, Stephanie Philipp, Kate Pierson, Shania Twain, and David Wilms.

4. Raw food diet

For me, a regimen is a short-term diet used, for example, to beat a disease. I believe that raw food diets are best when they are part of your preparations to change your regular diet in the long term.

Specialized hospitals and treatment centers

Specialized hospitals and treatment centers assist people with special diets. In most cases, you would be accompanied by diet assistants (dieticians, nutritionists, and nutrition experts) and surrounded by medically trained personnel.

At a specialized clinic, nutrition experts and cooks tend to make food that is more interesting and varied than you would do so at home as a beginner. And in most cases, you will also find reading material on the subject, like-minded people, and ideas for your undertaking. However, it is important to note that institutions are different as many focus on a certain type of raw food.

Some institutions may offer a very special type of raw food and look down on any other types of raw food diets.

However, your health will improve so much when you change from cooked food to raw food that differences in specific diets in the raw food scene should really not be a factor. Don’t let yourself be forced into a narrow understanding.

Try out different things; find out about the many advantages and disadvantages, and ask a wide range of people to explain their varying viewpoints to you — don’t just listen to and read about ONE VIEWPOINT!

I feel that raw food is so far removed from the ‘normal’ diet that sectarianism is unnecessary and counterproductive. A short-term raw food diet with special rules is only valuable in a few special cases.

As much as raw food can heal, returning to a “normal” diet will only result in the gradual recurrence of your old problems.

4.1. Vegan raw food diet

Raw Food Restaurant probably in California, Spring 2013, overview.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Ernst Erb, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland

Entrance to a vegan raw food restaurant in California, Spring 2013.

The food and drinks offered and prices are written on blackboards.

The restaurant is relatively simple and clean.

Homemade foods are available for takeout.

The amount of cooked food that you eat plays a much bigger role than the type of raw food diet you choose to followed. I call someone a raw foodist only if their diet consists of more than 90 % raw food. Studies on raw food diets should only include raw foodists who meet this requirement because the negative effects of occasionally eating cooked food are enormous.

Cancer prevention through diet

Cancer prevention through diet is not very well known. Nevertheless, Wikipedia includes some interesting facts:

  • Increased fiber intake reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Even an increase in the daily amount of fiber from 15 to 35 g reduces this risk by 40 %.

  • High consumption of meat (red meat) increases the risk of intestinal cancer while fish consumption significantly reduces this risk. For every 100 g of red meat consumed, the risk of intestinal cancer increases by 49 %. In the case of sausage, it increases up to 70 %. In contrast, for every 100 g of fish consumed, the risk for this disease is cut in half.

  • Eating 80 g of fruits and vegetables every day reduces the risk of mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus cancer by 9 %. This effect holds true up to a threshold of 300 g per day. Larger quantities apparently do not further reduce the risk of the disease.

  • Eating an increased amount of butter, margarine, processed meat, and fish, together with a lower amount of bread and fruit juices, increases the risk of breast cancer.

In the German version, of course, there is a relativization in which only certain studies of the "European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition" (EPIC) 2010 are selected.

People write in accordance with what the industry would like the public to hear, portraying the information in the best light possible.

Now let’s consider the amount of time it takes for the two types of food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract.

Raw food stays in the stomach for 4 hours and in the intestine for 20 hours. Depending on the type, cooked food can stay in the stomach from 90 minutes to 3 hours and sometimes up to several days in the intestines.

Mixing of raw and cooked food can cause intestinal fermentation and/or putrefaction. Each fully cooked meal you eat can disrupt the system. If you eat raw food for a month or more without exception, you will definitely notice disruptions to your digestion and state of health if you include cooked food.

I will start out with the most stringent type of raw food diet, which avoids any kind of animal protein. Moderate consumption of honey is often excluded from this diet. You can find people in the "Giessen Raw Food Study" (see the book review) who hold to this most strict raw food diet. They do so for the health benefits and because they have concerns about the environment and the tragic treatment of animals.

For various reasons, more and more people want to limit these types of industrial farming that have been carried out to extremes and are harmful to us and the world.

"Milk sucks"

For example, the British animal rights group PETA opposes the consumption of milk in a very militant way []. Using comical postcards, the organization says that milk makes you fat, creates allergies, and is loaded with hormones and pollutants [FACTS 20.9.01-117].

Their website is even more interesting. The pages point to numerous international studies showing the relationship between high milk and animal product consumption and various diseases. Prominent studies show the same clear connection.

The more animal products people consume, the more frequent are diseases such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and joint damage including osteoarthritis of the hip and knee and others.

The reasons for this are quite obvious. I will explain these in other articles as well. If you are familiar with this topic and look in Wikipedia under osteoporosis (link above), then you will realize how shamelessly the industry works in conjunction with “Big Medicine” to keep this matter under control. For example, in April 2014:

A calcium intake of about 1 g per day significantly contributes to prevention of osteoporosis. (base therapy DVO) [Dachverband Osteologie e.V., umbrella association for German-speaking osteology organizations]. One gram of calcium is contained in a liter of milk or 100 g of hard cheese. In addition to dairy products (especially milk and yogurt), green vegetables such as kale and broccoli are also very good sources of calcium. Anyone who does not drink milk or eat cheese should take 800 mg of calcium in tablet form daily.

This angers those who know how harmful dairy products are for osteoporosis. The patients continue to suffer. See also this book review on the harmful effects of milk.

On the English version of Wikipedia, everything concerning milk and dairy products was removed a long time ago. Vitamin D consumption is mentioned, but the associated health benefits are not addressed.

"Rawlicious" Raw Food Restaurant, New York City, menu of salads, main courses etc. 2013© CC-by-sa 2.0, Ernst Erb, Foundation Diet and Health

Menu from Rawlicious, a simple raw food restaurant in New York City.

This menu from spring 2013 includes many kinds of salads and appetizers.

Among vegans, you find the most sectarians in terms of diet (and perhaps even in regards to society). However, I also find this type of diet to be particularly healthy, even if I occasionally eat raw fish and therefore strictly speaking do not belong to the group. I would like to help you increase your awareness here so that you can form your own opinion and, if possible, avoid diets that are too limited or less advantageous in the long term.

The “living foods” movement by Dr. Ann Wigmore

The “living foods” movement by Dr. Ann Wigmore is one of the types of raw food vegan diets. From 1960 to 1990, she built up this “living foods lifestyle” in Boston, Massachusetts. She died in 1994 at the age of 84 in an accident (suffocation by fire). Before her death, she had opened a number of institutions. One of them is located in Puerto Rico and is still in operation today.

Ann Wigmore pointed out that there were instructions on how to sprout seeds to eat as early as 3000 BCE in China and that Hippocrates’ teachings about 400 BCE were similarly inclined. Other Americans founded further types of raw food movements.

There were also early proponents of a pure vegan raw food diet in Europe, who today are no longer well known because of a lack of followers of their specific type of diet. Successors base their diets in part on such teachings, but have developed and promoted their own personal diets under their own name.

Sonnenköstler and Urköstler

In Germany, for example, there is a group of vegan raw foodists called the Sonnenköstler (raw foodists who eat fruit) and also a group called the Urköstler (raw foodists who eat fruits and vegetablest that are wild or at least fresh and in the most original form possible) founded by Franz Konz.

Most vegan raw foodists do not follow specific rules or have additional restrictions. There are however also people who want to live only on a few types of fruits or vegetables or reject certain types of vegan food.

I cannot be the judge of whether this type of diet is sufficiently varied and balanced. But for the above groups I can provide an assessment — that is as long as the diet is varied, balanced, sufficient in terms of quantity, and doesn’t diminish your state of health.

Enzyme weaknesses or problems with your digestive tract because of major operations may cause you to have limitations, and a different approach may be required.

4.2. Extreme forms of a vegan raw food diet

Special types of juice cures or special diets based on only a few different foods are sometimes useful as a short-term diet (e.g., diet developed by Rudolf Breuss).

Juice cures

A healthy person can follow such a diet for up to six weeks without it posing a health risk. The body can get the fat-soluble vitamins that are lacking from its reserves. But this would be unhealthy in the long term. Two or three weeks would probably be the ideal length. And it’s important to remember that cancer is not simply wiped away as Breuss says, but that it can return if you go back your old lifestyle.

Breuss treatments

In the 1980s, I helped a 35-year-old Austrian entrepreneur with his Breuss treatment as I was selling organic produce from my farm in Tenerife. In Austria, there were no longer any options with conventional medicine, and he knew what this meant for malignant melanoma.

After six weeks of strictly following the Breuss treatment, the metastatic melanoma had disappeared. He didn’t have any palpable lymph nodes, and according to Swiss Lab his blood values were excellent.

Quite against my advice, he then resumed his rather indulgent lifestyle. As I expected, the disease returned after several months, and he died about a year later.

He stubbornly believed that this treatment had healed him for good and he was a man of faith, but in my opinion he wasn’t realistic enough. This became obvious from an incident where he once received orange juice instead of water with a little lemon juice and then drank the juice. However, afterwards he came to me full of remorse and asked what he should do now. I advised him to simply add another day to the treatment regimen because I knew he would otherwise doubt that he could be cured.

Furthermore, even when he had a relapse, he didn’t follow my recommendation of going back to a strictly vegan raw food diet. He even laughed at me because he so strongly believed in this treatment.

For no special reason, I decided to try this treatment regimen out myself in 2006, but stopped three days short of completing it because of my full workload. I gave it up early because I could not even provide my own very simple phone number during a phone call.


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