Are greens necessary on a raw food diet?

There seem to be contrasting opinions on this topic amongst raw food diet lovers. Some raw foodists say that greens are essential and recommend eating them daily in considerable amounts. According to a raw foodist Victoria Boutenko, “Greens contain all the essential minerals, vitamins and even amino acids that humans need for the optimal health” [2]. Victoria argues that there exists scientific evidence that greens have been  a part of human diet from very early in our history. However, the evidence for humans consuming certain foods in the distant past does not necessarily indicate that those foods are essential. So, is it possible to thrive without greens?

There exist compelling arguments for greens based on the well-known fact that greens are incredibly rich in minerals, which is easy to verify using any nutritional tables. According to Dr Fuhrman, a founder of the Center for Nutritional Medicine, the foods that are the most dense in micro-nutrients are  raw leafy dark green vegetables [1]. Nevertheless, it is not known how much of the various minerals we really need, as various recommendations are at best rough estimates. Hence, it is not known how much greens, if any, we really need.

Some raw foodists say that greens should only be eaten if truly desired in their mono state, see Nora Lenz for example [3]. This is a very reasonable argument, as our instincts are the best indicator of our nutritional needs. Note that the recommendation to rely on the instincts in our choice of food applies only to raw and unprocessed foods eaten in their mono state.

Our desires can be subject to evolution as we progress in our raw food journey, and so if we desire the greens today, does it mean that they are essential, or does it mean that at this stage we have not evolved to not desiring them yet, which may well occur in the future? There exist long-term fruitarians such as Mango Wodzak [4], Kveta Martinec [5] and Anne Osborne [6], who do not feel the desire to have greens at all. Anne Osborne says that all nutrients that humans need can be found in fruit. She also emphasizes that the quality of fruit is crucial for our thriving on a complete fruitarian diet [7]. Furthermore, there exist compelling ethical arguments for a complete fruitarian diet, which ideologically is a step up from the idea of veganism [8] [9]. Such arguments ought to be studied by anyone open-minded enough to realize the impact they have on other beings and the planet.

My personal experience has been that I do not desire greens every day. My  relationship with greens has been an on-and-off affair. There have been times when I was fond of them, and times where I could not stand them. My most usual preferences in the recent years have been for no greens in my diet at all, but my desires have been changing unpredictably sometimes, and so it has been difficult for me to make up my mind on this topic. I suspect that my desire for greens could possibly be non-existent at all, if I had access to better quality of fruit all year round. That is, it seems to me that my sporadic desire for greens could perhaps be partly due to the lesser quality of fruit in Tasmania, which happens to be in a non-tropical zone. Nevertheless, I have observed that my dietary preferences evolve, and Anne Osborne, for example, says that a transition to complete fruitarianism can take years. So, in the end, I remain open to evolving towards a complete fruitarianism. This is what I recommend to you too.

However, I do not recommend that you make a mental decision to avoid greens or any food groups. Always listen to your body and respond to its needs. Also, if you require a professional nutritional advice, consult a professional. Be your own guru.

Note: See Warning about the Raw Vegan Diet.

[1] http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article17.aspx

[2] Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Towards Natural Health, Victoria Boutenko, 2009

[3] Do We Need to Eat Greens?, Nora Lenz, 2011

[4] Mango the Raw Vegan Fruitarian

[5] Kveta’s Fruitarian Journal

[6] Fruit Lovers of The World Unite

[7] To Other Fruit Lovers, The 2nd International Fruit Lovers Online Summit 2011

[8] Vision of Eden, Mango Wodzak

[9] Ethics and The Fruitarian Diet, Anne Osborne, video

6 thoughts on “Are greens necessary on a raw food diet?

  1. Cassandra

    Just wanted to say I’m still all fruity and feel well but decided to take B12 again.I think I’m too scared not to after all the reading I’ve done about it especially if you have lack of it!
    I have changed from cyanocobalamin to methylcobalamin and it is better for me.
    I tried some achacha fruit and think they are lovely,so many fruits to try,wish I good get a better selection though.Would like to try durian and custard apple,the list goes on and on :-)

    1. Gosia Post author

      Hi Casandra

      Wise decision. B12 deficiency can lead to serious consequences in the long term and I think that you are right to look after yourself. Custard apples, if you can get them really ripe, they are absolutely delicious. I had quite a feast when I gorged on them in Byron Bay once, where they grow locally. Yum yum yum! I wish I could try a fresh durian too!

      Regards,
      Gosia

  2. Cassandra

    Have not had a green smoothie since the 2nd Feb,just fruit to see how it went.
    I am surprised how well I feel and not craving at all for greens or salads.
    Took my usual B12 to be on the safe side and got an awful pain in my left side,thought they were the cause of this at other times too.
    So,after reading Fruitarianism The Path to Paradise,I have decided to give all fruit a go.
    No greens,no B12!
    Ordered the book after reading what you said about it Gosia,no regrets at all a wonderful book.

    1. Gosia Post author

      Hi Casandra

      Yes, this is such a wonderful book! :)

      As far as B12, Anne has tested low on B12 and has been taking B12 in recent months as an experiment. Experimenting is always good. In the end we need to rely on our own decision. I see the issue of B12 as a rather grey area, with many questions to which the answer is unknown. I don’t see not taking B12 as a goal that one should aspire to, it’s been merely my personal decision to do so. But I am open to experimenting and have been thinking of doing so, perhaps in not so distant future. First-hand experience is better than reading.

      All the best in your fruity journey
      :)

  3. Cassandra

    The last few times I made green smoothies I felt a bit sick about half hour after drinking,so I guess it is best to do what you say Gosia and listen to your body.
    Maybe I just need a spell or use less greens in it. Mainly baby spinach I used.

    1. Gosia Post author

      Perhaps you could check that the spinach tastes great before throwing it in a blender next time? The spinach could be old, but your body may not want any at a moment too, so worth checking.

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