January 10, 2009


I frequently get asked the question, "How raw are you?" And I don't blame people for asking because there's so many ways to go about transitioning to a raw diet, not to mention all the conflicting information about which raw foods and superfoods to focus on.

For me, I don’t actually see raw foods as a diet at all, but rather a lifestyle. And although I have personally lost a significant amount of weight incorporation raw foods into my routine (over 35 lbs), there are other aspect of a raw lifestyle that I was drawn to, including the idea of connecting back to nature… to a more natural way of living. In fact, I think that living naturally, organically, sustainably, and raw is by far the most beautiful way to live!

And yes, I do still struggle on occasion especially around the holidays, but I try not to give myself a hard time over it. Instead, I give myself enough love and understanding to know that I'm always doing the best I can… a work in progress.

But ideally, I try to aim for about 80% raw vegan, gluten free. I try to focus on incorporating lots of organic leafy greens. In fact, I prefer greens over many of the “superfood” supplements promoted in the raw community. I feel that eating foods in their natural state is far more superior. But I do have a select few favorite superfoods that I occasionally use in smoothies and/or recipes to make sure all my essential nutrients are covered.

I love making low-glycemic green juices (see my Juice of Radiance recipe), berry-collard smoothies, tomato-herb soups, and hardy salads with avocado-base dressings. But I equally enjoy gluten-free whole grains, cooked. Some of my favorites include quinoa grain and organic brown rice pasta with raw spicy marinara.

Adding in some gluten-free whole grains makes me feel a bit more grounded. And as Rick and Karin Dina, D.C. (the Raw Food Doctors) once explained, nutritionally speaking steamed veggies over brown rice is probably better for you than "raw" cake loaded with fat and sugar, even though the fat and sugar is natural and unprocessed. For this reason I try to keep my diet balanced rather than getting caught up in whether or not something is "raw". My first priority is keeping it high quality and organic.

I also occasionally incorporate wild-caught fish into my diet, both raw and cooked. I find that my body responds well to the protein. And I've been known to eat unpasteurized raw goats cheese. So in that regard I'm definitely not vegan, but I do try to maintain at least 80% raw vegan, which is amazing considering I grew up in Russia eating meat and potatoes practically at every meal.

I am also very drawn to the Hippocrates approach to raw foods rather than the Natural Hygiene 80/10/10 approach. I find that the Hippocrates perspective on nutrition is far more balanced and well-rounded, whereas the 80/10/10 diet focuses on 80% carbs (from fruit), 10% protein, and 10% fat. I find this approach a bit restrictive.

But having said that, I also think that everyone has their own physiology, and therefore one must always tune in and listen to their body. The wisdom inside of us is always more accurate than advice of any expert!


  1. Thanks so much for your refreshing honesty and perspective on your raw foods lifestyle. I love it Mila!

  2. Hi Lenette,
    Thanks for taking the time connect! Be sure to come back and visit soon.

  3. Hello Mila,

    Just had a look at your website and blog.

    I love your style both in writing and recipes.
    I`m so glad we got to connect...long live twitter ;)

    Warm Wishes,

  4. Dear Gabrielle,

    Thank you kindly for your genuine response. I am flattered you took the time to stop by and visit my blog.

    Take good care,

  5. So often people feel they need to be strict adherents to a particular diet or lifestyle. We could all learn something from your approach, to see natural and organic as much as possible, while occasionally indulging in a guilty pleasure or two. If everyone moved just a few steps away from processed and added more raw food to their diet the world would be a better place.

  6. Global Patriot,

    Thanks, I am glad you agree... healthy living is a journey, no need to be too hard on ourselves.


  7. Hi Mila,
    You have a great blog here!! very interesting and pleasing to the eye and full of information.
    Whilst reading this post, it almost felt as if you were writing my story too....we have very similar outlooks on the raw lifestyle and it is always refreshing to see/hear/read about from others. Thanks for sharing

  8. It is so nice to hear that you relate! I hope to hear from you on future posts :)


  9. ...I prefer greens over many of the “superfood” supplements promoted in the raw community. I feel that eating foods in their natural state is far more superior.

    I so agree, Mila! In fact, I really enjoyed this article and your balanced approach to incorporating more raw, living foods into one's diet.

    Glad to have stumbled upon you.

  10. Earthmother,

    Thank you for your lovely comment, I'm glad you can relate!


  11. loved (and needed) this post. your approach to raw foods is so sane and moderate, it seems thoroughly low-stress. i find it so hard not to get tangled up in the rigidity of different 'diets', like with raw food. but seriously? should anyone ever feel bad about eating a plate of steamed veggies? thanks for reinforcing that it's ok to not draw lines in the sand.

  12. Katie, so glad I could offer some relief. Patience is the best thing you can give yourself on your raw food journey!


  13. This is so good to read Mila, i have wanted to get into a more Raw food diet and know someone who is a Raw foodie and very strict and obsetional, something that has put me off as makes it sound you have to be all or nothing :(
    I like your approach and combination of knowing when your body needs the protien. The more you get to know your body it tells you what YOU need as an individual.
    Do you have a book Mila or would Shazzie be a good place to start for me as i live in the Highlands of Scotland

  14. Hi Jacqui, I'm glad you've continued exploring raw foods even though you're put off by the idea of all or nothing!

    I really feel that a gradual loving transition is the best way to start... the more raw foods you begin to incorporate the more you'll crave them! Let your body intuitively guide you to your ideal raw food lifestyle, whether that's 50% or 100%.

    I do not have a book at this time, but I've got some great articles on this blog about my philosophy on raw foods!

    I love Shazzie, but she's definitely on the strict side. A good book to start with might be Raw Food Life Force Energy by Natalie Rose, she promotes a high raw food diet which might make it easier to transition.

    Best of luck to you on your raw food journey, keep me posted ;-)


  15. I love your blog, it is very positive and informative!!

  16. Thank you for the kind words :-)

  17. Hi Mila,

    I started on the raw food journey in July. It has been pretty stressful much of the time, trying to figure out how to be 100% raw while feeding my family well. They really aren't in love with this lifestyle or the foods. I have taken a couple of private classes in Boulder, which has helped some. Anyway, reading your blog today (I somehow stumbled upon it), has given me a sense of relief. Maybe I don't really have to be 100%! I had heard/read somewhere that if you eat cooked foods from time to time, you'll never get rid of the addiction. YIKES!

    Thank you for being so honest and gentle.

    I have been thinking of taking the chef certification course at the Living Light Culinary Center. Looking at their schedule, it seems that I would have to make two or three trips out there to accomplish this. Do you know if there is anything else nearer to Colorado?



  18. Hi Michelle,

    I often see people struggle with raw foods thinking they have to be perfect 100% of the time. I truly feel it's counter productive to live in a stressful state of mind trying to live up to some ideal. It's less about perfection and more about living a healthy balanced lifestyle... which is absolutely possible on a high raw diet. Breathe, relax and love yourself on this beautiful journey :-)

    Living Light was a wonderful program but there's others on raw culinary arts. 105 Degrees Academy in Oklahoma might be a great program to look into. If you want an educational program on raw food nutrition Hippocrates Health Institute might be one to consider :-)


  19. Thank you for your response, Mila. I really appreciate it!

  20. Thank you so much for being so informative and not rigid. Such a relive ))
    I'm also from Russia and try to be raw, but it's not an easy task for me even thoug I enjoy it. It's hard to keep this balance you're talking about when there is so little information about it. Thank you again for all you're doing.
    Whith big respect.

  21. Privet Marina,

    Yes, it can be a challenge finding a balance... and I'm always continually working on mine! It's an ongoing journey. But there are many books and resources out there to help you stay informed and motivated :-)

    Here's a great book with reliable information!

    Living Foods for Optimum Health
    by Brian Clement


  22. new follower, here, Mila.....and recently-committed to moving more & more to a raw vegan diet...

    your style/approach resonates with me. I'm grateful to have you to look towards for guidance/insights....

    can you please elaborate a bit on the "Hippocrates approach to raw foods" when you get a chance...?



  23. Dustin, so glad to hear you're moving in the direction of more natural foods!

    The Hippocrates approach is largely based on the works of Ann Wigmore, who healed her cancer with wheatgrass juice, sprouts, and lots of leafy greens. This approach emphasizes a raw food diet high in greens and low-glycemic fruit.

    I personally still enjoy a variety of fruits, but I do try to focus more on the low-glycemic ones, including lots of berries ;-)

  24. Hello gorgeous!! So glad I found your site. I'm in and out of raw and I'm floundering on 811. Your approach sounds very PCOS friendly (i.e. low GI, with gluten-free grains). Think I'm missing the grains element (and I've also noticed some grouchiness with too much fruit too). Will have some fab low GI buckwheat pasta with raw pesto this eve. I'm about 80% rv ...but I'm with you on the fish... You just have to go with what feels right ;-)
    Kate x

  25. Hi Kate, yep sometimes all we have to do is play around until we find what works best for us, and definitely what feels right ♥


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