Not losing weight on a raw food diet?

green-456839_1280I’m one of those people who can put on weight just looking at a Tim Tam or Twinkie.

And while raw foods are, on the whole, an exceptional way to lose weight, for some of us who are sensitive to starches, fats or sugars it is not always such a blissfully easy path.

Let me share with you some of the things I’ve learned both personally and professionally through my coaching practice about dealing with stubborn flab..

Trouble-shooting your raw food diet for weightloss

Here are some of the things to consider when overhauling your raw or high-raw diet for weightloss:

  • You may be eating too much fat – in the way of oils (a little goes a LOOOONG way) or even chugging back cups of nuts or avocados.  It takes a lot of energy to convert carbohydrates to fat, but fat itself, goes straight to your fat-storing problem areas.  And if you are combining fruit with a lot of fat then you probably spiking your blood sugar and causing unnecessary insulin resistance.  Keeping your fats below 10-15% is really key here, and making sure that your fats are consuming after all your fruit meals for the day.
  • You may be sensitive to starches (cooked potatoes, corn, white rice etc). Some people are simply more sensitive than others and need to restrict or even omit these completely in favour of lower calorie fruit carbohydrates.
  • You may not be eating nearly enough green vegetables in your diet.


Today I want to reflect on point number three, because I have found both personally, and in my coaching practice, that if you take care of number 3 that the other two are automatically dealt with.

Let me underline this point just to make sure you heard it loud and clear…

** Eating greens and low-calorie fruits and vegetables is a HUGE boon to those wanting to shed extra pounds of flab. **

Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live is one of my top five nutritional science reads, whether you're raw or cooked.

Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live is one of my top five nutritional science reads, whether you’re raw or cooked.

In his excellent book “Eat to Live”, Dr Joel Fuhrman M.D. recommends focusing on increasing the amount of low-calorie but high nutrient density foods in your diet. What he’s talking about here is fruits, vegetables and legumes, the lowest calorie foods on the planet.

On a fruit-based raw food diet we are automatically consuming loads of fruit, but often people forget about the incredible health benefits of greens in your diet.

At least when you first start eating them, green veggies are not that yummy, right? We’re not used to the bitter taste, preferring fruit’s sweetness.

But this article is a reminder about why we all need to preference greens-eating as highly as fruit, if we want to lose weight.

It’s also a homage to the amazing nutritional power of the humble green vegetable.

“Green vegetables are so incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber that the more you eat of them, the more weight you will lose, ” says Dr Fuhrman.

The reason for this weight loss is partly to do with achieving volume satiety and partly to do with nutrients.  Greens are simply the lowest calorie but highest nutrient food on the planet, bar none.

When you eat a high volume of greens your satiety switch for volume will be triggered, allowing you to eat less of other higher calorie foods, including fruit.  Your body will also thank you for all the additional nutrients you are consuming through your increased greens intake.

He goes on to explain his secret weapon for nutritional excellence and weight-loss:  his “One pound – one pound” rule.  Basically he recommends trying to eat at least one pound of raw green vegetables a day and one pound of cooked/steamed or frozen green vegetables a day as well.   “Keep this goal in mind as you design and eat every meal,” he says.

My personal experience synchronises very nicely with Dr Fuhrman’s model.  The more green vegies I include in my diet the more weight I lose, the clearer my skin becomes, and the more I feel completely satisfied with every single meal I eat.

If you are struggling to eat two pounds of green veggies per day in raw meals, then I strongly recommend you get them into your diet steamed.    What matters most is getting them into your body – whether that is cooked or raw.  As you increase the green component of your diet you’ll begin to crave them more and more, and can up the ratio of raw to cooked veggies.

A tip for enjoying your greens even more…

There are all the usual ways of enjoying your greens – smoothies, blended salads or raw soups and conventional salads – but here’s one you may not have thought of before…

Lettuce and baby spinach can be used as a substitute for toast with any low-fat raw or cooked soups or stews.   You can also make a mound of shredded lettuce or baby spinach and pour your soup or stew over the top.  Lately I’ve been enjoying a cooked low-fat veggie chili recipe ladled over the top of chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce.  This is a super delicious way of enjoying greens.

As Dr Fuhrman says, “The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose. The high volume of greens not only will be your secret to a thin waistline but will simultaneous protect you against life-threatening illnesses.”

Now how about you?  Have you found that increasing greens in your diet has helped with weightloss, or cravings, or both?

What are your favorite ways of eating greens?  Please share your experiences in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear from you…



  1. I have had great success incorporating more greens into my diet. My favorite way to eat them right now is making lettuce wraps. Yum yum, delicious.

  2. I try not to use it for separate self and carefully watch my feelings and how I feel after eating something lower in vibration to what my natural energy level is. Make it a tool when you fall off the wagon as you put it, to further sensitize ones self to becoming more aware and in control, not go off on a subconscious, built up eating frenzy that takes days, months or years to got back to base from. It can teach us a lot about ourselves and food identification swings. Andiclockwise

  3. I just love eating my greens in the form of juices and salads, sumptuous and lush salads.
    But I have a problem, if I eat those salads I love for dinner for more than 3 consecutive days, I have liver and spleen problems and I have to stop.
    And whithin that process I crave for sweet fruits. A large quantity of sweet fruits, which is not normal at me.
    And I still don´t know the reason for this and how to overcome it.
    I prefer raw veggies that cooked veggies and I only eat cooked veggies (the roasted ones are my favourites) when my liver and spleen are not ok.
    Could you give me a suggestion on what to do to overcome this liver problem?
    Thank you in advance
    I love your articles!

  4. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “liver problems”, Isabel… I can only assume that you’re eating your salads with a lot of oily, salty dressings and that’s what’s causing you’re troubles rather than the green veggies themselves. Salt and heavy oils will definitely burden your body and leave you craving water rich fruits. We are designed to eat fruit as a primary staple so don’t feel bad about indulging your natural sweet tooth. Fruit and greens are the most nutritious foods we can eat. Enjoy them!

  5. I have been trying to lose 10 lbs now for a couple of months, have been 100% raw for 8 months. I walk/run 4.5 miles 4 days per week and hike and bicycle, and lately I’ve really beefed (haha) up my biking/hiking. My weight either stays the same or increases! I eat one or two oranges in the morning, a 2-3 banana smoothie with 6 cups of greens for breakfast, a small amount of fruit for lunch, and a big salad for dinner . . . I do make my own dressing and put some tahini, hemp seed, or flax oil in it . . . is this too much fat? . . . also, I have concerns about not having enough protein, as a couple of weeks ago I was feeling light headed and weak. Thanks for all you do to reach and help people, Athea, I read your blog every day!

  6. Hi Susan, Without looking at a detailed history and food diary it’s very difficult to tell. You don’t need very much oil to take your fat intake way up and this can interfere with glucose uptake into the cells and cause some insulin resistance. Light-headedness could be dehydration, a sodium/potassium imbalance or just too much fat in your diet. Track your food on, including water intake, to see if you’re keeping your fats below 10% of calories. Stubborn weight could also be related to thyroid problems and/or iodine deficiency, so you might want to investigate these as well. I’m happy to help you through all this – check out <>

  7. Anthea,
    I just discovered you last week and am so enjoying reading all your writings and viewing your You Tube videos. I want to say I find your approach very calm and mature. So many in this area of nutrition seem a “tad” hyper to me. Their videos seem rather loud and well……hyper. Your approach seems much quieter and more mature and I appreciate all your knowledge and willingness to share. I would like to say I totally agree with the emphasis on the greens but for myself I always experience a “histamine” reaction to greens, facial edema, ect. I have had it for years and wonder if others out there also have histamine issues with greens. Thank you again for all the work that you do to help us all out………and thank you for doing it so “quietly”.

  8. Awww, Sophie! Such kind words. I do truly do what I do from the heart. It’s not to get rich and retire, that’s for sure LOL. Thanks for sharing your experience with greens and histamine. I’ve never heard of this before but will definitely do some research. I’m wondering if it’s a hypersensitivity to alkaloids. Are there certain greens that seem to tip you over into a reaction, or is it ALL of them? I would love to hear more about it..

  9. Bless you, Andy. Always such level-headedness in your responses. Awareness is where it’s at, that’s for sure! x

  10. I thought I would add a couple of more comments Anthea about the “greens” as I am so puzzled about it and I have had it for years. Many years of raw fruit for breakfast, raw fruit at lunch, huge salad with all kinds of veggies for dinner and very low fat and still……immediately after eating only a bite of lettuce or kale or whatever my lips “puff up” and by morning I look like a “puff ball”. Yes, nightshades affect me terribly, muscle stiffness, contractions, ect. So many years of this and it is so discouraging to know what I should and want to eat and yet experience this kind of reaction. I would love to hear if any of your other readers experience this. I refuse to go “paleo” with all the meat, ect. I guess I shall just remain, sadly, a little “puff ball”.

  11. Oh dear, Sophie. That must be so hard 🙁 I have not heard of this kind of allergic reaction to greens before. Nightshades – yes, but not greens. Does Barley Grass Juice powder have this same effect on you? It might be worth a try. If you are getting this kind of reaction to greens I would avoid them and stick to fruits, nuts and seeds. Do you get the same reaction from cucumber? If not, then you could stick to those and fruits. As long as you are getting in a variety of fruits, and you are seeking out good quality fruits then you will still be very healthy. Look at Anne Osborne, who eats nothing but fruit and has for 20 years, and is a glowing picture of health!

  12. Love this post! I’ve been eating raw for 8 weeks now. I have about 10-15 lbs I want to lose and my weight hasn’t budged. I’m halfway through “Eat to live’ and I’m wondering if my fats are too high… I was eating a lot of nuts and dressings and seeds so I’ve cut back on those and I’m hoping that helps! Any other advice? So glad I found you!

  13. That’s probably been the issue, though difficult to say without doing a personal consult with you, Emily. Best of luck trying that. If you get stuck I’m happy to help.

  14. 1.Cut leafy greens and pour over gaspacho! Nutritional yeast and olives in there too – AMAZING
    Also add some algae (I discovered casual Nori, that are used for sushi) – soaked very fast – they make a wonderful meaty filling feel!
    By the way, Anthea, do you have something to tell us about algae in the diet? Iodine as such.
    2. Heard from Dr. Rick Dina: wrap a banana in lettuce – truely great harmonious and rounded breakfast 

  15. Nice suggestions, Arina. Don Bennett is my go-to on all things Iodine. Check out his website

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