How I combine Bright Line Eating with a Raw Vegan diet.

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If you know me, you probably know my history with food.

If you don’t, let’s just say Food and me – we go waaaaay back.

In fact, this relationship we have has been so ‘friendly’ at times that it’s been downright smothering.

Smothering, with whipped cream on top.

And claustrophobic, in the way that you get when you spend way too much time with someone. Shudder.

I won’t bore you here with a blow-by-blow description, but If you want to know some of the sordid details then you can read this article about my history with food addiction and compulsive eating.

To cut a long story short, I found Bright Line Eating in October of 2015, and my life has been transformed.  And I mean that in the profoundest sense.  It has transformed my life as profoundly as fruit has.

I know many of you are familiar with Dr Susan Peirce Thompson and BLE. Some of you have even dived in too.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people asking about how I combined BLE with a raw vegan diet, since the standard BLE food plan is not necessarily raw.

Firstly, a bit of context. Years ago I spent some time in FA (Food Addicts Anonymous) and so I’m very familiar with the standard Bright Line Eating plan (since it’s very similar) – and it did work fairly well for me too, for a while. The rigid structure of FA, however, of compulsory weekly meetings, calls and losing certainly privileges when you fell off the wagon, didn’t.

Because I healed my health conditions on a Raw Vegan diet (low-fat fruit-based raw vegan) I was very keen to keep that going, and so I experimented with following the Bright Lines raw.

It worked SO well, right from the outset, that I just kept going, tweaking things here and there.  I found I had lots of energy, and never really experienced what a lot of other BLE’ers feel initially on the weight loss plan, but still lost weight very steadily, losing 22 pounds in just over 2 months and getting down to goal weight.

Since the beginning of this I have had a number of breaks, and have back-slid into refined food addiction from time to time. (I want to point out, though, that my relapses were not because of my plan). Like any food addict I got tripped up when I did things like go camping for a week with friends (with no internet connection and no support).

Hey, I’m an addict!

But always I knew that this plan worked the best for me, and kept finding my way back. When I eat this way, I feel so incredibly at peace with the world.

Eating this way gives me FREEDOM from food obsession, from overeating, from undereating. It removes the food obsessed blinkers from my eyes, and restores sanity and peace.  The whole world opens up for me when I simply surrender my food.

Here’s what I do.

I’ve found success doing BLE by designing my own plan but following the basic rules of BLE –

1. No sugar
2. No flour
3. Meals
4. Quantities.

I looked at the rough calorie count of the BLE weight loss plan and decided on a figure for myself (which is a bit higher, since raw foods, I think, cause faster weight loss) then I designed a plan using cronometer (an online nutrition diary) that is pretty much 80/10/10 with a bit higher fat and lots of greens.  (*update – I’m eating 80/10/10 at the moment).

I leave out the dried fruit completely (since their sugars are too concentrated for me and cause me to relapse) and focus on whole fruits and veggies.

I don’t usually do smoothies, as I drink them way too fast, but will sometimes make smoothie bowls with LOTS of chopped veg thrown in to chew on. But this is pretty rare. And I need to monitor the way my body reacts to blended food.

I’ve found this really works for me.  Meals and bounded quantities has been absolutely key. A lot of raw vegans do fine just by eating an abundance of fruits and veggies.  For me that still left me wide open and vulnerable to food triggers and relapse.

How do I get enough Protein?

A number of people have asked me about my sources of protein because that’s important in BLE. You can watch my video discussing ‘What is enough protein on a raw vegan diet?’.  In terms of protein, specifically, I’m eating a low protein diet (but then I have done so since 2011) following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, which is that we need between 40 and 70g of protein per day – hardly any.

This amount can be achieved by eating lots of greens, fruit, nuts and seeds. At the moment I’m choosing to include some cooked legumes in my dinner, but that’s my only cooked food, and I may choose to ditch it later as my calorie count rises. The more calories one eats, the more protein one gets (since there is protein in EVERYTHING we eat)

Below I have included a sample of my current daily plan. This is a rough guide as I plan my meals each night using Cronometer and sometimes fruit quantities vary because of the varying calorie density of fruit – (e.g. banana is much more calorie dense than watermelon).

For dinner I generally always have 25oz of salad at night (mixed veggies and greens), 3-4 oz cooked or sprouted legumes, a fat and some fruit.

**Please bear in mind that there are other Raw Vegan BLE’ers that do it differently to me. In my mastermind group alone we have two of us who eat more veggies and fats than fruit. I’m the opposite.  All of us have found freedom though.  You need to find your own way with it but there are others who can support you in doing so.

Here’s a rough food plan for a day for me (at writing) at 1550 cals/per day ** (I still have a few pounds to lose since my last relapse so I’m back on weight loss)

Breakfast:
Between 20-40oz of fruit (depending on the fruit)
20oz of cucumber

Lunch:
Between 20-30oz of fruit (depending on the fruit – no melons for lunch)
20oz of cucumber/celery

Dinner:
About 10 ounces of fruit
25oz salad *
1 oz avo or 1/2oz of nuts/seeds
3 oz legumes (cooked or raw/sprouted)

*When I weigh out my salad, I just get a big bowl, put it on my digital scale and put whatever greens and veggies I like into it that comes to 25oz. I don’t commit vegetables or greens in individual portions (that would just be too consuming for my busy lifestyle) and it works really well.

** UPDATE – Okay, so I began transitioning to maintenance after about 2.5 months on the weight loss plan.  (Weight loss was fairly rapid).  I am currently eating 2400 calories per day.  This may go up further but right now feels like the right amount.

In transitioning to maintenance, I very slowly increased my calories (by about 100-200 calories) each 1 to 2 weeks over a two month period.  I weighed myself once a week, and gauged my hunger levels, to determine the rate of additions.  Increasing slowly also helps not to shock your digestive system too much.  (You get used to eating a lower volume of food and when you increase food you’ll notice that you full much fuller).

If you are high on the susceptibility scale then I strongly recommend that you discuss your food additions with another person who is also on this journey with you (such as a buddy or mastermind group).  The conversation for me goes like this:

Me:  “I’m thinking about increasing my food by 100 cals/day this week, because I’ve been feeling increasing hunger this week and/ or my weight has dropped.  I plan on doing it for a week then weighing myself at the end of 1 week to see any adjustment.  What do you think about this?”

My mastermind group (who I’ve been working with for nearly a year now all know me fairly well) will respond appropriately.  They know whether or not I’m emotionally stable and whether or not this is an arbitrary decision I’m making that’s more about compulsion or sound judgement.

Running any change you make by another person will help ensure that your saboteur doesn’t edge their way in and completely derail your progress.

 

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Want to give it a go too?

There are four options for you:

#1 – Jumping into a BLE Bootcamp and doing the program – I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with food or weight issues, regardless of whether you’re raw, vegan, or standard western diet eater. Find out your susceptibility to refined foods HERE and join Susan’s email list where you can find out about the program.

#2 – Want to do BLE raw? – Create your own plan, write down your food in the evening, commit it somewhere publicly or with a buddy, and work out strategies to stick with it (see #4 for support, which you will need. Anyone can give out a diet plan. Support is crucial.)

#3 – If you specifically want to do BLE raw, but don’t know where to start with your own BLE raw vegan plan, then I offer private coaching and can help guide you in getting going.  Find out about coaching HERE. (These packages always come automatically with my Fresh Start 90-Day program)

#4 – If you’re interested in connecting with others doing a BLE program the Raw Vegan way, then I run a private Face Book page for people who have bought my book The Raw Warriors Ultimate Kickstart Guide, which you can buy HERE for $17.

I look forward so much to sharing this journey of freedom from food with you.

Much love,
Anthea

  1. So appreciate your inspiring, motivational message, thank you:) Are you aware of Dr. D’Adamo’s Blood Type Diet? I am an A Blood type, so bananas, paw paws and mangoes (fruits I love), for example, are not recommended for me. What are your thoughts on that?

    1. Hi Cornelia, I am aware of The Blood Type Diet. My understanding is that the research is out on whether it actually works or not. Do you notice any particular food sensitivities when you eat those foods? If not, then I would just recommend keeping them in your diet as they are such wonderful prebiotics for good bacteria in your gut. The important thing to understand though is that to eat a high fruit diet successfully is to keep your calories from fat (from all sources) fairly low – below about 15% of calories – otherwise you’ll run into blood sugar metabolic problems. If you give it a fair trial for 2-4 weeks I think you’ll be amazed at the results.

  2. Great article! Apart from meal planns ,!addictions need to have 
    An emotional, mental,!spiritual component.!Are u doing any mindfullness  coaching , program. Dr. amen ‘s book, change ur brain ,  change ur life,  is worth reading although his nutrition plan isnn’t vegan. But it’s worth reading it  for the other components and know what brain type u have. 

    1. Hi Estela, Great question and thank you 🙂 I absolutely agree that a food plan is not the be all and end all, but just a teensy part of the picture. Susan’s program addresses ALL these 3 areas in a very comprehensive way – that’s why I love it so much. I do practice meditation (I try for 20 mins a day, but it’s usually only about 4 times a week at this stage) Thanks for the book suggestion, I hadn’t heard of it.

    1. Such a pleasure, Lorraine. I’ve been floundering in the dark for so many years that it feels imperative to share what I’ve learned and help others now 🙂

  3. Thank you for these tips. I’m in the recent group BLE, in action seven weeks now and great results. ordered your book as well. So, I’m in the right direction.

    1. Wonderful, Raymond. BLE just totally rocks. I’m so glad you’re seeing beautiful results. The magic has only just begun. Keep going! 🙂

  4. I will keep your information and decide early in the new year which way I go. For now, I have to really master Susan’s booth camp new habits. Early in the new year I should have attained my goal weight. I have not yet implemented all her suggestions such as meditation, mastermind group, etc.

    1. Hi Louise, Yes, I think it’s a very good idea to keep on the track that you’re on, learning the habits that you need for success. There’s so much juice (figuratively not literally, lol) in Susan’s program. All the best 🙂

  5. I am so grateful to read this 🙂 only one question please- my body does not like cucumber!  As this is one of the two specified foods – I gather it must be important,  but what can I eat instead ? I did think of melon , but it says no melon at lunch & this increases the fruit even more (I know technically cucumber is a fruit , but it is used as a veg in the kitchen !) Apart from that , it all sounds wonderful!  

    1. Lisa, You get to design your own Raw vegan BLE plan the way you want to, including the foods that you want. I personally love cucumber and it’s in season right now, that’s why I’m eating so much, but you could include any green vegetable, celery or lettuce. Just bear in mind that if you’re eating greens other than cucumber the ounces would be less because cucumber is a very heavy non-sweet fruit. 20ounces of lettuce would be way too much for instance. Play around with quantities until you get it right for yourself. The important thing is the overall calorie count for weightloss and committing and weighing your meals. I think including greens with every meal is also quite important.

  6. Hi I really like your idea about combining raw vegan with BLE. My biggest problem is that as a person with a past with eating disorder issues I tend to binge if I am restricting some foods. I have no problems leaving out anything animal based and I generally follow Dr J McDougall/Starch Solution plan. That works for me overall. But being a person in perpetual quest for food perfection ( a problem in itself) I like the idea of raw/BLE, but I start out with fruit and then really miss my fav breakfast followup of whole grain bread topped with natural peanut butter/no sugar jam and 2 cups of black coffee. Lunch is usually salad with some basic starch. Often bread again. Dinner is pile of broccoli with a potato and salsa and store bought hummus blob. If I stick to this I feel pretty good. But I will sneak in some sugar/wine/etc and then… Full on binge every now and again. And even a purge/bulemic episode. Pretty frightening since I am 59 and have not binged/purged since 28! So I guess when I reread this I mainly screw up when I let the sugar or the wine or the taco chips sneak in. So as much as I would love to go further into fully on raw I fear the binge. I think the problem really is not the food but the lack of life purpose at the moment.., but that is a way bigger issue than raw foodie stuff. 

    1. Carolyn, I agree that the sugar, wine and bread (flour) is triggering your addictive eating. Whenever I eat those things it affects my brain chemistry and I can’t not overeat. I think support is absolutely vital in recovering from addictive eating. In my experience this was something I couldn’t do on my own, because my own head would play games and take me off the path very quickly. Susan’s BLE program is great, or I can help you through the Fresh Start 90-Day program or Private coaching. I can only ever restrict my calories when I have a solid plan and am in a supportive program that allows me to deal with the emotions that come up. Hope this helps 🙂

    1. Hi Mirna, Planning meals could definitely help with weight gain. It could also be an assimilation problem too, so focusing on good food combining would also be appropriate.

  7. I would like to try this not permanently, but for a week to see how I feel. I am confused about calories and quantities. I need it simple and not based on type of fruit for veggie. I also feel like I need something more than just fruit and veggie at breakfast and lunch. Like fat/seeds/nuts. The quantity of fruit scares me. I’m afraid I would gain wait. I was in fa for 4 years and now in BLE. Despite my clean eating I still feel like I should feel better. I have been drawn to this so I might as well give it a try.

  8. Hi Anthea, this article is really helpful. I’ve been doing raw plant based on and off for the past year or so but also have a problem with binge eating especially with flour products. I’m a type 1 diabetic so the binging doesn’t help with my blood glucose, but when I’m 100% raw my blood glucose is amazing!
    I’m going to try this plan you have set out as I’m recovering from a recent binge and put on a lot of weight.
    Did you do any exercise when doing the 1550 calorie plan, as I know Susan suggests not to?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks Gemma 🙂 I didn’t do much exercise while on weightloss, Gemma, apart from a bit of walking each day. One thing is support is essential while you implement the plan. That’s why I really encourage people to actually do BLE. There are a million diet plans out there. It’s not the diet plan that helps us recover.

    1. Great question, Kelly. Because support is essential. There are lots – OA, OA How, FA, FAA, and Bright line eating has it’s own support group too. If you want to email me directly I’m happy to share with you what I’ve found has worked for me, because I’ve tried lots of things.

  9. Does your program have to be raw? I am in Canada. Has to be vegan b u t difficult when it is so cold in winter to just eat in a raw way. I know it’s difficult b u t addiction to flour and sugar etc. of Course is a problem – and The problem – and – just difficult.

    1. Hi Jan, I eat very high raw – 80-90% raw – but you could choose to eat less. I think anything above 50% is beneficial. And yes, if you’re addicted to flour and sugar then that is a big problem you need to get sorted because it will prevent you from eating an optimal diet and even much raw food at all. When I was eating flour and sugar I only wanted to be eating flour and sugar.

  10. Do you have any problems combining fruit and legumes—or avocado for that fact? Do you have any rules that you follow on food combining? Thanks!

    1. I eat fruit and greens at the beginning of the day. The only fat I combine with those is chia or hemp. All other fats I leave for the end of the day, after all fruit and combine those with greens, starches and legumes.

  11. What a tremendous story told with unbridled honesty. For anyone who’s struggled with their weight and addictive eating patterns, this was article provides great insight into the problem. (Anthea has a wonderful way of communicating ‘obvious’ truth.) To be sure, food addictions can be really problematic, especially for sugar and processed foods. For myself I’m essentially following the same process. Getting enough of the RIGHT food is critical which means a lot of fruit and vegetables. For me the biggest key has been to stay almost 100% off of foods containing gluten and off of heavy dense cooked meals. Concentrated cooked foods adds a lot of hard to process fat and calories to meals. I think Dr. Graham’s program of 80% complex carbohydrates and 10% each fat and protein is about right. Excess fat creates a lot of problems including disrupting your bodies appetite satiation system; excess protein has many negative side effects, too. One other thing she mentions that is critically important: Having someone else to talk too. My wife and I have similar issues with weight and find that bouncing ideas off each other is most helpful as we are both following and essentially raw vegan program along Dr. Graham’s line. (Technically, we mostly follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s protocol which is a little more flexible, though quite doable, than an absolute strict vegan routine.) Most importantly, for whatever subject Anthea talks about, you can tell that she speaks from tried and true, if not painful, experience. No pie in the sky advise from this lady.

    Also, in passing, her “The Raw Warriors Ultimate Kickstart Guide” is a great investment. I’ve never read a more spot on and to the point book on the subject of a raw vegan lifestyle.

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