Your whole food, plant-based life.

100% Smart

I am often asked if I eat a 100% raw diet. If you have been hanging out with us, you already know the answer. I do not. The majority of my diet (80-100%) is raw. In the summer, I eat almost all raw food. But when dealing with winter and also social situations, I allow myself a little wiggle room. Over the years I have found that adding some cooked food to my diet actually helps me maintain a higher percentage of raw. Especially in the winter,  if I try to eat a 100% raw diet, I find myself migrating to unhealthy foods (that are not raw or healthy) and my whole diet goes down the toilet. The addition of some cooked foods can make a positive difference.

You might be surprised to know that most of the raw food “gurus” are not 100% raw. Many incorporate some cooked food into their diet but are pretty quiet about it. Some are 100% raw and seem to have the need to make people feel like they are failures if they aren’t 100%. I am happy if I can get you to take one step forward because you will benefit from that step. That first step can be the beginning of an amazing journey to health.

I feel the best when my diet is mostly raw. But as you know, I are not militant about it. While I don’t believe that you have to be a 100% raw foodist to gain benefits from raw food, I do believe that you need to be 100% smart.

100% smart is being aware of everything that is going into your mouth. It is about eating consciously, not unconsciously. It is about balance, planning and nutrition. It is about realizing that what you are eating affects almost every aspect of your life. Your health, your energy level, how you sleep, even your outlook on life!

Blackberry Walnut Salad

Read, learn, and apply. Take time to plan and make sure you are getting a balanced diet. Too many people think that just because they are eating raw, they don’t have to pay any attention to what they are eating. The vast majority of what you eat should fall into the greens, veggies and fruits categories. Supplement with your nuts, seeds and grains but don’t make them the center of your diet. If you make a delicious raw tart, balance it out with a big salad full of greens!

OMG Pecan Bars 

Raw desserts are wonderful. They are much healthier than traditional recipes but once again, they are desserts and should be treated as such. They are nutritionally and calorie dense. A small serving is more than enough to satisfy.

Wake up to the dirty dozen. The EWG has put together a wonderful list that you can find here: The Dirty Dozen. They also include the “Clean 15”. Knowing what foods are the highest in pesticides helps us make wiser decisions when spending money on produce. If something is known to be full of dangerous pesticides, think about buying that organic. If something is clean, you might be able to get away with saving a little money. Ideally, we would buy everything organic. It is better for us and the earth but I understand that it is also very expensive. Once again, be 100% smart.

If you eat animal products, I highly encourage you to learn exactly what has to happen to get that animal to your plate. Not just what happens to the animal, learn about what happens to the environment. Learn how eating animals can affect your health, then use what you learn to make 100% smarter choices.

If you want to live your life to your fullest, learn to live 100% smart. And include a lot of raw foods in your diet!


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  1. GrowingRaw wrote on November 14, 2011

    Susan, like you I have come to realise that high raw long term is preferable to 100% raw in fits and spurts. High raw delivers huge improvements in my energy level and sense of vitality, and is much easier for me to manage. There’s less too worry about in terms of balancing my diet and ensuring I consume enough calories. Spring, Summer and Autumn seem to be my high raw months, while I’m happy to burn along at a steady 50-60% in Winter.

    Having said that, if there are tasks accumulating on my to-do list that require heaps of mental energy, several days of 100% raw in a row usually helps me tick them off. I’ve also heard of people concentrating on fruits when they want to achieve a more spiritual buzz. I love leafy greens too much to last on fruit only for more than a day or so.

  2. Sarah wrote on November 8, 2011

    Susan, I’m glad you addressed this because it’s something I’ve been wondering about as I find myself loving your recipes. You often include nuts that I have resolved are not available raw, except very expensively online.

    I guess I’m looking for some kind of resolution: Do you include the difficult nuts because you know they are available albeit expensively? Or do you not know that nuts like cashews and almonds are not raw? Or is this post addressing the fact that you do include non-raw ingredients in the recipes you post? I’m not trying to change your style because I do love it. I’m just trying to figure out why so many raw food chefs seem to ignore the nut issue.

    • Susan wrote on November 8, 2011

      I have written about nuts here: . You can buy raw almonds and raw cashews on-line or if you are lucky at your coops. Many are now carrying almonds from Spain or you can also get them from growers in California.

  3. Margaret wrote on October 23, 2011

    I really like your take on this and I also promote that raw foodists don’t have to aim for 100% raw. Everyone needs to find what works best for them. However I also notice the trend to label people who do eat 100% law as anal or as dishonest about their diets. I’ve been very close to 100% raw (I do eat nutritional yeast, tamari and miso occasionally) for about 5 years now and, despite living in Canada, I have not have any cravings or desire for cooked food. If I do I will add some but right now this is working really well for me and, after the first 2 winters, I actually think I feel the cold less than I did on a cooked food diet. That is not to say that I am looking forward to winter though …

  4. Jen Lapietro wrote on September 25, 2011

    I’ve hit a wall in the raw food diet ever since learning from Dr. Mercola that agave is not healthy – especially for diabetics. Agave is higher in fructose than HFCS – High Fructose Corn syrup. Fructose has a glycemic index of 32 and up BUT fructose is metabolized in the liver like alcohol.
    I notice there is a shortage of main dishes that are raw. The majority of the raw food recipes contain agave/honey/maple syrup. Honey is also high fructose (50.5%). Although maple syrup is only 1% glucose, it has 95% sucrose which is 50% glucose + 50% fructose. So maple syrup is 48.5% fructose (1 + 95/2).
    I plan to keep what I’ve learned from raw food preparation and add non-raw foods that are healthy. I’ve learned to try new ingredients, food preparation methods and that opens our world in any cuisine. We’ve found a butcher shop that sells grass-fed beef. I’ve ordered KAL powdered stevia and will experiment with ways to substitute stevia for fructose-heavy sweeteners. Also going to grow wheatgrass & make wheatgrass juice and add sprouts to our diet. Any ideas welcome.

  5. Eco Mama wrote on September 24, 2011

    Gorgeous photos Susan, and I’m right there with ya.
    Eco Mama

  6. Beth wrote on September 16, 2011

    Dig dig dig it! 100% smart- love it! The only percentage that counts for me, personally! 🙂 That salad looks amazing!!


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