Advice Article Food Vegan

Misconceptions About the HCLF Diet

(Please note this updated article I did called “Why I’m not Longer HCLF or Raw Till 4“)

In early 2014 I was introduced to the HCLF diet. I wouldn’t normally refer to it as a “diet” because it’s more of a lifestyle, but for all intents and purposes, that is what it’s called. This lifestyle changed the way I think about food and has helped me immensely over the past few months. It is an amazing lifestyle and I think everyone should be aware of it. I also wrote a post a couple months back describing all the details. You can find the post here.

So recently I read an article about someone who was debunking the HCLF diet by saying every body is different and some people may not thrive this way, and also didn’t recommend it to people who have/had an eating disorder. So I just wanted to make a post to let everybody know some misconceptions about this diet, and that truly anyone can flourish from it if you put your mind to it ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t knock it till you try it.

Misconceptions:


 1. HCLF / raw vegan / 801010 diet are all the same.

First of all, many people may think these three diets are all the same and may generalize them into one category. Although they are similar, they are not all one diet. For those of you who don’t know what any of these things mean, I’ll break it down for you. (I also previously wrote a blog post about all the types of vegan diets that you can find here.)

HCLF = High Carb Low Fat. This means eating an abundance of food that are high in carbohydrates (good carbs vs bad carbs post here) such as fruit, vegetables, rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. Low amounts of salt/sugar/fat. A typical day for a HCLF diet would consist of possibly a raw till 4 meal (or more than 1 cooked meal because it’s all up to you) such as: giant smoothie for breakfast, fruit, nana ice cream or a big salad for lunch. And rice/potatoes/pasta/stir-fry/curry for dinner.

Raw Vegan = One who does not consume anything cooked over 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). People who live this lifestyle typically do it strictly for health, since eating raw foods are the best for you. A typical day for a raw vegan could be a giant smoothie for breakfast, a huge fruit platter for lunch, and a giant salad for dinner!

Scientists found the energy levels that radiate from raw fruits and vegetables are phenomenal compared to cooked ones. You are what you eat.

Scientists found the energy levels that radiate from raw fruits and vegetables are phenomenal compared to cooked ones. You are what you eat.

801010 = a ratio of 80/10/10 where one gets 80% of their calories from carbs (fruits and veggies), 10% comes from healthy fats(avocados, nuts, etc), and the other 10% comes from protein(leafy greens). Hence the break down, 80%-10%-10%

So you could see how one might get these three diets confused and think they are all one diet. But one who follows a HCLF diet doesn’t necessarily listen to the 801010 ratios, or one who follows 801010 may not be fully raw. You see? ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing all of these diets do have is optimal health and abundance. You get to eat a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables that leave you feeling the best! Which brings me to my next misconception:

2. These diets are restrictive. Bad for people with eating disorders.

This one makes me laugh because this diet is the OPPOSITE of restrictive. This is personally coming from someone who has battled with disordered thoughts for a long time. I used to eat as little as possible to lose weight and use the ‘calorie counting’ app to ensure I had under a certain amount of calories each day. I can officially say that ever since I have started this lifestyle (I say lifestyle because a ‘diet’ implies a temporary fix) I have not restricted my calories or said no to a food once.

Of course when you are a vegan you say no to anything that comes from an animal, but I think that is different. That is not restrictive, that’s a choice, and it’s an amazing one cause you are doing what’s best for the human body, as well as saving the animals and helping the earth.  I don’t consider veganism a diet, and it’s not a lifestyle either. Is not being racist a lifestyle? Is not being sexist or homophobic a lifestyle? Being vegan is a necessary change we need for this world. So no, it’s not restrictive – it’s necessary.

I get so excited to wake up in the morning and have a big smoothie or nana ice cream for breakfast. I don’t follow a strict diet, so I don’t count calories or ratios, or make sure that two of my meals each day or raw. I just wake up and eat what my body thrives on. For me this would be nana ice cream with 4 bananas (lately I’ve been able to do 5), then for lunch I have oatmeal, or a ton of fruit, or a PB&J sandwich. Then for dinner I alternate between a giant salad with every vegetable you can think of, rice pasta w/ tomato sauce, potato fries (3-4 potatoes), tofu and mashed potatoes, or vegan chili! See, so many options, and everybody is different. So just find what works for your body and do that. And if I want dessert, I have dessert. When I used to restrict, I didn’t know if all the foods I was eating were healthy so I felt guilty eating treats. But now since I know that everything I eat is healthy, I have no problem eating desserts and treats! Especially when you can make those healthy as well! Some of my favourites are: dates+peanut butter, vegan brownies, vegan cookies, vegan cheesecake. mmmm.

3. Eating too many calories is bad for you.

Eating too many calories is not bad for you!!! Calories are irrelevant because literally every single food contains them. What people don’t understand is that there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ calorie. However foods do contain are things like fats, sugars, cholesterol, etc. THOSE are the things that are bad, not the calories. I always put it this way: would you rather have 1 banana that’s 100 calories, or a diet coke zero that is zero calories. hmmmmmm……..

As long as you’re eating the right foods, calories don’t matter ๐Ÿ™‚ Count nutrients, not calories. If it comes from a plant – eat it. If it was made in a plant – don’t eat it.

10330241_706865666019119_2734672709792063852_n4.  I tried this diet and felt sick from a 10 banana smoothie. (digestive issues)

I like to compare this diet to yoga or doing the splits. You can’t just stretch your legs out for the first time and expect to do the splits right away. It’s going to hurt like a bitch and your legs will be super soar after. But you can’t go complaining to your friend that you tried to do the splits like her and you pulled a muscle or felt soar after. Because she has been doing yoga all her life and you have just started.

The same thing goes for this lifestyle. You can’t begin day one of your new life with a 10 banana smoothie for breakfast. You have to take it slow and gradual. Like I’ve said before, I don’t label myself as anything except for vegan (and proud) or follow any strict diets. But I do however aim to eat a high amount of carbs, low amounts of fats, and tons of raw foods, because I know those are what makes my body feel the best.

With that being said, I make up my own rules. Last year when I first started drinking smoothies, I could only put 1 banana in it. And when I would make oatmeal, it would be less than half a cup of oats.

One year later, I’m using 4-5 bananas per smoothie/nana ice cream, and over 1 cup of oats! I slowly stretched my stomach over time to allow myself to eat more. And I love eating in abundance because, like previously stated, IT’S NOT RESTRICTIVE AT ALL!! I am so in love with how much food I can eat and not get fat. Whereas my friends who are having chicken or eggs have to watch their amount due to fats and cholesterol, I eat until I am stuffed and I have never felt better.

People like Freelee will tell you to eat over 2500+ calories a day, and that’s awesome for her and anyone else who can do it! However I understand if you physically can’t hold that much. I don’t count calories so I don’t know how much I have, but her point she is trying to make is that you need to eat enough.So if that means your smoothie has 7 bananas or 4 bananas, they’re both great depending on whatever works for you.

Also, eating 400 calories of animal by-products only fills your stomach up a tiny bit, leaving you feeling still hungry and therefore eating more things that aren’t healthy for you. Whereas when you eat 400 calories of vegetables, it signals your brain that you are full and satisfied.veggies, oils, fats

5. Not enough protein.

I’ve said this like a million times but….. what is with people and their obsession with protein!? People always ask vegans “how do you get your protein?” hmmm, gee, I don’t know. I guess I should be dead by now.

Do people not realize that PLANTS have protein too!?? Literally almost every single fruit and vegetable contains protein. Kale and Spinach alone contain more protein than steak.. Here are some vegan sources of protein:

lentils, cous cous, tofu, potatoes, seitan, tempeh, quinoa, peanuts, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, almonds, whole wheat bread, black beans, rice, pinto beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, cashews, artichoke, corn, peas, avocado, bananas, pumpkin seeds, watermelon, spinach, flax seeds, broccoli, pecans, kidney beans, rye bread, popcorn, steel cut oats, soybeans.

Ya friends, even watermelon contains protein.

Oh and btw, people think they need like 50 billion grams of protein a day to survive or something!? Did you know that the human body only needs 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram that we weigh (or about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh) If we do a few calculations we see that the protein recommendation for vegans amounts to close to 10% of calories coming from protein. [For example, a vegan male weighing 174 pounds could have a calorie requirement of 2,600 calories. His protein needs are calculated as 174 pounds x 0.41 g/pound = 71 grams of protein. 71 grams of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein = 284 calories from protein. 284 divided by 2,600 calories = 10.9% of calories from protein.]

The problem for humans actually isn’t too little protein – it’s too much protein.

A large egg contains about 185 mg of cholesterol. And since the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a limit of 300 mg per day. Eat two eggs and youโ€™ve exceeded that limit. (http://www.peta.org/features/eat-chickens-period/)

6. This is not the healthiest diet above all or a cure for everything.

No offence, but it literally is.

Just kidding, but still. This diet is SO healthy for you, I don’t understand how people don’t comprehend that. They tell you growing up to eat your fruits and veggies cause they’re good for you. Yet as soon as someone starts eating ALL fruits and veggies, suddenly that is… unhealthy? What?

Fruits and vegetables contain every single nutrient that humans need to survive. I wrote an article about the top 5 best foods for you, which mean if you ONLY ate these foods for the rest of your life, you’d thrive. Those foods are: Spinach, Broccoli, Blueberries, Chickpeas/Beans, and Flaxseed.

That’s it guys. Literally. Those 5 foods contain almost every single vitamin and nutrient you need. So there is no need for chicken or steak or eggs or milk. Everything from protein, to calcium, to vitamin C, to iron are all right there.

Not only are they healthy, but they can even cure multiple diseases and wait for it…

Reverse cancer growth. And no it’s not magic guys – it’s the way we were built to eat.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=raw+vegan+reverse+cancer

You go show me some chicken and eggs that can do that and I will be amazed.

Why do you think the doctors and nutritionists don’t recommend eating this way to cure ourselves? Well because how else would they make their money? It’s really something to think about eh?

For further reading about health, you can see my previous articles here:

http://mindfullybliss.com/the-power-of-plants-what-they-can-cure/

http://mindfullybliss.com/the-obsession-with-protein/

http://mindfullybliss.com/the-medical-industry/

http://mindfullybliss.com/why-veganism-is-more-than-just-a-diet/

http://mindfullybliss.com/eating-raw/

http://mindfullybliss.com/whats-in-our-food/

Remember guys, every body IS different, I don’t doubt that. But I also don’t doubt that if you follow this lifestyle correctly and find what works best for YOU, that you will thrive, and you will be happy ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of love,
Katrina

 

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Loveforall
    July 17, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Hi!
    I think veganism and all these diets might be great for some people, and I totally respect you arguing your case for HCLF and other similar diets, but I just feel that it’s a little dangerous to go so far in insisting that it’s good for you. Maybe it is, but people can be fabulously healthy while eating in other ways. I’m saying this because I feel that you shouldn’t undermine the fact that diets like these can cause or increase eating disorders. It’s great that this diet has helped you feel great about your body, but I think you should mention that if taking this diet extremely seriously it can be unhealthy to people with disorders.

    Sorry for the humungous post, I just think this is really important.

    • Reply
      Katrina
      July 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Hi there! ๐Ÿ™‚ I totally agree with you, everyone’s bodies are different and are designed for different foods. However, can you clarify what you mean by it can be bad for eating disorders? Lately I’ve just discovered myself that HCLF and eating in abundance is too much for my body, so instead, i eat smaller portions of the same foods! I 100% think a plant based diet is the healthiest for the human body – it’s even been scientifically proven that plant based foods can cure and eradicate many diseases. Sorry, I just wanted you to specify what you meant by unhealthy and eating disorders ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  • Reply
    Great post onlineย  | camilestorageroom
    March 27, 2016 at 4:00 am

    […] March 27, 2016 camilesay Leave a comment Misconceptions About the HCLF Diet […]

  • Reply
    Tara
    April 28, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I think that it’s great to eat healthy and I’m all for not eating meat but I just wanted to correct you about protein in spinach and kale. There is absolutely not more protein in those foods than there is in meat.

    • Reply
      Adaline
      June 4, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      I think the point that OP was trying to make was that the protein levels in produce are ENOUGH for any human on the planet, although we all require different amounts. Eating the amount of protein in meat is actually unhealthy for humans, as exhibited by the prevalence of obesity-related illnesses. I have never personally seen a vegan person in the hospital with diabetes-related complications, such as amputation or blindness.

    • Reply
      nora
      June 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      actually they do! 100 hundred calories of spinach has 12 g of protein and 100 calories of beef had 10! Whil certainly 100 calories of spinach is much more food than its steak counterpart, it just means you get to eat more!

    • Reply
      Rae
      July 16, 2016 at 4:43 am

      Actually, yes there is. Maybe not in 1/2 cup of kale or spinach, but if you match spinach or kale in calories to steak (a 500 cal steak and 500 cal worth of greens), you will end up with more protein, zero fat and no harmful hormones, sodium or saturated fats. So yeah, a head of kale or a big ole bunch of spinach IS equal in protein. You just need to eat more of it, which in return will fill you up WITHOUT the heavy sick feeling you get from steak and other meat.

  • Reply
    Annabelle
    May 31, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I think its great that you love your lifestyle but I think it is important for you to mention that you CANNOT get all your nutrients from plants. Vegans need to make sure they take B12 supplements. There is NO adequate plant source for B12 and a B12 deficiency is very serious and can damage your nervous system. Please make sure your facts are straight and let people considering a vegan lifestyle know that they WILL have to take vitamin supplements. Thank you and I hope all is well!

    • Reply
      Adaline
      June 4, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      It is comical that you tell someone to “get their facts straight,” and you are so incorrect with your information. Even heavy meat eaters can have B12 deficiencies and vegans do not need to take supplements. I hope you escape the black hole that is the meat and dairy industries’ propaganda and carb up for your own health!

    • Reply
      aj
      October 12, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      I don’t take a B12 supplement yet I don’t have a deficiency. I just had my blood work done and my doctor said everything was perfect.

    • Reply
      Amy
      April 16, 2017 at 2:06 am

      1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains your recommended daily intake of B12 actually…among many other fantastic vitamins and micronutrients. Put that shit on everything!

  • Reply
    Adaline
    June 4, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    haha, I’m sorry but the inevitable B12 comment made me laugh. It is amazing that people still think they are meant to be omnivores in 2016.

  • Reply
    Holly
    August 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I am confused about the high carb low fat definition. It says it is low in sugar but fruit is very high in sugar. Also, why is the diet so low in fat?

    • Reply
      Leo
      August 19, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      I think they meant processed sugar. That is what I have read in other similar articles.

  • Reply
    Laura
    August 25, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    It is true that you need a B12 supplement though. Humans evolved as omnivores, there is no culture in the world that has ever been 100% vegan. That being said, I think veganism is great and 100% possible to thrive on. The thing is though, you have to make sure you’re doing it right and that includes getting B12, which is not available currently through fruits/veggies/legumes/etc.

    As for disordered eating, it’s great that you feel free of restriction, but eating HCLF vegan can be very hard for people when friends/family don’t and say they go out to eat and can only have a baked potato while everyone else has elaborate meals. It’s easy to feel deprived or different in these situations, and become overly preoccupied with what you are going to eat in these inevitable situations.

  • Reply
    Adele
    September 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    There is no plant-based source of B12 currently known in the world, and everybody needs B12 as a long-term deficiency can lead to serious brain/nerve damage. If there’s only one supplement you take, it absolutely has to be B12.

  • Reply
    Saba
    October 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Hey ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved your post On hclf diet can I eat seeds, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts?

    • Reply
      Katrina Nerisse
      October 24, 2016 at 1:06 am

      of course! HCLF recommends smaller amounts of nuts since they are higher in natural fats, but nuts are very good for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t let this diet restrict you!

  • Reply
    Ben W
    November 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Adele, all B12 cyanocobalamin is suitable for vegans. The fillers in tablets may not be however so it’s worth checking.

    Yes it’s important to have, however the lack of B12 in vegan diets is due to a lack of the necessary bacteria in our depleted, chemical-filled soils and other modern farming practices such as washing produce in chemicals. In times gone by, we would’ve consumed sufficient levels of bacteria through soil-contaminated produce to allow B12 to be produced in our digestive systems. Sadly this is no longer possible. In fact, soils have been stripped so bare that even animals raised for human consumption have to be given B12 supplements. If this didn’t happen, the level of meat-eaters with B12 deficiencies would likely rise sharply.

    If you buy animal products you’re actually just eating supplements that have been processed through the bodies of said animals, so consuming them yourself is a much more efficient way to get the B12 you need. I personally take one 250mcg tablet a day which costs pennies. A cheap price to pay in order to lower your chance of getting dementia and a whole host of other neurological conditions.

    Alternatively, as a vegan you could just drink/eat fortified plant milks, yoghurts, ice creams or include nutritional yeast or yeast extract spreads in your diet. Much tastier than a supplement and no animals need die in the process.

  • Reply
    Jeff
    December 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Katrina,

    May I *politely* challenge your premise that a high fat diet does not leave you feeling full?

    I understand that every person is different – so for some (perhaps many?) people, stomach volume matters.

    But I would issue a word of caution about dismissing satiety on diets other than HCLF diets.

    Please allow me to leave my story:
    I was 350lbs, eating a S.A.D. diet. I had problems sticking to ANY diet. I was always hungry and never satisfied (to your point) due to the fact that my diet lacked sufficient nutrients (mostly empty calories).

    Then, someone introduced me to the Ketogenic diet (a very LCHF – 75%F, 20%P, 5%C) diet. The ketogenic diet was a god send for me. I NEVER felt hungry. It was easy to eat below my required caloric intake. Most days, I ate 1 to 2 meals each day. I felt liberated. I didn’t feel like a slave to food anymore.

    That said, people also think that when you’re eating a ketogenic diet that you’re only eating meat – not true. I ate more vegetables on keto than I ever ate on my S.A.D. (lots of leafy greans and cruciferous vegetables – because they are primarily fiber, and on a ketogenic diet you are only counting net carbohydrates) – again, the point being to limit your insulin response and stay in a state of ketosis. But I digress . . .

    Most of my calories came from fats – coconut oil, butter, olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, real avocados. Of course, animal fats were also included, but there were lots of plant based fats.

    I lost over 60lbs rather rapidly. Due cholesterol concerns, my doctor prescribed a HCLF diet (something closer to 60C/30P/10F). I still have ~90lbs of body fat (as measured by a DEXA scan) to go, and as such, my diet is constantly changing and evolving, but my health continues to improve. I may not be on keto now, but I will always have the ketogenic diet to thank for jumpstarting this journey.

    Anyway, all that to say that I just wanted to throw out there – again, not argumentatively – that HCLF diets do often leave you with HIGH levels of satiety, despite having a lower “volume” of food.

  • Reply
    btparkman42
    April 6, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I really thought I was going to hate this piece, turns out, I did!….. NOT! Borat is still funny….. The reversing of cancer, the nutrients, vitamins, protien, you know your shit! Refreshing as watermelon and broccoli. Thanks and keep up the good work!

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