(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 🙂 Don’t knock it till you try it.
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!
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? 🙂
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 🙂 Count nutrients, not calories. If it comes from a plant – eat it. If it was made in a plant – don’t eat it.
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.
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 you’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.
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:
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 🙂
Lots of love,