We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Douglass Graham, a name synonymous with the 80/10/10 (80% Carbohydrate / 10% Protein / 10% Fat) diet wherein Dr. Graham makes the case that humans were designed to subsist primarily on fruit and some leafy greens.
“Dr. Douglas Graham, a lifetime athlete and raw fooder since 1978, is an advisor to world-class athletes and trainers from around the globe. He has worked professionally with top performers from almost every sport and every field of entertainment, including such notables as tennis legend Martina Navratilova, NBA pro basketball player Ronnie Grandison, track Olympic sprinter Doug Dickinson, pro women’s soccer player Callie Withers, championship bodybuilder Kenneth G. Williams, Chicken Soup for the Soul coauthor Mark Victor Hansen, and actress Demi Moore.”
Having just read The 80/10/10 Diet, I was primed, ready, and excited to interview Dr. Graham. I hope you enjoy learning more about raw food pioneer, Dr. Douglass Graham.
CV – I just finished reading the 80/10/10 Diet and found it to be fascinating. Can you give our readers a brief synopsis of how you came to eat this way? Were you vegan prior to going the route of 80/10/10?
DG – I started out eating a fairly standard diet, although it did include lots of fruits and vegetables, which I later learned some families hardly eat at all.
But nothing was excluded. In college, I very gradually became a vegetarian, because I was paying for my food and veg was a less expensive way to eat.
It took almost seven years before the vegan light went on, and a few months later, I began my raw journey. After almost seven years of learning all the different ways to fail on raw, going back and forth from cooked to raw, I finally tried eating lots more fruit, and succeeded brilliantly. I did the nutritional math, checked out the health science, medical science, and sports science, and realized that eating a diet of fruit and vegetables was indeed the healthiest way to go. At that point, eating raw fruit and vegetables was really easy, because doing so left me feeling so fantastically well. Nobody misses the old ways if the new ways are better. Like a relationship, my new love, fruits and vegetables, was loving me back far more than my old love (all manner of cooked foods) ever did. For almost thirty years now, there has been no looking back. The program works too well for me to think about eating any other way.
CV – In the book you go into detail about why you consider grains and legumes to be unhealthy. Many vegans center their diets around these two food groups. What do you say to them?
DG – In the world of good, better, and best choices, the cooked vegan diet certainly outshines a diet that includes the death of animals, environmental destruction, and health dissolution inherent in a meat-based diet.
Following the tenets outlined in The 80/10/10 Diet yields far better results than any other way. Thousands of cooked vegans have switched to 80/10/10 raw vegan, usually as an experiment, and found that 80/10/10 works so well that they just never want to go back to cooked foods, especially the starches. Fruit provides the most nutritious fuel, and digests far more easily than starch.
CV – Intuitively I have always felt that raw foodists in general consume WAY too much fat. I found myself nodding my head in agreement when reading your discussion on this topic within the book. Why is it that people mistakenly believe that the consumption of plant-based fat does not need to be limited?
DG – Many promoters of the plant-based diet are overzealous in their endorsement of plants, often suggesting that “as long as it comes from a plant, don’t worry,” or words to that effect.
Many leaders in the raw movement ignore the proven science and say similar things about raw food.
Science has shown us that humans perform their best, in every way, when dietary fat intake hovers near ten percent, give or take perhaps five points, and that we do better when our fats come from plants and not from animals.
CV – I am sure you come across many people interested in trying the 80/10/10 diet who are afraid to change their eating habits because their spouse and children are not on board. Do you believe it is possible for someone to follow the 80/10/10 diet without the rest of their immediate family?
DG – In every family, someone must go first. This is true for practically every change we make. Someone got a computer, while everyone else in the family continued writing post cards. When the rest of the family sees the leaders success, happiness, improved health, weight loss, newfound energy, etc, and when they see that it isn’t just another crazy phase, they’ll eventually join in, for their own reasons.
CV – Do you mind if we ask your age?
DG – I will be sixty come March.
CV – You appear to be incredibly fit in all of the pictures I have seen of you. What does your fitness regimen look like?
DG – I believe there are two noteworthy points about my fitness program. One is that I don’t train much. I don’t even average an hour per day of fitness training. The second point is that I keep my program extremely varied, and do my best not to fall into a pattern.
CV – Walk me through a day in your life.
DG – I work from home for about half of the year, and am on the road the rest of the year.
At home, I spend a full day on the computer; consulting, organizing events, and creating my next book. I spend time with my family every day, experiment in the kitchen making dinner, and usually putter in my vegetable garden for a bit. When I am on the road, I am typically lecturing or teaching all day every day. My work is my passion; I fully enjoy every part of my day.
CV – What do you typically eat in the span of a day and are you a snacker?
DG – I typically eat two meals per day. The first meal is all fruit, usually just bananas to be honest, but if other fruit such as persimmon, fig, or mango is in season, I am good with that too. I make a point of eating enough to be fully satisfied until my next meal, usually fifteen to twenty banana . Dinner usually starts with a drink, perhaps orange juice blended with mango. I want to eat enough fruit so that I won’t be craving for sweets at the end of the meal, so I’ll typically drink a quart or two. After the fruit comes some sort of vegetable dish such as a soup, salad, slaw, casserole, wraps, or whatever I manage to create. I just eat till I’m satisfied, and then get on with life. I fully enjoy my food, never have indigestion, and I get to eat as much as I care for at every meal.
CV – Do you ever stray from the 80/10/10 plan?
DG – No. I have no reason to do so. If you drove a brand-new top-of-the-line car, would you desire to drive some old “beater”? Or, since we are all in relationships with food, if you were happy in your current personal relationship, would you want to stray, say, to a boyfriend from years ago?
CV – When people learn who you are, what is the #1 question they ask and what is your response?
DG – People usually ask for personal help, and I am happy to offer them advice. Every person is unique, of course, with our own likes and dislikes, but we all have one species-specific diet.
CV – What would you consider to be your biggest food indulgence?
DG – Every meal is a treat for me, a sweet juicy treat at that. So, whatever I am currently eating is an indulgence, a sheer delight.
CV – What vegan product could you not live without?
DG – Honestly, my food just doesn’t come out of bottles, boxes, bags, or cans. I can’t think of a single product.
CV – In your wildest dreams what will your life look like in 5 years?
DG – In five years, with several new books to my credit and The 80/10/10 Diet gaining worldwide popularity, my life will be similar to the life I currently lead.