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Dr. Doug Graham Answers

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’80/10/10 Is Experiencing Record-Setting Growth’

Dr. Doug Graham is a lifetime athlete and raw fooder since 1978. He has written several books on raw food and health, including The 80/10/10 Diet and Nutrition and Athletic Performance, and is recognized as one of the fathers of the modern raw movement. His website is

Brian Rossiter interviews Dr. Doug Graham by email in July 2013 in this Closeup interview.

About Dr. Doug Graham

Dr. Doug Graham with booksDr. Graham, you’ve been at 80/10/10 for decades. How old are you and how do you feel compared with your peers? Please describe the aging process you’ve experienced.

Dr. Doug Graham: I’m currently 60, and I feel great, thanks. I don’t know how my peers feel, but I hope they feel as good as I do. When I do sports, I am usually the oldest person in the group. Perhaps that is telling.

Those new to 80/10/10 might wonder how a man who helped shape the low-fat, fruit-based diet eats. Can you tell us what you eat on an average day this summer?

Dr. Doug Graham: I enjoy eating simply, though I also enjoy making beautiful food. For myself, summer is the time for water-rich fruits.

My first meal is usually bananas. I really like them and don’t tire of them. My second meal starts with fruit, usually mangoes, and is often followed by salad of diced cucumber and tomato, sometimes with a little avocado or tahini.

What fruits, greens and and overt fats do you enjoy regularly over an average year?

Dr. Doug Graham: I eat a wide variety of foods during an entire year. I have listed them a few times, just to see. In a typical year I’ll eat about 200 different fruits, 50 different vegetables and at least 20 or more different nuts, seeds, and fatty fruits.

Do you continue to fine-tune your diet in even the smallest ways season by season or year by year?

Dr. Doug Graham: Hopefully, the answer is yes, I do refine my diet, looking to improve the quality of the foods I eat. Mostly I do this by gardening so that I can grow more of my own food.

What does your carbohydrates/protein/fat intake look like over a year and has this changed much in recent years?

Dr. Doug Graham: I follow 80/10/10. My carbohydrate intake remains in the 80s almost always, with fat and protein remaining in high single digits.

Dr. Doug Graham performs Superman pushups outsideWhat kind of exercise do you do in an average month?

Dr. Doug Graham: I enjoy moving so tend to jog a bit nearly every day. I ride my bicycle for function more than for exercise, but I use it regularly. Swimming is joy for me, as is walking.

Most of my training is on my own, so I do calisthenics rather than sports, as a rule. I recently started strength training and am rather enjoying the challenges it brings.

When I get in an hour per day of fitness training, I feel I have taken care of that basic need, though doing more is always a treat.

How many hours in an average day do you spend sleeping and working?

Dr. Doug Graham: I sleep about 250 hours per month. I work on average about 80 hours per week. Doesn’t everyone?

Are you developing a follow-up book to The 80/10/10 Diet?

Dr. Doug Graham: I am working on my next book, yes, and have a string of several more to produce after that. I have yet to start a sequel to The 80/10/10 Diet.

About 80/10/10

Cover of The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug GrahamSome report on raw food forums and social networks that they might consume too little greens. What are telltale signs someone’s greens intake should be increased?

Dr. Doug Graham: Weight gain, energy loss, muscular weakness, craving for salty foods: any of these could be indications that too few greens are being consumed.

Can you describe the process by which you arrived at the recommendation that 2 to 6 percent of our calories come from greens such as lettuce and celery?

Dr. Doug Graham: Greens don’t provide many calories, as a rule, so the total percent of calories from greens has to be low. I couldn’t go much lower than 2 and have found that when people attempt to eat more than about 6 percent of calories from greens on a daily basis that they start shorting themselves on total calories, and they start increasing their consumption of fatty foods as a result.

Some dial 90/5/5—an even lower-fat version of 80/10/10. What are your thoughts on one consuming no or almost no overt fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds on a regular basis?

Dr. Doug Graham: 90/5/5 is well within the guidelines of 80/10/10, since the directive of 80/10/10 is to stay above 80 for carbohydrates and below 10 for protein and fat.

I have found that many people want to say they eat this way or that based upon relatively short term experiences but that over longer periods of time, they vary their diets considerably.

Dr. Doug Graham sits on steps with his hand on his chinWhat do you recommend for 80/10/10ers to balance omega-3 intake with omega-6 intake—or at least consume these in a 2:1 or 4:1 ratio, in favor of omega-6? Additionally, what do you recommend to help 811 adherents to balance the calcium:magnesium:phosphorous ratio? Are there other key ratios 80/10/10 followers should keep an eye on?

Dr. Doug Graham: I don’t believe that we need to micromanage such nutrient intake at all. 80/10/10 is about the consumption of whole foods and specific caloronutrient guidelines, not the intake or balancing of specific vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, etc.

The 80/10/10 Diet doesn’t address chromium or Vitamin K2 as possible deficiencies, but some other raw fooders have pointed to these nutrients as sources of concern—and supplementation as the answer to insomnia, melon belly and teeth issues. What are your thoughts on these nutrients and which other nutrients should beginners as well as long-term 80/10/10ers be mindful of?

Dr. Doug Graham: See above. If deficiencies occur, of course they must be dealt with by removing their cause(s). If short-term supplementation is necessary, by all means supplement. Pushing the concept of deficiency is strictly a marketing ploy, a way of selling products and services. Let’s remember that the idea of deficiency as a major health concern is passé and that nutritional excesses are the cause of almost all food-related issues.

A hand of bananas against a white backgroundSome raw fooders might rely on staple foods such as bananas, oranges and dates for satisfaction or financial reasons. Can you provide guidance on how much of a good thing might be too much with respect to consuming a variety of fruits?

Dr. Doug Graham: Humans can do exceptionally well on a very simple diet. I don’t recommend living on just one food such as oranges, but a few fruits and vegetables is quite sufficient. Again, most of the people I’ve met who say they live on extremely restrictive diets tend to mean they have been doing so recently and not that they have done so for decades and decades.

Where does the low-fat, fruit-based raw vegan movement stand now in comparison to the high-fat raw vegan diet, especially considering the growth of The Woodstock Fruit Festival?

Dr. Doug Graham: All indicators are that the raw food movement has all but come to a standstill whereas 80/10/10 is experiencing record-setting growth. I believe this speaks volumes for the fact that 811 provides the results that people hope for from a food plan whereas the typical “fat and grass, supplement and stimulate” approach invariably leads to disappointment and failure.

Questions Culled from Fruit-Powered, and Facebook Readers

Which fruits does he eat in the United Kingdom?

Dr. Doug Graham: England is No. 1 in the world for importing the largest variety of foods, from the most nations. There is little that I cannot access.

When should and what should one introduce to infants as they wean themselves off breast milk and transition to consuming solid foods? Also, if the body does not tolerate bananas, what are the best alternatives?

Dr. Doug Graham: Few people don’t tolerate bananas, but any other fruit will do if bananas are not for you.

Fruit should be an infant’s first food, after mother’s milk. Most children love soft-skinned fruits such as berries, but they can be given most fruits with little concern. Some children respond poorly to citrus and, of course, care must be taken whenever introducing solid foods. The age of the child must be considered. If foods are introduced before children understand the concept of chewing, for example, foods that require chewing may get swallowed whole or pose choking issues.

A pregnant woman eats fruit from a bowl on a lawnAdults are 80/10/10 and children are something like 50/40/30—what about pregnant women? Should they also be 80/10/10 or eat more fat or protein? And, calorie-wise, should they double their caloric intake or increase it by how much?

Dr. Doug Graham: Human mother’s milk is roughly 51/6/43. Adults can follow 80/10/10 recommendations and increase or decrease calories as needed. A guideline for pregnant women is to increase calorie intake by roughly 100 calories per day for each month that they are pregnant. In other words, a woman that is 8 months pregnant would be eating about 800 extra calories per day compared to what they regularly eat.

I have several food intolerances from several fruits and greens like celery, kale, mangos, dates and many more (these results were from an ALCAT blood test). I experience swelling, fluid retention, fatigue and, sometimes, headaches. Why is that and is there anything that can be done about it besides avoiding these foods? Also, what do you think about eating for your blood type?

Dr. Doug Graham: I cannot diagnose or prescribe for someone I have never met, for whom I have no history. I would not guess about anyone’s health in such a fashion.

My generic recommendation is to improve your health regimen in as many areas as possible, and typically I find that most food intolerances disappear when overall health improves.

You may find the results of ALCAT testing are somewhat suspect.

Cows have many different blood types, yet all cows eat grass. Humans are designed to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Do you have recommendations for knee arthritis?

Dr. Doug Graham: Fasting is invariably the best way to reduce arthritis issues, but often enough such problems heal simply by following 811.

I would like to know more about polycystic ovary syndrome and how to overcome it.

Dr. Doug Graham: Fasting is invariably the best way to resolve PCOS issues, but often enough such problems heal simply by following 811. If they do not clear on 811, then fasting is the answer.

What do you recommend if fasting for 30 days on water did not cure parasites?

Dr. Doug Graham: There are many types of parasites, from leeches to liver flukes, that would not respond to fasting. As I don’t know the type of parasite you are speaking of, I cannot comment.

Do you consider dry fasting, if performed under specific conditions in a controlled environment, to be the best form of healing?

Dr. Doug Graham: I recommend avoiding dry fasting under all circumstances other than perhaps short periods of time (less than 36 hours) and then only when done for religious or spiritual purposes.

Would you move to a tropical country permanently and, if so, where would that be?

Dr. Doug Graham: Depending upon the political climate, any tropical environment would be just fine for me. I enjoy the warm and have lived in both flat and mountainous tropical environments. I enjoyed both very much.

Dr. Doug Graham flexes his biceps outside

Check out Dr. Doug Graham’s transformation interview!

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