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SAD Calorie Intake Guides myth or reality?

Seems to be a bit of debate about calorie intake guides. As they are very genralised and also relating to SAD diet and weight charts.

Right so this is pretty standard :

1500 for women 2000 for men

With diabetes association saying minimum cals should be 1,100-1,200

The feeling I am getting from the majority is that eating when you need and by instinct is most important. However does calorie intake play any part in your day to day lifestyle?

I personally eat when I am hungry and fast when I feel the need to, but I still have to see a western consultant/doctor and trying to explain that I dont need to run to some standard calorie amount is becoming difficult.

I find it annoying at the utmost, I cannot consume enough to meet SAD calorie standards. plain and simple,

So.. any thoughts anyways? Topic for discussion

Hope that wasnt too confusing!


  • I do count calories, but that is because I am doing a bit of an experiment on myself. I am counting calories for 6 months, and then I am not going to count calories for 6 months to see the difference. I am a high altitude, endurance athlete, so I am tracking to see the difference in my energy level, breathing, heart rate, BP, etc. I am weird like that. I want to be able to provide others with personal experience when I talk with them about my lifestyle choices.

  • I personally have a hard time counting calories, even with websites like fitday, its always been hard for me to keep track. I did count around 1400 – 1600/day for a few days when I was on a different diet and I think that was too much for me – except on the days I run.

  • I always try to remember that all medical and scientific research is done on cook food eaters, unless of course when it’s done on rats. All guidelines published are based on this research. A few hundred years ago no one knew what a calorie was.

    If we were ment to count calories then there would be a display of some sort on our bodies somewhere, maybe an LED readout on our neck, that told us how many calories we had so far that day, etc. Instead we have only common sense and our reactions and feelings to go by.

    This all would be so much simpler had we never eaten anything unhealthy. If we had grown up 100% raw, from 100% raw parents. We would be so intune. Anytime we overate or ate something unhealthy we would know it right away because our normal state would be of such blissful health that any waver from this would be obvious.

    We grew up on crap food. We are used to being sick and feeling bad. Hell they call it the common cold because it’s common. We use terms like ‘flu season’ & ‘childhood illnesses’. We are told that all this sickness and bad feelings are normal. (from people who study rats)

    I’ve been strictly 100% for a few years now and I feel that each day I am getting closer to that state of blissful health. I can’t wait to see the superbeings that humans will become in the future. Children of Raw fooders who are totally in tune. And their children 3rd generation raw. They will probably be able to teleport and who knows what else. maybe they will even use more than 10% of their brain.

    I’ll bet you one thing though… I bet they won’t count calories.

  • a calorie by any other name….....

    the word calorie has unfortunately been misused by many that seek to sell us the next best way to achieve the body beautiful

    the thing is that the word calorie is defined as a unit of energy and as such it exists only to provide us with information about how specific food fuels us…it’s not just a word invented by weight-watchers

    you are right chris…we were never meant to count calories…however we were never meant to stray so far from our instincts either….and you are right..it would have been so much simpler had we never eaten anything unhealthy…but we have and the calorie, purely in the scientific sense, can help us better understand our nutritional needs

    let’s just forget what food we eat for a moment….

    we all need energy…we have all experienced varying levels at various times…but it is a given that we need this fuel….agin, regardless of the type of diet…i agree with you that certain types of rda type values may not apply to the raw foodist who may be better able to absorb nutrients than the average cooked foodist….but energy is energy….raw foodists happen to get it from a much better source…...

    the problem is that our instincts have been screwed by the diets that we have been brought up on…mainly calorifically dense but nutritionally devoid food….food stripped of water content and replaced with high fat and dangerous levels of excitotoxins…..

    calorie counting serves as a great way to start us towards eating in the quantity that we need

    because raw food is so water rich and so low calorie you have to eat a lot more to get the calories that you need…and this is the problem…..we are conditioned to gauge how we eat by fullness of our stomach…till our stomachs become literally paralysed…when we are full, that’s when we stop…..this happens quicker on raw food because of it’s bulk

    consider that a burger king double whopper with cheese contains approx 1000 calories…the accompanying fries and soft drink probably add another 400 calories to the bargain….1400 calories in one meal…an extreme example, yes…but not too uncommon…...

    to get the equivalent calories from raw food starts to look impossible…you would need to consume 14 bananas to get the same anount of calories….this is possible, but we need to practice…along with various other instincts we have lost the elasticity of our stomachs through eating all these high calorie , low bulk foods…there are many examples of people on various forums of people who have retrained themselves to eat raw in these quantities…and regularly consume huge amounts of raw food

    any change to raw food fuel is cleaner and lacking in the ‘qualities’ that depress energy…..hence the heightened wellness, increased energy levels and all the other good things…..massive weight loss occurs as we go from easily consuming thousand of calories a day to being content with much less food…..however in time lot’s of people find their raw lives to be un-sustainable…this is key…..not enough food to actually sustain

    balancing expenditure and intake makes sense

    so….rather long winded….

    calorie counting is a good yardstick to start to find out the amounts we ‘need’...when we are more familiar with what it entails, the counting will become un-necessary….

    i cannot urge you enough to read the 80/10/10 diet..it really presents what i’m trying to say very well from someone who has walked this walk for thirty years or so….

  • el-bo, this is exactly what I was saying in several other threads on this forum. Dr. Graham really puts it well on paper in the book. Already there are members of this forum who have bought and read the book and agree with this. It is logical and scientifically proven. Even after eating this way for over 4 months I still need to really stuff myself with bananas when I eat. I can rarely get more than 8-10 eaten in a meal. I know I can get the same number of calories from just a couple of avocadoes – but then I will suffer the consequences. Stretching the stomach is one of the hardest parts of eating this way and until I succeed with that I will need to be aware of my caloric needs.

    Do be careful mentioning anything about excitotoxins here as it seems there are many excitotoxin ‘addicts’ who will not admit to being one reading this board.

  • however in time lot’s of people find their raw lives to be un-sustainable

    This is not the case with 100% Raw, only High Raw or 70-80% Raw people have reported un-sustainability. Storm from www.thegardendiet.com has been 100% for 30 years. He is also a high performance athelete. 80/10/10 was based on surveys of Raw fooders whose ‘percentage of Raw’ and exact diet was never veified. Hardly scientific.

    Also as far as energy needs you should consider two things. Breatharians and Sungazers. Both of these groups have learned to get energy from other sources. There are people who haven’t eaten a thing in over 10 years. I personally have the most energy when I am fasting and only end up eating out of habit and boredom.

    By the way, The words “scientifically proven” mean nothing to me. Following science has led us down to many dead ends to count.

    As far as logical goes, trying to eat 10 bananas but avoiding 2 avocados, doesn’t sound very logical to me. Bananas are one of the most hybridized foods we have. and What if you live in Mexico?

    My post was meant to be very positive, humorous, and uplifting, not start an argument. I have a strong belief in human potential and I believe we will achieve our potential by following our intuition and common sense, not scientific method. If you want to count calories, Go for it! Whatever floats your boat. Simplicity and Faith floats mine.

  • ZoeZoe

    From what I have come to understand, after you’ve been raw for a while and detoxed your guts, then you assimilate more nutrients from your food, and end up not needing to eat as much as before.

    In her book “12 steps to raw” by Victoria Boutenko quotes research that shows that if you’re 99% raw you are only able to assimilate 30% of the nutrients in your food, but if you are eating 100% raw you are able assimilate over 90% of the nourishment in your food.

    As an example, her son Sergei goes snowboarding all day long and only wants/needs a couple of oranges to keep him going. This is what I hear over and over again from people who are long term 100% raw.

    And I know from my own personal experience that the further I go into this, the longer I am 100% raw, the less food I am eating, and the more energy I have.

    Anyway, I just went on this site, (recommended by Karen Knowler’s newsletter) http://www.fitday.com/. Here you can enter what you have eaten in a day and get a reading for the fat, protein, carbs and calories eaten that day. It also shows you what percentage of your daily intake comes from where.

    According to that website, my normal intake of two kale salads a day, with a green smoothie, provides me with over 2,000 calories a day and more than enough protein etc. But as has been said beofre, the guidelines are based on cooked food eaters, and I am not one of them, so I guess it is irrelevant anyway.

  • Superb posts Chris and Zoe.

    Well said, far better than I would have!!

    Exactly, calorie intake designed for SAD cannot be compared to a 100% RAW lifestyle.

    Agreed on the eating less and feeling more energy. I eat small quantity during the week, probably half what “SAD” trained doctors would recommend yet I am able to train with plenty of energy.

    Its all about using your intuition and feeding your body what it asks for. Opposed to feeling obligated or forced to eat a certain amount/requirement.

  • fasting doesnt mean eating nothing…after 3 days your body turns to eating itself, burning fat for energy…..this amazing feeling of heightened energy is due to not placing any further energetic demands on the body through the necessity of digestion…..are you suggesting that fasting is sustainable or is it just a means to an end, practiced in careful measured doses ??? and not everyones experience of fasting is the same…...some experience periods of not even being able to move….this energy is not a given…...and as energetic as you felt….do you think that you had enough of it to power you through a marathon for instance….

    let us consider that endurance athletes(both raw and cooked)are known to consume as much as 6000 calories a day to ‘FUEL’ their endeavours…are you suggesting(based on your fasting levels of energy) that these athletes could achieve this on water alone

    yes zoe, you are right…this way of life does allow for better absorbtion of nutrients.but this is not relevant to the initial posters predicament (sorry..this relates to the other recent post from the weightlifter..they are both so similar)....nutrients, minerals, vitamins are to keeping the body healthy as calories are to expenditure of energy…...

    go back to fitday and go to the calories burned section…chose an exercise that you are familiar with…enter your details (age,weight etc) see how many calories are burnt over a duration of that exercise…. now as an example, enter the details differently…enter a height of say…6’7 and a weight of 200 lbs ( i’m sure this is the same as a gentleman enquiring on a similar post with ‘training’ questions) what are the results..without knowing the exact figures i know that someone of his dimensions will burn significantly more doing the same amount of exercise..even at rest more energy is consumed)

    you will notice it didn’t ask you to enter what you had eaten that day…because, raw or not, it is irrelevant in determining calorie and activity expenditure…calorie expenditure is not ‘designed’ for SAD…calorie expenditure just IS…...

    i am planning to hike through spain in june on 100%raw and am getting my head around the logistics of it at the moment….my plan is to walk somewhere in the region of 30 miles a day…more when i get up to speed…

    let’s say for instance i work a relatively sedantary job….if eating normally provides me with enough energy for the day…and say, hypothetically that it varied between 1000 and 1500 calories a day…..are y’all saying that going from this to walking 30 miles a day will not need a larger increase of food/fuel/calories ?

    i hear it referred to as ’ the calorie argument’...why, when it seems so simple is there any argument at all….Socal, help me out here…i’m rambling again…hee-hee

    calories don’t conform to established rda’s (they are only estimates) calorie need is calculated on an individual basis and vary completely with ones level of activity

    as far as storm goes….he is another absolute inspiration…but he may possibly be the perfect example of someone needing to eat so much more…..his level of activity versus his calorie intake may possibly be the reason for these heightened cravings…..

    as for the breatharians and sungazers..i’m sorry but from what i’ve heard,the most famous of these have been proved fraudulant…

    why isn’t it ‘logical’ to have 10 bananas and not 2 avocados….what sense does that make ????sorry but they are both different foods with different properties…

    look… i am as anti-science as the rest of you….but some things (maybe to me only), make sense

    for me open mindedness is what brings us to this lifestyle

    keep that open mind, allways….don’t dismiss anything out of hand

    i’m sorry, but chris ??!!

    “this is not the case with 100% raw….”(really?never?or have you just not read about it…... “only high raw or 70-80% raw people have reported unsustainability”??again…are you sure???

    our own personal experience is just that and should remain so and not be used to tell/advise others…we are all learning….become your own scientist…use others experiences/books etc as pointers and inspiration to conduct our own tests (i include 80/10/10 in this and any other that i might point to)...if you read it and try it then find that it doesn’t work for you and you disagree with it…all good…but without trying it first, try not to disregard it out of hand….keep what works disregard what doesn’t….

    distinguish between “argument” and debate..yes i found your post to be humorous and you do make some good points

    barose wrote that 1400-1600 calories a day was too much- except on the days she ran….

    extra activity = extra fuel

    ok, getting bored now

    see ya

  • i’m sorry, but one more thing

    “80/10/10 was based on surveys of raw fooders whose percentage of raw and exact diet was never verified….??!!!!??”

    chris…come on now…

    where did you get that one from???

    80/10/10 is a system developed by a doctor who walks this walk every day….it is based around specific calorie/nutrient ratio that have been developed and refined over many years and in countless numbers of athletes he has trained

    if you are at all interested try reading through the forums at vegsource.com…..

    dr graham is on hand (often twice daily) to answer any queries you may have

    believe me chris you are an absoute inspiration to me…your transformation is pretty much the only argument needed in favour of the raw journey..your before and after shots would stop even the most fervent opposition dead in it’s tracks…i have much respect…....but don’t let your success close you off to other ways of doing things

    we all are at stages, with very different lifestyles

    as far as raw lifestyles go..one size does not fit all

  • As far as logical goes, trying to eat 10 bananas but avoiding 2 avocados, doesn’t sound very logical to me. Bananas are one of the most hybridized foods we have. and What if you live in Mexico?

    Okay, I think I should stop eating bananas because they are so hybridized and start eating only olives, avocadoes and nuts. Not sure what the Mexican reference is about. I travel there sometimes and I eat their fruits as well.

    I suppose I should expect gas and pain in my colon whenever I eat just because I prefer the yummy taste of avocadoes and eating too many bananas is not logical. If it was up to my taste buds I would probably do just that but my poor digestive tract will not agree with them. Fats just do not digest well in a human digestive tract. In transition to raw eating having some comfort foods is not a bad thing but it would not be a good long term diet for maintaining good health. Fatty foods like nuts, avocadoes and the like tend to have high concentrations of fat and protein but lack in the most important nutrient which fuels every cell in the body, carbs. Our body must then convert the fats and proteins into carbs to continue functioning which is a very inefficient way to get energy – kind of like driving 100 miles to the gas station and then buying just 1 gallon of gas at a time.

  • I think the important thing is to look at the whole picture instead of focusing on protien, carbs, vitamin, minerals and fats seperatly….

    For instant we always focus on getting masses of “protien” but it’s actually our body that makes the protien, what we really need is amino acids so as raw vegans if you concentrate more on getting amino acids from raw produce your going to get all of the above in one shot but a sad eaters your more than likely to focus on certain high protien foods just for the protien alone, especially if they bodybuild.

  • I think the important thing is to look at the whole picture instead of focusing on protien, carbs, vitamin, minerals and fats seperatly….

    For instant we always focus on getting masses of “protien” but it’s actually our body that makes the protien, what we really need is amino acids so as raw vegans if you concentrate more on getting amino acids from raw produce your going to get all of the above in one shot but a sad eaters your more than likely to focus on certain high protien foods just for the protien alone, especially if they bodybuild.

  • yes we do synthesize proteins, but we don’t manufacture carbs

  • you know i wish we had the use of those emoticon thingys….then i could let you know that with a little cartoony smile, everything i say is from a good place

    i’m not just an argumentative a^sh&*e just for the hell of it

  • I’m glad that you are not just an argumentative a^sh&*e just for the hell of it….but while you are offering your information, which is much appreciated, let’s try to remember, like you said, that we are all on a journey, and everybody’s journey, as well as body, is individual. Please keep a positive demeanor when you post, or nobody will listen.

    In peace and love

  • i’m sorry

    it’s just when people sometimes present opinion as though they are fact without anything more than anecdotal evidence, i get a little heated…..

    for this, i apologize

    but we are here to learn

    if people have specific questions regarding certain parts of the raw life…they should be directed to people/forums who have experience in this area you know…i don’t believe in god…if someone asked me a question about their beliefs, i would direct them to like minded folk…i wouldn’t set about trying to convince him that god didn’t exist

    when someone posted the other day asking about calorie requirements for increasing/maintaining weight while in heavy training, i found it appropriate to forward him to like minded people

    what i found to be quite interesting was how some people thought it necessary to tell him that as a raw fooder…he wouldn’t need to eat that many calories….i didn’t agree,i felt it was offered anecdotally and without much foundation…with some very sweeping statements, presented as fact but without any evidence….again i’m sorry, but this is a little annoying

    i’m not being negative..my tongue is placed firmly in my cheek most of the time….

    and if i say things like…” i’m bored now” it is more likely that i’m bored with hearing myself speak….in posting terms, my habit of using 20 words when 2 will do

    sorry for my negativity

    peace back at ya..and all the love to you and yours

  • quite a discussion coming here.

    Think theres no answer or “right” or “wrong” in this senario.

    Perhaps the answer is to stop seeing a Western consultant!!..one way not to get any aggrivation over lack of calories..

    Anyway.. good to hear all angles/points of views


  • this is off topic, el-bo, but it would be easier to feel your vibe if you had a photo or something more personal up. Emoticons are great, but we don’t have that option & a blank face sounding potentially irritated and sarcastic or angry is difficult to give the benefit of the doubt….

  • FYI, here’s a standard and easy calculator for determining the calories required to maintain your current weight given your approximate activity level: http://www.webmd.com/content/tools/1/calc_metab…

  • That is really cool! I know it’s not as exact as some of the fancy O2 equipment they are promoting at many gyms, but it is good for rough estimates. Thanks for sharing!

  • yeah, sorry about that blujett8

    it’s not my intention to remain so ‘cloak and dagger’

    i’m just quite new to this forum lark

    am starting a fast tomorrow and will be abstaining from all forum reading for the duration….healthy or not…food talk is food talk

    will sort it on my return

    but please understand…i just wanted to present another side of the argument…at worst i thought it had become a heated debate (which in itself is quite healthy)...slightly lively, maybe…. but not angry..

    i’ve obviously offended people….oh well, i’m going now

    peace, love and good happiness stuff

  • el-bo, I hope that you don’t think that you offended me, you did not. (smile) I have just learned from experience that if you want to “teach” something that you feel is important for people to know, the best way to do it is with positive energy, and from a place of care/concern. I have had to do a lot of public speaking both as a community health educator, as a childbirth educator and doula, and as an occupational therapist. I have learned the hard way that if you make people feel bad for the choices they have made/are making (especially if they think they are making a good choice), that more often than not they become defensive in some way, and your information is not received. This, of course, does no good for anybody.

    Food is something obviously necessary for life and thus has many emotions attached to it, so even a lively debate can take a wrong turn without keeping the above in mind. I know we all want to progress in our journey to being raw, and I would hate to have a new member read a post for the first time and get turned off and never return to raw again (I have done this in the past on a few other boards myself when I was trying to decide whether or not to go raw).

    Hope this makes sense!

  • it’s just when people sometimes present opinion as though they are fact without anything more than anecdotal evidence, i get a little heated

    I couldn’t agree with you more el-bo. I am really glad there are forums like this where we can all share our opinions and knowledge, even if the conversation does get a little heated. In my opinion, debate is a good thing – there is nothing better than to have to defend what you believe in – or even better – to be shown through evidence and logic that your beleifs are in fact wrong or incomplete – and to change.

    in response to the thread itself, i thought i could add something: most wild animals spend 35-45% of their lives searching for and eating food. the average human in an industrialized country spends about 5% of his or her time eating. when mankind began cooking (and processing) it allowed us to pack increasingly more calories into less food mass, although there were long term negative health consequences. The worst of these health effects (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, ...) didn’t set in until after a reproductive age so there was little natural selection against humans eating cooked food. in a lot of ways cooking may have actually helped early humans survive. keep in mind these people were eating no preservatives or chemicals and probably not even 50% cooked. with so much more free time, we were able to have structured society with specialized jobs, etc. we were able to stop worrying so much about simply staying alive, and begin using our brains to wonder and imagine. i hate to admit it, but we wouldn’t be where we are today (not saying we’re in a great place today), without cooking food. it is yet another technology that seemed wonderful at first, but has so many unintended negative effects.

    you all may or may not agree with everything i just said, but dont just claim “humans evolved to eat a raw vegan diet-end of argument” because you read it in some raw food book by an author with zero knowledge of anthropolgy. it is so much more complicated than that and no one knows exactly what early humans ate. i figure the best we can do is experiment on ourselves and see what feels best. obviously a raw vegan diet is much, much better than SAD, but it may not be perfect.

  • That is so funny that you bring this up DreamBrother. I was just discussing something similar with my husband regarding the industrial revolution and how it had such profound sociological reprucussions, encompassing family dynamics, economics, and nutrition/health, just to name a few. I never really thought to go back further in history. I guess the “invention” of fire could be called the first “industrial” revolution, primitive form of technology, yes, but still have dramatic ramifications for our species!


  • Wild foods are much better for our health than the cultivated foods that we get in the supermarkets. Except for the few lucky ones who have the opportunity to forage in the rainforests of the world (the few that are still surviving) the rest of us must rely on the foods that were cultivated and bred to be tasty or last longer on the store shelf. It is far from ultimate for health but still much better than taking these same foods and destroying them with fire.

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