What Is The Garden Diet?

There are a huge number of different variations on the raw vegan diet theme! On what I call the Social Raw scene you’ve got the Raw Restaurant foods (which often include some cooked condiments), the dehydrated Raw Packaged foods, the Raw Cacao craze, the Gourmet Raw foods, and the “Superfoods” – powders and potions and dried stuffs with a long shelf life, which are not fresh foods.

And on what I call the Extreme Raw scene you’ve got your 80-10-10 and other low-fat raw diets (taking one of the 3 major essential nutrient groups out of a diet that already has very few fat sources), Fruitarianism (just fruit), Breatharianism or Sun Gazing (claiming to eat nothing at all), Natural Hygiene, The Mono Diet (eating one food at a time), The Instincto Diet (includes raw meat and dairy), and The High Raw Diet (75%-99% raw), just to name a few.

Where does The Garden Diet fit in to this movement of growing awareness that heat destroys nutrients and creates carcinogenic toxins in our food?

I believe The Garden Diet falls somewhere in between the Social Raw Scene and the Extreme Raw Scene, in amongst the raw diets that are focused on fresh raw foods, a balance of a large variety of fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, sprouts, and sprouted lentils. I believe that The Garden Diet is a raw diet that was designed to be simple, delicious, and effective on a long-term basis. It was designed to be doable for a family. As such it had to taste good, to get past 6 kids. And kids tend to be picky. We had to come up with universally accepted dishes or end up preparing 6 different meals at a time. And we had to come up with meals that were not only delicious, but also provided balanced nutrition to grow a body with! As adults we simply need to maintain our bodies, but children are actually building their bodies! All the building blocks have to be there in the food. All the nutrients and micro-nutrients have to be there in an easily absorbed form.

And as our oldest is now 16, and thriving, I believe The Garden Diet has passed the kid-test.

The Garden Diet also had to work for a man, an athlete, long-term. Storm has been doing the diet for 38 years, and is still going strong at 61 years old! The Garden Diet has passed the long-term-raw-diet test.

The Garden Diet also had to work for a pregnant and nursing Mother. Over the last 18 years, I’ve had five pregnancies, five home-births, and nursed each child for 3 years. And rather than taking a toll, I have only seen my health improve over time on this diet.

So what is The Garden Diet? On top of all the raw vegan food groups listed above, we also use Raw Honey (which by the way is not considered vegan), unrefined Celtic Sea Salt which is full of minerals, extra-virgin cold-pressed Olive Oil, and Flax Oil. We also use raw carob powder. We also use dried herbal seasonings and spices such as Marjoram, Sage, Cumin, Coriander, Cinnamon, etc…On occasion we’ll buy Wild Black Rice and eat it after soaking it. Also on occasion we’ll use raw steel cut rolled oats which we soak before eating. And in the past we have eaten soaked grains like buckwheat, wheat germ, and oat groats. We also eat olives. And we do some fermented foods including pickles, sauerkraut, kim-chi, and mustard.

We also eat a lot of seaweed, mostly Laver, Dulse, Wakami, Arame, and Nori. I believe we get our B12 from the honey, bee pollen, fermented foods and seaweeds. I think we get a little through the dirt on our veggies too. I purposely don’t wash them too thoroughly, especially the ones from our most revered organic farmers, so that we can get this bit of dirt. I started this practice after learning that people were popping dirt-capsules to get B12. Someone told me that just working in a garden can give you B12 through breathing the earth and getting it through your skin and under your fingernails.

We do believe that soaking nuts makes them more viable and easily digested, however we also use un-soaked raw nuts. We don’t dehydrate foods, but will eat dehydrated packaged or raw restaurant food on occasion. We don’t use any concentrated soy products like Braggs Liquid Aminos, Nama Shoyu, Soy Sauce, Miso, Tempeh, Seitan, etc… due to their MSG-like effects. Nutritional yeast, which we recently got in to turned out to have similar MSG-like effects on some of the kids, making them moody. We also don’t do any “superfoods” as in chlorella, spirulina, raw cacao, green drink powders, maca, lucuma, etc…

I think Storm’s motto “Fresh Is Best” really sums up our dietary philosophy. This is the whole reason we live in Southern California; to have access to farm-fresh just-picked produce year-round! It seems to make a big difference in the nutrient levels of the food. We are able to get all our nutrients from our food, and therefore we don’t take any supplements.

Although we learned that supplements can prevent our body from creating or absorbing the nutrients from food, we still hear about people in places where fresh food isn’t always available improving their health through taking supplements. We are not against supplements but our family has shown over time that, if desired, it really is possible to get all ones nutrients from fresh raw vegan foods!

I love the idea of eating locally, but significant raw fat sources are limited to avocados, durian, coconut, olives, olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil, purslane, okra, nuts and seeds. To ensure we are eating a sufficient amount of fat necessary to run the body and brain, we do eat durian and young coconuts, which come from Thailand. Without really trying to eat locally, I just realized that about 80% of our food is grown within the surrounding 100 miles. Most of our food is bought at farmers’ markets and directly from farms. The grocery stores we shop at carry mostly local produce.

As far as eating a percentage of this or that, it really varies. We just make sure we eat a variety of foods. There are rumors that Storm is a fruitarian. I think this is because he’ll now and then do a couple of weeks on just fruits, as a cleanse. My favorite cleanse is similar, just eating whole foods for a time… fruits and vegetables. The kids don’t do these cleanses.

Our 21 Day Raw Cleanse follows The Garden Diet principles above. Weeks one and three are full of our favorite recipes, like sushi, nut burgers, falafels, tacos, nut-milks, seed patés, nut-cheeses, deserts, ice cream, carob balls, apple pie, kelp noodles, salads, veggie juices, fruit smoothies, etc… The second week is the deep-cleansing week which is more of a whole foods fast with lots of liquids and greens. The 28 Day Transition-to-Raw Program is also a 100% raw vegan program which is based on the 21 Day Cleanse but with an additional weeks’ worth of recipes to help launch a person in to a raw vegan lifestyle easily and safely.

Simple Salad

Dark Leafy Greens are like a raw vegan food group in themselves. With incredible health benefits and healing properties, they are also the best source of protein in the world. In fact, when we eat meat for protein it is the building blocks of the greens that the animal ate that provide this protein second-hand.

Frozen food retains 50-90% of its nutrients, and freezing does not generate toxins, so we will freeze fruit and make ice cream and smoothies with it.

I don’t believe one diet is right for everyone. But I enjoy sharing what has worked for us, and I hope that you may benefit from our experience and take from it the parts that make sense and feel right to you! :)

In Joy!
Jinjee
TheGardenDiet.com

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41 Responses to What Is The Garden Diet?

  1. heidi says:

    I really enjoyed reading your experiences with raw food Jinjee. I seems practical and doable. And like you said it passes the kid test which says a lot. I think that’s why I am drawn to taking your 28 day program which I am really considering. I opened a juicer store, but did not realize the journey had just begun. Thanks again.
    Heidi

  2. Thank you so much for your amazing blogs. Me and my mom love your philosphy without the superfoods and dehydrated stuff and all. I would love to know what you think of far infra red saunas thinking of getting one but was curious if we do intence cardio 30 minutes a day do we release the same toxins -curious to what your views are on them

    • Jinjee says:

      Hi Jessica,
      I wouldn’t try to replace cardio with a sauna! :)
      There’s no escaping the fact that we have to MOVE! :)
      However, a sauna might be a nice addition to your health and relaxation routines…definitely sweat out some toxins too..
      Hugs,
      Jinjee

  3. Chelly says:

    Thank you Jinjee for sharing, I’m glad to see that I feed my family the same way, need to move to S. Cali and quit the Braggs and Nama Shoyu but other than that I’m good. This information is so helpful because with the raw restaurants and the commercial side of raw growing at such a fast pace it is refreshing to know that my approach to eating raw is more in line with the health benefits. I eat raw to be healthy not to feel good emotionally or to feel like I’m satisfying my SAD cravings. Eating fresh and simple is the way to go allowing dehydrates and restaurants to just be the once in a while treat.

    Very helpful article, thank you again for sharing!

    Raw Chef Chelly
    “Home Girl from the D” – Storm says :)

    • Jinjee says:

      Hi Chelly,
      Thanks! I agree having these things as a treat is a nice balance. I love to sit down in a raw restaurant and feel like a “normal” person! :)
      Hugs,
      Jinjee

  4. Jackie says:

    Love you Jingee, you are such a sweet and humble person. Wish I was more attuned to this message when my children were younger, what a gift of health to have given your children to build their organs and cells from such amazing materials. I am doing my best now to add to all our diets as much organic and local food when possible (live in northeast). Joining a CSA and a food co-op have been informing experiences. I wish you and your family all the best!
    PS. I signed up fior the 21 day cleanse that is just coming to an end– I did not participate to the level that I would have liked, but I love the person who I was partnered with and we have really bonded. So I am taking away the positive rather than beating myself up for not making the most of the cleanse. We are both signed up for the transition as well- so hopefully we can support each other along on our paths.
    Be Well ! Jackie

  5. Rhianne Newlahnd says:

    I absolutely love the clarity and integrity of this article. Of all the people that I know of who have been raw fooders, you and your family have the most grounded, realistic and long term experience of anyone. You have shown great honesty and disgression in what you teach and promote. You have not entered into a promotional product driven business that makes you sell things people do not need.
    Overall, while I am not raw vegan, I do follow many of your recomendations and find that I am drawn again and again to moving more and more towards the raw vegan lifestyle.
    thank your for your devotion and dedication!

    • Jinjee says:

      Hi Rhianne,
      Thank you so much for this validation, wise woman! :)
      I have felt the temptation to sell these things, the addictive and expensive raw cacao items, the supplements that people come back for month after month, which definitely support a lot of the raw food teachers, and so if it allows them to get the message out there, and if these products help some people, even as placebos, I’m not trying to judge anyone else. But personally I can’t justify selling products I wouldn’t use myself. I’m trying to share health with people, the health I’ve been fortunate enough to find and experience in my own life, and I feel the least I can do is be honest about my journey. I also feel like if you really believe in the philosophy of the raw vegan diet, why would you need to supplement that with anything artificial.
      Hugs,
      Jinjee

  6. Lynn DeBuhr Johnson says:

    The simplicity in the presentation is what drew me to your website in the first place. The emphasis on the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds providing your nourishment — these are the plain and simple gifts of the earth.

    • Jinjee says:

      Exactly. The foods we were meant to eat. The foods made from the same source as our bodies were made. The foods that contain the same elements our bodies are made from. The closer we can get to eating the food in its natural state, the healthier for us.

  7. Susan Serfass says:

    Living in the Northeast, eating locally means something very different. Though not a raw vegan at this time, there were many benefits of that way of eating. There were also significant challenges in the form of profound anemia. Really enjoy this open and non-dogmatic posting. Lovely! What could be better than eating whole unaltered foods?

    • Jinjee says:

      I respect that in some areas a raw unsupplemented diet is much harder to do and remain fully nourished….For anemia, I believe dark leafy greens are the best source of iron….plenty of them…juicing helps. Yes, I’m learning to be less dogmatic as time goes on too…There are just so many variables in human life.

  8. sue says:

    just love what you guys are doing. It has certainly made a big difference to my life. I continue to be inspired by you both.

  9. Bob Garon says:

    Great post Jinjee! Thank you for the run down of your eating habits. I like knowing what other people do as I’m newer to this sort of lifestyle.

    • Jinjee says:

      Great. I know, it is very helpful to check many different raw styles in the beginning…Nomi Shannon is coming out with a book with contributions from me and many other raw educators…called “What Did You Eat Last Week”…..I’ll be posting it in my newsletter when it comes out…. http://www.TheGardenDiet.com

  10. Vanessa says:

    What a beautiful and informative post. Thank you.

  11. Barbara Lowell says:

    Thank you for your, as always, exquisite writing, perspective and clarity. I really appreciate your emails because your wholeness naturally includes the spiritual made practical. I have been vegie/vegan/rawvegan/veggie/vegan, etc. for 30 years, slipping into animal foods here and there only to come back home to my true Self, which is high raw. Thanks for making it easier by writing with the dignity and reverence for life and health that this choice represents. You are one lucky family!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Great post, beautifully written. We love this lifestyle and keep learning everyday.
    Peace & Raw Health,
    Elizabeth

  13. rachel says:

    my birthday is wednesday and i think i am going to ask my husband to buy me all of your ebooks! next year i am hoping to go to one of your retreats…i am in san diego, so its within driving distance….yay!
    i love how you said children need to build their bodies while we need to maintain ours….that is exactly the kind of info i need to help these children of mine grow! i was raised on 25cent mcdonald’s hamburgers reheated in the microwave! my children have never had a mcdonald’s hamburger because of that i think! so, i still have a lot of healing and learning to do:)
    ~rachel

    • Jinjee says:

      There’s always more to learn! :)
      My next post is all about how far I realize I still have to go! :)
      I think our search for health ultimately leads us to a search for wholeness, which involves every part of our being, and of course that is an infinite path!

  14. Eva says:

    Thank you for this post. I love your newsletters, BTW :-)
    I’d really love to know what you think about 80/10/10
    Have you ever tried it?
    I started feeling so bad on 80/10/10 that I’m surprised it works for so many. I would appreciate your input on that topic,- perhaps even a post?
    Your family is beautiful and so are you! Keep up the fresh raw work :-)

    Cheers from Germany,
    Eva

    • Jinjee says:

      Have tried similar diet to 80/10/10 where I just eat whole foods for a couple of weeks. Storm always pulls me off it — Too Skinny! He says.

  15. Angela says:

    YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!!! Thanks to GOD for leading my husband to The Garden Diet Website in 2003. My husband and i really and truly agree with whats good and not good for your body….we know that all natural state (produce) is best and supplements and fads, or just powered superfoods are not!!!!We continue to keep it simple and experiment as well as create and practice on recipes that actually taste Good!!!!!

    Enjoy feeling great as in eating nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruit and of course leafy greens.

    • Jinjee says:

      Wow, you’ve known about out site for a long time! :)
      I agree – I think we can get all our nutrients from the foods as they come out of the ground or off the trees.
      Hugs,
      Jinjee

  16. Beth says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal viewpoint on all the different RAW diets that have emerged. I agree with what you and Storm are doing and feel strongly that fresh is best while dehydrated foods are eaten occasionally in moderation. Enjoy reading your perspectives on a healthy lifestyle with your major focus on the basic raw food diet. Keep up the inspiring work.

    • Jinjee says:

      Thanks Beth. We keep refining our version of the raw diet too…We used to eat raw oats, nutritional yeast, and more tahini…and cut them out or back after learning they weren’t entirely or always really raw. And I could see shifting in to a lighter diet as I get older when my kids are grown and I don’t need as much caloric energy….Its an ongoing journey, and I’m glad there is something for everyone out there in the raw movement.

  17. leslie says:

    Thank you once again. I enjoy reading your blogs because I ALWAYS learn something NEW and exciting! Peace.

  18. Debi Walker says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and talents with us. I LOVE your family’s SIMPLE approach to the raw foods diet and lifestyle. Thank you for sharing ~

  19. Brandy Jo Turner says:

    Hi Jinjee, I am very thankful for your blog and emails. I started my journey years ago when a friend advised me to take my daughter off dairy due to recurring ear infections. It worked immediately! To this day as a teen she knows the choice she makes when she eats dairy. I have tried to follow the Hallelujah Diet on and off but allowed time and money to hinder me. I love their ministry and thank God for it. I find that your approach with no cooked foods and no super or dehydrated foods is easier for me. I too look forward to getting all your ebooks for my birthday in July. I would love to do the 28-day but it just doesn’t fit in the budget. I am raising a very nearly raw vegan 15-mo-old (he has never had meat and only a bit of icecream from sissy – but cooked snacks are becoming a problem), my 15-yr-old daughter is vegetarian and my husband is an omnivore. Dinner is very interesting… :) I am making “cheating” a matter of prayer! Its hard when other family members want non-foods around… Through God’s grace I plan to abound! Thank you for this article. I love the diet overview.
    Brandy Jo

  20. Hi Jinjee – I love how practical this article is – and also just light with no judgement – there are so many who get “stuck” on a particular way of eating raw. I love it – very clean diet and easy to follow without all the complicated gourmet raw stuff.

    Thanks!
    Denise

  21. Brenda says:

    I am thinking about getting your program but I have a question. I live in a very cold climate with snow at least six months of the year. Do you not miss warm food? It is very comforting to come in from minus 30 degree weather and eat warm food, hot chocolate, and soup to get warmed up. I find we don’t eat salads etc so much in the winter. How would this work?

    • Jinjee says:

      It is harder in colder climates. You can warm foods up to 95 degrees without damaging it, so you can warm up vegetable juices for soups, and warm up other raw soup recipes, and herbal teas. Some people put a light sprinkle of cayenne in their socks, or drink some warmed water with cayenne and honey and lemon. You do get used to not having warm food though. After a while you don’t crave it.

  22. Cathy says:

    Great post! Are you aware of anyone who has managed to dissolve a longstanding thyroid nodule by adopting such a diet?

  23. Jinjee says:

    Hi Cameo,
    There are two sides to every story. Here is what really happened: http://thegardendiet.com/rawveganvillage/

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