12 Steps to Raw Foods

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food is written by Victoria Boutenko.

In 1993 Boutenko and her family were all experiencing serious health problems ranging from asthma and diabetes to cardiac arrhythmia. Due to her concern about the side effects of pharmaceutical medications Boutenko began to search for natural solutions.

She learned about the raw food diet and she and her family started eating this way practically overnight. Almost immediately they noticed their health issues improved and after four months on the diet they all completed a ten-kilometer run.

Boutenko wrote this book to help readers to avoid the pitfalls of adjusting to a raw food diet as well as to maintain this way of eating as a long-term lifestyle.

12 Steps to Raw Foods Diet Basics

The diet that Boutenko recommends consists only of plant-based foods that have not been cooked or processed. The diet will include primarily fruit and vegetables with small amounts of nuts and seeds.

12 Steps to Raw Foods is known for introducing green smoothies to the general population, which are a blended combination of fruit and leafy green vegetables. She advocates the inclusion of green smoothies in the diet every day for their high content of protein and minerals, which are important for maintaining long-term health on a raw vegan diet.

Boutenko emphasizes the point that each person requires a different diet and she advises us to pay attention to cravings for natural healthy foods.

Conversely she says that cravings for cooked foods are more likely to be related to their addictive nature rather than a true biological need. She created a 12-step to raw foods program to help people overcome their addiction to cooked foods so that they will be able to successfully sustain a raw food diet.

  • Step 1 – Becoming aware of the problem
  • Step 2 – Nourishing your body to eliminate cravings
  • Step 3 – Acquiring skills and equipment
  • Step 4 – I love you no matter what you eat
  • Step 5 – Avoiding temptations
  • Step 6 – Getting support
  • Step 7 – Gratitude and forgiveness
  • Step 8 – Actualizing dreams
  • Step 9 – Embracing other healthy habits
  • Step 10 – Gaining clarity
  • Step 11 – Searching for one’s spiritual mission
  • Step 12 – Giving support to others

Recommended Foods

Fruits, vegetables, green smoothies, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, durian, coconut.

Sample Diet Plan


Mango and kale green smoothie

Morning Snack

Fresh peach


Raw vegetable soup with avocado

Afternoon Snack

Raw carob truffles


Nut or seed cheese
Large green salad with tomatoes and sprouts

Exercise Recommendations

12 Steps to Raw Food recommends exercise, especially walking, as an effective natural way of managing stress. Boutenko says that doing some form of exercise or intense physical activity for at least thirty minutes each day will provide a wide range of benefits including increased energy, improved metabolism, better self-esteem, less body fat and a reduced risk of many serious diseases including cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Costs and Expenses

12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food retails at $16.95.


  • Encourages the intake of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
  • May assist with the management of a wide variety of health problems.
  • Will reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Can help dieters to overcome compulsive eating.
  • Acknowledges the importance of exercise, sleep and stress management for good health.
  • Includes tips for eating a raw food diet on a budget.
  • Includes recipes.


  • Can be difficult to eat out and in social situations.
  • Dieters may experience discomfort during the initial transition period.
  • Does not include a meal plan.
  • Necessary to plan the diet carefully or take supplements so as to avoid potential nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B12, zinc, selenium and protein.

Good for THos New To Raw Food Diets

Boutenko offers dieters practical tips, recipes, and strategies and supports her recommendations with real-life experience as well as scientific research. 12 Steps to Raw Foods will appeal to dieters who would like to start a raw food diet as well as those that have tried this way of eating in the past but have had difficulty sticking to it over the long-term.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Prakash

    I want to start today raw food plan

  • Roy Manley

    I have been eating raw on and off for 2 years. Green sludge in the mornings alternating with seed porridge. Salad in the afternoon and cooked brown rice with Quorn or salmon, with green salad. Sometimes I will have a biscuit and a cup of tea to break the diet. In the last 9 months I lost 6 kilos and I did lots of exercises as well. Just keep to as much raw food as you can for your healths sake. 70% is fine.

  • rakotomamonjy estella

    It was great that we are allowed to go on diet with nutritional foods

  • Alicia

    I have been 100% raw three times for about 6 month each time in the last four years. I considered I have done a balanced and varied intake of all is recommended. I felt great and my body was energetic and well sculptured. I also exercised a lot. I noticed a few problems though, like hair lose, new wrinkles every day, dryiness of arms and face skin and dry lips. I also felt my teeth weak. I have given up each time because of these synthoms that show, but not at the beginning. What am I doing wrong?

    • rick


    • Sarah

      My guess would be that your not giving yourself the proper supliments for the lack of vitamins. It could also be that you simply weren’t eating enough.

  • ivonne rideout

    Hi, I am very interesting in losing weight, i try for long time but i am not reach my goal, but i just want to try this time with a hope good results, Please help me!!! I am short with only 5.1 feet, my weigh is 12.5 stone. I am healthy, because i am a good eater, but i do not use to fry anything, but i like biscuit, I usually have fresh juice in the morning from my juice extractor, i eat well, but i am not loose any single gram.!! please could you suggest me a good habit, I want to loose stunning for Christmas!!! Many Thanks


  • Suzette

    My mom and Dad has been on the Halleluja Diet for more than ten years, this is based on a mostly raw diet.

  • Katy B

    @aleisha, Most people who implement a raw foods diet tend to go 70-90% raw, and include some lean meats or other protein complexes. As for your comment on ‘indigestible’ plant structures, the plain truth is raw foods are more digestible. The parts of the cellulose cell wall structures that do not fully digest, help to maintain healthy bowel function by providing structure to carry out other toxins.

    There are few plants that provide more vitamins and minerals after being cooked, carrots are one of the main exceptions, though eating carrots raw still has plenty of advantages.

    If you think about humans as an animal (which we are) we began our existence eating everything raw. Including meat. As for being active, I can attest that eating as much raw food as I want is plenty to sustain 2-3 hours of rigorous exercise a day, much moreso than regulating my intake of cooked grains and vegetables which always leaves me hungrier between meals.

    All in all, don’t knock it til you try it.

  • aleisha

    How are humans meant to digest all the undigestible plant structural carbohydrates without cooking them?? While eating more fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados etc (all raw) is fantastic, Many vegetables improve their nutritional quality by gently cooking them (i usually lightly steam all my veges) and removing alot of lean proteins from your diet (fish, chicken, lean pork etc) is not suitable for active people. I think this diet has a high risk of developing nutritional deficiences and without very very strict analysis could be dangerous.

    Why do people insist on taking things to the extreme?
    Whats wrong with eating a life long ‘diet’ thats balanced but has variety?

  • eve racan

    hi i have been trying for many years to stick to raw living . when i have stayed on raw food i feel wonderful and energtic, i always stick to it 2 to 3 weeks and then relapse. Im determined to keeping trying always learning new things about how healthy it is to have wholesome food. please emaile me more info love to know more and love to hear about other peoples experience. eve


    very difficult at the first month then i feel great and eat good not hungry and losing height very good iam say 70% raw in future want to go 100% raw

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