The Enormous Difference Between Raw Foods and Living Foods



I hope you are having a great, post-holiday week. I hear it is really hot in NY, so if you are in a hot city hope you are drinking lots of room-temperature water to hydrate!

I’m here having a fabulous time at the Ann Wigmore Institute. There is so much to talk about, I had to divide this original blog up into 3 or 4 posts. :) But I thought I would start with a topic that has really been on my mind lately, and is emphasized so much here at the Ann Wigmore Institute.

Dr. Ann Wigmore was a true pioneer and her legacy has changed nutrition and the health movement forever. Before she passed away in 1994 (from a fire by the way, not old age), she already wrote extensively on the difference between just eating raw food and actually eating in a superior and nourishing way, which she termed Living Foods. Even back then, in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, the raw food movement was around. Dr. Wigmore observed that many people on a raw food diet, but not a Living Foods diet, had acidic bodies, were deficient in certain important minerals and compounds, had weight and skin problems (like acne) and were certainly toxic. I think if she saw aspects of the raw food movement today she would be horrified!!!! So why is it that if someone is eating “all raw” they can still be so incredibly unhealthy?? There are lots of reasons, but I’ll list a few here:

  1. Living foods are made up of whole, organic plant foods, with an emphasis on greens, sprouts, fresh fruit, and some nuts and seeds. Today the misconception is that “anything goes” as long as it is raw. So what does that mean? People LOAD up on extremely heavy dehydrated foods, tons of oil, cacao, agave, too much sea salt, “superfoods,” way too many (unsprouted) nuts and the like. The emphasis on the simplicity of nature, and greens, has been diminished!
  1. Dr. Wigmore said the most important part of eating Living Foods was eating some blended foods, so you would get the every important benefits of the foods without having to work to digest them, and you would retain the fiber in the food to help create bulk in the colon to sweep out toxicity. This is what the Glowing Green Smoothie is based on loves!! There is a science to it!! If you juice, you remove all the dietary fiber. There are benefits to that as well- but know that you are not getting blended food.

Even if we ate salads all day, most of us don’t chew well enough to get the volume of nutrients in that we would get from some blended foods. BTW, we have some chewing classing here, and it really is amazing how much we need to chew to get the nutrition out!! I was shocked! I thought I was a slow eater, but now that I am conscious, I am a slow eater times 10! :)  It can take me 45 minutes to finish a bowl of Energy Soup.



3. Living foods emphasize digestion, so contain lots of easily digestible fermented foods, such as Rejuvelac and raw sauerkraut, and you MUST soak and sprout your seeds and nuts! Dr. Wigmore believed the reason so many raw foodists have acidic bodies is they are eating the nuts and seeds without preparing them properly to remove the inhibitor enzymes, which keeps the nutrition dormant in the human body, and makes them acid-forming and mucus-forming.

4. Agave is a HUGE no-no. I know, it sucks because it is so easy to use and makes things so damn tasty! I used to use it and promote it! But the truth is that anything that is too easy and too good to be true like that…usually is. If you look at it closely, you may wonder how it arrived as a syrup that way. Maybe you’ve noticed that I have been saying little quips against agave here and there for the last year or so. I’ve also tried to remove it from as many places in this blog as I could find.

I used to think it was okay- after all the whole raw food world seems to think it is okay! It’s low glycemic, isn’t it? It’s from a plant, isn’t it? It is used without limit in many instances in the raw food world. I’m going to do a whole post on this soon. But the truth is that agave is almost pure fructose, and fructose makes you fat and destroys the collagen in the skin. I think that is one reason why raw foodists that eat it every day gain weight.

I used to promote it too! So don’t feel bad because I don’t. I didn’t fully realize back then how bad it was- but I know now! There is such great marketing attached to it. And I am not being judgmental. When you know better you do better. And I am sharing this with you because I highly recommend for you to cut it out of your diet 100%, the way I have. You have to be careful, because unfortunately now it is in everything from energy bars to raw granola. Read the labels and avoid, avoid, avoid!! I will write extensively on this topic in another post. Stay tuned folks!


5. Living Foods do not contain a lot of dehydrated foods. This is sort of related to #1. Dehydrated foods are considered transitional foods for energy, weaning off of cooked food. Dehydrated foods are concentrated with no water, and very dense. They can be very constipating, and do not promote cleansing and lightness! Dehydrated hemp burgers, too many flax crackers…

I think people rely way too much on dehydrated foods. I make them for dinner parties and when I’m making food for those that eat meat and cooked food, to show them raw food can taste really good. But as you elevate the level of health and wellness, the dehydrated food becomes a tiny fraction of the diet. Dr. Wigmore said dehydrated food should be used very sparingly, like for special occasions or a little bit here and there. Like I was saying in #1!

6. Okay, so sorry to keep harping in on #1! But we can’t rely too much on cacao or oil to make things taste good. Our taste buds are getting used to too much stimulation, and then we aren’t satisfied anymore with a plain salad or a Glowing Green Smoothie. We don’t need all that stuff all the time- keep it simple.

Alright, that is my manifesto for tonight! My brain is bursting with so much to say but I have to say nighty now. The internet is slow and it took me forever to get the post up. But a small price to pay! I LOVE the island life and the lack of technology, TVs, air conditioning (at least here!), etc. and wearing flip flops all day and jumping in and out of the ocean 3 or 4 times a day between classes!

I’ll write more soon!

I wrote this post not to burst your bubble, but because I love you and want you to feel your best and reach the highest level of health that you can reach!

Love, Kimberly



Last updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
  • Sarah

    I love your bathing suit! What is it?

    Wonderful post! Keep up the great work, you’ve made an incredible difference in my life.

    • kimberlysnyder

      Oh great! Thanks Sarah!!

      I think I got my suit in Costa Rica. It is very Latin right?? :)

      Come visit me again!!!! xoxo

  • devora kline

    Thanks for the excellent blog. I have dr. Wigmore’s book and will dust it off and do more of what I should be doing.

  • Sparrow Rose Jones

    You have such a beautiful dark tan! Thank you for sharing info from the Ann Wigmore Institute with us. You have such a giving heart!

  • Tamar

    I love your blog. Thanks for this post – although I eat cooked foods, I aim to have more than 50% of my nutrition from raw veggies and this is a really good explanation for how to do raw correctly. I also hear you on the agave – what if we are very sparing with it? Like used only occasionally in small amounts? I am curious what you have to say on your devoted post. Thanks again for all the great info!

    • kimberlysnyder

      Hi Tamar,
      Eating some cooked food is okay- I do too sometimes!
      Sure you can have agave sometimes- I just want you to be aware that you are having fructose so it can’t be unbridled consumption anymore.
      xx Kimberly

  • Anne

    Thankyou for updating your adventures…you lucky thing.
    I am forever learning, since I stumbled onto your site and it is wonderful.
    You look great.

  • Rashdent

    Dear Kimberly,
    I have just discovered your blog and I am loving it..everything you write seems to make sense. However, I am a working girl..and sometimes do not get the time to cook my own food..what do you recommend for a raw foodie on the go???

  • wendy

    Please don’t apologize. I, at least, want to know the truth, and I thank you for that. I was always curious about this agave craze.

  • EB

    Hi Kimberly, thanks for such an interesting post. I do find it a bit overwhelming sometimes to straddle all of the different opinions out there on eating raw, vegan, not eating dairy/soy, etc, it can be exhausting. If you can give me one piece of advice for making a transition to eating cleaner/healthier, I’m just curious what it would be? I obviously cannot cut processed foods, milk, etc out right away but I would eventually like to start eating more “living foods.” I also look forward to your post on agave, as I cut out artificial sweeteners about 3 months ago but have been using agave in my 1 cup of coffee a day (sparingly), but do you have a suggestion for an alternative, perhaps raw honey? Thanks!

    • kimberlysnyder

      Try stevia for your sweetener. You might think it is “bitter” at first but you will get used to it, and be SO much better off.

      Forget all the crap out there! Focus on this: raw greens. If you can make a Green Smoothie, great. If not, eat lots of salads. There- simple as that!! Don’t worry about all the superfoods and supplements. Just eat more greens!!!!!

      Sorry but yes- you should also definitely cut out dairy in ALL forms. Then you are well on your way!!!!!

  • bree

    Kim- thanks for sharing the disappointing news about agave and cacao. What do you suggest then for making your amazing cacao truffles? Are those gone forever? I loved them!

    • kimberlysnyder

      Hi Bree love,
      no they are not gone forever, but use them as treats!! Even a bit of maple syrup or honey would be better. At least organic honey is a natural food occurring in nature.
      I’ve been experimenting with date paste.

      Also, I am experimenting with carob- which is not toxic like cacao.
      stay tuned dearest!
      xx Kimberly

  • Ebene

    Oh no! No more agave?! I love it! Ok…it was too good to be true…so what can we use instead Kimberly?


  • land animal

    great post! i love that you are making this discernment (or rather spreading the word of ann wigmore’s having made it). dehydrated foods feel like rocks in my stomach. and i think of dried fruit as a treat, because it really is just a source of sugar after being dehydrated. emphasizing living foods is the way to go and feel good. i personally love eating my quinoa sprouts :)

  • Jo Jo

    I had heard some stuff about agave, but it’s soooo tasty. Oh well. So what about this new stuff it’s coconut palm nectar or something like that. My co op has it and it says it’s low glycemic. I haven’t tried it. I was actually wondering if you knew anything on it. Also it says it’s raw. Thanks so much and have an amazing time living the island life:)

    • Sparrow Rose Jones

      Jo Jo: beware of any sweetener that advertises itself as low glycemic. With the exception of stevia, that usually means it’s high in fructose and gets processed by your liver instead of your blood and causes high triglycerides and heart problems! High fructose corn syrup (and we all know how bad that is!) is 50%-55% fructose. Agave nectar is 70% -90% fructose!!! I don’t know what coconut palm nectar is, but I would be wary of it!

      For an agave substitute, try blending dates with pure water to make a date paste. Very sweet stuff!

      • kimberlysnyder

        I’ve been making the date paste too! It works for some stuff- but sometimes I think honey is better, or maple syrup for my hard core vegan friends. :)

      • Jo Jo

        Thank you guys. I haven’t had time to do any research on the coconut stuff, but I’m thinking coconut isn’t as sweet as agave so to get sweet maybe they do something to it that I don’t want to know about:) I’ll stick to date paste:) Oh and Kimberly this is off topic but I went backpacking into Enchanted Valley in Washington, in the Olympic Mountains and it was amazing. I thought that you might be interested:) It’s some of the most beautiful woodland I’ve ever seen:)

  • April

    Hi Kimberly,

    I found your blog while I was searching for a spirulina pie recipe. Thank you for all the great information you provide to your readers! It is really making a difference in my food choices, with this posting being particularly eye-opening regarding dehydrated foods like cacao, oils, and agave–stuff that I thought were great additions to raw food diets but maybe actually aren’t! Along the same lines, how do you feel about Vitamineral Green and Vitamineral Earth? Judging from this posting, likely you do not think highly of these two products and would advocate for your green smoothie, which does sound like the better, living food option.

    Have so much fun at the institute and I’m looking forward to your next posting!

    • kimberlysnyder

      Hi April!
      Remember that all those things are add-ons, and the main part of the diet is fresh greens that YOU have to buy yourself. Products can be great for sure. They are useful if we aren’t eating well and traveling, and I do recommend them, but they are not a replacement for eating well! Cacao is a treat- don’t think it is an important source of minerals b/c the minerals come from the greens! Oil isn’t found in nature. So it should be very limited in the diet.
      Love, Kimberly

  • Ashley Rebecca

    You mention chewing class. Sounds strange, yet interesting. I would love a post on proper food chewing and how to get the most nutrition out of chewing your food.

    • kimberlysnyder

      Okay! Thanks for the suggestion!! That will come!

      • Ashley Rebecca

        Thanks for your post on digestion! Excellent information.

  • Monica

    Hi Kim!!

    I am happy you are having such a great experience!
    What do you suggest for us to use instead of the Agave when we want to sweeten our recipies of food?

  • cna training

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  • best health supplements

    Great post it is! Thanks for all the information! I think I have to do more convincing of myself to try living foods. The only living foods I think I can handle would be fresh fruits. :)

    • kimberlysnyder

      When you eat salads you are eating Living Foods! Please make an effort to eat salads!!

  • Sarah

    Hi Kim,

    Thank for the info you look healthy and happy as usual…I was wondering do you feel or are you personally aware of if you can heal your teeth problems such as root canal issues, with raw food. I am having problems with my tooth and I am pretty fed up going to the dentist for antibiotics, is there a way I can heal my tooth from the inside out?

    • kimberlysnyder

      It is funny you say that b/c my teacher here was just saying that she got over a really bad tooth infection with living foods and packing a wheatgrass cud up next to her tooth! Please consult your dentist and or doctor before you do anything, and if you are not sure if you are allergic to anything or if you have an open wound of sorts. But do try to have your blended Green Smoothie every day and lots of greens in other ways, and get some colonics to clear out some junk! Do you take probiotics?
      xx Kimberly

  • Elisa

    So glad u jumped on the no agave bandwagon Kim. Now i’m waiting for ppl to come up with more stevia recipes. I just bought the actual dried herbs, no fillers, and don’t know how to use them. Waiting eagerly for ur post re sweeteners. Also bought coconut sugar. Let me know what u think of it x

    • kimberlysnyder

      they grow stevia leaves here!! Yes I am in the midst of experimenting myself. Stay tuned. :)

  • Dave

    Hi Kimberly, Can you tell us how you signed up for the Institute? I’m wondering what they offer and how someone might sign up?

    By the way, where are you? Looks like fun-in-the-sun!

  • melanie

    I really enjoy your blog and your insight on health and beauty…I am wondering how you feel about tanning? I have made a point to try to avoid getting sun (laying out)for about 8 years (I am going to be 40)..because my first wrinkles came out and I wanted to avoid anymore additional damage. I used to love having a tan…but with your whole blog based on beauty and nutrition…you seem to be ok with getting a suntan. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think? I thought suntan = skin damage?? I do spend time outside and know that sunlight is very beneficial, in the form of providing vitamin D…but I don’t lay out…but I sure do miss the summer tan i used to get every year. Guess I am sort of hoping you or anyone else reading this would say it’s not as damaging to my skin as I might think and it’s ok to get a little color from the sun??

    • kimberlysnyder

      Hi Melanie!
      Ah, the old sun debate! Our society demonizes the sun, and most women won’t go into the sun without slathering on sunscreen.
      The deal with the sun is this: your diet really plays a role, believe it or not. The sun draws toxicity out, and if you are toxic and acidic you will have more issues with the sun. If you body is clean and alkaline and you eat food with a lot of antioxidants, you will have more natural sun protection. I try to go in the sun every day for about 20 minutes, sans sunscreen. I don’t have wrinkles! :)
      Most people like at the surface of things- calories to = weight loss, while not taking into account how easily foods digest or how nourishing they are for the body and anti-aging, and in this case, equating the sun with wrinkles. I know the mainstream says that, but the mainstream says a lot of things which are against my personal health philosophy! If you don’t wear chemical-filled makeup and chemical-filled sunscreen when you go into the sun, and you have a clean body (that is another discussion altogether :) ), the sun in moderation is amazing! Activates enzymes and nourishes your body!
      xx Kimberly

      • melanie

        Kimberly, thank you so much for responding. I’m glad you had a different point of view then the popular one. I actually don’t worry about slathering on the sunscreen… and I go running everyday for at least 60 minutes in the early morning sun…I just no longer thought I should be getting a “tan”…since I will be hitting the big 40… in a few days. I can see you have no wrinkles, but I also would imagine you to be much younger then me! I think I have a cleaner diet than most people I know but certainly not at the level your diet is. I really appreciate your time and thoughts…and I won’t feel so guilty if I se a tan line!

  • Aneisa

    Yes! I have been preaching about agave for so long, it is especially BAD for people with diabetes and I hate how its supposed low g.i is the reason diabetics were tricked into using it. Girl, you’re a star!

  • Samantha

    So what things can I use as a sweetner sub?

    • kimberlysnyder

      Stevia! Or fresh dates mixed into things, which are at least a whole food found in nature. Limited amounts of organic honey and maple syrup would be better as well.

  • aevi

    What a great post. Makes doing raw food seem so much less complicated! Thanks for taking away the stress!

  • physician assistant

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    • Joakim Olin

      Dear Kimberly,

      Thank you for a very uplifting, nurturing, beautiful, educating and always very inspiring blog! I love reading what you share with us! I am a yoga student of Sri Dharma Mittra and teach yoga in Hong Kong. We also have a common friend in the amazingly talented artist and my lovely spiritual Swedish brother Sebastian. I actually found your blog when I was googling art reviews for Sebastian’s exhibition; it truly is a small world we live in my friend…Would you recommend Ann W’s two week training for me if I actively want to be able to more thoroughly help people with their diet?

      Peace Love and Light,


  • Shep

    Hello Kim!

    I think of Agave as just another HFCS (High Fructose Cactus Syrup). I am glad to see you have seen through the marketing hype of Agave Nectar!

    I grow Stevia in my NY backyard, and it is very easy to grow, almost growing like a weed. It outgrows my basil! I put a leaf or two right into my green smoothie. Its green, and its sweet, so if fits right in!

    Thanks for spreading the word so we can all be healthy.

  • dermatology

    Pretty good post. I will add bookmark on your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  • Michaela

    I love your blog, thank you for all your post. I have just ordered your book can wait to read it. I would liketo ask you do you know agave brand ojio ultimate superfood. I bought the bottle from raw food world, where Matt pressent it as clearly unheated raw agave, actually many raw foodist use it. I use stevia yacon powder, lucuma, date and in some recipies for my little 2 years old girl agave. I wanted to find the best on the market and this one it supposed to be what do you think about it? Thank you so much for answer

    • kimberlysnyder

      Hi Michaela, I have heard of that brand but I haven’t tried it myself, as I’ve been avoiding agave altogether. While being “raw” means it may have undergone less heating and chemical processing, I am not sure how exactly it affects the fructose content. Do treat it as a sweetener, so use in strict moderation, and not as a “superfood.” I use dates myself when I make food and smoothies for my clients’ children.

      All my best, Kimberly

      • Michaela

        Thanks a lot

        I do not use it as regular sweetener( only in some cake recipies)
        I love date but I am scared a little bit of high GI so I use them in balls crust, and use raisins figs apricot too. I also like coconut sugar from coconut secret it is raw and very low GI(35). How many dates I can eat per day? I mean medjool date. I am skinny and do not want to loose any weight just want to eat healthy as possible.

  • Mariela

    Hi Kimberly,

    I just wanted to get your advise, I have been on your blossom beauty for a week and a bit and its been ok but I have noticed that by 3pm in the day I am not only starving but I can feel my blood sugar is really low and I feel really light headed and very irritated I got to the point last week and today that I needed to have a least a piece of fruit which made me feel better, is it ok for me to have a couple of piece of fruit through out the day or do you have another suggestion it doesn’t bother me been hungry its the headache, light head and irritability that is really starting to bother me. Any advise would be appreciated and thank you for all your advice you have really opened my eyes to the dangers of some of the food I have been eating and your book is wonderful.

  • Veronica

    What are your thought on lucuma powder?

  • rencontre completement gratuit

    Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Thanks a ton!

  • Chelsea


    I know you’ve been to the Ann Wigmore Institute but I was wondering how it compares to her Hippocrates Institute. Before I attend living light culinary institute if like to go to one of those first. Or what are your recommendations? What do you suggest I do? Also what courses would you recommend I take at luging light?

    Thanking you in advance,