About this site

Many moons ago, I started this blog to combat some of the health myths floating around the vegan and raw-food diet spheres—especially wacky notions about human physiology, evolutionary nutrition, the effects of animal products, and other issues that tended to get me banned from raw vegan message boards when I talked about them. Hence the site title.

But I soon realized there were more exciting things to write about than hybridized avocados and raw vegans with bad teeth. Raw Food SOS was thus reborn into what it is now—a site that examines the science behind common nutritional beliefs, including the ongoing scuffles between omnivores and vegans, the harmfulness of saturated fat, the healthfulness of vegetable oils, and whatever else warrants a closer look.

This site isn’t specifically low-carb or high-carb, vegan or carnivore, raw food or cooked food, or anything else that could be neatly labeled. My own experience as a (recovered) raw vegan taught me that “diet dogma” is killer, so the emphasis here is on unraveling research rather than building an ideology. My goal is to make nutritional science accessible and non-boring to those who really care about their health.

About me

I’m not going to put my age on here anymore because I always forget to change it when I get older. So I’ll just let you guys know I was born on May 4th, 1987, at 6:11 PM Pacific Standard Time—you do the math. (Birthday emails are gleefully accepted.) Evicted from my mother’s womb in California, raised in Seattle, schooled in Flagstaff, enraptured by Oregon, sporadic resident of Los Angeles, former inhabiter of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and currently bouncing between Portland and Whidbey Island in Washington. I like Scrabble, cats, thunderstorms, knee-high boots, mysterious things, mountains, really old houses, aspen trees, albino gorillas, and the color red.

I typically spend about five hours a day reading and writing about nutrition—voluntarily. I may seem like a normal human being on the outside, but rest assured, I have enough nerd in me to make Steve Urkel look like the Fonz. In January 2014, I published a book called “Death by Food Pyramid” and am gearing up for a second one.

My interest in health started at age seven, when I first went vegetarian, and then resurged at the age of 11 when an undiagnosed wheat allergy turned me into a walking zombie for a year. Although cutting out wheat improved my health tremendously, that alone wasn’t enough to keep me feeling big-H Healthy, and over the years I cycled through various versions of cooked vegan, raw vegan, and then raw omnivore. Click here to see what I eat right now.

Although I’m still a mostly-raw foodist, I’m not the kind that that thinks cooked food is poison—quite the contrary. I eat this way because out of all my self-guinea-pigging dietary experiments, a raw food diet with small amounts of animal products is what brings me “peak performance” for both mind and body. I don’t want to feel good; I want to feel awesome.

I firmly believe we all have the right to be healthy, and that an understanding of nutrition isn’t a privilege reserved for the elite. Speaking of which…

Who do I think I am, running a health blog without a nutrition PhD? Shouldn’t I be flipping burgers at McDonalds like all those other English majors?

I get this question a lot. It speaks volumes about how we view learning, and why we’ve abandoned personal responsibility for using our own brains when it comes to health. “We can’t possibly understand nutrition if we haven’t paid for a degree! Let’s just trust someone with formal credentials instead of thinking for ourselves.”

First of all, if you believe valid education only happens in a classroom setting, I sure hope you aren’t reading this blog on a computer—since both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were college dropouts without any credentials to work with technology. ;)

I guess I’ll start by explaining my perspective. I have deep respect for formal learning, and a touch of envy for those who thrive in a traditional school system. Most of my family works in higher education (my dad, a college vice president; my mom, a former biologist who did postgraduate immunology research), and my original aspiration was to teach at the university level. Some awesome stuff happens there.

But I also believe that—for people who are self-motivated, have the time and resources for independent study, and aren’t learning something like dentistry or surgery that requires hands-on training—that a college education can be wildly inefficient and sometimes a barrier to objective thinking. Teachers, after all, come equipped with their own set of biases—ones students must cater to or even adopt if they want a good grade. (My college Women’s History prof comes to mind. Don’t agree that men are the root of all things evil, fattening, and smelly? Then no “A” for you!) At least in my experience, college fostered an atmosphere where the rewards (high marks, scholarships, making the parents proud) were more pertinent than what was actually learned.

My post-college education strategy has been simple. I approach the field of nutrition like learning a new language: total immersion-style. You didn’t learn your native tongue by sitting in a classroom following grammar lessons; you learned it by jumping into an initially confusing world and feeling your way around until it all started making sense. Every day, I make a conscious effort to surround myself with learning opportunities. I read everything I can get my hands on—from statistics textbooks to scientific papers. I find curricula posted on university websites, copy the lesson plans that look relevant, and acquire the reading material from the library instead of paying thousands of dollars for classroom instruction. If I can’t grasp something on my own, I email or call smart people and ask them to help me. My goal is to understand. I don’t stop digging until I’ve plowed to the bottom and broken my shovel trying to go even deeper.

I believe anything can be learned. I believe passion is the best fuel for knowledge acquisition. I believe the subjects that have personal relevance are the most enticing, intriguing, and fulfilling ones to study. This is why I blog.

And because so many people ask, I’ll post my school bio. My educational history, no detail spared:

Elementary school: Was accepted into the “Highly Capable Program” (HiCap) north of Seattle, which is where my childhood effectively ended. Their website explains the program as creating an “academic setting that provides acceleration through curriculum compacting and advanced training in critical thinking and research skills required in academic areas.” In simpler terms, that means we had to start pulling all-nighters in fourth grade just to finish all our homework, spent recess in the library’s “Study Club” cramming for upcoming tests, and probably accrued permanent spinal damage from hauling around 40-pound backpacks filled with textbooks before we were even tall enough to ride on roller coasters. I can honestly say the curriculum in elementary school was more challenging than anything I encountered in college. (On the bright side, I think I learned more critical-thinking skills here than at any other point in my education.)

Middle school: Took honors math, science, and English, as well as advanced band. Felt stifled by the inability to choose what I wanted to study, and channeled my adolescent angst into writing bad poetry, taking pictures of gingko trees, and practicing my bassoon for two hours a day. After spending elementary school in a setting where you’d get eaten alive if you couldn’t keep up with the grueling pace, middle school was excruciatingly slow. Spent 5% of each day actually learning, and the other portion watching the teacher explain and re-explain simple concepts to the students who couldn’t be bothered to listen the first time. All my class notes from this era are defaced with elaborate margin-doodles, evidence of boredom and a tendency to daydream.

High school: Took honors math, science, English, and geography. My resentment towards school amplified freshman year: I knew what I wanted to study, and didn’t want to waste time doing busywork and sitting through classes I wasn’t truly interested in. The desire for mental freedom was almost crippling. Determined to get the heck out of there as soon as possible, I took extra courses, begged the principal for mercy, graduated early, and started college when I was 16. (From the second half of my sophomore year onward, I spent most of my after-school time reading about nutrition online, which is when I first got into raw veganism.)

College: Attended Northern Arizona University. Changed majors several times, bouncing between the sciences (to feed my brain) and the arts (to feed my soul). Eventually settled on English, because the common denominator in everything I loved to do involved writing. Enjoyed many of my classes, but felt they were more about regurgitating what the teachers wanted to hear than actually thinking critically. I found it difficult to spend any focused time studying things I wasn’t passionate about. Tried to take classes that culminated with 40-page research papers because I deeply enjoyed producing them. Walked in the December 2007 graduation with a 4.0, summa cum laude.

That about sums it up.

Lastly, I’m always happy to answer any questions or help other health seekers (current or aspiring) who are struggling, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Ancestral Health Symposium 2011

Eye color changed from light brown to hazel after switching to raw foods, likely from an increased intake of glutathione.


  1. Hi.
    You have a great blog, and, personally, I really like one common thing on your posts (and very uncommon on the web, as well as in “real life”):
    You always try to be objective about the themes which you writing; and furthermore, you study a lot before you started a critical.
    I don´t think that because you have not a nutrition degree or something like that, your opinions worth less than if you had one. I am pretty sure who you make a great work on each of your posts.
    In fact, I am a scientist, and I am fully conscious that, in science, not exist the “absolute truth”, but, anyway, many times is not necessary to be a scientist for learn and understand some things, as you said yourself some time.
    BTW, many of your posts are very, very long, but I think this is good, because you explain in the best posible way who you could, and this improve a lot your work, for sure it is not perfect, but because of it, everyone can judge better your text and learn more.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with everyone.

  2. And to think, I thought only I was full of loquacious, schizophrenic ramblings about everything and nothing all at once set out in overly long run-on sentences and absent punctuation or signs of an end but containing great meaning and purpose. (Wait, there it is!) Glad your blog is seeing more-frequent updates (or less-frequent sabbaticals?). Your thoroughness and neurotic perfectionism in such a nebulous and untrustworthy area (diet/health/nutrition) is appreciated!

    Looking forward to reading the book!

  3. I can’t believe I found you. This blog is what I have been looking for without realizing I’ve been looking for it. I’m about to turn 50 and I wish my passion for the truth about nutrition had hit me when I was your age but I was busy graduating college, taking a job I didn’t want to make my dad happy (which did ultimately lead me to my husband so I guess that whole “everything happens for a reason” thing applies here), geting married, having babies and I’ve spent the last 21 years raising them. It’s been my greatest joy and has been my biggest motivation behind my interest in nutrition. My idea of Health (with a capital H) has been ever evoloving. Your views and ideas in your “About” section speak to me and I can’t wait to explore your blog. Thanks for sharing your passion.

  4. Ok, so if we can assume the raw data in the China study is correct, what then have you been able to conclude after going through it all?

  5. You have a great blog! I am so impressed! I am not vegan or anything, just very interested in nutrition. I have my bachelors degree in it. But now stay at home with my four children, try to stay sane, while figuring out how to get the kids to eat more plants!

    I just started reading The China Study. I was skeptical about the shocking results of their rat studies (I usually am skeptical of shocking results). Found your review of the Forks Over Knives documentary… Thank you so much! It was so informative, well-written, and very well researched! There is so much balony about nutrition out there. It was refreshing to find you!


  6. Just found your blog , i love this its like reading a novel but you get so much information out of it , any thoughts of starting a youtube channel ? We’ll be interested in watching . Q- what is glutathione and where does it come from ? And is an increase in it good or bad ? I’m trying to go raw but its hard waking up every day craving cooked food , what should i do ?

  7. I really love the way you look at things. Ure recent talk at AHS2014 was very inspiring. BTW, I’m a diabetic who controls blood sugar quite successfully thru a ketogenic diet… but have since got interested in the raw food vegan style due to the claims that t2diabetes can be totally cured. Your AHS2014 talk made me even more interested to pursue this area. It also helped me dispel some of the cognitive dissonance that I myself have about holding on to things that I myself am not sure is true :D Plz keep up ure good work. Looking forward to reading more of your work…

  8. Since I was a little black was the color of the eyes and when I grew up to become a light brown color I want to know the way that has changed the color of the eyes, Christine and Steve Is it possible?

  9. Steinbeck was tossed out of Stanford because he wouldn’t declare a major–he wanted to study what he was interested in and nothing else. Ken Richardson probably comes closest to being an advocate for that kind of education.

    Thomas Harris, author of The Silence of the Lambs, told me in a letter once that “If you’re smart enough for an education to do you any good at all, you’re probably smart enough to get one on your own.” He was responding to my question of whether I needed to major in English in order to be a writer. ‘Nuff said.

    I love your style, laughed uproariously at the death of the low-protein monkeys (not because I think monkey death is funny, but because it would suck to be a scientist trying to study cancer and your test subjects don’t live long enough to get it… ) and am blown away that you’re so young and so articulate. Happily.

    I found your blog looking to debunk ‘Forks Over Knives’ because I’m writing an essay for a university class on the environment. I have a feeling my prof is a relative of your man-hater and that I’ll likely crash and burn in this class because I don’t embrace the dire consequences of continued fossil fuel use. I tend to see the Earth and our relationship to it in a much more holistic way. Like nutrition (I’ve learned), there is no one answer to any single (potential) problem and no predicting the outcome of any single or chain of changes.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I apologize for thinking you were Chuck Klosterman .. 😘 you are a brilliant word former into image creation. Love you much! only found you TODAY!
    Made it half way thru your forks over knives scrutiny.. much to learn there and appreciate it .. clears up a lot .. loved the movie but unhappy about the misinformation. . Hoping it is merely that they know that people often only respond to “an all or nothing selling approach” .. . Anyway. Glad for you and your pristine mind. .for your ability to articulate and navigate thru a world of haters.. lol! I was warned to not bother to read the threads of people who wanna combat you .. so. I will look forward to more of your words and kindness. And not delve into the depths of the viewing elite .. artist vs critic of artist.
    This one is not me..
    You rock and roll. Both !

  11. Dear Denis,

    Your blog is a piece of “Super Highly Interesting Tales”.
    I devote to reading your “full of sense” replies to Dr Campbell’s China Study about 2 days and will never be back.

    I regret there are many dummies in the world who follow your “science”, though as Dr Cambell said in his lifetime project – only 1% can digest info and change his life to the better.

    Good luck in your “invaluable” work.

  12. Hello! I came across your site as you talk about general tooth help and it’s given me much hope it almost brings me to tears! I’m a vegan not raw but you could say almost, only things I eat cooked are veggies and sweet potatoes. I recently bought a vitamin supplement and a trace mineral bottle , hoping to restore back my enamels, I’m determined to do what it takes, so if you can please shed some light I will be immensely thankful! :) I’m full ears on what you recommend and have to say about remineralizing my enamels or anything I can do! Thank you so much and hope to hear back from you!

  13. HI,

    I am a health researcher which also includes raw food, superfoods, and all it ian’s type diet.

    My thinking is that any person who is dealing with heart and cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and many other ailments, then the Forks Over Knives plant based diet would be the best way to go.

    Those that are not in such a diseased state can probably do well to eat both raw and cooked food while even those who eat non toxically or organically raised chicken and fish once in a while.

    I find vegan’s, both raw and cooked eaters, are not as educated to complementary proteins.

    I do not see the health benefits of any dairy products which forks over knives Dr Campbell agrees with.
    Cows milk is for cows and has many detrimental effects on humans including the acid ph problem and calcium robbing effects.

    The problem as a whole is that only 11% of Americans eat even the MINIMUM daily requirement of vegetables. That leaves 89% of Americans not even eating the minimum requirement of plants in their diet.

    Linus Pauling stated a mineral deficiency is the cause of all disease. That makes sense on both a diet perspective as well as a body chemistry perspective. Minerals are involved in every process in our body including the detoxification as well as ph balancing.

    Minerals are deficient in our plants and Americans eat few vegetables and fruits so it stands to reason that our sick soils, yield plants which yield sick animals and people.

    Any way all people would do well to add more vegetables and low glycemic fruit in our body’s

  14. Refreshing to see such a young woman delve into this. I love that you are willing and obviously very capable to tackle and challenge the authorities with all the letters behind their names from a laypersons perspective.
    35 years educating in the health field has shown me that laypeople present some of the best research, as they are not usually tied into some dogma or funding that biases them.
    You have a thinking brain, that is capable of looking outside the box! And the medical box we have built for ourselves really requires that at this time in our evolution!
    Please take a look at my blog: http://www.NaturalPathRemedies.com/blog
    My book, the Paw Paw Program – A “Christopher Columbus” Approach to Cancer, also looks outside the box. Your thoughts on diet seem to be very similar to mine, and I cover this extensively in my book.

  15. I have no problem with your educational background, anyone can learn… agreed. My problem is with your experience. At 26 or 27 you haven’t lived long enough to know what good nutrition is, you’re like the great line from Good Will Hunting, “anything I can learn from you I can get from a book”.

    You chocked on a chicken bone at seven and became a vegan, is that the story? So now you have a new diet? How do you know it works? Because you read it somewhere? And what about all those years you lived with the ‘wrong’ diet, what where you telling people then? How good your diet was? Because you lived with it for quite awhile, didn’t you?

    I’m 70 and very healthy, I know my diet works, I take no drugs have a cholesterol of 125 and eat a balanced, mostly organic, diet with very little dairy and no meat. Is it right for everyone? Nope, it’s right for me because I’ve learned over the last 50 years what works for me and that takes time. So my objection with you is time, you don’t know if what you’re doing and prescribing works, you only know what someone told you. I’m sure before you adopted your present diet you were telling everyone about the benefits of of your last diet. Come back in 40 or 50 years healthy and drug free and then maybe what you have to say will have credible value.

    What people have to learn is that diet is specific to the individual. Some should eat meat and some shouldn’t ever.

    The other thing people have to learn is that health is comprised of physical, nutritional and spiritual. You must eat well, exercise moderately and have inner spiritual balance. Omit one and you’re not healthy no matter what concoction you ingest. It’s a three legged stool, miss one and the stool collapses.

    But you haven’t lived long enough to know that.

    Have a good life and come back when you have experienced all life has to offer and then tell people what you’ve found because I guarantee it won’t be what you’re telling people now.


    1. Hi R,

      Thanks for your comment! “What people have to learn is that diet is specific to the individual” — if you poke around this blog a bit longer, you’ll see that’s exactly my philosophy and message as well. I don’t personally eat dairy or red meat, and work individually with people to help discover what works best for their body. :)

  16. I found you site by actually looking for comments of any kind on The China Study. I’m a 70 yr old man with all the results of bad eating and things cause. MEAT eater, trying to change some old bad habits. Most of my life I mainly ate BEEF! Being a slow reader all my life and add to it eye sight that is not as good as it used to be, It takes me a while to read this book. With a handicapped son, a functional, disabled wife , and a 90 yr old mother-in-law, time is percious. My enjoyment is tutoring school children at a couple locations of The Gateway Bible School systems.
    If I were to envy someone, it would be someone that can read fast , absorb all they read, and want to know EVERYTHING! A long,long time ago it was so obvious that real learning and education was two almost opposing things.
    I always like to see the face of people I’m talking to, Live, if at all possoble. Forgive me, but I am an old male chovenist pig. Your site does NOT look read like it comes from the gbood looking , bright eyed young lady in the picture. I’am sorry. I’m OLD! This seems to be what I was looking for, though I’m not likely to be able to read everything. It has already been very inlightening. Knowledge and wisdom are precious. ,Most of us have a hard time finding out what we have found.
    Thank you, and forgive me,
    Thomas E. Allen

    P.S. I also can’t spell, type, or properly deal while this modern electronic age.

  17. Denise Minger has an undergraduate degree in English, and she is telling people what to eat. Really? How about some expertise in Nutrition and health. Oh, and no studies on this site to support anything she claims. Who needs medical or scientific studies, when you have an English degree?
    This young lady is worse than a quack. She actually charges people money, to “teach” them healthy eating. What a fraud! Oh, but I am forgetting, she compares herself to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates . Wow! This a very dangerous person with a HUGE EGO.
    She should be ashamed to charge people money. I am going to report this site to the government for defrauding the public, and putting everyone health at risk.

    Go back to school, and get a Masters Degree in English, and write Fantasy novels. And stop endangering everyones health. What a bloated ego!

  18. I like your feisty spirit! You think your own thoughts – not the thoughts you’re supposed to think. People like you are rare. Excited to explore your blog. I have a huge amount of respect for self-educated people. That tells me they really care about their message. Paula Begoun – the cosmetics cop, is self-educated with no degree. She does a great job explaining the ingredients in cosmetics, their use and whether she recommends them (She’s no organic hippie type though). I’ve found her advice extremely helpful and I am sure I will find your insights highly useful. Keep it up!

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