Eat More, Amanda! (Or, Beyond Spinach and Seeds)

Hey guys! Hope you’re having a great weekend. I was very touched by the responses to my last post.

So this is an impromptu post for women’s week, but I was wondering whether any of you had seen Amanda Seyfried’s latest interview in Esquire. According to the interview, Seyfried

“…plops down and pulls out a plastic box containing enough tabbouleh to stuff a softball. “I’m on a raw-food diet,” she declares, raising her brows to make her eyes even bigger. “It’s intense. And sort of awful. Yesterday for lunch? Spinach. Just spinach. Spinach and some seeds.” She says the last word, seeds, and leans into the long vowel sound, scrunching her nose, making the word sound like a comic discovery.”

Blech. Don’t get me wrong: I think Amanda Seyfried is a charming actress, and it goes without saying that she’s gorgeous. But this little snippet manages to encapsulate so many icky misconceptions about eating raw foods:

1) They’re a “specialty food,” so if you’re eating them, you’ll have to carry around your own food in boxes wherever you go.

2) If you’re eating raw foods, it’s all or nothing (“I’m on a raw foods diet.”)

3) Raw foods are are “intense, “and kind of awful,” because they’re comprised primarily of spinach. And seeds.

OK y’all. Let’s set the record straight. If there’s anything you’ve learned from Choosing Raw, I hope it’s the following:

1) There’s nothing oh-so-exotic about raw foods. It just means veggies and nuts that you haven’t cooked. Salad? Gazpacho? Fruit smoothies? Juice? Guacamole? Cucumber soup? That’s raw food, people. And it’s right at your fingertips.

2) It ain’t all or nothin’. Many people who enjoy raw foods, and who believe in certain principles associated with raw foods (like food combining, or the idea of detox), do it part time. They, like me, are semi-raw, or high-raw. While there are a lot of happy and glowing 100% raw foodists out there, they’re actually only a part of the raw community, and it’s a misconception that liking raw cuisine and playing around with it means committing to a full time gig.

3) Raw foods are about a whole lot more than spinach and seeds! I’m often reminding friends and inquiring minds that eating raw food is simple, as long as you can make salad! But I say this in jest. It’s not all about salad: it’s about nuts, seeds, sea veggies, grains, and legumes, too. Smart raw or semi-raw foodies know that balance and adequate nutrition are important, as is variety. Anyone who’s subsisting on greens and a sprinkle of sesame seeds alone is being way too extreme, and runs the risk of either getting sick or losing interest. Fast.

To remind us all that raw foods go way beyond spinach leaves, I’ve assembled a little photo album:


And that ain’t the half of it. A lot more than spinach and seeds, eh?

Of course, we should also ask ourselves why a young, talented, and beautiful woman would feel compelled to adhere to a “diet” at all, let alone one that she calls intense and awful. Or why–even though her tabbouleh sounds tasty–there’s only enough of it to stuff a softball. (Was that meant to be funny? Because in Gena world, softball size is not enough for lunch. Ahem.)

As woman’s week draws to a close, let’s all please remember that eating in such a way that leaves our bodies inadequately nourished, and our spirits deprived of the sensual pleasures of eating good food, is just plain uncool. Hopefully Amanda will get to enjoy more of the fun of raw foods soon, along with the rest of us 🙂


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  1. Gena you got linked on Jezebel! I love when sites i read magically intersect!

  2. All I have to say is that those who think raw food is all boring or bland has not tried my friend’s raw “cheesecake.” A simple thing like raw nuts is transformed into a rich, intense, slightly tangy treat that definitely rivals the “real” thing for its deliciousness.

  3. That’s such a great representation of what raw food can be! I’ve recently been delving into raw a little bit more myself, and I’ve been enjoying catching up on your blog!

  4. Love your rebuttal, Gena. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The first thing I thought while reading the interview excerpt you posted was “WHYYYY is she on any sort of ‘diet’ in the first place?” Eating healthier is one thing, but depriving herrself by eating “awful” food? How sad.

    Unfortunately, I think Amanda’s attitude towards raw is quite common amongst the general public. I think more & more people are becoming open-minded everyday, but in general, when people hear “raw foods,” they think of iceberg lettuce, carrot sticks, and cucumber slices. Same with the word “vegan.” Oh, how wrong they are! It makes me so happy that so many people in the blogosphere are enlightening people to the true beauty, simplicity & satisfaction of the raw food (and vegan) lifestyle!

  5. Those pictures are making me very hungry. Thanks for that post too. I am not 100% raw but even I know that it’s more than just spinach and seeds.

  6. Love all the food photos… I am now really really hungry.

    The sad part is when an actress talks about a diet or change in diet.. wheater right or wrong it becomes the next big thing…

  7. I sent this link to a tweeter who was challenging me on the raw food diet earlier today…I said to just look at the pictures and you can see that this is not a deprivation diet. Thanks for being such an inspiration Gena ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Great post! I can’t understand why she would eat food that she doesn’t like and isn’t satisfied with. Makes me wonder if she has someone whispering in her ear that she needs to loose weight, and to do that she needs to experience deprivation. I eat simple salads for lunch, and I really enjoy those salads!

  9. Whats that pic that looks like scrambled eggs?? looks great!
    I wish people didnt label this lifestyle as “raw foodists”. Its the labels that scare people off, including myself. If i get too drawn into an extreme it causes anxiety. Its simply about nourishing your body with clean food, raw or not, and most importantly on top of everything else ENJOYING YOUR FOOD. because if you don’t whats the point???? if you feel like you’re depriving yourself then your spirit suffers and can cause all sorts of complications. Ive realised the importance of eating what my body tells me to eat, not what i think i ‘should’ be eating.

  10. Gorgeous! And you’ve given my a ton of great ideas! How do you get your beets so thin? I have problems cutting them in a mandolin–they are so hard!

  11. Oh poo…I hate the media! ๐Ÿ™‚ Someone once told me that Raw Food was only a “diet” and I must be anorexic since I am already slim and still trying to “diet”. Yeah…she’d die if she knew how many calories I just ate in a single slice of Raw Strawbrry Pie with Chocolate sauce!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Yum your eats make me hungry even though I just ate dinner!

  13. love this.
    My sister just wrote this paper that was a hilarious exaggeration of living with a nutritionist… it brought me to tears, with laughter… but really… it sounds like I am starving the child. Not only is she capable of eating whatever it is that she likes, she actually adores the foods I make her (the paper was more for affect).
    It drives me wild when people think I am depriving myself from food… when I love my chocolate avocado pudding, raw coconut ice cream, etc. Geesh. If I were depriving myself I would have some serious issues enjoying life. It is such a shame that people correlate “raw” or “healthy”- with unpleasant cardboard foods… aye.


  14. thank you for once i awhile writing that you eat large portions, like how softball size is normal and is actually a somewhat small portion if you are eating healthy foods.

  15. Great post, I came across that article Friday too and it irked me – why would she follow the diet if she’s not enjoying it and probably not believing in it? Amanda needs to get herself a raw cookbook, maybe attend a raw class or two and read your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. First, great post Gena! You nailed this topic dead on! Great job in clearing things up about what raw foods is and what it is not! I think Amanda is great though she needs to realize that there is so much more to raw foods than just spinach. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your photo album. There are some great foods pictured!

  17. Such a good post! I thought when i first went raw i had to live off a fruit cup or a salad and its incredible the amazing textures and flavors the earth gives us that we can up to another level!
    On your website i have been searching for an ice cream recipe because of that picture which looks like vanilla ice cream. Can you post it please because i have been dying to make an ice cream!
    thanks Gena!
    You’re blog has been what keeps me going raw, the simplicity and the recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Amazing post and oh so true-very frustrating when you feel like you need to “prove” more than educate people on exactly how amazing raw food is!

  19. Having just read the interview, poor love does sound a couple of radishes short of a salad…if I wasn’t vegan I would prescribe a little of the old fish oil for A.S.’s brain health…that’s fiiiiiish oil, darling.

  20. And this is why I continually read your blog! I’m not on a raw foods diet, but I like to try some things that I think might work for me and at least get educated well about something. Your recipes have been sooo tasty! The problem is that most are uneducated about food, especially in Hollywood when everyone’s on one diet or another. I agree with Megan above in saying- if it doesn’t work for you or makes you feel good, why do it?

  21. Great post! The worst thing about the Esquire article is that Amanda seems to despise the raw food diet. Why force yourself to eat something that doesn’t make you happy or feel good?

  22. thank you for posting this <3 someone told me last week that they were going to “start the raw diet”. i wanted to punch them in the face. it’s not a diet!! it’s a LIFESTYLE and doesn’t involve depriving yourself and eating creepy foods. it’s about fresh, nutrient-dense, delicious eats and there’s no reason to make it sound like a form of torture.

  23. I agree with Mama – obviously she is on this “raw food diet” to lose weight – not because she appreciates the benefits of a raw diet. It’s upsetting that they address the food she’s eating and not why she’s eating this way. There must be some body issues there because have you seen the pictures of her that accompany the article? She is smoking hot! Girlfriend does NOT need to worry about her image.

  24. Another actress that said something similar to that was Alyson Hannigan on Gordon Ramsey’s cook along show. I watched only a few days ago. She said that she used to be vegan and when she got pregnant she craved meats, etc. Ramsey went on to mock vegan lifestyle saying: I am amazed you could even get pregnant on that [paraphrased]. I wanted to crawl through my PC and give them two a piece of my mind. The actress went on to say that she is cute-a-rian–eats things that are not cute, i.e. steak is ugly, so I eat steak [but this is beside the point]. I was just really appalled at a their false description of what vegan is, while they were cooking a heart attack on a platter [oil+butter+steak!].

  25. You’ve made me hungry with all those beautiful foodie pics, Gena! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yes, it’s very sad that anyone would live on spinach and seeds – and spinach is my all-time favorite!!

    I’ve been 100% raw without any of the raw kitchen gadgets and now I’m high raw and I have a dehydrator – and a spiralizer is on its way as I type! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m really enjoying raw foods more than ever before because it’s SO fun to play and experiment. But I also enjoy the fact that I’m eating such nutritious foods. It should be fun AND delicious/nutritious, in my opinion. When it becomes a chore or feels like you’re starving yourself on some “raw diet” that is sad. ๐Ÿ™

    Thanks for a great post, Gena!


  26. It’s unfortunate, because Amanda Seyfried has an automatic and large audience, that will just hang on her words and not actually research their validity. While a normal, non-public-media person, who eats raw and healthy AND decadently, can get constantly asked inane questions like, “aren’t you starving?” or “where do you get your protein?” I can get annoyed — just last night I had a discussion with someone who said she could never stop eating red meat because of low iron in her blood (complete with how her parents made her drink the blood from the roast beef every Sunday!) — but the important thing, I think, is to find our inner patience and carefully, gently, lovingly, correct the incorrect and spread the health and vitality. Poor fruits and veggies — they get such a bad rap!

  27. I read that article as well, and was immediately thought of how she clearly doesn’t have a great knowledge of all the wonderful raw foods available to her! It makes me wonder why she is on a raw food diet to begin with, and why she hasn’t discovered the complex array of foods available to her! It scares me when someone starts a diet with a lack of knowledge, and fear it can only lead to harmful things instead of a new, healthful way of life.

  28. I think Amanda needs to be properly introduced to raw banana soft serve ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Yes! Thank you for this post. For me, raw food is about abundance. Abundance of nutrition, abundance of health, abundance of energy, and abundance of FOOD! I eat A LOT of a wide variety of delicious raw meals, I am satisfied, and I’ve never felt better or looked better :). If I only ate spinach and seeeeeeds I might not feel very healthy.

  30. LOVE it. Leave it to you, Gena.

    I thought much the same thing when I read a portion of her interview yesterday morning. If I were munching on nothing but spinach and seeds all day long, I’d be thinking “awful” too. Woody Harrelson needs to take this girl under his wing and show her around the raw food kitchen!

  31. great job on pointing out that raw food is more than just spinach and seeds Gena! poor girl…. from her interview, she seems not be in good place, i mean emotionally.

    A question Gena (not food related). how did you learn to write so well? i enjoy reading your writing so much, food related or not and I really want to write better. Any tips?

    • You are so sweet, Coco!

      Well, I read a ton as a kid, majored in English, and read/edit for a living now, which gives me a head start! But none of those things are necessary to write well except the first. The best way to become an able writer is to be a good reader. The more you read quality books, the better you’ll write!

      The other trick is not to simply write whatever pops in your mind. Sit down and think out your post first — then structure it on paper ๐Ÿ™‚

      • thanks Gena! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve always enjoy reading, unfortunately my reading material changes on language a lot (from chinese to spanish and then to english), I feel that everytime I learn a new language, it’s a new world for me. But reading yours post is a pure pleasure!

  32. Yeah that article kinda makes me want to slap her. What a dummy. It’s just another person spreading the word that healthy eating is blech. I don’t mean to be too negative, but it’s frustrating.

    Thank you for setting the record straight, Gena!

    I second what Averie said about the photos. I saw those carrot burgers and was like, Oh! I remember them! I still need to make them someday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. i’m so glad you responded to this. when i think raw food i think DELICIOUS!!! it’s a great addition to everyone’s lifestyle and doesn’t have to be a super-restrictive “starve yourself” diet at all.

  34. That is so true, Gena! So many people will get the wrong impression by reading that article. Glad you cleared some things up!

  35. What a great post. I heard about that article, and even though I am not nearly a raw foodist myself, I am very interested in the topic and it annoyed me that she made it seem so unglamorous. Raw foods are delicious, and the most perfect, healthy foods you can eat! And you can be SO much more creative than just spinach and seeds!

    Thanks so much for touching on this issue.


  36. I guess what I was trying to say is, if some raw is raw and on the other hand, some raw is natural part of regular diet, who are raw foodists anyway?

  37. First, those photos…I can mentally put myself in a time/space place of when you posted those recipes orignically and I just had many trips down nostalgia memory lane, thank you for that ๐Ÿ™‚

    And the not exotic, more than just iceburg lettuce, not all or nothing, not weird, not hard, not deprivation….dear god, totally. And I try to convey that same attitude on my blog, albeit in a totally different style than you do on yours, but yes. I wish people could just realize this is EASY this life. If it was hard, I wouldnt do it! And that if you’re not all raw, who cares. It’s a spectrum. Find your place on it and relish it.

    I say this every post, but this was a great post, Gena!!

  38. Great post – beautiful pictures – and when are you going to publish your cookbook?

  39. How disappointing of Amanda! Not only does that give a bad image of the raw community, but of actresses and dieting in general (yet again). On another Amanda note, shes also in Glamour this week drinking Kombucha and talking about panic attacks and anxiety medication. Maybe she should how off a bit.


  40. a good spinach salad with a hemp- or sunflower seed dressing would be quite tasty! although i have to say there are some raw foods and salads that i don’t like. i went to a raw food potluck once where everything was pretty gross. although that can happen with cooked food too for sure! too bad she didn’t get hooked up with a better chef or a better recipe book at least.

  41. I guess you are answering one of the nagging questions I’ve had about raw food diet. It’s — well, how can I put it — for instance, you wrote in one of your post that some people may need to start at 20% raw. When I read that, I was puzzled. First, I don’t understand how you calculate percentage — is it by weight or volume? But more importantly, doesn’t everyone eat about 20% or so raw foods anyway? Does non-raw mean 100% cooked food eaters?? Then I was raw all my life without knowing so.

    Upon reading this post, I am convinced that raw foods will be incorporated into so-called mainstream way of eating. It’s not one or the other choice. Raw foods are vital part of any cuisine. Sure the raw food chefs have created inventive dishes. That is great. And I think pretty soon they will be part of everyone’s food choices. Like, maybe 10 or 20 years ago, eating sushi was strange for many Americans. Not any more. I see the same trend would happen to raw dishes.

  42. Geesh, that Amanda sounds like a lot of fun. What a great role model for young girls! Did the article even say WHY she was “on a raw food diet?” How completely annoying. I love your little “I love raw food” montage. “Let’s Get It On,” by Marvin Gaye was playing in my head the whole time I was scrolling down.

  43. Thanks for addressing some of the misconceptions of raw foods. Amanda Seyfried is a wonderful actress (and beautiful, too!) but I’m a little disappointed that she would represent raw foods like that. I’m a vegan teen and even with that I’ve found many people who are confused about it. I love your approach to raw foods and the living in general. It’s great to see that you eat what you know works best for you and love sharing it with all of us, too. Speaking of delicious looking foods, could you please tell me what the recipes you used are in the photos? They look SO good!
    Have a lovely day! xox

    • Hi Mandiee,

      I don’t have time to post all of the titles, but they’re all in my recipe tab. Enjoy!


  44. I think Amanda is beautiful and so talented so I am very surprised at her quote! Your photo album clearly shows she is absolutely misinformed…

  45. I thought the same thing when the quote mentioned “enough to stuff a softball.” It sounds like it’s implying a lot of food! I think people still struggle with the notion: if you’re going to eat mostly veggies…you have to eat a LOT of them!

    I love the pics and totally agree that raw food (ahem and vegan food!) doesn’t have to be “boring” ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. Great to see that raw vegan does not mean boring. I love the fresh colors in your photos.

  47. i’m actually pretty stunned…i would have imagined that she would at least have some decent raw “gourmet” foods ordered for her…and delivered to her hotel room…

    great post!


  48. Your photos are so mouthwatering! And I may be wrong here, but isn’t tabbouleh technically a cooked food?

    • Ha! It sure is cooked, Ricki! I *think* Amanda must be getting fancy raw meal delivery, and that it was a raw version, which they failed to mention.

  49. how annoying…im so glad i didnt read that interview in public, i would have been unable to properly rant – haha. seriously, though, it is so sad that people with these opinions get the limelight and their words go to press…1 step forward, 8 steps back.

  50. Oh, and the other most important thing I learned from you: starving myself by eating a handful of veggies a day isn’t going to make me healthy. lots and lots of vegetables does!

  51. Gena, what a lovely post. And seriously, with all those gorgeous examples of raw food, who could possibly say that the raw diet is boring or extreme? I think it’s easy to gain misconceptions about raw food, but you’re right – reading your blog has shown me that eating raw doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, and that food can nourish body and spirit equally. Thank you for yet another thoughtful insight into choosing health.

  52. Hi Gena!! Oh wow the post is great!! Those pictures look amazing!!!
    I was in the OmWellness Training when you came to talk to us and we’d always talk about your site in class!!
    I was wondering if you have any tips on how to use nuts to do pates, ‘burgers’ etc, because I’m very creative with vegetables, but I’d like to incorporate more almonds and walnuts to actual recipes and I’m not sure how.
    Thank you!!! Your site is great!!!!

  53. Okay, now I’m hungry!!! But seriously, that was an excellent post and I will have to show it to my family next time they ask, “So what do you eat?”