Chris Kendall is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and has been on the raw food vegan diet for nearly 12 years. I grew up skateboarding with Chris and in our early twenties we shared an apartment in Los Angeles, which he attributes to his worst health experience. It was at that time he was regularly getting his groceries from the 99 Cents store. Since then Chris has immersed himself in everything he can learn about nutrition and the raw food movement.

It was in August that Chris began helping me adopt the raw diet and last month I travelled with him to Costa Rica to attended his Raw Vegan Skateboard Retreat. Chris is known for his retreats, coaching, and gourmet raw food recipes. He has the ability to recreate a raw version of pretty much any meal, from his burger and fries recipe, chicken pad thai, and my favourite raw pizza.

First off, I am shocked by how little people know about food and nutrition. When ever I tell someone I am on the raw diet, people always seem to try to recite their belief in healthy eating. Do you feel the same way?

For sure, I am sometimes embarrassed to say but when I first started to read on nutrition at 18 I was also shocked, shocked that what I put into my mouth really had a impact on how I felt, how fast I recovered and my quality of life and disease prevention. Still to this day the most common questions are pretty much mute issues, yet thats what the mainstream drives into us.

Please share some mainstream wisdom!

It is pretty crazy to think that pretty much everyone acknowledges that fruit and vegetables are health foods, in fact the healthiest foods for us, but when you say I only eat fruits and vegetables they think your nuts!

I always hear, “but where do you get your protein” or, “you can live just eating raw foods?!” Its funny because when you step back and look to nature, and every animal eating raw foods, it all makes a bit more sense.

I remember thinking that if I heard one more person ask me about protein that I might kill someone.

(laughs) I have heard it thousands and thousands of times, it has helped me put together many different answers for many different people.

I would say the vast majority think it is only possible to get protein from meat or nuts. 

The wild thing is most people don’t really know how much protein we need at all and they don’t consider that a large percentage, up to 50+% can become denatured and in essence toxic to the body in the cooking process.

So for the record, how much protein does the body need in a day?

There are essential amino acids in fruits and vegetables, in fact in all whole plant foods. We actually have zero need for protein per say, rather the amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, fruits and vegetables offer more than enough when you get a variety and satisfy your sweet and salty tooth.


So what’s the exact number for protein/amino acids?

The general consensus for protein/viable amino acids to be concise, is 4% of total calories. The cool thing is there are no whole plant foods, including fruits, that are below 4%, greens are often up to 2 x the amount of protein as meat, per calorie.. Thus if your eating enough total food and getting some variety you are virtually guaranteed enough protein, that is barring severe digestive disorders which would reduce absorption.

I feel like the raw movement is very counterculture. Do you feel like skateboarding kind of helped you to to make the switch to this diet/lifestyle?

Absolutely, skateboarding afforded me, blessed me with the comfort of being different, for, at times, being seen as a outcast and/or to be a part of a community and lifestyle different from the mainstream. I love that about raw foods and skateboarding, they really are lifestyles that can lead to easy and genuine connection around the world, a starting point to connect deeper.

Another thing I wanted to mention is weight loss. My prime goal of trying this was to lose weight. I was worried that I would feel hungry all of the time and have super low energy. I actually found the opposite to be true. Are most people you coach surprised?

hahaha I love it, there definitely is no other lifestyle like it. A diet of true abundance where you can eat as much as you enjoy and, as a generality, sink into your optimal body weight. I say as a generality because some people have issues with emotional/binge eating and with that things can require a bit more coaching/fine tuning.

I would say many people find the lifestyle incredibly easy once they get used to the concept of, eat right between all you desire and all you can. With that all said when one has a lot of emotional/physical toxemia to shed, lots to deal with that they haven’t, the application can be rocky as it is sure to all come up with such high vibrancy and vibratory foods.

Yes, and I think that is important to mention the emotional aspect of the diet. Can you explain how our emotional state is affected by the food we eat?

I have found and believe we store emotional toxemia/weight in the same space that we store physical toxemia, in fat tissue. It only stands to reason when we start burning through excess fat tissues there will be both physical and emotional symptoms. Some are not ready to face that and then blame the diet when really it was the lack of useful coping mechanisms and perspective. I often say, the raw food diet is “Easy” when we are feeling great, but when we are feeling like crap we want to reaffirm that and treat ourselves like crap with low vibrating foods. Breaking that cycle is a huge key to success and freedom from binge eating.

I think the point of perspective is key! I noticed that I had to change my perspective on a lot of things after this diet. 

Absolutely, the reasons one is doing it and the perspectives an individual has will often determine whether they take it on short term or as a lifestyle.

Okay, so since I started the diet a lot of friends on Facebook have been messaging me and asking them how to start. What do you recommend? I tell them to contact you for a consult (by donation). I started slow by first going all raw for my breakfast, and then slowly building.

I really find each persons approach can be different and yet successful, in this circumstance it really helps to “know thyself and to thine own self be true.” With that said the way you laid it out, starting with coaching to help find your route and get any specific questions out of the way can make things SO much easier.

Cool, anything else?

Beyond that eating on a empty stomach, starting your day with fruit for breakfast and from there increasing more fruits and vegetables to start each meal. I would also recommend reducing processed foods including oil. It is great to fine tune directly on the individual level to avoid generalizations. Getting awesome recipes is super key too, I have a whole playlist for recipes on my site as well as a in depth FAQ’s and as you mentioned tons of videos, ebooks and blog posts covering almost anything you could ask.

Check the links below to Chris’ website and Youtube Channel where you can learn more and find awesome recipes.

Youtube Channel