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12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  607 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Why do we overeat time and time again? Why do we make poor diet choices while we want to be healthy? What makes losing weight so difficult? These and many other vital questions are addressed in 12 Steps to Raw Foods in an open and sincere dialogue. Based on the latest scientific research, Victoria Boutenko explains the numerous benefits of choosing a diet of fresh rather t ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by North Atlantic Books (first published 2000)
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Rebecca Erlewein
Hm. Big hm.

One thing that I find odd about all these raw food books - including this one - is that they condemn cooked food as toxic, which goes against my common sense. If that were so, no one who doesn't eat 100% raw would be healthy. This author even speaks of 'addiction', and if I go by her questionnare, I'm addicted to breathing, going to the toilet and drinking water, too. Sheesh, where to begin?

The explanations of what happens in health and disease and how the body reacts to cooked foods
Emily Mellow
Well, we are doing it! I thought VB was kind of a nut when I saw one of her dvds, but this book has me convinced otherwise, and now we are going raw. She has some very compelling arguments, a simple plan, and just makes the whole thing very doable. We are not going to go 100% raw instantly, but we are slowly heading that way. And damn, if we are not feeling better already. The results are indeed quick. We basically have one mostly cooked meal a day, and try to have everything else, breakfast sna ...more
Kelly Enck
May 08, 2013 Kelly Enck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Addiction to Cooked Food by Victoria Boutenko

My husband and I met Victoria Boutenko in 2009 in Houston Texas. She was giving a lecture on "Eating Green Leaves." I wondered if Food could make you happy? So, I talked my husband into going to hear her lecture.
We arrived at what was called a "RAW POTLUCK" the story was so wild that I added a chapter in my book, "From Hollywood to God" By Kelly Granite Enck. The bottom line was we gave it a try and started eati
Mar 07, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED loved loved this book! It grips you from the start as she shares her family's journey to health. The author Victoria Boutenko, her husband Igor, and her two children were constantly sick, on the road of deathly ill. What finally did it was when her son age 6 at the time, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Having seen what the disease had done to extended family members, she sought to find what was best for him. So she started asking everyone who looked healthy what they did. She came ac ...more
I'm not going raw, but reading this book did encourage me to stay mindful and vigilant about what my family and I eat. Every now and then I need the reminder that diet is very important to overall health, and therefore worth the time, money, and effort that it takes to stay on the health track in a very unhealthy food environment. Bring on the fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.
Maria Huyette-arrizza
This book is extreme. This makes sense when you consider that the author's personal journey was born out of extreme illness. Her family needed to go %100 raw at the time that they did. The biggest takeaway for me is the need to incorporate more of these foods into a standard American diet before cancer or diabetes strike thereby incresing a sense personally responsible for our bodies and learning to trust ourselves. Blindly entrusting a healthcare provider who will only gain from chronic illness ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Karina rated it liked it
Shelves: health, recipe-book
Here is another whole foods book I had to settle for. There were definitely some good and bad things about this book. I thought the author had some interesting info about the importance of raw food and the good it can do for your body. Her book was almost inspirational, everytime I read it I actually considered trying a 100% raw food diet (ha!). But some of her ideas are a bit extreme for my taste, and although she was motivating, I could never go 100% raw. I did try one of her recipes, and I mu ...more
Aug 06, 2010 Maxime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Mainly for teaching me about green smoothies. I would say the step by step claim of the title is somewhat of an exaggeration though. I don't honestly feel like I gained 12 new innovative steps to end my addiction to cooked food. But, it's a great anecdotal reference to hear about Boutenko's journey to raw foods.
Hilary Roberts
Jun 13, 2012 Hilary Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
I started this book right when I got pregnant with Melissa. I ended up returning it to the library before reading all of it because I was so nauseous. I finally got around to reading it again and I'm glad I did! This book is not an instruction manual on eating raw; rather, it is informative and gives tools necessary to successfully change your diet.

The first section of the book is Why Raw Food? The author has an amazing understanding and appreciation for the human body. She does a great job expl
Nov 22, 2015 Maggieoh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are already a bit familiar with raw food and can take the book with a grain of salt
The best way I can sum up this book is that it's like reading something written by your kind of crazy but well-intentioned Russian auntie.

I picked up this book because I've been interested in working on some health goals in 2015 and it's one of three on my shelves regarding raw food. Beyond that, it was the luck of the draw.

Overall, it did have some good information and recipes I'm eager to try. I especially liked the little section where it gave basic recipe "templates" for soups, nut burgers,
Oct 23, 2011 Ahemx rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Finding a raw foods book that isn't written by a zealot is a very difficult thing to do, and this one fits in quite nicely in my craaazy shelf. It starts off really well, the first couple of chapters are written in very practical terms. The author gives a very honest account at her horrid eating habits, but I can see that any change in diet would have probably saved her life. A brief historical account of human food consumption was very interesting and eye opening.
But then she went craaazy by s
Jun 09, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-and-diet
I stubbled upon this book '12 Steps to Raw Foods' at the used bookstore I work in. Initially, it only mildly interested me. Being a vegan already, I am naturally quite curious and interested in health and nutrition. However this book sat on my shelf for months before I started reading it. One serendipitous day, I visited some friends in London, UK and had an amazing experience dining on gourmet raw food with them at a trendy raw vegan restaurant. That definitely changed my perspective on what "r ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Some of her ideas are waaaay out on a limb, but when she talks about food she makes a lot of sense. She starts by sharing the incredible story of her own family. She, her husband, and their two kids were all incredibly unhealthy -- her husband was literally about to eat himself to death -- and out of desperation they went raw and completely turned their health around. This book got me started on green smoothies and I have found much of what she says to be true. For example, adding greens, which ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Healthy addictions*

As you can tell from just reading the title of this book, it's on the extreme end of the raw food movement (i.e. "Go 100% raw or die!"). But, if you can take it with a grain of (raw Celtic sea) salt, there's actually a lot of good stuff in here for whatever percent raw you chose to go. In addition to containing some great and well-researched information on the health benefits eating raw (and yes, also on some of the toxic byproducts of cooking foods which you may rather not k
Jan 21, 2013 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
I enjoyed this book. Some of her suggestions were kind of wacky but I liked the tone of the book. The author seemed very concerned with delivering the information in a methodical way. I can tell she learned from her mistakes on trying to force people to jump into the 100% raw diet right away, hence the reason she gives 12 powerful steps.

I don't think I could ever completely give up cooked food for more than a few weeks and the recipes in the back all included using a blender or dehydrator so I
Aug 29, 2015 Shailen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I wasn't so impressed with the way book was written, the information gives you much to ponder. I was motivated to read this book after watching the documentary called "Simply Raw." After watching 6 people reverse an "incurable" disease (type 1 & 2 diabetes mellitus) in less than a month with raw foods, I realized that I must learn more about this. Since increasing my raw food intake to at least 70-80% a day, I've already noticed a marked improvement in many facets, including my energy ...more
Jen Grauer
Sep 13, 2008 Jen Grauer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy and interesting book to ready.

So far I am back and forth between step one and two with a fridge full of vegetables.

The recipe for Green Spinach Soup is really yummy... reduce the jalapeno amount.

The author gets a little extreme when she talks about sleeping outside every night and going for ice cold polar bear swims. Each to their own.

She sites some great facts and really gets you motivated to start eating more raw foods.

My side note... some foods are not meant to be eaten raw, such as
Jan 01, 2015 Iva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to start! complete waste of my time! There are some useful facts and how to's about raw food but I this author is a complete amateur! she actually claims that 132 people who had cancer and were placed on a strict raw-food diet all died because they couldn't stay on a raw-food diet!!!
when I came to this page in the book I decided to draw a line and quit wasting my time reading this!
I give credit to healthy life style and all the benefits it has on our health but above me
Apr 14, 2008 Damien rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just too bizarre to me. It was too close to the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. While either/or lifestyle rules may work for some people, it wasn't about to work for me. It was recommended to me, and I was given the impression that it was suppose to help me gradually introduce more raw foods into my dietary habits.
Instead it was more like 12 Step fear tactics, like in AA or NA: "I know that if I go out and eat cooked food just one more time, I WILL DIE
Jun 03, 2012 DG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ok let me just say yes this is anecdotal and yes it may come off as preachy at times but she does back up a lot of claims with good references to scientific research conducted by reputable institutions.

I read one review that made me pause. Se does back up her claims that raw food is toxic to the body with the research of good sources, one of which is Mount Sinai hospital in NY.

I think it's worth the read. However I can understand why people would e turne off, because again she does use a lot of
Mar 24, 2010 Xenia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't necessarily agree with all of the author's arguments for why raw food diet is the way to go, but this book is interesting nonetheless as she writes more about the lifestyle changes that accompany any major change in one's life.

The author believes that humans have an addiction to cooked food and therefore sets up the majority of the book on the template of the 12 step process utilized for many addiction recoveries. Her exploration of the psychological ties we have with food is very intere
Feb 02, 2012 Belann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting premise that cooked food addiction is similar to other addictions such as alcohol or food, but I don't think it is so. My personal feeling is that the craving that people feel for cooked food, is because they often need what is in foods that are best eaten cooked, such as grains. Grains are part of every culture. I don't believe they can be omitted or used only occasionally, sprouted. They truly are the staff of life. That being said, I think it is important to base a large part of t ...more
May 16, 2011 Lynette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I'll ever adopt a raw food diet, or many of the other lifestyle habits explained in this book, like polar bear swimming, or sleeping outside every night. However, I've also learned never to say never. I was a vegetarian for 3 years and I believe I waas healthier when I didn't eat meat. I would like to start eating healthier, and this book gives some excellent recipes and ideas. I also agree with many of the author's philosophies on life, human nature, and spirituality. Over all, ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Cheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first glimpse into the world of raw foods. I like the author and found the book easy and enjoyable to read. Her mother’s courage to turn their family life upside down to keep her young son off insulin is a beautiful story. I did not/do not intend to convert to raw food in any substantial way, but am already using valuable new insights and recipes I gained from this book to enhance my family’s lives and nutrition. I learned a lot about my own food addictions. Thank you Ms. Boutenko fo ...more
Feb 19, 2011 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are interested in food and/or your health at all, you must read this! A very simple, beginner's approach to understand how raw foods are nature's way of healing our bodies and helping us live with more energy and happiness. The author used to be extremely overweight, had a husband and son with diabetes, and a daughter with asthma. Within weeks of beginning a raw food diet ALL of their chronic illness symptoms were gone. Just think what raw foods can do for people who don't have chronic il ...more
Nov 07, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent and thorough book about moving from cooked foods to raw foods -- a must-read for anyone considering following a raw or mostly raw diet. Boutenko is extremely knowledgable and her writing reads very easily. There is a good amount of nutritional and biochemical information, but it never overwhelms. The book always stays accessible and clearly understandable. The recipes are good, too, although that's really a smaller section.
Nov 02, 2011 Mgray rated it really liked it
Have not tried this diet but this book gave me plenty of food for thought. (pun intended). The personal story is compeling and makes the diet seem possible. The science and nutritional information was not well written. The recipies look great. I plan on trying a few soon. They are really simple to follow.

Now that I have wet my appitite for raw foods I hope to explore other books on the topic.
Hadassah Tate
Jul 04, 2012 Hadassah Tate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book! It gives the reader not only the reasons, but the how-to go from cooked food to a raw food lifestyle. This book is very inspiring and yet gives enough facts that the logical reader is satisfied as well. It is a wonderful read, I found it very compelling and hard to put down once I started. The only thing that it is perhaps lacking is a few more raw food recipes for the reader. But overall one of my favorite books for a raw food lifestyle.
Mar 12, 2013 Chelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written because it worked for the Boutenko family. They were ill, changed their diets and are no longer ill, infact have noticed many positive changes. The raw diet could work for anyone but it is an extreme life change and I honestly believe Victoria has only researched and argues one side of food. I did enjoy the book, I thought it was very well presented and she had proof to back her points. However I will stick to a healthy diet that my body enjoys.
Mar 22, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Great book! Excellent information on why raw food is good for you, and how to get started. I'll admit, I was expecting the 12 steps to be more of a start out with _____food, stock up on these essentials, sort of thing; it was really more of an AA style 12 step program. How to deal with cravings for cooked foods, emotional issues, and gaining support from friends and family. Not what I expected, or quite what I wanted, but still good info.
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Raw Food 1 7 Jan 28, 2009 03:32PM  
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Victoria Boutenko is an author, teacher, inventor, researcher, artist and mother of three. She teaches classes on healthy living and raw food all over the world. As a result of her research and teachings, thousands of people are drinking and sharing green smoothies.

More about Victoria Boutenko...

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“...In addition, there are millions of people in our world who are fortunate to have the availability of almost any food they like. I cannot find any reason for those people to continue consuming survival food (bread, sugar, meat, milk, and salt).” 2 likes
“I appreciate many wonderful and brilliant discoveries made by humanity during the years of the Industrial Revolution. Yet, the radical transformation of the human diet was rather destructive.” 1 likes
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