Raw food diet athletes – Michael Arnstein, fruitarian and ultramarathon runner


Raw food diet athletes - Michael Arnstein, fruitarian and ultramarathon runnerThe next athlete in the “raw food diet athletes” series is Michael Arnstein. This individual is extreme, in a good way though, at both, how he feeds his body and how he pushes it physically.

Michael is a fruitarian – since 2008, about 90% of his calories come from fruit and other 10% from raw vegetables. He rarely eats nuts, seeds or other vegan high fat food. He is a huge advocate of Dr. Douglas Graham, who I talked about in one of the previous posts. In fact, according to one of Michael’s interviews, Dr. Graham’s books on natural eating changed his life.

Michael is also a competitive marathon runner from the early age of 18. Running a 150-mile distance (241 km) without stopping is not impossible for him at all. The 2012 Desert Solstice 100 Mile (161 km) in Arizona was one of the last ultramarathons he participated in – he finished the track in 12 hours, 57 minutes and 45 seconds. At that time, it was the sixths fastest time for this distance in the whole Unites States! If you are wondering what is Michael’s best marathon time – it is 2 hours, 28 minutes and 12 seconds. For your reference, an official marathon distance is 26.22 miles (42.2 km) and the current world record is 2 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds set by Kenyan-born Dennis Kimetto in 2014.

Currently the runner lives in New York and is probably the most famous fruitarian on the planet because of his astonishing physical performance. Here is what Michael says about his fruitarian lifestyle:


“I would suggest that if anyone doubts or questions a diet, they should only do so after they have given it a serious trial. I would highly suggest a 30-day attempt before passing judgment. 

It works. It really is the Garden of Eden, the Fountain of Youth. 

I am living proof, I place physical demands on my body in my athletic pursuits that very few people endure, and yet I thrive”



Michael answers common questions about being an athlete on a raw food diet


               1. What do you think of raw protein powders?

I think they are completely unnecessary.  Is there a medical term for being protein deficient?  Protein powder is something ‘new’ in the world of diet supplements, and before they pushed this nonsense on us, people seemed to be ‘ok’ without it.  I’ve never taken protein supplements and have achieved incredible fitness with no injury or muscle problems.  If protein is supposed to grow muscle then how do all the wild animals in nature that don’t eat it get so muscular?  They eat raw plants.


2. How many calories do you feel a raw athlete should be consuming?

It’s highly variable based on the level of activity they undertake.  I know raw foodists who look great eating 2000 calories a day and exercise lightly, and I know raw food athletes who eat over 6000 calories a day.  I was eating about 5000-6000 calories a day when I was training hard for marathons and ultra marathons.  I generally tell people if they are eating high water content fruits and vegetables they should eat as much as they desire; I’ve never seen a truly overweight raw foodist who eats low fat fruits and vegetables as a diet, regardless if they exercise or not.


3. What is an example of a pre/post workout meal?

Raw food diet athletes – Michael Arnstein, fruitarian and ultramarathon runner

Michael after finishing the Spartathlon in Greece, a 153-mile ultramarathon

Lots of fruit, usually one type at a time. Watermelon, papaya, oranges, melons; there are so so many options throughout the year that come into season. I usually eat one thing at a time until I’m satisfied.


4. Do you think eating six small meals a day is important?

I graze for most of the day, I don’t normally eat ‘meals’, unless it’s an evening large salad which can take some time to eat.  I like to eat how animals do in nature, slowly all day long.


5. What differences do you see in a raw athlete vs. a non-raw athlete?


Raw athletes are usually leaner and they don’t smell!  Eating fruits and vegetables keeps you looking better, and you don’t have body odor which is anything close to people who eat cooked and processed foods which usually are filled with all types of stimulant tasting things like garlic, onions, salt, etc.

Raw athletes don’t get sick as often because the food they eat keeps the immunity functions very healthy.

I think people who eat a fruit based diet are generally happier, more friendly and more connected with nature, and the athletic pursuit they are participating in.


6. What criticism have you faced being a raw athlete?

That my diet is too expensive to maintain, that it’s protein deficient, that I’m going to get sick and fall apart; all of it is nonsense other than it can be expensive if you don’t know how to shop at the right places for food. It’s similar to buying clothing at designer showrooms versus at the discount shops. You can get nearly the identical clothing if you shop for it with a little extra effort.


7. What are your responses?

I respond by telling people they should watch the videos I’ve made on YouTube where I’m winning competitive 100-mile running races year after year.  I tell them to look at my physique; I’m at peak performance and health for almost 7 years eating this way.  I also point out others who are living this lifestyle for over 30 years and they are doing extremely well.



That is how the fruitarian marathon runner describes his typical day


Raw food diet athletes – Michael Arnstein, fruitarian and ultramarathon runner

It almost seems like he is more comfortable at running than walking

My day is based around my daily workouts.

Upon waking, I usually drink about a liter of water. Then I might juice 10 oranges or have a few strawberry papayas* or similar high water content fruit. I almost always eat one fruit in a meal by itself.

For dinner, I’ll have a massive salad of romaine lettuce with larger varieties of tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumbers multicolor bell peppers, red onion and whatever other vegetables are in season. If I have a dressing, it is usually just some blended mango or maybe avocado and lemon juice.

A late-night snack might be grapes, mango, or some other more exotic/seasonal fruit.



In this video Michael tells the main reason why he became a frutarian



Michael’s physical capabilities effectively show that it is not only possible to be an athlete on a raw vegan diet, the diet will even enhance your performance at any sport you are involved in. I hope you found lifestyle and athleticism of Michael Arnstein fascinating.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.





*strawberry papaya – a variety of papaya; considered to be the sweetest of all


Main references:



  1. The fruitarian athletes I have met at vegan conferences had teeth rotting issues. Do you do anything special to maintain oral health on your diet?

    • Hi Pete,

      That’s a very relevant question – thank you for asking.

      Yes, it’s very likely that those fruitarians you saw, unless they did something about it, many of them had bad teeth.

      And yes, I do approach my teeth with special attention.

      Teeth I think is the hugest problem on this diet. While virtually everything gets better, teeth in many raw vegans, and especially fruitarians, get worse. Which is ironic and scares the determination out of you. Personally, my dental health started to go downhill after about a year on the diet. I started to have twice as many cavities including the ones along the gumline (which I never had before). And also had one root canal done. That was far from fun. You don’t want to go through this. Besides financial burden, when you fill cavities, you are ruining the original structure of your teeth and putting synthetic material in your mouth. There are holistic dentists out there but their prices touch the ceiling…

      Causes of cavities and other teeth disasters

      I have been looking into this for a few years now. According to my reading, there are more than a few causes of cavities. Some play a larger role than others. If you are on the raw vegan diet, or any plant-based diet, they happen more frequently than in non-vegans because of the following:

      1. Too much phytic acid. If you are not sure what that is, I talk about it here

      2. Lack of fat soluble vitamins: D, A and K2 (Dr. Price refers to K2 as Activator X)

      3. Frequent snacking

      4. Too many sugary foods

      5. Too many acidic foods, especially citrus fruits

      6. Inadequate dental hygiene

      Make sure you fully address the first two – phytic acid and the nutrients – they are an underlying cause of cavities, tooth sensitivity and gum recession. Others are important as well, however there are more superficial causes.

      How to prevent cavities and the like

      If you want to prevent cavities and keep teeth sparkly and fresh, discipline and regularity are your buddies. I will tell you how I go about it. Specifically, how I deal with the above. Bear in mind though that I’m a human and potentially can be wrong in some things.

      1. I ferment ALL grains and sprout or soak ALL nuts and seeds. These are seed foods, many of which have extreme amounts of phytic acid. Here I describe in steps how to ferment, sprout and soak

      2. I take raw butter oil & fermented cod liver oil blend every day. Together with the powdered eggshells. The oils contain vitamins D, A and K2. At least 0.5 of teaspoon per day is what I usually have. While the eggshells provide you with enamel and dentin-building minerals: calcium, phosphorus, iron and others. Read more about eggshell powder. The oil blend is manufactured by Green Pastures. Their cows graze on rapidly-growing grass which gives the butter oil its intense yellow color. You can also take their fermented skate liver oil instead of the cod liver oil. Bear in mind that it’s better to take it at the same time as the butter oil. The oils work better in synergy. This particular Green Pastures product that I take is a blend of liver oil and butter oil, which is handy. Although Green Pastures do carry butter oil and cod liver oil separately. Not all natural health shops carry Green Pastures products however, but their popularity is increasing. One last suggestion: you can also replace butter oil with raw quality butter, but you would need to take more of it. However, if you live in Canada, you won’t find raw butter in stores. Why? Raw dairy products are illegal in this maple country (which shoots you with many questions). Note: the difference between raw dairy products and pasteurized ones is like day and night.

      3. I eat foods high in resistant starch every day. This specific type of starch regulates your blood sugar, controls appetite and thus helps control hunger. This, in turn, prevents you from frequent snacking. Yet, I think I still snack more than before going raw vegan – need to improve myself here. Anyways, I like fermented rye, teff. They are very high in resistant starch. For other foods high in resistant starch, go here. Again, you need to ferment all of these. You also may want to know how to make a raw bread that is rich in resistant starch

      4. Similar as #3. Foods high in resistant starch, and to some extent soluble fiber, keep your appetite at bay. Hence, you are less likely to grab fast-energy, high-glucose foods like figs, dates, raisins, honey, etc. Can you imagine that in the first year of being on this diet I sometimes could have 200 ml of honey in one single day! Mind-gobbling, madness. Tropical forest honey was my favorite. But I’m done with the madness, at least this one. Also, fermented foods, in general, curb the sweet tooth. You can also ferment majority of veggies. The well-known sauerkraut and kimchi are excellent. In addition, bitter foods are known to reduce sugar cravings. For example, dandelion roots and greens, grapefruit/orange/lemon peels (make sure these are organic)

      *** Before moving onto #5, another great thing about raw fermented foods is this. Like raw grass-fed butter, they contain vitamin K2 (thanks to bacteria responsible for the fermentation process). These are vegan sources of the vitamin! The role of vitamin K2 is to “tell” calcium where it needs to go. Hence, it’s better to consume K2 foods with some calcium source. Eggshell powder, for example, is full of bioavailable calcium.

      5. I eat citrus fruits once in a while. If you like to have them on the daily basis, rinse your mouth with baking soda water to stabilize pH. Another option is, if you drinking their juice, drink it through a straw – this way there is a minimal contact with teeth. Besides citruses, pineapples, cranberries, tomatoes, kiwis, berries are also acidic. By the way, fermented foods are also quite acidic, so rinse your mouth after them as well

      6. Whenever I have a chance, I rinse my mouth with salt & baking soda water after each meal to flush the bacteria and neutralize pH. Plus, every evening I thoroughly clean the teeth for the night. This is the time when the larger part of remineralization happens. The procedure is pretty tedious but there is little choice:

      First I floss
      Then I use Waterpik, an oral irrigator (left)
      Then I brush with eggshell powder. Read the reasoning behind why I think it’s more or less optimal for brushing teeth
      Then I rinse with salt & baking soda water

      And don’t forget to scrub your tongue with a toothbrush. It’s a night club of caries-causing bacteria. They chill there after long hours of work.

      As of now, that’s what I do to keep teeth healthy.

      I would say I’m almost perfect with the first two. And I need to be more diligent with the rest. I get lazy with rinsing too. And I think I snack too often. In short, lots of room for improvement. Anyways. Are there any results? Yes, some. Sensitivity is gone, whiter teeth. Since starting on this regime, roughly 10 months ago, I don’t see any new cavities. Will see what happens next.

      Phytic acid, raw liver oil & raw butter: if you want to read more

      If you want a detailed explanation of why you would want to stay away from phytic acid as much as possible and eat raw liver oil & butter oil even if you consider yourself a strict vegan, read the book by Ramiel Nagel, Cure Tooth Decay. And actually, these two, along with some other things, make it possible to reverse cavities. However, don’t start jumping in excitement. It’s not that easy. You need to adhere to all criteria he describes in the book to cure cavities for real and it takes time. The book is nearly 200 pages but written in an engaging, easy-to-get manner. Who made him write the book? His daughter. In the first year of life, she started to have cavities one after another. Ramiel was a kind enough parent and didn’t feel like subjecting an infant to that monstrous drill. So, he started to search for natural ways to fix her little bad-behaved teeth. And that’s how the book was born. It’s available on Amazon in several formats including e-book. Also, explore Ramiel’s website – http://www.curetoothdecay.com. It’s filled with loads of useful info on how to keep your teeth in peak condition and greatly reduce the number of “hellos” to your dentist or maybe even forget about the dentist once and for all

      Ramiel’s work is heavily based on the research done by Dr.Weston A. Price. The 19th century-born dentist. This out-of-the-box thinking dentist spent a decade traveling with his wife studying the diets of isolated populations around the world. He wanted to know what helped these people maintain their teeth 95% of the time caries-free. And of course he found the answers he was seeking for. Also, visit the virtual Weston A. Price Foundation – a great place to hang out once in a while.

      I wish you luck! And if anything is unclear, make me aware.

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