Frederic Patenaude’s recent blog article, “Are There Raw Foods We Should Avoid?” suggests that many popular fruit and vegetables are toxic, and should not be eaten.
Patenaude starts out by condemning buckwheat greens as toxic. He cites an article by Gilles Arbour which suggests that fagopryn, a substance which occurs naturally in buckwheat is a serious toxin. Patenaude quotes Arbour as suggesting that “when ingested in sufficient quantity, fagopyrin is known to cause the skin of animals and people to become phototoxic, which is to say hypersensitive to sunlight. This condition, specifically known as fagopyrism” which causes sun-sensitivity, and extreme sensitivity to cold and hot water and friction, among other symptoms.
My question here is what a sufficient quantity might be. Are we talking a pound of buckwheat sprouts or a few ounces? How come Ann Wigmore and her crew never had this problem?
Patenaude goes on to finger other foods as toxic. He claims that spinach, lambsquarters, beet greens, purslane, Swiss chard, rhubarb, parsley, amaranth leaves, and sorrel have too much oxalic acid, which can be detrimental. This is quite interesting, when we consider that generation upon generation of humans have considered spinach, particularly, to be very healthy. Many, if not most of our current issue of food gurus have encouraged us to eat our spinach and other greens. Pleasant taste is normally a rule of thumb as to what is good to eat, and raw spinach tastes good. Add to that the fact that we still haven’t been told how much spinach is a “large quantity.” Is it one leaf, or five pounds, and in what time frame?
Not satisfied with suggesting removal of some of our favorite greens from our diets, Patenaude goes on to call into question acidic fruit, which he says “can be a problem when those fruits are consumed regularly and in large quantities.” He has yet to tell us what is a large quantity, yet he goes on to finger as poison oranges, pineapple, tomatoes, grapefruit, and lemons.
The current generation of food gurus has long called into question “strong herbs,” so it comes as no surprise that Patenaude suggests they contain toxins.
Fortunately for us, Patenaude apparently “dandelion greens, most fruit, kale, watercress, escarole, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage,” and most other greens not mentioned are okay to eat, for now, at least.
I am not altogether convinced that the ideas presented in Patenaude’s article are truly valid for us. Other than citing linking to Arbour’s article on buckwheat greens, Patenaude does not reveal his sources for this astonishing information. Arbour’s article details what seems to be a food sensitivity experienced by some. Allergic reactions to common food items are not unusual – indeed, I, myself, am allergic, or “sensitive,” to some of the foods on Patenaude’s list, but I simply avoid these; I would not presume to suggest that they are toxic to the average individual. Then, too, Patenaude never does tell us how much is too much, or how far we must restrict our intake in order to remain within safe levels. Anyone familiar with laboratory animal testing is aware that substance dosages administered to the animals used in testing are very frequently much higher, proportionately, than the amount which might reasonably be consumed by the average human. The fact that Patenaude does not reveal the sources from which he has culled the information he has used to make his disturbing allegations (disturbing in that they would seem to remove most items from the tables of many raw food consumers, and invalidate, as toxic, a vast number of the raw food recipes currently in publication, including a number of his own) casts, in my book, a shadow of doubt as to the validity and/or fearful reality of these dire warnings.