Tag Archives: raw food politics

THE RAW FOOD DIET HAS NOT DIED, but it may have stopped being a quick, easy money maker

It is so interesting to me to hear all of these self-proclaimed raw food gurus coming out and saying that they eat cooked food, too, or that they are abandoning the raw food diet.  I’ve even seen some who have decided to give up raw veganism so totally that they are eating meat. Kevin Gianni has just published an article declaring the death of the raw food diet.

A lot of the disenchantment with the raw food diet began to come about when Doug Graham published his 80-10-10 Diet book, appealing to the low-fat diet crowd. 

The main problem with Graham’s idea has always been that we need fats in our diet,  if only to build healthy cell walls.  Fats in the raw vegan diet are good fats.  (Even the AMA has started back-pedaling from the low-fat diet concept)  Raw extra virgin olive oil is nothing but good fat.  Raw nuts and seeds provide good fats made naturally and invented  by God. Fat-phobes find themselves with tasteless food, unless they begin adding sugars (My favorite example is Duke’s Mayonnaise, a natural sugar-free mayonnaise produced in the South.  When the low-fat craze began, Duke’s put out a low-fat version, but, if you check the ingredients, you will see that, while they removed fat, they added a boatload of sugar to compensate for the flavor, so, ultimately, the elimination of fat called for excess sugar/carbs, and calories. I had to educate my Mom on this).  Raw foodists on low fat diets risk getting weird health issues:  I am a sparing eater, and I don’t always throw oil or nuts in my food, and I have found that, if I am not careful, I get all sorts of skin rashes – no applying skin cream on the outside doesn’t help. (Interestingly, in a recent issue of Women’s World, they addressed just this issue, only, instead of suggesting that people include more good fats in their diet, they suggested an Omega 3 oil supplement). Fats, such raw nuts and seeds, or simple extra virgin olive oil, will deliver your omega-3s. Flax seed is loaded with Omega 3. Fats also tend to head off cravings. 

Many of the so-called “gurus”, who have since announced that they are eating cooked food, have touted fancy, complicated, multi-ingredient raw dishes.  Of course, these multi-ingredient, complicated=to-create dishes can be created by personal chefs, but most folks do not have the luxury of a personal chef to come and prepare their food.

Recently, I reviewed a book called Raw Food for Busy People, by Wild Bill Gun.  The book was widely panned by readers because the recipes were so simple that the readers missed the prep instructions “Blend”, “In the Food Processor”, or “Mix”. 

I am from the old school, before designer raw food recipe books. I collect vintage raw food recipe books.  In the old days, people made simple raw food recipes. They had no blenders, food processors, or juicers.  Back in the early 1900s, the only “food processor” was a good knife.. People really ate natural raw food preparations, only processed insofar as the vegetables and/or fruit were cut/sliced/minced with a knife.

With the Internet, it is possible to grow a business quickly. He who shouts loudest receives the most attention.   Folks have been touting their concepts, their methods, and their recipes on-line (or advertising how to get said items) for the past 10 or so years.

Multitudes have signed up to receive raw food information, and, yet, the numbers of people who claim to be raw foodists are dropping.

I would venture to say that the first reason for the drop in interest is that, when your guru is exposed, you lose faith. Those who believed in Viktoria Boutenko’s schtick have lost faith since she admitted she was eating cooked food (I mean, why should I eat raw if the lady who told me to do it is not doing it?).  Frederic Patenaude, with his multitude of followers, has said he eats cooked food (so why should his followers do any different?)  Kristen Suzanne published a number of raw books, and, then, abruptly announced she was going paleo, that raw and vegetarian weren’t working for her, and she was going to eat meat (some folks might want to throw out those poorly formatted books she cranked out)

I am glad that these folks who have been selling their systems are finally telling the truth about their own dietary habits (a while back, I was a member of a raw food group in New York City, in which we reveled in discovering what local “guru” was eating what where) 

At the same time, I am not ready to say the the raw food diet is dead.  I became a raw foodie before it was fashionable, actually, even before I had seen a raw food recipe book: it just seemed like what I should be doing.  I found my first raw food recipe book in the mid-70s.  The recipes were simple, healthy, diet-savvy, and easy to prepare.

I did not know about modern recipes until I was given a recipe book in 1999.  Yes, the recipes there-in were glorious, but what I tended to eat from day to day were the vegetable salads and fruit salads that I had been doing since graduate school, i.e. simple vegetable dishes that I had thought up myself or that I had found in Live Foods, by the Fathmans; Eydie Mae’s Natural Recipes, by Eydie Mae Hunsberger;and Ann Wigmore’s Recipes for Longer Life.

Since I do still follow a raw vegan diet, I cannot agree with Kevin Gianni’s pronouncement that the raw food diet is dead.  What I believe he means is that the market is over-saturated with self-proclaimed gurus who have come out about eating cooked food in order to head off negative commentaries by people who have discovered that these folks eat cooked food, while touting the benefits of a raw food diet. 

It is true that the market is oversaturated with these folks who send you the email equivalent of the TV commercials that announce “But wait! There’s more” and charge exorbitant prices for their short books of recipes. At some point, people begin to be able to read the first few lines of such ads, and know that they are being suckered into paying a lot of money if they click yes.  At the same time, one must consider that there might well be folks who are silently following a raw food diet without laying out major cash to buy into whatever the “gurus” are selling.

Meanwhile, I am still here, eating a raw vegan diet. I do not advertise myself as a guru. People who come to me for nutritional information find that I am knowledgeable about a number of different possible diet ways.  Raw food is the one I practice, and it is very good for healing purposes. On the other hand, I am well-versed in other weight management and health management diets, and, as such, I can suggest what seems to be appropriate with each client.

So, just because Kevin Gianni, Brenda Cobb, Viktoria Boutenko, and Frederic Patenaude, and Kristen Suzanne are now cooking, that doesn’t mean that I have to call the power company and ask them to turn my stove back on.  I will stick with raw food because it has been good for me for many years. (I will admit, I have gone off raw from time to time, but I have always come back, primarily because it feels right, and when I have stopped, I have not felt as good as I did on the raw diet).

If you have newly come to the raw vegan diet, or if you have just heard of it, and have been considering incorporating its ideas in some way into your life-style, please ignore Kevin Gianni’s “make-money-quick-scheme” pronouncements on the raw food diet, as well as those of others who publish the “but wait! there’s more!” raw food diet plans.  The raw food diet should never be about “how to get rich quick”, but, rather, about how to eat in such a way as to enhance your health, prevent illness, and/or enhance your possibilities of healing from illness.

FOOD INC. See this movie

This is one of my raw (oops! I mean rare!) forays into political comment. Read at your own risk!

Oh doom and gloom!

Do yourself a favor and see the movie “Food Inc.”

but eat at least 4 hours before you see this movie.

I’ve steadfastly avoided documentaries, to the point that I sometimes have to stop and remember how to spell the word, for more than 30 years.  I stayed happy and only once in a while heard the dire warnings of doom, which I could shut away in the far recesses of the darkest closets of my mind.

I just had to watch Food Inc., didn’t I? It kept coming up in conversations or being mentioned on-line, but no one would say what they had seen.  I know now.  It was too horrid.

I can’t even look at a cauliflower or a bunch of kale in the supermarket anymore. I’m going to be limited to whatever I can find in the farmer’s market, and whatever comes in my CSA box.

This documentary has simply made me too sick to be able to eat anything that has been on a truck for more than 2 hours (okay, if there is a traffic jam, I’ll let it be on there a bit longer).  I don’t want to buy any wheat or corn products, nor any processed foods.  For sure, I will never even entertain a fantasy of eating meat of any sort.

Okay, okay! I was fascinated by the description of how McDonald’s was created and developed into such a huge business. I am open-minded enough to understand that the original McDonald’s brothers, and Ray Kroc, the man who carried on their legacy and grew the company, only created a product that consumers wanted, and that they could not have been successful had the consumers not been there in long lines to purchase the products.

Yes, yes, I know that it is popular to hate McDonald’s, but we cannot really do thatwhat we have to despise is the people who make it possible for McDonald’s to be the power it is: the lines of customers in there daily, buying the products.  They are who is at fault. (The only problem there is that they are your family and friends and neighbors… even foreigners who *say* they don’t like McDonalds can be found in there when they are low on cash, hungry, and think no one is looking – their only other choices are the cakes, cookies, and donuts they eat in their countries to stave off hunger… Stop it!  I live in New York City! I see foreigners all over the place I live with one, and I have many foreign friends from many different countries, as well, and I see what they eat most of the time… there is not one culture on this earth that eats a healthier diet than the average American, and it is not because of our influence… do you know that all Japanese food, which we Americans commonly laud as very healthful, is laden with sugar… and do you know that they call food with sugar in it “mother’s taste”?  Ask a Japanese person to show you the word for sugar, and go into a Japanese store and look at the products’ *ingredients* listings. When I took a Chinese cooking class, where most of the attendees were Chinese, we were each given three bowls to start cooking: one each of oil, soy sauce, and SUGAR.  To believe that other people have healthierr diets is to have succumbed to weird propaganda, and to insist on maintaining romantic stereotypical fantasies about exotic cultures.  Nuff said.)

The way I figure it, the people who spend so much of their time hating McDonald’s are not really looking at reality, are envious of people who make a lot of money ,and are probably buying at McDonald’s or Burger King, or Wendy’s or KFC, anyway.

Such people feel out of control of their own lives, I think.  I mean, if you are in control of your own life, do you really need to spend time worrying about McDonalds? They do not control you.  They cannot force you to eat their food. You go in there, if you do, entirely voluntarily. The food they serve is healthy (100% beef, lettuce, onion, tomato..what’s wrong with that.)

I surely hope that no vegetarians or vegans are wasting their time hating McDonald’s… I mean, why would you waste your time thinking about food sources you do not need If vegetarians are worrying about McDonald’s, I think they are just as bad as those people who want me to join  their religion or else they will kill me.

Surely vegetarians harbor fantasies of becoming rich, of developing something that everyone wants. If for only this reason, we cannot condemn McDonalds.

I don’t purchase processed foods, but many do.  Are you familiar with Worthington, a vegetarian company, started by and for Seventh Day Adventists, which produces “mock-meats”, or its subsidiary, Loma Linda, which produces the same sort of products?  Perhaps you know of Morningstar Farms, a product you can find in your local supermarket, which Worthington Loma Linda started up to market to the general public when 60s and 70s vegetarians grew up and started shopping in their local supermarkets.  Do you know that these companies are now owned by Kellogg’s? (oh, and did you know that Kellogg’s, itself, was originally started as a health food?)

Thanks to Food Inc., right now I am afraid of almost every packaged product (I like Zukay salad dressings, but it is probably only a matter of time until the nice people who produce them sell out to some large corporation, and then retire millionaires – and I won’t blame them one whit!)

Do yourself a favor and see Food Inc. (I got it from Movies on Demand on Time Warner)

PLASTICS – NO GO! Bisphenol health danger

FOOD STORAGE
My room-mate has been researching the effects of bisphenol in rats. The results are not pretty (I don’t mean the part about where she “sacrifices” – read BEHEADS the rats). Bisphenol apparently affects estrogen in ways we don’t want to think about. (Go to your own research – I’ve seen reports in National Geographic and at various sites on-line, in addition to the reports that I have edited for the room-mate.)

What do to? Well, see, bisphenol apparently comes out of plastic things. You know, your water bottle, your baggies and zip-loc bags, etc. and so forth (read plastic that touches your lips or your food and/or beverages).

I have just learned that you can easily identify such bisphenol-producing plastics as PVC and polystyrene by looking at the recycle symbol. PVC has a #3 inside the recycle symbol on the container, and polystyrene has a #6 inside the symbol.

Aside from the health factor, plastic goes into the trash but it just simply does not decompose (at least, not in much less than 1,000 years).

If you do microwave (okay, I am not looking, you’re doing what you do), it turns out that enlightened doctors are saying that it is not good to nuke food in plastic containers because it can cause the bisphenol and other chemicals to leach out into the food. Go with glass or ceramic-ware instead.

Are you interested in conspiracy theory?  Interestingly, today’s New York Post reports that (despite what researchers like my very own room-mate have found)  the government has decided that bisphenol is not a great danger to people.

WHY TO BUY LOCAL

When I visited a Liz Cousin’s cool new nutrition counseling websitepunknutrition.com), I found a very interesting youtube video, which makes you think about why you should by locally produced foodstuffs. (

PunkNutrition is not about raw nutrition, but Liz, who trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, has found an interesting niche — she teaches people how to think about food, shop for food, and eat to support life. I doubt that Liz is a vegetarian, but she is trained in all areas of nutrition (although I, personally, decided against IIN because their curriculum did not have much in the way of raw nutrition, and most of the rest of what they teach I have studied elsewhere).

If you are striving to improve your diet, and wondering about different diet/food options, and how to eat more economically and healthily at the same time, Liz would be your go-to person.

WE MIGHT BE RIGHT AFTER ALL


Is cooked food dangerous?

Surprise! Surprise!
According to a recent article in the UK publication, The Guardian,
research shows that there is a direct link between acrylamide and ovarian cancer ….AND… Acrylamide is a chemical which is produced when food is roasted, fried, or baked.

The future may, indeed, as we all expect, hold validation for the raw food diet.

Right now, the only thing the study has shown is that crisply-cooked starchy foods is a hazard to women’s health.

The article further says that the EU now advises people to steer clear of “overcooking” of carbohydrate-rich foods.

Most breakfast cereals contain acrylaminde, as do cooked meats.

Despite the alarming news, the British Food Standards Agency states that, “It is not possible to have a healthy balanced diet that avoids acrylamide.”

Pretty Smart Reading: my new book

I’ve just received LifeFood Recipe Book: Living on Life Force by David and Annie Padden Judd today. I have to say I am liking it more and more, the further I read (okay, not very far yet– I’ve just mostly flipped through it, noticed a few of the nutrition attitudes, and glanced at the recipes…. I’ve been working on upgrading the blog for the past few days…)

As of what I have read, I would highly recommend this book, regardless of what you think you know, or what you believe…. It is a heck of a good read, and it offers worthwhile information. In addition, there are a number of yummy-looking recipes.

I finally bought this book, a year after it was recommended to me by a wonderful man in my raw food training atRaw Soul. This amazing man kept bringing in marvelous books that he had found, and, one day, he brought in some Jubb books. I was moderately intrigued, at the time, but something attracted me the other day, when I was browsing the Internet, and I bought this one.
More interesting books about raw food

CAN YOU BE FRIENDS WITH OTHER RAW FOODIES?

When you become a raw foodie, you will likely look for a community, or friends who share the same focus. Inevitably, you will run into differences in philosophy…. you may have adopted one or another philosophy, or just come into raw foods, as I did, by eating raw foods, with no specific plan.


Often, you will be expected to make a choice, or to align yourself with a particular focus.

This situation works well if you are unsure or insecure in your choice, or if you are a born follower.

Those who have their own ideas, or are happy with their own choices, often run into snags in relationships with other raw foodists.

Once people have aligned themselves with one or another camp, it can be difficult to communicate with them if you do not share their strict focus. This is because converts tend to toe a strict line themselves, and expect those around them to agree with them one-hundred percent. (Gee, is this sounding like a religious cult, or what?)

So, how do you talk to the others.???

If you join a sharing group, and your philosophy is different from that of others in the group, or from the group’s stated focus, you may feel that you can not easily share with the others of your group. That is not a very caring, sharing feeling.

Your choices are pretty slim if you do not find a group that accepts your personal philosophy. You can either change your point of view, or you can keep your mouth shut and see what you can learn. That, or you can simply not commune with other raw foodies.

I think I am probably not terribly popular when I show up at raw food groups and they ask me my opinion. The group meetings I have attended have seemed pretty much fruitarian (no root vegetables), 80/10/10, and anti-processing. I don’t have a problem with root vegetables, although I don’t eat them all the time, or even seek them out (most of the time— carrots are good for juice). In my own personal situation, 80/10/10 has too low fat and protein, and I will become sick and suffer from other issues if I follow such a regime. I have a food processor, a VitaMix, a dehydrator, a freezer, and a fabulous knife, and, what’s more, I am not afraid to use them. I once had only the knife (I love my knife). Food, for me, is more fun if I can make it into something. Don’t get me wrong… I am sure that God made food perfect, but…. God also gave me the ability to think, and the ability to rearrange things to make them more edible and/or more palatable.

I am not really willing to spend long hours or include mega-numbers of ingredients in my concoctions…. most raw food recipe books offer dishes which are far more complicated than I am willing to try, although they do offer a good read, and I often get ideas when I read them.

Nevertheless, it irks me to have people tell me that I shouldn’t do this or that. My philosophy tends to follow the Ann Wigmore raw food focus. I do not care that some people who have taken the Hippocrates Institute ideas to new places think. I am sure they do good work, but I am not sure enough that their changes are any improvement on the original idea to change my ways.

Before I found the Internet, I was a raw foodie group of one, for more than 20 years. You’d’ve thought that, in a big place like New York City, I might have found a group of like-minded people. Unfortunately, the first (and best) group that I found on the Internet, which, from its inception, as the first raw food group, was very open to all comers and all ideas, has degenerated into a one-pony show (I have hopes that it will change back, and I may try to nudge it, myself, if I have time) In New York City, there is pretty much only one option (weird, huh? you would think this place would be more active, wouldn’t you?) Unfortunately, that group is very socked in to the 80/10/10 philosophy to the point of vocally excluding any other concepts.

I’ve been American all my life. (Americans get to choose, where there are no laws to prevent such choices.) I grew up in raw foods before there were people to tell me what I must and must not do (aside from in the event of illness). I am not looking for a new religion, or any guru. I am perfectly capable of reading all of the concepts, and making my own decisions as to how the raw food concept should be applied in my life.

Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that I am a nutritionist. I do know something about the field….

So, all of this means that I will have to be extremely grateful to any raw foodie who is willing to be my raw foodie friend, and fly in the face of the accepted ideas, or at least listen to my ideas, while I listen to theirs.