Could eating raw food be the way for-raw-ward?
Pardon the pun, but up until now, raw diets have generally been something to poke fun at. People who eat solely ‘raw’, and ultimately vegan diets, have been called ‘faddy’, ‘fussy’, and frankly quite ‘odd’, and their claims that their diet causes them to literally ‘glow’ and that by eating ‘sunfood’, they are able to have a better connection to the natural world, it hasn’t really helped their status as ‘normal’. But I sense a revolution coming on. Even at Glastonbury, there were some raw food stalls, and with high profile celebs such as Jason Mraz, Demi Moore, Donna Karen, Carol Alt, Pierce Brosnan and Cher advocating the diet, it’s no surprise that its’ popularity has risen in recent years.
Raw diets have been around since the 1830s, Sylvester Graham suggesting that they were a cure for the cholera epidemic, and that by eating fresh food and drinking plenty of water, you could cure the chronic disease. After that, Swiss doctor Bircher-Benner cured himself from jaundice after eating raw apples in 1897, and followed up his findings by opening a specialist centre in Zurich to help people cure disease by eating fresh, ‘return to nature’, raw foods. The movement continued progressing fast, and in 2006, Jenna Norwood produced her documentary “Supercharge Me! 30 Days Raw“, inspired by the documentary “Supersize Me!”, in which she experiences a month long trial at a raw retreat in America, colonics and all, and comes out better at the end of it.
It wasn’t really until then that raw diets had been seen as an actual diet that was possible to sustain. There may have been a couple of restuarants in Manhatten, or London, where raw food was served, but the majority of people avoided them for ‘dreaded fear of the unkown’. Since the early noughties, more and more Raw ‘Cook’ Books have pushed themselves onto shelves in libraries, book shops and in homes, and I therefore sense an importance to discuss it on my website. So, there are the basic questions to be answered, as well as reasons to even try it.
As soon as I mention a raw diet to someone, their usual response is “Ah yes, I love beef carpaccio”, or “I had gazpacho on holiday!” to which I slowly nod and walk away. I therefore feel it’s important to discuss: what exactly constitutes ‘raw’ food?
Raw food is food which hasn’t been heated past the point of 118*F, or 47*C, as heating past this point destroys the delicate enzymes in the food. By saving these enzymes and instead consuming them into your body, your digestive system receives these enzymes and your food digests faster and with ease. Raw foodists also need to chew their food much more, allowing signals to suggest ‘fullness’ to get through to your system before you overeat. This is why people say that they lose weight on the raw diet. Other people on a raw diet have also claimed that they have more energy, possibly because your body isn’t using as much energy to digest the food you’re eating.
There are then other claims that illnesses can be cured and prevented by eating a raw diet. Raw foodists are often heard telling people that they no longer suffer from colds or back ache since being on their raw diet, to which some say “It’s all psychological”, but which they say is all thanks to the fresh food and vitamins which they eat. They also use the argument that humans, pets and farm animals are creatures which get degenerative diseases, and funnily enough, are the creatures which eat the most cooked food. Therefore, by putting two and two together, there is a likely link between the two.
A raw food diet is meant to be a treat for your body, not a punishment.
Also, in the argument against eating meat as part of a raw diet, humans have particularly long intestines and when meat is eaten, it takes so long to work its way down that it putrefies in the system, a cause of colon cancer.
I feel it’s important to also mention that, whilst raw diets may sound like a sacrifice, a torture to your body, the forfeit of coffee, tea, cakes, biscuits and basically any food that’s been heated past 47*C, eating a raw food diet is meant to be a treat for your body, feeding it full of goodness. Your body is, afterall, the only thing you ever own from birth until death, and it’s therefore important that you look after it and feed it the things it needs.
There are many thousands of raw foodists, most of which having varying views on the diet, some eating meat, the majority remaining vegan. Others may scorn those who eat maple syrup or honey as it isn’t strictly vegan or raw, whilst others are more relaxed.
So, due to this worldwide phenomenon and food revolution, I am happy to announce that for the duration of August, there will be raw recipes and investigations each week. I hope that you try some, love some, and, at least, learn more about raw foodism by September, and any more questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.