Raw Veganism

One of the most popular food fads among vegans these days is Raw Veganism. Raw restaurants are all the rage and various raw brands and products are hitting the store shelves. More and more it’s being touted as a “natural” and ideally healthy diet and the next step in dietary evolution. Fairly simple and straight forward, it consists of a vegan diet of mainly or only uncooked foods, particularly nothing heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Proponents of such a diet promote it for various health, environmental, and philosophical or spiritual reasons.

The health arguments generally rest on the claims that cooking destroys nutrient content and dentures necessary enzymes (which they claim contains the “life energy”) leading to enzyme deficiency. But plant enzymes are not used by the human body, they are broken down in the stomach acid whether the food is raw or not. Rawists attempt to counter by citing holistic practitioner Viktorus Kulvinskas who claims that “stomach acid merely deactivates food enzymes. The enzymes are then reactivated in the more alkaline small intestine.” But by all appearances this is not based on any actual published research, the claim is just laid out there with no supporting evidence or reference and is not recognized by the mainstream medical community.

The issue of cooking destroying nutrients its a bit more complex, and varies according to food, cooking time, and temperature. While vitamin C is degraded by heat, as potentially are folate, thiamine, and niacin, this nutrient loss is not complete and is often fairly modest, with around 5-70% of a particular nutrient lost. But this loss may be more than compensated for by making other nutrients, such as beta-carotene and other carotenoids more available through cooking. The reason for this is that plant cell walls are made of cellulose, a tough material that humans lack the ability to break down well. Cooking breaks the cell wall down making nutrients more available. Cooked foods are also much more digestible and provide more calories while processing and cooking also increase nutritive value by reducing antinutrients that interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients. Rawist often care not to make much distinction between types of cooking either but there are some very real reasons to prefer some methods over others. Frying and char grilling are the most potentially problematic health-wise and are generally recommend to be used sparingly. While boiling and steaming appear to be the best methods for releasing and preserving nutrients. It should also be noted that soaking, chopping, dehydration, and other raw-friendly forms of processing also positively and negatively affect nutrient content through leeching and oxidation or aiding in digestion. There are good reasons to incorporate more raw foods into our diets, but there is no nutritional necessity for a strictly raw diet and the restrictive nature of the diet can more easily result in nutritional deficiencies than a more varied diet including both cooked and raw foods.

One worrying potential negative health impact of a strict raw diet is the disruption or elimination of the menstruation cycle know as amenorrhea. As concerning a medical issue this is it appears that some folks promote this as an actual benefit and sign that the body no longer has a need to shed “toxins” monthly. There is not much I can say about this except that anyone experiencing such symptoms needs to see a unbiased MD immediately.

The environmental arguments tend to rest on the issues of resources burned for cooking and the impact of modern agriculture in general. While cooking does use resources, it can preserve food and provide more calories per acre. Raw “uncook books” are also often filled with recipes calling for juicers, food processors, dehydrators, and of course refrigeration. Raw diets that are high in processed or commercial products or in tropical fruits and nuts may not be as low impact as proponents might want to believe. Though building a bicycle powered blender could reduce electricity usage and be a fun project. You could also build a solar dehydrator or better yet a solar oven capable of baking an apple pie, but solar cooking is still limited in when and where it can be used. A raw diet is also just as dependent on modern agriculture as any other, the majority of the crops eaten by rawists are the products of modern agriculture, I don’t see many rawists munching wild bananas (see below). Reducing ones impact on the environment is a noble goal, but the factors involved are so complex and interwoven that there are always trade offs and multiple ways to go about it.

I cant really speak to the spiritual arguments as they are too numerous and often too vague. However, the main philosophical argument revolves around the idea that rawism is more “natural” than cooking. To argue that either rawism or veganism are “natural” and therefor good is committing the naturalistic fallacy. We should also be wary of committing the naturalistic fallacy by asserting the opposite, that because humans ate meat in the past it is impossible to live without it today or that raw diets are impossible because cooking played a role in human development. That being said, the idea that rawism is natural and ideal results from a simplistic or incorrect understanding of human evolution and diet. Humans physiology is well suited for cooking which began at least 250,000 years ago, though researchers are looking for earlier evidence from as much as 2 million years ago, contending that not only are we well adapted to cooked foods but that cooking is obligatory in the long-term and that the advent of cooking may have driven our evolution by providing the needed calories for our larger brains. Cooking made a myriad of foods more palatable and opened up new territory and opportunities for early humans and since then every human group know has adopted cooking for its obvious benefits as there are no known examples of native peoples living on entirely raw diets. Similar issues arise with the vegan aspect of raw veganism, veganism isn’t a natural diet by evolutionary standards. Our ancestors did eat meat but modern science has shown us we can have a full and healthy life on a vegan diet while the science on a strict raw vegan diet is a little less favorable or just not there yet. Modern nutritional science and the ethics of anti-speciesism rather than musing on the noble savage should inform the basis of our dietary habits.

Simply put, a varied vegan diet of both cooked and raw foods is as healthy if not more so than a strict raw vegan diet, there are more ways than just rawism to be “green”, and the diets of our ancestors cant always dictate what our modern diets should or could be.

My central problem with raw foodism is that not only does it not serve to promote ethical veganism, it is counter-productive to this goal. As aptly noted by Ginny Messina, The VeganRD, “Advocating diets that incorporate unnecessary nutrition-related restrictions makes it harder for people to go vegan. That goes for fat-free, soy-free, and raw foods diets. Sometimes these variations on veganism are perceived as steps in the same dietary evolution. They aren’t. Veganism is an ethical choice and it’s a diet that is healthful and appropriate at all stages of the lifecycle. Raw foodism is a fad diet that is appropriate only for adults and is based on shaky scientific principles at best.”

Further reading: Simply Raw: Making overcooked claims about raw food diets


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51 Responses to “Raw Veganism”

  1. Anna Says:

    Oh Lord. I read the post and some of the comments left on the We Like It Raw website. The depth and variety of scientific illiteracy displayed there is dizzying. You could almost write a book on every logical fallacy found on that page.

    “I used to have bad cramps, then I went raw, now I don’t have cramps, and my SAD-eating friend still has horrible cramps.” A misunderstanding of what a robust data set is. Or what it means to argue from anecdote.

    “The pill contributes to cervical cancer!” No, almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Being on the pill might make one less likely to use a condom, which could increase rates of HPV transmission, but if you’re on the pill and celibate you’re almost certainly not going to get cervical cancer.

    And all these people reiterating the idea that the best research is one’s own personal research. I guess Jenny McCarthy is not the only person with a degree from the University of Google.

    My favorite was the conflicting view of periods: The original poster said that the lining of the uterus is composed of “toxins” and when one stops eating toxins, one will stop menstruating. And then a commenter says that menstrual blood is our vital life force and must be re-ingested! The original poster thanks the commenter for this advice and says she will try drinking her own menstrual blood. Never mind that it seems like doing so would violate her premise that menstrual blood is laden with toxins.

    Just so much evidence that we need to be teaching scientific literacy starting in preschool. I don’t think I’m hoping for a level of savvy that is at all unreasonable! The chatter on blogs like this should be utterly transparent to a child.

  2. amyoh2 Says:

    I am a bit skeptical of vegan raw foods diets, especially since I studied Chinese medicine a few years ago and they believe that too many raw foods can be detrimental to the body, especially if you live in a cold and damp climate. I know for myself I could not get through the winter without eating a lot of cooked foods such a soup and stews, and herbal teas also Sometimes I even bake my apples when the weather is cold. In the summertime I do seem to gravitate more towards eating more raw fruits, smoothies and salads.

    http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietarytherapy/a/Raw_Foods.htm

    Also I have heard that certain popular raw foods authors are telling people not to be concerned about B12 and we all know that’s a bad idea now. There is more B12 in vegan foods like fortified cereals, soymilks and some meat analogs which you are definitely not getting on a 100% raw diet.

  3. Ginny Messina Says:

    Excellent article! I especially like the discussion about the environmental effects of raw versus cooked food diets, since that’s something I don’t know much about. And thanks for the link to my blog 🙂

  4. Gluten-free faddists « Skeptical Vegan Says:

    […] By skepticalvegan Overtaking rawism for the most popular fad diet today is gluten-free eating. Now don’t get me wrong, there are […]

  5. burpy Says:

    Excellent article. Just popped over from the SGU site to take look. I used to work in a private psychiatric unit where the owner was a raw foodist and some of the nurses foisted various other crackpot diets on the patients. The owner kept making noises about changing the patients´diet over to raw food. This was before I was a skeptic, but still, something didn´t sit right with me. Possibly the fact that there would be no more pies.

    With regard to what you say at the end of the article, I agree that a vegan diet is probably appropriate and healthy for an adult, but I´m yet to be convinced that a meat free diet is optimal for a growing child. Do you know of any sources or studies that I could look at?

  6. Camille Contreras Says:

    Hi,

    Although many vegans are interested in eating raw, the raw movement isn’t vegan. In fact, it can even be a threat to the vegan movement. Many raw-foodists call themselves “raw vegans”; by that they mean that they don’t eat flesh, dairy products or eggs – but most of them eat honey, wear leather… For them it’s just a dietary thing – all is about health, and feeling good. Well, this is not exactly what “vegan” meant in the first place! It’s quite problematic. By reducing veganism to a mere diet, the whole message is lost. Moreover, when you go to a “raw restaurant”, you’re likely to be served honey; even if the staff tells you that the food is “vegan” – because they actually don’t know what “vegan” means; and trust me it’s sometimes hard to make them admit that, let’s say, honey isn’t vegan. Obviously, there are real vegans who eat a raw vegetable diet. But they don’t eat raw for the animals – that’s a different issue. That’s why I think expressions like “raw vegan” are confusing and shouldn’t be used.

    Moreover, like you point out in your article, raw-foodism is mostly based on myths and beliefs – like a religion. You can find all kinds of “raw gurus” who preach different mantras; and all their groupies who follow them faithfully. But when you’re asking about facts, science… there’s almost nothing you can find. It’s true that the raw movement has brought interesting things: raw cuisine, interest in eating more raw stuff… Nevertheless, those positive aspects are undoubtedly overshadowed by some bad things: so-called “raw-vegans” eating honey, wearing leather and so on create a lot of confusion about what veganism is about; most of the raw gurus advice against taking a B12 supplement, etc. In conclusion I don’t think it’s good for veganism to be associated to such a crazy movement.

    By the way, in my opinion one shouldn’t use the expression “vegan diet” – it’s confusing. Vegans eat a vegetable diet for ethical reasons – for vegan reasons. 😉

    Thank you for this article!

    Camille.

    Ps: Although I tend to be skeptical about the raw movement, I found an interesting book about raw-foodism: “Becoming Raw” by Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina and Rynn Berry (you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Raw-Essential-Guide-Vegan/dp/1570672385 ). It’s more scientific than everything I’d gone through before.

  7. Robert Freedomfighter Says:

    All raw-foodists should not be lumped together.
    What is described in this article and the comments is basically “gourmet” raw food extremely high in fat and refined foods.
    They often starve themselves too without even knowing it.
    Raw foods generally have a lot less calories so to make it work you have to eat like an animal in nature when it comes to volume, not like a modern human who eats food that is dense in calories.
    Fruits and vegetables are low in calories but extremely good when it comes to micronutrients and phytochemicals.

    Check out a site like foodnsport.com to see how people get amazing health and athletic results.
    Check out the site and forum.

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      quote from FoodnSport website: “FoodnSport is founded on the teachings of Dr. Douglas Graham and the philosophy of Natural Hygiene. ”

      I dont mean to be cynical here but this raised a big red flag for me. I know a bit about Natural Hygiene and while I commend their emphasis on disease prevention and healthy daily habits Im not that fond of its seeming total avoidance of effective modern medical care. Such an ideology can be especially dangerous when it involves children.

      • Robert Freedomfighter Says:

        Then you can lower your red flag again, I’ve seen Dr. Graham write something like “If you need medicine, take medicine.”
        My point is still valid: don’t lump all “raw-foodists” together, it might be good if you want to make a dumbed down argument about “raw food” but it doesn’t have anything to do with “real” raw food (fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and some seeds/nuts).
        Maybe it would be smart to lower the focus on “skeptical” and raise it on actual results and science.

        • skepticalvegan Says:

          If you check out the hyperlinks in the post you will see that there are numerous references to scientific papers.

          I wasn’t really trying to lump all raw foodists together, I was more addressing the popularity of various form of raw veganism without much need to get into the many non-vegan raw diets since it would be of little relevance to the main point of the post that ethically unnecessary dietary restrictions such as rawism make it harder for people to go vegan.

      • Camille Contreras Says:

        About Douglas Graham: he’s not really a good example; as he advises against taking a B12 supplement for example…

        “Dr. Doug Graham Part III: The Medical Model, the Hygienic Model and Supplements” – http://www.naturalnews.com/026402_health_food_symptoms.html

        And Jack Norris’ response to this article:

        “Comments on Doug Graham’s B12 Statements” – http://jacknorrisrd.com/?p=1391

        Obviously, all raw-foodists aren’t like that but there’s a tendency in the raw movement to create/base oneself on myths, and the result can be quite tragic.

  8. Valerie Says:

    Very interesting article.
    Have you seen the documentary “Simply Raw”? It follows 6 diabetics as they’re placed on a medically supervised raw vegan diet for 30 days. All of them had positive results. Weight loss, reduced or eliminated medications, etc.
    And then there’s Mimi Kirk, PETA’s winner of the sexiest vegetarian over 50 a couple of years ago.(she was 70 when she won). In excellent health and is a raw vegan.

    I do agree that many raw foodists do treat this like a religion. I’ve read of deficiencies with children when the parents were too strict in their dietary approach. Are you familiar with Storm and Jingee Talifero? They have 5 children I believe. Raising them raw and they’re thriving. They produced a documentary of their lifestyle a while back, complete with doctor visits with the kids.

    I’m not a raw foodist myself, but I’ve found the food to be often beautiful and delicious and I try to incorporate more raw foods into my diet.

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      Thanks for the comment!
      I believe I’ve seen parts of that documentary, but I will certainly check it out in full soon. While yes for many people a raw diet is doable and can even be quite nutritious, my issue with it mainly lies in that it is a diet that is not necessary for good health and represents a nutritional restriction that may interfere with folks ability to maintain a vegan diet & lifestyle, which I maintain is the primary concern for reasons of animal rights.

    • Cartoony Says:

      Aren’t the taliferos the ones who stole money from their own trusting community with the raw vegan village? Also, the garden diet website is more like an infomercial than a blog. I dunno if I’d trust anything those scammers said after stealing nearly a million dollars from their followers.

  9. Fireweed Says:

    Thanks for this great article! I intend to link to it from my vegan potluck website at http://www.denmanpotlucks.blogspot.com where I try to add material that can help educate folks who aren’t committed to veganism, but curious!

    Good to see mention of ‘Becoming Raw’ by vegan nutritionists Davis and Melina and historian Berry. An excellent look at the evolution of the raw movement with sound advice on the benefits of incorporating more raw food into one’s diet and appropriate warnings about non-scientifically proven ideologies…

    I absolutely agree that raw foodism can be counterproductive to the vegan message, because not only do some raw fooders NOT thrive on their diet and so move back to incorporating animal products (raw milk, raw meat!-dried is apparently gaining in popularity) they are not necessarily motivated by the environmental rationale that is such an incredibly important pillar in the three pronged rationale for going vegan in the first place…1) for the animals, 2) for the environment and 3) or our personal/planetary health. I’ve always appreciated that John Robbins, founder of EarthSave, laid out his arguments in this order in ‘Diet for a New America’.

    Many raw foodists in my area of the world are relying on foods that must be shipped great distances to reach them (bananas, avocados, nuts of all kinds). While I am very committed to supporting local organic growers and eating as bioregionally as is reasonably possible for our household, I use the argument often that eating low on the food chain is far more important than eating only locally grown foods to reduce one’s ecological footprint. But it just doesn’t make sense to me to reject food like potatoes, onions and squash, which are grown in my climate and store well for many months without refrigeration, on the basis that they are not easily incorporated into a raw diet. (or at all, in the case of potatoes) Sure, a super highpowered food processor can pulverize a butternut squash, but honestly, most raw fooders are not going to use that kind of equipment on a daily basis to fuel their bodies.

    The real, ‘next evolutionary step’ on the vegan path, IMO, is encouraging stock-free organic agriculture. Where our food comes from and how it is grown is so important…the vegan philosophy of compassion for animals makes it imperative that we avoid remaining complicit with animal agribusiness, and a lot of plant foods grown out there still rely heavily on manure from factory farms. The veganic agriculture movement is young, and needs our support. While not wishing to make veganism difficult for anyone, those of us already committed are the ones who must blaze the trail for a future in farming that counters the global warming not only associated with food transport by air, but the overwhelming burden on our planetary atmosphere of methane from all the farm animals that continue to fertilize most of the food we eat as vegans.

    It is a myth, much like the protein myth that has convinced many folks it isn’t possible for the human body to thrive without animal products, that animal manure is necessary for soil fertility. In fact, all soil fertility originates with plants, and just as we don’t need to pass those plants through the body of an animal to fuel our own bodies, green manure cover crops (and crop rotation) build healthy soil (and yes, support the myriad life forms, like worms, that are a vital component of healthy soil). Veganic farming (or stock-free) is going to be integral to the future of sustainable farming, and dare I say, life on earth if we take global warming seriously. I have a few links on my blog at http://www.veganiculture.blogspot.com for anyone
    interested.

    Planting nut and fruit trees and berry bushes for raw eating is an important, wonderful thing for vegans of all persuasions to do, wherever we can!

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      I use the argument often that eating low on the food chain is far more important than eating only locally grown foods to reduce one’s ecological footprint.

      Then I think you will enjoy my upcoming post on the localvore movement, it is a complex issue to be sure.

  10. Andrea Schuetz Says:

    I think, different strokes for different folks. I’ve seen people that love being 60-90% raw, being 100% raw is almost impossible, though people do generally strive for it. If you think of your daily diet, you probably are more raw than you think…for instance I tried raw for a week and I was surprised that the only meal that needed to be adjusted was dinner…I have a smoothie in the morning, salad and fruit at lunch, and a cooked meal for dinner…it’s a bit like Michael Pollans vegetarian/vegan before 5pm way of life, right?

    Anyway, I think that the idea behind eating raw is good and comes from a much better place than things like the “hcg diet” or other fad/quick fix diets. Having raw weeks, or eating raw in moderation isn’t as scary as your post makes it out to be. Totally 100% committing to being 100% raw is almost unheard of, and almost unattainable/unsustainable.

  11. Shon Lomax Says:

    great article. useful information. i’d been contemplating raw veganism. i will continue to do my research. i too believe that a combination of cooked and raw foods is a more healthy approach to eating.

  12. paleo_huntress Says:

    Without the addition of animal foods in a raw diet, we need significantly more food to simply absorb sufficient calories. A diet that includes some raw food is probably a good idea, but why would you choose a diet that leaves a significant number of calories and nutrients to be excreted as waste? This means you have to eat even more food. And knowing how destructive and unethical attaining some of these foods can be, that seems exceptionally wasteful.

    ~Huntress

  13. enquiringmind Says:

    raw foodists that aren´t healthy are eating too much fat and too little calories. raw vegan high carb low fat diet is the best, in my opinion, and u can see the results on people who follow this diet. it also seems like the most specie-specifiv diet – we get enough of what we need from fruit, if we eat enough of it. check out 30bananasaday.com

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      According to Ayurvedic, raw vegan guru Dr. Gabriel Cousens, the issue is that the typical vegan diet is way too low in fat and way too high in carbohydrate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUPa9eQSkC0

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      He recommend 40-50% fat.

      • pankakke Says:

        o.o Please don’t listen to him, or David Wolfe. They’re kind of jokes in the healthy raw food community… They just try to sell stuff.
        🙂

        • paleo_huntress Says:

          Cousens has been doing diabetes research for more than a decade and is the only doctor that can truthfully say he can CURE it through diet. I’d suppose that the joke’s on you. 😉

        • Guest Says:

          Please be aware (anyone stumbling across this old thread) that Paleo Huntress is well known as a troll, meaning she just likes to stir the pot and says nothing of value. She does NOT represent a true Paleo lifestyle, she isn’t even a huntress, as she said in one of her many posts that have been deleted in the last couple days. She is simply a bored mother of 3 boys living in Worchester MA (check the ISP) and she tends to create aliases who she can talk to online when real people have had enough of her bullying and disingenuous antics. She has been accused of this many times, but it was clearly proven once, in a thread that is now magically disappeared. If you are interested in nutrition or a lifestyle change, please go to a real source, but Laurie here… is not one.

  14. enquiringmind Says:

    my point exactly – 40-50%fat… come on, who can run or live actively with all that fat clogging up ur system.
    read up and look at videos on the 80/10/10 diet. there are great videos with durianrider or dr. graham. it just makes sense.

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      I’m not sure WHAT your point is. This idea that fat “clogs the system” is mythology. Dr. Cousens has been studying this moderate fat, low carb vegan diet compared to the low-fat high carb vegan diet for decades. The high fat diet wins out every time. The key to longevity is reduced insulin. High carb diets increase insulin, there’s no way around it.

      I’m an omni, but I’d take his advice over yours any day.

      • enquiringmind Says:

        You can take anyone´s advice you want, but i´m not the one making this up – i just like to read a lot on nutrition etc and i´m really convinced about the low fat high carb whole food plant-based diet – as suggested by people like Dr Colin T Campbell, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Barnard, John Robbins, Douglas J Lisle and Dr Douglas Graham, to name just a few. Have you watched Forks over Knives? It´s a great documentary film.

        • paleo_huntress Says:

          Yes, I have watched Forks over Knifes… it was a docuDRAMA, not a true documentary. The makers themselves say so. It also suffer from the same cherry-picking bias that The China Study and many of the others you cite do. Even the author of this blog doesn’t consider veganism healthier than omnivorism, nor the path most likely to increase longevity. Please take a look at this critique of the “science” used in FoK, the author is herself a raw foodist.

          The review is titled, .“Forks Over Knives”: Is the Science Legit? (A Review and Critique)

          She says, “I call it a movie that deftly blends fact and fiction, and has lots of pictures of vegetables.”

          “This won’t be your standard movie review. In fact, it isn’t a “review” so much as a chronological critique of the scientific claims made throughout the movie. My criticisms are limited to the stuff presented as evidence–“

  15. Valerie Says:

    I came across this article today about a scientific study done with raw foodists as well as others.
    What do you think?
    http://www.beautifulonraw.com/raw-food-blog/why-eat-raw/the-science-of-raw-foods/

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      Very interesting… I’d be more interested to know what defines a “normal diet”? Just about ANYTHING fares better than the SAD.

  16. lei Says:

    hi.
    i met a lot of people going to raw foods while never caring about veganism and animal rights at all. enough for me. at least they don’t eat animals anymore, no matter what their reasons are…. some of them would listen to me speaking about animal rights, most of them still consider animals as our slaves…and that they should continue to be our slaves.

    so what can you do…. :/

    be happy that they are (almost) vegans (only by their diet) and from time to time ask them if they care about animals more than they used to.

    greets from south Europe

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      I’m not sure that I buy the premise that rawism necessarily leads one to a (near) vegan diet. Raw Veganism is a specific subcategory of rawism. There are many rawists who happily consume large amounts of animal products in the form of meat, dairy, and even for some eggs.

      • lei Says:

        we have a public forum here about raw foods and there is no talking about animal rights but a lot of talking about 100% plant food, only about food. that technically doesn’t make them vegans but only plant eaters.
        although, some of them sometimes consume milk derived from animals that they posses… :/

        people here are under the influence of numerous raw food books that only promote 100% plant food so, i have to be honest, i met a lot of people on raw foods, but none of them ate meat…

        some people whom i met and that were raw foodists (plant eaters) were also, surprisingly, enjoying fishing… (and then release the fish…)

        so yes, it does not make them strict vegans at all, but in practice it does spare some animals. and that is something i’m grateful for….

  17. lei Says:

    also, why do you think raw food is a fad diet?

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      Because for many it simply is a fad and a diet.

      • lei Says:

        could you please provide some link because i really couldn’t find any that explicitly denotes that raw food is a fad diet. thanks!

        • skepticalvegan Says:

          i really couldn’t find any that explicitly denotes that raw food is a fad diet

          You seem to be asking for an authoritative statement, but from who? A government body? I’m not sure what you are looking for here, the statement that rawism is a fad is my personal judgement of it based on the common usage of term such as fad and fad diet. The whole “Raw for 30 Days” thing itself embodies the very essence of a fad diet.

          I’m not the only one who thinks it is a largely a fad for many of its followers
          Raw food fad sprouting nationwide
          Barbara vs. The Raw Food Fad
          Modern ‘superdiets’ based on myths, says expert

          • lei Says:

            ok, thanks but I don’t see it.
            on the web pages that talk about fad diets, it’s pointed out that fad diets are the ones that depend on a narrow range of foods, and that their focus is a short-term weight loss.

            the links you gave mention only the prejudices and common “knowledge” about raw foods – that one popular about enzymes and the other – that preparing raw food is complicated. it doesn’t have to be.
            until few months ago, you couldn’t buy any kind of raw food here that was in a can or a jar or preapred in some way. people would buy fruits and vegetables and they would enjoy it the way they were. and they still do.
            also, the books about raw food that we have here, well, some of them are more than 20, 30, 50 years old because they came from Russia and Germany, and people there have a long tradition of eating raw food for years, without losing weight.

            i’m not a raw foodist, just for you to know. but people I know have been for years, they don’t lose weight, they eat a lot of different plants and they are learning that most of that enzyme talking is not based on science….

            but, when you blend fruits, seeds and vegetables with a strong blender, then you do destroy their cells, which means that you do destroy their vacuoles, peroxisomes, glyoxisomes and then you do release enzymes like proteases, nucleases, glycosidases, phosphatases etc that do degrade proteins and nucleic acids and sugars to their smaller units. so, some of these “prejudices” make sense if you put them in their right perspective….

            so fad diet? really? 🙂
            my experience

            • paleo_huntress Says:

              The term “fad” is subjective- there’s no question that people have been eating raw food for our entire existence. Most of us still eat some. But the “movement” is faddish, it’s hard to argue that. The practice of fermenting and souring foods is nothing new and is common in many dietary belief sets- but the raw foodists I know personally don’t practice this at all. It is a movement of sorts and it pretty easily fits into the “fad” criteria- again, subjective. As for what you find in a supermarket, food manufacturers spend millions identifying food trends and catering to them- it’s about selling their product. It really has no bearing on whether a diet is a fad or not.

  18. Prince Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with all these valuable details about raw veganism. You have really emphasized the good points of adapting this healthy lifestyle. Well done! 🙂

  19. BOOK REVIEW: Vegetarianism « Value Time Says:

    […] If Veenis is disappointing, Bob McCauley’s “Raw Foods are the Answer” is from outer space. “We are designed to live 120-150 years,” McCauley asserts, with no proof, of course. He commands his readers to drink Ionized water only. “Steamed vegetables are not at all acceptable,” he snaps. “Switch to a raw food diet and disease will disappear from your life for good, or for as long as you remain a raw foodist,” he also proclaims. Sadly, this ridiculousness is the last essay, and thus McCauley gets the last word on the subject. I am reminded of vegan RD Ginny Messina’s quote on the wonderful Skeptical Vegan website: […]

  20. Lara Kelly Says:

    The person who wrote this article is an idiot and needs to examine their own issues and fears. I’m not gong to be polite. I’m tired of people knocking the raw food diet. My boyfriend and I have been raw for seven years. We do go to medical doctors to get regularly “checked”, are test results show that we are extremely healthy human beings. I have not been sick in seven years, enough said.

    • Paleo Huntress Says:

      You tell ’em, girl! You and your boyfriend are all the ‘proof’ any of us needs. Ahem.

    • pythagoreancrank Says:

      Lara,

      It’s great that you find success in the raw food diet but that is purely subjective. I myself was a rawfoodist and felt similarly but I recently learned about critical thinking and how easy it is to fool ourselves. The benefits of the raw food diet (like most fad diets) are very easy to misinterpret.

      When you lash out like this attacking the author it makes it seem like you have no valid argument for raw food. What specifically in this article do you find wrong?

  21. Daniel Says:

    Thanks so much for this. This isn’t about this post in particular (though I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it enlightening), but about doing this blog in general. I’ve been vegan for about a year and it’s important to me to not take in bogus arguments for it and pseudo-scientific information, when sometimes I don’t have the time or inclination to thoroughly research every claim.

    As much as I try to be a critical thinker, sometimes, like most people probably, I can be a bit credulous, because, for example, it doesn’t occur to me in most cases that people would make claims with apparent certainty that they weren’t really certain about, at least not deservedly so, because, I don’t know, that’s not allowed, or something, or they’d get caught, or people wouldn’t really lie… all things I know aren’t true.

    youarenotsosmart.com …

    Do you have a post on the claim I’ve heard that milk is actually not a good source of usable calcium because of something to do with acidity and stripping nutrients from your bones? I did a bit of research on that a while ago but didn’t find the sorts of conclusive evidence that would be required to advance that argument so confidently. Any good links on that?

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  23. Cautionary Example Of The Dangers Of Doing Your Own Research Says:

    […] is based on the mistaken assumption that cooking somehow destroys the vitality of foods; making it ‘dead’, whereas raw foods are […]

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