Ten Things to Be Aware of in the Raw Food Arena
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Ten things to Be Aware of in the Raw Food Arena
(It was subsequently published in Get Fresh! magazine in the UK.)
It is by far the most popular article that I have written, I rhave received much
positive feedback about it. It was also the most difficult article
I have ever written as it mentions things that are going on in “the raw
food world” that are critical of other people.
Because I mention some things that I find fault with absolutely in no way means that
I don’t love and respect my peers: other authors, teachers and chefs that
are involved, as I am, in “the Raw Food movement”. I very much love and respect
my raw food peers, it is possible to disagree with a person’s theory while still
loving that person.
Below please read a brief comment I received the day the article was first sent out,
which makes such an important point:
Thanks for your good article on 10 things….
I appreciate your positive attitude and stance regarding controversy and those
spreading it. There is so much good and true that so many people agree on that it
is quite sad that we can’t be more united, rather than fighting amongst ourselves
Too much time is spent on the last 5% of the diet while the other 95% goes ignored,
and quite possibly, undone. Meanwhile people continue to get sick and die when they
don’t need to. There is a much better way, and we would do well to stress what we know
does work, and help people now.
May God bless you,
Hallelujah Acres Foundation
The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines
Ten Things To Be Aware Of in the Raw Food Arena:
1. Be Aware of “three week wonders”
Definition of a three week wonder: someone who has taken a
three week class in raw food (or anything) and is now dispensing
information, classes, written a book etc based on those three
So much misinformation is being passed around by these well
meaning but inexperienced people who pass themselves off as
experts with limited knowledge and little if any real life
For example, a few weeks ago I heard an explanation of why
we soak nuts and seeds. It seems according to this “teacher”
that the part you soak off is what keeps
animals from eating them.
(Real reason: with soaking you are washing off the growth
inhibitors -which in quantity are toxic to us- that keep the nut
or seed from sprouting out of season
if a few drops of rain fall on it-soaking and sprouting also
change the nut or seed to a more digestible food as the fats
are being broken down into fatty acids, the proteins into
Another less amusing example is a three week wonder becoming
so enthusiastic about the wonderful results achieved from
going raw (this may have been a bit more than three weeks,
but not much experience, just a lot of enthusiasm); that they
created educational materials and programs that many people
purchased only to -after a few years- totally reverse their
stand on raw food, now claiming that raw food is harmful.
What is wrong with this picture? First of all, they went into
“business” with just a tiny amount of experience. They did
not expand the variety of foods they ate, but ate the same
things day after day, and when they began to feel ill from
lack of variety, perhaps developing deficiencies, rather
than take a good look at what they were eating, they blamed
“raw food”. No food can make you healthy. Not carrot juice.
Not green juice. Not wheat grass. Not algae. What contributes
to your good health is giving your body the chance to
cleanse and heal itself. Raw Food can
no sooner “make you sick” than fresh air can. One needs to
exercise some common sense. You always need a large variety
of foods to be healthy. Think of the rainbow and eat foods
of each color. Don’t forget protein, don’t forget fat.
Don’t forget carbohydrates. Don’t listen to any one person
about anything, including me.
Whenever you hear a story (being widely passed around on
the internet) about sick vegan babies, sick infants of
vegan moms, deficiencies on a raw diet, etc. Ask yourself:
What exactly were they eating? That part of the story never
There are many people who have been all raw or high raw for
well over ten years, including myself, Brian Clement,
Anna Maria Gahns Clement, Doug Graham, Viktoras Kulvinskas,
Reverend George Malkmus and Cherie Soria.
There are other “three week wonders” who have propelled
themselves into thriving raw food related businesses and,
while they do a lot of good, in their limited knowledge and
experience also perpetuate misinformation that could turn out
to be harmful. For example one raw food proponent indicates
that daily enemas are part of their ongoing daily routine.
Enemas are useful, perhaps even lifesaving, while on the
cleanse phase of a raw food program and for serious long-term
programs such as the Gerson Therapy, which is closely monitored.
But it is never a good idea to use enemas as part of a
daily routine once the cleanse phase is over. Lack of
education and experience is starting to manifest itself
all over the raw food movement. The very leaders you may be
looking up to perhaps belong in this category. Know where you
information is coming from and don’t put all your faith in
just one source.
My last example today of a “three week wonder”
(I am being selective, there are many more examples
of misinformation coming from supposed ‘experts’ in the field.)
is a recent self-published food preparation book that tells
the reader to dehydrate at 98 degrees. This is erroneous
and potentially harmful advice. Dehydrating at too low
a temperature leaves the food open to developing mold.
If you use common sense, you will realize that food does
not become the temperature an oven is set at.
Roasting a turkey (this is an example to illustrate my meaning
only, hold off on the critical emails to me please)
at 350 degrees never results in the turkey being 350 degrees.
Likewise the dehydrator. You want to dehydrate at the highest
temperature possible while keeping the food itself below
115 or 110 degrees. When I dehydrate flax seed crackers,
which are cold and very wet at first, I start the machine
at 120 or 125, and as the crackers become dryer and I can
feel that they are getting warm to the touch (don’t forget
how hot a 103 degree jacuzzi feels), then I turn it down.
Dehydrators work differently in different climates. You can
expect your food to be done sooner in dry hot Arizona
than you can in cool damp England. Please do not make
the mistake of creating moldy food just because some
“expert” who wrote a book tells you to set your
dehydrator at 98.
2. Be Aware of useless “certification”. On a related theme,
I am noticing every Tom Dick and Harry of raw food
information (and misinformation) is now getting into the
concept of offering “certification”. Well, who is
certifying you? What are their credentials? One such
“certification” is adding up to close to $6,000.00
(for about three weeks). (This article was written several years ago, the program referred to
is no longer being offered)
For that kind of money you
can take the 9-week program at Hippocrates Health
Institute which has been around for a long time and has
a good history and track record. Or if you want to be a chef
you could be attending LLCAI (rawfoodchef.com) courses.
Look for Certification from someone who has a recognizable name and has been around
for some time; with something that says something about
their area of expertise such as a book, or someone who
has been teaching for a long -it time might be worth your while,
but don’t waste your time and money on a “three week wonder”.
3. Be Aware of people who tell you what to do.
There is no one pill, no one herb, or collections
of pills, supplements, herbs, foods that are right for
all people. When you are being told take this for that
problem, eat this, drink that then suspect the person
is either on an ego trip or looking to make money for
themselves, or both.
If there were one right way for us all life would be so simple,
If there were one right way to eat then I would be a
very rich lady indeed. Do not ask your neighbor or me
what they eat hoping to emulate and be just like them.
What works for your neighbor or me may not work for you.
4. Be Aware, you need to do your own research.
Sorry. You are a unique person. You have strengths and weaknesses,
and they are different than your neighbor, your sister, your cousin
or your raw food guru. I am talking about physically here,
but it is true about all aspects of YOU. There is really no
expert that can tell you about you. Wouldn’t it be so easy
to just follow one way that you hear about from one person?
If that worked, there would be far fewer “gurus” out there.
You need to understand what it takes to keep you the healthy
vibrant person you want to be. Of course generalities
like exercise, clean air, clean food, right livelihood,
relationship all factor into what makes you you. But the fact is,
you need to experiment, research, read, learn, try until you
find the right combination that works for you.
For example, this week a friend made a smoothie out of nut milk,
nuts, bananas, plus three other kinds of fruit. That would be
digestive and caloric disaster for me. My smoothies are made
out of fruit juice diluted with water, and 2-3 fruits. We are
very different from one another and what works for one
does not work for the next person.
Stop looking for “the answer” from outside of yourself,
it is a futile quest. Stop thinking that this one person,
or book (or pill) is the one right answer for you.
Do not be lazy about looking after your own health.
No one can care as much about you, or know as much about
you as you do!!
5. Be Aware that some people treat Raw Foodism as a religion.
I hope that you understand this without a big long explanation.
6. Be Aware that there is more to life than the food you eat.
I hope you understand this without another big long explanation.
7. Beware of Extremism.
All or nothing at all isn’t necessarily a healthy or
logical approach. If someone tells you that eating 95% of
your food raw isn’t good enough, or that you are
literally poisoning yourself if you eat some cooked food
those are rather extreme attitudes. My opinion is that
those who take these philosophies to heart often feel
like failures if they can’t be “perfect” and so slide
back completely to a SAD diet.
I personally would rather see a person consume 50% raw food
for the rest of their life than be 100% raw for three weeks.
Don’t allow extreme attitudes-the all-or-nothing-approach
to make you feel like you can’t cut it, that you are a failure
or less-than in your raw food attempts. Any amount of
raw food that you eat daily is better than none at all.
Perhaps you could shoot for never any less than 50% daily.
Don’t allow yourself to feel a sense of failure if you do
not follow some ideology perfectly. The greatest cause
of depression is striving for perfection and feeling bad
when it is not attained.
Please do not think that what I am saying is that it
is OK (healthy) to eat a lot of cooked food and or junk.
What I am saying is striving for perfection can create
a lot of unhappiness and feelings of failure which
almost always results in giving up on the goal so that
you don’t have to feel those bad feelings. When someone
is telling you that 95% isn’t good enough, they are telling
you that unless you are absolutely perfect you are not
doing it right. This message boomerangs and results in
many people giving up on raw food entirely.
Do your best!!
Do not judge yourself (or others).
If you maintain your happy outlook, treat your food as just
that-your food, not your religion, you will find that sticking
to your goals is much easier.
If you can’t be all raw, all the time, you can still be high
raw most of the time, all raw some of the time and happy
with it all of the time.
8. Be Aware of some Strangers.
Be aware of people you don’t know who want you to pay them
large sums of money to teach you how to set up a raw food
restaurant, home or health retreat. Call three or four
well-known people, such as myself, to be sure that this
unknown person has a good reputation.
The raw food community is a small one. But it is ever growing, and fast.
Unfortunately, have become aware of some people with talent who have
turned out to be very angry menacing people. Check the
credentials and most of all the reputation and history
of anyone you are thinking of working with, or of allowing
to live in your home that you don’t know well. Ask for references.
9. Be Aware that there are people with eating disorders.
Be aware that there are people with eating disorders
(anorexia and bulemia) using raw foodism to mask their problems.
Being a raw fooder is not going to cure an eating disorder.
Anorexics and bulemics have serious psychological and physical
health issues that need to be addressed by trained personnel.
10. Be Aware
That in everyday life, preaching to others is unwelcome
and an ineffective way to introduce the concept of raw
foodism to anyone. Wait to be asked. Create ways that
invite people to ask.