Sunday, January 29, 2012

[Article] Response: Stop Spreading RawVegan-Untruths

So, I just read an article called The Raw Food Diet: A Raw Deal, by Christopher Wanjek. The author has a few good points, but mostly he is not educated about the real benefits of a raw diet and continues to spread many misnomers about the raw vegan diet. I'd like to take a moment to go over these misnomers. Whenever someone says this it annoys me a lot, because it's not really true:
"Humans have evolved to eat and survive on a wide range of diets."
We have adapted. We're great at adapting, but very little evolution has taken place. Humans 4000 years ago (or 10,000 years ago) are much the same as humans today when it comes to how the body works. After all, less than 1% of DNA is different from apes... How much have we really changed? Yes, DNA is changing all the time. Yes, we can adapt to many different diets, including diets that are primarily meat-based and diets that include no meat at all. We can eat a primarily cooked diet or a completely raw diet. However, just because we can adapt to something does not make it ideal. I'm on a mission to find what is ideal for my body, not just what I can adapt to.

 ‎"Fire foraging was quite natural and helped secure our survival. This is how we developed the taste for cooked food."

That is an absurd claim. Nobody can claim to know where we got the taste for cooked food. Sure, it probable, likely even, but we can't know that for sure.

It's a heck of a lot more certain that the raw diet cures cancer if caught early enough than when we developed a taste for cooked food and how.

"...advocates is that heat (from cooking) destroys enzymes in the food. Enzymes are proteins that serve as catalysts for specific biochemical reactions in the body. There are indeed many forms of enzymes. There are plant enzymes, digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes, for example. And, yes, heat can destroy enzymes. "...plant enzymes, which raw dieters wish to preserve, are largely mashed up with other proteins and rendered useless by acids in the stomach. Not cooking them doesn't save them from this fate. Anyway, the plant enzymes were for the plants. They helped with the plants' growth, and they are responsible for the wilting and decomposition of plants after they are harvested. They are not needed for human digestion. Human digestive enzymes are used for human digestion."

What he says about enzymes is partly correct in a way, but I've done more than twenty hours of reading on the topic of enzymes, and it is way more complex than the average raw vegan makes it sound and much more complex than what this guy says as well.

It is true, of course, that the enzymes are in the plant for the plant, not for us. But, then, so is everything in the plant, so it is kinda an inane statement.

To make some points: The human body does generate some digestive enzymes, but it does not produce all of the enzymes required by the body for optimal function. The human body can become damaged so that it produces less enzymes. Food enzymes play a lot of roles: Vitamin C actually contains an enzyme and this is why cooking destroys vitamin C. On that topic, vitamin C is not just ascorbic acid. That is something I write about in a nother article however and kinda off-topic.

"Raw foods certainly aren't safer than cooked food, as some claim. Most commercial chicken and a good deal of beef and pork, sadly, are loaded with bacteria and parasites."

Well yes, this is why it is a raw vegan diet (see my food pyramid to see what the diet includes and what it does not), not a "raw meat and raw greens" diet. And it is safer, because toasting, baking, and frying create free radicals and toxins such as acrylamide. That is a well documented fact.

‎"...surprising sources of food-borne illness, however, are raw sprouts, green onions and lettuce. These must be washed thoroughly before consumption."

Yes, sure, they can be loaded up with bacteria. But we eat bacteria all the time. We absorb things through our skin all the time. Coming into contact with plastic causing hormonal imbalances in the body that are directly linked with breast cancer. Polyester clothing is plastic. And people wear polyester bras!

To worry about the bacteria on lettuce, a plant which actually provides the nutrition and antioxidants we need to defend against bacteria, is rather silly.

And of course you should wash all store-bought produce. You never know if its been rolling on the floor or been touched by someone who just picked their nose...

‎"Raw (unpasteurized) milk is dangerous and mostly illegal to buy; trust your source."

Yes, and cooked milk gives everyone an intolerance to milk. My husband can drink raw milk without any problem but becomes horribly sick from pasteurized milk. Lactose intolerance is often not related to lactose, but actually a problem with digesting milk that has had its enzymes denatured. And again, I don't advocate just any raw food, and most raw gurus do not. Most raw foodies are raw vegans, as I believe they should be.

‎"Raw (sprouted) kidney beans are poisonous."

Indeed. I actually believe nobody should eat kidney beans at all, even cooked.

‎"Despite major flaws in the raw diet philosophy, one needs to question why a so-called natural diet leaves the dieter dependent on pills for B12 (impossible to get without animal products, such as meat or eggs) or zinc (very hard to get on a raw diet)."

B12 comes from bacteria in soil, not animal products. Animals roll in their own shit and this is where they get B12. If we rolled in our own shit we'd get plenty of B12 as well. I've edited 30-page essays on this topic written by vegetarian doctors. Vitamin B12 deficiency is serious stuff. I do take a supplement for B12 and for vitamin D. I write about these topics in detail in the raw vegan menu plans that I provide because it is essential to understand where these really come from, how animals get them, how humans get them, and how modern living has changed the availability of these "nutrients."

However, the part about zinc is just 100% false. I do nutritionally complete meal plans that are raw and vegan and provide all the zinc needed in a day (in accordance with the recommended daily allowances.)

‎"The macrobiotic diet is one of the healthiest around, actually, despite the strange philosophical baggage that accompanies it. And Americans would be a far healthier lot if we subscribed to it to some degree. "

The macrobiotic diet is a huge improvement over most diets. It emphasizes things like buckwheat noodles and long-grain brown rice which are far healthier than white rice and wheat noodles by far. I know many people who came to raw veganism through macrobiotics.

However, for someone like me, who developed such serious issues from the Standard American Diet and lifestyle, I feel that I require a raw vegan diet to build up strength that I would not be able to get from a macrobiotic diet.

‎"Similarly, we should welcome the take-home message of the raw food diet: Eating fresh vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds is good for you. But lighten up and light up the stove."

I've tried eating 10% cooked, and 5% cooked and 0% cooked for periods of time (I've tried each for at least a span of three months). I've found that I felt best with my diet 4% cooked or less.

I find that at 10% cooked I feel a decline in energy and that I spend a lot more time in the bathroom pushing stuff out of me that didn't want to move through me as easily as raw fruits and vegetables. This could have to do with my choices of cooked foods which include: boiled broccoli, boiled yams, boiled carrots, boiled red-skinned potatoes, boiled quinoa and boiled amaranth. I do not cook other than to boil because cooking without water creates toxins as items brown. Steaming veggies is fine though. I just detest steamed vegetables and would rather eat them raw.

And there you have my responses to the misnomers being spread by people who don't know better. Of course, I'm sure I've spread some misinformation myself. For example, the misconception that "enzymes die" is a common thing said among raw vegans and I myself have said it often. Technically the enzymes change structure, not die. Then again, when we die we are all the same cells that we were, just no longer alive. So perhaps it is accurate to say that the enzymes die.

But hey, the proof is in the pudding. My own transformation is all the convincing I need. I only keep researching to help others and because learning is fun.

My heart and blessings to you, my reader! Many hugs and smiles,

~ Raederle Phoenix

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