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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Jaded About Raw Food

I attended a talk that was supposed to be about raw foods. I came in with an open mind -- I will admit that I know little about the advantages of not heating foods, and don't find much appealing about eating raw.

The first hour of the talk had nothing to do with raw foods! It was statistic after statistic about how Americans are fat and unhealthy and how our health care system kills people. Thrown in were a few statements that were either false or overstated. One slide had a picture of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor of nutrition at Cornell University, and the statement, "Diet can reverse cancer", which I don't think he's ever said. I know he purports that diet can prevent most cancers, but I don't think he's ever said diet reverses cancer. She also made some sort of statement to the effect of curing heart disease through diet.

The doctor bashing, statistics ad nauseum, and overall lack of content got to be too much. I left after an hour and 15 minutes of this nonsense.

I was hoping to come away knowing something about the benefits of a raw diet, and perhaps some convincing that a raw diet is palatable. She mentioned enzymes being destroyed by heat, but are not those same enzymes destroyed by stomach acid? I'm not sold at all.

She had a great opportunity to sell a vegetarian crowd on the benefits of raw foods. She failed miserably.


KleoPatra said...

VeganDoc, that is a true shame. I am disappointed, to say the least. Good on you for attending, but it must be a letdown... Sorry about that! Time is precious...

urban vegan said...

sounds like you got a raw deal. (yuk-yuk)

funwithyourfood said...

That is very disappointing indeed. Well I guess you tried


Anonymous said...

My experience with raw food people is that they bring their "nasty" raw food concoctions to a vegan potluck and then proceed to eat up all the good vegan dishes (cooked) that everyone else brought. I've never been sold on the raw diet myself because of (a) most of the dishes don't taste all that great (b) I can not live without hot soup in the winter (c) some nutrients are actually enhanced by cooking. I have to say that one time someone brought a raw sesame seed cracker that was made in a dehydrator to a potluck and I really loved them.

Everyday Superhero said...

It's unfortunate that your experience with raw food was not good. I've had raw food that was absolutely delicoius but the chefs were fantastic. It's extremely time consuming to be a healthy raw foodist. I see advantages to heating food especially during the cold winter months.
While I truly believe that a good diet is key to good health I'm not impressed when people bash the medical community or the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, there are issues with both but I think they are needed and valuable to our health. It's not very helpful when vegetarians bash these communities to futher their point especially when many of us work in that industry.

MeloMeals said...

What a shame... people need to learn that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Anonymous said...

A raw brownie? How does that work, exactly?

Danielle said...

That is a shame that you had a bad lecturer because there probably are advantages to increasing consumption of raw foods. And there probably are very simple raw dishes you can create to liven up a cooked-foods vegan diet. If I had a larger kitchen, I'd buy a dehydrator and/or a juicer. But it seems the lecturer seriously blew it.

I do believe Dr. Ornish's diet (which is near-vegan) has been shown to actually reverse heart disease. And the vegan doctors I've read about all seem to focus on prevention. I have to agree that the U.S. health care system is seriously fercockta, as it focuses on treating disease (and even inventing new illnesses for the medicines they've created) rather than preventing it. The pharmaceutical companies push the FDA to approve their drugs rapidly, then encourage doctors to push those poorly tested drugs on people. And I believe I read that doctors get almost zero nutritional education during med school -- is that right?

But I don't believe a raw foods diet is a panacea. Tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and carrots are all more nutritious when cooked. If you're ever in NYC, check out Pure Food & Wine, which does wonderful things with raw foods.

VeganHeartDoc said...

Danielle -- true, Ornish's diet reverses coronary atherosclerosis, but it does not CURE heart disease. His Ornish Lifestyle Trial, published in Lancet in 1990, showed improvement of an average coronary lesion from 40% to 37.8%. That is very mild improvement, as opposed to the progression of disease that we normally expect.

However, that is not curing heart disease, but rather preventing its progression. The bulk of the coronary artery disease is still present.

Danielle said...

Thanks for the clarification, Doc.

Susan said...

I had an awesome piece of raw cheesecake at the Chicago Diner in .... Chicago.

Raw's an interesting idea, but if you're eating cooked, non-GMO organic food, it seems kind of the same good results would come forth.