The raw food diet has many followers these days, including celebrities. I’ve personally heard the story that this diet helped overcome thyroid cancer. The evidence is plentiful in literature that it is a great healing diet. Eating raw and eating healthy became almost synonymous. Even in my daughter’s school, kids get a certificate if they get caught eating vegetables or fruits for a snack.
There is also a lot of controversy around raw foodism. Usually people start to experience new problems with health after being on a raw diet for some time, saying that the “healthier” they ate the worse they felt. This is especially evident for people with already compromised health.
My friend, who went through all the stages of a raw food diet benefits and side effects, recommended me the book “Smart raw food diet” by Sergey Gladkov, 2013 *. The author looks at all aspects of this diet from a refreshingly new perspective based on knowledge of human physiology and warns you about the errors of traditional, pure raw foodism, especially the version found on the internet. The author saw young people who weighed 40 kg and were 185 cm tall, who honestly tried to use recipes from some classical raw food diet books. However, after being on a new diet for a week they ended up in the emergency room with acute pancreatitis and peptic ulcers. He calls his book breaking news for all raw foodists new and experienced alike.
When I toyed with the raw food diet myself, I noticed the effect immediately – I still have a couple of size 00 pants in my closet. My first reaction was that this is an ideal weight, no extra fat. How else can it be? I was eating healthy. But then you start hearing words like “dystrophy” from your close ones.
The author mentions a whole range of problems, which can indicate that things are changing for worse. Below are just some of them:
- slow, but steady weight loss
- sleep problems
- dangerous alkalosis (pH 8-9)
- constant feeling of hunger
- food flies through digestive system
- dryness and inflammation of digestive track
- kidney, liver and heart problems
- B12 deficiency and resulting degradation of nervous tissue
These problems were found in people whose diet comprises of more than 80% of raw food. Young people can start getting these issues only by 5-7th year on raw food diet after their hormonal resources get depleted.
The author tried to follow the steps of some young frutarians who acidify their bodies with lactic acid by exercising intensively up to 2 hours a day. But for the majority of people who started the raw food diet because of medical reasons that won’t work.
The biggest problem of raw foodism in its currently popular format is insufficient food assimilation. Raw vegetables, sprouted grains and beans are hard to digest. At the same time even minimal steaming of sprouts for 3-5 minutes improves assimilation by an order. Foods rich in protein are unavailable due to the inhibitors that are present in them. Sprouting and fermenting eliminates this problem. Resulting products acidify the body and deliver easy-to-absorb nutrients. They are the answer to a sustainable vegetarian raw food diet, which can provide all necessary building blocks to the body. Possibly the recipe of “cheesebread” from Sergey Gladkov’s book was partially inspired by bread recipe described in the Essene Gospel of Peace:
“Let the angels of God prepare your bread. Moisten your wheat, that the angel of water may enter it. Then set it in the air, that the angel of air also may embrace it. And leave it from morning to evening beneath the sun, that the angel of sunshine may descend upon it. And the blessing of the three angels will soon make the germ of life to sprout in your wheat. Then crush your grain, and make thin wafers, as did your forefathers when they departed out of Egypt, the house of bondage. Put them back again beneath the sun from its appearing, and when it is risen to its highest in the heavens, turn them over on the other side that they be embraced there also by the angel of sunshine, and leave them there until the sun be set. For the angels of water, of air, and of sunshine fed and ripened the wheat in the field, and they, likewise, must prepare also your bread. And the same sun which, with the fire of life, made the wheat to grow and ripen, must cook your bread with the same fire. For the fire of the sun gives life to the wheat, to the bread, and to the body. But the fire of death kills the wheat, the bread, and the body. And the living angels of the living God serve only living men. For God is the God of the living, and not the God of the dead.”
Another point the author makes is about “synergy” of different foods. Due to the right combination of ingredients, resulting dishes can provide even more nutrients to the body than the separate components eaten on their own. An example would be wild edible grasses growing on one patch of earth. They are beneficial to each other since they grow in close proximity and if prepared together following the recipe from the book, they can become a great source of energy and an easy-to-digest food for humans.
I’m definitely going to try some of the recipes and willpost the most successful and tasty ones. So far I liked the buckwheat cheesebread – it really provided a noticeable boost of energy.