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« 30 days of zeolite | Main | Is 100% raw vegan our optimal diet? »

January 26, 2010

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lynn

Best to describe oneself as "almost vegan"..that way..when we are tempted by a fried egg......or a piece of cheese occasionally...we can be true to ourselves..Lynn

Anette Herbert

I have been a raw vegan for a year, and am really enjoying the health benefits of this diet. But the B12 issue is a bit confounding. If being raw vegan is the best for us, how come we can become deficient in B12? Is the natural state of a human being a state where B12 is produced in the guts or assimilated from certain vegan food, but we have lost that ability through eating meat for thousands of years? Or were we originally meant to have a little bit of animal B12 for optimum health?

The Fresh Network responds: A very good question. We will be addressing this, and all other important issues raised by our readers, in future articles on this topic. So please keep the questions coming!

Merryl Catlow

Thank you for your great work - SO useful!

I recently found a site that has diet software for calculating what's in what you're eating. It's in development, so not perfect yet, but it's free and you can set your preferences. I used it and became aware that my diet is low in folates and vit D...so it helped to give me pointers on which foods to increase, or what supplements to take. It's call the CRON-O-Meter - http://spaz.ca/cronometer/. Of course there are probably others, but I found this useful for a start.

Janet Kent

I honestly believe that to be totally vegan is not the way to be really healthy if you have not been vegan before. I consider myself 95% vegan as I do eat free range organic eggs from my happy hens a couple of times a week and some goats cheese probably once a week. I also eat yogurt that is organic. I am 72 yrs old and in perfect health. When I tried to be vegan I felt tired all the time and became very listless. Vegan diet is not for me.

Springtime

Read Dr. Schnitzer's books (http://www.dr-schnitzer.de/sin002.htm) and you will know what is the real raw vegan diet and why.

belinda kate

hmm..dairy seems to be the focus here, yet if you consider that its a fairly new concept to consume the baby food of another species, it wouldn't make a lot of sense that our bodies actually need the stuff.

you could argue of course that we have evolved to process it, but there is a decent amount of evidence to contradict that, with lactose intolerance being common, particularly in african americans.

as far as i know the only vital ingredient lacking in the raw vegan diet would be particular fats that are unfortunately found only in fish. there are close seconds found in the vegetable world, but they're not the same.

we were animals long before we had ethics and its frustrating that our bodies don't care much about the latter!

Max Tuck

From my own research & experience, and from living at 50 degrees north my whole life, I find that a 100% raw vegan diet works best for ME PERSONALLY when it is supplemented. I have followed the raw vegan lifestyle for 12 years, and a high raw, but not totally vegan diet for 8 years before that. I personally would avoid dairy as it is a food designed for a young mammal, not an adult one, particularly of the wrong species. I also follow a low fruit regime as a high fruit intake caused a loss of dental enamel.
I feel better when I supplement than when I do not, and believe that it is not possible to remain healthy and vegan this far north, for extended periods, without supplementation.
Max Tuck, Hippocrates Health Educator

Jayne Orton

I have been vegan since the age of l5 and rawfood/vegan since the age of 35. I do use a mineral and vitamin supplement. I am now a very healthy and fit 50 year old woman and in the menopause. Could you tell me of potential risks. I recently had blood tests for B12 and other deficiencies. All came back normal. Jayne

Justyn Vallori

Norman Walker, who wrote a number of excellent books on Health issues, among them "Raw Vegetable Juices", "Colon Health" etc. ingested only raw fruits and veggies and their juices, nuts and seeds. He lived to be 120 years old.

Now, I have recently had an eating disorder and was told that after a person reaches 50 years of age, they begin to fail to metabolize their food properly, so I now use enzymes, a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, the lactose and sugar free whey protein powder, bacillos, with very little lactos, B12 and am doing much better.

I have been vegetarian, never totally vegan (I eat a little cheese) or totally raw for 50 years and cannot even contemplate the thought of eating a putrefying, rotten smelling corpse.

So I do think we each have to find our own way. Supplementing is working for me.

Elena

I have been vegan [not all raw] for over 3 years now, and the only reason I started to use certain supplements is to get my body balance in order from my pre-vegan days, when my body became difficient in many minerals, due to non-vegan diet.

At this point I would find it VERY hard to try to eat animal products, as I really had also developed compassion toward the animal world and believe that no one being should die to become my food.

I do, however, believe that most people living in colder climets, vegan on not, need vit D supplementation [case in point, my non-vegan sister was just tested and found that she is vitamin D deficcient, while I tested in the normal range].

Jeni Cook

Dear Sarah,

After our conversation last week I'm so glad you've brought this issue to everyone's attention. Too many people are being left feeling confused, deceived and somewhat disillusioned by conflicting information in the raw food world, as have I.

I count myself as a raw food vegan because that's the lifestyle I live the majority of the time but, I admit, not all the time because that's what works for ME. I have always been very honest about this however.

I promote health, consciousness & balance, but I find the vegan raw food world in particular can be very judgmental which is why maybe so many are afraid to be honest. Being vegan or raw isn't meant to be a religion. It's a lifestyle choice, and should be lived in a way that suits the person living it.

Shouldn't making the effort to live healthier to some degree - be it veggie, vegan or raw - in this unhealthy world count for something! One size does not fit all!!! We're meant to be promoting health, not fear, & if eating fish now & again or dairy works for one, why should someone else feel the need to judge. We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Any choice toward health, be it big or small, is a good choice.

Jeni Cook, health writer, health educator & raw food chef.

E.M.

Thank you so much for the email it is an issue I am currently having. The only animal product I have is three whole raw eggs a day. Do you think that this is enough to get sufficient B12 and vitamin D?

Also I would be grateful if you could advise how I go about getting my blood tested and how often I need to do this.

Many thanks.

Kanen

I have been high raw/raw for over 10 years. Recent blood tests show low iron, and B12 and Vit D deficiency. I appreciate the work of Fresh to bring out an open discussion on the subject. Thank you. I would love to hear from Brian Clement, Gabriel cousins, and David Wolfe. Recently I listened to Brian Peskin on Patrick Tempone's radio show (fantastic to hear many different angles from experts from many fields) and readers may find Brian Peskin's comments on EFA deficiency/balancing very interesting. My health improved when I widened the circle of health educators and scientists I listened to and when I honestly looked at the results I wasn't getting. Still, I find that eating highest quality food and not too much of it gives me the best results.

rob

of course , all the raw freaks told me not to be a fruitarian, well i have been over 20 years! No sickness, do triathlons, weightlifting. work 9 hours a day as a labourer gruesome hard, on nothing at all, no fruit, no water, nadda! Thats because ive cleansed myself did hundreds of colonics, no my blood is purified and makes food out of oxygen, i eat 2 pieces of fuit a day, in winter more, cause I eat for pleasure, not cause im hungry at all, I just love fresh oranges or mangos, i live in holland dark and cold and wet, yet i m never sick and i dont have any!ANY! nutritional deficiencies. Raw fooders who eat vegetables, which is not meant to be eaten at all by humans, cause it tastes like shit raw, we are meant to eat fruit and fruit only i am a teacher who proofs that a high fruit diet IS the ONLY diet for man!

Nicola

I find it hard to believe that my raw/vegan diet, which is filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, oils and superfoods is going to be any more deficient than the average British diet, which primarily consists of wheat, wheat and more wheat. Plus heaps of sugar and salt and poor quality dairy and meats. I experience better health now than I did on both a meat and vegetarian diet. The anxiety caused by worrying excessively about your diet probably contributes more to a nutrient deficiency!

rosie ro

Whenever i crave meat (usually liver - just before my period!!) or fish - i will buy it, i also eat eggs occasionally and a bit of quality unpasturised cheese if i fancy them, probably about once a month, but more in the winter. I wouldn't be able to eat animal products all the time, my body would just slow right down, but sometimes i feel that i actually need them and that isn't bad or un ethical, it's realistic and enoyable!

Andrew Blease

I first attempted the raw vegan lifestyle more than 30 years ago. Whilst regularly experimenting with diet since then, I am having greater success today owing to access to the masses of information available and the support of those following a similar path. I have been 95% raw vegan for 2.5 years now and am convinced it represents our "species specific diet" and provides the key to optimum health. However, for most, the transition needs to be taken carefully...and with support. The caloric ratios of 80/10/10 are extremely important, as is the sufficient consumption of greens via the green smoothie. Healthy gut flora is crucial to good health and should be monitored to ensure optimum utilisation of nutrients.

Diet is only one facet of health. Optimum health will only be attained through an wholistic approach to body, mind and spirit.

Andrew Blease...Thrive on Live wellness coaching.

Mandy

I am so glad this topic has been brought to the fore. I have tried and failed for many years to be 100% raw vegan. I feel like a failure and I feel so guilty for eating either meat or cooked carbohydrates. This discussion has taken a weight of my mind. I will continue to eat high raw and supplement and eat meat and other cooked food too as this is what seems right for me.

Thanks again

Neil

Having been 'Raw' for many years, I've never been comfortable describing my eating as 'vegan'. It's a concept and word which doesn't occur in the cultural traditions renown for their longevity e.g. the Hunza who occasionally eat the products of their animals for ritual or ceremonial purposes.

Additionally, from some of my studies into the spiritual wisdoms such as The Essenes, they quote foods to be raw but not necessarily vegan .... "eat nothing which a stronger fire than the fire of life has killed. Prepare and eat all fruits of trees, all grasses of the fields, all milk of beasts good for eating (i.e. not pasteurised or heat-treated), honey of bees. All these are fed and ripened by the fire of life; all are the gift of the angels of our Earthly Mother."

In my diet of recent years, I therefore include small but regular portions of raw goats milk and unpasteurised goats cheese. I've managed to source a local specialist farm where I can also go to meet the lovely goats (kept almost as pets)! Clearly, they are not suffering in any way and therefore I have no problem either!

Neil

Susie Demere

I don't beleive this because I had a blood test and my iron, B12, VD, calcam, and my chrorestoral are all at great levels because I have been taking Spirulina for a few years now.

Susie

Charles W. Jones

Hello,

Someone wrote that Norman Walker lived to 120 years of age and ate only raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. As a matter fact, I believe he lived to 117, and did consume some goat milk and goat cheese, sea veggies and a little cooked foods, though which cooked foods was not identified. He may also have supplementsd his diet with D, E, B-12 and green powders. If someone wants to learn from someone who is extremely healthy, strong and fit, they should check out "Peter Ragnar" at peterragnar.com. He does not consume animal products, but does supplement' and, at 80 plus, is considered one of the strongest men in the world.

Charles

Barbara Weith

AS a vegan for over 15 years and 95% raw vegan for a year, I have always wondered why the raw community always seems to shy away from nutritional numbers and/or supplements. I have a nutritional analysis program and monitor my intake of various nutrients to make sure I REALLY consume them. Surely food-based supplements strategically taken are a lot more prudent than automatically jumping back into meat and dairy with all the pitfalls. A little nutritional science applied on a daily basis goes a long way...

Leo A Blair II

Just a small comment about all that has been said in the blog. I would love to see more Evidence Based information and one should at least sight a study when referring to specific subjects. Dr D. Graham is right on the money in all that he says.
Keep the Blog moving.

Darlene

I have been raw for 3 years now (100%, or close). I have done no red meat for 30 years or dairy for 20 years. Sometimes I think I want something but I do not know what it is. I do like the idea of cottage cheese or goat products. I do take b 12 and green supplements and efa's. am I missing anything?

I really enjoyed reading the info you just sent me. Thanks so much and keep me informed.

Angie Bedson

I think one of the misleading things in the raw food world is the term 'raw vegan'. It obviously attracts those who are already vegan (which is fine) but then I think some of them place too much emphasis on the vegan part and forget about the true origins of this diet - that is, RAW, uncooked, unadulterated food.

Personally, I food-combined for 12 years before I came to raw food 11 years ago. I was not vegan when I food-combined - not even vegetarian as I ate organic white meat and some goats cheese - because I was seeking super nutrition. I took high quality supplements because I felt then and still do feel that EVERYBODY these days, whatever their diet, needs supplementation due to intensive farming methods and increasingly highly hybrid foods. People on SUKD are probably woefully lacking in some nutrients. My main focus has always been to get the optimum nutrition/absorption from my food so the raw food diet was like the answer to my dreams. Uncooked equals unadulterated, recognisable (to the digestion) high quality nutrients. Raw meat was not an appetising option (which is a big clue! We should always listen to our instincts!)and I truly believe we are not biologically designed for it (our teeth and digestive abilities are nothing like the true carnivores).
As regards B12, I think if we were out there scraping in the ground for our berries and greens we would be ingesting insects and soil and get the necessary B12 naturally. So, I take B12 supplements. If I lived in a hot, sunny climate I would be getting my vitamin D the natural way but as I don't, again I supplement. Not ideal but then neither is the state of modern food production so we all have to make compromises. Supplementation, though, should be as rigorously sourced as our organic food, we need high quality, food-quality supplementation NOT isolated vitamins.
Thanks for the article. For some time now, I've been thinking 'raw food vegan' is a misnomer and this has just shown that it is. Raw food is about raw food not veganism. We should call ourselves something like 'Vitarians' because we are all about sourcing vital, viable food so we can live with abundant vitality.

Pat Reeves

Hi!
Somewhat disconcerted that 'gurus' could be returning to animal products - though acknowledge everyone has a free choice. I'm certainly not one who will be - having resolved a genetically-fuelled cancer via a vegan plan for 45 years - and, even better, a raw/living one for 20. Once human dietary requirements are acknowledged and used - via supplementation, if necessary for that individual - a fantastic healthy and productive life is a foregone conclusion - WITHOUT resorting to animal input.
All my best, Pat.

Nancy Jones

I became a vegan about 3 years ago because my 4 of 5 children became very concerned about animal cruelity. In March 2009 I bought a copy of Evie's Kitchen, I did not supplement my children before that, but what I read made sense to me. Immediatly I started supplementing their diet with green juice, udo's oil, vitamin b12, golden algea oil, vitiman k2. In 3 months my three younger children each gained 10 pounds. They were happier and healther then ever.
All I can say is thank you Shazzie for telling the truth - you are my angel!

Barbara

Evie's Kitchen by Shazzie is fully referenced with all its nutritional information. It was also checked for accuracy by leading nutritionist Patrick Holford. It's a great resource for all, not just children.

Joyce Coady

Fantastic read. Agreed with most comments.
T'was good to get different angles on the whole subject.
Thanks! jac

Ben Wheeler

The need to supplement with anything should truly show how inadequate a diet is. We would not be here today if we were only meant to sustain ourselves on a plant based diet. It is nearly impossible to obtain a adequate calories and nutrients by gathering plant foods alone. Prof. Loren Cordain and countless anthropologists have looked at hundreds of hunter gatherer tribes and what we find is a diet derived predominantly from animal products and what plant foods we could gather. There is not a large enough abundance of plant foods to live off in nature as the seasons only permit so much. Apples do not fall from the tree year round, something most people do not understand. What we see with these groups is absolutely none of the diseases of civilization we have today, and many live old enough to contract them. We also see no autoimmune diseases, breast cancer in 30 year old women or childhood cancer. None. Prof. Cordain & T.Colin Campbell squared off in a debate, Cordain's first paper contain 134 citations alone, Campbell's...zero. No data, just observational studies and trials on mice.

http://www.cathletics.com/articles/proteinDebate.pdf

Sustainability is also an issue in today's world. Annual mono crops (wheat, soy, rice) completely destroy the soil that is the foundation of our life. We cannot feed the hungry with these foods because not only will they cause malnutrition, they are not sustainable. They deplete the soil year after year, when the soil is gone what will we grow? The importance of raising livestock on their natural diet of grass (perennial poly cultures that BUILD soil) is essential. It is the only sustainable way to eat. Eat what grows where you live, not a soy burger shipped from Mexico made by annual mono crops and burning fossil fuel doesn't help anyone.

http://www.amazon.ca/Vegetarian-Myth-Food-Justice-Sustainability/dp/1604860804/ref=pd_sim_b_7

Eat they way your were designed to. Its called Paleo. Do a google search and stop taking your B12 and iron supplements

Yemango

David Wolfe has said it's ok to have raw goat dairy in moderation esp if u live in higher latitudes. He is vegan except for honey and very rarely eating insects which is what our primate cousins do - which is a source of B12.

On the other hand, to work at the Tree of Life with Gabriel cousens you must be vegan (and alcohol free) for a while beforehand. Not sure what he says on the B12 issue although in one of his books he mentioned cod liver oil as treatment for an extreme case of (?)...

One other non-vegan raw authority I like to follow is Daniel Vitalis. I would personally never eat meat as he does, and colostrum grosses me out but I respect his views. He has said a few things about the vegan diet and the connection to the endocrine system which are worth checking out.

Lorraine Ciarallo

Dear Fresh Network, Vitamin D should also be addressed to the readers as I have learned from Dr. Mercola this week, that Vitamin D3 is actually a steriod hormone absorbed by Ultraviolet B Radiation when sunlight shines on the skin. It then hits a cholesterol molecule and converts it to a precursor molecule of Vitamin D and then your liver and kidneys convert it from there. As for Vitamin D1, Dr. Mercola says, it's something we shouldn't be concerned about, and Vitamin D2 is a vegetable plant source and should not be mistaken for Vitamin D3 as the two are very different. Vitamin D3 is what is essential for our health no matter what eating habits we practice. So get 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine a day whenever possible. Thank you and Blessings, Lorraine

The Fresh Network responds: Thank you for your suggestion, Lorraine. We agree, and we'll be posting absolutely essential information regarding vitamin D here shortly.

Jim Purdy

Instead of trying to figure out what foods I should eat, it's much easier for me to figure out what foods I shouldn't eat, because some of them make me very sick very quickly.

Everybody is different, but for me, the problem foods are carbohydrates, and especially breads, grains, and cereals. The best meals seem to be salads with non-sweet fruits like tomatoes, red bell peppers, and avocados.

Edith Meyer

I started my raw foodism in the year 2000, and slowly it changed into life foodism which is the better word for a better diet.
I lost about 10 kilos weight within a short time, but later I gained more kilos back: I couldn't really find my way despite my first life food festival in Weston Super Mare, which was so nice with the best doctors from the USA.
But since 2009 I found lots of supplements, which are really necessary. I always felt a kind of healthy, but by supplementing more and more, I felt better than I had ever imagined.
I try to find my elementary nutrients into foods themselves, but there is no way to avoid supplements if there's a wish to stay healthy, being capable to do every work.

My basic Amino Acids I take by 40 grams of bee pollen each morning, according to books of Dr Gabriel Cousens.
Besides eating an apple and some fruit, I supplement 900 mg DHA (Omega Zen, USA), 1 tablespoon of flax oil, 1000 mg L-Tyrosine, 3 mg Boron, 22 mg zinc, 1500 mg MSM, 1000 mg Vitamin C (Ester-C-Plus, Solgar USA)
The flax oil can sustain the DHA not to outdone by other types of fatty acids.
The boron can sustain the bones substance against loss when getting older.

At lunch time I eat a big cup of Natto Miso Soup, because it is the only vegetable food which contains Vitamin K2. Natto is rarely available in health food shops, but I order it every month at my health food shop. Like Boron, K2 is necessary for bone health and it also does do very well for veins and arteries. I supplement also Vitamin D3, which is the most important Vitamin D, 500 mg Vitamin B Complex, 675 mg Carnitin Complex (which is very good for cardiac energy and for the brain), 100 mg CoQ10, 250 mg Alpha-Lipoic acid,
15 mg Lycopene, 5 mg Luteine, and 0.3 mg Zeaxanthine. Last two are very good for the eyes health, and Lycopene is nice for the arteries. Alpha-Lipoic acid is good to keep the blood sugar low, which might do very god when eating lots of sweet fruits.
I don't do that, but I still eat goodies with weat and chocolate. I hope to finish that once, perhaps this springtime. I'm not vegan, eating sometimes cheese and chocolate.
Allthough there's enough Vitamin B12 in the B Complex, I feel good when supplementing it as a monosupplement in high dosage of about 1000 mg. Anyhow, the B Complex might be the safest one, because the Vitamin B6 is also needed, and many people migt have a lack of Vitamin B1.

At late afternoon I supplement 2.5 mg copper, and during the night, if I wake up, I take 200 micrograms Selenium.

I think these supplements are all a kind of necessary, but I also experiment a little, studying orthomolecular medicine. Vitamin D3 is needed to resorb the DHA optimally, but they should be taken not at the same time, because the D3 often is supplemented by fish oil. The fish oil contains Arachidonic acid, which outdoes the DHA. So taking DHA at breakfast without nuts and seeds, and taking the Vitamin D3 at lunchtime is a good way to give both of them a good chance. Zinc might be important, because it might be not so well resorbed from vegetable foods, but than it's also necessary to supplement copper. They outdo eachother, so it's best to take zinc at breakfast and copper at supper. Vitamin C outdoes the copper, so take copper at least 2 hours after having eaten foods rich of vitamin C. Selenium should also be supplemented about 5 hours after having consumed Vitamin C and before consuming vitamin C at breakfast. So the night might be the best time. I do it like that, not in stress because of it: If I sleep deeply, I won't take it by an alarm clock! Supplementing is a very expensive thing, I would be more interested to get all nutrients from foods, but there might be no way..

Celeste

Sad to see how deficient in ethics and compassion so many ex-vegan raw foodists are.

Rabagley

The comments for this article are quite fascinating and show a maturity and pragmatism in this community that is quite admirable. I have approached improving my diet from the paleo perspective (whole foods, mostly pasture-raised meat and eggs, organic green and leafy vegetables, nuts, occasional fruit, no grains or pulses). I have found that I needed to keep dairy and gradually add tubers and other starchy veggies to maximize my athletic performance and settle down my digestion. My own slipping away from the "ideal" paleo diet gets all sorts of criticism by other paleo advocates. But then you take a closer look and most of them occasionally slip as well with weekly cheats or some other admission to reality and pragmatism.

What I wonder is if that "traitor to the cause!" criticism isn't driven by their own fears and uncertainties about the "true principles" of the lifestyle. In any case, it's very refreshing to see an honest and introspective analysis of health and diet here.

Sue

Yemango, I find this funny:
"David Wolfe has said it's ok to have raw goat dairy in moderation esp if u live in higher latitudes. He is vegan except for honey and very rarely eating insects which is what our primate cousins do - which is a source of B12."

You can't call yourself a vegan if occassionally eating non-vegan foods.
This shift away from veganism in the raw world sounds like a very smart move.

Heidi Ohlander

Excellent Post!
What perfect timing to discuss this very important subject right now. This is such a large issue in the raw food world.

I was conscious of making food choices after contemplating the Easter Ham when I was 10. I went vegetarian at 14. Strict Vegetarian/Vegan at 21. Vegan at 22. And various names and labels after that.

Personally, for me, I am tired of labeling myself based on what I eat. I don't ever want to have to fill out a form like a passport or a driver's license stating what foods I do and do not eat. And I don't feel like making friends based solely on what they do or do not eat.

I had some very serious health problems in December 2008 that almost put me in the hospital. This health condition now requires me to consume limited amounts of non-vegan foods.

I have to share my story and my experience. And I will always do so with love, compassion and consciousness.

What makes me sad is that I see the divide happening. What originally brought all of us together... raw food... is now tearing us as a community apart.

I hope this is a beginning of something beautiful. I can only hope.

XOXO,
~ Heidi

susan ord

Thanks for sending this - I'm a bit baffled by Holly Paige saying that milk can be produced ethically. What definition of the word 'ethical' is she using? Does she have any experience of the dairy industry? Is she aware that baby food requires babies? And that 50% of these will be male, and therefore destined to be slaughtered once the limited market for pet goats/bullocks has been exhausted? Has she any idea what goes on inside abattoirs? Ethical, eh? Personally I think roadkill would be a more ethical choice, and/or pick your greens and blend them without washing - being blended at high speed is probably one of the better ways to go for a greenfly, and you will be unaware that you are drinking animal matter.

Edith Meyer

For me it really is impossible to get all essential nutrients from foods: I tried to get Vitamin D from bee pollen and mushrooms, eating them almost every day. My Vitamin D blood level stayed very low. The same with selenium, which I tried to take from brasil nuts, eating about five every day.

After having made this interesting experience, I decided to supplement these nutrients, and I supplemented also carntine complex, Zinc, copper, CoQ10 and some other ones. I couldn't imagine that it would be possible to feel as well as I felt 'till I did so.

I'm very sure now, that it's possible to stay very healthy when growing old. So I hope once to become rigidly vegan, because it might be the best way to stay on a biological way away from mothers, who are not there to give their milk to me as an adult peson who had her milk from her own mother right on time. Veganism might be spiritually the best way of life, the most thankful and human way that exists...

Dave DeVetter

Raw foodism is a movement (read: fad) that has never been based on sound scientific research, but rather on an appeal to the naturalistic fallacy- the belief that if something is "natural" it must be the best possible thing. While there certainly some truth to their claims (i.e., eating fresh fruit and vegetables is very good for you because most of them are very high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals), raw fruit / veggies aren't always the most nutritious. For example, lycopene is actually more readily absorbed whentomatoes are cooked. Also, raw foodists usually don't consume most beans or wheat gluten since they need to be cooked to be easily digested, so their vegan protein sources were limited mainly to nuts / seeds which means they'd have to eat a *lot* of fat to get sufficient protein. Moreover, raw foodists have frequently made many false claims about nutrition (arguing for instance that humans do not need nearly as much protein as nutritionists recommend) and advocating "detox" methods (i.e., saunas, foot pads, fasting, etc.) that have no scientific evidence behind them.

My guess is that the trend of raw foodist gurus moving towards a diet that includes animal products is because they hope to appeal to a wider audience (namely, all of the people who are interested in consuming natural foods but refuse to consider giving up meat and dairy- possibly because they insist it is natural (and therefore healthy) for us to eat them. Yes, most dairy / meat products that are sold in supermarkets are highly processed, but it is possible to buy organic raw (unpasteurized) milk and cheeses (although this is arguably even more risky than eating the processed dairy full of hormones, antibiotics, etc.) And of course some people eat raw seafood and eggs.

Every vegetarian /vegan message board I've ever been a member of has at some point been visited by a raw foodist attempting to convert us to their "living foods" diet. I've always found raw foodists to be among the most pushy of the vegetarians and the most likely to push other new age fads such as "detoxing", fasting, etc. The one thing I find ironic is that these gurus (quacks) are claiming that the vegan diet doesn't contain all essential nutrients (vegans absolutely can get all essential nutrients, though adimittedly B12, vitamin D, and calcium may be tricky to get enough of without supplements- however, b12 can be found in blue green algae, calcium is in leafy greens and vitamin D is found in wild mushrooms) when it is raw foodists that have for years been making unsubstantiated claims about nutrition.

Frankie

B12 is such a problem in this day and age because the soil is depleted with the organisms that make B12 - in the "old days", people ate food straight out of the ground, complete with a little good 'ol dirt clinging to it. So, it's not that veganism is not good for our bodies, it's that we've failed to become proper stewards for our environment. Veganism IS best for us, but we have to supplement since we live in cities, cold climates, etc - which are NOT natural. Being a raw vegan today means following as natural diet as possible in a totally UNnatural world.
Education and a little well-considered supplementation is essential whether you're a vegan or a MacDonald's cramming meat-eater - either way, you may not be getting the nutrition you need.

Sue

A person who eats animal products will require less supplementation (or none) assuming they are digesting/absorbing efficiently.

Debbie Owen

I too have been a raw food vegan for 3 yrs and have been off and on for the last year.

I learned more from the point of view of Weston E Price Foundation and book Nourishing Traditions, which I've been struggling with.

I started being more a vegetarian than a raw food vegan, and gained a lot of weight. I had two miscarriages after falling off the raw food vegan wagon. Ofcourse that could have been a coincidence, but it's possible that a sudden change could have sent my body into fight mode, releasing white blood cells to fight off antigins.

Recently, I have finally achieved moderation (eating healthy cooked and raw vegetarian, not vegan food), exercising, and losing weight.

Don't get me wrong, I was very happy 100% raw vegan. I felt fantastic! But it was hard to keep it up longterm, pregnant and a mom/housewife.

At the height of my weight gain, I decided to go get tested for everything. I'm not a Celiac, no thyroid problems, not a diabetic, everything looked great, but I was Vit D deficient.

So I recommend now that, EITHER WAY, you need to supplement. Vitamin D is a must for about 90% of people out there. Especially if you drink raw milk (not fortified).

A book on Grains I read recently alerted me that I need Zinc since I eat whole grains (not fortified white grains).
So the supplements I take now are V-D, B12, Zinc, probiotics. I would take a multi if I thought I wasn't going to eat healthy enough.

Pippa Galea

Thanks for writing this post.
As someone who was at the front of the raw foods movement for 9 years back when it got big in the U.K 13 years ago. I can only talk from my own experience.
After 9 years of raw veganism I was seriously depleted. My hair was falling out, my muscle tone had completely gone, I was constantly fatigued and depressed and my teeth were constantly hurting. My digestion just went from bad to worse with a lot of gas and bloating and my periods stopped. I also had a chronic eating disorder by the end of it.
I stopped after having tests that said I was seriously protein deficient and that my body was not getting enough good saturated fats in order to build hormones to have my periods.
When I first went back to eating animal fats and proteins I was scared because there was so much dogma out there about how harmful meat is. But slowly I started to consume it. Lightly cooked. And little by little my hair started to get shiny again, my muscle tone came back, the black circles under my eyes went away. I found out that I had a thyroid condition that is very common in vegans and vegetarians. Slowly the fatigue lifted and the depression went away ( although there were other elements to the depression thing) but slowly I started coming back to life..

When I really started to look into why meat was deemed as bad. I started to see the sinister underside of what was really going on.
Looking back at peoples over 100 years ago, many people lived into their 90's being very physically fit and healthy, not much heart disease or cancer and NO alzeimers..
When I started top really investigate and ask questions I started to notice that many healthy tribal people ate a lot of animal fats and meat. None of them developed colon cancer as we are forced to believe. The one thing that people who become high raw do. The thing that is truly killing people and making them ill is take processed foods out of their diet... It has nothing to do with eating meat or not eating meat and there have been a great deal of studies done that actually prove that tribes that eat the most animal fats and protein were the healthiest.
if your interested in this check out
www.westonaprice.org
Telling people that animals foods are harmful and then people cut them down radically create a a race o people who are lethargic and docile which is fantastic for our governments otherwise how can they seriously get away with what they are doing or so long ?
Control thru diet is an interesting thing to look at..
To cut a long story short I am now a fine figure of health. I look great . I even have a six pack which for someone who does little exercise other than walking for 30 mins 4 x a week is pretty incredible. My hair is shiny, I feel pretty good. I still have a few issues with energy but I am ironing those kinks out too right now and my diet consists of animal protein at every meal, usually some potatoes, a little fruit, butter, goats yogurt, goat cheese,eggs, coconut oil and milk, lots of bone broths which are great for getting minerals back into the body. My favorite meal is Hamburger cooked rare, minus the bun( don't do wheat)and potatoes fried in butter. My friends tell me my skin looks amazing for a 38 year old...
I haven't eaten any vegetables for around 6 months now apart from the odd mouthful of peas that I might have if I go out for dinner. So far the only thing I miss about not eating vegetables is farting =)...
So really I should be dead by now because my diet has become the opposite from what a raw vegan diet looks like and I should be really unhealthy and my skin should be breaking out and I should be constipated from not eating enough fibre...
Funny that I feel better than I did when I was 20 years younger and so much better than when I was a raw vegan
Oh and I don't taker any suppliments because i don't have any deficiencies anymore and if a vegan diet was meant to be the normal diet for humans than I'm guessing god might have given us a bottle of suppliments at birth.. I didn't get any so I'm putting two and two together and saying well maybe if we took processed foods out of our diet, eliminated cooked dairy, gluten and sugar we might indeed be a healthier bunch and not need to go to such extremes as eating a raw foods diet..

I keep a blog over at www.adventuresinrecovery.wordpress.com if you want to know more about my views on food and how unlearning my vegan viewpoint helped to open up my life to one I would like to live..

By the way I'm not knocking a raw vegan diet. It does have it's place in chronic illness and done short term can be one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself but Long term even with suppliments I just don't buy into it being a healthy option..
Pipx

Amanda

I don't think there is a shift away from veganism in the raw world. There may well be a few so-called 'leaders' who are now eating some animal products, but that certainly doesn't mean a massive shift is going on in this direction. Looking at the bigger picture (and not concentrating on what a few of the elite have to say or do) I believe more people are moving away from animal products. And so they should. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that meat, dairy and other animal products are not healthy foods. Becoming a raw food vegan (with b12 and d supplements) is the best thing I ever did. I've got more energy and vitality than I've ever had. Let's face it even meat eaters can struggle to obtain enough B12 and D (e.g. elderly, housebound) so let's not pretend this is an issue which relates solely to vegans and that the lifestyle is in some way deficient. Raw food veganism is a fantastic answer to problems facing humans, animals and the environment. Bring it on!

Susie Demere

I'm taking Spurlina and taking Raw Vitanin code and my V12 and VD are just fine. So it doesn't matter if you go all vegan, just take some supplements and you will be fine.

Jane Clements

Plants suffer too! Those holier than though vegans have got it all wrong. If it wasn't for leaves we would not be able to breathe, we owe them our lives and plants suffer because they are persecuted and abused at least as much as animals. Personally I eat leaves (with respect - like an eskimo killing a whale) other parts of plants, raw fruit, nuts seeds and veg and fish regularly - I make ceviche it's so great with white fish and sometimes oily fish - it's raw. Thanks to the leaves.

Sun~Rose

Reading everyone's comments has been extremely interesting. Thank You all.

From my experience: I've been vegan for almost 36 years, and consistently 100% raw for the past 6 1/2 years. I've not been to a doctor in over 37 years. I've had multiple broken bones healed twice (from freak accident and dog bite, face and foot and ankle) at home, no medical attention, only prayer support.

My life is extremely stressful and demands a lot of self-discipline (not referring to being raw vegan, that's easy!). For me, this way of living gives me the strength and good humor to meet each day with expectation of good.

I don't think anyone's mentioned the uplifting benefits of being vegan and raw, which are a wonderful experience of a more divine nature, an expanded sense of Love, and clear and peaceful way of thinking.

I've shared about this in: A Radiant Life: Raw Food and the Presence of Love.

Debbie Took

Re Norman Walker as mentioned above, he lived to 99. Sorry to be morbid, but when this came up on a forum a while back, someone posted a link to his gravestone in Arizona. But 99's still not bad!

Sallycats

Just to correct what one person said. As of 2006, most book reviews and promotional web sites wrongly claim that Walker reached the phenomenal age of, variously, 109, 113, 116, 118 or even 119 years. Several official sources[1][2][3] the U.S. Social Security Death Index[4] and a grave marker[5] all indicate that he actually lived to be 99 years of age ([proved by the Digital Gravestone Record of Arizona State http://arizonagravestones.org/view.php?id=33655] ). I got this from \Wikepedia.
I've been eating organic eggs lately because of the B12 issue. I have also been tempted by raw cheese which has its enzymes intact and could be easier to digest.

Julian Bolt

Very interesting, thank you.
I was vegan for around 6 years and mostly raw for one year before becoming aware that eggs were 'calling' to me over a period of about a year - then gave in. I suppliment D and B12 now regularly and feel fine living in the UK and not out as much as I would like. I still don't drink milk, but will eat cheese now (much to my wife's relief!) but don't feel that it's necessary or even adviseable.

A.R.

I'm just going to ask the universe where to get all these nutrients. I've always believed it's possible to be vegan, though you may have to look a little deeper for the missing links in nature. Then again, I tend to be sickly and without my raw and vegan foods I'd be sick. I do have alot of mucous from dairy products combined with stomach pains if I dont have a tolerance for them. and eating meat makes me gag. Poor animal, my poor stomach!

It could make me scared to go raw vegan and be that way for years and always watching my back for the next defincincy. I let go. I wonder how much vitamins and minerals are in laughter? I love learning about the body and believe I will find the best way to eat.

Sue

"putrefying, rotten smelling corpse" in regards to meat.
These sort of comments are so silly.

Nancy Lewis-Watts

I eat meat. I also refuse to feel guilty about it...I deeply respect the animals that have given up their lives for me. I have never ever felt this good - I eat a very clean diet - no salt, sugar, caffeine, white crap or saturated fat....and tons of cooked and uncooked vegetables.

I am peaceful eating this way and hope that people can find their own way instead of fearfully jumping around from diet program to diet program - that is unhealthy - not sticking with yourself and your own best decisions!

kt

Human beings are omnivores. People tend to forget that vegan or vegetarian diets tend to also be ideological/ethical/(okay, and sometimes health or religion related) diets too! Vegetarianism/veganism can be really healthy IF you plan out your meals to make sure you're eating enough and getting all the right nutrients. I had been vegetarian and then vegan for almost two decades and am back to being an omnivore -- I couldn't deal with always documenting/meal planning/eating like I was a science project anymore (waste of time)--and I had to do this because if I didn't--I would become anemic. When I eat a little bit of everything, I tend to feel more satisfied, have more energy, and no longer suffer from deficiencies. I think vegetarianism is great if you enjoy putting that much thought into your meals and making sure everything is well rounded. It made me too obsessive and I had to eat to the point of being too full just to get enough of my nutrients.

Adam Stothert

In my humble opinion, the nutrition world is far from fully evolved. The conversation will be going on forever at this rate. everyone seems to be looking for answers and I believe its all in vain and ultimately we will evolve beyond dogmas and objective science and be more at peace when we eat.

What i have found chasing this perfect diet, is that everything i eat is overly scrutinized and i think this creates mental stress as well as digestive stress. Each mentor having their own method only brings peace of mind to that path you're following, you've convinced yourself your way IS the best way, reducing your own dietary conflict. We would all be healthier if there is only 1 way to eat, eliminating doubts, but getting exactly the right foods every day of your life is just unrealistic.

People have looked EVERYWHERE to find the right diet and i dont think it exists. just eat food that has been loved and enjoy it!

Diane Scarazzini

It bothers me how people use the word vegan...Whether an individual is "vegan" or "raw vegan", the term takes in much more than your diet. Being a vegan means of course shunning all animal products to eat, and avoiding all forms of exploitation, harm and cruelty to animals, and also avoiding any animal ingredients in any product they use. Veganism is an ethical lifestyle. If you do not do those things, but still shun animal products to eat.... then you can call yourself a vegetarian. It bothers me that we use the word vegan so loosely.... Peace

Melissa Danielle

Why even bother with identifying yourself as vegan? The vegan label/identity is politicized, activist, and for some, revolutionary. If being vegan is just about diet for some, why bother with the label at all? Why can't the way one eats just be the way one eats, regardless of whether they eat meat, or not, cooked, or raw?

Kim

I have been eating a raw vegan life style the last two years. Changed my life. I am not 100 %, although at first I strived to be. I fell into that premise that we had to be 100%. I have eaten yogurt, goat cheese, and a little eggs. I supplement with B12. Flax seed in my smoothies. I had labs done and all was normal. Pretty good since I was diagnosed with type two diabetes 4 years ago. I don't see why we have to label ourselves. It is sort of like putting ourselves in a superior light to others who do not eat 100%. I don't believe the ones who claim to be 100 % are..I am sorry, I just don't. I am proud of the people who have come out recently to say they need to supplement with goats milk..ect. takes some guts. People are mean. I quit saying I was a raw vegan. I just follow that type of lifestyle with a couple of exceptions..Stop the labeling..it does not make one better..Nothing is 100%..that would make us God and we are not!

Jason Mandrix

I don't believe in supplementation. Even if supplements are made from organic food, they have been processed and they don't contain the nutrients the unprocessed organic food does. Regards.

Edwin Casimero

Come join us eat RAW FRUIT, RAW VEGS and RAW MEAT at http://www.rawpaleoforum.com

Lots of former raw vegans here.

Jennifer

What a relief to let go of '100% RAW'

Now in my third year of 'raw'. When 100% raw I found myself stuffing inordinate amounts of dried fruit and nuts, I was constantly hungry, cold and miserable.

I live in a community of several sussed long term raw foodists and entrepreneurs. I am not convinced that they are 100% raw and I witness a heavy intake of junk raw ie fat laden dehydrated meals and lots of sweets and superfoods. Where is the lifeforce in that?

I describe myself as having a plant based diet. It could be described as high raw: green juice and fruit for breakfast.
Free range organic eggs from a friend's hens and more salad at lunch. I grow sprouts and baby greens and forage for wild foods and drink 600ml green juice daily. Fish and lightly cooked veg in the evening.

That's it, this diet works for me, I have lost 20lb and regained health and vitality. People are inspired by my health and lifestyle, I feel great. (No supplements)

Perhaps the raw movement needs a new moniker; to be rebranded. It is a good paradigm and place to share info and learn about the pricinciples of living food, natural hygiene and the broader spiritual and health/personal empowerment context.

To focus on supplementing and % raw is to miss the point; in our age of mineral deficient soil and reduced biodiversity. What matters is taking personal responsibility for health.

Listen to your teachers, take advice and inspiration. And then listen to yourself, there is no right or wrong, do what's best for yourself and be proud of who you are.

Peaceful blessings always
Jennifer

Mia

The question is how much supplementation for B12, EFA's, Vit D, vs how much animal protein would need to be ingested to achieve optimum results? Does anyone have that info? Thanks for food for thought! Hope to see more info on this topic.

Talia

While I want to understand, while I want to sympathize, I simply don't understand where you're coming from Lynn (a previous commenter).

I don't understand how indulging in 'being tempted' by non vegan foods is being true to yourself. To indulge I imagine that you'd need to turn off your mind, stop that screaming voice inside that tells you a veal calf died for this or a male chicken was crushed alive for this. To turn off that mental filter seems the exact opposite of being true to yourself, it seems like lying to yourself as anyone that would even consider veganism would well know and understand the suffering that goes into these types of foods.

While not everyone can be vegan immediately - isn't our end goal to eliminate as much suffering as possible? Settling for almost vegan is very confusing to me. Why not embrace the fact that you're trying, and every day work towards one day actually being vegan instead of tarnishing the word for people who do actually get there as some unattainable utopia?

Sheffa Foods

Good helpful advice for me. We all desire to eat healthy food, but sometimes those good intentions are spoiled by restrictive diets. I prefer to eat salad with daily meals, which is really very important for vegans.

There are some easy vegan recipes that will surely get you started with experimenting and enjoying this healthy lifestyle. You can use many innovative food preparation techniques for a truly gourmet experience. Juicing, dehydrating, marinating and seasoning techniques can significantly enhance your culinary experience with raw foods.

gerechten recepten

Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little comment to support you.

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