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« Why the shift away from veganism in the raw world? | Main | Valentine's Day dinner, raw style »

February 12, 2010

Comments

Sue

Billings wins the argument in my eyes. Billings is well read and actually sites references. Grahams brings up the China Study which is a totally useless reference.
Graham is idealistic and naive whereas Billings actually looks at the evidence - he looks at the science and makes a compelling argument. Of course we are not meant to be 100% vegan and we are not meant to eat excess fruit. Too much fructose in the diet is detrimental - can contribute to fatty liver.

Sue

I didn't know there were one million nutrients that are missing in meat - thats quite a ludicrous statement from Graham. Also, when he started talking about cows that made me laugh:

"Cows eat grass as their preferred food. Grass makes up the totality of their species-specific diet. Yet there are big cows and small cows, active cows and passive cows, cows with a large variety of blood types, and a host of other differences that exist from cow to cow. Yet they all eat grass."

Pamla

Excellent debate! I really enjoyed reading it and feel they all have useful points pertinent to individuals.
I am 45 female who has no offspring(By choice) been vegetarian for 42 years and vegan for 11. My body is within the normal range of homeostasis. I have no deficiencies in the mineral, vitamin, metal, calcium etc. areas (blood tests proved this during a non-vegan related health scare).
My body made the decision to remove animal products from my diet. Whenever I consumed them they acted as emetics(and at 3 yrs of age, I did not have much control on intake of nutrients). If I ate animal products, I was ill - vomitting and diarrhoea or 'feeling' the symptoms of food poisoning. It took a while for me to discover the best diet for me but ultimately it is a vegan one without any supplements.
I still play 5-a-side football and I have a very busy and stressful job (lecturer in animal science). One of the things I talk about when teaching natural history, diet and lifestyles of animals is their dentition. I have no 'fangs' either..mine are square so I couldn't rip flesh from bones if I wanted to (although the very thought of it makes me feel sick).
I think we have to conclude that as a species we have requirements and individually we do too. It is about learning how your anatomy copes with the food you ingest and by being aware of what we need allows us to seek it out.
I endure a lot of questioning (from the kebab and burger eating brigade) about my diet and some people say "You need some meat", "we are meat eaters" "How do you survive", WHAT DO YOU EAT?" I sigh and hold my thoughts on their physiology..mostly overweight males who sweat when they walk to the bar to get a pint! Then show them my teeth and the debate begins......;)
Pamla

Janis Armstrong

"Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is still available to all people willing to go outside during the daytime" - not in Scotland in winter!

Emma

I think you have to lean towards the evidence, and I'm afraid Graham has submitted words and suggestions from his own personal experiences and not from any research or scientific evidence papers. Billings puts forward his comments and backs it up with related evidence. He wins.

I am mostly raw vegan. The idea of eating meat makes me want to vomit, but the idea of eating eggs, on the other hand, doesn't. I haven't felt the need too eat eggs, and I am 100% vegan, but I wouldn't say that I will *never* eat eggs again. At this moment in time, it suits me to remain vegan. But supplementation is essential.

I think it is important to be open to change whilst seeking the ideal diet. If something isn't working for you, then it isn't bad to experiment with foods that you are naturally drawn to, even if they are animal products.

What *is* important, is that you continue to nourish yourself, but remain calm and positive that you are always doing the right thing for you, as diet is *not* the only thing that effects our health.

Janice

I agree with Sue, Billings wins the argument hands down! He presents the scientific facts with an intelligence and acumen that seems to elude Graham. Graham’s response to Billing’s opening argument is arrogant, patronising and dismissive, as shown in the following quote, “I found nothing substantive in the remainder of Billing’s essay, but will briefly review it and include my comments.” It’s written as if a response is not worth his time and is above him.

Graham’s bombastic manner continues, with the following rant which takes up an entire paragraph, where he declares Billing’s argument as “embarrassingly ludicrous, vaporous, vague, convoluted,..etc etc, etc.........”. This type of base response has no place in an academic debate. In fact, I will go so far as to say that Doug Graham uses this style of attack to cover his own inadequacies, both as a writer and as an authority on veganism.

I too had a good laugh at Graham’s fascinating description of cows! Doug Graham is clearly out of his depth on the subject matter, always has been and at least now people can see this for themselves regardless of what stance they take on veganism.

Kat Mushkat

I think what both arguments fail to consider is that we no longer live in a "hunter-gatherer" age. Perhaps our ancestors had the distinct privilege of gathering from the tree and supplementing with the occasional speared animal. We don't. Regardless of the path we emotionally and/or ethically opt to choose, for the most part, we purchase depleted foods and put them in depleted bodies that exist in our current chemical environment. Our expectations with dietary regimens are so high that they border on magical. Our common sense has been deleted. Deleted because we extrapolate what we should do based on whomever is most successful at communicating their view point on their web-site and then selling us their books or supplements or how-too directions. We all need to realize that our challenges are not just what we put in our mouths but what we live in, too. Because of this, we do not have the luxury of eating a depleted diet from whatever source and expecting miracles. Eating organic and lowest on the food chain has to be the basis of our existence if we expect vibrant health. And, that can only occur if we are also mindful of exercise and not poisoning our bodies externally. The argument of plant or animal becomes moot when they both are nutritionally depleted and processed. Despite following a mostly vegan, often times (high) raw, I may choose to eat an organic egg or wild salmon on occasion. Is this nutritional suicide? Would it be better (emotionally?) to eat a durian that has been shipped half way around the world in order for me to stay 100% raw and satisfied? Our goal should be food that is pure with truly bioavailable nutrients that we can digest and our bodies can utilize. Make your choices, too, based on science that pertains to our current day environments and not our ancestors even if it means forgoing the latest trends. Our bodies are talking to us constantly even if we choose to not listen.

Kath Clements

Wait a minuute! Billings actually seems to me quite disingenuous with his fancy references – for instance, the fish ones. These are all ARCHAEOLOGISTS wanting to show that early humans in some places ate a lot of fish (which of course they did!) – the research is NOT saying that therefore we should do the same. Billings' MAIN fish argument is this, where he says '(we) might not produce adequate levels of the enzymes required for conversion (Simopolous 19994).' Notice that he just says ‘might not’ – whilst the abstract of the article he refers to actually states 'Most of the studies were carried out with fish oils [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)]. However, -linolenic acid , found in green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, rapeseed, and walnuts, desaturates and elongates in the human body to EPA and DHA and by itself may have beneficial effects in health and in the control of chronic diseases.' He is sliding his argument past us, assuming we aren't going to look up the references.

Doug Graham seems to me more ‘grounded’ and at least not using fancy trickery like Billings. It’s a pity that his abusive language mars his case.


Kath

Dot D.

Both discussions were very stimulating and real to each perspective. I still believe that we eat what we choose to eat - period. All of life is a choice. Some folks do really well with the strict vegan/ vegetarian diet, others prefer to add only 10-20% animal products, still others like a 50/50 diet. But during a meditation session, (a practice I suggest everyone do)I went within to ask the question and my answer was "Choice" decides. Then I asked, "if that is so, what makes people sick?" The response was: "unresolved emotions." So diet isn't the only factor to consider. Take care of EVERY aspect of yourself and you will feel like king of the mountain! Namaste.

Kay Lakshmi Cruse

The last two comments by Kath Clements & Dot D seem the most rational responses to the debate in my eyes and I side along with them..

Billings quoted that your diet should serve you and not the other way around and he is right so why listen to science? - it tries to prove what is not provable - Every thing just IS. "One man's diet is another man's poison" and as far as I can see we are all creators of our own reality including dietary choices and the outcome of that.

Only recently I was trying to get some counselling out of the National Health Service so I went for an assessment with a shrink. He sat there - overweight, with his coffee and told me he was a meat eater. He launched in when I said I ate a raw food diet - told me therein was my problem and said he wouldnt be able to help me unless I was willing to eat a "proper diet" and take his drug prescription! So I said "what and its ok to pop into Starbucks and get a latte and a muffin on the way home too?! - I'll be healthier on that?!"

Orginally I trained with Ann Wigmore at one of her centers in Puerto Rico and it made me sick. I became anorexic too and have struggled all my adult life with eating issues, yet I still say that the living foods diet is excellent - I have a lot of respect for Brian, and Dr Gabriel too - I'd love to hang out at their centers.

However Natural Hygiene helped my mind and with healing colitis -I felt better on it. I don't know proffessionals who get sick eating this way and I know some of them personally:

Dave Klein of Living Nutrition and editor of Vibrance magazine, Dr Robert Sniadach of Vida Clara, Dr Tim Trader natropathic doctor who supported one of my fasts at Tanglewood Wellness Center run by Loren Lockman and a host of other people I've met.

What I have noticed is that people get sick because they do not understand the body's way of healing itself, they interfere - often because they are scared or over emotional and they just don't follow the strict guidelines. If one is not happy with the guidelines then its best to chose another diet because stress will make you sick even with a good diet.

I think there is a huge problem with eating a hygienic diet in the U.K, I will say that. Because the fruit is underipe, old and lacking variety - I have found (along with others) that supplementing a hygienic diet with lightly steamed green veg and squashes through the winter, some green juices and algae, fresh pollen and with B12 and Vit D to be a helpful answer. High fat diets & protein can be very harmful, whereas steam veggies are pretty neutral.

If you wanna eat something else then there's plenty of other nutritionists out there to help you. Diet is only part of the equation; I've allowed it to control mine and I'm still working on un-manifesting the misery I've brought on as a result. If anything Doug and his "team" have been a sweet blessing for me and I think it's as individual as that - For another his way might feel like a nightmare.

Don't listen to science, listen to nature and take the neccessary precautions you need to. I mean, let's get a little perspective - there's no one way to God or we'd all be following one religion! People stop off for lattes on the way to work and come home to a glass of wine and a curry - anything goes and life is what you make it. Pursue YOUR highest vision of yourself and read self-empowering books, meditate, laugh and rest - Be at peace
Shanti x
Kay Lakshmi

Kay Lakshmi Cruse

P.S from Kay
The mind loves to get its teeth into problems because its a problem solver! If you think there's a problem with your diet/health and become obsessed about it then you will find a problem - I think Billings displays this perfectly. I feel that Doug could take a little less arrogant approach in his choice of vocabulary over other people's comments..
And I'm sure someone would take delight in ripping my own (above) comments to shreds!!

Angie Bedson

Firstly, I would like to thank both Billings and Graham for taking part in this debate. It made for very though-provoking reading and I really appreciate them sharing their views on the subject with us.

I think though to be fair, we have to consider that Graham was at an immediate disadvantage. Most current nutritional evidence and 'facts' are based on research and results on a population that eats cooked, processed food. How was Graham supposed to back up his claims or quote from scientific research if this research does not actually exist?

Therefore I think you have to look for yourself at the evidence that is around you today to balance things up a bit. Human beings are succumbing to disease at a much faster rate than any other animals on the planet. The evidence that cooking our food and cooking and consuming meat is good for us, is not there. If it was what we were supposed to be doing at this stage of our evolution then why are there such high rates of cancer, heart disease, renal failure and diabetes? On the other hand, there seems to be mounting evidence of curing these very same diseases by not cooking your food and eliminating, or at least greatly reducing, animal products in your diet. Anectodal evidence maybe. But does that mean we should ignore it? More scientific research needs to be done into the raw diet to make these claims 'scientific' but this will take time - probably beyond my life span - and in the meantime, I'd rather follow a diet where using high heat (which we all acknowledge and agree is highly harmful under any other context) does not figure. If raw meat or eggs repel you then don't eat them! If you have any worries about meeting your vitamin/mineral requirements (until the research is done to reassure you) then take high-quality supplements. Be assured that eating fresh, organic uncooked food is NOT going to do you any harm but cooking food... that's another story..

Don

I enjoyed the opening contributions of both these gentlemen. Great minds, backed by hard work and experience. However, both responses were disappointing ... unecessarily disparaging and pompous in parts. It descended into a battle of wits which dissipated much of the impact of any supporting logics. Still, a great idea that yielded some real gems. Thanks.

Michele

I want to avoid taking sides or voting. Both Billings and Graham have given us their views coming from years of research and personal experiences, from their passions and commitment to living a healthy and abundant life and inspiring and guiding others to do so too.

As has already been said health is far more than down to what we put in our mouths although that does have a huge impact. Even if I felt like I had all the answers, all the facts and a clear path in front of me, whether I can fulfill that ambition is another matter. As we all know factors such as emotions, family, lifestyles and climate can get in the way.

I appreciate all the views and opinions laid out here by these 2 experts. It is a matter of 'digesting them' as well as all the other information I read ongoingly and freely form my own flexible path.

I intend to always live and eat to my best ability in any moment, and for my higher purpose; and to live a long, healthy, happy and active life.
Thanks for this debate.

Alice

I'm a long-time raw vegan, but I think Tom Billings won the debate.

Definitely, one person cannot represent all raw-food vegans, and Doug Graham does not represent me.

I think Doug Graham has much to offer, but his message is incomplete, at least in my own case. I discovered quite some time ago that I need to take a more careful approach toward making sure that I get enough of the nutrients that Tom Billings talks about.

I now supplement with B12, and I also make an effort to eat raw vegan foods that supply more of the nutrients that are somewhat difficult to access (on a raw food vegan diet). This approach seems to work very well for me.

I appreciate that Tom Billings does say that some people can do well as raw food vegans. I think more people could do well if we maybe combined some of what science has to say with some of what people like Doug Graham has to say.

Science cannot be completely dismissed just because it isn't complete. We'll never get anywhere with that attitude.

In my opinion, Doug Graham's message is incomplete as well, but much of what he says deserves some further research to try to separate some of the fact from some of the fiction.

Ray

Graham usually uses personal attacks when he attempts to argue. I feel sorry for him.

nick6196

I have read Doug Graham's book 'The 80:10:10 diet' and I thought it was excellent. I didn't agree with all of it but nevertheless it was well worth the read and he presented some very intelligent arguments. The problem with a high fruit/veg diet is availability of a suitably diverse mix of foods if you live in a northern lattitude. Okay, modern supermakets do a great job of providing us with variety but compared to what you can get at a farmers market in Hawaii it's limited and expensive. I think you need abundance of fruit and vegetable sources to make an 80:10:10 style diet work but I think it can work if you have that. Also, the first commenter, Sue's, point about the high fructose content of fruit is not sound. If you are an active individual, regularly exercising, then fructose is harmlessly converted to glycogen for muscle replenishment. Fructose is only converted to fat if your muscles already have sufficient glycogen stores. Graham points out in his book that the 80:10:10 diet is not for couch potatoes but it is a diet for active athletic people.

I do also agree with Doug Graham that people are generally less individual than they like to make out when it comes to diet. Obviously, we all have genetic differences but there isn't one healthy diet for one group of people and a completely different healthy diet for another group...that's fallacy.

I don't fully agree with either Graham or Billings but I have more respect for Graham's arguments. Billings overplays some of the supposed deficiencies of a vegan diet and has completely misinterpreted the China Study. Just because someone quotes references, it doesn't make them right. Lay people are easily impressed by references, scientists less so. If you haven't read the references that Billings is quoting, how are you going to know if his argument stacks up?

Personally I favour the McDougall diet which is vegan but not 100% raw and is very sustainable.

Nick

Sue

Nick, you should read this review of the China Study (not very favourable):

http://www.trit.us/bookreviews/chinastudy.html

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/China-Study.html

Leyla

I've been a raw vegan, a vegan, a vegetarian, a meat eater, a macrobiotic follower, etc. in my life, I've read China Study and The Dark Side of Soy, pro-meat and against-meat books and articles, pro fish and against fish ones, etc.

I've never felt worse than on a vegan diet AND on a high protein diet. Both were wrong for my body and since how I feel is the most important thing to me, I've discovered that a high raw diet, neither vegan nor vegetarian, but with some organic meat and fish and with the use of honey, Hibernation Diet style, is what works for me.

I'm losing weight, I'm full of energy, my mood is balanced and I haven't had the problems with my teeth and gums I used to have on a 811 high fruit diet.

For my body a little bit of dairy is better than soy or rice milk.

Barbara

I'm 77 and have been raw for 10years, I don't eat meat, haven't since I was old enough to eat what I wanted, I have always hated the stuff, but I love my raw diet eating nuts and seeds and lots of green leaves.

Matthew

I just want to thank you for a very interesting debate.

Koreann

I have seen many vegans and raw foodists "worry" about vitamins B12 and D, that they are not getting their daily requirements, and often wonder if they are just trying to justify adding non-alkaline products back into their bloodstream.

Once we get the medical profession "involved" of course they are only going to encourage us down an incorrect path. We are too healthy to be supplementing their income.

We definitely have forgotten about Spirulina. This superfood provides high levels of Vitamin B12 which is provided in non-toxic plant form! There are some great brands to choose from. I use "Health Force Nutritionals". I add this to my daily smoothie which includes 3 pieces of kale or sprouts, non-sweetened berries and an apple, hemp seeds, stevia and water.

Unfortunately Vitamin D is difficult where your have the four seasons. I live in Victoria, BC, Canada and most people I know, including myself, take a holiday where their is the love and warmth of the sun. I never get hung up on not seeing the sun for a week, it gives me an excuse to be in the kitchen sprouting more things. .

A quote from Dr. Ann Wigmore's "The Sprouting Book", page 109: "No amount of surgery, pills, therapy, or money can keep us well. Only a desire and willingness to learn more about nature, and to embrace her laws, can do so. This means that we must eat foods such as sprouts, greens, wheatgrass, fruits and vegetables, with all of their vital nutrients intact, in their natural, living state. Sprouts are at the very top of this list of vital foods." I have read other material from Dr. Ann's books saying we can live on these 3 items: "Energy Soup, Wheatgrass and Sprouts" which will provide our body with everything it requires.

nick6196

In response to Sue, I have read the China Study and much of T Colin Campbell's earlier research and I am familiar with Chris Masterjohn's criticisms of the China Study. I have also read T Colin Campbell's response to questions raised by Chris Masterjohn and Chris Masterjohn's response to that. I have to say, I side with T Colin Campbell right down the line.

Edith Meyer

Dr. Graham made me reflect upon the conservative understanding of terms like "natural human diet". It sounds as if there can be a one and basically natural human diet, that resolves all dietary conflicts and disputes in favor of health and happiness for everybody.

Humankind always lived culturally bound, so diet can't be natural at all. Different peoples in different epochs and times ate according to the possibilities they had within the environment in which they lived. They cooked it or ate it raw, according to their lusts and possibilities. Diet as a restriction of lust makes diet an interesting topic, but I imagine that this can only be done within a context of culture.

The happy fact is, that, as Dr Graham said, the idea is to thrive, and not just to survive. Nowadays in our western civilisation we have the best possibilities to thrive, because there's no need to live just to survive.

Dr Graham said, that his idea of a healthy raw vegan regimen, probably as the "natural human diet", does not result in dietary insufficiency or excess. At this point of view I turn towards his counterpart Billings: Vegan foods do not give an optimal harmonious mix of nutritionals for everybody, because of what reason ever.

In our culture we have the possibility to do blood tests, which makes it possible for all of us, to optimise our dietary needs. On that way, we can be individualised humans, which makes sense. The conservative concept of "Raw food" can fade away in favour of a contemporary concept of "Live food".

At the turning point of the 19th towards the 20th century the "raw foodism" developed in swiss and german countries with Dr Max Bircher.Benner as the most original person. In those days it was modern and healthy to eat uncooked foods, especially grains, nuts, apples and vegetables.

Knowledge was not yet that far as nowadays, at the turning point of the 20th towards the 21st century. The Swiss-German "rawfoodism" can be done away with, since the concept of "Life foodism" swept from american doctors to our countries with Dr Gabriel Cousens, Dr Brian Clement and Dr Fred Bisci. Living foods are happierwise uncooked foods that are prepared on a way that they can spend their nutritional components optimally.

At life food epoch we have many different supplements and many qualities, and we have the best blood tests! We can live as healthy as we want to be, the only essential need besides dietetic and health interests is enough money. That's the crucial thing: How nice it would be to become independent of decadent culture, or at least to live in a decadent culture without sharing the bad dietary habits. Every decadency has to be paid with a high price, be it severe diseases, be it just an adipose body. I still educate myself to live consequently vegan as a life foodist!
I really appreciate social contacts to spread experiences and ideas.
Edith Meyer

kelly

Thank you very much for this post - you have an awesome blog! I was NOT convinced we need a meat diet. I am one of those vegans whose body age is more than 10 years younger than my age!

I was looking into this and found that spirulina has almost everything to help the body manufacture nutrients and more.

However, it just makes sense to supplement ourselves with nutrients not normally stored in the body for days (eg. vitamins B and C).

I will remember to link to this post for those who are considering the vegetarian or vegan diet. :)

Angie Bedson

Stu - don't know if you've misunderstood me. Surely you don't believe there's been as much time, money and effort put into the research of the nutritional content of raw vegan food and its impact on human health as there has been on what was considered the 'normal' human diet for centuries, ie cooked, processed, preserved, denatured foods? Just in time span alone, one cannot be compared to the other!
I've been passionate about optimal nutrition for 30+ years and raw for ll years and am very fit and well. I don't follow Graham's 811 diet but, sorry, it just seems glaringly obvious to me that raw is always going to be at a disadvantage in these such debates until there there has been an equivalent amount of time and money put into the research of scientifically viable numbers of 100%,long-term raw fooders.
After all, Billings can take his pick from heaps of nutritional research done over a very long time period..... HOWEVER, when the vast majority of it originates from studies based on a totally different demographic to my own then it becomes meaningless. Nutritional evidence derived from cooked food and bodies (for a lifetime!) has no bearing on what may be going on in my body.
Cooked food has been proved to be both chemically and structurally different to that same food in its raw state. In my experience,'cooked' people seem chemically and structurally different too!. I will take note of all this quoted evidence when true comparisons are made through scientifically valid numbers and methodologies, ie when it actually relates to how raw food has affected my physiology and how I have lived my life for the past 11 years.

Sue

Nick, I don't see how you can side with Campbell after reading the Masterjohn review. Here is another excellent review:
http://bradmarshall.blogspot.com/2005/12/is-wheat-killing-us-introduction-maybe.html

Sue

Nick, there was also a protein debate between Cordain and Campbell.
Well worth reading.
http://www.canibaisereis.com/download/protein-debate-cordain-campbell.pdf

Edith Meyer

Picking up on Thomas Billings' idea, "the natural human diet is a hybrid between the hunter-gatherer diet and the plant-based diet," nowadays the hunter-gatherer diet is still findable on fragmented way, at least here in Switzerland.

Every single village and city has a mushroom controller, who in the parish hall once every week looks and controls mushrooms which the inhabitants gather from the forests, to avoid mushroom poisonings. And the Swiss government gives hunters the possibilibty every year to hunt an amount of deer to keep the ecological system of the forests balanced.

If a certain amount of deer were not killed each autumn season, we would have too many deer. I find it such a good idea, humans embedded into an ecosystem, having an important task to keep their forest environment healthy.

About three years ago, I decided to buy a roe from my own village forest. I wanted to enjoy the soft and delicious meat of my roe, but after the dinner I had such a bad feeling, that I found out that the ideology might be a good one, but not for me. Since that dinner, I'm a vegetarian, and almost vegan.

I love freedom of experiencing which ideas are good for you: Nowadays individualisation in medical and pharmacological treatments is a trend, and in dietetic knowledge too, which I like to feel too at this blog.

Here in Switzerland we have the possibility to make an individual nutrigenic profile by taking a test which shows at the individual level what is good for you to consume and what to avoid to optimize the chance not to get diseased.

I hope The Fresh Network organizes a congress again with the famous raw vegan American doctors!

nick6196

Sue, the Brad Marshall review is as bad as the Chris Masterjohn review. Both of them are worthless. Seriously, don't base your own personal diet on the teachings of these people.

The Cordain-Campbell debate on the other hand was fascinating. I am assuming that when you read it you favoured Cordain's views. I cannot agree with that. I think Colin Campbell's rebuttal of Cordains arguments was devastating.

It is interesting how Cordain rebuked Campbell for citing data from a 100 year old experiment as not being relevant to modern lifestyles yet most of Cordain's own views are based upon assumptions and estimations of what early human ancestors ate 2.6 million years ago. There are so many flaws in Cordain's arguments but I am satisfied that Campbell has done a really good job of highlighting the worst of them. It was an excellent debate though.

Sue

Nick, I'm going to disagree with you. Campbell really just talks about beliefs and not science.

nick6196

Sue, you haven't read 'The China Study' then?

Debbie Took

Tom Billings is billed here as 'raw vegan between 1971 and 1996. 25 years - impressive indeed! Been there, done that...

However, that is not what it says on his website at beyondveg.com.

I quote:

1980-1989 'After a transition period in the early 1980s when I was a conventional (cooked-food) vegetarian, I entered a phase where I alternated between periods on a (nearly) 100% raw diet similar to natural hygiene, and a conventional vegetarian diet.'

(So for a few years in the early 80s (I'm guessing that if it had been a much shorter period Tom would have said) Tom was cooked vegetarian. For the rest of the Eighties he 'alternated' between 'conventional vegetarian' (which would be cooked) and a '100% raw diet similar to natural hygiene'. Many Natural Hygienists do include dairy (indeed Shelton, Vetrano etc did/do) and I note Tom does not use the word 'vegan' to describe his diet in the Eighties.)

Did Tom forget about these nine years?

I quote further from Tom's site:
1990-1996 'In this phase, I was a generic raw vegan, usually 100% raw, with sprouts as my predominant food source.'

(I'm not sure what 'generic' means in this context, but I'm guessing Tom means here that he was, in these six years... a ('usually')raw vegan! This is in fact the only time period that Tom has used the words 'raw vegan' to describe his diet.

I also note that his raw vegan diet in those six years was predominantly sprouts (!).

As well as the claim(at the beginning of the article) to Tom's being 25 years raw vegan being...not the case, as far as I can see the raw vegan diets Tom has followed have not only been atypical of the raw vegan diet, but have often been 'restricted' diets - *all* fruit for two years early in the Seventies, and 'predominantly sprouts' more recently. I would expect anyone to have a poor experience on such diets.

As for who's 'won the argument' (as per previous posters), no one has. As, er, Dr Doug Graham said once, 'the moment you've entered the argument, you've lost it.' (Hmm...let's call it 'debate' then :-)) Both vegans and vegetarians can come up with good persuasive arguments. Me - I'm 'on the fence', eat lots of fruit but have more fat than 811, etc. *Presently* vegan.

But I do think it's relevant to know, when people are talking and 'advising' on the raw vegan diet, what their own experience of it is, namely 1) how long they've been raw vegan and 2) what sort of raw vegan diet they've followed.

I believe Doug has been raw vegan for 20 years + and promotes a diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, lots of greens, and nuts/seeds etc.

From reading Tom's website carefully, it looks to me that, like many of us, he's followed a mish-mash of diets, including some very 'restricted' ones, that would be bound to result in poor health, and has now settled on a high-raw vegetarian diet. That's light years healthier than the SAD, and I'm glad he's now found stability in a (relatively) healthy diet that he feels happy with.

Di.

Dr. Gabriel Cousens goes on at length about Vitamin B-12 and I find that I agree with him at this point. We all are forgetting one fact. Evolution takes place over a _very_ long period of time. We have not evolved to eat a cooked food diet. How could we? The food is destroyed by heat. And no matter what diet we went on to survive environmental conditions (we got out of the trees and started to eat meat when the rain forests, etc., started disappearing).

We _adapted_ but that does not mean that we _evolved_ to eat meat (esp. by cooking it since no refrigerators and we don't have bodies geared to eat raw without tools). We merely copied the animals and ate to survive.

For someone with severely impaired health, the truths of what is an optimal diet or not is very easy to see. With poor absorption and a host of health issues, at 48 and finally raw vegan, I've felt on the whole better now than I ever have in my life, despite the fact that I know I haven't yet got the balance down right.

In my case, with fluctuations making the difference in my days, it no longer concerns me to supplement slightly at this point. I figure that B-12 issue aside, the rest will find its way. I have years of detoxifying to do, no doubt, as you can't erase decades of unhealthy living despite the fact I've been 60-90% raw for 20 years.

Can we be raw vegan? Yes. Can we be raw vegan easily? I don't believe so. We're the first real generation of raw foodists, after all. Pottenger's Cats suggests that since that 15-year study showed that it took 7 generations for the cats to return to a healthy state, it might mean that it's that way for us. So what holds true for us may not be the case for future generations. No-one will have it as difficult as we do. Also, due to a lot of people catching up to me (being born pre-mature, I always had chronic health issues from an early age that no-one could understand!. Everyone has since been catching up to me AND SURPASSING ME!), I suspect that many others will find what I did, that going back to our species-specific diet is the only thing that works long-term. However, organic derangements of some sort will likely be present in us so we just have to be very careful in eating a balanced and ADEQUATE raw vegan diet (in terms of, for lack of better word, calories) and monitor and just always keep adjusting. The rest will take care of itself. I have seen this time and time again in myself. I'm still learning but I have never felt or looked as good, consistently, despite any ups and downs I'm still having with my thyroid issue not remaining stable ever for long, as I have since I went raw vegan.

To eat cooked food is abhorrent to me now. I just feel my gorge rising. So whether or not I'm one metabolic type or other, to me, we're all one species and to say that we don't have a species-specific diet just doesn't make any sense. There are deviations, true, but all the species on the planet tend to eat the same way according to their species. A few million years haven't given us more than 2 eyes, 1 nose, 10 fingers and 10 toes, why would we feel that something magical and mysterious has happened inside of us to allow us to not only eat meat (we produce no uricases and can't eat meat without tools) or cooked food (with all the denaturing/killing that that does).

Take a food and really cook it to death and you end up with a charred mass. Cook it only a little bit and you won't get the charred mass but the particles will be there and the process started which you see by many indicators includiing almost complete loss of flavour which must be covered up by condiments and herbs, etc.

So thanks for this argument but we're far from seeing anything more definitive until more people go raw and more time has gone by so that more empirical, unbiased evidence comes in.

Good luck to everyone and I wish everyone all the best.

olga

I believe that this article is a great one just to show how silly people can get about there diet. I am a vegan & I do consume only raw fruits & veggies. I decided to eat this way because I feel extremely sick by eating meat, animal products and processed foods.

What they both fail to say is that no matter how you decide to eat you have to take supplements even if you eat meat. I have been anemic all my life the fact that I am a vegan only eating raw fruits and veggies hasn't made me any better or any worse in that area, by the way it's obvious to me that no one here has done research on where to get vitamin D, you can get vitamin D from eating mushrooms not only from sunlight and seaweed has vitamin b-12. I am allergic to seaweed, actually i'm allergic to many foods not only plant based but animal as well. What i'm saying here is that if you feel better in a raw diet or in a vegan diet or as a vegetarian or eating meat it should not matter you should do what makes you feel good, no matter what you do have to consume supplements. I'm not siding with any of them, they both do have very good points but they have both forgotten that you can have vitamin or mineral deficiencies eating in any way you desire, I am a good example of that. I've been a vegan for 10 years now, I slowly became a vegan and a raw food eater by eliminating foods that were making me feel sick, I don't feel sick anymore but that does not change the fact that I have been anemic way before I became a vegan. I've been anemic since I a young child I don't believe that will ever change no matter what diet I decide to be in. People just need to stop arguing & preaching to each other about this and do what ever makes them feel better and happy.

Brian

Wow! This is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking articles I have read on the Internet in a long time. FINALLY I am able to hear both sides of this argument in the same relevant context, instead of back-and-forth reading between Tom Billings' articles on Beyond Veg and Dr. Graham's literature (mostly 80/10/10 and Grain Damage).

First, thank you to both of the participators in this debate, thank you to the person who writes this blog and provided this setting for a debate, and also, kudos to those who commented for actually providing some good thoughts and additions (rarely happens on the Internet anymore).

I am a 14-year-old high school teenage boy who has been involved in vegetarian, vegan, high raw diets (lol), 80/10/10 (as in, I was a semi-worshipper of Graham and the 811LFRV4LIFE community), and more for a while now. I know, I know; it's odd for someone at this point in the grand scheme of things (i.e age) to be caught up in the messy dietary world, but I'm in and have been (and probably will be) for what seems like forever (anyone can relate?).

Anyway, I wrote out this whole long comment on what I like and don't like about each side, but I thought it would be too long for this comment section.

So, I decided to post it at my blog. Please click my name in orange under this comment to go to my site if you'd like to see the response article I wrote.

This issue was way too interesting to keep my mouth shut on. I love a good debate :)

Thank you again to Fresh Network and all involved!

Brian

bigkahuna

Interesting post. Not sure I agree 100% though. The advice about vitamin b12 is well taken but I think the concern about vitamin d is somewhat overblown. The amount of sunlight needed each day for sufficient vitamin d is a lot less than most people think and not enough to cause and skin damage.

Scott

Both arguments are correct as both are working from unique perceptions colored by their own unique life experiences - and this is OK.

What I feel it all boils down to is

- Love which is acceptance and working to remove the prejudices from our own eyes so that we may enter into an attitude of acceptance of all others and

- Life which is to honor the intent which the Creator has expressed through Nature. I do feel strongly that the Creator has written the Law of Oneness/Love/Unity/Life into Nature and that we can learn more from observing nature, not through a microscope but with simple childlike eyes, than all of the books ever written.

The Law of Love is found by adhering to the Law of Life just as the Law of Life is found by adhering to the Law of Love as they are two sides of the same coin.

Peace to you all.

sapphire

i was raw vegan for 3 years then had 2 weeks to live as i had kidney liver lung and intestine damage as i had hundreds of huge roundworms alive and breeding in me.
i took many bitter herbs and prayed and did affarmations and healed.

however, after having roundworms from being vegan and doing my best (roundworms are usually found in pork)
i decided to eat live yoghurt goat and soya ones,
honey and bee pollen, cooked steam veggies and toasted nuts and seeds.

1 year later i am still alive nad getting more vibrant and healthier, however i have extreamly acid and toxic blood and have been advised to cut all fruit and sugar out and eat mostly nuts seeds cooked veggies avocadoes a little raw salad tofu loads of yoghurt steamed pumkin apple cider vinegar and loads of sprouts. now my diet is 50 per cent raw and i especially eat loads of durian as it destroys any bacteria and parasites.

i use spirulina and superfoods and feel vibrant healthier and healthier and wish everyone the empowerment they choose and radiant source perfect health.

i believe in the law of focus and finding out what your body asks you for. also some diets are ego based where as i choose to remove as much of my ego as possible and do all with love.

blessings and love to all, sapphire

MonaVie

Fruits and vegetables are great for the body. However, for my family, a balanced diet from all food groups works best.

Andrea

I think health in general is a personal choice, decision and perception. All gurus have different opinions on what health is and our job is to choose which one works for us. Besides, being happy in the long term is the major goal of living. There's no gold medal for the healthiest person alive and we all have to die anyways. Do what you think is best for you, reach all of your desires. For me love and harmony are the ultimate source of health. Take them away and whatever diet you're in, you'll always get sick.

Recording Artist

Very beautiful post! I was eager to see an interesting stuff like that.

Design Reviews

Yum! Seriously Great Post. I have been looking for this information for the last few days. Thanks for sharing.

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