Sometimes life slows you down and reveals the best kept secrets. I had the joy of interviewing Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. Brendan has been experimenting with different diets since he was 15. Injury lead to discovery as Brendan’s life shifted him into a high-raw and 100%…Read More
If you happen to follow any other blogs in the raw food movement, you may have noticed that there is a bit of a split happening between strict raw veganism and non-vegan raw foodists.
Is there a movement away from Raw Veganism?
(Click here to watch the embedded video about raw food.)
It’s a very interesting phenomena, and I think it’s one that really needs to be addressed. Gena Hamshaw from Choosing Raw wrote about her commitment to being vegan and how she was vegan before going raw. I respect her position and determination, and love the piece she wrote about her stance on the issue.
On the other hand you have people like Anthony The Raw Model and Daniel Vitalis who are into the more primal way of eating, including animal products. They are also to be respected for openly discussing their own trials.
Where I Stand on the Issue
As you know my approach to raw foods has never been one of all-or-nothing. Because of that, I don’t see this split in the raw food movement as being such a monumental shift.
The truth is that I think a 100% vegan raw food diet is great if you really need to cleanse or purify your body. Most of us do at some point, if the food industry is anything to go by.
However, I don’t think it’s perfect for everyone in the long term. I think that different people have different body types, live in different climates, and have access to different quality foods.
I am very much in tune with the animal rights movements and treading lightly on our planet.
However I don’t think that adhering to 100% raw veganism is the only way to champion those causes. If you think about it, you can be a good steward of the earth even if you do consume animal products.
Raw Veganism For Health Reasons
Chances are you came to the raw food movement to improve your health, and I think that it is a great starting point to changing unhealthy habits.
I also think that it is your responsibility to do your research and eat the way that makes you feel your best, and if that means taking supplements or eating something that is not raw and/or vegan then I say go for it.
The raw vegan diet is very idealistic, but the truth is that most of us don’t live in an idealistic society.
I admit it, I am an idealist and I wish that it could be as simple as surviving only on raw vegan foods.
With books like The Vegetarian Myth coming out and more research and discussions about how environmentally friendly a vegan diet can be, I think it’s necessary to take a step back.
Raw Veganism and Animal Rights
I know of monks in China who are completely vegetarian. Still, there are other monks who choose to eat animals because they say that eating only vegetables does not limit the amount of harm done to other life forms like bugs, worms, etc.
Of course the real problem is not so much the fact that some people choose to eat animal products at all. But rather the way animal products are sourced unethically.
We are growing animals in factories. These dark conditions are certainly no way to raise animals, let alone animals to be eaten.
So here’s my take away point
You are an individual and you are allowed to research, experiment, and see for yourself what works best for you and your body type.
If that includes raw dairy products, a little bit of meat or fish, or some ethically sourced eggs then I say go for it.
Some of the most nature-respecting native peoples were hunters who ate animal products. They never abused the earth and they made the most of their position as shepherds of the planet.
It’s our time to do the same.
If you’re going to take care of yourself, you need to care of the planet as well.
That means eating organic, grass fed, ethically sourced animal products if you choose to do so.
That also means including lots of raw fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.
Finally, breathe deep…
Just because there is division in the raw food movement, doesn’t mean that eating fruits and vegetables raw is less effective or less important for your health.
I believe it’s important to get everything out in the open and to really dig deep.
Photo by D Sharon Pruitt
Is it possible that including more raw foods into your life is actually easier than going vegan? Let’s look at some comparisons to find out.
Raw vs. Vegan Imitation Foods
Although both raw foods and vegan foods provide so-called imitation foods, raw foods tend to be very different from their cooked counterparts. When you’re eating vegan chips, it’s very different from eating celery sticks.
That’s not to say that Raw Food doesn’t have any foods that mimic your favorite cooked foods. The difference is that vegan foods tend to resemble your old time pre-vegan favorites.
The reason it’s so much easier to go raw on some level, is that you’re not trying to trick yourself. You know you’re eating raw food and exactly what it is, and you’re not lying to yourself.
Less Tofu and Soy Products
For a number of years soy based products have been touted as a health food, and many vegetarian and vegan “fake meat” products are made of tofu. Soy can cause all kinds of issues if eaten in large quantities.
Soy causes hormonal imbalances, that can surface as less masculine males, and mood disorders for females. Soy is also an allergen for many people, and can cause all kinds of issues such as thyroid problems and lowered immunity if eaten in large quantities.
Asian countries generally did not eat a lot of soy, they fermented it for 3 years and used it as a light condiment. I am often surprised by how little we know about other cultures that supposedly eat a lot of soy in their diet.
One thing to consider is that although soy is very common in Asian countries today, consumption has changed a lot in recent years as advertising and manufacturing changed.
Raw Food Energy
In terms of energy, Raw Food cannot be beat. Since you are eating fresh raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds your body knows how to digest these basic food groups. So you get the fuel from it immediately.
Raw food also places an emphasis on food combination, which helps people to digest quickly without taxing their system and experiencing a dip in energy.
Raw Food Going Mainstream?
The more people who include raw foods in their diet, the more normal it will become. The same thing happened with vegetarianism. When “regular people” started ordering vegetarian meals, it became acceptable to be vegetarian.
A vegan diet high in Raw Food is also a good alternative, if raw isn’t right for you.
It is easier to include more raw food in your diet than it is to eliminate meat and dairy. That’s because you’re starting with a blank slate, whereas veganism and vegetarianism focus on removing certain foods.
When going raw, you are straightforward with yourself about what you’re really eating, you avoid soy and all of the common problems associated with it, and you increase your energy levels.Read More