Last night I attended a meeting of Silicon Valley Innovation Institute about raw food. I had heard of the phenomenon and was curious to learn about and sample it. The food, prepared by Jillian Love, was delicious. We did learn that one needs a really good food processor in order to be a raw food chef.
During the evening we heard several speakers talk about the healing effects of eating organically grown produce, prepared fresh, uncooked. One had healed himself from rheumatoid arthritis. Another spoke about a documentary (this is an excerpt) showing how a small group of Type 2 Diabetes patients were effectively cured of the disease (and all the secondary illnesses) by being put on a completely raw food diet for 30 days. By cured- I mean- no more insulin or any other drugs. While I have long believed in the health impacts of food, showed a much greater effect than I expected. During the evening, two points struck me:
1) In the beginning, mankind began by eating fresh organic uncooked food. No artificial fertilizers, insecticides, freeze- dried, deep-fried, or hybridized produce of any kind. In our attempt to increase yield and shelf-life of foods while decreasing exposure to pests and disease, we have added chemicals to the ecosystem which have polluted the foods we eat as well as the soil in which it is grown. The raw food movement is, at some level, an attempt to return to that “cleaner”, simpler form of nutrition.
2) The system resists change. As described, the doctors of these people were often unwilling to believe that a massive change in diet could be life-altering to this degree. In today’s world, the idea of raw food seems radical- a deviation from the norm. You could say it’s an innovation. And as often happens- things out of the main stream are rejected by “experts” who know better.
It reminds me of the story of Dr. Barry Marshall who had research that showed ulcers were caused NOT by stress (as it was known to be) but by bacteria. So radical was his idea that he could not get funding to do human trials. In order to advance his work, he infected himself to prove his case. He and his colleague, Robin Warren, were eventually awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005.
You may be wondering- am I now going to go on a completely raw food diet? Not unless I can get my husband to do the work. [I don’t cook. Ever.] That said, my normal diet consists of a lot of raw fruits and vegetables (one of the benefits of living in California) along with low fat dairy products and a small amount of beef, chicken and fish. Turns out – dairy foods would have to be off the list and I’d find that harder than giving up meat. But I am more mindful of what I put in my mouth. Maybe when I retire, I’ll learn how to cook raw and will reform my ways. After all, it’s never too late to learn.