The raw-food movement is a conundrum for many health-conscious people. The movement is littered with many different “gurus” and “aficionados” who push seemingly radical approaches to gaining ideal health and wellness.
Many cities have large enough populations to spawn a wealth of places for one to find enough information on the raw-food movement in order to make wise decision concerning one’s diet. Los Angeles, The Bay Area, and New York City are metropolises leading the push to include raw restaurants into the mainstream among the myriad of choices for fine dining in each city, respectively. Even smaller cities like Jacksonville and Austin, Texas, which has one of the most innovative and comprehensive alternative eating webs in America, are starting to move towards educating and providing access to healthier eating options.
Raw food is defined as food that is uncooked and unprocessed and is usually vegan — but there is passionate faction of raw foodist that swear by the benefits of adding raw milk and meat to their diets. Most practitioners and restaurants define uncooked as prepared at less than 118 degrees. Dehydrators are used to make an assortment of goodies from flax bread to un-fried rice. Blending fruits and vegetables are at a premium, and Juicers tout their programs as the key to an everlasting youthful appearance. Advocates believe that such food methods preserve more nutrients and enzymes than more traditional methods.
According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, many restauranteurs are seeing more business as Americans become concerned with what they eat and drink. For example, The Journal profiles the Santa Monica-based Rawvolution, which will open a new raw-food joint in New York’s East Village.
Many nutritionist, though, have not completely fell in love with the raw-food movement. The Journal quotes Lisa Sasson, a clinical assistant professor at the New York University Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, who thinks many of health benefits many raw-food advocates swear by are erroneous:
[T]he premise that raw food contains more enzymes is faulty because our bodies make enzymes that break food down. Also … getting all the food groups you need on such a diet can lead to deficiencies in iron, calcium, Vitamin D and B12.
There is validity to Dr. Sasson’s statement, but the doctor’s opinion is misleading since there is no evidence that any of those vitamins or minerals cannot be appropriately obtained through a strict raw diet — remember one can consume raw milk or meat and still be raw.
B12 is one of the most controversial vitamins that is absent in a raw vegan diet. Some vegan raw-food advocates hold steady to their premise that the body can produce its own B12 if its digestive system is allowed to recover from years S.A.D. dieting. Other raw-foodists claim they have to either use a supplement or add raw meat to their diets to receive the benefits of this essential nutrient.
There is one fact that cannot be denied: one will undoubtedly feel the positive benefits of adding an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables to his/her diet. The best quote from The Journal’s piece on the raw-food movement comes from a Manhattan artist named Dana Levy, who eats raw foods a majority of time:
“I like eating raw because it makes you feel like you’re really investing in your body and you’re taking care of it, … My body was just so focused, and I felt very energized.”
Why wouldn’t every person want to feel like her? The raw food movement is clearly here to stay, now the question is are government bureaucracies, university scientists, nutritionists, and fitness professionals going to take the time to study the benefits of a raw diet; therefore, Americans can stand firm and trust the burgeoning movement of raw-food chefs, teachers, and authors.
We should all demand our most trusted officials and intellectuals to investigate and fund non-vivisection research on raw-food diets — vegan and non-vegan — as well banning food industry lobbies, so Americans can have a fair conversation about nutrition in hopes of regaining their health through their food.