Things to Be Aware of in the Raw Food Arena - Part "A"
By Nomi Shannon, author of The Raw Gourmet
Reprinted with permission of the author.
1. Be Aware of "Three Week Wonders"
Definition of a three week wonder: someone who has taken a three week class in raw food (or anything) and is now dispensing information, classes, written a book etc based on those three weeks. So much misinformation is being passed around by these well meaning but inexperienced people who pass themselves off as experts with limited knowledge and little if any real life
For example, a few weeks ago I heard an explanation of why we soak nuts and seeds. It seems according to this "teacher" that the part you soak off is what keeps animals from eating them. (Real reason: with soaking you are washing off the growth inhibitors - which in quantity are toxic to us - that keep the nut or seed from sprouting out of season if a few drops of rain fall on it-soaking and sprouting also change the nut or seed to a more digestible food as the fats are being broken down into fatty acids, the proteins into amino acids.)
Another less amusing example is a three week wonder becoming so enthusiastic about the wonderful results achieved from going raw (this may have been a bit more than three weeks, but not much experience, just a lot of enthusiasm); that they created educational materials and programs that many people purchased only to - after a few years - totally reverse their stand on raw food, now claiming that raw food is harmful. What is wrong with this picture? First of all, they went into "business" with just a tiny amount of experience. They did not expand the variety of foods they ate, but ate the same things day after day, and when they began to feel ill from lack of variety, perhaps developing deficiencies, rather than take a good look at
what they were eating, they blamed "raw food".
No food can make you healthy. Not carrot juice. Not green juice. Not wheat grass. Not algae. What contributes to your good health is giving your body the chance to cleanse and heal itself. Raw Food can no sooner "make you sick" than fresh air can. One needs to exercise some common sense. You always need a large variety of foods to be healthy. Think of the rainbow and eat foods of each color. Don't forget protein, don't forget fat. Don't forget carbohydrates. Don't listen to any one person about anything, including me.
Whenever you hear a story (being widely passed around on the internet) about sick vegan babies, sick infants of vegan moms, deficiencies on a raw diet, etc. Ask yourself: What exactly were they eating? That part of the story never gets told.
There are many people who have been all raw or high raw for well over ten years, including myself, Brian Clement, Anna Maria Gahns Clement, Doug Graham, Viktoras Kulvinskas, Reverend George Malkmus and Cherie Soria.
There are other "three week wonders" who have propelled themselves into thriving raw food related businesses and, while they do a lot of good, in their limited knowledge and experience also perpetuate misinformation that could turn out to be harmful. For example one raw food proponent indicates that daily enemas are part of their ongoing daily routine. Enemas are useful, perhaps even lifesaving, while on the cleanse phase of a raw food program and for serious long-term programs such as the Gerson Therapy, which is closely monitored. But it is never a good idea to use enemas as part of a daily routine once the cleanse phase is over. Lack of education and experience is starting to manifest itself all over the raw food movement. The very leaders you may be looking up to perhaps belong in this category. Know where you information is coming from and don't put all your faith in just one source.
My last example today of a "three week wonder" (I am being selective, there are many more examples of misinformation coming from supposed 'experts' in the field.) is a recent self-published food preparation book that tells the reader to dehydrate at 98 degrees. This is erroneous and potentially harmful advice. Dehydrating at too low a temperature leaves the food open to developing mold. If you use common sense, you will realize that food does not become the temperature an oven is set at. Roasting a turkey (this is an example to illustrate my meaning only, hold off on the critical emails to me please) at 350 degrees never results in the turkey being 350 degrees.
Likewise the dehydrator. You want to dehydrate at the highest temperature possible while keeping the food itself below 115 or 110 degrees. When I dehydrate flax seed crackers, which are cold and very wet at first, I start the machine at 120 or 125, and as the crackers become dryer and I can feel that they are getting warm to the touch (don't forget how hot a 103 degree jacuzzi feels), then I turn it down.
Dehydrators work differently in different climates. You can expect your food to be done sooner in dry hot Arizona than you can in cool damp England. Please do not make the mistake of creating moldy food just because some "expert" who wrote a book tells you to set your dehydrator at 98.
NEXT: Examining "Certifications"
By Nomi Shannon, author of The Raw Gourmet
With permission of the author, excerpted from an article in the April 15, 2003 issue of The Raw Gourmet newsletter, by Nomi Shannon. Check out the FREE 7 part email course that Nomi offers at her site, called The Raw Truth, each of the 7 brief "classes" includes a free recipe.
Creative Health Institute wishes to express their sincere thanks to Ms. Shannon for allowing us to reprint this article.