Wednesday 13 August 2008

Who'd be a (shhh...100%) raw foodist?


Loooking back at this post, I'm wondering if it should still be here, as, for a long time now, I've rarely encountered the attitudes I describe below (hooray!).

But, at the time of writing, I was a member of a particular international raw food forum where I and other 100% raw fooders got it all the time... Having left that group, I am very pleased to say that the other forums I frequent are pretty much devoid of this daftness!

But, for now, I'll keep the post on the blog in case any others are getting similar grief, anywhere in the 'raw food world' (!).

I am increasingly feeling that, as a raw foodist I have to don my flak jacket before saying so. And, the crazy thing is...that's not in the cooked-food world, where people are actually quite accepting in a 'oh, so you're a nutter!', or 'oh, how interesting!' sort of way, but, incredibly, in the 'raw food' world, eg on 'raw food' forums!

More and more it seems that raw foodists that choose not to eat cooked food have to say so apologetically, in a very tiny voice (even though '100%' is a very useful label to distinguish us from the increasing numbers who call themselves raw foodists nowadays - oh bar the pizza and beers with the mates at the weekend - and who subscribe to the definition of a raw foodist as suggested on a forum recently as someone who 'includes raw food in their diets and recognises the benefits' (oh well, that would include 99% of the world then...reminds me of the Eighties when everyone wanted to be a vegetarian - 'oh, but we eat white meat!').

Because, as everyone in the 'raw food' world knows, or, if they don't know, will increasingly understand, as they see the 100% raw foodist get shot down in flames again and again, for 'evangelising'...

100% raw foodists are, by definition, guilty of all of the following crimes.


Impose their beliefs on others, that is they insist that everyone else must eat 100% raw food (and overnight of course!) and that anyone who doesn't is a gutless wimp.

Are inflexible. Fancy choosing not to eat cooked food on an aeroplane, or at a social occasion!

Are obsessive. (They really have an eating disorder. )

Are chest-thumpers. They like to show off and laud it over others.

Are 'raw food police' ('food Nazis', etc). They even suggest that if a company is charging a fortune for a 'raw' product it should actually be raw!

Are pedantic. Only a real party-pooper would spoil things by suggesting that a restaurant dish advertised as 'raw' should be made from raw ingredients.

Are 'nit-picking'. What sort of a person would query why someone who would never dream of eating boiled carrots (and tells others not to!) is quite happy munching boiled brazil nuts?

Are stupid. They think that raw food is the 'be-all and end-all', that food is the only thing that affects our health - someone educate them!

Are gullible. 100% raw foodists believe that raw food is going to solve all their problems! They don't understand that life is far more complicated than that!

Are deluded. They don't realise that sooner or later they're going to come up against health issues that the raw food diet just can't address!

Are liars. They all eat cooked food sometimes, but just won't admit it. (note! - I have been known to allow the odd non-raw ingredient within a meal slip down my gullet, but, I'm going to have to disappoint those who think, as I saw on a forum recently, that we're likely slipping out at the dead of night to queue up at the kebab van.)

Are intolerant. They believe that their way is the only way.

Look down on others. They believe that they're somehow 'better people' than those who eat cooked food!

Are judgemental. They just love to give others a good telling-off!

Are UNLOVING. If only they could accept that everyone's different.

Yep, 100% raw foodists are really rather horrid.

And, if you are a 100% raw foodist, believe me - in the eyes of some (not all) of those who are part-raw, you are DEFINITELY all these things! Nope - no good're convicted!

Because - it really doesn't matter whether any of the above are true in reality.

It's completely immaterial that all the people closest to you are nothing like 100% raw fooders, and you respect that, and have never tried to impose your beliefs on them. As people really don't want to entertain that thought - it might challenge their cherished image of you.

It doesn't matter if your mission in life is simply to enthuse and to encourage others to try more raw and to get to whatever point is comfortable for them. As - who'd believe that?!

It doesn't matter that you've seen your own life transformed, and waved goodbye to various illnesses with the raw food diet and simply want to reduce the chances of others suffering, as the knockers want very much to believe only the worst of you, not the best.

And it's pointless trying to tell them that you feel just as thrilled when someone moves to 25% raw (roughly!) as 100%. That would be quite threatening - they'd have to revise their 'maps'!

And, by golly, if they started to believe that any of these things were true, they'd have to actually face up themselves to whatever's bugging them rather than wagging their fingers at 'intolerant' 100% raw foodists. Now that wouldn't be fair, would it?

So, just take it as read that, in the eyes of so many 'raw fooders', you have every character defect in the list above.

Some raw fooders who eat a little cooked food are happy with their choice. It's a good choice! And they seem to be able to do that without being unduly perturbed by those who eat raw food only. To those of you out there (I think, the majority) - thank you thank you!

But others really don't seem happy with their choice, else why would they feel the need to constantly portray 100% raw foodists in the ways describely above, either directly, subtlely, obliquely or by making fun. It's sad. And, of course, when they do, they are often applauded by others who aren't happy with their diets making themselves feel better by saying how 'balanced', 'wise' and 'realistic' the poster is.

There's only one picture today. My darling meat-eating, smoking, Tequila-swilling, but 50%-evening-meal-raw-and-starts-each-day-with-juice (hooray!) husband sent me a picture I'd 'commissioned' of him several months ago (just a bit late...). It's of a carrot,which of course would be a 'superfood' if a university research department and a big raw food on-line store gave it 'the treatment''s 'Supercarrot', after cooking, courtesy of Leigh Took:

Still feel brave enough to be a 100% raw foodist on a 'raw food' forum? I would suggest applying here for extra skins, but, right now, I need every one I've got!


Bristol Raw Foodist said...

By volume over 95% of what I eat is now raw and has been for at least six months (although, now 'raw aware' the other 5% - brown rice, miso soups - actually seems quite a lot). I was quite raw before that. Even when not as aware of the raw food movement I loved fresh fruit and a decent salad so probably much more raw than Joe Burger.

I think if could organize me life, or just had more time, or worked from home, or wasn't so busy, I could be 100% raw and I think that's the ultimate. I also like eating lighter and lighter. I could live on salads with east but with a highish metabolism, I'd need a salad every hour or two!

Anyway, why do high or high-ish raw people appear to knock 100%ers. Well, because many people feel some sort of guilt eating cooked food - cooked wholefoods to boot.

Alissa Cohen stresses 100% raw, calling it a world away from 'high raw'. Her forum - over-moderated it seems - regularly has very neurotic people fretting that they've just eaten a cooked dish. It creates a kind of negative energy when these folk could be chatting about all the treats of nature you can enjoy in an unadulterated form.

Pete Farrugia said...

Well said Debbie. No-one should have to feel apologetic for striving towards perfection in any pursuit.

Allison said...

Wow. I'm sorry you are feeling bruised.

I found a long time ago that raw foodists have one thing in common: an appreciation of the benefits of eating raw. And that's pretty much it. Why we eat raw, how we do it, how much, where and when we do it- is all individualistic. Even the benefits we derive are idiosyncratic in many ways.

And that's ok.

I stopped caring about the opinions other raw foodists had of my personal journey long ago. I stopped comparing myself to them or thinking something was wrong with me for not having the same experiences or beliefs they insisted were "normal." I own my raw journey.

That doesn't mean I don't support other raw foodists or seek support from them. I interact with people who can't seem to stay raw and with those who have been 100% for ages; I just make sure that the people I interact with are gentle, open-minded souls, which is the kind of person I want to be.

May your bruises heal soon!

n/a said...

If you are comfortable with yourself, then just shrug these things off. I saw you posted on at least two forums and this blog post.....why let what others say or think get to you. As long as you love yourself, that's all that matters.

Much health and happiness to you, from an easy 99% raw foodist (easy because I don't think 100% would be hard, but I do try cooked vegan food that I make for others to test it and also use nutritional yeast, but I wouldn't find it hard to be 100%). Good for you! You go girl!!!!

Debbie Took said...

Hi Cherie
I posted on other forums to reach as many other 100% raw foodists as possible so that others can's not just them! I've seen other 100% raw foodists come under fire - fairly regularly...I think it's time we started to answer back a little more. It didn't get to me the first time, nor perhaps the tenth time, but after the hundredth time, gets a bit wearing! (the answer of course is that I shouldn't be such a forum junkie :-))

Anonymous said...

Debbie don't despair! But well done, and as usual, very well said. I can fully understand your qualms. Coming from an only high raw, I have full respect and admiration for what you manage in the raw realm. I fully agree with Allison that we all own our own raw food journey -- this is so personal, really. To each his own and the best to all!

Debbie Took said...

Thank Amy (and thanks everyone).

As you know, I don't usually use the blog for venting, but...think now I've just about got all that steam (as it were...) out of the system. Phew!

Anonymous said...

There's naught like a good vent - glad to hear the bruises are healing . . .

As someone who isn't anywhere near 100% please let me assure you that I have nothing but admiration to offer

Have a great weekend



that's peculiar to me--I've not experienced this backlash you are describing...but I surely enjoy your country's slang even though I don't always understand it, ha ha. For me, there was no other choice but to go 100% (or maybe, I like to say, 99.999%, because occasionally something slips by you, or like, maybe the company that promotes something raw that isn' before I was educated about nuts and thought if they said they were raw they were) after educating myself on the scientific reasons behind why the diet works healthwise. And after the vast improvements in my health in such a short time I can't ever imagine going back to a "primitive" way of eating. So does that make me judgemental to others? I don't think so...I find it frustrating only when people have been enlightened and preach like their way is the only way, such as promoting one particular way of eating raw when there are so many ways for so many different people. Since I live in a mostly unenlightened world (wraught with war, greed and other fancy ways of "non-living") I have to have those thick skin's you mention as biding my time, knowing all is as it should be and will work itself out in the eventuality. Being ahead of the curve has it's merits and it's drawbacks. Mostly I think the people I come in contact with are fascinated and likely view me as an oddity. But I feel I never have to give life is my message. The results I have are tangible...and people can see they ask what the change is...and I can answer with education they can choose to use or not. The funny part is people are so emotionally attached to their food that they want ME to eat it too. It is definitely a projection and I don't let it get to me...I think it is truly all how you look at gotta laugh it's like trying to explain sight to a blind person...they won't truly understand unless they actually see...or go 100%, as it were. Now, before my response becomes longer than your blog, will you please enlighten us as to the products you discovered as not being raw?

Debbie Took said...

Hi Crystal

The products I pointed out as not being raw were dried pasta, and two products containing, respectively, rice, and roasted hemp... (not even 'debatably raw' :-)). Totally agree with your comments BTW. Better to simply be a living testimony than try to evangelise.