For the past four Health Tips I have been attempting to share with our readers the positive and negative aspects of various diets. In Health Tip #760 we looked at God’s original Genesis 1:29 diet, the diet God told Adam, and through Adam, the diet all of us should consume. God’s original diet is the gold standard by which we should weigh all other diets. In Health Tip #761 we looked at the standard American diet (SAD), the most dangerous of all diets consumed today and in Health Tip #762 we looked at what made the SAD diet so dangerous. In Health Tip #763 we looked at the dangers in consuming too much food in cooked form. These previous Health Tips are also available as downloadable PDF’s in the Health Tip Archives. In today’s Health Tip we will take a serious look at another diet danger: consuming too much raw food. GOD’S ORIGINAL INTENT There is absolutely no way anyone can argue against the fact that “God designed every animal he created, as well as His human creation, to consume all food in its raw and uncooked form.” You just can’t argue with that! And if consuming food in its RAW and UNCOOKED form was God’s original intent, would that not be the very best way to consume our food today? I’m sure by now you’re thinking, “Then why write a Health Tip with the heading ‘Danger in Consuming Too Much Raw Food’?” Today, I am going to share with you why I no longer consume a 100% raw plant-based diet and why Hallelujah Acres discourages it. What I am about to share is based on over 36 years of personal experience and the personal experiences of tens of thousands of others who have written to share their experiences. I trust you will seriously consider what I have to say here. A RAW, 100% PLANT BASED DIET IS NOT OPTIMAL I will concede that God’s original Genesis 1:29 diet consisted of 100% raw, plant sourced foods. These were indeed the very foods found in the garden into which God placed Adam and which God told Adam (and through Adam, us) that all humans should consume for the proper nourishment of the human, physical body. I will also concede that it was on this Genesis 1:29 diet that man lived sickness free and to an average age of 912 following creation and for the next 1,700 years of biblical history, right up until the flood that destroyed all garden foods. And there is no question that these raw garden foods have been the very best source of nourishment for our physical bodies since creation to this very day. But having said that, in the day in which we live, I am somewhat against consuming 100% of our plant sourced foods in their living and raw form. What I am about to share will probably shock many of you but - My nearly 40 years of personal research and experience has brought me to the conclusion that a 100% raw plant based diet is not the optimal diet for today. Nor is it the diet I would place on the top rung as we continue evaluating the various diets available to us. I am not coming to this conclusion and making these apparently contradictory statements simply for the purpose of trying to draw attention or as a novice. Rather I have some very strong reasons for questioning a diet consisting of 100% raw, plant-sourced food in today’s world. PERSONAL EXPERIENCES It has been over 36 years since, at age 42, I adopted a 100% raw plant-based diet, along with an abundance of freshly extracted raw vegetable juices, in an attempt to rid myself of a colon cancer. Almost immediately after adopting that diet I began to recover my health, but in the process I lost too much weight and became extremely skinny, dropping from 155 pounds to 115 pounds in just a few months. This all-raw diet also sent my body into a rapid detoxification, forcing me to go to bed for a time due to weakness. So, I added some cooked food back into my diet and within less than a year of making the diet change and without any medical intervention, my cancer was GONE. Not long after my cancer was gone I left the pastoral ministry and took a job as a lecturer and head organic gardener at the beautiful Shangri-La Fasting Resort in Bonita Springs, Florida, a natural hygiene fasting resort ran by Mr. and Mrs. John Cheatham, that taught a 100% raw, plant-sourced diet with lots of raw fruit but no vegetable juices. I remained on staff at the Shangri-La for the next two years building their gardens, providing organic produce for their kitchen and lecturing several times each week to their guests. While there I became enthralled by the writings of Herbert Shelton and T. C. Frye and read everything they and other natural hygienists had written. While at the Shangri-La, I also listened to natural hygiene doctors who lectured frequently on the dangers of animal-sourced foods and the benefits of distilled-water fasting and a plant-based diet. But my time at the Shangri La was also a time when I was able to observe the way people with various physical problems were responding to a 100% raw, plant-based diet and extended, distilled-water fasts. This was a tremendous learning experience for me. I am a results-oriented person and am not nearly as interested in theory or what is supposed to be the best way. I want to know what really works. As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” I SAW OTHERS EXPERIENCING WHAT I HAD EXPERIENCED At the Shangri-La I saw most of those who made the diet change to a 100% raw, plant-based diet and some distilled water fasting, lose weight too rapidly and often forced to go to bed due to weakness as a result of too rapid detoxification - just as I had experienced when I had gone all raw. I also saw people go on exclusive, distilled-water fasts from three days to 40 days. I also saw a few people die while practicing these water fasts. These people had experienced extremely rapid detox that caused me to seriously question whether distilled-water fasting was the best route. SO WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT THE NATURAL HYGIENE DIET? 1. Dangers of Too Much Fruit At the Shangri-La, I saw people go through distilled water fasts, break their fast on raw fruit, and often continue to consume large amounts of raw fruit along with lots of seeds and nuts every day. All this fruit proved to be disastrous for many. The large intake of sugar, even though it was naturally occurring sugar coming from organic fruit, sent many into hypoglycemic symptoms. Many of these people remained too skinny, failed to regain their weight, and were often seriously lacking in energy. In an effort to obtain more fat and protein and to gain weight, they often consumed too much fat and difficult-to-digest protein from seeds and nuts which hindered their recovery. I have since learned that fruits are the cleansers of the body, while nutrients in vegetables feed and rebuild the body. I have also learned that a high intake of raw fruit can be hazardous to a person’s health. On The Hallelujah Diet we encourage the limited use of fruit, no more than 15% of our daily calorie intake, and in some cases discourage the use of fruit entirely. 2. Dangers in Consuming Too Few Calories Some find it difficult to eat enough raw vegetables in order to receive sufficient calories. If we do not consume sufficient calories we can suffer from a lack of protein. Lack of protein can produce new symptoms and problems. I have learned that by juicing a percentage of vegetables, especially carrots, along with blended green smoothies, and by adding a small percentage of cooked foods to the diet, it becomes easy to meet caloric needs and thus protein needs. The juices, blended green smoothies, and cooked vegetables eliminate the need for consuming copious amounts of whole, raw foods. 3. Danger in Not Including Vegetable Juices In all the natural hygiene books I have read and in all of the lectures given by natural hygiene doctors that I attended during the two year I was at the Shangri-La, vegetable juices were never promoted. Sadly, they were often discouraged. I have learned through observation and personal experience that any diet that does not contain raw vegetable juices cannot rise to the top of the ladder in our search for the diet that best nourishes our physical bodies. In all the natural hygiene books I have read and in all of the lectures given by natural hygiene doctors that I attended during the two year I was at the Shangri-La, vegetable juices were never promoted. Sadly, they were often discouraged. I have learned through observation and personal experience that any diet that does not contain raw vegetable juices cannot rise to the top of the ladder in our search for the diet that best nourishes our physical bodies. 4. Cheating Can Hinder Healing I also saw a lot of people who claimed to be consuming 100% of their foods in their raw form cheating by eating cooked foods. Most people are literally addicted to cooked food from a lifetime of eating it.Attempting to remain 100% raw was emotionally challenging and prompted a lot of cheating. The cheating often prompted criticism which only amplified negative emotions, causing additional stress and hindered healing. CONCLUSION While in theory, The Natural Hygiene Diet makes a lot of sense, I found some weaknesses in its practice. When Hallelujah Acres began promoting a diet that consisted of 15% cooked food, we were severely criticized. However, most of the raw foodists who criticized us then, today encourage a portion of the diet to consist of cooked, plant-sourced foods. To the best of my knowledge Hallelujah Acres was the first to break ranks from a 100% raw food movement to encourage a small amount of cooked food be added to the diet in order to obtain the best healing results and in maintaining health long term. I will never forget my experiences at the Shangri-La. It was a tropical paradise where I was able to meet a lot of wonderful guests, meet some great natural hygiene doctors, and enjoy raw, right-from-the-garden veggies, tropical fruits and lots of sprouts. ENTER THE HIPPOCRATES DIET Later, I journeyed to the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston, Massachusetts where I spent considerable time with Dr. Ann Wigmore. There, they not only taught and practiced a 100% raw, plant-based diet with fresh, tray-grown wheat grass, sprouts and fermented foods, but they didn’t even have a stove in their kitchen. This Hippocrates Diet discourages the use of a lot of fruit, which is a huge positive. The Hippocrates Diet also promotes the use of the concentrated nutrients and chlorophyll found in freshly extracted cereal grasses (tray-grown wheat grass) and the inclusion of fermented foods that provide the body with friendly bacteria. Many have experienced tremendous improvements in their health on this diet, but I still have a few things that prevent me from placing this diet on the top rung of the best diets ladder. PROBLEMS WITH THE HIPPOCRATES DIET
- It is a very difficult diet to follow unless you are home every day to grow the foods used, and it fails to include any cooked foods which we talked about previously under the Natural Hygiene Diet.
- On the Hippocrates Diet I have seen many people become too skinny, just like I witnessed by those at the Shangri-La Resort and as I personally experienced my first year on a 100% raw, plant-sourced diet.
- Also, just like I personally experienced and saw others experience at the Shangri-La Resort, a failure to consume sufficient calories sometimes led to low energy and potentially insufficient protein.
- Although B12 is often not an issue with the Hippocrates Diet, because of the friendly bacteria in the fermented food, some on the Hippocrates Diet, the Natural Hygiene Diet, and almost every other diet which does not encourage B12 supplementation, are deficient in B12.