The Enormous Difference Between Raw Foods and Living Foods
I hope you are having a great, post-holiday week. I hear it is really hot in NY, so if you are in a hot city hope you are drinking lots of room-temperature water to hydrate!
I’m here having a fabulous time at the Ann Wigmore Institute. There is so much to talk about, I had to divide this original blog up into 3 or 4 posts. :) But I thought I would start with a topic that has really been on my mind lately, and is emphasized so much here at the Ann Wigmore Institute.
Dr. Ann Wigmore was a true pioneer and her legacy has changed nutrition and the health movement forever. Before she passed away in 1994 (from a fire by the way, not old age), she already wrote extensively on the difference between just eating raw food and actually eating in a superior and nourishing way, which she termed Living Foods. Even back then, in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, the raw food movement was around. Dr. Wigmore observed that many people on a raw food diet, but not a Living Foods diet, had acidic bodies, were deficient in certain important minerals and compounds, had weight and skin problems (like acne) and were certainly toxic. I think if she saw aspects of the raw food movement today she would be horrified!!!! So why is it that if someone is eating “all raw” they can still be so incredibly unhealthy?? There are lots of reasons, but I’ll list a few here.
You may also be wondering, what are living foods?
Living foods are made up of whole, organic plant foods, with an emphasis on greens, sprouts, fresh fruit, and some nuts and seeds. Today the misconception is that “anything goes” as long as it is raw. So what does that mean? People LOAD up on extremely heavy dehydrated foods, tons of oil, cacao, agave, too much sea salt, “superfoods,” way too many (unsprouted) nuts and the like. The emphasis on the simplicity of nature, and greens, has been diminished!
Dr. Wigmore said the most important part of eating a living foods diet was eating some blended foods, so you would get the every important benefits of the foods without having to work to digest them, and you would retain the fiber in the food to help create bulk in the colon to sweep out toxicity. This is what the Glowing Green Smoothie is based on loves!! There is a science to it!! If you juice, you remove all the dietary fiber. There are benefits to that as well- but know that you are not getting blended food.
Even if we ate salads all day, most of us don’t chew well enough to get the volume of nutrients in that we would get from some blended foods. BTW, we have some chewing classing here, and it really is amazing how much we need to chew to get the nutrition out!! I was shocked! I thought I was a slow eater, but now that I am conscious, I am a slow eater times 10! :) It can take me 45 minutes to finish a bowl of Energy Soup.
3. Living foods emphasize digestion, so contain lots of easily digestible fermented foods, such as Rejuvelac and raw sauerkraut, and you MUST soak and sprout your seeds and nuts! Dr. Wigmore believed the reason so many raw foodists have acidic bodies is they are eating the nuts and seeds without preparing them properly to remove the inhibitor enzymes, which keeps the nutrition dormant in the human body, and makes them acid-forming and mucus-forming.
4. Agave is a HUGE no-no. I know, it sucks because it is so easy to use and makes things so damn tasty! I used to use it and promote it! But the truth is that anything that is too easy and too good to be true like that…usually is. If you look at it closely, you may wonder how it arrived as a syrup that way. Maybe you’ve noticed that I have been saying little quips against agave here and there for the last year or so. I’ve also tried to remove it from as many places in this blog as I could find.
I used to think it was okay- after all the whole raw food world seems to think it is okay! It’s low glycemic, isn’t it? It’s from a plant, isn’t it? It is used without limit in many instances in the raw food world. I’m going to do a whole post on this soon. But the truth is that agave is almost pure fructose, and fructose makes you fat and destroys the collagen in the skin. I think that is one reason why raw foodists that eat it every day gain weight.
I used to promote it too! So don’t feel bad because I don’t. I didn’t fully realize back then how bad it was- but I know now! There is such great marketing attached to it. And I am not being judgmental. When you know better you do better. And I am sharing this with you because I highly recommend for you to cut it out of your diet 100%, the way I have. You have to be careful, because unfortunately now it is in everything from energy bars to raw granola. Read the labels and avoid, avoid, avoid!! I will write extensively on this topic in another post. Stay tuned folks!
5. Living Foods do not contain a lot of dehydrated foods. This is sort of related to #1. Dehydrated foods are considered transitional foods for energy, weaning off of cooked food. Dehydrated foods are concentrated with no water, and very dense. They can be very constipating, and do not promote cleansing and lightness! Dehydrated hemp burgers, too many flax crackers…
I think people rely way too much on dehydrated foods. I make them for dinner parties and when I’m making food for those that eat meat and cooked food, to show them raw food can taste really good. But as you elevate the level of health and wellness, the dehydrated food becomes a tiny fraction of the diet. Dr. Wigmore said dehydrated food should be used very sparingly, like for special occasions or a little bit here and there. Like I was saying in #1!
6. Okay, so sorry to keep harping in on #1! But we can’t rely too much on cacao or oil to make things taste good. Our taste buds are getting used to too much stimulation, and then we aren’t satisfied anymore with a plain salad or a Glowing Green Smoothie. We don’t need all that stuff all the time- keep it simple.
Alright, that is my manifesto for tonight! My brain is bursting with so much to say but I have to say nighty now. The internet is slow and it took me forever to get the post up. But a small price to pay! I LOVE the island life and the lack of technology, TVs, air conditioning (at least here!), etc. and wearing flip flops all day and jumping in and out of the ocean 3 or 4 times a day between classes!
I’ll write more soon!
I wrote this post not to burst your bubble, but because I love you and want you to feel your best and reach the highest level of health that you can reach!