Raw: The ultimate diet?

Posted on November 15, 2010

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Eating raw becomes more and more popular every day. And so, is there truth to this claimed-to-be, ultimate cure-all, heal-all diet?

Yes and no. Yes, raw foods are great for our bodies. And no, a 100% raw foods diet is not a healthy & balanced way of life. I know, that’s a pretty unpopular position to take in this day where so many health-food gurus are saying raw is the only way.

My position is that of the middle path. For some body types and disorders (kapha types in ayurveda, with parallels in chinese medicine), raw foods are wonderful in certain seasons. For vata body types, raw foods are the worst thing possible! So, granted, in the US where so many are overweight, and have diseases of the slow, heavy, phlegm-y type (kapha), raw foods offer a great antidote. They are an easy way to reduce the excesses of the western life-style and help create balance.

For the other body-types of people and illnesses, raw foods can offer detriment. In my practice, I’ve seen at least a dozen clients who have followed the raw foods diet for many years and come in with complaints of digestive issues– gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, etc.

So what’s happened? Well, raw foods, for short periods of time act as a way for the body to cleanse. They offer the high-potency nutrients to clean out our digestive tracts. Prolonged periods of time on such a diet, however, shut down the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. No HCl means the food eaten just sits there and putrifies. So, when one tries to eat something other than raw foods after long periods of following this diet, the stomach cannot handle it. It can’t digest the food and hence causes a myriad of symptoms.

What’s the middle path? The middle path is one that considers YOUR individual body type, the dis-ease or imbalance YOU are dealing with, along with the seasons, and creates a plan that would be most beneficial for you on your healing path.

In general, for healthy living, for a majority of people, it is appropriate to do 80% raw, 20% cooked during the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, the balance should reach to more 50-50 because let’s face it, cold food on a cold winter day does not sound appealing! My humble suggestion, thus, is to not jump on the raw-food bandwagon but to find a happy, balanced, diet and lifestyle for YOU!

And, if you’re looking for more ways to connect with your body and what it’s really asking for, check out Yoga of Eating, by Charles Eisenstein.

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