Article in my Misinformation Series
false or misleading information that the provider doesn't
know is untrue
knowingly false or misleading information that is purposely
shared by someone with ulterior motives
one would be surprised that there is misinformation and disinformation
about the human diet; the meat and dairy industries are full of
it. And no one should be shocked to hear that the alternative
health movement has its share of info that wasn't in your best
interest health-wise. But it might surprise some folks to learn
that mis- and dis-info exists in the raw food community as well.
By Don Bennett,
is an example of some misinformation from someone who I believe
to be a sincere and well-meaning educator, but who, nevertheless,
has adopted some miseducation that sounds good on its face, but
is not entirely true in reality.
excerpts and comments are regarding the article, "Why
I Eat 100% Raw. Should You Eat 100% Raw?" by Ariel Belloso.
a saying in Natural Health that goes: 'You don't get healthy
because of the food you eat, you get healthy because of the
food you don't eat.' It's a phrase I repeat to all my coaching
good, but it is an unbalanced approach. The truth is, you get
healthier because you stop eating what is
unhealthy to eat, and you
start to consume what the body requires to be able to provide
you with improved health; what I call a "stop-start"
approach. Both approaches are needed if your goal is optimal healing
and optimal future health. (And by-the-way, anyone who attempts
to place a "percentage of effect" on these two scenarios
is demonstrating their lack of understanding of the complexities
associated with each... so it's best to simply assume that they
both can have a profound effect on your health and well-being,
and to pay equal attention to both.)
confusion is not made easier by many 'teachers' in the raw food
movement selling 'supplements', 'superfoods' and 'magic pills'.
They advise people to eat diets which are not based on any science,
but serve only their own commercial interests."
much to agree with here, but there is a misinformative portion
as well. There's certainly a ton of confusion in the health improvement
community because of the conflicting information that can be found
when one is doing their due diligence and doing appropriate research;
enough conflicting info that warranted an entire book being written
about it (fortunately it's a very thin book).
that sometimes the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, there
are some health educators who sell what are, in reality, worthless
supplements, and they do so either because they themselves have
been sold a bill-of-goods and they honestly believe the product
to be a good one, or because they are running a "profits-before-people"
business, and they only care that the supplements make them money.
But as it turns out there are also some worthwhile supplements
too, and to help recognize these, if an educator recommends a
supplement but doesn't sell it or participate in an affiliate
program, that can be an indicator that this may be one of the
worthwhile nutritional supplements that should be part of people's
diets (and lifestyles, in the case of the non-food-provided nutrients
such as B12 and D).
about 95% of supplements are garbage (or worse), and 95% of those
selling supplements do not have your best interests at heart (or
have been conned into selling something that they'd never sell
if they knew the real deal), it's best not to throw the baby out
with the bath water and assume that all nutritional supplements
are bad and unneeded. And this assessment is based on many decades
of empirical research and experience.
true raw food teacher will not sell you anything but their time
and knowledge, as the only food we are meant to thrive on is
whole fresh fruit and vegetables, and nothing else."
one of the above statement is very true, but part two is misleading,
even if unintentionally so. It is true that we are meant to thrive
on a diet of uncooked (undamaged) fruits mainly, with some leafy
greens too. But being meant to and being able to
are two different things. Many millennia ago we were able to do
both, but most of us are no longer eating foods that Nature grows
for us; we're eating foods that are grown for us
by an agri-based food industry that grows for appearance, yield,
size, pest-resistance, shelf-life, growth-rate, and sugar-content
but not for nutritional content because to do so is more costly,
and they are not being mandated to do so by government or asked
to by consumers, so why should they? The only nutrients they add
back to their soils that we need in our diet are potassium and
phosphorus, and they only do this because if they didn't, their
crops wouldn't grow. But what about the dozens of other nutrients
that we need to grow and be robustly healthy? Are
there none of these other nutrients in those agri-based foods?
Sometimes for one or more of them the answer is 'yes'. But even
if there were always some of all of them, "some" is
not necessarily enough for optimal health. Enough for surviving,
yes. But not enough for thriving over time. And while it's nice
for a raw vegan to survive better than 95% of the general population,
I'd rather thrive (because the difference could be getting or
not getting a diagnosis of something serious at some point later
So we need
to ask ourselves: What if the fruit and vegetables we're eating
today aren't providing enough of all the nutrients the body requires
for optimal functioning and thus optimal long term
health? Do you stick to lovely sounding notions that are in reality
a dogmatic philosophy such as, "Once you start eating
enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition,"
or do you provide your body with what it requires to provide you
with optimal health even if that means adding something to your
diet of fruits and greens?
Hygiene" is the study of the science of health, but some
people who consider themselves Natural Hygienists or Natural Hygienic
Practitioners have adopted a narrow view of Natural Hygiene or
have misinterpreted what the tenets of Natural Hygiene state.
I won't attempt to go into this here, but if you're curious as
to what Natural Hygiene means in today's world and hopefully
you are you can find out from the link at the end of this
might think you need lots of willpower to eat this diet? Not
true. You don't need any willpower because by stopping eating
junk food you will start to feel better. Sure, some people might
take time to master a raw food diet, but not willpower."
true that when you transition to a much healthier diet, and you
reap the rewards of doing so, since these rewards include feeling
better and resolving health issues that were plaguing you, it
doesn't take huge amounts of willpower to stick with it, especially
when you're still eating delicious food as Ariel mentioned. But
some people may need some willpower if some of the foods that
you want to stop eating have a "hold" on you because
of psychological reasons (they're the foods all your friends and
family eat, or they are foods that are associated with good and
happy feelings which you desperately need right now because of
your "blue" emotional state).
that you may have cravings for things that you want to stop eating
because these things are providing a nutrient(s) that you are
not getting enough of when eating only fruits and veggies because
of the way they are grown, as mentioned above. These cravings
are physiological in nature, and obviously no amount of willpower
will adequately deal with them. I speak to one example of this
salt/sodium in my article on why we get cravings
and what we can do about them (link at the bottom).
eat 100% raw not only because I enjoy the taste of raw food
much more than cooked food, but the fact is I feel amazingly
healthy on a raw food diet."
is that aspect to eating what your body is best suited to eat:
You eventually feel great! But we can't get away from the fact
that some cooked meals and "foods" taste amazing! Why?
Because they are designed to taste amazing... they
are designed to push our "taste buttons". Give a child
a choice between a ripe piece of sweet fruit and a sweet candy
bar, and after he's sampled both, he will usually choose the candy
bar. Why? Because it's sweeter than the fruit, and we're designed
to want, not only sweet things, but the sweetest things. This
is how the "food" manufacturers take advantage of our
natural sweet tooth (and our natural desire for enough fat and
So we need
to remember that the "foods" of the typical Western
diet are designed to grab us and hold on to us, therefore they
can be very appealing, and those who eat them can truthfully say
these foods are "delicious" and they enjoy the taste.
Yes, the foods we are best suited to eat will also make us eventually
feel a lot better than the foods that most people are eating,
but as this is not an overnight phenomenon, I find it helpful
to say that a raw fruit-based diet is delicious, and is made of
foods that you will not only come to love, but will love you back
(unlike the foods we are not biologically adapted to eat). And
who doesn't love a win-win scenario. (And if someone is not convinced,
I'll share with them how certain food industries are taking advantage
of them, for the sake of profit, at the expense of their health.
No one likes to be taken advantage of.)
raw in the correct combination, and with the correct fat levels
will always be the ideal diet."
is commonly thought of as a collection of different foods. But
"food" is merely a transport medium for the essential
nutrients we require: vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids
(protein), fiber, water, etc. So when a diet of specific foods
even the ones we're biologically adapted to eat
do not provide enough of all the nutrients a person's body requires
for optimal functioning, if we want optimal functioning,
we need to make sure that our diet includes enough of all these
nutrients... and this, then, would be considered the ideal diet.
So the "ideal diet" consists of both our
ideal foods and ideal amounts of nutrients. And there was a time
when both of these were part and parcel of the same thing, but
most of us are not living in our biological eco-niche where those
foods are available.
must remember that in order to thrive in good health there are
other elements to our wellbeing that are as important as food,
such as good rest, exercise, mental poise and so on."
I would add
as a very important part of the "and so on" sunshine
or its equivalent (for D, D sulfate, and cholesterol sulfate),
and the non-food-provided nutrients that many people aren't getting
enough of (like B12), and the food-provided nutrients that the
foods of our ideal diet aren't providing enough of for reasons
of Supply & Demand (two very important factors when looking
the work Ariel is doing, and I hope he applies the ethos of science
to his research: open questioning, no authorities, no biases or
personal preferences, honesty, transparency, and reliance on evidence,
and this is done with a respect for rational and honest discussion,
a desire to peer-to-peer, the ability to change your position
when the evidence merits it, an intolerance of distortion and
misrepresentation, and above all, a skeptical interrogation of
is an insightful, reality-based author, and health creation counselor
who uses the tools in his toolbox logic, common sense,
critical thinking, and independent thought to figure out
how to live so we can be optimally healthy. More about Don's books,
which have more delicious food for thought, at health101.org/books
is "Natural Hygiene"
Causes Food Cravings
article by Ariel Belloso
Healthy Do You Want to Be?
is Enough Nutrition Really Enough?
Do Our Vitamins Come From?