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"Raw! Some Are Getting Hot Over Eating Uncooked Food. Some Think It's Just Cold Comfort"

Blackbook Magazine - Summer 1998
By Keith Hurwitz

Sushi and raw-food bars are "on the scene," says Joseph Boyer, head chef of New York's Atlantic Grill, "everyone's getting on the wave." To some, raw food means sushi bars and late-lunch oyster binges with tu amante, climaxing with a spontaneous reservation at the Pierre. Others, however, are committing to raw-only diets -- not for the foreplay factor -- but in their pursuit of greater wellness and nude-food nirvana.

Trinna Moore has been preparing food since she was ten. She's owned a live-food catering business, worked as a chef at Miami's only live-food restaurant, and recently took over as master chef at Ozone, New York City's only live-food restaurant. She has stopped wearing her glasses; she doesn't need them anymore. She's been 90% raw for almost twenty years, eating only fruits, greens, nuts, some fermented foods -- anything grown naturally from the earth. "The sun's already cooked [the food]," Moore expalins, "When we pick it, it's ripe; it's ready."

"We're fighting a lot of things now," emphasizes Moore. "Scientists are trying to play with our food."

Stephen Arlin, co-founder of Nature's First Law (www.rawfood.com) and a raw-food practitioner for 3 years, says, "A raw-foodists isn't really something you become -- it's something you already are. We start eating cooked food. We addict ourselves to substances. We just want a stimulant. On some conscious level, people know this."

Live-foodists contend that more popular diets force the masses to ingest extra pollutants. In addition, cooking food destroys vitamins used to supplement digestive enzymes in our body that convert sugar and fats into energy, and amino acids into proteins. Many on the hibachi-hazing set point to the Pottenger cat study, which found that cats (and their offspring) who were fed raw food turned out to be much healthier than the test group fed cooked meals.

Borrowing enzymes, "is basically the process of aging," says Annie Jubb, who, along with her husband Dr. David Jubb, run Excellence Incorporated, a nationwide live-food support group. The two also own the Raw Experience restaurant in San Francisco, and are preparing to launch their raw-food television show nationwide.

Jubb has been a raw-foodist for over a decade. In that time, she's seen tumors shrink, ailments disappear, skin clear up, and people become luminous. "A raw-food diet stops people's bodies from constantly trying to deal with all these pollutants. Most people are eating completely dead foods. They eat so much mucus-forming food that their entire brain is bogged down with toxins."

Aside from blaming a medical system that common cures over personal prevention, Jubb also emphasizes that "a capitalistic society...doesn't have to be interested in your welfare, [just] your money." The consumer in this scenario is also guilty in the eyes of raw-wranglers. "Most people don't want to admit that they've actually had a hand in creating their own wellness, or lack of it."

Everyone like Jubb has their counterpoint in someone like Anne Dubner, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, who says there is no scientific backup for the enzyme theory. A raw-food diet, explains Dubner, would not be balanced, lacking calcium, protein, iron, and vitamin B-12.

Les Kaplan, a holistic health practitioner, kept losing weight during his three years on a raw-food diet. Kaplan became painfully aware of the very arguments that Dubner warned against when a friend who also followed the diet died of a B-12 deficiency. Much like his counterparts in the scientific community, Kaplan realized that a raw-food diet wasn't ideal for every body-type, but he came to his realization through ayurvedic study.

In response to the opposition, Arlin contends that the scientists don't understand. There can be weight and digestion problems, but raw-foodists claim that only excess weight is lost, and that all nutrients are available with juice and the right food. As far as the added danger of bacteria and pesticide intake that comes from a raw-food diet, advocates call for the development of more organic farms. Practically the only argument raw-foodists don't have an answer for is the pleasure/pain threshold. Registered dietician Patricia Pace points out that a raw-food diet means a reduction in the variety of foods a person can eat, and -- in turn -- satisfaction with eating.

The best advice for the well-done-wary, though, may come from those who point to the relationship between mind and body. Kaplan and his partner Susan Joyce Proctor, whose clientele now includes medical professionals, agree that the power of the mind is the most important factor in a good diet. "When somebody's system is in a state of balance, then they have access to the body's intelligence in terms of what is right for them. That's the principle of life-force -- when it is in place and flowing, that permeates the whole being."

 

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