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Mostly Raw?

chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

I just want to vent my frustration over the use of phrases like…

Mostly Raw

Considered Raw

Technically Raw

Not Really Raw

Nearly Raw

etc. I think you all know the type of phrases I am refering to. For me Raw is a very specific thing. Once any food item has been heated above body temperature, it changes. It is no longer Raw. There is no “Grey Area”.

To me it’s like saying “Mostly Pregnant”. How the heck can you be, “Mostly Pregnant”? You either are or you are not. Or like saying “technically vegan”. It’s either made with animal products or it is not. Vegan or Not Vegan. Raw or Not Raw. Pregnant or Not Pregnant.

Many of the most popular Raw sites and gurus use these terms often. Often when describing products they have for sale. They do this because if they were specific and said in the desciption that this item is “Not Raw”, we would all wonder why it is for sale on a Raw Food website.

If they say it’s “Not Technically Raw” it somehow seems OK. Even David Wolfe, who’s book “Nature’s First Law” proudly ends each chapter with the phrase… “Cooked Food Is Poison” sells his newest chocolate bar, using the phrase “Mostly Raw”. Why doesn’t he just say “Partially Poisonous”?

The mad rantings of a purist, sorry!


  • humanimalhumanimal Raw Newbie

    Amen man.

  • I second [or third] that. Vegans don’t eat honey!!!!!!! [sorry, I had to.]

  • deborahanndeborahann Raw Newbie

    Chris, how is your book coming along? When I first discovered this way of life/eating Yor website was one that was very helpful along with this one. I’m sure your work will be interesting!

  • debbietookdebbietook Raw Master

    Agree with Chris.

    I’m fine with people using non-raw ingredients (I’m not totally raw myself) if they want to. But I do wish those in the raw limelight would at least place a tiny asterisk beside the non-raw ingredients in their recipes (and perhaps call them’high-raw’ rather than ‘raw’), as otherwise newcomers to raw happily think assume they’re eating unaltered ingredients, because after all they’re in a ‘raw’ recipe book (!). For example, in the UK, we can’t obtain the following foods raw: brazils, macadamias, dessicated coconut (amongst others) – they’ve all been heat-treated to a degree at which substances in them will have been altered/damaged. Then along come Chris, myself and others, who are seen as party-poopers and spoilsports when we say, ‘well, actually…’ I have even heard people say, ‘well, if you want to be purist about it…’ as if ‘pure’ is a bad thing! ‘Purism’ is a GOOD thing – it’s the whole point of what we’re doing, isn’t it? I know Chris and Zoe make lots of wonderful ‘rawcuisine’-type recipes without using any of these non-raw ingredients – it can be done!

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    Yeah, no-one ever says our 100% raw food doesn’t have enough flavour…even cooked SUK food eaters. We ALWAYS have the comment “Wow it has got SO much flavour!”

    When we first went raw, and made raw recipes from books, we used these things like miso, nama shoyu, nutritional yeast etc, then when we realised they weren’t raw and changed the recipe to make them 100% raw, guess what? They ALL tasted WAY better.

    I mean…is there anyone out there who uses Matt Amsden’s/Renee Underkoffler/Juliano etc books and actually puts the amounts of nama shoyu they say to in the recipes without heaving?! I hate being called “radiacal” “extreme” etc by other raw fooders, I mean like Chris says, it is either raw or it isn’t!

    P.S. I have been making my own dessicated coconut by dehydrating shredded fresh brown coconut flesh, it is soooo gorgeous, much better than the icky yuk packaged dead stuff they sell in the shops.

  • MarichiesaMarichiesa Raw Newbie

    Hey Guys,

    I actually agree with everything you have said. My only concern is that many people ‘grow’ into this way of eating gradually and the purist ‘all or nothing’ mentality can really frighten people away. The cult-ish feel that some raw foodists promote can be a turn off. Its seems so unforgiving at times. It’s true you can’t be a little bit pregnant but the universe in all its wisdom doesn’t plant a 7 lb fetus in a woman’s uterus on day one of conception either.

    I laughed out loud about the Matt Amsden Nama/ Shoyu comment! Its so true. When I made one of his recipes months ago just starting out I gagged at the saltiness. ( And I like salty. ;O) )

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    My method of being raw is this, I make sure everything that I make is truly 100% raw. And everything in my kitchen is 100% raw. If, as I did when transitioning, I feel a craving for a cooked food then I eat it. This happened frequently at the start, and has become less and less frequent as I have gone on. If I was eating nama shoyu/miso/nutritional yeast/rice/cooked nuts/dried fruit/agave etc etc, then I would be struggling with cravings much more, and I would not have the raw high which I enjoy as a Truly 100% raw food eater.

    Making sure that when I do eat raw that it is really all raw has helped me stay 100%, and given me the experience of feeling high and so healthy which only comes when 100%

    When I have eaten miso/nama Shoyu etc in the past it gave me big time cooked food cravings which made being raw harder which is why I don’t like to eat it.

    I cannot see this as scary or “purist” I am simply a raw foodist. I don’t think people need to be eased into the idea that cooked food is harmful, I don’t walk on eggshells with this topic because I think it is arrogant to believe that other people can’t handle the truth about food. Take all the time you need to transition, yes, absolutely, but why make out that it is healthy or OK to eat cooked food, we all know it is not.

  • Hello Zoe, I always look forward to reading your comments because I learn so much. I thought that nama Shoyu was raw. What do you use if a recipe calls for it?

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    awww thanks rawgirl! Debbie Took explains what the deal is with nama shoyu perfectly on this thread: http://www.goneraw.com/forums/2/topics/1683

    I just use a little salt instead in recipes…it always tastes better to me ;)

  • I don’t typically use the nama shoyu in Juliano’s recipes either, but I didn’t question what was in the food when I ate at his restaurant (I’m not 100% Raw), and I enjoyed everything.

    A few years ago, I was 100% Raw for about a month, but didn’t sustain it. I agree that it should be plainly spelled out when cooked ingredients are used. I fell into the trap of unknowingly using cooked things.

    Chris and/or Zoe—you mention not heating over body temperature. Is it your belief then that the cutoff is around 99 degrees F?

  • debbietookdebbietook Raw Master

    Sorry to but in (wow – never posted so much) but yes – body temperature would be about 99 F. I sort of bend this by saying that when the body is cleansing, ie in a fever, could go above 100! I never dehydrate above 105 F, and everything turns out fine.

  • Reading all of your comments has been a learning experience for me. Only a couple of months ago, I first tried “the raw food diet” for a couple of weeks to “detox”... when I tried to go back to cooked food after that I felt worse than before I had ever “detoxed” so have decided to stick with raw food eating. I even have a dehydrator now! Many recipes on this site have been misleading, because I read a bunch a recipes and then did my “raw” grocery shopping and bought Nama Shoyu, nutritional yeast, and probably other items that I have since learned are not “technically raw.” (Sorry to use that term, Chris!) I admit that I am not close to 100% raw yet, as I do give in to cravings on occasion, or eat cooked food when I am out or travelling when raw is not an option. I like to think that I am taking care of myself, physically and emotionally, by eating good food that is good for me, but also allowing myself the flexibility to satisfy myself with other options on occasion. Eventually, I may get there, but in the mean time, I appreciate the support of the non-purists and the education I am getting from the purists!!

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    rediscoveraw – our dehydrator is set at 95 F

  • Thanks yall. I don’t have a dehydrator yet, but I’m definitely getting one soon and I’d like to err on the side of caution.

    I know some of the issues with Raw, or anything to do with food or lifestyle, can become divisive. I appreciate the frustration with how loosely Raw can be defined by some. At the same time, I’m glad there’s room for different opinions on this site.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    Well, there is a difference between food temperature and air temperature. (at least for the Excalibur), so really, the food probably never reaches 105 or 95 if it is set to that.

    I can take a hot shower up to about 112F (at least that is what I was told when I was taking my hot-cold-shower). So, I think food at those temperatures would still be okay since enzymes don’t start to denature until 118F. But, this is just a guess. Is there any info on the benefits of dehydrating at temperatures below 110F? Thanks.

  • chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

    Zoe and I have our Excalibur set on 95f because when testing the temps inside during operation, we found that at that setting the temps would max out at about 110 to 115. When set higher than 95f, we have found temps can reach above 120 very easily.

    We are not looking for heat from my dehydrator only dryness. I don’t mind another hour or so of time in the Excalibur to be sure that my enzymes are as complete as possible. It works fine at 95f and has now for a few years.

  • i just started my path of eating raw. i am “transitioning”. i can understand your point of view chriscarlton… yet i agree with Marichi about the pregnant topic (a baby grows bigger, stronger, & healthier over time…not just over-night). i agree with how your wife Zoe explains the transition, yet i know “winging” myself off non-raw foods…i never have had the mind-frame that the food is healthy or ok for my body since gaining the knowledge of raw… it’s just that. living a whole life thinking what’s ok, isn’t anymore & being a human all together. i give in…to a bite of my moms home made split pea soup for example… with that i have let go of giving into someone i love, let go of that food, feel that i have betrayed my heart for a second… & with all that i become stronger. i admire that you are a purist, in a world that is not pure. i have pure intentions. yet in order to achieve that goal for myself…i am trying to find out within myself & this new transition what will work more for me… eating 80% or 100% raw foods.. either way it could make it so i am more venerable to foods that are not raw & that is a path i never want for myself again. i am trying to find my medium for now. if i looked at it black & white…with my heart & soul so involved & slipped…it would break my heart & make me to such a weak point i don’t want to imagine. i don’t want to take the chance of loosing my strength at any degree, i just want to become stronger….i am determined. so if it’s 80% that helps me the most at first in order to reach 100% ...100% for the rest of my everyday living…to reach the my inner goal of purity. then that is what i will do. during that time i will refer to myself out loud as 80% raw vegan… because 100% is my inner goal… & during this time of change it is apart of what makes me stronger like affirmations. the stronger i get…the more pure i become. i just thought perhaps you could see it through another human beings life/heart…hence all humans lives aren’t just black & white…& no matter what name they call them self they can still hold a love that is pure in their hearts for eating raw. some people have stronger will-power. i am sure someone as strong as you, that has worked hard very hard in their life to become so pure… well i can see how it would be frustrating for sure. i hope i have not offended you, i just saw a piece of myself in what you said. i do admire you & your wife. =)

  • I have a problem with the raw temperature issue. If the enzymes (whatever they are worth as they do not help in digestion but can add nutrients to our diet) are dead at 105 degrees or 110 degrees then everything that was exposed to a desert temperature which can go as high as 140 degrees has 100% of it’s enzymes dead? Which means anyone who lives in the desert or buys plant foods that grew in the desert is eating cooked food. This is nonsense to me. There is a lot more to the enzyme theory than just air temperature. Also salt is in no way a plant derived food. Salt is equal to sand, dirt, earth, rock, dust, it is an inert non-living toxin that doesn’t belong in anybody’s food or recipe. As soon as we ingest anything that contains salt (unless it is part of a vegetable such as celery) our body will immediately try to remove it. Try drinking a glass of sea water and see what that feels like.

  • debbietookdebbietook Raw Master

    Just to clear up a common misconception, I have a press release from Excalibur that says the temperature on the dial most definitely refers to the temperature of the food, NOT the ambient temperature. So, if the dial is set to 105 degrees, the food will definitely reach that temp (and Chris and Zoe’s own checks suggest that it actually gets hotter than that…).

  • debbietookdebbietook Raw Master

    Socal, could be…perhaps we’re not meant to live in areas where the temperatures are so high? Did man start off in a desert, or did he travel to those lands? Are they (and any foods they yield) the ideal habitat for man? (Saying that, I’m not sure the cold UK is, either!!) Perhaps, yes, their food is indeed a little ‘cooked’, if it’s that hot, and they haven’t been able to keep it cooler. To what extent are people living in 140 degrees bouncing with health? Do they live long? I don’t know. But what we do know is that there is a lot of research that shows that, at somewhere between 115 and 120, not only do enzymes die, but vitamins and antioxidants start to undergo damage, and even some minerals start to become ‘less usable’ by the body. To what degree will vary by food, but different researchers have all found this temp to be about the cut-off point. So, as I’d guess most on this forum are fortunate enough not to be living at 140 degrees…we might as well eat foods warmed at temperatures that the research suggests maximises the ‘living’ qualities. I did try dehydrating recently at 95, like Chris and Zoe, and crackers worked out fine.

  • chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

    Just to be clear… I say it all the time, here I go again…

    I have no problem with anyone eating 80% Raw, Hell I have no problem with anyone eating 30% Raw. I only ever suugest that “at some point” you may want to try 100% for 6 weeks to 3 months just as a personal test.

    To my knowledge I have never said 100% was the only way, or anything similar to that. I just relate my experience of the difference between how I felt at 90% and how I feel now that I have gone all the way. Zoe and I also go on about how we have found 100% easier because of not having to deal with cooked food cravings all the time.

    This particular post was not aimed at other posters on GoneRaw but instead it was aimed more at the gurus who, in my humble opinion, do their fellow man an injustice by using the phrases in my first post. When I was first trying to be 100%, I was fooled by a few of these gurus. It was very frustrating to find out something wasn’t raw after weeks of eating it. I just don’t want others who are attempting the 100% thing to have the same experience.

    As far as the whole pregnant thing goes… No matter what size the baby is, the mother is pregnant. You can’t be “Mostly Pregnant”. Conception has either taken place or it has not. Could someone suggest a better analogy? An old friend of mine used to say “Almost only counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” But I would guess that is an even more obscure reference.

    As far as temps go. I understand that some enzymes begin to die at 118f and they are almost all dead by around 140f or so. I also know that the food temp in my excalibur will not reach the same temp as the air because of evaporation. I don’t care, I set mine that low when I first got it, it works fine like that, I know my food is raw, why should I raise it?

  • I have another question. Is Bragg’s liquid aminos raw? Are there any other seasonings or ingredients listed in recipes on the site that are not raw that I should know about? I know that Nama Shoyu and nutritional yeast are not raw even though they are considered living.


  • How do you all deal with the dried herb / spice issue? Do you buy these raw? It has often concerned me that adding spices to food prevents it from being 100% raw.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    Hey Renoir,

    No, sorry, Bragg’s is not raw. As far as other ingredients that are found in many “raw” recipes, yet are not raw see our ‘Dead Food List’ on PurelyRaw.com. Click Here

  • Thanks, Zoe. I had a feeling that Braggs wasn’t raw once I found out that Nama Shoyu wasn’t either. Thanks for that link. It was really helpful. I read on a post here something about dates not being raw? Is that true? Also, at the health food co-op I shop at, I have bought foods labeled raw, such as Raw Agave Nectar, Raw Tahini, Raw cacao powder and cacao nibs, and many raw nuts that are listed on that site. Do you think that they really are not raw?? That is crazy that they can be labelled as such and not be… Also, FYI Sciabica olive oil is raw. They have fresh pressed, unfiltered olive oil that is amazing. Also can be purchased online www.sciabica.com.

  • as i would tell my third graders when they “tattle” unnessesary information about a classmate or try to boss someone else around: “you need to be concerned with your OWN actions, please.”


  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    Renoir, I have seen agave nectar which I believe to be really raw, it is a watery consistency, not syrup like, and clear in colour. With Cacao it is all fermented, and temps reach over 140 degrees during fermentation. Obviously it is up to you if this is an issue or not. We are trying to find unfermented cacao, we will sell it if we can find any, no luck as yet…Cashews, USA almonds, brazils, macadamias, pecans etc are all labelled raw, they just mean they are not roasted. If you can find a source for these nuts which have not been heated when dried or shelled, or unfermented cacao, then please let us know!

    Holidayatsea, It is crazy that food is labelled raw when it is not. It is misleading, and creates a real problem for people like us who want to be 100% raw. For me it has made a huge difference to my health and well being and my ability to stay 100% when cutting these things out. I believe that people who go raw do not want to eat cooked food, so if there is food that is labelled raw and it is not, I believe it is right to inform the raw food community about it. We did not know about these things until we began to research into it, and from the feedback we recieve every day, there are many raw foodists who are unwittingly eating cooked food also. That is why Chris and I researched everything we eat and put what we have found out on our website. The information, is for people who are concerned about staying 100% raw. It sounds from your post that you are offended or upset by this information/subject. Surely if you do not worry about such things then you can just ignore this information?

  • debbietookdebbietook Raw Master

    Good on you, Zoe. I have found that people can get quite upset when told their ‘untoasted nori’(at least in UK), or their brazil nuts,or whatever, aren’t raw at all, and I have been disappointed to read in various places comments that have the effect of subtlely denigrating those who are simply telling the raw world what is heat-treated and what is not – after all, avoiding foods damaged by heat is the whole point of ‘raw’, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it better to say a huge THANK YOU to Zoe, Chris and others for sharing the information? Is it so hard to stop eating these heat-treated foods? (I wonder why..they say cooked food is addictive!) But, really, if you do think of yourself as a 90-100% raw fooder, it’s no hardship to stop eating the ‘not strictly raw’(!) foods -there are lots and lots of other delicious raw foods to choose from!

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