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is it raw or unprocessed that makes Raw so effective?

I’ve started on a two week raw-for-me test to see how it feels. I’ve definitely been wowed by some of the raw stories out there (like raw running, and the 30 days raw project for people with diabetes).

I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years. I’ve tried cooked vegan before, but felt yucky. I’ve been doing 100% raw for a few days now and feel good.

One thing I’m trying to figure out, and would like to experiment with, is whether it’s really the RAW-aspect that makes this lifestyle good-for-people, or whether it’s the fact that all raw food is unprocessed.

To say it another way: vegans eat lots of processed food (soy products, etc) but once I started raw, I realized how necessary it was to prepare all food yourself (that is, if you want to eat anything beyond the basic salad!)

Has anyone out there tested out this question on their own? Comparing: a raw vegan diet, a raw-vegetarian diet (raw milk), a vegan unprocessed food diet.

how do they make you feel?


  • teadeteade Raw Newbie

    I’ve actually do the vegan unprocessed a good bit. The only thing I eat is tofu and occassionally rice milk. Other than that I’d cook my own bread, or my own granola. Generally I feel pretty good. When I’m more raw, I generally feel hungry or bloated from too much fat. I can’t really compare it because I didn’t stay all raw long enough to get past those symptoms. Plus, I really liked alot of vegetables that you can’t really eat raw…

  • juicyjuicy Raw Newbie

    ENZYMES! that is the difference….research the importance of these and you will have a better understanding of the importance of raw!

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    It’s both. The stomach recongnizes raw foods much more easily and doesn’t dump the huge loads of gastric acid and bile. INstead it uses a much more appropriate amount for digestion. This is why problems like reflux disease disappear.

    Also, I guess it’s obvious that raw, fresh fruits and vegetables are heads over cooked/canned foods in terms of vitamins. (including crappy frozen veggies, which are almost always blanched before freezing)

    Just one thing I can’t stop pointing out: vegetarianism does not mean milk is consumed. In strict vegetarianism, like what i practice, no meats, fish or dairy products are consumed. It disturbs me the way the definition of vegan has replaced vegetarianism, making it another modern ego-centered word.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    When we heat food above the human body temperature of 38 degrees, it changes. This heated food effects our health much differently than natural, unchanged foods.

    Prior to 1930, It was believed that whenever we ate, there was an immune system response as if we were poisoned. An immediate rise in white blood cells, by about 300%. White blood cells are our body’s soldiers, they are produced to fight off threats, like poison, trauma or disease. This reaction to eating was called Digestive Leukocytosis and thought to be normal.

    In 1930, Dr Paul Kouchakoff conducted research to compare the effects of cooked food versus raw food. He discovered that Digestive Leukocytosis occurred only when cooked or processed food was eaten. He found that there is no immune system response when we eat our food in it’s natural, unheated, unprocessed state.

    Because of Digestive Leukocytosis, eating cooked food keeps our immune system in a constant state of emergency. Even what we call allergies are just our over burdened immune system literally freaking out when a new irritant is encountered.

    Another immune system response to cooked food is mucus. When cooked food is eaten, our bodies try to protect us from this invasion by creating mucus. This mucus makes a wall between the food and our bodies. The mucus builds up in our guts, causing Mucoid Plaque. This is a rubbery hose which lines the intestines and severely reduces the amount of nutrition we can take in from our food. (Here is a Google Image search showing Mucoid Plaque.)

    After years of cooked food, our immune system literally gets worn out. We become run down, and illness becomes a normal part of life. We think that we are just ageing. We believe we have no choice other than to be sick.

    When we eat Raw foods, our immune system rests and recovers. People who switch to eating only raw foods always experience the same thing. Lifelong problems, conditions and diseases go away, usually within weeks or months.

    People eating Raw have experienced complete reversals of cancers, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, autism, depression, skin disease, etc. The list goes on and on. Our immune system can heal anything, if it’s not continually engaged in a war against cooked food. Our bodies treat cooked food as poison, this of course means, that cooked food is poison.

    When food is heated, the enzymes are also destroyed. Enzymes are the life force in food, the magic elixir of Life. They merge with our bodies and tell us how and where to use the food we eat. It’s the enzymes which tell the vitamin C in the orange to go and become part of our skin. Some believe that enzymes are destroyed by stomach acids, but research shows that enzymes are mainly absorbed in the mouth, before our food gets into the stomach.

    Our body cannot communicate with the food unless the enzymes are there. Raw food contains its own digestive enzymes and literally digests itself inside you. Raw food breaks itself down and goes where it is needed, and all is well.

    Without it’s enzymes, cooked food sits in you like a brick. Your body has to use its own digestive enzymes to deal with the cooked food. Many now believe that humans only have enough digestive enzymes to last them into their 40

  • zoe, you rock my world! that was an awesome response, and i love you for it ;)

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    Beautiful explanation Zoe! Even though I’ve read many books about raw foods, your explanation is so clear and concise that I’m going to save it for future reference when explaining raw to my friends – and myself. Thanks a bunch!

    Lane – I’ve compared eating raw to eating vegan unprocessed. Raw for 7 weeks, vegan unprocessed for 6 months (prior to that, vegetarian and/or vegan for 8 years). It was a night and day difference. Eating vegan unprocessed, i was/had: tired; irritable; emotional; heavy periods; candida; terrible irritable bowel syndrome; colds; mucus; allergies;

    I now eat 99% raw, and within a few weeks, ALL THOSE THINGS ARE GONE. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life! I felt a little out of it for the first few weeks (very tired) but after sleeping a lot and eating well, by week 4, I was feeling on top of the world! Now it’s week 6, and I can’t imagine ever going back to eating cooked food. It’s amazing!

    quick disclaimer: I advocate a very high raw diet, but I also believe that it’s a personal choice about what percentage raw you eat, and that’s totally fine.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    it is a pleasure ;)))

  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    Zoe, Perhaps the clearest description I have read. Thank you!

  • Zoe- thanks for your incredible explanation. I must caveat, I am very excited about the idea of eating just raw, and feel really good on it (barely even miss the coffee), though I’ve only been 5 days at 99%.

    This was the article that got me thinking about the question of processed foods: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=cooking-up-... “Cooking up Bigger Brains”- Scientific American, Dec 07. One quote: “[the researcher] examined groups of modern hunter-gatherers all over the world and found that no human group currently eats all their food raw. Humans seem to be well adapted to eating cooked food: modern humans need a lot of high-quality calories (brain tissue requires 22 times the energy of skeletal muscle); tough, fibrous fruits and tubers cannot provide enough.”

    I was not familiar with the idea of Digestive Leukocytosis, and want to research it more. Thank you for the reference.

    Winona- your experience of the difference between raw unprocessed and raw vegan is really interesting.

    I want to sort of ‘test out’ the differences for myself too- but as a vegetarian (including milk and eggs) I have always been really healthy, if a little emotional. :) So the only real upswing I can expect to look forward to on a raw vegan diet is, perhaps, less dramatic than others might experience.

    It would be interesting if more studies or documentaries were being done, similar to the diabetes project- like here http://www.rawfor30days.com/Site/Home.html

  • sarawsaraw Raw Newbie

    Zoe!!! That is an amazing response!! I am so terrible at forming responses like these. Can I copy this, and use it for other people who ask? Is that purelyraw site yours? I could link there? Lane, our family eats everything home made for the most part. I have two autistic children, which I cut out Gluten, and I am in the process of finding all replacements for dairy for them. It does help to have your food unprocessed. I was 99.5 percent raw for over 2 months. I slowly started eating a little cooked food here and there. It was not unhealthy food, but it still gave me problems. I felt tired again. I still felt okay, better than eating the regular american diet, but NOTHING compared to being 100% raw. You can be 80-90 raw and feel AMAZING. You can eat 100 raw, and feel EVEN MORE AMAZING!!

  • Hi Saraw- I’ve heard really incredible word-of-mouth stories about the positive effects of giving autistic children only unprocessed foods (and no sugar). Have you written about it elsewhere? How long have you been trying it?

  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    LANE - I think eating raw and eating fewer or no processed foods are preferred and since you get both is a raw food program you get it all.

    I found it easier to understand what enzymes do by watching video of how an enzyme does its job.

    This VIDEO shows how an enzyme is intended to function and why it is unable to function when it has been denatured via high temperatures (cooking), If you watch all the options therein, you will understand that when food enzymes are not present why it takes much longer and increased body energy to digest your food, This is why so many who switch to raw food experience an increase in energy in a few days as their body isn’t using so much of its energy to digest food.

    This VIDEO shows how enzymes transmute food molecules.

    This VIDEO shows the entire process of how proteins, carbohydrates and fat are digested.

  • The other reason I started wondering about raw vs. unprocessed is the continual unveiling of foods labeled raw that are actually cooked- almonds, agave, maple syrup-etc. Zoe has a list at purely raw that is very helpful.

    When I started reading about raw 4 years ago or so, quasi-raw ingredients were in some of the popular raw cookbooks (like juliano’s RAW:the uncook book)- yet the raw foodists experienced the same great effects that people who are extremely systematic about checking their food’s lineage experience.

  • so, cooking is processing…

    yes, some foods raw foodists eat may not be 100% raw, but you are still eating 99% raw foods, so of course they would see the same benefits.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    saraw yes please do copy and use my response wherever you want. Purely raw is the website I run with my husband. Here in the UK.

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