If I had to name one thing that has been bugging me lately about the vegan movement, it would have to be rawfoodism*. It should go without saying that this is health veganism taken to unnecessary extremes, born out of pseudo-science, perfectionism, and mythology. Not only does it do nothing to help animals, it does nothing to help improve the health of rawfoodists themselves or anyone for that matter.
Some rawfoodists I’ve met believe they’ve finally found the holy grail of healthy eating and they are not letting go. So fanatical are some of them, they believe any vegan who eats any amount of cooked foods are “poisoning” themselves, and deserve to be mocked as the vegan lepers that they truly are. If you get into an argument with one, expect a torrent of pithy slogans like “cooked food is poison!” in lieu of anything of substance. The foundation of almost all rawfoodist dogma is the naturalistic fallacy, which basically means anything natural is “good”, and anything unnatural is “bad”.
Truth be told, there is virtually no science to support the idea that 100% vegan rawfoodism is the healthiest diet. With science offering no support, vegan rawfoodist gurus and super-athletes have created a powerful mythos of seemingly compelling anecdotes for the proponents of the rawfood cult. While very few rawfoodists are as holy, uh, I mean as healthy as the high priests they emulate, they believe if they “detoxify” and “revitalize” their body’s cells long enough by eating raw foods, they too can achieve super health.
Never mind all those pesky plant toxins that are largely destroyed by cooking, or the fact that many foods are more digestible when cooked, that’s all corporate propaganda to the rawfoodist. To the rawfoodist, perfect health isn’t a fantasy, it is something that can be attained if you eat 100% raw 100% of the time.
The reality is that perfect health is a chimera, and there is no such thing as a “perfect” diet. Anyone trying to sell you a “perfect” diet is a charlatan. Rawfoodism is a fad, and one that is potentially harmful to veganism. It is also harmful to people with serious diseases who choose going raw vegan to treat their condition and end up dying due to lack of proper medical treatment. Veganism, raw or cooked, doesn’t necessarily make you super-healthy, and shouldn’t be promoted as such. That’s not what veganism is truly about in the first place. Its essence is about compassion for all life, and extreme, overly strict, overly complicated, pseudo-scientific approaches to vegan dieting can only hurt our efforts at helping animals. Veganism should be informed by science, not pseudo-science.
I realize this post may puzzle some people. My only aim with this blog and my joggling is to show that a well-balanced vegan diet is adequate for just about anyone, including athletes. The idea that a vegan or vegan rawfood diet can take you to a level of health and super-athleticism that is only attainable by vegans or vegan rawfoodists is preposterous, and not something I believe in. If there is one thing the vegan movement needs a lot more of, it’s critical thinking.
* I realize that not all rawfoodists are vegan; some drink raw milk, consume honey or other animal products. This post concerns both rawfoodism in general, and vegan rawfoodism in particular since the health claims and motivations are very similar. Many rawfoodists started out as vegans, and saw raw veganism as the next logical step in making their diet healthier.