Nothing we can ever ingest is better for our bodies than living foods. This makes perfect sense because the basic unit of the body – the cell – is alive and needs the energy and life force from living, raw food. When our food is cooked to death [literally!] then how can our cells gain any nourishment? Obviously, the can’t. This is so obvious and is the source of the popularity of that diet today. But it’s nothing new, even though we always think that our culture is soooooooooooooooooo modern. So what is the history of the raw foods diet?
I recently read an article that stated, “On the ladder of evolution, cooking foods is a new conception.” What? That’s ridiculous! Back in the cave days, our ancestors had to have eaten raw nuts, seeds, grasses/grains, etc. Meat, especially in early civilization when our hunting skill were meager, had to have been a rare ‘treat’.
Still, we’ve gotten into a cooked-food habit in our culture and have remained in that mindset for a long, very long, time. The problem with this is that the enzymes available in raw food are lost along the way.
In the United States, the claim to fame for a raw foods diet goes to … drum roll … Sylvester Graham (1794- 1851). Yes, he’s the inventor of the famous graham cracker, one of my favorite non-raw foods.
Other famous advocates of living foods that get mention in our “History of the Raw Foods Diet Rollcall” are:
* Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852 to 1943), the originator of the famous Kellogg cereals, among other products. Dr. Kellogg lived mostly on nuts and apples and would undoubtedly be horrified by the sugary garbage that today bears his name.
* The famous health spa “Our Home” began because of Dr. James Caleb Jackson (1814-1895). Our Home served vegetarian foods that were served either raw or lightly cooked, so as not to destroy the valuable nutrients and enzymes.
* Bernarr MacFadden (1868-1955), became extremely wealthy with a publishing empire and was friends with famous people like Temple, Clark Gable, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Will Rogers, and Rudolph Valentino. He lived on raw foods and promoted physical fitness, owning and operating many “healthatoriums” which promoted vitality through enzyme-rich raw foods and physical fitness.
* Dr. Herbert Shelton (1895-1984) was a well-known pacifist and believer in the power of fasting and raw foods to cure disease. In 1956 the American Vegetarian Party chose Shelton to run as its candidate for President of the United States. Dr. Shelton wrote “How Diseases Are Cured” and stated: “What does the average individual know about keeping well? Almost nothing. The people and their doctors are all in the same boat together with a blind man at the helm. They lack the chart and compass and drift aimlessly on a sea of ignorance and misinformation.”
* Arnold Ehret (1866–1922) was the original father of naturopathy. Naturopathy is a system of medicine based on the healing power of nature and is a “holistic” system, meaning that treatment doesn’t focus on ‘parts’ but instead sees the patient as a whole system. Most naturopaths use a wide variety of therapies and techniques such as [no surprise] the power of raw food. Naturopathy focuses on two primary areas: supporting the body’s own healing abilities, and empowering individuals to make lifestyle changes necessary for the best possible health. Ehret believed that a diet consisting of starchless fruits and green-leafy vegetables is the only food fit for human consumption and he wrote the “Mucusless Diet Healing System”.
The first raw food restaurant in the US, called “Euthropheon: was founded in 1917 while the first health food store – which promoted raw foods – opened in 1934.
The point of this history of the raw foods diet is to show that the use of raw foods isn’t some stupid “fad”, but is an integral part of every healing system and prevention method that makes sense. There will be much more on raw foods on this blog since I am doing a holistic detox right after Christmas of 2008 and living foods will be an indispensible part of that detox.