The above blog entry was sent to me yesterday by a friend. I thought I’d like to comment on it.
First, I’d like to say that I admire Frederic for his amazing ability to market his ideas and products. He has reached a lot of people who otherwise might not be experiencing the joys of simpler eating.
However, I think he belongs with the majority of people who don’t understand addiction and don’t recognize the extent to which it afflicts civilized humankind, including almost all raw fooders. Addiction is an extremely powerful phenomenon and people need to be able to forgive themselves for doing whatever it takes to get out of its clutches, even if it means eating foods that some raw foodists wouldn’t touch. People can’t get rid of all their addictions at once. You don’t see former alcoholics mingling at parties with an empty hand, you see them holding a soda (another addictive “food”), and everyone who’s ever quit smoking will attest to the help that gum and hard candies can offer.
Gradual replacement has long been used as an effective way to resolve addiction, and although hardly anyone even attempts to recover from food addiction in our culture, it offers an effective way to get to optimal eating, as well. Unhealthy foods in the diet just need to be replaced with healthier alternatives, even if the healthier foods are not optimally healthy. Those foods will eventually need to be replaced, too, with healthier versions, and this should continue until no more improvement is practical or possible. That strategy requires great patience, but it’s the gentlest & easiest way to transition to an optimal diet, if that’s the goal that is sought.
Frederic is right that health seekers need to be told that in order to reach their full potential they must completely phase out transitional foods, like complex or high-fat recipes, etc. There aren’t too many raw “experts” saying that, and the ones who are saying it are going too far in the other direction, treating the need for transitional foods as the sign of a weak character. These foods should be abandoned gradually and mindfully, taking one’s individual weaknesses, habitual tendencies and potential triggers into full account. In the meantime, nobody needs to feel ashamed or rushed.
It seems there is a great lack of middle ground in the raw food community. The “experts” are either telling people that they can eat anything and everything as long as it’s raw, or advising them to skip transitional foods altogether and go right to optimal. Of the two, the latter is probably the most dangerous because if transitioners don’t acknowledge the strength of their foe (addiction), they may be inclined to conclude erroneously that they’re just not the stuff that successful raw fooders are made of. Staying in transition-land forever is hazardous to health, to be sure, but reverting to the typical cooked food diet is worse, and that’s typically what happens when people try to make big changes too fast.
For those suffering debilitating diseases particularly, there is great merit in combining both approaches. That is, eating simply and optimally for a temporary period of time (typically 30-90 days) and then, after the body has cleansed and healed sufficiently to allow the person to function more normally, going back to a more gradual transitional diet.