Raw Vegan Extremism–Eat This Way or Die a Horrible and Immediate Death!

The other day (really months ago, this draft has been waiting for inspiration, which I found today thanks to Chocolate Covered Katie) I was in Whole Foods with Yasmin looking for new and fresh ideas to add more raw vegetables into the family’s diet.  I had done my research over the past six months or so.  I learned that heating to a certain temperature does kill some nutrients.  In certain cases, it kills most of the nutrients.  Conclusion: If I want to increase the amount of nutrient-dense, high fiber, lower fat, lower sugar foods to increase energy, prevent disease, and enhance our overall well-being, I should probably eat more raw fruits and vegetables.  I already eat a variety of salads and single fruit and vegetable items, but I was looking for some more variety to help us enjoy these foods more often.  I thought this was reasonable.  We were looking at raw vegan books when this scrawny man walked up offering his unsolicited irrational nutrition advice.  This was one of my first encounters of the raw vegan extremist kind.

Why, why, why can’t I be a healthy, happy omnivore who eats mostly whole foods and a good supply of raw fruits and vegetables?  Some say that once I start down this road raw veganism is where I am destined to end up.  So what?  We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.  But for now, I’m not giving up the non raw vegan foods that I love.  I adore but rarely eat hoagies, cheese curls, and donuts.  Now, I am also not interested in any fake meat or fake dairy, with one exception.  My family drinks soy and almond because of lactose sensitivities (from milk but not yogurt or cheeses) and the delicious taste of almond milk, which I love more than cow’s or soy.  Generally, I don’t like substitutions.  I just want the straight-up fruits and vegetables that taste good just being themselves.  I am also not interested in purchasing any expensive new kitchen appliances (like a dehydrator) or growing sprouts or using strange enzymatic whodda-whaddas to do something to raw food to make it edible.  Let me just throw in here that there is nothing wrong with doing these things if that’s what is you wish to embark upon, I just don’t.  I strive for balance and happiness in my life and doing these things are not where I choose to spend my resources. I wrote to several online sources for guidance but was quickly shocked and dismayed at how unholy, savage, and just monstrously putrid certain raw vegan extremists perceived us omnivores to be.  They couldn’t respect my decision to be a healthy omnivore who eats lots of raw fruits and vegetables, and would not waste time on me unless I committed to moving towards exclusive raw veganism.

But the claims that are made by certain extreme raw vegan enthusiasts only require basic common sense to completely discount. Now I’ve heard it all.  After becoming an extreme raw vegan they claim to have eliminated almost all forms of ailments, cured allergies that have nothing to do with meat or dairy,  even corrected vision!  Ooookaaay.  None of the photos of these folks portrayed them as the vision of vibrant health they professed to be.  I thought they looked rather pallid and feeble.  The whole idea of raw vegan extremism is built upon some seriously flawed logic:  If X is better for your health than Y, Then Y must be bad and gonna kill you.  WTF?  That’s basically what they say.

Or, how about the idea that things that are not really edible in raw form just can’t be eaten at all because they need to be cooked?  Some of them even prohibited the use of certain condiments because they had been heated above a certain temperature.  So I can’t eat a tablespoon of salad dressing because it was heated above a certain temperature, lost its nutrients, or the heat made the dressing a carcinogen?  I’m gonna die from cancer if I eat pb&j because the jam was cooked!?  Oh Lawd!  I was so tempted to cut and paste their crazy statements here but I am not into humiliating or bashing anyone.  But I hope you get the gist anyway.

I have a theory for this raw vegan extremist obsession.  You see, some people, but not all raw vegans, desperately need to belong to something.  Something that is exclusive or difficult for others to be a part of, in order to feel special.  Some people like to wear their food allergies, real or imagined, like badges of honor.   Others insist on creating the most intricate and restrictive eating plans and call them “lifestyles” and be total pains in the ass to deal with in any social eating situation.  Some people have this extremism as their only claim to fame and can’t survive for more than fifteen minutes without bringing their noble raw vegan extremism up in a conversation.  I don’t need this in my world.

Not all raw vegans are extreme, and I hope to meet more healthy sane raw vegans along this journey but until now, I’ve been mostly on my own with this venture.  I just discover ideas and recipes one at a time as I come across them.  For example, I throw a little fresh raw kale into a fruit smoothie to pump it up.  It really does not change the flavor at all.

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