Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Superfood Debate: Part One

The raw food movement isn't only about raw food any more. Yes, we do talk about raw foods and recipes and cooked foods, but the passion has moved somewhere else. It seems like there is more talk these days about superfoods, supplements, elixirs, and teas than smoothies, salads, nuts, and flaxseed crackers. What happened?

I got into raw food after seeing what it did for my daughter and son-in-law. The change in diet immediately made a profound impact on my health. I lost weight and my blood pressure became normal without medication. I started sleeping much better. I felt and looked better, much better. However, as it turns out, raw food isn't enough. And this is where the raging debate lies between my daughter and I.

"But Dad, after a while on raw foods you hit a plateau. That is why we need something more," my daughter told me. She's my guru and worse, she's as stubborn as her thickheaded father. "We need superfoods," she instructed me.

Hum. Ordinarily I would go along with her. I certainly don't want to cause any friction. I really like having good relationships with my three children. So I am going to tread lightly here. And this is the thing: I've been down this path before.

In my twenties I did yogurt because the Hunzas did and they lived to be 120. In my thirties I did juicing because the juiceman cured his cancer that way. In my forties I did tons of vitamins and mineral supplements because I met a man who was in his nineties and super healthy. Along the way I've invested in water purifiers, grown mushrooms, taken up yoga, learned to meditate, jogged the distance around the world at least once, and I'm sure a bunch of other things I've tried and forgotten.

And you know what, sooner or later they all end in a plateau and we come back to one thing: we all still get sick, we all get older, and eventually we all die. So when I consider superfoods and such I have to look back on all the other things I've tried over the years and say: "I'll pass on this one."

Ultimately I'm passing because I don't see anyone in the raw food movement living to be older than my parents and my parents eat more unhealthy food than a manager of Burger King. I just have not met any raw fooders who are exempliars of health. At least not here in America.

The people who are living long lives, well past one-hundred, now they are the ones I want to model my diet and life on. They don't take supplements, they don't eat processed superfoods. The eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The get a lot of exercise. And they live useful lives. That is what I am trying to do. There is the only proof that I have seen that raw food and a mostly vegan diet make a difference.

There is a lot of talk about superfoods, I want to see results. And not just that they give you a lot of energy. Coffee does that for half the country. If anything, getting a lot of energy may be an indication of an amphetimine type substance. I want balance and strength and flexibility and endurance. The only diet that has proven to work there is the simple diet of the Hunza, the Abkhasia, and the Vilcabamba.

More about this in future posts.


Renee K said...

Hi Frank,

I haven't formally met you at one of our raw-lucks, but I've seen you there. Gina joined my Natural moms group and I joined the raw one. Anyway, I agree with this post. I am really not too interested in "superfoods" for a lot of the same reasons. Just seems like a balanced, healthy diet is a great thing and adding "super" foods might make it unbalanced. I'm all for a supplement if there is an obvious deficiency, but not just for the sake of adding it because its "super". I'm more of a real and fresh foods girl. But that's just me. By the way, I LOVE your blog. Just discovered it today on the raw challenge site.

Anonymous said...

This post is great! You articulated what I've been feeling as I try to embrace 100% raw. Everywhere I turn I hear about the superfoods and the supplements that are necessary, and my head spins because it just seems so counterintuitive to the actual premise of raw and natural.