My Response to a Raw Foodist

As you know, a few days ago I discussed the raw food diet. I’d like to thank you all for your support and comments surrounding this post, I really do appreciate it.

The raw food diet is definitely a much debated topic, and this morning I was reminded of this fact when I read a response to my article from Gena, who wrote a guest post over at Hangry Pants.

Gena is a high-raw vegan, and says her diet consists of mostly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, and occasional sprouted grains. She also eats cooked and steamed root vegetables.

I’m sure you’ll agree, such dedication to this type of lifestyle is to be commended.

Now, I do believe everyone has the right to make up their own mind about what diet they wish to choose. But, my passion for helping you (my loyal readership) drives me to make sure you’re sufficiently informed in the decisions you make concerning diet and lifestyle.

So, when certain diets or lifestyles are being presented as fact, with little scientific evidence, I feel it is my duty, (even a ‘calling’) to proclaim the facts, so you can make an informed decision.

I really don’t want to get into an argument with Gena, and I fully appreciate that she has seen improvements in her own health on this diet.  Nevertheless, I feel if I didn’t respond, it would be neglegient and remiss of me.

Okay, a few facts:

Let’s be clear from the outset, I am in favour of raw foods. In fact, I think they should be included every day in a healthy diet, and for various reasons. Consider:

Fact: raw foods are healthy.
Fact: raw foods are better than a diet of fast food and sodas.
Fact: raw foods are even better than a diet filled with overcooked veggies that have been boiled beyond recognition.

Let me also point out, that when I discussed the raw food diet I was not comparing it to the unhealthy eating habits of many in the population of the western world. My issue is with what ‘raw foodists’ present as fact, not the issue that a raw foodist may have a healthier diet than many others in the population.

Interestingly, I found this quote today from a co-author of ‘Nature’s First Law: The Raw Food Diet‘, Stephen Arlin.

He was asked the question, “How did you come to this idea? Was it more a philosophical insight or something you learned from the scientific knowledge about health and the human body?”

This is what he said:

“Along with David Wolfe and R.C. Dini, I came to this conclusion by pure logic. Would fire and intense heat improve one’s house if applied? No, it would destroy it. And that’s exactly what happens when your food is cooked, it becomes something less than it was before.”

This argument is based solely on a “logic” that is flawed.

Let’s think about this for a moment…

Of course fire and intense heat wouldn’t improve ones house. To me that seems like a strange comparison, which doesn’t demonstrate the fact that cooking food would destroy the goodness. Don’t you agree?

What would you think of my ‘logic’ if I said that more life and goodness is put into food when heat is applied, because many plants like the seeds from a Banksia, or the Sturt Dessert Pea can only germinate when they come in contact with the extreme temperatures of a bush fire?

Clearly high temperatures do not always bring destruction, and can even be beneficial. However, this really doesn’t prove my point as to whether I should cook my food or not.

It’s a daft analogy, and a red herring answer to a searching question.

Anyhow, my point is this: if the basis of the raw food diet is merely someone else’s logic, is that something you want to be pinning your health to?

So, on to Gena’s reply to my article, and my response. I’ve tried to break it up so it’s coherent for you.

#1 My apparent contradiction

“There’s an inherent contradiction in calling any claim “outlandish” and then acknowledging it as at least partially true.”

There is no contradiction. I said:

It is true to say that cooking can destroy some of the enzymes, but most food enzymes are destroyed anyway by the acidity of the stomach. So, therefore:

  1. Plant enzymes are not needed for human digestion.
  2. And your body will still produce it’s own enzymes regardless of whether your food contains enzymes or not.

#2 My condescending tone

“I found her dismissive and condescending tone sadly indicative of the attitude with which most people view raw foods. Melanie is no different from most people in seeing the raw diet as a fringe movement, unmoored to scientific proof. But, also like most people, she’s clearly never tried the diet for herself.”

Whether I have tried this diet or not, is really not the issue here. In fact, it’s another flawed argument, because when it comes to theories which can be tested (such as the benefits and drawbacks of a diet), experience does not overrule objective truth.

My statements were intended to refute some of the claims which raw foodists make that are incorrect, both logically and biologically.

If I am condescending in anything it is this; I dispise the fact that information is presented as being true to the unsuspecting reader, when it is very far from it. For example, that we need the enzymes in food to help with their digestion.

As I’ve intimated already, I believe it is my duty as a dietitian to point error where I find it regarding diet. I make no attack on the individuals who choose to go raw.

#3 My apparent quoting out of context

“As for Steve Pavlina’s experience: first of all, this quote is taken out of context.”

I must disagree here. This quote is certainly not taken out of context. I was simply pointing out the side effects Steve experienced in the initial stages of changing his diet, something that I feel many of my readers need to know.

I did link to Steve’s website, so you are free to find out about his experience of going raw.

#4 Gena relies on personal experience not science

“And this is where science—in my opinion—bows to experience. What I always tell people about raw foods is that you can’t knock ‘em till you’ve tried ‘em.”

Gena lists a whole host of benefits from following a raw diet, and I am more than happy to hear that people have had good success by making changes in their diets.

However, I wonder if all factors have been considered. For example, when going raw a person might:

  • Cut back unhealthy foods such as fast food and soft drinks
  • Cut out caffeine
  • Cut out wheat
  • Increased fruit and veg intake
  • Increased intake of beneficial nuts and seeds

If someone makes such beneficial changes in their diet, they are bound to notice an improvement in health and energy levels!

Isn’t it true to suggest, that any benefits noticed may simply be the result of an improved diet, not simply due to the addition of raw foods?

#5 My faith in our digestive system

“As for Melanie’s faith in our digestive systems, it’s well-intentioned, but not totally sound. Any gastroenterologist will tell you (and a few have told me) that most of our digestive systems have been compromised by decades of eating crap. The standard American diet—full of refined sugar, processed food, excessive protein, hormones, fillers, and antibiotics—has wreaked havoc on our stomachs. And so most of us are less capable of producing those enzymes that the author claims are so readily available.”

I am not sure how this claim is backed up, “Most of us are less capable of producing those enzymes?”

Of course, the gut flora balance can be compromised by eating a poor diet, and also by rushing or skipping meals. However, eating a healthy diet containing both raw and cooked foods, will provide a wide variety of nutrients, helping to improve that balance.

No one is supporting a diet of refined sugar, processed food, and hormone-containing foods. Certainly not here on Dietriffic!

Personally, I consider myself to have a good diet. If I’m to judge how I ‘feel’ and how my body functions, it would appear that my digestive enzymes are in full working order! I certainly don’t have any issue with nutritional deficiencies, or poor health conditions, and yet I don’t follow a strictly raw diet to achieve that balance.

#6 The belief that we need enzyme rich food

“Most of us can and would benefit from the experience of eating enzyme rich food.”

Here Gena is contradicting herself becasue she has already admitted that, “As far as I know, there is no solid science to prove the enzyme claim. And so I can’t totally refute Melanie’s disagreement.”

I have firmly stated that the body does not need the enzymes in our food, and it will continue to make it’s own enzymes in response to the food we eat.

So, why would we need to eat a diet rich in enzymes?

#7 The belief that food is living

“Raw food is the consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in their living, uncooked, unpasteurized state.”

It doesn’t matter whether you cook food, or don’t cook it, it is already dead.

The very second you pick a tomato from the plant, all source of nutrition is cut off from the fruit, and therefore it is dead and almost immediately begins to decay or rot.

When you pick a carrot from the ground you kill the plant. It does not continue to grow in your fridge, does it? No, becaue the food is not living, it’s already dead.

Therefore, Gena’s argument that we can eat living food by not cooking it is simply incorrect.

#8 Processed vs unprocessed food

“Is it SO crazy to suggest that the body has an easier time recognizing unprocessed food (whole plants, nuts, and fruits) than it does cooked grains, pasteurized dairy, and the like? Call me a lunatic, but this seems like common sense to me. Wouldn’t an apple or a walnut be more digestible (which is some of what raw foodists mean when they say “recognizable”) than processed food, full of soy isolates, chemical flavorings and colorings? How about meat/eggs/dairy that have been suffused with hormones, fillers, and antibiotics?”

My argument was not whether a walnut would be more digestible than a twinkie. The argument is about whether or not the body can, or cannot, recognise cooked food.

Of course I agree that raw food is much better for the body than the processed junk food that many people stuff into their bodies these days. But, it is not only raw foods that are good. We can also eat cooked whole grains and fish etc and still be healthy, just read my post on the Okinawan people to discover that.

#9 Is raw food unnatural?

“As for the possibility of deficiencies in the raw food diet, this is where I take most issue with Melanie’s piece. To claim that the raw foods diet is unnatural because it can, if followed carelessly, result in nutritional deficiency, is ridiculous.”

I did not claim that raw food is unnatural. In fact, I often recommend a diet rich in raw foods, but I do not believe you need to be mostly raw to gain the maximum benefits.

#10 The risk of nutritional deficiencies

“ANY diet—from omnivorism to veganism to raw foodism—can leave you with deficiencies if you’re sloppy, underfed, or not thinking about nutrition. Of course you can end up with low zinc, iron, or fatty acids eating raw foods; you can also end up lacking those things just as easily eating cooked and omnivorous foods.”

I totally agree.

Any diet followed carelessly can result in nutritional deficiencies; that is obvious. But, I really do take issue with any diet that encourages people to leave out whole food groups. This is very dangerous, and leaves people much more open to nutritional deficiencies.

It is certainly something that should be monitored very carefully indeed, and people thinking of following such a diet should be made aware of the possibility of danger.

“My point is that people, even nutritionists, are mighty quick to point fingers at raw foodists for not getting enough nutrients, when in fact it’s the majority of the cooked-food-eating, soda-guzzling, and omnivorous population that’s not getting enough of what they need from unprocessed, plant based whole foods.”

First up, I am not pointing my finger at any raw foodists for not getting enough nutrients. As a dietitian, I am simply pointing out the fact that there is the possibility for this to happen on the raw food diet, because it excludes whole food groups.

Any of you who read my blog on a regular basis, will be well aware that I am equally as sore on the “soda-guzzling,” junk food eating population. Clearly their diet is not something I promote here on Dietriffic.

I do however, have a problem with Gena lumping together cooked-food-eating, omnivorous people, with those who are not getting enough unprocessed, plant based whole foods; as if they always go hand in hand.

My diet includes plenty of unprocessed whole foods, some raw, and cooked foods on a daily basis, and hey you know what? I’m still alive and kicking, with a healthy weight, balanced moods (ask my hubby :D ), and plenty of energy.

#11 Nutrient rich veggies

“Because regardless of what anyone says, it’s undeniable that veggies remain the most nutrient rich foods out there. And if those veggies happen to have retained most of their vitamin content from being uncooked, so much the better!”

Yes, veggies are nutrient rich, but so are many other foods. We don’t need to eat exclusively raw diets to benefit from the nutrients.

#12 The issue is raw vs cooked!

“Or when I’m asked accusatorily: “what will you feed your children?” Assuming I raise them mostly or wholly vegan, I will have much less reason to worry about the vitamins they’re getting than the many Americans who are stuffing their kids with chips and lunchmeats and dairy products full of hormones and chemicals.”

I’m sorry if I appear repetitive, but this is really not the point of my article. Cooking your food does not necessarily mean you are guilty of feeding yourself and your kids junk food. The issue here is raw or cooked – not junk food vs healthy food!

Anyway, I think (for now at least) I’ve said enough on this.

Please do check out the original article over at Hangry Pants. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather @ Hangry Pants February 21, 2009 at 12:42 am

Hi Melanie,

I am glad you responded. The debate is quite educational for someone like me who is curious about a raw foods diet and currently trying to sort through the claims, pros and cons of the diet. I do not have the personal experience or scientific knowledge to speak to the facts of the benefits of raw foods diets, but I do think it’s entirely possible (probable) that each person’s reaction to such a diet is different. That said, we can all agree raw foods are more nutritious than processed foods, and perhaps a “typical” western diet.

- Heather

Heather @ Hangry Pants’s last blog post..Guest Post: Gena’s Raw Response


Armen February 21, 2009 at 3:29 am

To be honest, I was a bit surprised that Gena thought your initial post was condescending. I know I may be considered biased, but I’d be interested to hear if anyone else who actually read the post, came to the conclusion that you were condescending.

Anyway, this is solid response. I know you don’t consider yourself the world’s greatest debater, but this cogent and pretty conclusive.


Cathy in NZ February 21, 2009 at 4:57 am

I’m surprised at the inconsistency of Genas’ response – she just jumped on your words and twisted them up into a terrible mess

To suggest a house/shelter was the same as a human is just ridiculous. The house doesn’t get up in the morning and eat breakfast and go out into the world. It stands there solid waiting to shelter you after a long day at the office….it keeps all the appliances and non-electrical furniture safe (unless you leave the door unlocked!)

To keep a house ‘working’ you need to pay the bills or light the fire or whatever – it is not needing terribly much of anything – it isn’t been tempted by local coffee shop or the steak house on the corner of whatever.

Over at Hungry Pants she moans about some poor womn eating a processed sannie versus her whooping bowl of salad – has she encouraged the ‘poor woman’ to try a small bowl of salad to go with her sannie? Maybe next time she bring a plate (not paper, it’s processed) and give her some of the salad to go with the sannie…

Then whilst she is on this ‘mission’ to fix you good and proper she fails to show a link to anything to do with her wonderful nutrition. I would like some background facts on where she buys her stuff from; how she prepares it for eating; a typical days eating plan etc……no point in ranting if you ain’t prepared to show us YOU.

I am NOT impressed with her ‘missive’ at all…..I am still bemused in the house/human comparison :-)


Rene February 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Re: #7

If you take a carrot out of the ground and put it in the refrigerator for a few days, then take and re-plant it, root and all, it will grow more carrots. It is alive, even after you pick it. Take boiled or steamed carrots and put them in the ground… it will do nothing but rot. This is what happens when we put cooked foods into our body.. it just rots and takes a while to digest, where as if you put live food in your body, it gets processed quickly and the nutrients are absorbed faster.

Both you and Gena have great theories and I am glad you guys are sharing your knowledge, because it is educating others. However, it’s important that all bases are covered, because you don’t want to misinform people.


Zondra April 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I have had carrots begin to grow in the fridge because they were in a plastic bag that had water, I definitely agree that there is a difference when it comes to cooked and uncooked food. If we are able to eat something completely raw and in its natural form why would we want to even bother cooking it other than for want of taste and texture differences. It just makes sense that if it can be eaten raw, it should be.


Cam February 22, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Thank you for this article.

Having an interest in nutrition myself I am constantly learning new things and at one time shared your perspective on the raw food diet until I was asked to look into it further. I have come to realize that nutritional science is far too complex for us to comprehend. No nutrients ever exist in isolation in the human body yet almost all testing on nutrients is done in isolation. Can we ever expect to understand nutrition using science. Is there an easier and better way?

Here are a few questions that someone asked me to consider which made me look at things a little differently.

1) Do any creatures on our planet other than us have huge debates over what they should eat?
2) Do they need science to make sure they are getting enough of this and that nutrient?
3) Do any other animals cook their food?
4) Are other animals ridden with heart disease,cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis etc…?
5) Why do the animals that we have as pets get plagued with the same diseases we do (cancer, arthritis etc..)?
6) Are humans the only creatures that repeatedly drink the milk of another animal? Is it necessary for our health? Is it more detrimental than beneficial?
7) Are raw foods more nutritious than cooked foods?
8) Can we do better than nature or that which is natural. Is it natural to cook our food? Are we the exception as humans? Why?

As a dietician I’m sure you will want to present the best facts on both sides, so I have included a link for you to do a little more research which you might find interesting.
If you are inclined to read more on the science side of raw foods please check out this link which I just found that opened my eyes to raw and cooked foods:


bitt February 23, 2009 at 4:01 am

The majority of dieticians will never agree with the raw food movement. They can’t accept one of their precious food groups being taken away. Perhaps it has to do with kickbacks from the dairy industry and meat producers? I’ve never met a dietician who is sympathetic to the vegan diet. They must not accept you into dietician school if you are vegan.

bitt’s last blog post..superbitt


Cathy in NZ February 23, 2009 at 4:41 am


all things – returned to wherever they originated in the food world – will do something for the land/sea. Maybe it won’t go on to produce more food but it will replenish the nutrients i.e. provide ‘food’ for the rest of the growing food items. Even tossing fish shells back into the sea provide food for something else in the food chain.

everyone has theories about what is best for ‘them’ ‘us’ ‘you’ ……..take the parts of the theories as you need them. Currently, you might not agree with certain things but we nearly always ‘move upwards’ in acceptance and declining of whatever the current theory is.

i know if I was to accept everything thrown at me – on the news, computers, books I would be a thoroughly confused person!


Rene February 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I agree with what you are saying about all the theories going around.. it’s true that it would really be hard to keep up with what everyone says is “right”. I do think people should go with what works for them.


Julie February 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Well you’ve certainly had fun picking the Raw Food Diet to bits, haven’t you?
You claim this and you claim that, but the proof is in the pudding (raw of course).
I am only new to raw, (2.5 months now) but feel that I must comment on your ‘raw bashing’.
How bad for you can ‘raw’ be if it has known to cure diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, ulcers, cancer, colitis, etc…etc.. etc..?
Six weeks into my raw journey, I took my usual daily medication for Rhuematoid Arthritis and have not taken any since. My pain has subsided drastically, I also no longer have that bloated, full feeling, I no longer have digestive problems, have more energy, no longer have that general ‘unwell feeling’, no longer have sinus problems, my skin is clearer, inflammation in my joints has reduced, my hair is softer and more manageable and now I only wash it once a week (previously every second day), my nails are stronger, I no longer suffer from bad breath, my body odour on hot days in particular has reduced, I go to the toilet regularly (previously once every two/three days), I sleep better, am no longer moody, more easy going, less stressed and the list goes on….
This is just me!
I know someone who had cancer and was given 3 months to live. That was three years ago. After 12 months on the raw food diet he was cancer free and today is happy and healthy.
I could go on for hours, but I’m sure you get my point. If you had bothered to go on any of the hundreds of raw food sites, you would have discovered for yourself that there are countless people everyday curing themself of one thing or another.
I was destined to have a life dependent of drugs – drugs that were wrecking my liver, kidneys, heart and god knows what else. Arthritis would have eventually probably crippled me and my quality of life would have deteriorated.
My ‘raw’ journey began because the drugs were starting to have little effect and I would have eventually had to go on stronger medication. Everything previously that I tried for arthritis, including other diets, lotions, potions, powders etc.. did not work except raw.
No tell me, try telling the fellow who had cancer, try telling anyone who has been cured through eating raw that it is pointless, unhealthy, bad for you or whatever else you want to call it.
Maybe not until you have an incurable disease or ailment and are left with no choice but to try something ‘out of the ordinary’ will you understand. Until this time, you have no right to judge and should keep your opinions (which is all they are) to yourself.


Rene February 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Julie, wow.. congrats on all that the raw foods diet has done for you and many others. I’m a big believer in the power of raw.

I don’t think the author of this article is calling raw pointless or unhealthy, nor judging. I just think that there is a bit of a debate between the two, and wouldn’t you agree a good debate can help people who never thought about one side or the other make the decision that is best healthiest for them?

It’s cool that you are very passionate about the raw movement though. It’s almost like someone is picking on your little brother or something, right? :) Take care.


Dirk February 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Read the 80-10-10 Diet by Doug Graham who will explain what a proper raw food diet looks like.

Cooking food creates toxic compounds and makes it harder to digest, slows transit time, among countless other problems. (AGE’s, and other toxins).

Grains have at least 8 opiods. Meat putrefies in the gut and is heavily denatured.

Cooking destroys much of the nutrition (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrient) and worse de-ranges beneficial compounds into harmful ones, denatures proteins, and requires energy, electricity, fire, fuel, wood, some method. If a farmer wants to fatten up it’s animals, it cooks it’s food. Pig farmers have done this for a long long time, knowing it destroys nutrients and they eat more.

Fruits and greens, veggies, have always been known as health foods, we do not need a balance of health causing and health harming foods.

Yes, having lots of fruit, and greens, and some steamed roots and tubers, keeping it low fat, is the next best thing, and good for some for transition, but grains, meat, no. Salt, condiments, garlic, onion, spices? For optimal health, no.

I’d advise you to study a bit more, not some of the pseudo-scientists in the raw movement, but real scientists, low fat high fruit raw, without the added harmful products. Backed up by real science, common sense, evolutionary biological and physiological proof, and more.

There are plenty who eat “healthy” diets like those you recommend whom even with excercise, lack of the most unhealthy of foods, etc, do not make radical health progress until they go to raw, and even then low fat high fruit. Cancer, diabetes, CFS, depression, anxiety, obesity, the list goes on. Of course there are relative improvements on any diet, the low fat high fruit raw represents the most optimal diet one can arrive at, why settle for anything less?

if adopted correctly internationally, the whole planet could be fed, health would SKYROCKET, disease would PLUMMET, and huge shifts would then occur.

cooked food and high fat numbs us to some extent, give it a shot yourself and do a simple test, eat only fruit and greens long enough to get past the detox, get enough in a day to meet your caloric and nutrient needs, 80% carb calories, 10% protein, 10% from fats, fruit and greens both have all 3 macronutrients so calculate this and use a program or website, if you wish to give yourself extra guidance.

you will be entirely more present with yourself, emotions, feelings, etc, if you can deal with it…

Cheers and the Best


Rene February 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Dirk, that was well written. Thank you for the information.


Cathy in NZ February 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

oopps Julie…..I hope you will apologise to Melanie.

Everyone is entitled, on the Internet to write articles….and whether you agree or not is not for you to rush in and ‘slam’ someone because it doesn’t fit with your theory.

What you have written may well be working nicely for you at this point in time….but believe me you are not the only one with an incurable ailment and you won’t be the last!

Don’t get me wrong, you are in pain & you feel that life has thrown you a huge curve/ball which the medical profession are just ‘throwing meds at you’…..but there is absolutely no point just looking at the Net and saying Everyone and especially Melanie has it all wrong….

What the Internet gives is a variety of ideas……of which you pick out a few to try out, bit by bit. I wouldn’t just throw everything away on the idea that I suddenly felt better…..


Melanie February 24, 2009 at 11:07 am

Everyone, thank you all for your very spirited responses to my article.

I hope we can all remain civil throughout this debate, there is no need to attack one and other, this is simply a place to discuss our thoughts on the raw food diet.

Hi Heather,
Yes, at least that is one thing we can all agree about!! I don’t think the debate on raw foods will be settled any time soon :-)

Well, I suppose you could be considered a little biased, but thank you for your support!!! :-)

Hi Cathy,
Thank you all your comments, I really do appreciate your input!

I see your point about how we should be helping others eat better, rather than moaning about how unhealthy they are in their choices, that is a good point.

We can’t always agree with everyone though, that’s been pretty clear from this article. But, I think debate is a good thing, it makes us challenge our beliefs.

Hi Rene,
Thanks for your comment. I was under the impression that the carrot had to have the green stems attached for this to happen? Perhaps, I am wrong in thinking that. I suppose if you buy organic veggies you may find the green stems attached, but normally they have been removed before reaching the supermarket shelves.

I’m not sure, perhaps you could clear that up for me?

I also believe that people should go with what works for them, health is an individual thing. Anyway, healthy debate is a good thing, right??? :-)

Hi Julie,
I am so glad that your raw experience has been so life changing. However, I do think you misunderstand my point of view a little.

I am fully in support of using ‘food as medicine.’ I believe if more people would focus on eating a healthy diet, disease rates would decrease massively.

I have recently written a post on the healthy diet of the Okinawan people, where I discussed how they frequently live to be over 100 years old.

I believe their secret to long life and vitality IS a healthy diet and good lifestyle. I also believe that raw foods are healthy and can and should be included regularly in everyones diet.

But, I simply don’t agree with some of the theories presented by raw foodists, such as the enzyme theory. And I don’t agree that a raw diet is the only way to long-term good health.

This is why I mentioned the Okinawan people, their diet is a very interesting comparrison to the raw food diet. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too.

Hey Dirk,
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I can see your point that many people experience improved health by going raw, but I for one feel extremly well on my current diet also. I believe this is because I have a good balance of both raw and cooked healthy foods.

I love to hear your thoughts on the diet I mentioned above regarding the Okinawan people? They live to be over 100, and eat cooked food etc.


Suzannah February 28, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Hey Melanie,
Just finished reading through this whole raw food debate and some of the comments left by others. I find it interesting that some people want you to keep your opinions about raw food to yourself. As a qualified dietitian, I would say you’ve earned the right to, at the very least, express an opinion on nutrition.

Personally, I like to see a balanced approach to health, and I think you’ve presented that through these recent articles, as well as consistently throughout the rest of your site.


Melanie March 2, 2009 at 6:43 am

Hi Suzannah,
Great to hear from you! Thank you for your support.

I’ve been finding this whole debate very interesting too. It seems I’ve opened a whole can of worms here.

I think we all have a right to our opinions. But, as I’ve said, when I think something is error regarding nutrition, I feel it’s my duty to express that to my readers. They don’t have to take on everything I say, but even if they stop and think about it for a second that’s good enough.

I also find it interesting that if I had spouted off a pile of rubbish in support of the raw food diet, I would probably have made many ‘friends’ by now. Anyway, this debate will continue for some time I’m sure, and it’s not the last you’ll hear from me on it either! Stay tuned!! :-)


Melanie March 2, 2009 at 6:52 am

I totally disagree with your comment. I have seen many vegans in clinical practice, and have gladly helped them to balance their diet without meat and dairy. At the end of the day it’s up to others to make a choice on what foods they will eat.

If they want to leave out whole food groups that’s up to them, just don’t try to tell me it’s because of the “enzymes” or the “living foods.” As I’ve said over and over my problem is with the raw foodists theories that are flawed!


Jeanne Caccia-Silva March 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

I was told by a friend to come over and read this post(s).

As a registered dietician I thouroughly enjoyed the back and forth discussion even though some was way over the top. I won’t jump in with my two cents accept to say that there is plenty of room within the science of food for all of our “opinions”.

Jeanne Caccia-Silva’s last blog post..Exotic Fruit…Kumquat


Melanie March 4, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Hi Jeanne,
Thanks for your comment. I would be interesting in hearing your opinion!! :-)


meme March 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Funny. I was turned away from a dietetic program for being vegan. Also the scholarships as well as much of the “research” for the dietetic student are funded by Nestle, Conagra, and Pepsi to name a few.


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Melanie March 27, 2009 at 12:12 am

Hi Meme,
That’s interesting, I know they are very strict on refusing people with eating disorders etc into the programme, however I’ve never heard of a vegan being turned away.

Did you end up going into a similar field of work?


Randall May 14, 2009 at 8:06 am

For a scientific reading on raw foods try Dr. Douglas Graham’s “The 80 10 10 Diet”. Wolfe, Arlin, Dini are proven plagiarists and not scientific at all.


Melanie May 15, 2009 at 3:10 am

Hi Randall,
Thanks for your suggestion, I’ve heard of this book and will check it out.


Scott October 8, 2010 at 12:07 am

Fire and intense heat are used to make many of the tools and materials that are used in the making of houses as we know them today. Fire and intense heat are likewise used in the making of nearly everything we use today in way or another.
Tools and Fire made us human, in addition to many other things, but these are crucial in our genetic and phenotypic evolution. Cooking goes back well over 100,000 years, if not well over a million. It became standard eons ago because it worked better than raw for our purposes.


Amy G October 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I think that anything that gets people away from the traditional American diet, which is loaded with animal fat, simple carbs that encourage diabetic responses, chemicals/additives, and various forms of unhealthy sugars, has to be an improvement!!! Also, dietitians are part of the traditional medical establishment — it’s very rare for any of them to look at anything they consider in the least “alternative”, they are part of the AMA/Food and Drug Administration’s stranglehold on the big business of medicine in this country.


Melanie October 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Hi Amy,
I agree that the traditional American diet is lacking in so many areas, and I take your point about dietitians — I don’t consider myself to be one as described — I’m also British, so the FDA and the like, bear little consequence to me, but I see where you’re coming from.

I am also not against “alternative” ways, they just need to have sensible methods and ideologies.

I reiterate what I’ve already said, any diet/way of eating, followed carelessly can result in nutritional deficiencies; that is obvious. One of my main issues with the raw food diet is that it encourages people to leave out whole food groups. This is dangerous, and leaves people open to nutritional deficiencies.


B December 5, 2010 at 7:05 am

I felt the need to write you in response to your response on raw foodism. I was reading intensely feeling as though you had a great point to make in refute of the raw food diet, and yet, it just appeared as though you were saying that a raw food diet is a great diet to permenantly adopt, however, you try and make points against it such as, “you may not be getting enough nutrients?” When you don’t get enough nutrients, you eat food until you do. Duh…
I can’t help but wonder if the dieticians are being brainwashed. It’s like you guys are just robots, doing only what your trained to do, or saying only what your trained to say rather than what you’ve personally experienced or have personally studied. No i’m not a raw foodist, well not yet, but common sense will tell me as well as “logic” as expressed by Mr. Arlin, that food at it’s natural state is the most healthiest food. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or have any sort of degrees to know that. Raw foodism, unlike dieticians, promote the most healthiest way of living. Dieticians are more society savy. Yes you also promote a way to get healthier while taking in consideration the fact that it’s here(that being fast food) so most likely people are going to eat it so instead of telling the “TRUTH” and saying “NO, don’t eat fast food because it’s CRAP” you tell people to just eat it in MODERATION. I’ve worked along side dieticians at weight loss camps for children where the kids were allowed diet soda in MODERATION. I guess you can probably predict where they ended up the following summer!…yes, that’s right…AT FAT CAMP!


Jodie May 12, 2014 at 8:57 am

I’m currently studying nutrition, I’m pretty early on in my courses but as far as I understand it, eating raw fruit and vegetables is the most nutritionally dense form of food we can eat. But there has to be a lot to say about what our ancestors have been doing for years and that traditional diets and preparation methods exist for a reason, including the method of cooking, something which could be affecting us on more than just a physical dimension. Also, I think the main question here is what is the form that enables nutrients to be most available to us to absorb, which I believe is called bio-availability and will change for each individual food. Particularly for the elderly or the very young whose digestion may need a helping hand and benefit from more cooked than raw food.


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