“Jeremy Safron is an inspiration toraw foodists around the world—myself included.”
—Dan Hoyt, chef and owner of Quintessence restaurant, New York
Whether you’re just discovering raw foods or already well-versed in kimchee and wheatgrass, this revised edition of The Raw Truth combines a wealth of raw foods know-how with a diverse array of delicious recipes. This essential reference offers an extensive primer on the benefits of raw foods, the four living food groups (fresh, sprouted, cultured, and dehydrated), specialty ingredients, and helpful kitchen tools.
Raw foods pioneer Jeremy A. Safron explains in simple terms how life promotes life with a raw diet. When vital enzymes essential to digestion have not been destroyed by heat or processing, the uncooked foods provide our bodies with energy and nutrition quickly and efficiently. This leads to enhanced vitality, increased detoxification, and improved well-being.
But these foods don’t merely offer health-giving properties—they also form the basis of recipes that are easy to make and packed with flavor. Safron shares his take on simple smoothies and drinks like Thin Mint and Mellow Melon, quick soups like Tom Yum and Cucumber-Dill, hearty entrées like Falafel, Lasagna, and Thai Curry, and rich desserts like Coconut Custard and Carob-Hazelnut Torte. Many of these recipes are customer favorites from Safron’s Raw Experience restaurants, which were renowned for their creative menus and valued as education centers for the global raw movement. With nearly 200 recipes and information on transitioning to a raw foods diet, The Raw Truth is a comprehensive guide to a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
With the correct tools and the proper resources, we can accomplish anything we wish. Experience (what we do) plus knowledge (what we learn) gives us wisdom (what we can share).
Experience is the greatest teacher there is. Our lives are our lessons, and contained within them is the information that will allow us to grow. It is up to each of us to decide what our life will hold. Each lesson we learn leads to the next, and as we encourage greater diversity of experience, our ability to comprehend our life lessons increases. The many choices that we make help define how we relate to the world. We change our world as much as our world changes us. The less impact we inflict upon this world, the better we will be able to enjoy it in our future. Reading or hearing about the experiences of others is not the same as experiencing something ourselves. We may understand someone else’s experience, but learning from it is a different matter. The more positive our experiences, the more positive we become about our lives. Savor each experience, for they all help to make us what we are.
A fundamental principle of raw foodism is that life promotes life. Food fresh from nature’s garden contains a wide range of nutrients and a powerful life force. Raw foodists believe in living as closely to the earth as possible and respecting all life. We suggest growing your own food and trading with other farmers, obtaining it from local farmers’ markets, or even foraging for it. We advocate the use of food as medicine, and fasting as a way to cleanse and purify your body and soul. We recognize that if you feed a person a sprout they eat for a day, but if you teach them to sprout, they eat for life and can teach others, too. With the correct tools and the proper resources, we can accomplish anything we choose.
Foods that have been heated or overly processed have lost most (and often all) of their life force. The beneficial enzymes in food are completely destroyed by the heating process, causing the digestive system and body to work much harder to gain any energy or nutrition. If we heated the human body to over 108°F, it would be very uncomfortable, and if we went over 116°F, it would be dead. The same can be said of our foods.
Another tenet of raw foodism is that eating to live is better than living to eat. Most of what is consumed today is overly processed factory farmed consumables. In fact, much of the food eaten today is “edible media;” mainstream society eats for entertainment rather than energy and nutrition. This edible media usually contains little to no nutrition or life force, but it is well packaged and marketed, so people continue to eat it.
Many people have thought they could outsmart nature and profit by isolating the beneficial substances in a food. At first people ate oranges and were healthy. Then someone discovered vitamin C and decided that it was the healthful part of the orange. Later it was realized that ascorbic acid was important for the absorption of vitamin C. Then they figured out that it was the bioflavonoids they needed. Eventually, they will realize that all we needed was the orange all along, and that nature made it perfectly in the first place.
There are many different ideas within the world of raw food. Some people consider raw food to consist only of fruits and leaves, while others suggest dining on elaborate raw recipes made in the tradition of a variety of cultures. There are groups that eat only living food—foods that may have been cooked at one point but have been fully digested by a living culture like miso or nama shoyu. Sproutarians eat mostly sprouts, and fruitarians eat only fruits. My current philosophy is bio-unity—being one with nature and foraging or gardening as much of the food that I eat as possible, and always being creative and loving with my food.
My suggestion for people transitioning to a raw lifestyle is “take the best and leave the rest.” Find the raw food philosophy or style that works with your life. Whether it is starting the day raw and going as long as you can, or taking one day a week to eat only raw food, be sure to transition in a comfortable way. Going raw is very easy for some but more challenging for others, just like becoming vegetarian. It is a matter of making a conscious choice to eat from the plant kingdom and then educating yourself properly in order to maintain a high level of health.
Eating involves intent as well as nutrition and life force. When we eat foods made with love, we are inspired; when we eat foods made with sugar, we get upset. The way food is handled and cared for also affects its general energy. Food is sensitive to energy: intent and action either help keep the food pure or corrupt it. Grandma’s soup doesn’t heal because of the recipe; it’s Grandma’s love that heals. A romantic dinner isn’t romantic because of the ingredients; it’s the love that makes it what it is. These examples demonstrate how our intent and thoughts can affect our food. This is true for life as well as food. If we enter into a situation with positive intent, we can do anything, and if we act with negativity, anger, fear, and worry, we just can’t seem to do anything right. Remember that your words and thoughts make up your world and that our bodies and lives are a reflection of our mind’s experience of itself. We are what we think: positive, loving intentions create positive experiences. Intention is everything.
All living creatures on the planet, except for humans, eat their food in a raw form. No one has to tell the cow to eat grass or the bear to eat berries—they just do it. As humans have evolved, however, most people have been led away from nature and raw food. In reaction, champions of raw foodism have arisen to carry forth nature’s cause.
One of the early and better-known advocates of raw food was Jesus Christ. Christ was a member of a community known as the Essenes. The Essenes lived on sprouts and grasses as well as dehydrated breads. Edmond Bordeaux Szekely expounded upon the Essene teachings by bringing us the Essene Gospel of Peace (a translation from the Dead Sea Scrolls). Another early advocate of eating fresh raw foods was Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo understood the relationship between eating well and thinking well. Many people have heard that Leonardo was a vegetarian, but not as many know of his writings in which he spoke of the importance of using fresh raw fruits and vegetables as one’s primary food source.
More recently, several people have stepped forward to revive and broadcast the message of the benefits of raw food. These revivalists include Dr. Ann Wigmore, who in her lifetime spread knowledge about the importance of sprouts and introduced wheatgrass into the human diet; Paul Bragg, the originator of health food stores and a pioneer of health through proper exercise and nutrition; Norman Walker, who researched the healing benefits of juicing and invented the Norwalk Juicer, a juice press that allows us to get the maximum nutrition and minimum oxidation from our juice and to this day is still arguably the finest juicer available; T. C. Fry, who expounded the teachings of fruitarianism and helped bring about the natural hygiene movement of the 1970s; and Herbert Shelton, whose teachings on fasting and cleansing have inspired so many. All these teachers have brought to light the crucial teachings of eating uncooked foods straight from nature.
More recently, an environmental movement revolving around raw food has emerged. Many people wish to seek out nature, which has been eradicated in many places, to regain their health and their connection with Mother Earth. Just by eating naturally and by producing as little impact on our bodies (and the planet) as possible, each individual can contribute to the raw food movement. Remember, you are what you eat. The tools, techniques, and recipes you’ll find on the following pages will give you a solid understanding of raw living. Use the knowledge to inspire or enhance your own raw experience.
The advantages of eating raw food include everything from benefiting from the live enzymes contained in raw foods to ingesting a greater quantity of vitamins and other vital life-force nutrients. Heat changes the makeup of all things. When food is heated, it is chemically altered and loses most of its ability to provide energy. Eating raw items makes 100 percent of the food’s nutrition available to us. According to Dr. Ann Wigmore of the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute, the same food in cooked form can have up to 85 percent less nutritional value. Once cooked, many foods combine to form new substances that may be palatable but are by no means beneficial.
Eating living foods also helps us to obtain all of its enzymes, catalysts that help us digest our food. Enzymes remain intact below temperatures of 116°F (and ideally below 108°F); higher temperatures destroy the enzymes and our bodies have to work harder to digest the foods we consume. Enzyme-rich foods help provide our bodies with a more efficient energy source. Raw foods rapidly digest in our stomach and begin to provide energy and nutrition quickly. When you consume cooked food, either alone or before raw food, it can cause a condition called leukocytosis, an increase in white blood cells. Our bodies may respond to cooked food as if it were a foreign bacteria or a diseased cell, which causes our immune system to waste energy on defending us. By eating only raw food or eating raw food before cooked food, you can prevent leukocytosis.
Raw food contains all the enzymes necessary to break itself down, thereby providing you with the maximum amount of energy with minimal bodily effort. Raw food is therefore more wholesome, assimilable, and digestible. Food eaten raw creates very little impact on the body’s systems. I also find that raw foods have a far greater range of tastes than cooked foods. Plants take Earth’s natural resources and produce a substance that provides energy with no need for alteration. It is truly a gift to be respectful and gentle with the foods that nature provides, in the process benefitting both ourselves and the natural world we live in.
Benefits of Raw Food
A wide range of benefits comes from eating an ideal diet. One of the best advantages of eating raw food is the abundant energy it provides. Energy that is spent digesting cooked food can be made free for us to use for other things when we eat raw. People eating raw foods find that they need to sleep less to feel rested and often attest to achieving life goals that seemed unachievable when on a cooked food diet. Many athletes have found that light raw meals give them a more sustainable form of energy and allow them to surpass their previous records. Students also find that raw food gives them a more balanced blood sugar level and helps them think more clearly and stay more focused. Indigenous people throughout the world demonstrate the great life extension benefits that raw food has to offer. Many of these cultures eat a primarily raw diet and live much longer lives. People eating raw food also find it enhances their beauty. Most of all, people who eat well feel good. Feeling good is the essence of life. We enjoy our lives more when we feel good. The Hawaiians say that the most valuable thing a person can have is a positive attitude. By eating well and feeling good, we can be more positive and create a better life for ourselves and those we love.
A Plant’s Intention
A plant’s intention is to grow. It sprouts from a seed and produces and uses chlorophyll to combine sunlight and carbon dioxide with other nutrients found in soil to create more of itself. As more and more leaves are produced, a plant matures enough to bear fruit. Plants take the elemental minerals in soil (in their raw form), absorb them, and transform them into organic minerals that animals can assimilate. Plants are not harmed when their fruit is eaten. It actually benefits the plant. The fruit’s intention is to be eaten so that its seeds can spread to other places to further propagate the species. To enable this process, fruit looks and tastes delicious. It many ways, all creatures who eat fruit are giving life to future generations of fruit, as well as absorbing nutrients. Some plants continually produce fruit, while others produce fruit once and pass back into the earth. Plant a seed and create a future meal. As we sow, so shall we reap.
Preprogrammed versus Processed
In today’s world, commercially produced foods are grown with an agenda. First, a seed is planted, usually not with the intention to forward life, but rather to benefit the farmer financially. Then, as the seeds grow into plants, they are often treated with toxic chemicals (under the guise of protecting the plant and us from bugs). After that, the plants are either harvested by fossil fuel–burning machines or by poorly paid, disgruntled workers. The fruit and vegetables produced from these plants are then shipped, usually many miles, before being tossed around by workers who care nothing for the produce.
Often the next step is that an underpaid produce clerk puts the fruits and vegetables on a shelf, where they are sprayed with chlorinated water after they have been coated with an animal-based wax. This produce is often made to look homogeneous, and it tastes like a synthetic version of the real thing. In the store, the fruits and vegetables sit under fluorescent lights until someone buys them and takes them home. Sometimes the produce is sent to factories, where machines with grease and dirt flying about mash, mutilate, cook, and kill every possible raw nutrient and all the food’s life force. Then the fruits and vegetables are packaged and sent to a supermarket near you, where they sit on the shelf indefinitely. By the time you buy the box or can containing the fruits and vegetables, there may be more nutritional value in the package than in the product inside.
From the Tree Right to Me
Conversely, there are still some farmers who refuse to participate in the mass mechanization and chemicalization of the food industry. They grow their food without chemicals or pesticides and still harvest by hand. This food is referred to as “organic” or “unsprayed” and, from a nutritional and energetic point of view it is the best store-bought food to consume. There are many alternatives to shopping at a grocery store.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Jeremy A. Safron opened and operated one of the first raw foods restaurants, The Raw Experience, on Maui, as well as a second location in San Francisco. Safron currently works as a consultant and adviser to several raw restaurants around the United States, and is also the founder of Loving Foods, a raw foods educational resource company. He leads custom-designed private educational workshops and classes on his farm in Haiku, Hawaii, and has written several books including The Fasting Handbook. Visit www.lovingfoods.com
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