by Rob Hanna
Q. Is an omnivore raw food diet really good for people?
A. Yes, it is.
How do I know?
I’ve been a professional chef, a raw food chef, wellness director and an avid practitioner who has been serving and eating omnivore raw in the United States since the 1980s. My decades of wellness practitioner experience includes advising others on eating omnivore raw foods and fasting.
Additionally, I’ve eaten omnivore raw foods with locals in many other countries (including countries US people fear to eat off the indigenous menus with the locals (e.g. Haiti, Mexico and India) while traveling with absolutely no negative health effects or food safety incidents experienced whatsoever. And I've enjoyed improved health, vitality and enduring equanimity.
My diet includes all edible animal, vegetable and mineral foods in their natural state – as well as cultured and fermented foods (e.g. yogurt and sauerkraut, etc.) prepared, served and eaten without fire or heat beyond above just warm… these include:
- naturally pastured and grass-fed animals (even organ meats)
- seafoods and fish
- poultry and fowl
- dairy and egg yolks
- vegetables, nuts and berries
Yes, ALL raw.
Here are a few quick facts as to why omnivore raw foods are good for people:
- No negative by-products. The molecular bonds of the foods are not broken, molested or changed into toxic by-products through high heat. Some flavor producing reactions we chefs find so enchanting (e.g. Maillard) include the production of toxic and anti-nutritive compounds.
- Unbroken and naturally occurring compounds. Natural foods are easily recognized and processed by our bodies through our own enzymes (see below) and do not have to contend with processing negative byproducts and their toxic effects, as we do with many cooked and processed foods.
- Less digestive work. All intact enzymes (proteins) in foods we eat not denatured by heat (though some may be unfolded by citrus and salt, e.g. ceviches) are conserved. Intact enzymes enable more rapid and complete digestive processing when they're present than when they're not (i.e. through cooking), resulting in less digestive physiologic work (thermic effect) and conservation of energy.
- Less real work. Unless you enjoy spending all your time in the kitchen in preparation and cleanup of meals, eating raw foods is the least demanding of all food prep and cleanup – just pop the food into your mouth and you're done. If you feel like gussying it up, then arrange it on a plate with a garnish and that’s it!
- Greater nutrient quality. Raw foods retain more of the inherent nutrition the fresher they are AND the less they are molested by unnecessary processing. This applies ONLY to foods naturally edible in their raw state, unlike foods that MUST be cooked in order to make them edible and/or non-toxic (e.g. legumes, etc.).
- Sourcing higher quality foods. As a professional chef and normal household cook, we tend to choose better quality foods when preparing and serving them raw, as there is no “chef’s special sauce” in which to cook or hide them.
Bon appétit… however you eat!
PS I’ll leave the ideological controversy as to whether or not one should be a vegan to other postings. I eat green vegan as a recovery diet after breaking a fast. It’s awesome.
PPS I’ll also leave the additional issue raised by the many new facts emerging regarding the health producing benefits of high fat diets and the widespread negative health aspects from the orthodox view and entrenched establishment dogma of high carbohydrate diets to other postings as well.