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There is a food revolution going on that promises to change the world, and alas, your lifestyle, too! The raw-vegan movement has been gaining momentum rapidly since 1995 via Web sites and e-mail newsletters published by raw food authors (see sidebox), and hundreds of doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths..

There is a food revolution going on that promises to change the world, and alas, your lifestyle, too!

The raw-vegan movement has been gaining momentum rapidly since 1995 via Web sites and e-mail newsletters published by raw food authors, and hundreds of doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths. Regular people are also part of the movement. They have become passionate about sharing the knowledge that helped them lose weight, heal or prevent illnesses, and feel younger and more energetic.

The raw-vegan diet is about food that not only prevents degeneration of the body, but also has the power to heal. It is similar to the vegan diet (excludes all animal products), with the caveat that all food should be eaten raw. The raw-vegan diet consists of fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains and legumes, seeds and nuts.

Raw Vs. Cooked Food

Raw-vegan food is alive. It gets its energy directly from the sun, which is the source of all physical energy on this planet. Fruits and vegetables are full of water, living enzymes, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, all of which are destroyed at 118°F (48°C), leaving cooked food with very little nutritional value. Because cooked food is devoid of life-giving enzymes and nutrients, it becomes a burden to the digestive system, which must use up its own enzymes and energy stores to process it. Eating cooked food is therefore thought to lead to excessive food consumption in the body's attempt to gain adequate nutrition. Not only does cooked food contain extremely limited nourishment, but it also contains numerous toxins. Scientists in Sweden recently discovered that heated carbohydrates contain a known carcinogenic toxin called acrylamide that renders water unfit for drinking when it appears in water in far smaller quantities.

Raw Culture

We live in a culture that is literally built around cooked food, which makes the social implications of "going raw" full of challenges.

One expert on a recent TV episode of Investigative Report on the Arts and Entertainment channel (A&E) commented on our need for instant meals, the proliferation of junk food outlets and the ever-present temptation of processed foods, saying: "In order to make wise food choices in this society, you almost have to be a fanatic."

But the alternative is at least equally fraught with difficulty. In our "supersize generation," one in three children and half of all adults in North America are overweight, which makes them more susceptible to heart disease, cancer and diabetes all of which are related to poor eating habits. Choosing a healthy, raw food lifestyle can help us to prevent and heal these diseases.

Sustainable Eating

While some may consider raw-veganism as fanatical, it is entering into environmental conversations and simplicity circles as the way of eating to save the planet. Also called "sustainable eating," this food revolution is about changing society through changing our eating habits. It supports locally grown, organic produce that provides nutrition for our bodies and supports our local economies.

Food is the common denominator that unites all people. It is the basis of the economy and is used for political gain, control and power. With each dollar we spend, we cast a vote that actually makes a concrete difference in the lives of all people affected by that dollar. We can choose not to buy food that is shipped from the other side of the world or grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides that damage the health of farm workers, pollute the environment and rob the soil of nutrients. We can choose to create a healthier world for ourselves and our children.

"Take a Fruit Break Campaign"

Would you rather see your child eat a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar? It can be difficult to convince kids to give up the junk foods they've been conditioned to want because of the ever-present advertising for brightly packaged candy, cereal, soft drinks and chips. Yet childhood obesity and related diseases have become epidemic in North America.

The Ekaya Institute's "Take a Fruit Break" campaign is working to change that by using advertising to promote fresh, nutritious fruits as the "cool" alternative. The institute is seeking donations to purchase 30-second "Fruit Break" spots on TV networks. For more info, visit

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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD