alive logo

The Real Food Revolution-It's All Raw


A growing number of people in Vancouver have kicked the cooked food habit. Every week, a group of raw food pioneers gather at the Organic Raw Food Café in the trendy Kitsilano district to share recipes and sample each other's dishes.

A growing number of people in Vancouver have kicked the cooked food habit. Every week, a group of raw food pioneers gather at the Organic Raw Food Caf?n the trendy Kitsilano district to share recipes and sample each other's dishes.

Why? Why would seemingly-sane, respectable, middle-class Canadians spurn the cooked-food traditions of our ancestors, grandmother's special recipes and their kid's favourite pasta, pies, chocolate chip cookies and cakes and go raw? It's not "common" sense!

But it's logic-the logic of present-day food facts, of body chemistry, human digestion and the entire system of food production, processing and preparation. It's a matter of reclaiming personal power and health from the hot grip of the North American processed food industry.

For centuries, the raw food manifesto has been that the body is self-healing. It will keep healthy as long as you provide it with correct nourishment from natural, living foods grown without chemicals and other contaminants, and unaltered and undamaged by heat and/or processing.

Raw food is real food. All the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and cofactors are in place to nourish our bodies, just the way nature intended. It's so simple, in fact, that it has escaped the scrutiny of modern science, medical research and 21st-century medical technology as well as the innate intelligence of most men and women. We've been schooled in the oven of cooked food! Hence, we're sick: most of our diseases are a result of malnutrition.

A Lesson in Food

Skeptical? Just spend 15 minutes with a convert. Vancouver's raw food community is a living network of enthusiasts who will tell you how going raw has changed their lives and health. But recovered health is not an overnight "miracle." First, it requires the realization that favourite cooked "healthy" dishes of meat, pasta, vegetables, sauces and fruit are highly processed and unusable by the body. The living body understands "living food." When cooked, living foods become contaminants that the body recognizes as toxic stressors.

One raw-food Vancouver couple has been 100 per cent raw for almost three years. When their teenage son saw his parents' health problems begin to vanish with their new eating regimen, he took the plunge one year later. He has now been totally raw for two years!

As a healthy, athletic 17-year-old, he is currently the Webmaster of the Raw Vancouver Web site (

The counter-top stove in this family kitchen is ergonomically covered with a cloth upon which sits a bowl of mangoes. The refrigerator is stuffed with organic romaine lettuce, celery, cabbage, bok choy, oranges, grapefruit, avocado, almonds, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, sundried tomatoes, dates and more. Bunches of bananas hang ripening above the counter. A food dehydrator takes the space of the microwave. A quality juicer and a high-powered blender are in use several times a day.

In this raw family, meals are a "what do I feel like today?" adventure. Family members make their own food according to what their bodies are telling them: veggie burgers on dehydrated crackers, a heaping dish of blended greens and apple or banana with avocado topping; a brimming stein of beet, carrot and celery juice followed by a large bowl of fresh fruit. Some families have regular sit-down meals together. Making savoury dishes is a challenge, which is why potlucks and recipe exchanges are growing in popularity across the Western world.

That's also why Dr. Nickica Divich's Sunday evening raw food seminars are such a hit. Dr. Divich is a Saskatchewan-born Yugoslavian naturopathic doctor who has been totally raw for 27 years. He regularly teaches raw food preparation and food combining in Vancouver and elsewhere. His clinical counselling is all about lifestyle mostly food. "Be a gatekeeper," he cautions his audiences. "Develop a personal relationship with your food."

He says female raw eaters don't have PMS they don't go through painful menopause. They have easy labour in childbirth. Babies are smaller and healthier. Infants fed only breastmilk, with the later addition of carrot juice, don't get allergies, especially when the mother is a raw food eater. Raw applesauce or mashed banana should be the child's first solid food on the way to being a raw-only kid. Peer pressure? That's the parent's job to defend at first. Later on the educated child will (hopefully) be able to pressure his own peers to eat raw.

"Kids are smart. They will realize that when they eat only raw food they stay healthy. Cooked food makes them sick."

Family Lifestyle

Russian-born Victoria Boutenko and family are dynamic spokespeople for the raw lifestyle. Now living in Oregon, they teach raw food seminars around the world. Victoria says that even a 99-per cent raw food diet will not get you well if you're sick. You have to go all the way. "That final one per cent can make the difference!"

Nine years ago Victoria had heart arrhythmia. Husband Igor was threatened with removal of his thyroid gland. He'd already had nine operations for various maladies. Twelve-year-old Sergei had juvenile diabetes and was told to take insulin. Valya, two years younger, had serious asthma and was on medication. Victoria assessed the situation and said, "No way!" The entire family went raw overnight with only a little "cheating" by the two children while they were at school. However, they soon learned that the raw path alleviated their health problems, while cooked food brought back symptoms. They are now full partners in their parents' lifestyle and in educating others.

There's plenty of affirmative information on the healing power of raw foods available for the health seeker. Your health food store has books. So does alive Books: phone 1-800-663-6580.



No Proof

No Proof

Raise a glass and say cheers to not-so-hard drinks

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD