(NaturalNews) This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni's Rawkathon, which can be found at http://www.Rawkathon.com. In this excerpt, Rick Dina shares on two main raw food camp philosophies and the pluses and minuses of each.
Rawkathon with Rick Dina.. Rick Dina has been a raw foodist for over 20 years. Rick is a chiropractor and teaches a series called The Science of Raw Nutrition as well.
Kevin: All right. Let's close this out by talking about the different raw food philosophies. And I don't want to say which ones are the best, but what are some of the plusses and minuses of each one?
Rick: That's a great question because so many people get excited about raw food but then as they start to get into it more they notice that there's two primary camps which in some ways are diametrically opposed to each other. And it's really tough to know exactly what to do. On the one hand you've got the natural hygiene camp which is one of the traditional raw food camps that says you should eat plenty of fruit, a few vegetables and there's a whole other lifestyle philosophy that goes along with that. Whereas there's the other side, the Hippocrates, Anne Wigmore-type side and other folks that promote that, that really look down on fruit. People just don't know what to do. They argue with each other and there's the classic debates. The hygiene people say, "You guys eat too much fat." "No we don't. You're eating too much fruit; it's feeding yeast and candida and causing cancer." And all this other stuff.
I personally think that there are plusses and minuses to both approaches. My personal diet, I mentioned my typical day earlier, I just basically eat fruit and greens all during the day and have a huge salad with some nut and seed-based dressing in the evening. That, for me at least, seems to work really well. Now what I do agree with on the natural hygiene side is that if you're eating mostly sprouts and vegetables, we talked about before that vegetables have on average about 100 calories per pound, now as enthused as you might be about raw food you might get 4 pounds of vegetables in you per day, maybe 5. It takes about a pound to fill up your stomach. So that's 4 or 500 calories. Most people need 1800 or 2000, if you're active 3, 4, 5,000 calories. So you need to eat some things that are more calorically dense. Fruit on average has about 300 calories per pound. Bananas are a little less watery, a little richer, great to make banana ice cream out of; they have about 400 calories per pound. So eating fruit is a way to supply more calories. If you're not eating much fruit then and you're staying all raw what you're left with is either things from the dehydrator or nuts and seeds and avocados and things that are high in fat. So if you can only get about 400 calories from vegetables and you need to eat 2,000, most of the rest of that is coming from fat. So I do agree with the natural hygiene camp on that view that if you're totally avoiding fruit but staying all raw, if you get enough calories, you just end up with the majority of your calories from fat. Even though it's unsaturated, it's protective, it's healthier fat; there's some essential fats, in my personal experiment and from what I've seen from personal experience. From what I've seen with many other people over the years, they're just not feeling as vital and vibrant and healthy and lively as they could eating that much fat. Even healthy fat is harder to digest than protein and carbohydrates.
The Hippocrates camp, I'll agree with some of their criticisms toward natural hygiene. Greens and sprouts are so important, not only lettuce and celery but we need to eating kale and collards and bokchoy and some of the grasses and the algaes are really important to add to our diet. I would agree with that. Greens are the star of the show. Greens compared to fruit calorie for calorie are far more mineral rich. They're an excellent source of essential fatty acids. They supply chlorophyll which has a number of beneficial effects in our bodies. And those are all really important things.
So I think a combination of eating a reasonable amount of fruit to get enough calories without eating too much fat is a good idea. I think you want to eat lots and lots of greens. And if you want to juice your greens to get more greens in your system I think that's great. The natural hygiene camp would say, "Well, we don't have juicers in nature; that's not natural." Well, we don't live in a perfect world and we need to take the world the way it is and do the best we can to be as healthy as possible.
So I don't think we should be afraid of fat, but I don't think we should be afraid of fruit either. We can get moderate amounts of each. Some fruits, lots of vegetables, lots of greens, a few avocados and nuts and seeds. For most people that seems to be a pretty good balanced plan.
Kevin: What about supplementation? I know natural hygienists--
Rick: Are really down on it.
Kevin: Does Hippocrates talk about supplementation?
Rick: They do. The Hippocrates camp, they all tend to agree that vitamin B12 supplements are important. They're up on the current research. I think that's really commendable. They're very much in general into all the green food type supplements - the grasses, the algaes and those type of things. I think a lot of those are beneficial but I do have to say sometimes, in my opinion, people get so into "I've got to take this supplement for this and this supplement for this," and it gets real complicated; whereas, I can appreciate the hygiene point of view that says, "Look, if you live as healthfully as possible you're not going to need to have all those complications."
...I'm not against supplements but I think that supplements should be just that, supplemental, to complement a healthy diet program. Don't be a supplementarian and eat a few things on the side. [laughs]
Kevin: Things like systemic enzymes and digestive enzymes, is that something that you think is important?
Rick: I think digestive enzymes can be very helpful. Clearly when we cook our food we deactivate the enzymes and then our body has to make its own enzymes. And as Dr. Edward Howe and others have hypothesized that draws upon our metabolic enzymes. I do think it makes sense when you eat some cooked food to use some digestive enzymes to help replace what should be there in the food in the first place. Even if someone's eating a real dense raw meal - a bunch of stuff from the dehydrator, a bunch of oil - I think digestive enzymes can help in that regard as well. There's plenty of cooked meals that are easier to digest than plenty of raw meals, depending on what the choice is. Steamed vegetables are easier to digest than a coconut pie.
Kevin: Or a raw lasagna.
Rick: I might have one enzyme tablet with the steamed vegetables and three or four with the raw pie. I do think they can be helpful. I ran out of my supply a few years ago and haven't replaced it yet but I think if you have them around they can be beneficial.
Kevin: You've been doing raw food for 20 some odd years now.
Kevin: What do you think is the key to success?
Rick: The key to success I think is applying all the principles of health and not just diet. What I always say is raw versus cooked is one issue in your diet and diet is one issue in overall health. The key I think is just eating primarily fresh fruits and vegetables, whether you like more fruit or more greens, depending on which camp you prefer, that should be the foundation. You want to make sure that you get enough sleep. You want to make sure you have a positive attitude. You've got to move the body and get some exercise whether it's running, soccer, the gym, biking, whatever you enjoy, walking. And just trying to keep all that in balance.
If there's one key to nutrition I would say it's light eating, focusing on fresh, water-rich, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. The less energy your body has to use for digestion the more you're going to have available for cleansing, healing, repairing and vitality.
Kevin: Great. Well Rick, thank you for being on the program. I appreciate it.
Rick: All right. Very good. I appreciated being here.
For more from this excerpt of the Rawkathon, plus 14 other amazing raw food interviews, please visit http://www.Rawkathon.com.