Whoa, Pure Jeevan's Back?!

2016 update: Aha, you noticed?! Welcome. Yes, we wanted to bring the site back online again, mainly because it's so packed with articles and information. It will be a work in progress for some time, as we changed web platforms and all sorts of tech stuff. So, a lot of links are hard-coded to old Wordpress-style links... just awful. But, in time we'll get all of it back in shape. For now, enjoy clicking around and reading!

Wendi tells a funny story sometimes about a woman she'd met who was considering undergoing gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight. When Wendi asked the woman whether she'd consider changing her diet to a raw foods regimen, she responded with something like, "Oh, no, that's too radical."

This is really what it's come to in society; having part of your digestive system surgically altered (in a profound, irreversible, dangerous, and invasive way) is no more than some nonchalant, consequence-free elective decision ... while eating more salads is viewed as "radical."

Now, I don't know how accurate Wikipedia is when it comes to statistics, but that site's gastric bypass page reports an estimated 200,000 such procedures having been performed in the U.S. alone last year (2008). Two hundred thousand, friends!? Also according to that page:? Aside from the (admittedly slight) possibility that you could die from the surgery, other complications include infection, hemmorhaging, hernias, bowel obstruction, blood clotting, internal "leakage," complications from all of the scar tissue created, ulcers, and more. And then, since you've altered your digestive system, there are numerous nutritional issues you'll face, even after losing weight.

I should add that the weight loss is not healthy weight loss. It's more akin to starvation weight loss because you simply will not be able to hold as much as you once did. And starvation, if that is one's goal, could easily be accomplished without surgery. (Although we would never recommend starving yourself! Just needed to add as a CYA measure.)

The kicker is no surprise to me... As compared with adopting a "radical" raw foods lifestyle, a big irony is that, for most gastric bypass patients, it's reported that the toughest part is the psychological side -- realizing the emotional attachment you had to all of the foods you used to love but now can no longer eat very much of thanks to the limited capacity of your now 90% smaller stomach.

Two hundred thousand people do this each year ? I simply cannot believe 200,000 people annually would opt for this instead of making a dietary adjustment (even if it's a tough one for them). How much of that, do you suppose, is because (1) they know about dietary alternatives, yet still consider them unacceptable, or (2) they've simply never heard of raw foods, yet were exposed to media coverage and marketing campaigns (My money is on #2. And that's part of the reason we're here!)

Anyway, I really wasn't planning at all to write about this today, but happened to be browsing one of my favorite language web sites, World Wide Words, run by a witty British grammarian and word sleuth named Michael Quinion. I happened to see this morning under his "Turns of Phrase" category a listing for "Raw Foodism." So I clicked, only to read the opening line:

This is an extreme form of vegetarianism, in which all cooking is eschewed in favour of raw ingredients as near their natural state as possible. (emphasis mine)

Et tu, Michael ? Ahh well, until raw foods gets some serious coverage in the media, until "eating the same way that all other species eat" stops being labaled as extreme or "orthorexic," and until gastric bypass surgery is no longer marketed as a panacea, I suspect we'll all have to be content to sit quietly in our small, eco-friendly, ultra-healthy corners of the world. But, at least we're a welcoming bunch. When people do wander in, dazed and confused from all of the misinformation and surgical marketing campaigns, we just smile and say, "Yep, you finally figured it out. Welcome to your journey back to true health."

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On November 13, 2009, jprostko wrote:

Yep, it is "radical" to eat food in its natural state without roasting, toasting, cooking, or processing it first, haha. But the odd thing here is that the connotative meaning of radical is actually one of the meanings that is supposed to be less common. If you read through the definitions of radical at merriam-webster.com , you may find it a bit entertaining.

On November 13, 2009, Bethany wrote:

Fantastic post, Jim!

On November 13, 2009, Chris wrote:

Yeah, I have run into that too. Some people get all hushed when I talk about eating raw, like I'm doing something dangerous. Well, I think I know where that comes from. Sometimes you see people who are stick thin with hair like dry grass who are raw foodies. I suspect they do not get enough nutrition, but anyway that's kind of what SAD diet people are thinking when they think raw food I think

It is very funny to me though, that when I lost 60lbs, 70 lbs people saw me and were concerned. For once my BP was down, energy and mood up and just feeling great and now the people were concerned. When I was overweight, depressed, low energy, high BP THAT was normal.

So I'm not surprised, at all. I started out wanting to sort of be a raw foods ambassador for regular folks, which is why I started my website. Not an expert or anything like that, just a voice talking about raw foods in a way that is non-threatening to "regular" diet people. I'd still like to do that, but the transformation is really so extraordinary, that it can be hard to downplay that at times.

What a great problem, having to defend and do apologetics for something that makes us feel so good! :)

On November 13, 2009, jprostko wrote:

Chris,

I've encountered the same situation as you. When I was very obese and weighed almost 210 pounds, everyone was fine with that. Once I dropped down to 125 pounds after going raw, a lot of individuals in my family got all concerned saying I must see a doctor right away, because I was "too skinny." I was also told, "I knew someone that went vegan, and she got really sick and almost died!" I do think sometimes people do things wrong, and could therefore make themselves very sick, but I knew that wasn't the case for me. I have to laugh, as the one relative who heckles me most actually had a gastric bypass like Jim mentioned. Guess what, she is still overweight, and still eats pretty badly. Oh well, to each their own.

If I'm an "extreme" or "radical" eater, then so be it. To me, it's the only way worth living anymore.

On November 13, 2009, Chris wrote:

You're so right! Each person has to find their own path. I really like your comment at the end too, so be it indeed! :)

My daughter and I were talking one day and she was talking about how some of the things I am into and she is interested in, her friends scoff at and call "hippie". My response was "Well if being a hippie means I am open and loving, don't want to hurt anything and am healthy, then I am happy to have that label!"

On November 13, 2009, Auntie Patricia wrote:

when i first meet a new client who wants to lose weight, i ask them how much they weighed in high school -- because in my day, high school kids were still pretty healthy. now that so many young people are not as healthy, i am not sure the same would be true. but for we who are older, our high school weight would probably be our ideal weight for optimal functioning.

experimenting with a lot of dessert recipes recently (having to personally TEST each one LOTS of times -- yum!), i have determined that my own face and body respond rather quickly to fats and proteins from nuts & seeds, so i am backing off... will have to find other guinea pigs to test after a few bites of my wonderful concoctions. :) therefore it has occurred to me that most 'weight' after 'optimal' weight is simply storage of those things the body can't quite get rid of fast enough. a guy called me today who said he weighs 260 and wants to get down to 240... eats meat... said he knows a lot about healthy nutrition. i warned him. if he comes to see me, he will learn a whole lot more. hahahaa... yes, 'raw' is 'radical' -- and it requires 'radical' to get back to healthy in our current world where everything is upside down & backwards.

On November 13, 2009, KL wrote:

Well done Jim! I love the dialogue. I find mainstream America does indeed see us as extreme just as we see them as obese and unhealthy. Are we spending our focus on what is radical or simply letting everyone live life as they choose? Although the gift of raw food can be so magical it's hard to keep to ourselves, wouldn't we be better using that energy to further cleanse and rebuild ourselves rather than concern ourselves with how others define us? There is no criticism intended here, I'm merely pointing out a different approach to this situation. I'm cautious to share my lifestyle with others and avoid terms like "I can't...," "I don't" or "I'm special." That is an open critique to others they are not living up to my standards. Instead I listen with interest as my coworker tells me about the half off donuts at 2:00 pm. Why? Simply because he is sharing something with me that interests him. I like to break the news slowly, if ever, to others about practicing a raw vegan diet. It's too much for them. Initially it was too much for me! While my coworker knows I'm vegan and catches himself with the donut stories he will likely one day find out I'm raw and will be able to deal with it better because he will have time to adjust, see I am healthy and make excellent nutritional decisions. Being a good example of good health, good attitude and superior creativity (gifts from the raw food world) are enough to catch the attention of others. It's amazing how many people will start to eat more fruits and vegetables and ask about the lifestyle with the example of a glowing, friendly, radical raw foodie in their presence. Thanks to Pure Jeevan for another great post!

On November 14, 2009, lonedoggy wrote:

My 14 year old daughter said the way the woman might have been looking at it is the surgery only takes a few hours, but the diet is for life! (and we mean FOR LIFE in a good way!) Obviously we know the healthy way is the diet change, but it's hard to convice some people...GO RAW!!!! :)
Toni

On November 15, 2009, kevan wrote:

My wife and I are Raw Foodies in South Africa. When I tell someone I am a Raw Foodies , I see a look in their face that I have become to recognize so well. The first question that they usually ask reflects the look on their faces, ?What do you eat ?
The South African man eats meat. A well known steakhouse chain flighted an add that epitomized the South African males attitude towards salad. I showed an enormous slab of sizzling steak, next to the steak was the tiniest (1cm x 1cm) piece of lettuce. They had an arrow pointing to the lettuce with a caption ?salad
So when I say Raw, they think of a piece of Iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber, and wonder, ? How on earth could I survive on that? They picture me chomping on a raw carrot. When we invite conventional eaters to our house for dinner, they are blown away. They could never imagine the gourmet meals that we serve them. So far two couples have gone raw after coming to dinner. Some of our friends have become totally intimidated and we no longer get invited to anyone of our old friend houses.
We were partly to blame. It is so hard to be quiet about something that has changed your life so dramatically in every way. We enthused, we shared our new found knowledge, we showed off and were rather smug about it, and we pushed everyone away.
It s been 18 months now and slowly friends are coming back to us with questions. Last week one I was asked by one of the how they could boost the immunity system of their one year old.

On November 16, 2009, Auntie Patricia wrote:

wow, kevan, what a wonderful story.
bravo for leading the raw food movement in SA!

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

WOW...

"Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin radicalis, from Latin radic-, radix root, Date: 14th century: 1 : of, relating to, or proceeding from a root: as a (1) : of or growing from the root of a plant <radical tubers> (2) : growing from the base of a stem, from a rootlike stem, or from a stem that does not rise above the ground..."

Suddenly craving some Vitamineral Earth.

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

I'll take that as a compliment from someone I know as a fellow health extremist. Um, not that you're a *fellow*. You know what I mean... :-)

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Well said! I'd love to feature a "My Raw Story" with you, Chris. See:

http://tinyurl.com/rawguidelines

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Same to you, Joe... If you ever want to do a "My Raw Story" to be featured on our blog, please consider yourself invited: http://tinyurl.com/rawguidelines

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

"said he knows a lot about healthy nutrition"

Yeah, the misinformation out there is the worst! Everyone at my office "knows" about nutrition. That's why they're all vocal advocates of the Atkins diet.

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Yep... "Be the change." :-) I more or less do the same. People do inquire from time to time -- especially people who knew what I used to look like and see me now. Those people HAVE to know what I'm doing, because they want to do whatever it is. I have more to say on this topic, but am saving it for a longer post. -Jim

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Probably... everyone wants a quick, effortless fix. I think the perception that surgery is quick and easy (and consequence-free) is part of the marketing campaign for such procedures.

On November 17, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

"We were partly to blame. It is so hard to be quiet about something that has changed your life so dramatically in every way. We enthused, we shared our new found knowledge, we showed off and were rather smug about it, and we pushed everyone away."

Yeah, that's the other side of the coin. On the one side, some people don't accept you and they leave. (That's what happened to Wendi.) On the other, you can actually play a role in pushing others away. So, adopting a raw lifestyle can truly be tricky business!

BTW, I'm very interested in international raw diets...What kinds of things do you commonly eat in South Africa? Is it much different from the kinds of things we blog about here usually -- or do all raw foodies worldwide eat pretty much the same?