By Bob McCauley, CNC, MH
Some of us have decided to put the right foods in our body so we can obtain true health, not the kind of health that everyone else talks about where you mention that you are not sick then knock on wood as though you have simply been lucky up to this point. These are the people who inevitably end up in the hands of doctors. Those of us who consistently want to consume healthy foods are often labeled as “fanatics” obsessed about “eating correctly”. There is even a term that has been invented for someone like myself who wants to stay healthy by consuming only what actually belongs in the body, Orthorexia Nervosa, which literally means “fixation on righteous eating”.[i] Those who consistently eat right and put in their body only what naturally belongs there are labeled “health food junkies”.
People who move to a Raw-food Diet sometimes do fixate on food, how it is prepared and tastes. We are a society obsessed with food, which is why there are dozens of diet books on the market explaining how we can lose the weight that the hundreds of cookbooks instruct us to prepare in seductive ways. Virtually every social gathering involves food, from weddings to funerals to parties of every kind, especially those around holidays. Food and our obsession with it has been around for thousands of years. Obsessing over raw foods is only the latest wrinkle on that tradition.
I will be the first to admit that obsessing over anything is not a good thing, but first we must define what an obsession is. For instance, although we can obsess over consuming raw foods, how they taste and are prepared, if we simply eat a broad array of raw foods we will never be sick. If that is the case, then I would rather obsess over raw foods than have cancer, diabetes or heart disease and find myself at the mercy of doctors who have no clue how to heal me.
Some raw foodists won’t eat foods that are chopped-up because it causes them to become oxidized, thus the energy force of the food is diminished. Others will not eat hybrid foods such as carrots, bananas or anything grown inside a farmer’s fence because they have been changed by cross-breeding and therefore are not completely natural foods. Others will not touch foods from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant because they believe those are somehow harmful as well. I believe all this is taking things too far when considering the garbage the average person regularly puts in his/her body. Although I have my preferences, I will eat any raw food that is not known to be poisonous such as water hemlock, foxglove or certain mushrooms.
If someone has decided to only eat apples, this could be construed as a harmful obsession because eating only apples and nothing else is unhealthy and will eventually lead to disease. Cooked foods are an addiction and like any addiction we must remove these addictive substances from our lives. All addicts know they should not expose themselves to their addiction because the temptation is too great, whether it is alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, soft drinks or chocolate. However, to suggest that you should not be too strict with your diet and eat what you want instead of what your body requires is another way of suggesting that it is alright to be weak and give in to the harmful foods we are addicted to. It is the sentiment of an enabler, someone who wants you to believe that foods which lead to disease are okay to eat and that a strict diet of raw foods is obsessive, damaging and unhealthy. They say this because successfully moving to a Raw-food Diet is something that they probably can’t manage to do themselves. If we are determined to obtain Great Health and know that moving to a Raw-food Diet is the only way to achieve it, then we are brave and smart to do so, not obsessed.
Eating foods that are detrimental to our health is a “deathist” mentality, meaning that since everyone is going to die one day, living any way other than sensuously is foolish and naive. They believe that life is about pleasure more than anything else. Pleasure should be just one of the many components of our lives, not its central focus. Spirituality, morality, ethics, compassion and the satisfaction that comes from work, achievements and human relationships of every kind must also have necessary weight and authority in our lives.
In fact, Messier Rochefoucauld’s quotation at the beginning of this section is itself one of a weakling who has decided he will eat whatever he pleases, a slave to the whim of his taste buds, self-condemned to the inevitability of disease and an early demise. Perhaps one even could say that it is the statement of a fanatic.
[i] Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating, by M.D. Steven Bratman, David Knight.