Raw food revolution

January 14, 2008 9:16:12 PM PST
It seems everyday there's a new diet or suggested way to eat that promises you will lose weight, have more energy and improve your health overall. We've come across one program that sounds pretty extreme and its followers are making some pretty remarkable claims, although dietitians are skeptical.

Recently we went to a gathering in Royersford, Montgomery County that started out like any other big social dinner.

But there is a big difference.

"Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds," said our host, Lisa Montgomery.

That's it! It's called "Raw Food" eating, there's no meat, no fish, no dairy, no processed food and nothing is cooked.

"It's not a diet it's a lifestyle."

In a quest to become healthier, Lisa Montgomery has been eating this way for the last five years and in the beginning she admitted that it felt restrictive.

"I cleaned out my pantry for the first time and here I was initially I felt like I couldn't eat anything."

Since then, she's started a support group for other raw food followers and holds regular potluck dinners with visiting chefs to inspire more creative dishes.

Raw Chef Dan Hoyt owns the Quintessence raw food restaurant in New York City.

For Lisa's potluck dinner, he whipped up a variety of dishes including his version of "crab cakes", which used dehydrated squash instead of crab and a broccoli cheese dish, with "no cheese". Instead Chef Dan soaked cashews for several hours and then blended them with salt, lemon juice and water until smooth.

So how does it taste?

Bryan Taylor of Harrisburg loved it. "There's no dairy, there's no meat it just has unbelievable flavor."

Joy Cortes of Trenton New Jersey suffers from a number of digestive problems. She said this way of eating has changed her life.

"I have so much energy all of my health problems are improving."

Linda Cooper claims her husband Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms have disappeared and that her varicose veins have reversed themselves.

But dietitians, like Emily Rubin of the Digestive Disease Institute at Jefferson University Hospital, are skeptical.

"Over the long term it doesn't have enough vitamins and minerals, protein carbohydrates or calories to extend you."

As for the claims that it can "cure" or "reverse" ailments, Rubin said devout followers need to be careful.

"You should never stop taking a medicine unless your doctor prescribes it."

She does not recommend children eating this way or if you're pregnant or nursing, if you suffer from anemia or if you are at risk for osteoporosis.

Some positives Rubin does see are that the diet is high in fiber and antioxidants.

"Fiber is linked to lowering cholesterol; helping with diabetes you know preventing colon cancer. It's high in antioxidants which are certain vitamins that help prevent certain forms of cancer."

Another point that we should make is raw food followers say eating this way isn't any more expensive because you're not buying meat. They say you feel fuller longer on this way of eating so you essentially eat less.

For More Information
Lisa Montgomery = Living Dynamically
Raw Chef Dan
Quintessence Restaurant, NYC
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Jefferson Digestive Disease Institute
The Food and Drug Administration
Arnold's Way: Healthy Living & Healing Through Raw Foods, Lansdale (215)361-0116
The United States Department of Agriculture
Carol Alt = Supermodel & Raw Food Activist

Green Smoothie Recipe:

16 oz water
4 Bananas
4 Leafy Greens
1 Apple/Pear
2 oz Dates

Blend Together to make 2 large smoothies

Other Green Smoothies:

6 peaches
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
2 cups water

4 apples
½ lemon juice
5 leaves of kale
2 cups water

2 mangos
1 handful of edible weeds, such as lambsquarters, stinging nettles, purslane, etc.
2 cups water

1 cup strawberries
2 bananas
½ bunch romaine
2 cups water

4 ripe pears
5 leaves of kale
½ bunch of mint
2 cups water