on January 11, 2016
(From my blog pale-reflection.com)
I just finished reading The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. Published in 2005, I opened this book with mild expectations--would the information already seem dated within the 11 year post-publication span? Regardless if this was or wasn't the case, I selected Rose's book because I was looking to obtain information that would meet my needs at this point in life. I am in the market for a lifestyle change, and want to be convinced. Having started reading about raw lifestyles years ago, I find that these books are a great way to get going. The optimistic, motivational writing style makes it seem like such program is do-able, dare I say even easy, in addition to being the key to maintaining a naturally youthful appearance, clean body cells, and better quality of life. I don't doubt any of these effects; however, Rose lost me on more than one occasion.
One of the pros about Rose's perspective concerns cooked food. To put it plainly, cooked foods are not eliminated from one's eating repertoire. It definitely surprised me to read such information in a raw food book, but I believe such perspective also works in this book's favor. I was given the impression that one should try to eat as raw as possible, but that if cooked food consumption happens it's not the end of the world. As long as the cooked ingredients are of the utmost quality (processed and artificial foods are, obviously, the ultimate no-no,) cooked food in moderation is acceptable. I could be wrong, but I feel like Rose would be okay with people eating a 50% or more raw diet daily. This in itself maintains my hope of success. That, and she didn't completely bash coffee--now that's my kind of girl :)
With this being said, Rose didn't have to do much convincing for this reader. I'm already a strong advocate for a diet rich in whole foods. I believe that going raw vegan is best for one's health (and to be clear, Rose does NOT suggest everyone go vegan, or even vegetarian, in this book), and try to live by this principle as best as I can. But that therein is the problem--I try but ultimately cannot commit 100% to such lifestyle. Temptations are stronger than my willpower, and I will be damned if I can walk away from one of my mom's home cooked meals (OMG mom's cooking--the BEST!) in favor of a carrot stick. (Exaggerated for effect, of course.) So on page 34 when Rose begins her discussion of "quick exit foods in quick exit combinations" I was a goner.
Essentially, this is the rationale of quick exit combinations: There are four basic food categories (starches, fleshes, nuts/seeds/dried fruit, and fresh fruit), and these combinations should never mix in a meal with some exceptions. Now, I have two masters' degrees in fields that are founded on critical thinking, and even I had to read this chapter a couple of times to:
A.) get over the shock of what I was reading, and
B.) understand how to properly combine a meal
Raw veggies are permissible to be combined with pretty much anything, and cooked veggies have more leeway as well; however, eating, lets say, a bowl of oatmeal and a banana in the same sitting is BAD, BAD, BAD! Rose explains this is due to the taxing energy it takes the body to digest certain types of foods. Consuming raw fruit that has been improperly combined leads to fermenting in the stomach, and thus does not allow the body to absorb the full nutritional benefits of the food. Negative consequences of this are gas and tiredness, to name but a few. As a result, raw fruit should only be eaten on its own with a good two hour minimum lapse (the time it takes for fruit to leave the stomach--the time is actually shorter than this, but I use this figure to be on the safe side) before consuming any other category of food.
Now, I'm going to be fair and say that I absolutely agree with Rose. Who hasn't experienced a "food coma" before? Exactly. But, c'mon now. If I'm getting up in the morning and eating a banana and a rice cake together, I'm not going to kick myself. For those of you who are able to separate your food categories and only eat within them, more power to you! But this little cookie enjoys having a handful of raw almonds with mixed berries, thank you very much. If it means I'm going to wrinkle sooner and have post-consumption lethargy, then so be it. I applaud Rose for putting this theory out there, but admit I was a little annoyed by how "easy" she makes such a change seem. One need only look at how the majority of complete meals in human history is organized to see that category combination is internationally steadfast. The suggestion to completely reconstruct this system on a seeming whim is underestimated.
She also underestimates the cost of her program. Rose is a juicing advocate, which is great, but the amount of vegetables one has to purchase for one serving of one juice is high. She addresses the issue a bit in the book and offers suggestions of foods to purchase for us poo' folk, but my perception was that she dances around the reality of what her program will cost. (Rose states that she spends $800/month on groceries for her family. This was 11 years ago. Even today, that figure seems awfully high to me!) So don't worry kiddies, for those of you who can't swing juicing an entire head of romaine, 5-6 stalks of kale, 1-2 apples, 1 organic lemon, and fresh ginger EVERYDAY for ONE juice using the $350 juicer that she recommends... I'm right there with you.
Rose also lost me on enemas and colonics and foot propping while pooping. Yep.
Anyway, from this point Rose has you take a short quiz to see where you fall on the detox transition level (I fell into level 3--accurate), and then gives you a tailored diet for detoxification. It's helpful, and her suggestions are not as difficult as it may seem for the short term. Following this guide, she provides chapters that offer suggestions for how to make the raw lifestyle applicable to one's everyday activities long term. As to be expected, such way of living is full of challenges. Thus, it is important to stay focused, maintain willpower, and have a positive outlook. Remember why you were drawn toward going raw in the first place, and keep this close during times of tempting derailment.
Overall, I DID enjoy this book. It gave a good kick in the pants to get healthy! And, it also set a high bar to aspire towards once one gets the hang of the raw lifestyle. I'm very thankful that resources like this exist to bring one the suggestion to live a healthier, happier, more enriched life.
A quick note: I found an "oops" on page 186 where she suggests bringing Splenda to work... Ha! I think the presumed ghostwriter meant Stevia. :)