Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where Is The Raw/Living Foods Movement Headed?

The internet is really pushing the widespread knowledge, fascination, and acceptance of plant-based raw and living foods in the past 5 years. It seems everyone has a blog, a book, and is a raw food chef. We are all writing volumes about our personal experiences validating much of what plant-based nutrition experts have been saying for years. The library of printed knowledge has grown immensely, and you may have noticed recently that books on raw foods and raw food preparation are disproportionately represented on the bookshelves at your local whole foods-style market. We are still a minority, but our books are dominating the shelves, a sign of our creativity, understanding, and dedication to teaching this valuable knowledge and making it accessible to a wider audience (literally :) ).

Dr. Brian Clement of Hippocrates Health Institute was recently asked where the Raw Foods Movement would be in 10 years, and he gave this answer:

I agree with Dr. Clement, and want to continue this line of thought with the social changes I think we are going to see with the Raw Foods Movement, which will begin from within the movement itself.

In the past 3-5 years, I think we have gone a long way in the Raw Foods Movement in surpassing the fundamentalist, hard-core political/eco activist energy of the Vegan Movement, having included the best nutritional and social/economic/political realities, but without the harsh judgement or anger included. This is not to say that the Vegan Movement does not still have this sharp edge, but it would appear that a move to Raw Vegan is more expansive and legitimately hopeful that this is a cuisine that everyone can access, and all are invited - even those that have knowingly created harm.

I would suggest that the honest move to a plant-based raw/living foods diet involves a forgiveness of oneself, and an understanding that each of us has lived more egocentrically, less worldcentrically, in our own ways. There is a recognition that we must wake up together if we are to heal the many forms of damage we have collectively created. Guilt and blame become elements with limited use, except to acknowledge, learn, and move ahead.

In the next 10 years, I see the Raw Foods Movement as being commonly acknowledged as having many of the qualities other aspects of society will want to adopt: a grounded living in joy, cooperation over competition, living as a worldcentric act of love, and local economy (which is the last aspect of the Raw Foods Movement I want to discuss). What ground have we covered?

- Those of us who consider ourselves part of the Raw Foods Movement have, as a group, moved up the Spectrum of Diet away from processed, animal, and cooked foods.

- We have honored the value of fresh, nutrient-dense, local foods for their healing and health-protective qualities, not to mention the environmental protection, animal protection, and social/economic/political realities.

- We have figured out how to prepare raw foods in a delectable way for ourselves who want to be healthy.

- Moreover, we have developed thousands of dishes that even non-raw/plant-based eaters devour in front of us, leaving us with little food for ourselves as parties. Even some of our skeptical parents and friends have adopted Green Smoothies, more salads, juicing, and visits to raw food restaurants.

- We have recently made raw foods acceptable to the mainstream.

- Finally, with the advent of high petrol prices and a gentle awareness of optimal food freshness, we are pushing (and are being pushed) towards local foods. So what is the next step?

I believe it is moving to the land, and I do say "moving to the land," not "moving back to the land," because most of us at this point never lived on the land. The Raw Foods Movement is going to see a significant emphasis on urban farming; Urban Food Forests - a term I learned from Victoria, BC visionary Ayrie Cunliffe; and moving to the land out of economic and nutritional necessity. Food prices are skyrocketing, and recent events such as the mandatory pasteurization of almonds, the persistent efforts by agribusiness to dumb down organic standards, and suggestions to irradiate all leafy greens, etc. are threatening our fresh food supply.

This move to the land will not be best based on romantic visions of a fairy-tale Laura Engels Wilder "Little House on the Prairie" existence, but a solid use of the best technologies we have created with the Urban Experiment - such as the internet, radio, telephone, permaculture and organic practices perfected and widely printed in books that we all have access to, extraordinary nutritional and health knowledge, and a new appreciation for the impact our local living has on the entire planet.

Moving to the land is a big step, however, just as making plant-based live foods nutrition non-scary, solid, and scientifically-based has been. Keep your eye out in the Raw Foods Movement for those who are already growing food in urban and rural environments, and harvesting wild foods.

In my upcoming book, Juice Feasting: An Integral Hero's Guide, I will discuss this change and others, including political, economic, ecological, religious, and spiritual shifts.

With peaceful steps,

David Rainoshek, MA in The Green Room

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