Humans started out eating only raw foods. We began to cook only after we mastered fire. From the beginnings of recorded history, in countries like Iran and India, there have always been cultures subsisting only on raw vegan foods.
In ancient Greece, Pythagoras founded a philosophical and religious school where the students were required to be vegetarians. Hippocrates, a student of the school, is considered the father of medicine. Pythagoras and Hippocrates are believed to have eaten primarily raw vegan foods.
Foraging for berries, leaves, fruits and nuts was how humans ate for tens of thousands of years. Since the dawn of time, we humans have been raw foodists, and are now the only animal species that cooks its food. Throughout history, ancient cultures have adopted a predominantly plant-based diet. One example is the Brahmins, the priestly class in India who have a rich vegetarian history. Many Brahmins are known to have lived long lives through a plant-based lifestyle.
In 1930, Dr. Paul Kouchakoff, at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland, found that our bodies “normal” toxic reaction to eating, know as “Digestive Leukocytosis,” occurred only when cooked food was eaten. He found that ‘Digestive’ Leukocytosis, the immediate increase in our white blood cell count, did not occur if plant foods were eaten in their natural, unheated state. Leukocytosis is the stress response found normally when the body is invaded by a dangerous pathogen or trauma. He discovered that we have no stress response when we eat Purely Raw foods.
In 1966, Arshavir Hovannessian published Raw Eating in Iran. He had healed his sick child with raw food. They both went raw, guided only by intuition, without any outside information or support. His book declares that raw food is the proper diet for us all, and cooked food is our biggest health problem.
In America, Viktoras Kulvinskas worked with health pioneer Ann Wigmore, discovering what eating raw can do for very ill people. They eventually began curing people of ‘incurable’ diseases, by feeding them wheat grass juice, and other raw foods. They opened The Hippocrates Institute in the late 60′s in Boston, which is still going strong today in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Arnold Ehret is the author of The Mucus-less Diet Healing System and Rational Fasting. He cured himself of Bright’s Disease, which is a type of kidney disease, with his methods of fasting and a predominantly raw vegetarian diet, occasionally even living as a fruitarian. In the early 1900’s, he opened a healing clinic in Switzerland and later in California. There he cured many people with his focus on long and short term fasting, and a combination of raw and cooked vegetarian foods. He considered fasting nature’s ultimate healing method.
Arnold Ehret’s The Mucus-Less Diet Healing System affected my own family life through my grandmother’s early healing of asthma and emphysema in 1921 through a vegan and raw vegan whole plant lifestyle after she read the short but fascinating paperback book by Ehret. It was my grandmother Celia’s early healing through raw vegan food and healthy lifestyle that motivated me to transition my children and myself in 1994 to a raw vegan lifestyle to heal my son’s asthma, chronic ear infections and multiple food allergies.
Dr. Max Otto Bircher-Benner (1897-1939) is the author of The Prevention of Incurable Disease. He cured himself of jaundice with a predominantly raw vegan diet. Seeing how successful this was in his own life, he then began healing family and friends. He eventually founded the Bircher-Benner Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland where he had incredible results healing many of the so called ‘incurables.’ He frequently referred to Pythagoras and his teachings on diet and lifestyle.
Dr. Max Gerson (1881-1959) is the author of the widely acclaimed study, The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy: a summary of 30 years of clinical experimentation. His healing approach emphasizes a diet of raw foods, including organically grown fruits and vegetables. Many of these are juiced for maximum nutrition. Dr. Gerson’s method is now known to have helped cure people of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. His most famous patient is Dr. Albert Schweitzer, whom he cured of diabetes. The ‘Gerson Therapy’ method is still successfully used today in several clinics throughout Europe and Mexico.
Edmond Bordeaux Szekely (1900-1979 was fascinated with longevity. He wanted to discover the secrets of the healthiest and longest-lived humans. He spent time studying with the Hunzas, a tribe in the mountains of Pakistan who boast many people that live to over 100 in excellent health with very few diseases. With his wife, Deborah, Szekely opened a clinic in Mexico focused on curing people with organic living foods. Many of these people were told their conditions were incurable. This retreat is still open today and is the world famous Rancho La Puerta Resort in Tecate, Mexico.
Herbert Shelton (1895–1985) revitalized a historic approach to healing known for over 150 years as the Natural Hygiene method. Natural Hygiene advocates an essentially raw food lifestyle and emphasizes creating balance in all aspects of life. In fact, it is an easily attainable approach to nutrition and inspiration behind many diet systems, including Fit for Life by Marilyn and Harvey Diamond.
Norman Walker (1886—1985) is the ultimate nutrition and juicing guru. Countless people have benefited from his knowledge of the healing qualities of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. He is the author of Raw Vegetable Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body? He lived to the old age of 99, and was a perfect example of the benefits of healthy living. He was a strong proponent of raw foods, feeling that cooked foods drained life from people. His juice formulas are still as powerful today as when he conceived them and can be used in any home having a quality juicer.
John Henry Tilden (1851 – 1940) was a United States physician. He first studied medicine under the supervision of his father. He graduated from the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati on May 21, 1872 and began his own practice at Nokomis, for eight years. While there, in the spring of 1877, he took a post-graduate course at the American Medical College at St. Louis, Mo. It was during the early years of his practice in Illinois, that Dr. Tilden began to question the use of medicine to cure illness. His extensive reading, especially of medical studies from European medical schools, and his own thinking, led him to the conclusion that there should be some way to live so as not to build disease. In 1926, Dr. Tilden published a book regarding his extensive research into the underlying cause of illness, Toxemia Explained: The True Interpretation of the Cause of Disease. Dr. Tilden’s views on health are summarized as follows: “Food is a stimulant. Overeating is over-stimulating. Add to this excess one or two other stimulants—coffee or tobacco—excessive venery, overwork and worry, and one subject to that amount of drain of nerve-energy will become decidedly enervated. Elimination falls far short of requirements; consequently toxin accumulates in the blood. This adds a pronounced auto-toxin stimulation to that coming from over-stimulating habits, and completes a vicious circle. This complex stands for a disease-producing Toxemia, which will be permanent except as toxin crises—so-called acute diseases—lower the amount of toxin, again to accumulate and continue until the habits that keep the body enervated are controlled.”
Raw food is not a new idea. For years many have discovered its incredible benefits. The movement has come a long way with many contributing to it.
Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Nicole Ramirez