Here's an article from the Fresh Network that I thought would be of interest:
January 26, 2010
Why the shift away from veganism in the raw world?
As you may already have noticed, a big change has taken place in theraw food world, and this change is ongoing. More and more raw foodauthors, coaches and speakers are coming forward either to say they'renot vegan anymore, to publicly promote the health benefits of certainanimal products, or to warn that the vegan diet does not provide allnecessary nutrients so vegans must supplement. Taking into account those raw leaders who have never been completelyvegan anyway, we can now count very few raw food promoters who are100% vegan themselves and who also say that a 100% raw vegan dietprovides us with everything we need (i.e. that there is no need tosupplement). We decided a while ago that this phenomenon deserved acloser look, so we have been busy discussing this shift with ourcontacts and also investigating what may be causing it. Before going any further, we wish to acknowledge the gigantic ethicaland environmental justifications for avoiding animal products, and thefact that for many, eating these foods is not an option, regardless ofany alleged or real health benefits. And indeed this is whythere are passionate vegans who do not believe the vegan diet is ournatural diet, but who choose to stay vegan and supplement rather thanconsume animal products. Today we bring you the opinions of five people who are well-known inthe raw food community. This is a small cross section of the commentswe've collected, and it is representative of the answers we've beenhearing in response to our question, "Why has there been a shift awayfrom veganism in the raw movement?"
Fred Bisci is a nutritionist and food scientist. He has been followinga raw diet for over 40 years. He is vegan and believes a raw vegandiet can be the healthiest way to eat if people do it correctly, whichmeans monitoring their nutrient levels and supplementing wherenecessary. “What has come out is only the tip of the iceberg. Regardless ofwhether raw promoters are really doing what they're saying orcomprehending what they're doing, people shouldn’t just followblindly. There are many out there telling others their philosophy andtheir anecdotal stories about how to be raw vegan withoutunderstanding all the variables that apply to the physiology andchemistry of the human body. There are no two ways about it – a rawvegan lifestyle done correctly is fantastic. But we have to approachthis with as much science as we have available. People really have toknow what they’re doing when they’re 100% raw vegan long term. As the years go by, those on a vegan lifestyle have to watch out forB12 deficiency, and if they live in a cold climate, for vitamin Ddeficiency. People can also run short of trace minerals. When peoplecome to see me, the first thing I ask is whether they have had arecent blood work and if not I tell them to go get a complete bloodtest, including nutrient profile. In some cases people may have totake some B12 and vitamin D and mineral supplements. If they do this,animal protein is not necessary. This is how I live. For those whowant to eat animal protein, it must be clean, in moderation, and inthe context of a high-raw, plant-based approach. If someone has been eating raw vegan for 10 or 20 years or longer andthey go back to animal protein the possibility does exist that theycan develop a serious disease. I have seen it happen more times than Ilike to remember. If a person has truly been eating 100% raw, thelonger they do it the more risk they take by going back. You don'tneed to eat 100% raw vegan to live a long, healthy life. However, thislifestyle, for those who do it correctly, can produce optimalresults.”
Elaine Bruce is the founder and director of the UK Centre for LivingFoods and has been following Dr Ann Wigmore’s living foods programmefor over two decades. She is no longer vegan since being diagnosedwith an essential fatty acid deficiency, despite taking a daily doseof flax oil. “I recently went back to using a little dairy, specifically cottagecheese mixed with my daily dose of flax oil, in order to assimilatethis oil supplement which is so essential to a balanced intake ofessential fatty acids (EFAs). There is good research to support thismove, for example Joanna Budwig's work on flax oil, which underpinsthe more recent work of writers on oils and EFAs, notably Udo Erasmus,who acknowledges her work. My experience, though I was very reluctantto take this step, is feeling better balanced, and noticing that astate of occasional brain-fog lifts very soon after eating a littlecottage cheese with flax oil. It is difficult to take on board that our ideal of veganism, whileethically admirable, may in fact be injurious to health in the longterm. It's worth considering that we have only been experimenting withversions of the vegan diet for a few decades; not long enough to knowwhat the long-term effects are for most people. Another variable isour genetic type. Not all of us thrive on the same diet, and thisresearch also is in its infancy."
Raw food author and speaker Dr Douglas Graham has been following a rawvegan diet for 30 years, and teaches that our natural and optimal dietis an unsupplemented, high-fruit, low-fat, 100% raw vegan diet. “Human beings operate under a comprehensive set of natural laws thatcan only be proven, never broken. When we make short-term lifestyle orfood style deviations outside of those laws, there is always a priceto pay, and the body will always let us know, via the creation andongoing generation of signs and symptoms, that something is amiss.Typically, when we follow a diet that is not taking us where we hopeand expect to go, we intuitively know it is time to change our diet.Incremental dietary improvements will result in proportional healthimprovements, but ideal health can only be achieved when we practiceand follow an ideal health and dietary regimen. It comes as no surprise to me that many leaders of the raw foodmovement are now openly admitting that they have been eating non-veganfoods. The writing has been on the wall for years. All one needs to dois look at the lack of results these leaders are showing in their ownpersonal health, notice how they go from program to program, or add upthe nutritional and calorie numbers and see that that they do not addup to healthy results. When I heard raw food leaders saying such things as, “calories are adead issue,” “don't crunch the numbers, just eat raw food,” “fruitsand vegetables are a waste of time nutritionally,” “you can learn tolive without eating fruit,” “each person has to find what works forthem,” and giving other scientifically unsound and unsustainableadvice, I knew it was only a matter of time till they would have toadmit that the program they were following was not working for them.The truth always wins out, and nature's laws cannot be ignored.”
Holly Paige, author of the upcoming book Food for Consciousness, waspreviously raw vegan and now follows and promotes a non-vegan rawdiet. “In my view, the simple explanation is that an increasing number ofpeople are finding out that raw veganism does not work long term.Contrary to what people hear when they first get involved, the rawmovement is littered with nutritional casualties. It was only a fewyears ago that substantial numbers of people started to go raw veganand it can take years for the symptoms of deficiency to show up. Asthere has been little information available about the potentialpitfalls of raw diets, it has taken a lot of time to find out andshare the information about how to avoid them – and they can beavoided for sure. Ironically many of the people who have spoken out have done so afterexperience of many years being or trying to be raw vegan. They were infavour of the ideal as much as anyone – they just found it didn't workin practice. In fact it was in dedication to the ideal that thepitfalls were discovered. The issues seem to be particularly acute intemperate climates and with children – there are too many to detailhere but a couple of the major ones are lack of fat-soluble vitaminsand B12. We do not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Theethical production of raw dairy products, for example, is easilypossible, especially if we are willing to engage in honest economics.”
Shazzie has been vegan for 25 years and raw for 10 but teaches that inorder to be healthy on a vegan diet, it is essential to take the rightsupplements. In her 2008 book, Evie’s Kitchen, she lays out thenutrients which are either absent on vegan diets, or hard to getenough of. “Of course we want to be compassionate to all beings, yet we can’tignore the fact that our species hasn’t evolved to be 100% vegan. Thismeans that if we choose to be vegan without supplementing (andespecially raw, eschewing all fortified cooked products), we miss outon vital nutrients such as B12, choline, vitamin K2 and vitamin D (insome countries) and we may be low in all B vitamins, DHA, minerals andother nutrients. I spent four years researching how to have a 100%vegan diet that would work long term (ensuring no deficiencies) forboth adults and developing children alike, and put the detailedfindings in my book Evie’s Kitchen. I did this because I want to remain vegan and I want the raw foodculture to have every chance of raising healthy children – vegan ornot. If you aren’t prepared to supplement yourself or your child, thenyou shouldn’t be vegan because the risk of deficiencies is too high.We are talking about more than vitamin B12 and it’s about time allvegan promoters acknowledged this for the sake of our futuregenerations of vegan children. I have spoken to many of the raw foodists who are turning to animalproducts, and the general consensus is they never had vegan ethicsbefore going into raw food, it’s just that some people were shoutingso loud about raw veganism that it appealed to their ideals ofpurification and detoxification at the time. Yet now they are awarethere are other, non-vegan ways of eating raw food, they’re giving ita go. Quite often they haven’t been supplementing in the way Irecommend, so the addition of animal products makes them feel betterthan being an unsupplemented vegan. Neither way is wrong, I just wantpeople to be healthy and happy.” We haven’t only been speaking to well-known raw food experts aboutthis issue. We’ve also been asking our friends, readers and customers.A surprising phenomenon we’ve uncovered is that many raw foodenthusiasts who identify themselves as vegans are in fact not totallyvegan. Whether it’s a free range organic egg or a little raw goat’scheese once a week or some fish once a month, these people think ofthemselves as vegan and will tell you they’re vegan – no doubtbecause, unlike the average eater, most of what they eat is completelyfree of anything animal-based and they wish to keep it that way. Thismakes us wonder how many more who identify themselves as vegans aredoing the same but not admitting to it. We have been collecting a vast amount of information, both scientificand anecdotal, on the topic of raw vegan diets and we’ll be back withmore of that information soon – next time with the focus on thescientific. For now we’re interested in what you think, so pleaseleave a comment on this post and let us, and other readers, know, andalso be sure to include any questions you’d like answered on thistopic.