David Wolfe on Eating Raw Food

February 11, 2013
david wolfe

When I transitioned to a mostly raw food plant-based diet about five years ago, my health almost immediately changed. I had energy. My skin was clearer. I felt happier.

While it can sound like an extreme change, when you get to the bottom of what raw eating actually is, it’s the most simple, and quite possibly most potent, form of nutrition – just ask raw food “guru” David Wolfe.

Modern chefs such as Juliano, Russell James and Rod Rotondi have then taken raw and made it into a mouthwatering, culinary excursion of deliciousness.

Raw dishes, from lasagne and salads to cheesecakes and crackers, may take longer to prepare in the kitchen, but suddenly, food and its preparation possibilities becomes exciting. Eating becomes truly enjoyable, you stay fuller for longer on dense, nutritious calories and, in many cases, health improves and we become a healthy weight that’s so easy to maintain. No. more. dieting!

{EDITOR’S NOTE: While there are loads of great things to say about putting more raw into your diet, one major point I’ve learned on my health journey is that every body is different. No one way of eating is right for all people. Adopting major change all at once can actually do the body more harm than good, speaking from experience! So while I love raw, it’s always good to go with your intuition and adopt the types of foods that feel best for you. Since this post I now eat mostly raw during the warmer seasons and eat warming foods in the colder months as this works best for my body. I found it was easier to eat raw all year ’round while living in California due to the warmer weather, but since moving to New Zealand, which is a lot colder, I needed more warm and warming foods.}

There are many raw food teachers, but perhaps none as well-known as David Wolfe, who actually brought raw food into popular consciousness. He’s all about raw, as well as super foods and super herbs. He offers so much life-changing health and wellness information, which you can access online via his BodyMind Institute course.

Here, David Wolfe explains what the lifestyle is, why it can reap many health benefits, how to make a start and so much more. 


What is raw food exactly? What is its origin? Is it a recent phenomenon?

The basic idea is that when we showed up on the planet, we didn’t have fire, we didn’t have shoes. How did we live? Well it’s easier to sneak up on lettuce than it is a rabbit so we probably ate mostly raw plants. And that is the basic idea or the premise behind raw foods and raw-food diets. Ideally, the more natural and more original the food is, the better it is for you.

Raw food diets have been in the periphery of every culture in the world from Iran to India to Mexico to the United States. In the United States, raw-food diet literature that I have personally read dates back over 150 years. We can surmise that raw-food diets have been present in America long before this.

The essential key concept that inspired me is that cooking food has had something significant to do with our fall from grace as cooking adds all kinds of chemistries to foods we may not be designed for: destroys B vitamins, eradicates different forms of vitamin C and E, destroys/damages amino acids such as tryptophan, dramatically increases the possibility of obesity, directly separates us from our natural food instincts and Mother Nature, and allows for the introduction of all different kinds of nutritional deficiency conditions.

When we eat a balanced, raw-food-based approach to diet we begin to recapture our original, beautiful, natural, spiritual, joy-filled, ennobled state of being.

The idea of raw foods eventually developed into a concept that bridges the great benefits of raw foods to the general population. That idea is the development of the concept of superfoods. Superfoods are the most powerful raw plant foods identified by great civilizations (e.g. cacao or chocolate by Native Americans, goji berries by the Chinese, maca by the Incan peoples, aloe vera by the Egyptians, noni by the Polynesians, Hempseed by the peoples of Central Asia, spirulina by Africans and Mexicans, etc.). Superfoods are the real supplements of the future created in Mother Nature’s laboratories of wind, rain, storms, soil, and sun. Superfoods in general carry more minerals, more nutrients, more interesting chemistries, are often complete protein sources, accelerate the absorption of herbs you take them with, and have healing medicinal qualities.

What are the principles of raw food?

Here is the best food philosophy I’ve been able to come up with in the last 15 years: You are what you eat.

80% of the foods eaten by humankind are the same. These foods are almost always cooked, devoid of real mineral content, and sprayed with and grown in chemicals. In Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia most people, most of the time, eat the same foods. These include: corn, soy beans, rice, potatoes, wheat, barley, coconuts, oranges, yucca root (manioc, tapioca), chicken, dairy from goats, dairy from cows, meat from cows, coffee, cacao (cocoa, cooked chocolate), sugar (from sugarcane or beets). These are the most commonly eaten food substances in the world.

These foods create a certain type of consciousness, the results of which are self-evident by the dangerous state of world affairs and the general poor level of health experienced worldwide. Again, you are what you eat asserts itself.

The raw, organic, mineral-rich, living foods I recommend create another type of consciousness. These foods include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, sprouts, grasses (wheatgrass, etc.), fermented foods (sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.), superherbs, and superfoods.

When you eat these foods, the resulting effects on your health, wellness, and consciousness are self-evident. (You are what you eat).

We are also what we drink. I recommend real living cold spring water (low in calcium and iron) from the source directly. Living water connects to the living wild environment. Living water is a wild food. It is also free. Drinking living spring water from the source expands consciousness: try it yourself and feel the difference.

What are the benefits?

As the months and years pass, a person switching to superfoods, superherbs, living spring water, and an organic, raw-plant-food-based approach to diet may notice a greater awareness of spiritual ideas, such as becoming more intuitive, feeling connected to everything, gaining deeper desires to meditate, gaining a deeper experience of well being, feeling natural powers they have never experienced (or did not know they had), etc. One will find oneself having more fun in a garden than a movie theatre. A profound new connection will arise with plants and animals.

Every person is a work of art in progress. Either one can become progressively more beautiful, or one can follow the fate civilization has set out (mis-education, wage slavery, decay, illness, and an untimely death). Each action one takes determines which of these two destinies will be achieved.

Raw, organic, plant-based foods are a startling self-empowerment tools and agents of freedom.

Are there any disadvantages?

WARNING: Eating fresh raw organic foods, superherbs, superfoods, and living water may cause you to repeatedly have the best day ever!

Major changes in lifestyle are typically met by resistance from those nearby family and friends who lack the information, insight, or inspiration behind what is driving your desire to change.

Are superfoods and superherbs suitable for children?

Yes. Raw plant foods, superfoods, and superherbs are suitable for children. Certainly they are more appropriate for children than pesticide-sprayed canned baby foods, soy formulas, candy, breakfast cereals, factory-farmed meat, fish, and chicken products, and other heavily processed food items sold via marketing campaigns to parents and children.

Consider the simplicity of a child eating an avocado, lettuce, an apple, blueberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.

Children stand to benefit greatly from the addition of raw, organic plant foods, fresh juices, superfoods, superherbs (i.e. immune modulating medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, chaga, maitake, agaricus, shiitake, etc.) in their diet.

Who is it suitable and for whom absolutely not?

I recommend 80% raw and organic plant foods in one’s diet, because this approach is relatively easy to attain for most people over a period of several years. This is, in fact, good enough for everyone to experience excellent improvements in their health.

Those with sensitivity to fiber (cellulose found in vegetables) due to metabolism or a history of Chron’s disease need to make appropriate adjustments with the types of raw foods they are eating. All of us should be careful with ingesting too much sugar (fruit).

All of us can find benefits in drinking fresh celery juice. Raw berries are great for nearly every type of metabolism. Raw chocolate is wonderful for celebration, yet inappropriate for those with chocolate allergies or neurotic behaviors and addictions. Superherbs such as medicinal mushrooms (i.e. reishi, chaga, maitake, agaricus, shiitake, lion’s mane, cordyceps, etc.) are great for immune system nutrition. Living spring water is excellent for folks looking to expand consciousness.

The point is: there is something in raw food, superfoods, superherbs, and living spring water for everyone. Especially in the beginning, eating 80-100% raw food is inappropriate for some people due to many reasons, including: being excessively thin, having very poor mineralization (poor teeth and bones), being too alkaline, and other extreme “vata” (Ayurvedic thin, nervous body type) conditions.

Is it raw food easy to prepare? What do you have to take in consideration?

Start consuming superfoods (cacao, maca, goji berry, marine phytoplankton, etc.) in a super smoothie every day. Simply replace heavily processed protein powders with real foods—superfoods!

Take superherbs as deep nourishment and medicine.

Drink fresh vegetable juice (celery based) whenever possible.

Reduce cooked foods to one item per meal. Eat that meal with an organic salad.

Take raw, uncooking classes and/or read raw recipe books and find out how to make lasagnas, pizzas, breads, sauces, pates, desserts, and all kinds of other treats without cooking and without side effects.

Have fun with your food again. Discover natural highs. Go organic. End GMOs (Genetically modified organisms or Frankenfoods).

Avoid factory farmed animal products immediately—that means avoiding just about all animal products on the market today.

As fast as you can, slow down fast fooding. Fast food is completely toxic to a consciousness of abundance.

Is it easy to maintain, keep going?

Any of the superfoods and superherbs can be added into anyone’s diet. Simply discover the ones you like and stick with them. Get out a blender and make entirely new types of shakes, smoothies, and beverages out of superfoods. Make all kinds of teas with the herbs. Better yet, take your superherb tea and blend it with superfoods. Throw some raw berries in there and everybody is happy.

Interestingly, superfoods and superherbs meet and exceed all our protein requirements, our vitamin and mineral requirements, glyconutrient (essential polysaccharide sugar) requirements, essential fatty acid requirements, immune system requirements, and so much more!

Superfoods can be (and should be) consumed raw because 150 years of research has now demonstrated that living, raw food is superior in vitamin content, enzymes, co-enzymes, usable protein, usable minerals, glyconutrients, and many other elements of nutrition. Additionally, raw food is natural. Raw is how Nature provides us with food.

Can you integrate it in a more traditional cooking way of life or do you have to go all the way?

By eating raw foods, one learns how to cook better. For example, one learns how to sprout beans first, then cook them, providing even more nutrition. Also, one learns the importance of eating salads with cooked foods. Another factor that raw foods teach us is simplicity. One learns how to eat simply and graciously. Cooking with raw coconut oil (which is resistant to rancidity and oxidation) can radically transform one’s favorite dishes. Raw coconut oil is even better to cook with than olive oil.

How can you make the transition the most easy? What disadvantages can you come across?

I have found that the best way for people to eat raw food, superfoods, and superherbs is to add them to their diet without feeling like they are being deprived. I especially advocate fresh vegetable juices and superfood smoothies daily. Once people see how good they feel, then they naturally want to explore deeper.

Remember: the law of attraction is constantly at work. We can attract health and healthy foods into our life. My goal is to eat the best food ever so I attract this all the time into my life. You can too. This is the power of a decision.

Is there any advantage in going raw for one day a week or does it do nothing?

Any amount of organic raw food helps! Any amount of superfoods and superherbs is better than none.

What we eat helps to guide our path. Eating determines what level of health our body will experience. Every bite of food put into the body should add to our strength, spirituality, and beauty. Each meal becomes part of who we are at the deepest level.

A day of eating raw foods or a week or two of a raw-foods detox can do wonders for everyone.

Consuming tonic superherbs does wonders to restore our immune system to a state of optimum vitality and health.

What about raw chocolate?

People always ask me what I eat. Raw, organic cacao beans (raw chocolate nuts) are a wonderful part of my diet. Cacao is the superfood of the future. Cacao beans are truly the food of the gods; the best food ever! What is cacao? Cacao is the seed (nut) of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans, Toltecs, Mixtecs, and Aztecs that they used them as money!

The raw cacao bean is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods due to its mineral content (magnesium, iron, chromium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and copper) as well as due to its wide array of unique and varied properties including an extraordinary content of: antioxidants, PEA, anandamide, and soluble fiber. Research has conclusively demonstrated that people who eat chocolate live longer and are less likely to experience a heart attack.

Since many of the special properties of cacao are destroyed or lost by cooking, refining, and processing, we feel that planet Earth’s favorite food is still unknown to most of us. Now we get to reconnect with the power of real, original, natural, dark, raw chocolate (no sugar, no additives).

You can read more about the world’s greatest food in my book, Naked Chocolate.

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