100% Raw Versus “Whole Food Diet”: Is Close Enough Good Enough?
These days in the raw food community the theory has been touted that staying on the “whole food diet”—for example, 80% raw—will let them achieve the same results as a 100% raw food diet, though over a much longer period of time.
Here’s the idea in a nutshell:
1. Since detox is slower on a “whole food diet” than on 100% raw, you’ll be cleansing your body longer, therefore you’ll be getting younger over a longer period of time, say 10 years.
2. 100% raw eaters detox faster and deeper, they will become “ridiculously young,” perhaps in 3 years, but then they’ll still begin to age.
3. Therefore, the 80%, the whole foods regime would be equal in results to the raw food diet at some point, since the “whole food” people who are still getting younger will catch up to 100% raw individuals. (Remember those started to age again after just 3 years.)
But the premises and the conclusion in the scenario above are seriously flawed on many levels. Let us consider them more carefully.
No Full Detox
First, we know that raw foods purify and restore cells much more thoroughly than whole foods ever can. Whole-foodists never achieve the deep detox effects raw-foodists do.
If you stay 80% raw, the body will adjust to the new regime pretty quickly. You’ll get younger for sure, but within a year or two you’ll stop “getting younger,” the plateau will be reached soon. In my case it happened after three months. Another diet upgrade will be needed to detox the body more deeply. But if that doesn’t happen, the body will still be subject to aging - slower than if the person were eating the Standard American Diet - but still faster than if she or he were 100% raw.
The idea that the body will continue cleansing itself on 80% raw for many years to come is simply wishful thinking. If you’re only 80% raw, you’re still taking in 20% of the toxins you used to. So long as your body’s digestive and waste systems are still dealing with that load of impurities, you’ll simply never become fully detoxed.
80 Doesn't Equal 100
The argument at its core is that partial restoration of health will result in the same effects as total restoration, but will take longer. But can this idea really withstand logical analysis? Taking raw foods as the basis point for our assessment, we’ll call its cell restoration 100% (“full raw results”). As a “whole foods” diet partially purifies the cells, its resultant peak would be proportional to the degree of cellular restoration. Let’s be generous and call that 80%.
Another major flaw in the whole foods argument is that the peak “youthening” point achieved in 10 years (80%) would be equal to the extent of repair (100%) that’s achieved in 3 years on raw foods. Sorry…80% just never equals 100%.
I believe the chart below is more representative of the anti-aging effects of both dietary plans.
Every person who honestly lived 100% raw for a period of time knows this feeling once expressed by David Wolfe: My experience has been that by eating 95% raw food, I received 95% of the amazing results. After comfortably eating 100% raw food for several years, it seemed that I was receiving 1,000% of the results.
Everyone goes through detox. I agree on 100% raw, the detox is more pronounced. But with the right attitude, it can be very satisfying, and you will be reaping all the “youthening” benefits in the process. And when most of the major detox is complete, aging will proceed at a much slower pace than by just going with the 80% whole foods plan.
Anytime we upgrade our diet, regardless of our starting point, we can’t but feel better, have more energy, and get farther along the path of delaying the aging process. Switching from a standard American diet to a whole foods diet will surely bring its rewards. Look: I’m not loyal to 100% raw foods for the sake of raw food. And you bet I’d like it if only 80% of the effort could take me all the way. But it hasn’t. And it can’t.
Am I against your trying the 80% whole foods diet? Certainly not. I just don’t want you to have the wrong idea—that you’ll get the same health and anti-aging benefits as with a fully raw lifestyle.
The Addiction Factor
But there is more. What worries me is the key negative aspect of the Whole Foods plan-cooked food is the most addictive thing there is! Many people cannot stick to the 80% raw plan. They may start, but then that percentage will start to dwindle and dwindle. It is a situation similar to an alcoholic who believes he can kick the habit by only having two beers a night. But the fact is, he is an addict, and that’s why he can’t stick to only two beers. And with cooked food, we are hardcore addicts. We have been raised since infancy, possibly since birth if you were fed infant formula, to consume mostly cooked foods. This is why I believe abstinence from cooked food is the way to go.
Regardless of what we eat, we’ll all be experiencing some degree of aging. But in my almost sixteen year experience, over the long haul, a 100% raw food diet coupled with fastidious skin care, is the best anti-aging formula there is. See my book Quantum Eating for advanced anti-aging practices that make 100% raw more enjoyable and easy to follow.