Getting ‘naked’ at the dinner table
By Marianne Stanley
Food has become a new “hot topic” as food-borne illnesses like e-coli contamination and salmonella poisoning continue to skyrocket during this age of factory farming and environmental pollutants. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), food-borne illnesses make 76 million Americans sick, with more than 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year.
Enter the growing popularity of raw foodism, also known as “rawism,” a lifestyle that promotes the eating of only uncooked, unprocessed and preferably organic foods as the major component of the diet. By eating foods that have not been chemically altered by heat, we receive all the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies need for optimum health. If food is heated beyond 118 degrees, it can no longer be considered “raw” since higher temperatures chemically alter it permanently.
A recent study by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona indicated that people following an 80-90% raw foods diet for two years demonstrated marked improvements in immunity, digestion, allergies, weight moderation, chronic illness, and mental and emotional well being.
The most common raw food diet is a raw vegan diet, though there are some forms of raw foodism that actually include raw meats or seafood. Those who include raw meats choose free-range, grass-fed animals to diminish the risk of harmful bacteria. A Cornell University study found that grass-fed animals have far fewer e-coli than grain-fed animals.
The raw food movement began in 1936 when dentist Weston A. Price wrote “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” after noting dental deterioration in the first generation of Americans who quit eating traditional nutrient-rich “raw” foods like unpasteurized milk, whole fruits and raw vegetables that had traditionally been consumed by previous generations. The movement got another boost in 1984 with the publication of Leslie Kenton’s book, “Raw Energy: Eat Your Way to Radiant Health” that promoted making a high percentage of the diet sprouts, seeds, nuts, fresh vegetable juices and other raw foods for improved health and increased energy.
Kenton advocated a diet comprised of at least 75% raw food in order to prevent degenerative diseases such as arthritis and heart disease, to slow the effects of aging, and to enhance emotional and mental health. With recent increasing concerns about direct contamination of food, there has been an explosion of interest in raw foodism.
Dayton stands as a progressive city that serves up a healthy serving of restaurants, farmers’ markets, farms, co-ops and grocery stores for anyone looking for raw food, vegan or vegetarian offerings.
The Loving Hut opened this past August in the Dayton Mall food court and is owned by Jody and Jay Picagli who are committed to a plant-based and vegan diet. 2700 Miamisburg Centerville Road in the Dayton Mall.
Artisan’s Café opened in 2004 by Pam and Joe Heintz and offers a variety of healthy vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free foods. 8351 N. Main St. in Clayton, (937) 890-5250.
Sunrise Café in Yellow Springs serves both organic and vegan-friendly locally produced and organic food, prepared from scratch. 259 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs, (937) 767-7211.
Dharma Deli satisfies a number of dietary concerns including gluten-free, dairy-free and raw options. They use locally grown and organic foods in the majority of their menu. 600 E. 2nd St. inside the 2nd Street Market.
Markets that carry organic, fresh, raw produce:
2nd Street Market is the downtown Dayton farmers’ market at the corner of 2nd and Webster Streets. The market offers organic and fresh produce, eggs, meats and prepared meals. 600 E. 2nd St.
Hungry Toad Farm is owned by Michael Malone and offers fresh seasonal organic produce for the public. 9498 Clyo Road in Centerville.
Dorothy Lane Markets in Dayton, Centerville and Springboro provide an impressive selection of certified organic foods from local suppliers. 2710 Far Hills Ave. in Oakwood. 6177 Far Hills Ave. in Centerville. 740 N. Main St. in Springboro.
Trader Joe’s is truly a shopping experience. They offer organic, fresh and frozen foods of all kinds at reasonable prices. 328 E. Stroop Road, (937) 294-5411.
New Life Food Club is Greater Dayton’s organic food buying club and co-op. (937) 443-0296.
Health Foods Unlimited carries organic produce and has served the area for 30 years. 2250 Miamisburg Centerville Road, (937) 433-5100
Healthy Alternative Natural Food Markets carries organic produce, eggs, meats and dairy, with both vegetarian and vegan alternatives. 8258 N. Main St. in Dayton, (937) 890-8000 and 2235 N. Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, (937) 426-7772.
Other Resources and Groups:
OEFFA, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association offers a “Good Earth Guide” to paid members that lists all Ohio farms and sources for organic meats and produce. The Guide is free for members or available for $5 to non-members. (614) 421-2022.
Vegetarian Society of Greater Dayton hosts vegan/raw food potluck dinners for all who are interested. (937) 454-9752.
Dayton Nourishing Connections helps those in the Dayton area who want to become more educated on the nutritional benefits of eating whole foods and how to prepare them. Next meeting: Tuesday, January 11. Visit www.meetup.com/dayton-nourishing-connections.
Dayton Raw Food Vegan Meetup meets to share gourmet raw dishes, discuss raw food nutrition and alternative health issues. Next meeting: Sunday, January 23. Visit www.meetup.com/Dayton-Raw-Food-Vegan-Meetup.
Some light reading:
“Get Naked Fast: A Guide to Stripping Away the Foods That Weigh You Down” by Diana Stobo
” Eating in the Raw” by Carol Alt
” Naked Chocolate” by Shazzie and David Wolfe
Reach DCP freelance writer Marianne Stanley at email@example.com.