Monthly Archives: March 2015

Coffee and Health

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I live in a world fueled by coffee. As a non-coffee drinker, this can make me feel left out at times. Then again, I’ve always thrived off of being the outsider. The ritual of coffee drinking seems so foreign to me at times that I feel like an alien visiting another planet.

As much as I don’t care for coffee or caffeine, there’s no denying that there are some possible benefits to it that go beyond being a chemical stimulant. These other potential benefits of course aren’t the main reason countless people drink coffee the first thing in the morning. After all, when was the last time you heard an earthling say “I just have to drink coffee every morning to prevent liver disease!”? Here are some more possible benefits of coffee and/or caffeine: What are the health benefits of coffee?

That’s an impressive list, though it must be stressed that the evidence for the benefits of coffee is still mostly preliminary. Sometimes things get confusing when coffee and caffeine are conflated, though they are two different things. Some studies show coffee but not caffeine has health benefits, and vice versa.

For all its supposed miraculous benefits, there’s also the downside to caffeine, which is not surprising since it is, in essence, a stimulant drug. Sure, this extremely popular alkaloid is not in the same class as nicotine, or cocaine, but it can be problematic for many people, even if not consumed in excess. Here’s a great info-graphic from Healthline: The Effects of Caffeine on the Body

The negative effects aren’t that scary, but a lot of people could benefit from kicking their caffeine habits, or at least cutting down.

My Position on Rawfoodism

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If I had to name one thing that has been bugging me lately about the vegan movement, it would have to be rawfoodism*. It should go without saying that this is health veganism taken to unnecessary extremes, born out of pseudo-science, perfectionism, and mythology. Not only does it do nothing to help animals, it does nothing to help improve the health of rawfoodists themselves or anyone for that matter.

Some rawfoodists I’ve met believe they’ve finally found the holy grail of healthy eating and they are not letting go. So fanatical are some of them, they believe any vegan who eats any amount of cooked foods are “poisoning” themselves, and deserve to be mocked as the vegan lepers that they truly are. If you get into an argument with one, expect a torrent of pithy slogans like “cooked food is poison!” in lieu of anything of substance. The foundation of almost all rawfoodist dogma is the naturalistic fallacy, which basically means anything natural is “good”, and anything unnatural is “bad”.

Truth be told, there is virtually no science to support the idea that 100% vegan rawfoodism is the healthiest diet. With science offering no support, vegan rawfoodist gurus and super-athletes have created a powerful mythos of seemingly compelling anecdotes for the proponents of the rawfood cult. While very few rawfoodists are as holy, uh, I mean as healthy as the high priests they emulate, they believe if they “detoxify” and “revitalize” their body’s cells long enough by eating raw foods, they too can achieve super health.

Never mind all those pesky plant toxins that are largely destroyed by cooking, or the fact that many foods are more digestible when cooked, that’s all corporate propaganda to the rawfoodist. To the rawfoodist, perfect health isn’t a fantasy, it is something that can be attained if you eat 100% raw 100% of the time.

The reality is that perfect health is a chimera, and there is no such thing as a “perfect” diet. Anyone trying to sell you a “perfect” diet is a charlatan. Rawfoodism is a fad, and one that is potentially harmful to veganism. It is also harmful to people with serious diseases who choose going raw vegan to treat their condition and end up dying due to lack of proper medical treatment. Veganism, raw or cooked, doesn’t necessarily make you super-healthy, and shouldn’t be promoted as such. That’s not what veganism is truly about in the first place. Its essence is about compassion for all life, and extreme, overly strict, overly complicated, pseudo-scientific approaches to vegan dieting can only hurt our efforts at helping animals. Veganism should be informed by science, not pseudo-science.

I realize this post may puzzle some people. My only aim with this blog and my joggling is to show that a well-balanced vegan diet is adequate for just about anyone, including athletes. The idea that a vegan or vegan rawfood diet can take you to a level of health and super-athleticism that is only attainable by vegans or vegan rawfoodists is preposterous, and not something I believe in. If there is one thing the vegan movement needs a lot more of, it’s critical thinking.

* I realize that not all rawfoodists are vegan; some drink raw milk, consume honey or other animal products. This post concerns both rawfoodism in general, and vegan rawfoodism in particular since the health claims and motivations are very similar. Many rawfoodists started out as vegans, and saw raw veganism as the next logical step in making their diet healthier.

Related articles:

Raw Veganism

Raw Food Vegan Diets

Raw Or Cooked Foods: Which is The Best Diet for Vegans?

Raw Credulity

Beyond Vegetarianism

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