The more Americans obsess over getting fit and staying healthy, the more obese and unhealthy we become. Yet, despite this ironic trend, weight loss books and dieting fads continue to fight for (and win) our attention. The Raw Food Detox Diet is just another attempt to tap into our obsession with eating healthy and losing weight that is unlikely to have any more staying power than the fads that have come before it. While it is highly probable that anyone who follows this plan to the letter will obtain health benefits, the problem is that it is just as improbable that anyone will be able to master this plan and make it part of a daily routine.
This book is comprised of five main parts focusing on the importance of detoxifying our bodies, what it means to eat raw foods, the benefits of making these food choices, and how to incorporate these types of eating habits into our lives. Part one explains the general principles of the diet, categories of food, how to eat them in the proper combination, how to infuse your body with healthy elements such as enzymes, and how to flush out unhealthy build-up as waste. A detailed quiz determines your raw food transition number, which determines the appropriate food choices for your body as well as the most effective way to move forward with each step of the plan. The precise meaning of your raw food number and its role in determining your food choices is discussed in part two of the book, where you will also find sample menus appropriate for each level. Part three is the logical extension of this section, providing the recipes for the menus suggested in preceding chapter.
Part four shifts the focus to incorporating the plan into your daily routine. For example, it provides suggestions on the types of foods you should gravitate towards when dining out at a Chinese or Indian restaurant. It also discusses how to expand the detoxification process to other areas of your life. For example, you can detoxify your bathroom by replacing deodorants and shampoos that have impurities with their all-natural alternates that are readily available.
The final section of this book takes the transition one step further, explaining how to encourage your kids to enjoy foods permitted on the raw food diet and how to incorporate the plan into pregnancy and nursing. This section emphasizes the spiritual elements of the plan rather than the scientific ones. It also presents what I consider the more extreme advice, focusing on fasting every five months or so with a few glasses of unpasteurized juice, hot water with lemon to continue the cleansing and detoxification process. There is also extensive information relating to colon cleansing and its critical place in the overall detoxification process.
While I do give the book credit for laying out the detoxification plan clearly and concisely I see two significant (and related) problems with this plan. The first problem relates to the lack of support and resources to actually follow through with it and the second is its rigidity. On the first point, particularly because raw food dieters are in a clear minority, it will be a challenge to obtain the necessary support and resources to make this radical transformation in your food choices.
As to the second point, it seems that devil is in the detail with this plan, making it seem like there is little room for flexibility. The recipe section is a prime example of this challenge since presumably innocent and simple substitutes may detract from the benefits. For example, in the recipes, I would imagine that such ingredients as regular goat cheese could not be substituted for Alta Dena raw cheddar-style goat cheese, a regular tomato that you may have in your fridge cannot be exchanged for a Holland tomato, dates cannot be substituted for unsulfured dates, and table salt is not an appropriate substitute for Celtic salt. It is this rigidity coupled with the lack of resources and availability of certain food items that prevent the plan from being a viable or practical approach to getting healthy and losing weight.
Even if you are incredibly motivated to change your eating habits and get healthy, you will likely have difficulty following this plan for a long period of time, with virtually little hope of being able to make it a permanent way of life. With intense commitment, perhaps you can stick with it until the next fad diet comes around, but that is only if they continue to do so at the same rapid pace to which we have become accustomed.