Real Life Raw Vegans, or “Eat and Let Eat”

April 13, 2011

Though I remained relatively civilized, I feel my post yesterday (and the surrounding tweeting) was simply fuel for a very petty fire. Worse than simply being petty, I feel the silly bickering creates the illusion that there is something significant for the raw vegan and paleo camps to argue about.

The truth is that the paleo/primal and raw vegan communities have more in common that incendiary posts from some jackass would have you believe.

I’ll take this opportunity to share my only (to my knowledge) face to face encounter with a raw food vegan.

Read on.

A good friend of mine and I were out at a bar when he recognized a young women as a waitress at a restaurant his parents frequented. A few minutes into the ensuing conversation, she asked him to pass along a thank-you to his father, who had lent her a copy of the book “Food Matters” a few months earlier. She credited the book as the catalyst for her conversion from “junk food vegetarian” (her words) to raw food vegan, a change that had left her feeling much better.

This piqued my interest. She had recently ditched refined sugar, grains, and dairy, and felt much better as a result. The story sounded eerily familiar, and launched a fervent discussion of all that we have in common; we despise gluten, prefer organic, loathe Monsanto, and don’t trust CAFOs. She even avoids soy! The conversation was leaps and bounds above standard bar talk.

She explained that she had stopped eating meat because it “grossed her out” (valid in my book), but that she now believed it to be unhealthy. She freely acquiesced that were she to eat meat again, it would be the local grass-fed beef that I enjoy.

We did eventually arrive at some differences. Obviously, animal products are a large part of my diet, and the macro-nutrient profiles are very different. Still, the main theme – eat whole foods – remains unbroken.

When she revealed that she consumes the majority of her calories through a straw, I explained why I think that leads to poor body composition (moving the digestive energy expenditure from the body to the blender, increased rate of gastric emptying). She was open and receptive, admitting that while she had lost some weight when she dropped the junk food, she’d still like to burn through some body fat. Something that seems almost universally true.

As an aside, she was in her late 20s, but seemed younger. She was thinner than most, but probably not so thin that she feels comfortable in a bikini. Then again, I don’t feel comfortable in a bikini either.

As the night wore on, the conversation drifted to topics more appealing to the majority, and we were back to being the weirdos who had been discussing their crazy diets. If it wasn’t already clear that we had more in common than not, it certainly was now.

All told, it was a pleasurable experience, and I think we both left feeling appreciative of what we had in common, and with no feelings of superiority (except over the rest of our group, who stopped at Jack in the Box on the way home).

The takeaway for me? Eat and let eat.

More reason to be friendly: If we’re going to enact the large sweeping changes to this country’s food system that we would like to, it behooves us to play nice with allies in the fight.

Entry filed under: Food Choices. Tags: .

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