Sunday, May 23, 2010

The battle over raw foods


Every time I visit San Francisco, I make it a point to visit Cafe Gratitude, a raw vegan restaurant that is one-of-its kind.  With few of its exceptions, none of the items has been heated over 188 degrees Fahrenheit.  And it boasts its menu is gluten and soy free.

If you've never been you might be surprised to see things like "live" nachos and enchiladas on its menu. And lots of great desserts (check out the recipe for the I Am Inviting Banana Creme Pie).  The restaurant is a huge success and now counts seven locations, fueled by interest in omnivores eager to try something new and different.

While it's true this approach has interested more folks in the raw foods diet, it has also angered some raw food purists. These individuals believe the food being served up at "gourmet" establishments like Cafe Gratitude and Pure Food and Wine in NYC are heavily processed and full of excess calories, contrary to the "healthy" experience they claim to delivering.  Author Lessley Anderson does a great job at highlighting the schism in her article The Raw Deal.  The individuals she interviews feel that a true raw diet should consist of nothing more than fruits and vegetables in their natural state.

I'm curious where you, dear reader, might align yourself in this debate.  Please share your comments. 

Note to reader: this article can be found among other hot button food topics in The Best Food Writing 2009.

1 comment:

Profile said...

I think it's important to attract all kinds of people and eating styles to food movements, if you want them to catch on. Offering options on a continuum may seemingly "dilute" a particular practice, but I would argue that options actually strengthen practices, by introducing newcomers and showing that different levels of engagement are possible. So while there's a place for purely raw fruits and veggies, there's also a place for the occasional--introductory or no--caloric raw delight.

Integrative Nutrition