Raw Food Crackpottery

Via RobotWisdom, a review of a new Primrose Hill cafe:

No wheat. No gluten. No sugar. No GMO. No dairy. No yeast. No shoes.

Yep, no shoes. If you want to enjoy the detoxifying glories of London’s first raw-food cafe, then please leave your clod-hoppers at the door, along with your high stress levels and your smart-arse scepticism.

I know of another cafe elsewhere which also offered a largely-raw menu. This one, however, shared a back alleyway with a shop where a friend of mine worked.

He noted that on several occasions, he’d seen rats near, or on, the pallets of plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetables. You see, the raw food was delivered to the kitchen door, where it laid outside for a short while — in the rat-infested alleyway. Rats crawling over your food, naturally, is not a good thing.

There’s a very good reason why some smart stone-age ancestor invented cooking our food — because it kills the germs that’ll make us sick!

Devotees claim that because the enzymes are destroyed when food is heated above 48C, our bodies have to utilise our own enzymes to break down the food, which can result in us feeling tired and run-down.

Yeah, devotees are pretty much talking crap there. ;) If anything, cooked food is easier to digest than raw. And good luck with the whole ‘getting by without using enzymes’ thing!

What a load of quackery.

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  1. Paddy
    Posted January 23, 2006 at 22:50 | Permalink

    Well so long as they sell Penta “ultra-purified, restructured micro-water” that offers “optimal cellular hydration” [0] you should be fine. Enough scare mongering there Justin.

    [0] http://www.badscience.net/?cat=5

  2. Posted January 23, 2006 at 22:59 | Permalink

    Yeah, the whole raw food movement bugs me for the simple reason that we’ve been cooking food much longer than we have recorded history. Our bodies have adapted over the past—what, 40,000 years?—to handle cooked food. Or does no one find it suspicious that we have much smaller jawbones than our raw-food-eating caveman ancestors?

  3. Posted January 24, 2006 at 00:21 | Permalink

    Leaving “‘smart-arse scepticism’ at the door” sounds a little too anti-science to me, thanks.

  4. ben
    Posted January 24, 2006 at 00:50 | Permalink

    The place to which you refer isn’t raw foodie at all. For all their trendy health-nut appearance, they do a nice ham and cheese toastie if you’re not finicky about rodent leavings.

  5. Posted January 24, 2006 at 01:31 | Permalink

    The things that grow on the surface of food would shock you. Roll a carrot or unwashed mushroom on agar jelly and penicillin will be the last of your worries ;) I’m a medium-rare kinda guy but I know some (now rich cowboy) smart arse invented the “blue steak” because the raw one tasted great but made people ill. Burgers have the outside mashed in to the insides (parsons nose jokes aside) – They really mean “cook from frozen” and “ensure food is piping hot before serving” with good reason.

    It’s probably poorly educated groups like this that started the 5 second rule myth too… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-second_rule Rightly so, an Ig Nobel Prize was awarded for stating the obvious.

  6. Posted January 24, 2006 at 15:35 | Permalink

    My initial reaction to the whole raw-food thing was similar to yours—there’s a lot of stuff in vegetables that’s indigestible without application of heat—but if you actually investigate further, you’ll find that most raw-food preparations use chemical processes to break those things down instead of heat. Think ceviche.

    Of course, what that means is that doing a raw-food diet is an incredible pain in the ass, since you have to plan well in advance in order to give this stuff time to work, whether it’s sprouting your wheat or whatever.

  7. ben
    Posted January 24, 2006 at 19:42 | Permalink

    Some enzymes are only active at higher temperatures — alpha-amylase starts breaking starches down to maltose at the mid-50s C and has its optimal range around the low 60s.

  8. nishad
    Posted January 25, 2006 at 22:36 | Permalink

    Yeah, the raw food “movement” is really dumb. Somewhat tellingly, it only arises in lesser civilisations who’ve never had any good cuisine anyway.

  9. Jenny
    Posted February 16, 2006 at 21:19 | Permalink

    I was skeptical of this raw food thing when my mother told me about it. And since she was fairly new to it, I wanted to see her as the lab rat for a while before trying it myself. My mom has always been overweight, being less than five feet tall and having four kids, so she’s always moved from one diet to the next. I thought that this was one of those diets like “Atkins”. She’s been doing it for four years now, has gone back to her slim 105 pound physique (with slightly wider hips) from a 155 pound physique, and has lowered her cholesterol from 316 to 147. No excersize, surprisingly enough! At age thirty-seven she had acne. It’s gone. Along with the diabetes and asthma. I was amazed! So, I tried it. So did my husband and my son. We have more energy, less cravings and I noticed that the three of us are more calm. I also recently had a baby girl, my weight gain was fourteen pounds, the baby was nine and the rest was water weight, extra blood, and in ten days, I was back in my size six jeans. It would’ve been sooner had it not been for the physical part of healing. I suggest that all you folks who are anti-raw food should look further into this and maybe even try it out. I’m not an extremist-never have been, but the results speak for themselves. Happy eating!