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The Raw Food Lifestyle and Why Did People Start Cooking?
Kevin: So Dr. Doug Graham. I want to welcome you.
Dr Graham:: Thanks. It’s a pleasure. Truly a pleasure.
Kevin: For those people who may not know exactly who you are, which is probably very few, why don’t you give a brief introduction of who you are and then we’ll go from there.
Dr Graham:: I’m Dr. Doug Graham. I’m Doug Graham basically. I have been a health enthusiast for 40 years. At first not by choice, but one day I was standing on a pier at the beach, I was 16 years old, and the concept of health hit me so hard that I couldn’t deny it. I have tried. I tried to ignore it. I stayed an hour on that dock, and I’m not saying God spoke to me, or anything like that, but I couldn’t get the concept out of my head that health should be my pursuit. I had already made the decision to pursue some form of medicine, which eventually became chiropractic medicine, and I eventually got my doctorate as a hygienist, as a professional hygienist. So I am a doctor of health and a doctor of chiropractic medicine.
I studied sports science, physical education and health and nutrition. I worked as a gymnast for many, many years in both high school and college, teaching gymnastics and then as a professional gymnastics and trampoline coach. I coached a group of national trampoline champions.
Since leaving chiropractic college in 1983 I have worked helping people regain their health, not paying much attention to chiropractic, although I had a private practice for 20 years. I have continued my education in nutrition which I have been interested in since 7th grade when my 7th grade health teacher just brought it to my attention. I don’t really know why he did it, but he did. And since then I’ve only been looking for nutrition.
So in college I had become a vegetarian, and shortly after college I became a vegan, while I was still in my 20s I switched to what today would be considered a raw food diet. We didn’t really have that name at the time. But by the time I was 30 I was already thinking about going raw vegan and I talked to all the leaders about how to do it, all five of them. And they chased them, and they said, “We don’t know anything about being a vegan athlete. We know how to help sick people get better.” And I say, “Yeah, I understand how to do that too. Restrict their calorie intake and give them lots of rest and sick people get better. But how do we get athletes to improve their performance?” And I asked around and finally the only congruent answer I got, and the only consistent answer I got was, “Raw food, raw food, raw food. Look at raw food. You will see an improvement in performance sports”.
I followed the sports science behind it, discovered what the underlying principles are, and began to apply nutrition and sports science to the raw vegan diet, ending 80/10/1986, but without coining the phrase, really, until almost 15 years. later. It was between that time that I started to develop the terminology and the application and the explanation so that I could make it a clear enough program that people could understand, why this specific application of the raw food diet works so good for old ladies? world-class athletes, people trying to regain their health, people with all health conditions, people who are already healthy but want to feel better? Why does it work with any caloric intake? And basically because it’s a species-specific diet, it works for our species; and then how to apply it uniquely and individually to each person, because we all have specific preferences.
So it’s been a growth process, totally a growth process, a learning process. I enjoyed working with the sickest of the sick, and the best of the well, the fittest of the sick, and helping them get better. Basically, what I do is help people improve their health so they can do whatever else they do at a higher level.
Kevin: right So let’s begin. There is a lot to cover here. I want to start with your learning path. Who did you learn the most from? And you also mentioned earlier off-camera that the raw food movement is far from new, that it was actually quite a bit bigger than it is now. And so explain that and explain who you learned from and then how you synthesized what you learned into what you have now.
Dr Graham:: This is a good question. I believe in mentorship. I have sat at the feet of some of the great teachers in the world of health, hygiene, sports science. I’ve been lucky to have good teachers, certainly also in the crude movement. I count all leaders as my friends and learn as much as I can from each of them. But I’m also very willing to go back to the story and read. I was raised with the gift of being an avid reader and a fairly fast reader so I can cover a lot of ground. So I’ve gone back as far as writing allows, in terms of the science of raw food, the philosophy of raw food, and the art of raw food. And I would count all first authors as teachers, at least to some extent. I sat at the feet of Dr. Keki Sidhwa for quite some time and I had her tell me some of the history of the Raw Movement. He has been involved, very quietly, in England for almost 60 years. And he certainly listened to a lot of great influences, Dr. Vivian Virginia Vetrano, whose specialty is cell physiology, but also, since the age of 20, a raw foodist since the age of 20, who is now approaching the 80, and considers her a good friend. But I’ve studied as much as I can, really, over the years, and just keep reading and keep learning, and enjoy the fact that the knowledge keeps coming.
Yes, the Raw Movement was much bigger 100 years ago than it is today. It came and went in an instant, when the word “germs” was introduced. And the medical people managed to scare the raw food population, saying, “Cook everything. Cook tomatoes before you eat them, cook apples before you eat them. Germs.” And it’s interesting that people would fall in love with something like that, when they know very well that they would never, ever, ever eat a tomato that was bad, if it was raw. You can feel it. If you touch it and you feel bad, and you smell it and it smells bad, and if it passes those clues, you look at it before you eat it hopefully and see that it has color or texture or something. But if you even get past all that and you put it in your mouth, you spit it out and you’re like, “Oh, that’s bad.” But if you cook a tomato and put that bad tomato in a ketchup and put it on top of something else, chances are you’re eating bad food. And that’s where you enter the expression, “It must have been something I ate.” Whereas when you eat whole, fresh, ripe, raw organic plants, simply, exactly as they came off the tree, bush, or vine, bad eating doesn’t get past all those initial clues. So you really don’t need to worry about germs as much as you would when you’re cooking food. Cooking food allows you to take bad food and present it as good.
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