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The Ecological Wisdom of Enjoying Raw Foods

by Don Weaver, January 5th, 2005

“Then what is the answer? … Integrity is wholeness, the great beauty is Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions, or drown in despair when his days darken.” --Robinson Jeffers

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” --Seneca

“Beauty will save the world.” --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

At age 17, my life was focused on playing basketball to experience exciting fun, a socially-admired external identity (“basketball star”), and a possible pro career. At 18, attending U.C. Berkeley on a basketball scholarship, I was stunned to see how unhealthy and unhappy most of my 30,000 fellow students appeared, so I was compelled to begin a study of the causes of health and disease. This naturally led me deep into nutrition, agriculture, ecology, psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality … all of them revealing that first law of ecology noted by John Muir and others: “Everything is connected to everything else!”

By 19, I’d understood the personal-and-planetary tragedy of animal-exploitive agriculture and drug-oriented disease-treating industries, thus I followed my conscience to become vegetarian and then vegan within the year. Accelerated by some fasting and the natural desire for fresh, raw, organic produce, my health and mental clarity improved dramatically, and simultaneously my heart expanded in concern for the plights of humanity, other animals, and the whole natural world. I’ll never forget the amazing experience of walking the streets of Berkeley while fasting, and beginning to spontaneously see not mere superficial human egos, as I’d been accustomed to seeing, but unique and sacred human souls struggling to remember who they are. I felt deeper compassion than ever before. Not long after, a friend invited me to view “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” on campus. Franco Zefferelli’s powerful, moving film on the life of St. Francis – “patron saint of the animals” – pulled my heart wide open and left me deeply inspired and convinced that human beings can remember, awaken, and transform their lives and the world.

In my ongoing search to find ways of living, and eating, which might be optimal for human and total ecological health, I discovered the brilliant health educator Herbert Shelton and his great books elucidating the art and science of health called Natural Hygiene. It is about the simply revolutionary practice of “health by healthful living,” and describes the natural, healthy relationships we have to all parts of Nature: food, water, air, sunlight, soil, plants, trees, animals, our bodies and total living environment, and our fellow human beings. It encourages positively embracing -- in balance-- all the causes of health, while avoiding and ‘boycotting’ all the causes of disease, whether mental, emotional, physical, environmental, or other.

In Superior Nutrition and other books, Shelton points out that the already “Sun-cooked” perfection of fresh, whole, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can supply all our nutrient needs abundantly when they’re grown on pure fertile soils enriched with natural rock powders and plant-based composts. Like the legendary “Healthy Hunzas,” Shelton knew that the full spectrum of rock-borne minerals are a key to growing real food which can support the truly healthy human mind-body-spirit! Like Julius Hensel and Sampson Morgan before him, he taught us we didn’t need to depend on animal manures or slaughterhouse byproducts to grow the best foods, and like J.I. Rodale and John D. Hamaker, implored us to begin remineralizing soils everywhere with finely-ground rocks like the Hunza people do twice a year, using the silt-rich glacial meltwater coming from that huge Himalayan rock-grinder, the Ultar glacier.

I was thrilled to realize that human society truly had the viable option to move away from planetary destruction and “back to the Garden” or, really, forward toward an enlightened, compassionate, Earth-regenerative Garden Culture where health, happiness, and the beautiful gifts of Nature are nurtured, propagated, revered, and treasured. While many world religions seem pre-occupied with “the hereafter,” it is good to imagine and better to bring forth “Heaven on Earth” here and now, don’t you agree? To help do my part, at age 21 in 1977, I became one of the rare raw food and veganic/Hygienic gardening “pioneers” of the time. Having enjoyed great health on 100% raw plant foods in the 26 years since, I’m heartened to see the apparent exponential growth of raw foods and eco-health appreciation, blossoming forth in numerous websites, books, periodicals, raw cafes and restaurants – even “celebrities” like Mel Gibson, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Sting, Daryl Hannah, and James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) are embracing a raw foods diet and more ecologically-responsible lifestyle. Should vegan presidential candidate and organic agriculture advocate Dennis Kucinich (www.kucinich.us) adopt a raw vegan diet and be elected U.S. President, that would definitely be a first, and probably just the kind of miracle this world needs to reverse its ecocidal course.

I don’t mean to criticize anyone for whatever diet they may be on now; I do intend to encourage awareness of the vegetarian, vegan, and raw vegan options, and of Natural Hygiene and Earth Regeneration needs, so we might all gain clarity on how we can best create personal-and-planetary health, for Heaven-on-Earth’s sake. Having given Natural Hygiene and raw-veganic gardening and eating a fair 26-year trial, I’m grateful to report I’m feeling younger and far healthier than when I started (our body does replace itself every 11 months, although the bones are said to take 7 years), and to know I’m making a contribution to solving global health and environment problems, now at Crisis/Opportunity stage due to 6.3 billion people being too out of touch with Nature’s ways of creating health and abundance, and being parasitic “Takers” rather than symbiotic “Leavers” and “Regenerators.” As the parasite typically kills the host, we are killing the Gaiasphere – our global life support system. You may learn much more about this Crisis/Opportunity for the cost of your study time by downloading my free Web-books at www.remineralize.org. They are The Survival of Civilization by John Hamaker and me, and my new book, To Love And Regenerate The Earth. (Invitation Letter available on request.)

To learn more of the diet-environment connection, I recommend Earthsave founder John Robbins’ Diet For A New America and The Food Revolution, and Mad Cowboy: plain truth from the cattle rancher who won’t eat meat, by Voice For A Viable Future founder Howard Lyman. These books include many powerful statistics on the contrasting ecological “footprints” of animal-based, vegetarian, and vegan diets which I haven’t room for here. You may begin now to note the still greater lifting of ecological burden which occurs in the transition from mainly cooked vegan to raw vegan diet and agriculture/orchard culture/permaculture. I’ve written of the benefits of tree crop-based raw-veganic agriculture and soil remineralization in other articles you may request from me. Earthsave recently added Natural Hygiene/raw food educator Doug Graham to their Board of Directors, in recognition of the vast potential this body of knowledge and practice offers to help save the Earth.

“Lack of heart, lack of generosity, is the real disease of our world.”
--Bernard Moitessier

Why not use your brilliant vision to see which of the following local/global problems can be alleviated or eliminated by our transformation into a healthy, generous, conscious, compassionate, raw-vegan species, one naturally fitted for continued life within this Biosphere: Human Insanity/Disease/Degeneration/Violence, Soil-and-Food Depletion, Malnutrition/Famine, Animal Abuse/Killing, Deforestation/Dieback/Desertification, Species Extinction, Toxic Waste, Air Pollution, Global Climate Chaos….

I encourage you to explore these challenges and relationships in your life, and consider well the ecological wisdom of simpler, more natural living, enjoying the fantastic variety of beautiful, delicious, perfectly nourishing plant foods we can grow and eat without vast expenditures in processing, packaging, refrigeration, burning fossil fuels, cutting more trees, wrecking our climate, etc. I invite you to join the great work of giving back to the Earth more than we take, so that we may all survive, thrive, and continue a conscious evolution of Life on a small planet! May the wonderful words of Phillip Brooks inspire us all: “Be such a person and live such a life, that if every person were such as you, and every life such as yours, this Earth would be God’s paradise.”

Don Weaver is a gardener-ecologist-writer-educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is on the writing staff of Living Nutrition magazine, and is currently focused on inviting the world to read the free online books by him and John Hamaker, and helping create new Earth Regeneration gardens, orchards, farms, centers, and communities worldwide. Contact Don via earthdon@yahoo.com or POB 620478, Woodside CA 94062.