Next in declining order of healing effectiveness is what I call a raw food healing diet or cleansing diet. It consists of those very same watery fruits and nonstarchy vegetables one juices or makes into vegetable broths, but eaten whole and raw. Heating food does two harmful things: it destroys many vitamins, enzymes and other nutritional elements and it makes many foods much harder to digest. So no cooked vegetables or fruits are allowed because to maintain health on this limited regimen it is essential that every possible vitamin and enzyme present in the food be available for digestion. Even though still raw, no starchy or fatty vegetables or fruits are allowed that contain concentrated calories like potatoes, winter squash, avocados, sweet potatoes, fresh raw corn, dates, figs, raisins, or bananas. And naturally, no salad dressings containing vegetable oils or (raw) ground seeds are allowed. Nor are raw grains or other raw concentrated energy sources.

When a person starts this diet they will at first experience considerable weight loss because it is difficult to extract a large number of calories from these foods (though I have seen people actually gain weight on a pure melon diet, so much sugar do these fruits have, and well-chewed watermelon seeds are very nourishing). Eating even large quantities of only raw fruit and raw non-starchy vegetables results in a slow but steady healing process about 10 to 20 percent as rapid as water fasting.

A raw food cleansing diet has several huge advantages. It is possible to maintain this regimen and regularly do non-strenuous work for many months, even a year or more without experiencing massive weight loss and, more important to some people, without suffering the extremes of low blood sugar, weakness and loss of ability to concentrate that happen when water fasting. Someone on a raw food cleanse will have periods of lowered energy and strong cravings for more concentrated foods, but if they have the self-discipline to not break their cleansing process they can accomplish a great deal of healing while still maintaining more or less normal (though slower paced) life activities. However, almost no one on this diet is able to sustain an extremely active life-style involving hard physical labor or competitive sports. And from the very beginning someone on a raw food cleanse must be willing and able to lie down and rest any time they feel tired or unable to face their responsibilities. Otherwise they will inevitably succumb to the mental certainty that their feelings of exhaustion or overwhelm can be immediately solved by eating some concentrated food to "give them energy." Such low-energy states will, however, pass quickly after a brief nap or rest.

Something else gradually happens to a body when on such a diet. Do you recall that I mentioned that after my own long fast I began to get more "mileage" out of my food. A cleansed, healed body becomes far more efficient at digestion and assimilation; a body that is kept on a raw food cleansing diet will initially lose weight rapidly, but eventually weight loss slows to virtually nothing and then stabilizes. However, long-term raw fooders are usually thin as toothpicks.

Once starchy vegetables like potatoes or winter squash, raw or cooked, or any cereals, raw or cooked, are added to a cleansing diet, the detoxification and healing virtually ceases and it becomes very easy to maintain or even gain weight, particularly if larger quantities of more concentrated foods like seeds and nuts are eaten. Though this diet has ceased to be cleansing, few if any toxins from misdigestion will be produced and health is easy to maintain.

"Raw fooders" are usually people who have healed themselves of a serious diseases and ever after continue to maintain themselves on unfired food, almost as a matter of religious belief. They have become convinced that eating only raw, unfired food is the key to extraordinarily long life and supreme good health. When raw fooders wish to perform hard physical work or strenuous exercise, they"ll consume raw nuts and some raw grains such as finely-ground oats soaked overnight in warm water or deliciously sweet "Essene bread," made from slightly sprouted wheat that is then ground wet, made into cakes, and sun baked at temperatures below about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Essene bread can be purchased in some health food stores. However, little or no healing or detoxification can happen once concentrated energy sources are added to the diet, even raw ones.

During my days at Great Oaks School I was a raw fooder for some years, though I found it very difficult to maintain body heat on raw food during chilly, rainy Oregon winters and eventually struck a personal compromise where I ate about half my diet raw and the rest fired. I have listed some books by raw fooders in the Bibliography. Joe Alexander"s is the most fun.