This is the question I get asked most often at the retreats, and there is no one set answer to most queries.
One of the understandings I have developed over the years, after talking with thousands of people about their health, is that the overwhelming majority of people want to be healthy, but without becoming a raw vegan extremist. So finding the balance that allows good health without taking away lifestyle completely, is what they are looking for.
The philosophy that I have come to over the years, when it comes to healing and maintaining health, is one that encompasses a whole foods lifestyle – and eliminates anything that is processed. Once you are in the realm of whole, real foods as found in nature, then you can experiment within that realm, to find what suits you best. Which means that you may incorporate some cooked foods such as brown rice, or add in some raw dairy or some fish – as long as it isn’t processed you are not going to go too far wrong.
I do believe though, that for healing chronic disease, that a period of time that incorporates strict raw vegan cleansing, is essential to the healing process.
At the retreats when we are exploring every aspect of food, questions come up such as “is xxxxx food good or bad?” And my answer is – look at that food or drink within the context of your whole diet, rather than at that one food individually. If you are not suffering from illness, and 80-90% of your diet is from beautiful organic whole foods, then is a cup of organic brewed coffee on Sunday morning good or bad? From a purist point of view the answer may be bad – but in realistic sense, in the context of the whole diet, that Sunday morning coffee is not going to have as great a negative influence, as it would if the majority of the diet was from processed junk foods.
So when examining a food or drink don’t only ask – is it good or bad? – look at the overall diet and whether this food or drink plays a big role, or a very minor one. It is the context of the whole diet, and what you are doing most of the time that makes the difference. Please don’t take this the wrong way – even small elements that are very harmful can undermine a good diet, but what I am talking about here are elements that are reasonably neutral – not necessarily beneficial – but not processed toxic garbage either, that are under question.
All in all, your body will soon tell you if what you are eating is beneficial for it, or not.