This episode reflects poorly on those who sold non-raw chocolate …

Comment on Can we really trust the word raw on food labels? by Thomas Billings.

This episode reflects poorly on those who sold non-raw chocolate as raw, and it is relevant to question whether other “raw” products the same people are promoting nowadays are in fact really “raw”. What documentation do they have on the processing of those products?

For example, raw “superfood” powders are heavily promoted nowadays. These products have to be dried and ground; drying processes often involve heat, and grinding generates heat.

Also, given the sources of these products, a relevant question is whether they are required to be heat-treated (or irradiated) to kill insects, to meet government import regulations (or may be heat-pasteurized to sterilize the product to protect the importers from lawsuits). In other words, what assurance is there that the latest “superfood” powders being marketed (often at inflated prices) are really raw?

Raw has become a label, a brand, nothing more than a way to make money for too many people in raw ‚Äì including, in my opinion, many of the gurus. It’s all about money for some of these people, and your health is not important to these people.

Recent Comments by Thomas Billings

A cautionary tale: the “Raw Vegan Village”
Raw gurus in general tend to promote themselves as examples of perfect health achieved through the perfect diet they promote. Not only is the guru the example, but he or she is also the “teacher” who will lead you to the “promised land” of perfect health and healing from any/all diseases.

Unfortunately, many raw gurus start to believe their own marketing hype (even though many raw vegan gurus cannot/do not follow the diet they promote), and they end up believing that they can do no wrong, and/or that harmful and hateful means can be used to promote their diets because “the ends justify the means”. The gurus who fall into this trap can be very nasty, hateful, dishonest. [Check my article on raw gurus for multiple examples of this type of behavior — updated Sunday 29 April 2012:

Some raw fooders – especially those seeking healing; they are the most vulnerable – may believe the hype and can grant way too much authority to the raw gurus. The end result of this process can be a small, de facto cult of personality, with the raw guru as cult leader.

The behavior of gurus in this situation can include blatant corruption, as well as sociopathic/psychopathic behaviors.

For psychopathic behavior, the article:
Psychopathy and the Characteristics of a Cult Leader
presents a list of behaviors one can check for in their guru:

1.Glibness/Superficial charm
2. Manipulative and Conning
3. Grandiose Sense of Self
4. Pathological Lying
5. Lack of Remorse, Shame, or Guilt
6. Shallow Emotions
7. Incapacity for Love
8. Need for Stimulation
9. Callousness/lack of empathy
10 . Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
11. Early Behavior Problems/juvenile delinquency
12. Irresponsibility/Unreliability
13. Promiscuous Sexual behavior/infidelity
14. Lack of realistic life plan/parasitic lifestyle
15. Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility

Using the list above to examine the behavior of raw guru(s) is left as an exercise for the reader.

A cautionary tale: the “Raw Vegan Village”
Jinjee Talifero writes:

“And of course we now know how to evaluate the land, choose land that is buildalbe and not in the midst of a water war, avoid proximity to a neighborhood or land tract where people will oppose development”

The preceding describes most (possibly all) of Ventura County and surrounding areas. Where is it easy to build in the Ojai/Ventura County area?

“After a year of focused marketing efforts, I believe that we will be able to sell the site for enough money to finally pay back these good people.”

Highly unlikely given the actual value of your website, currently valued at well under $10K. The website is tightly coupled to your status as raw gurus, making it very difficult for someone else to run it – and decreasing the sale value.

A cautionary tale: the “Raw Vegan Village”
If the Taliferos really had an offer to sell their site for $400K, they were fools to not accept it. Valuations for from two online website valuation tools, done on Saturday 28 April 2012, are as follows (format: valuation site URL, followed by value):



In my opinion, available evidence suggests that the claim of a $400K offer for their website is yet another lie.

Tearing down appearances
Your post makes a number of good points. I like to point out that if appearance should guide your diet, then women should be on “anorexic supermodel diets” (almost no food, and it is OK to smoke, drink, do drugs, if they help one to stay thin) and men should be on “movie star” diets.

If appearance is the most important thing, then plastic surgery and synthetic-chemical-based cosmetics are “good” because they enhance appearance.

One factor that drives these attitudes is that many raw fooders are in their 20’s – the time in their lives when many are searching for a mate/partner – so appearance is emphasized. Some people come to raw specifically to lose weight, which is both an appearance and health issue.

Another factor is perfectionism; the raw diet is “perfect”, you eat raw, so why aren’t you perfect and attractive according to my personal standards? However, one does not have to be a raw fooder to look good when young; one can find very attractive people in that age group whose lifestyle can be described – sarcastically but accurately – as “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”. So don’t assume that raw is the primary reason for attractiveness.

From talking with many former raw fooders, this issue – you must “look good” – can and does drive many people away from raw, and motivates them to stay away. It is the reason why some people eat high raw but refuse to label themselves as raw fooders and specifically avoid the “raw scene”. There is a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln that is relevant here: “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”

A saying you will hear is that “raw” is the opposite of “war” because raw is war spelled backwards. It is hard to believe this, given the acrimonious atmosphere of the current raw scene. As an example, I have shared some of the hostility* directed at me with a very well-known vegan author (specifically, a recent death threat I received from a person who posts on a low-fat raw vegan website). She commented that her experience is that many raw fooders are vegan only in diet and not in any other aspects of life, because there is so much judgement and negativity in the raw scene. I think she is right.

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