Some fresh facts about raw foods

CONSUMERLINE - Ching M. Alano () - May 15, 2012 - 12:00am

The fresh, unadulterated truth is raw food is all the rave now, with a lot of people embracing it as a lifestyle. Demi Moore leads the pack of Hollywood celebrities who are exposing the naked truth about a meat diet. Demi lost quite a lot of weight — and dropped Ashton Kutcher, too. For Demi, less is Moore. Alicia Silverstone wasn’t clueless when she bared it all in a lean and mean vegan poster for PETA. Fashion designer Donna Karan has no skeletons in her closet — she just lost 20 pounds on “lifefoods.”

And now, meet Mona Lisa Neuboeck, certified raw food chef and educator/coach. Born in Seattle and raised in Austria, Mona Lisa is the daughter of an Austrian butcher. Though she must have grown up on the standard American diet, she later chose to change her diet and her lifestyle as she was convinced that raw natural food is good for both body and soul, as well as the environment. She apprenticed with raw food pioneer Dr. Gabriel Cousens, founder of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation in Arizona, where thousands of incurably ill patients suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer were said to have regained their health, thanks to Dr. Cousens’ alternative treatment.

The young raw food expert, who is also an artist, model, surfer, and yogini, shares more nutritional information about raw superfoods at her workshops at Sugarleaf.

“Superfoods are vibrant, nutritionally dense foods that have recently become widely available and which offer tremendous dietary and healing potential,” Angelo Songco of Sugarleaf tells us. “A superfood is a food rich in phytochemicals, which are special chemicals that have been noted to have disease-fighting properties. Phytochemicals can reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, or in some other way contribute to a person being healthier.”

Some common superfoods are fruits like blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, pink grapefruit, mango, mangosteen, papaya, watermelon, and tomato. What makes these fruits so super is that they are packed with special nutrients. For instance, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which may reduce risk for prostate cancer, and high in beta carotene, which may promote greater mental alertness and slow conditions like Alzheimer’s.

In her class/workshop, Mona Lisa dishes up a hefty serving of guilt-free, easy, and delicious vegan recipes you will surely love to do at home. She shares her raw passion for healthy eating in this exclusive interview with The Philippine STAR:

PHILIPPINE STAR: How healthy is raw food? What are the health benefits from eating raw food? 

To understand the health benefits, one must first understand the concept of “enzyme preservation.” All of your body’s functions are governed by enzymes. They are the physical counterpart to life force or chi (as it is known in traditional Chinese medicine). There are two major types of enzymes: Your body’s digestive and metabolic enzymes and the food enzymes present in all raw foods.

All cooked foods are enzyme-deficient since the delicate enzymes die at a temperature as low as 118°Fahrenheit (45°Celsius). Your body will therefore have to utilize its own digestive enzymes in order to break down the enzyme-depleted cooked food.

Every time we eat a cooked meal, our bodies go through an allergic reaction which scientists call leukocytosis. What happens is the enzyme-depleted cooked food triggers the release of white blood cells — the typical symptom of an immune system breakdown.

However, when we consume at least 51 percent of raw foods in our meals, the harmful effects of leukocytosis are diminished.

Some cooked foods are even harder to digest than others, i.e. animal proteins are highly acidic. Other than that, they need to be converted into amino acids first, before they become bioavailable. This puts additional stress on your liver, thus buffering your body’s self-healing mechanism and speeding up the aging process.

As long as your body is “wasting” a big deal of its digestive enzymes on the breakdown of cooked food and those macro-nutrients, it is also missing out on the chance to regenerate its cells. 

This is why many raw foodists are said not only to slow down the aging process but are actually reversing it. 

Also, since raw plant-based foods do not contain any cholesterol, are free of preservatives, processed sugars, and trans fats, the most detrimental danger foods are thereby eliminated from the diet. 

Raw plant-based foods are alkalizing, which means your system becomes oxygenated, thus preventing and curing countless diseases including cancer.

Raw and living foods increase vitality by preserving the enzymes, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients of whole foods in their natural state. In other words, you get to absorb 100 percent of the goodness of the food you buy, not just a measly 20 percent as on a conventional cooked food diet.  

Hollywood has now discovered the raw food diet for its powerful “youthening” properties. Some of the famous raw celebrities are Demi Moore, Madonna, Megan Fox, Alicia Silverstone, Susan Sarandon, Donna Karan, Edward Norton, Sting, and Woody Harrelson, to name a few.  

Filipinos are not used to eating raw food except perhaps for the sushi in Japanese restos. And most shy or stay away from a raw diet because of hygiene/health issues — raw food could harbor bacteria. How will you convince Filipinos to eat raw food?

My goal is to educate people on the countless benefits of the raw food diet. I am NOT telling them to go cold turkey, a 100-percent raw vegan overnight.

I’d rather go out there and teach people how to incorporate more raw plant foods into their everyday meals. Teaching the science and basics of raw food preparation is more transformative than actually selling readily prepared raw food dishes.

It is true that micro bacterial contaminants are found in raw vegetables, more though however in animal protein such as raw meat, poultry, and dairy products which require extremely high hygiene measures. Parasites are less likely to proliferate in the system of a raw food vegan, than in the system of a person on a conventional cooked (vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian or omnivorous) diet. A raw vegan diet is a highly alkalizing diet as opposed to any cooked food diet, especially diets high in sugar, dairy, processed starches and, most importantly, meat products. 

All meats are acidic. All vegetables are alkaline to the human body, more so when eaten raw. When your diet consists of mainly alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables, you are dramatically lessening the possibilities of parasite invasion. That is to say, with the raw vegan diet, parasites will hardly survive and even less likely proliferate in your system.

Do you grow your own raw food? 

Yes, and growing my own food has radically changed my life. Before going raw, we used to maintain a manicured ornamental garden. As my diet progressed to raw veganism, buying organic vegetables at the supermarket became quite expensive. That’s when my partner and I began plowing the lawn and planting our own vegetables. In this manner, the raw food diet has become the most cost- effective diet to us. 

What got you into raw food? 

Having worked in the modeling industry for some years, I was always struggling with yo-yo dieting. I would lose weight rapidly on one fad diet and then gain it back together with some extra pounds as soon as I would continue eating “normal” again.

Tell us the chunkful of changes eating raw has made in your life.

The raw food lifestyle was a transformative process in which I totally gave up the concept of “dieting” and consciously started “eating to live” (as opposed to “living to eat”) for a lifetime. I soon noticed dramatic improvements in my overall health. My hormone levels stabilized, my skin cleared up, my energy levels went up, my frequent bouts of constipation were no longer an issue, and my bodyweight finally met its natural ideal without fluctuating dramatically as it would over the previous years. Also, for the past two years I have been eating this way, I have not taken any conventional medications at all. I am feeling the healthiest, strongest, fittest, most vibrant, and the most inspiring ever!

* * *

For more fresh news about raw food, e-mail Mona Lisa Neuboeck at; Facebook: Mona Lisa Raw. She will hold her next workshops on “The Beauty of Raw” part 3 (Truly Healing Food) on July 21, part 4 (Detox with Food) on August 18, and part 5 (Lose Weight the Raw Way) on September 15, all on Saturday afternoons, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at Sugarleaf Makati, Medicard Bldg., Paseo de Roxas corner Gil Puyat Avenue. 

For more information, call 0917039055 or visit

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