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Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
(Swedish proverb)
Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
(Sicilian proverb)
Your friend is that man who knows all about you, and still likes you.
(Elbert Hubbard)
You can always tell a real friend; when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.
(Laurence J. Peter)
Friends are family you choose for yourself.


9th January, 2011
Having a little bit more spare time than usual, gave me an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set myself goals for the New Year. I have disengaged myself from the raw forums last year, as I felt the need to focus my energy elsewhere. My goals? The ones corresponding to maintaining the healthy lifestyle are:

1) Fitness:
  • To do all the various things I love doing, consistently and regurarly. Swimming, cardio and weights at the gym, bellydancing, also I would like to start jogging. After gaining my confidence with the exercise last year, or 3 years after my back injury, I would like to spread my wings a little bit more.
2) Diet:
  • To eat the foods I love. There is always a challenge to find the best quality, ripe and sweet juicy fruit, and so I hope to meet my body's preferences the best I can.
  • To study the scientific literature, to question and analyze ideas, and to share it all here, on this website. I hope to find time to put my scientific skills to work for a good cause.

How reasonable my goals are?
Achieving them may be a challenge as I have several papers to write, which is the priority. I do know though that if I immerse myself in research completely, then my neglected body will suffer, and my mind will suffer as well, and so I will have to make an inteligent effort to organize my time. I do want to find some time for writing poetry and music pretty please too. Almost rumbling here about the lack of time, aren't I?

The berries in my garden are thriving. The fish and the lillies in the pond are too.




25th February, 2011
I once thought that eating raw foods was the ideal. That perception has changed. The ideal is to eat fully ripe and freshly picked fruit and veggies. I once thought that eating raw foods was easy. That perception has changed too. Eating cooked is easy. One can walk to an isle full of packages and stuff their fridge with all sorts, and cooking can disguise the lack of quality.
I hunt for best quality, ripe and juicy fruit and veggies. My senses are choosy. But perhaps this is what the nature intended me to do. Hunt and earn my meal ha ha!

I do not feel sorry for myself when I can't get the fruit I love, because I know that such little misery fails in comparison to the real issues of the world. So I am grateful for what I have. I know I am extremely lucky.

I admit that this recent time has not been the most cheerful one for me. Someone I once knew very close has died recently. I felt as if some dark moments from the past boomeranged to me. Thinking of this, I realize instantly that I choose my path, and that what I choose is what I need to experience. I need those dark moments to be alive again. Grabbing guitar, playing some songs always helps. I know, this is not on the topic of food, but I thought giving it all some perspective is not such a waste of space. Afterall, the world is multi-dimensional and there are strong physical connections between the many various aspects of what exists. Health is not just about food.

Actually, I can say something on the topic here. I observed that fruit keeps me happy even when I am moody. So there. :)

11th March, 2011
I hope I am not the only academic in the world in whose office you can find whole melons sitting on the window seal. My office smells with fruit too. A fruity profesor. Do you like eating melons with a spoon? I do. I cut them in half and then spoon them out. So easy. A few days ago I was buying some watermelon and got asked, are you having a watermelon week? No, this is just for my lunch, I said.

Organic bananas have hit $12 a kilo. Luckily for me, I do not live off bananas, but off sweet juicy fruit (with other foods on top of it), as I have done for some years now. I used to depend on banana smoothies at the beginning of my fruity journey - they made me fill full and happy. I stil eat bananas, but far more sparingly compared to then. Juicy fruit is what hits the spot for me these days. This is what my body prefers. I feel my best and perform my best on these sweet and hydrating delights.

I ask myself sometimes, what would I do if I could not afford the fruit anymore? The answer that I am finding is surprisingly calm. Do the best you can in the circumstances you are. My feelings about these issues are more mature than they once were. I consume food, but I am not consumed by it.

Dear reader, if you ever feel that you struggle on your raw food journey, please remember this: life is a wonderful gift and you are beautiful. The journey unfolds just as it needs too unfold.

I have started swimming again and I love it. I missed my swimming and it feels good to be back at it. I report happily that my body has not forgot it, and I have not lost my ability to do what I used to do - 1km a few times
a week. Bellydancing is getting more enjoyable each year, as my body learns to move the ways it has never moved before. Similarly to piano playing, the body moves are recorded in my subconsciousness and I no longer need to think about them. They happen without me engaging my mind at all, and in this way the dance becomes what it is meant to be, a dance meditation...

I am not finding any time at all to prepare the articles for this website. All my time is use up by research. I work late nights, I work on the public holidays, but I do not complain, as I love maths.

20th March, 2011
I decided I will let my personal experiences stay private from now on. I am going to limit myself to writing articles, when and if I find time to do so.

I decided that I am still not ready to define myself as a hygienist, or a raw vegan, or a fruitarian. I feel I have a lot to think about yet. I will come back perhaps when I gain some clarity about these things. I need some time for achieving that. No, I have not stopped eating fruit. My decision has more to do with where I want to go from there.

I also feel that I've given enough space to a small part of my life, and it's time for me to go to explore other places. I mean, who cares about the diet of some mathematician. You know, life is full of wonders and I am running out of time to experience them all. Those who derive income from this lifestyle, put a lot of time into advertising their beliefs. I have been sharing mine for free, because I believe in sharing. But it is time for me take sabbatical!


June, 2011
Clarity it is. I do not feel the urge to define myself as any particular dietary denomination. In fact, not to define myself is what I see as the most appropriate action for now. Sure, I do observe my body's preferences, likes and disliskes, and yes, I do desire to follow these, for the sake of my physical comfort. However, I do not feel the need to label myself, in the same way as I do not feel the need to judge others for their choices. I feel that the action of labelling is strongly associated with the action of judging, and judging is what I would prefer to avoid. I perceive it as a drain on the energy and an obstacle to evolving. Furthermore, I think that complete self-acceptance leads to that grounded state in which one feels no need for the outward focus, that self-proving of our self by disproving others.

My continuing absence from the forums where judging, categorizing, and competing occurs, has given me the opportunity to contemplate in peace. Perhaps judging is an essential part of the reality. Perhaps we need it to see through the bottled-bs-selling plagiarists who wrap up convoluted nonsense in the aura of pseudo-spirituality in order to make the buck.
The mind has the ability to transform the nonsense into something that appears to make sense, and so it does so, out of the utter shock, instead of admitting that the emperor is naked indeed. The pseudo-magic that exploits the urges born as the result of un-met needs, can re-program the matrix of beliefs and, in turn, obscure the ability to see. So perhaps we need judging, so that we can leave the blissful place of ignorance. Or, perhaps we need pseudo-gurus, to fill the void, so that we can exist in that bliss, without the unbearable pain, until we are ready to cut the cord of dependence, if ever. Whatever the case, thankfully I feel no need for either alternative for myself.

Who is a raw vegan anyway?
Is there such thing as a 100% raw vegan? Can a person who injects their veins with non-off-the-tree supplements, be termed a raw vegan? Or a person whose chest contains non-vegan implants, a vegan? Can a person who believes in ethical veganism but has carnivorous pets, be called a vegan? Can a person whose existence depends on the society built on the exploitation of animals, ever be a vegan? If, since the exploitation of animals to some indirect extent may be unavoidable, vegan is defined as the minimization of it, can we show rigorously (mathematically) that one's actions actually achieve it? How much aware are we of the impact of our every action to be able to tract them numerically? Should we perhaps relax the definition to include "according to one's own understanding", and if we do so, don't we all live the best we can, according to our perceptions? And why, amongst the vegans, there is so much outward focus on what others do, and so much outward judging? Is the judging and competition some mechanism to further oneself in the quest for the domination? Does this work? Can beautiful and inspiring people attract others effortlessly in the same way the the Sun attracts the living through its warmth and glow? Or, just as in politics, is it advantegous to use various tactics in order to be more visible and get on top of whatever pinnacle one is after? Incindentally, my personal observations suggest that the most impact I have ever had on anyone's interest in fruity diet was not through being verbal about it and advertizing it, but simply by being myself. My friend who I met after many years told me that I did not need to say anything to convince her, it was enough for her just to see me.

What does it mean to be 100% something? What is the error of such estimate, and if there is an error, even the slightest, does it make sense to use the '100% anything' term? When do we start the counting, at birth or whenever we choose? If someone says they went raw vegan ten years ago, but ate honey, non-raw dried fruit and nuts since then, have they been raw vegan for 10 years? Can we ever verify anyone's claims? Can the competition for the raw vegan longevity inspire people to manipulate the numbers to create a more perfect image of who they are?
Why, despite all those various discussions on the topic who holds the torch of the correct raw vegan diet, we have not seen a faultless raw vegan guru as yet? Do we need a perfect guru who fakes it a little to inspire us and change our life for better? Is the need for an infallible guru born out of our insecurity to be who we are? What if a raw vegan guru is seen eating a bagel? Will this shatter our need for perfectionism? Can we derive the inspiration from less-than-perfect people? Where does the inspiration really originate?

Contemplating on these questions leaves me no doubt that
getting obsessed about the labels is not what I am interested in. In fact, I am quite keen to openly defy them. I would love to explore some interesting topics however, and I invite you to join me for a journey.

Are you prepared to explore the truth as is? My preference, in any debate, is to 'sit on the fence' and be open to exploring. Such non-standard behaviour can be confusing to those who cannot understand that it is possible to debate something while not being anti-something, as well as resulting in me getting slaps from both sides of the fence. For example, I have experienced a sizeable amount of defensiveness from those who declare themselves as raw vegans, and my writings focusing on the scientific accuracy have been censored by those unprepared to accept the fallacy of some of their claims. I do not intend to challenge or support anyone's agenda. Rather, I have a desire to explore the 'burning' topics in a deep manner, as I would like to understand the source of tendencies that I observe in my body. I am not prepared to support claims that defy the logic for the sake of supporting a popular view, rather, I am interested in a genuine exploration. There is a lot of questionable stuff written on the topic of raw veganism/fruitarianism that does not hold together too well. Equally, there is a lot of written anti raw vegan stuff that makes no sense either. So, where is the truth? Let's have a look at the topics with the focus on understanding, not 'proving'.
With the little time I have left for personal hobbies, I would love to spend some of it exploring these topics and make the best of my time and skills. I have no comments pages on my website, but if you would like to contribute, feel welcome to do so in my Guestbook.

What is a standard human diet? Is this some constant dietary pattern that a human body would prefer at all times? Is the human body a constant?

According to "Modern makeover" in New Scientist, 19 March 2011, thousands years of civilizations have resculplted the human body. A gene that allows humans to digest milk after infancy, has spread several thousands years ago with the invention of dairy herding. Our thigh bones have lost about 15% of strength in the last 4 thousand years. Thickening of the skull on the inside, above the eyes, that is thought to be caused by the exposure to estrogene, is 50% more common in women now than a hundred years ago. Changes have been observed in human arteries and fingerprints. Spina bifida occulta, a disease milder than spina bifida, which affects verterbrae in the sacral region, is believed to have become more common. "There is less bone everywhere in the body". Is this a welcome adaptation to the changing environment? Or is this a degeneration as the result of our poor diet and lifestyle?

What is a healthy diet? Is raw veganism an over the top extreme, a backlash to the widespread junk food diet? Or could this possibly be the return to our roots, the natural human diet, the prerequisite for health, as raw vegans seem to claim? How do we define the extreme? Could the current human lifestyle be termed extreme?

According to "Junkie food" in New Scientist, 4 September 2010, there exists compelling evidence that high in (processed) sugar, fat and salt junk foods can alter the brain chemistry in the same way as highly addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroin. "Junk foods switch on biological mechanisms that are just as hard to fight as recreational drugs". Many food products are designed for "high hedonic value" that induce people to eat more.
According to the National Health Survey 2007-2008 in Australia, 42.1% of adult males and 30.9% of adult females are overweight, 25.6% of males and 24% of females are obese. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006 and 2007–2008, over two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and over one-third are obese. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. What do we see when we enter any large supermarket? What is the percentage of mind-altering,processed junk foods in there, and what is the percentage of raw fruit and veggies? What do we see in an average shopping trolley? What percentage of people we see on any day could we term a glowing picture of health and fitness?

What about the so-called "balanced diet"? Why do people who think eat a balanced diet, get sick? Why getting flu or cold at certain times during the year seem to be a standard, while, from what I observed on myself and many other people I met, these very diseases somehow seem not to be able to get hold of a person whose diet consists of mainly raw fruit and veggies? What other diseases could be avoided by a simple change of diet?

According to
Ling WH, Hanninen O.,  "Shifting from a conventional diet to an uncooked vegan diet reversibly alters fecal hydrolytic activities in humans", J Nutr 1992 Apr;122(4):924-30, "uncooked extreme vegan diet causes a decrease in bacterial enzymes and certain toxic products that have been implicated in colon cancer risk". In particular, the activity of fecal urease significantly decreased (by 66%) as did cholylglycine hydrolase (55%), beta-glucuronidase (33%) and beta-glucosidase (40%) within 1 wk of beginning the vegan diet in a control group. 

McDonald TA, Holland NT, Skibola C, et al., in "Hypothesis: Phenol and hydroquinone derived mainly from diet and gastrointestinal flora activity are causal factors in leukemia", LEUKEMIA, Volume: 15, Issue: 1, Pages: 10-20, 2001, hypothesize that the sources of phenol and hydroquinone and associated adducts from direct dietary ingestion, catabolism of tyrosine and other substrates by gut bacteria, ingestion of arbutin-containing foods, cigarette smoking, and the use of some over-the-counter medicines, play a causal role in producing some forms of de novo leukemia in the general population. "This hypothesis is consistent with recent epidemiological findings associating leukemia with diets rich in meat and protein, the use of antibiotics (which change gastrointestinal flora make-up), lack of breastfeeding, and low activity of NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase which detoxifies quinones derived from phenol and hydroquinone and protects against benzene hematotoxicity."

More recently,
Schepers E, Glorieux G, Vanholder R, "The Gut: The Forgotten Organ in Uremia?", BLOOD PURIFICATION  Volume: 29  Issue: 2, Pages: 130-136, 2010, say that "Many of the toxins generated or introduced into the body via the intestine (advanced glycation end products, indoles, phenols) play an active role in vascular damage".

It's time to point out that references are not proofs, but merely reports of some empirical evidence, flavoured by the interpretations of the authors who offer possible models to explain the data. One could quote forever various scientific articles, debate them and even select those that suit a particular view. So, I would like to think about some commonsense ideas that may explain the issue. In this case, the fact that
considerably larger amounts of toxins would get produced inside the body due to cooked food than the raw food diet, is rather intuitively obvious since, as it is well-known, the passage time for the raw fruit and veggies is only hours, compared to days for the cooked foods, particularly the animal products. There exists some interesting visual evidence of the impact of the diet on our colon, see the following video from Japan which clearly shows the visible physical damage to the inside of the body through the diet. I think that it is a nice illustration of the ideas in the articles I quoted above. It is rather clear to me that the notion that the diet has a major impact on our health, is not some fairytale, but a sensible idea supported by some very compelling evidence.

What about veganism though? Is veganism human natural diet? Is it advantegous to human health or can it be potentially damaging? How much flexibility do we have in choosing our optimal diet? Can humans eat anything they like and enjoy the optimal health?

to be continued and edited yet

A little interlude, an interesting discussion I read on facebook (ahh, the wonders of the computer age), which in some way relates to my comments above: A Question to Veg-s 

and my contribution to it:
"Good questions, Lena. I've been wondering about these very issues for some time. I understand that people have good intentions, as always, and their goals are to spread the positive ideas, such as raw veganism as a pathway to great health with a simultaneous minimization of suffering of the animals. It seems to me that sometimes people may have different views on whether and how to maximize one's global impact. For example, from the analysis of the advertising industry and business studies, and by observing some successful, in purely monetary sense, 'raw food business gurus' (which I do not mean as equivalent to individuals who understand how to achieve optimal health), as well as some historical figures who influenced the masses, we can learn that often not-so-ethical tactics may increase one's impact. And so some raw vegans may think that maximizing the impact is what they should focus on, with whatever means, such as sexy images (people get easily impressed by the imaging), sounding infallible (people like 'experts'), attacking those with opposing views (just as in politics), or even "stretching the truth". Whatever gets the followers in as high numbers as possible. But does this work? Another question one might ask, just as you did, is, what about the larger picture? What is it that we would really want from this 'raw vegan' movement?"

Which leads to me asking the following:
Define VEGAN

According to Wikipedia (one hopes that a collaboration of many minds would lead to some valuable information, hence the reference),

"Veganism is the personal practice of eliminating the use of non-human animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only.

The term "vegan" was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watosn, co-founder of the British Vegan Society, to mean "non-dairy vegetarian"; the society also opposed the use of eggs as food.   It extended its definition in 1951 to mean "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals," and in 1960 H. Jay Dinsha started the American Vegan Society, linking the movement to the Jainist concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things."

However, I ask:

Since the mere existence of any human individual depends on the society that is built upon the exploitation of animals, how can one ever define themselves a vegan, unless they strip naked, go to the woods and survive there?

Isn't the above definition of veganism well-meaning but nevertheless a contradiction?

Can one measure and accurately evaluate their impact on animal suffering? How do we know that buying a bunch of bananas, the proceeds of which may go to the pocket of a hard-core steak lover, leads to less animal suffering than buying a packet of rice, the proceeds of which may go to a vegetarian foods lover?

If we justify our claim to be vegan by some of our practices that we believe lessen the suffering of animals, while ignoring others that don't, is our use of the concept of living "without exploiting animals" rigorous?

Define Vegan. Please share. I am interested in the insights you might be able to share.

July 2011

I asked the question about the definition of Vegan at a couple of forums and I got some very interesting insights from this:

Some quotes from these discussions:

"Simply being alive could be considered non-vegan"

"The same technology that gave us our modern fruit forms and varieties is the same technology that created the blender and/or vice versa. Exploitation of animals has also contributed to our current status as weak technologically dependent animals."

"I think that we will always be limited by our blind-spots. There are contradictions in our actions that we are aware of in ourselves and have the capacity for change. And there are those that we are unaware of, because we have never had cause to question them previously."

"Vegan is as useless as any other term in that regards. Lots of vegans are attracted to the idea, like many people are attracted to a lot of causes, because it allows them to play out an inferiority/superiority complex. I know a lot of very angry, judgemental vegans, who will happily and readily delete out of their awareness their own contradictions and get very defensive if these are brought to their attention. But will invest a lot of energy persecuting other non-vegans."

"I also know a lot of vegans who view animal rights and human rights as separate and unrelated. There are plenty of vegans who will happily drink coca cola products, wear Nike trainers and play music on their ipods, who's definition of 'can' stops at not eating and wearing animal products."

"I think ultimately, that the term 'vegan' is as limited and limiting as most attempts to label behavioural choices and philosophies. There is no universally acceptable definition, because it will be personal to everyone, depending on where their head is at. The danger with all labels is that we come to identify with them and start seeing labels rather than people in the world. And we come to see veganism as an event, not a process. As somewhere that we have already arrived at, rather than it being a process of questioning and evaluating choices, and aspiring to make the most conscientious choices possible."

"I have never really formulated a clear concept of veganism.  I have always steered clear of identifying myself one way or another.  I don't eat animal products right now, except for the customary insect guests in the salad and in the fruit.  And although I shun expressing unnecessary violence, I have never understood the ideal of ahimsa.  It seems silly in a world wherein all the plants and animals are in a cycle of creation and destruction.  Killing and death are clearly widely practiced and accepted in nature.  And so often, vegans put a premium on animal life over plant life, which also seems somewhat arbitrary (but always well defended).  So, to me, it seems like simply another moral code humans construct to separate themselves from the rest of their brothers and sisters here on Earth."

"Gosia, I went through a similar period. The term vegan started feeling like a meaningless and superficial term to me when it just referred to non-violence, avoiding harm, etc. The definition was always "against" things rather than being "for" them.

I started wanting the term vegan to mean everything associated with what I believe to be the natural state, whereby needs are met, growth is nurtured, emotions are in check, nutrition is balanced, and a synergy is everpresent not just with animal and plant life but with all matter/energy.

At first I thought of veganism as being about compassion for non-human animals, then through adopting raw vegan I extended my vegan ethic to include nurturing myself and other people. Over time through the 811rv lifestyle, biophilia became undeniably strong in me. I realized I valued plants perhaps as much as what we call sentient lifeforms. I raised questions within myself whether I could value the life of an ant as much as my own. I wanted veganism to encapsulate the ethic I had come to expect as normal.

I appreciate the beauty in a stone as much as piece of wood. Who are we to say there is not life and value in stone just because we cannot see it grow or reproduce. I feel empathy for a cliff or mountain that gets destroyed to build a road. Does a vegan value an ocean only for the sentient life it holds? Or also value the ocean itself.

Perhaps the term vegan should encapsulate a reverence for all that forms our natural world.

Perhaps it should be a celebration of all that commands such reverence."

"Often, the so-called vegans seem to think of themselves as having a higher level of awareness, despite being so acutely unaware of their limitations and how much they may be hurting other beings.  Often, they will argue that using unethical behavior is justified. Is it because this is all-justifying veganism, or is it merely because these are humans?"

I am grateful for these insights very much.

Now, let me go back to the topic of raw veganism. Is it optimal, is it natural?

Perhaps the quickest way to find any problems with raw veganism is to look at the well-known issue of B12 deficiency. A standard opinion is that vegans need to supplement as vegan diet is lacking in B12. I would like to find references to some in-depth research that confirms how B12 is absorbed and what causes the B12 deficiency, and I do not mean some stated opinions, but the ultimate source of those opinions, the research that confirms the findings on which those opinions are based. I would like to learn what the current literature is saying on the topic of B12 in general. So let's do some search and let's dig deep.

On the Web of Science, a popular scientific database, I find the following article:
NEUROLOGY 45 : 1435 1995

This seems like a good start, since it's a paper published in 1995, anything more recent should quote it. I am interested in the recent papers, since as we know, scientific thought evolves due to research. This leads me to:

Utility of measuring vitamin B-12 and its active fraction, holotranscobalamin, in neurological vitamin B-12 deficiency syndromes
Schrempf W, Eulitz M, Neumeister V, et al.
JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY   Volume: 258   Issue: 3   Pages: 393-401   Published: MAR 2011

In there, I find:
"Vitamin B-12 (VitB(12), cobalamin) deficiency has been associated with various neuropsychiatric conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy, subacute combined degeneration, affective disorders, and cognitive impairment. Current assays analyze vitamin B-12, of which only a small percentage is metabolically active. Measurement of its active fraction, holotranscobalamin, might be of greater relevance, but data in populations with neuropsychiatric populations are lacking. In this study, in order to validate VitB(12) and holotranscobalamin (holoTC) serum levels for the detection of VitB(12) deficiency in neuropsychiatric conditions, we compared the validity of VitB(12) and holoTC in a patient cohort with neuropsychiatric conditions suspicious for VitB(12) deficiency. (...) holoTC does not show superior diagnostic accuracy compared to VitB(12) for the detection of VitB(12) deficiency in subjects with neuropsychiatric conditions. Neither test can be recommended to diagnose VitB(12) deficiency in subjects with neuropsychiatric disorders."

In plain words, two different tests discussed in the paper are not reliable in diagnosing B12 deficiency. OK, so what is a reliable way of diagnosing B12 deficiency? Let's search further.

According to:
Overview of a roundtable on NHANES monitoring of biomarkers of folate and vitamin B-12 status: measurement procedure issues
Elizabeth A Yetley, Paul M Coates, and Clifford L Johnson
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION    Volume: 94    Issue: 1    Pages: 297S-302S    Published: JUL 2011

In there, I read:

"A roundtable dialogue to discuss “NHANES Monitoring of Biomarkers of Folate and Vitamin B-12 Status” took place in July 2010."

"Uncertainty exists about whether subclinical (mild, asymptomatic) vitamin B-12 deficiency is a public health concern. Subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency affects a larger percentage of the population than does clinical vitamin B-12 deficiency."

"Problems with sensitivity and specificity of individual biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status underscore the need for the inclusion of at least one biomarker of circulating vitamin B-12 (serum vitamin B-12 or holoTC) and one functional biomarker (MMA or tHcy) in NHANES."

OK, so accurate diagnosis of B12 deficiency is not a straightforwad task, and there is no certainty about using any test. Surprisingly, the experts do not seem to be concerned about the subclinical B12 deficiency. Is it because it's hard to tell whether what is diagnosed as subclinical B12 deficiency, is an actual health problem? After all, the numbers chosen as markers in tests are arbitrary. How do we know what is a health problem, which may become clinical if ignored, and what is not? Very difficult indeed.

OK, so let's have a look at the clinical B12 deficiency.

Nitrous oxide-induced B-12 deficiency myelopathy: Perspectives on the clinical biochemistry of vitamin B12
Hathout L, El-Saden S
JOURNAL OF THE NEUROLOGICAL SCIENCES   Volume: 301   Issue: 1-2   Pages: 1-8   Published: FEB 15 2011

I read:

"Beginning with a case report of nitrous oxide (N2O)-induced B-12 deficiency myelopathy, this article reviews the clinical biochemistry of vitamin B-12, and examines the pathogenetic mechanisms by which B-12 deficiency leads to neurologic damage, and how this damage is potentiated by N2O exposure. The article systematically examines the available experimental data relating to the two main coenzyme mechanisms that are usually suggested in clinical articles, particularly the deficient methylation hypothesis. The article demonstrates that neither of these mechanisms is fully consistent with the available data. The article then presents a novel mechanism based on new data from the neuroimmunology basic science literature which suggests that the pathogenesis of B-12 deficiency myelopathy may not be related to its role as a coenzyme, but rather to newly discovered functions of B-12 in regulating cytokines and growth factors."

That is, the mechanisms behind the so called B12 deficiency myelopathy (pathology of the spinal cord) is not well understood. Previous hypotheses have been challenged, and while new are emerging, what do we really know?

And then, while googling for the pdf file of the mentioned article, I find something really interesting:
Alzheimer’s Disease/Alcohol Dementia: Association with Zinc Deficiency and Cerebral Vitamin B12 Deficiency
C.J.M. van Tiggelen
JOURNAL OF ORTHOMOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY   Volume: 13   Issue: 2   Pages: 97-104   Published: 1984

In there:

"The results presented, in combination with the above mentioned considerations have resulted in the following working hypothesis: A multifactorial process, including genetic, nutritional, toxic and stress related factors, can lead to the development of a zinc deficiency usually accompanied by a relative copper toxicity. For lack of a better method we consider an abnormal high ratio se-Cu/se-Zn as a biochemical indicator of this condition.

The effects on the brain can be summarized as initially the development of hippocampal/limbic disinhibition, facilitated by neurotransmitter changes. In particular the effect on the noradrenergic system results through its regulation of the cerebral microcirculation in effects on the blood-brain barrier and the choroid plexus, impairing the transport as has been demonstrated of vitamin B12. The consequently developing cerebral B12 deficiency results in the development of an organic affective syndrome, which presents itself due to the zinc deficiency and copper toxicity induced cerebral dysfunction as an "amnestic-demential syndrome". When a co-existing depression is present, severe behavioural disorder and psychotic features may develop. Early recognition of the condition is possible by means of the linguomental reflex. A co-existing depression must not be missed. Early treatment is necessary to prevent the development of irreversible neurological and cerebral damage. Our results with treatment of early SDAT and AD, supplementing parenteral vitamin B12 for a long period in a high dose, prescribing zinc-aspartate and taurine for a long period in a low dose, are suggesting a hopeful perspective in arresting the process or even in prevention."

In brief, a number of lifestyle factors are hypothesized to lead to the development of a zinc deficiency, usually accompanied by a copper toxicity, and impairing the transport of B12, and hence causing B12 deficiency. This isn't a simple process and B12 deficiency is just part of a larger picture. Supplementing is suggested, but would this really restore health if the cause is not addressed? I think that an illness can never be acurately explained through any particular deficiency separately. The body is a complex mechanism of many connected processes after all. So why is B12 deficiency treated as if it was an isolated mechanism?

The paper was published a good while ago, in 1984, so let's follow this up by looking at more recent findings. I find:

Treatment of Alzheimer's disease with clioquinol
Regland B, Lehmann W, Abedini I, et al.
DEMENTIA AND GERIATRIC COGNITIVE DISORDERS   Volume: 12   Issue: 6   Pages: 408-414   Published: NOV-DEC 2001

and in there,

"As heavy metal ions may be implicated in the formation of senile plaques in Alzheimer-afflicted brains, treatment with clioquinol was tested in 20 patients with Alzheimer's disease. Clioquinol is a chelator that crosses the blood-brain barrier and has greater affinity for zinc and copper ions than for calcium and magnesium ions. (...) Clinical ratings showed slight improvement after 3 weeks treatment with clioquinol in this open study."

OK, so heavy metals are implicated here. But we lost track of B12 here! So let's look for it elsewhere. I am interested in documented clinical cases of B12 deficiency.

Spinal abnormalities in vitamin B12 deficiency
F. Le Moine, P. Matthys
JBR–BTR, 2011, 94: 86.

I read:

"A 25 year-old woman was hospitalized in psychiatry with progressive weight loss and diagnosis of anorexia. (...) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine, revealed focal
hyperintense lesions into the dorsal spinal cord (...) The patient was treated with intramuscularly injections of cobalamin with a rapid clinical recuperation and also a normalization of the
signal abnormality in both cord and bone marrow (...) On MRI, the vitamin B12 deficiency, which is causing a subacute combined sclerosis or degeneration, will show most typically hyperintense lesions to the dorsal spinal cord columns. (...) In the differential diagnosis of the spinal cord lesions, a large list of etiologies must be considered. (...) However, the selective dorsolateral spinal cord degeneration is typically for this subacute combined sclerosis, due to the vitamin B12 deficiency, with to pernicious anemia a as result. Other etiologies of vitamin B12 deficiency, includes other intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth in intestinal blind loops) and also strict vegetarian diet."

First, note that, although B12 deficiency has been diagnosed, the ultimate cause of spinal cord issues in the patient studied here is anorexia. The lesions have been treated with the administration of cobalamin, but is the patient really healthy now?

Next, note that the list of B12 deficiency ethiologies include Crohn's disease, celiac disease and bacterial overgrowth, all of which are well-documented to be managed with raw vegan diet.

As far as the strict vegetarian diet, let's follow this. Is veganism a path to clinical B12 deficiency, and if it is, what other deficiencies it may be causing? Note that the various nutrients that the science knows of is only a small proportion of those that exist. So, if raw veganism is not a human standard diet, and is causing B12 deficiency indeed, then there must be other health problems that we should worry about it, So, sorting out the issue of veganism and B12 deficiency relationship may be very important indeed.

to be continued

I listened to the video interview with Daniels Vitalis above and would like to make some comments.

1. It is absolutely true that humans have been eating meat for many years. However, this is not human natural diet. As is well-known and accepted by modern science, human original diet is frugivorous and strongly herbivorous.

“Anthropoids, including all great apes, take most of their diet from plants, and there is general consensus that humans come from a strongly herbivorous ancestry”
“Nutritional characteristics of wild primate foods: do the diets of our closest living relatives have lessons for us?”, Milton K, Nutrition, 15(6):488-498, 1999.)

“Humans are ancestrally derived from frugivorous primates”
“Ethanol, fruit ripening, and the historical origins of human alcoholism in primate frugivory”, Dadley R, Integrative and Comparative Biol, 44 (4): 315-323, 2004.)

2. There is no data supporting Daniel's claim that Eskimos were healthy. On the contrary. The earliest available data is from around the late 19th century, which suggests that Eskimos' health was inferior to others.

"Beginning with the 1890's we have statistics resting on birth, baptism, and death certificates made by medical missionaries. Based on these formal documents is the conclusion that the longevity of northern Alaska Eskimos is greatly inferior to ours."

Source: SCIENCE  Volume:127  Issue: 3288   Pages:16-19  Published: 1958)

One might argue that this was due to their cooked meat diet. However, even the Greenland Eskimo, whose diet was carnivorous and predominantly raw, suffered from a number of health problems. Amongst others, they had a very high total cancer incidence, suffered from liver enlargement and experienced a high incidence of hemorrhagic stroke. See for some references to that.

3. I agree, let's not make nasty personal comments and focus on the substance instead. I fully support such approach.

4. Why so many humans eat animal products? Could so many humans be wrong?

Originally frugivorous humans migrated to various environments where tropical fruit is either unavailable or scarce. In order to survive, they resorted to eating all sorts of foods that they would not usually eat, including meat and later grains. Eventually, they created the food industry and supermarkets that sell processed foods which, as discovered by modern science, can alter the brain chemistry in the same way as highly addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroin ("Junkie food" in New Scientist, 4 September 2010). Yes, it is possible that many humans are wrong in their choice of the diet, and the numbers can run in many millions.

“Comparative data suggests that human nutrient requirements and most features of human digestive morphology and physiology are conservative in nature and probably were little affected by the hunter-gatherer phase of human existence."
“Back to basics: why foods of wild primates have relevance for modern human health”, Milton K, Nutrition, 16(7):480-483, 2000.)

“We were not biologically selected by the evolution process to eat the way we do today
“Similarities of prostate and breast cancer: Evolution, diet, and estrogens”, Coffey DS, Urology, 57(4 Suppl 1):31-8, 2001.)

5. Is raw veganism is an experiment, and should we be more careful about it?


Raw vegans are clearly an overwhelming minority on the planet. Asking a raw vegan how many raw vegans they know can sometimes be like asking a human how many extra-terrestrials they met. Their diet, although not new in our evolutionary history, is clearly something new to many modern humans, and has not been studied in-depth by modern science yet. At the same time, the results of the standard modern diet have been studied quite extensively and the outcome of this does not look very good.

According to the National Health Survey 2007-2008 in Australia, 42.1% of adult males and 30.9% of adult females are overweight, 25.6% of males and 24% of females are obese. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006 and 2007–2008, over two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and over one-third are obese. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world.

In contrast, the health, fitness and beauty transformations of frugivorous raw vegans are astonishing. The amount of empirical data is overwhelming, but no systematic study of it has been performed as yet. Some studies exist, but we are not at the stage of being able to scientifically explain all we observe as yet. However, it is incorrect to say that the evidence is non-existent.

For example, it has been reported that fibryomalgia and rheumatoid patients was helped with living foods diet:
Acta Physiol Hung 1999;86(3-4):171-80
Vegan diet in physiological health promotion.
Hanninen O, Rauma AL, Kaartinen K, Nenonen M. Department of Physiology, University of Kuopio, Finland.

Or, it has been reported that the colon of a cooked foodist is full of toxins implicated in colon cancer risk:
J Nutr 1992 Apr;122(4):924-30
Shifting from a conventional diet to an uncooked vegan diet reversibly alters fecal hydrolytic activities in humans.
Ling WH, Hanninen O. Department of Physiology, University of Kuopio, Finland.

We should absolutely be careful of this experiment. And we should also absolutely study it, explore and analyze in depth. My wild guess based on what I observed thus far is that we will learn a lot from this compelling experiment. We may even, ultimately, regain something that we lost as humans during our journey from the forests to supermarkets.

6. It's a good observation that the modern technology allows us to experiment with the raw vegan diet. Suppose that we look at it as follows. Humans migrated from their original fruit forest and their original frugivorous diet, and in order to survive, resorted to eating less than optimal foods that they would not usually eat. Eventually, humans developed technology to such a level that they are able to send tropical fruit to places they were not available before, which allows them to eat their original foods again. Is it ideal? Perhaps not,  for example a better option would be to grow the foods locally, if this could be achieved. Neverthelss, it is the best one can do at the current state, and so if one has a choice of eating imported watermelon or locally produced potato and the former seems far more tempting, one will choose the former.

7. Could we be selling raw veganism as a health-orientated experiment with emphasis on experiment without the anti-animal-cruelty drive?

We all depend on the society that is built upon the exploitation of animals. But perhaps we can reduce that exploitation, and perhaps that reduction can be a positive thing, both in terms of the ethics as well as what we achieve in terms of our health and the health of the planet. This is a huge topic, hardly possible to be answered as part of a small debate. Animal suffering is undeniable. Damage done to the plants on the Earth is too. Can one be made more important than or justified by the other, of that I am not so sure.

8. Could raw vegans be wrong and would they admit if they were?

Yes, it is possible that perhaps humans need to eat some animal products even in their frugivorous diet in order to stay healthy. For example, it is not clear whether B12 is a true issue for frugivorous raw vegans or not, simply because there is not enough data on this. Perhaps small insects were part of the human diet originally and the fact that we do not find them terribly apetizing now is due to our social conditioning. Or perhaps, since B12 deficiency exists amongst meat eaters, the issue is really not that well understood. Perhaps we do not need to eat animal products at all. From what I read so far, in my limited time, there does not even exist a reliable test for B12 deficiency, and so unless the physical symptoms are observed, we can't really be positive whether B12 deficiency is present or not. The mechanisms behind the B12 deficiency are not well understood either. So there is a lot that we do not know and so it is not possible to draw any conclusions here.

The admissions of being wrong might not come easy if one passionately believes in the lifestyle, or if one has invested a lot in it. Perhaps allowing some space for self-questioning could be a healthy thing. At the same time, I am not sure whether it is possible to determine who is right or wrong with objective precision, since no proofs exist in empirical sciences. So one has to depend on their own convictions in the end.

9. I agree that we should be open to a discussion and sharing extending beyond the immediate environment of one's own diet.  I agree that we are all in it together. We humans, have transformed the Earth to what we observe today, and it is the our responsibility to deal with it. Let's talk about it.

 While looking up some more videos with Daniel Vitalis, I found this one:

There is something very interesting in it that he says. Specifically, Daniel says that an article in Nature reports that a conclusive evidence in the form of tool marks on the bones was found that shows that Australopiteus, previously considered to be fruitarian, has in fact been eating meat. I decided to follow this up and here is what I found:

In August 2010, the following paper was published in Nature:

McPherron, S.P., Alemseged, Z., Marean, C.W., Wynn, J.G., Reed, D., Geraads, D., Bobe, R., (...), Béarat, H.A.
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia
(2010) Nature, 466 (7308), pp. 857-860.

In there,
"Here we report stone-tool-inflicted marks on bones found during recent survey work in Dikika, Ethiopia, a research area close to Gona and Bouri. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. (...) Our discovery extends by approximately 800,000 years the antiquity of stone tools and of stone-tool-assisted consumption of ungulates by hominins; furthermore, this behaviour can now be attributed to Australopithecus afarensis."

However, if one follows this paper up, one finds:

Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., Pickering, T.R., Bunn, H.T.
Configurational approach to identifying the earliest hominin butchers
(2010) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107 (49), pp. 20929-20934

and in there:
"The announcement of two approximately 3.4-million-y-old purportedly butchered fossil bones from the Dikika paleoanthropological research area (Lower Awash Valley, Ethiopia) could profoundly alter our understanding of human evolution. Butchering damage on the Dikika bones would imply that tool-assisted meat-eating began approximately 800,000 y before previously thought, based on butchered bones from 2.6- to 2.5-million-y-old sites at the Ethiopian Gona and Bouri localities. Further, the only hominin currently known from Dikika at approximately 3.4 Ma is Australopithecus afarensis, a temporally and geographically widespread species unassociated previously with any archaeological evidence of butchering. Our taphonomic configurational approach to assess the claims of A. afarensis butchery at Dikika suggests the claims of unexpectedly early butchering at the site are not warranted. The Dikika research group focused its analysis on the morphology of the marks in question but failed to demonstrate, through recovery of similarly marked in situ fossils, the exact provenience of the published fossils, and failed to note occurrences of random striae on the cortices of the published fossils (incurred through incidental movementof the defleshed specimens across and/or within their abrasive encasing sediments). The occurrence of such random striae (sometimes called collectively "trampling" damage) on the two fossils provide the configurational context for rejection of the claimed butchery marks. The earliest best evidence for hominin butchery thus remains at 2.6 to 2.5 Ma, presumably associated with more derived species than A. afarensis."

That is, what was thought to be a "conclusive" evidence, got in fact rejected!

As the authors of the latter paper explained, this was achieved by

i) providing a detailed argument showing site- & assemblage-level weaknesses for the claim,
ii) matching those marks morphologically to marks produced on modern bones by trampling in coarse-grained sedimentary substrates, similar to those of the Dikika site.

Domínguez-Rodrigo, M. , Pickering, T.R.
Reply to McPherron et al.: Doubting Dikika is about data, not paradigms
(2011) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

"It is widely held by archaeologists and palaeontologists that the australopiths played a significant part in human evolution, and it was one of the australopith species that eventually evolved into the Homo genus in Africa around 2 million years ago, which contained within it species like Homo habilis, H. ergaster and eventually the modern human species, H. sapiens sapiens."
The study of the diet of Australopithecus is hence of relevance to humans.

Note that according to a few reference from Tom Billings' site (, quoted in the above Wiki article, "Australopithecus africanus ate more mechanically tough foods" (Scott et al 2009) and also 1992 and 1994 studies "suggested the possibility of animal consumption".

Interesting. So let's follow this up.

hen I look for the more recent literature, I find a paper quoting the 2009 Scott et all:
Ungar, P.S., Scott, R.S., Grine, F.E., Teaford, M.F.
Molar microwear textures and the diets of Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis
2010  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365 (1556), pp. 3345-3354

and in there:
"Many researchers have suggested that Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis were among the earliest hominins to have diets that included hard, brittle items. Here we examine dental microwear textures of these hominins for evidence of this. (...) This implies that these Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis individuals did not have diets dominated by hard, brittle foods shortly before their deaths."

Furthermore, a nice July 2010 literature review and discussion at
lists several references, including a more recent paper by the authors of the 1994 study that takes a step back from the 1994 claims.

"Significantly, the results of this 2000 study indicate no increase in the proportion of carbon-13 enriched foods in the diet of Homo ergaster relative to Australopithecus, providing no support for the hypothesis that the diet of Homo ergaster was any more meat-based than the diet of Australopithecus, thereby completely breaking a link in the idea that meat-eating is a distinctive attribute of Homo."

"Lee-Thorp and Sponheimer worked together and with other coauthors on several subsequent papers exploring various aspects of this question in further detail.  None of these studies resolves the issue in favor of an omnivorous Australopith hypothesis, but the trend is rather consisently in favor of a plant-based interpretation of the evidence."

"In summary, the scientific literature as of 2007 (...) is substantially in support of a plant-based diet for Australopithecus, and possibly for early Homo as well."

When studying claims, it is very prudent to go to their original source in the form of published papers (with the help of scientific databases). Relying solely on the second-hand online popular articles or youtube videos simply won't do. Just because someone says something in a passionate, interesting or intelligent manner, does not mean it is true. Check the source.

Also, remember that empirical sciences do not provide proofs.

“We must become the change we want to see.”
Mahatma Gandhi

21st July, 2011
Fruitlovers movement has grown again! See:

Who would have thought a few years ago, in 2006, during the year we had the Fruitlovers Summit, that this community will transform itself to such a vibrant bunch of people. Then again, wasn't this inevitable? Power of fruit ha ha! I am very happy to be able to observe this evolution of the planet occurring during my life. Aren't I lucky.

Sharing a daily blog I recorded in 2010, which I finally found time to post. More is coming! See:

22nd July, 2011
Who am I?
I am who I choose to be!

31st July 2011
Another festival that I would like to mention:
Fresh Food Festival

I am most impressed by the photos of stashes of fruit there! My impression is that it might have been a very genuine event offerring an inspiring experience.

Of course, one does not need to go a festival to connect with others, and one can learn a lot online for free. I guess I find events like this attracting because of the isolation I feel sometimes. My online community is the only consistent source of support in my journey. I often wish I could meet the real people and give them a hug.

10th August 2011
Nearly forgot, a couple of things for you to watch:

24th August 2011
Turning a new leaf. I will hide myself for a while in a new green place.

13th November 2011
My Green Experiment is well and truly over. I heart fruit. :)

Some data (reporting it also in my ihearfruit  journal):

07 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, mangoes, watermelon, mangoes, bananas.
08 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, watermelon, mangoes, bananas, grapes.
My menus seem to look like permutations of certain fruit. :)
09 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, watermelon, grapes, banana-blueberry smoothie, dates.
10 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, grapes (from a conference table), mangoes, watermelon, bananas, dates.
11 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, mangoes, grapes (from a conference table), bananas, mangoes.
12 November 2011: mangoes, mangoes, mangoes.
I bought 4 boxes, 22 mangoes each, for a great price (nearly half the supermarket price) from a wholesaler. They are absolutely delicious and very sweet. I am in heaven. :)
My 2 children and myself were watching a movie, sitting on our big bed, and eating mangoes. We ate many. This was sweet.

13 November 2011: mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, mangoes.
I find that about 5 mangoes gets in my tummy at each mango meal.
14 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, watermelon, mangoes, mangoes, banana-mango-date smoothie.
The banana-mango-date smoothie was the most delicious gourmet dish I had in a while. Mangoes gives it heavenly taste and dates make it extra sweet. Amazing dish indeed.
15 November 2011: watermelon, mangoes, mangoes, dates.
16 November 2011: watermelon, mangoes, mangoes, dates.
17 November 2011: mangoes, mangoes, watermelon, bananas, non-frutarian snack (rye bread with avocado).
I sometimes feel attracted to salty things. I don't dwell on this, but keep going. I trust the direction of my fruitarian journey.
18 November 2011: mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, bananas.
I think I ate a whole box of mangoes today!
19 November 2011: banana-blueberry smoothie, mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, dates.
20 November 2011: mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, non-fruitarian snack (a fallafel), dates.
Enough for now. I am a little busy with my papers now. I clearly need to plan a little better and include non-sweet fruit in my shopping list.

31st November 2011
Check out the 2nd International Fruit Lovers Online Summit:

3rd December 2011
Happy December everyone!!!
If you care for a sweet treat, here is one: Fruity icecream.
Simply fold layers of blended frozen bananas and mixed berries.
It's unbelievably delicious!

29th December 2011
The year is almost over. Something happenned. Veganism became an integral part of me. 8 years ago I entered raw foodism primarily for the health and beauty reasons. Before that, I used to think of veganism as something odd. So, although I pursued this raw vegan lifestyle, it did not feel to me like at home. It does now. I see raw veganism as the lifestyle that will transform our planet. This lifestyle, which has already transformed the lifestyles of many, has a great potential of contributing to the transformation of our planet in a singificant way.

Transform your life
Transform our planet
Join the raw vegan revolution

30th December 2011
I am delighted to annouce that I will continue my journal in my brand new blog at
RawGosia's Blog

See you there! :)

Copyright © Dr Gosia O'Reilly. All Rights Reserved.
Acknowledgements: Maura (logo).
Quotes on raw foods by fellow raw foodists.
Other quotes from The Quote Garden.
Photos: Geek Philosopher