by: Boutenko, Victoria
Victoria Boutenko teaches classes on raw food at South Oregon University and, as a result of her teachings, many raw food communities have been formed throughout the world. Victoria and her family have lived on a 100% raw food diet for nine years and all four have cured their incurable diseases. The transformation of Victoria's family to raw food is described in her book, Raw Family. Victoria is also the author of 12 Steps to Raw Foods. Her two children have written a book containing delicious raw food recipes called Eating without Heating.
RAW FOOD IS LIVING FOOD
If you take two almond seeds, one raw and one roasted, and ask a scientist to inspect them under the microscope and tell you the difference between the two seeds, the scientist will report back that they're absolutely the same. They both have the same amount of calcium, potassium, iron, copper and magnesium. Then you put them into the soil. The one that's roasted will rot within a few days. The one that's raw will stay the same until it gets enough water, sometimes several years, and then it will give birth to a beautiful almond tree that will live for 150 years producing almonds every fall. Do you see the difference? If you don't, then from now on always roast your seeds before planting them in your garden. Can raw food taste as good as cooked food? Absolutely, even better. I, for example, stopped telling people my food was raw about 6 years ago.
Ten years ago my family was desperately ill. I was dying from arrhythmia. My husband had such bad arthritis that all of his joints were swollen and he was in constant pain. He had had 18 surgeries, and his hyperthyroidism was so bad that his pulse was 170 at rest. My daughter Valya was born with asthma and had an asthmatic attack almost every night since birth. My son Sergei was obese and was diagnosed with Type I Juvenile Diabetes.
A LIFE-CHANGING MEETING
Everybody had told me that Type I diabetes was incurable. One day, the universe placed a woman in front of me in a lineup at the bank. She was the only raw foodist in the whole state of Colorado in l993. She was in her 60s and looked radiantly healthy. I asked her if she knew anything about curing diabetes naturally. Her face shone and she told me that she had cured her own colon cancer 15 years ago and the method is the same for many other diseases. She told me all about raw food. You can only have four things and they have to be raw: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Birds, animals, snakes and insects all eat raw food, and besides, we were not born with a cooking stove attached to our bellies.
I told my husband that this diet might save our son and suggested that we all go on a raw food diet as a family for a couple of weeks. He became very angry and he said that he couldn't live on rabbit food and needed his Russian borscht with pork, and besides, he said, why didn't doctors figure this out long ago if it works? Wouldn't people know about it? Then, in January, l994, my husband became so ill he couldn't talk. His thyroid was swollen six times normal size and the doctors told him he needed surgery or he would die within two months. At this point, Igor decided to go on a raw food diet.
I went into the kitchen and threw away the coffee maker, pasta maker, ice cream maker, the toaster and the expensive microwave. In Russia they don't allow microwaves because they are so harmful. This was the chance of a lifetime. I took a garbage bag and threw out everything, pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, beans, rice, whipped cream, whatever I had on my shelf. My kitchen was suddenly spotless. Then I covered my stove with a big cutting board and went shopping.
At the time, we didn't eat veggies, so I stuffed our fridge with a lot of fruit and when my family came home that day, they asked what's for supper? I said, it's in the fridge. The children refused to eat the fruit, and that night we went to bed hungry. In the morning we were all in the kitchen eating apples, bananas and oranges, and we were excited. Coincidentally, Valya had not had an asthma attack that night, Sergei's blood sugar was lower than usual, and Igor felt better despite the fact that he had only slept a couple of hours. So, Igor said, let's go ahead. We've thrown everything out anyway.
IMMEDIATE AMAZING RESULTS
In two weeks my son's insulin level was normal, and my daughter hadn't had asthma even once in two weeks. Igor's pulse went from 170 to 140 and I had lost 15 pounds. I was very obese at 280 pounds and I could never lose even an ounce on all the nasty tasting weight-loss drinks I had tried. Igor again said, "Let's keep going!"
Two months later,
Sergei's blood sugar was stable and normal. Valya was free of asthma, and I had lost 50 pounds. We had more energy than we had ever had in our lives. I started to run. We didn't know what to do with all our energy, so we bought a big trampoline for our family and jumped on it for one or two hours every day just to get rid of this extra energy.
We still had lots of energy. From then on, every Sunday, we raced five kilometers to prove how healthy we were. We decided to test ourselves further and ran a ten kilometer race. The next morning I called my doctor and she told me to come and see her as soon as possible because I could die. She told me that I could not run and eat raw foods because it was very dangerous. She scared me so much that I decided never to call her again. In May, 1994 I cancelled our family medical insurance because I knew that our health was in our own hands.
RAW FOOD CLASSES
People were stopping me in the street saying, "Victoria, you look terrific. What are you doing?" And I said, "raw food." They asked me to show them how to do it, and very soon I had twelve neighbours in my house, teaching them about raw foods. They loved the information and tried to eat raw, but nobody lasted beyond the following morning. In the morning they all had their coffee and bagels with cream cheese. I decided that I wasn't a very good teacher.
At this point I was so enthusiastic that I closed my six successful businesses and decided to make my living by teaching all about raw foods because it had changed my life. I was teaching about raw food, but nobody went raw. I would wait 30 days after the class and call everyone and less than two percent were still raw after one month. I'm a stubborn Russian woman, and for six long years I taught raw foods, but less than 2% of my students stayed on a raw food diet, and at Christmas or Thanksgiving the success rate became zero.
IS COOKED FOOD AN ADDICTION?
Three and a half years ago, a friend invited me to an Alcoholics Anonymous group meeting. We went to that AA meeting, and what struck me the most was that people were saying word for word what I heard so many times from my students. It hit me suddenly that cooked food is an addiction! I then checked out 38 books on addiction and realized that cooked food is a very severe addiction. Can you go to Russia and get all the alcoholics in Red Square to drink carrot juice? You can tell them that it's cheaper than vodka and it has beta-carotene and it's good for you, but less than 2% will switch. For six years I had been wasting my time because people cannot go on raw food without some form of therapy.
100% SUCCESS WITH THE 12 STEP PROGRAM TO RAW FOODS
In 2001 I created a therapy that is described in my book, 12 Steps to Raw Food and began another class. There were 45 people in my first class. When it was over, I waited 30 days, then I called everyone. I was praying that 30% were still on raw food. What do you think? 100% were still on raw food! Since then, for the past three years, I've been teaching 12 Steps to Raw Food very successfully.
THE FOUR LEVELS OF ADDITION
I have found that cooked food is addictive on four levels: chemical, biological, emotional and spiritual.
All carbohydrates become sucrose when heated. Sucrose or white sugar is one of the most addictive substances in the world. Its molecular structure is very similar to cocaine. When people stop eating cooked carbohydrates, their personalities change a lot. They become calmer and happier and they even go through the same twitches that people go through when they quit taking cocaine. That is why cooked carbohydrates are the basis of all international cuisine. Mexicans eat tortillas, Italians eat pasta, Americans eat potatoes, Russians eat bread, Armenians eat lavash. What about white sugar? Have you ever had just one little candy and thought it was enough? You always want another. Other addictive substances in cooked food are caffeine, chocolate, MSG, aspartame, all of the excitotoxins, preservatives, colourings and flavour enhancers, almost 2,000 different things that are addictive. That's the chemical level.
When we are born, we are programmed to be raw fooders. We never request our mothers to steam their breast milk. We like it raw. However, when we're six months old, doctors tell mothers to introduce cooked foods to the baby. The instincts in our body are telling us to beware, SOS! Mother says "Mmmm", and the baby's body says "No". Baby spits it out, screws up his face. Pooh. They try it again and again. Then the next thing that happens, is a fast and smelly diarrhea. The body says, hey, ouch, quick, out of the body. But because this substance is addictive, it takes three times and the baby gets accustomed to it and begins to like it. We are now programmed to be cooked food eaters.
According to the book, Sacred Wisdom of the Human Body, when the body is programmed to cooked foods, two gallons of digestive juices per day are pumped into the system. When the body is programmed to be a raw food eater, it is only one cup per day. That means if you eat three cooked meals a day, your body produces 700 mg. of saliva, 750 mg. of pancreatic juice, 3 liters of stomach juice and 3.5 liters of intestinal juice. Altogether, two gallons per day. If you put your ear to your belly, what do you hear? Growling. That's those juices pumping. All those juices give you an uncomfortable feeling. You feel tension, light-headedness, weakness, irritability, even depression, hunger pains, headaches and withdrawal symptoms. The only thing that will give you relief is cooked food. You feel hungry, you feel starved. That never happens to people who eat only raw food. They could easily move the time of lunch for two or three hours, even miss it completely, and they don't feel any discomfort.
When we put a good cake or pasta in our mouth, we say, oh, it's so good, it's to die for. My book, 12 Steps to Raw Foods, has been translated into twelve languages including Chinese. In all languages there was no problem finding the equivalent of "to die for". We sarcastically call it by its true name and it does kill people because statistically, people who eat only raw food, never die from cancer or heart attacks, the two main causes of death today. If people who have cancer or heart problems simply go on 100% raw foods, statistics tell us their symptoms will go away. So, that is our biological level of addiction to cooked food.
The next level of addiction to cooked food is the emotional level. Whenever we experience stress, we like to eat something because eating cooked food makes us sleepy and foggy. Eating cucumbers doesn't help. We need to eat something comforting. It's not that we are popcorn deficient. We don't call popcorn or corn chips nutritious. We call them comforting. When someone is feeling sad, you take them out for some ice cream or give them some chocolate. We don't know how to cope with our emotions, and if we are left alone with our emotions and we don't have anything to eat, it will be very uncomfortable. It could actually lead us to some spiritual discoveries, but we don't do that, we eat instead. So that's the emotional level, but the hardest level of all is the spiritual level of addiction.
We are all spiritual beings, and as spiritual beings we are all special. Maybe some of you have been brainwashed to believe that you are not really important, but deep inside you feel special because you know you have a special spiritual mission in your life. And when you don't follow the spiritual mission, you have problems. What would you like to have inscribed on your gravestone when you die? "She had a good credit history"? It looks like that's what we really care about, but if we don't follow our spiritual mission, we begin to develop spiritual pain and we experience this spiritual pain more and more as we get older. That's why the 12 Step Programs are spiritual programs. That's why the last four steps of the 12 Steps Raw to Foods are spiritual steps.
HELP FOR THE ADDICTION
We help you to reprogram your behavior. First, we help people to get out of denial. Food is the hardest case of denial. We don't give six month-old babies alcohol or cocaine, but every single person in the world has been given cooked food at an early age, and because almost everyone eats cooked food, it's hard for us to acknowledge that it's an addiction. Do you ever overeat? Do you feel good when you overeat? You don't want to overeat, but you know that it will happen because it's beyond your control. Your body just takes over and rationalizes, "I will only eat it this time, but never again".
If I can't handle it by myself, I need help. So the second step is to get a sponsor. We divide into sponsor pairs. Then you write down the three main reasons you want to eat your food raw on a business card. Some people say they have fibromyalgia, some are overweight, some want more energy. On the other side you write the cell phone of your sponsor and you carry it in your purse at all times. Whenever you have a wish to eat some cooked food, you have to call your sponsor and you tell them how delicious that food smells, and so you think you're going to eat some. Your sponsor tells you to take out your card and read it out loud. You read, "I weigh 280 pounds, I don't want to be dependent on my children". She says, is this still important to you? You say, oh yes. And then she says, what can you do instead? And you say, well maybe I'll go for a walk or buy myself a flower or a smoothie at the juice bar. Then you say, thank you, and she calls you when she needs help.
HOW TO BEGIN: FOOD COMBINING
When you first go on raw food, you go through several stages. First you go into Stage I. If you have degenerative diseases like cancer, you have to do combining from the very beginning. But the average person who just wants to improve their health, does not have to do any combining. When you reach Stage II, which usually takes about a year, your body will tell you what foods to eat. In my classes I teach you how to listen to your body and how to figure out what you need. Do you need endive or arugula or other greens? When you restore the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, then you can digest the fibre without blending it.
MAGIC TWO MONTH TRIAL PERIOD
For the next two months you have to stay l00% raw. Two months is the magic time frame. After two months, your body transforms and instead of two gallons of juices, secretes only one cup of juice per day. Finally, you will be able to sit at the same table with your family members who will be eating a very attractive cooked meal, and you will not salivate. After two months, you're over the hump, but at this point, everybody makes a mistake. You think you can control yourself and eat cooked food just once, but as soon as a tiny piece of cooked food touches your tongue, you reinforce the memory in your cells and you're back to cooked food.
It's easy to be on raw food, but it's hard is not to eat cooked food. You see the difference? It's easy to eat a banana or a cucumber, but it's hard not to eat pizza or chocolate when your body's demanding it. It's agony. It's "to die for". In order to find out what our body requires, we have to get the thing that we are addicted to (cooked food) out of the picture and stay one hundred percent on raw food for two months. At this point, you will begin to develop cravings for good foods like scallions or dandelions or avocados or cucumbers. Sometimes you crave things you thought you hated like cilantro.
When I asked people what they craved, they said that they craved coffee and doughnuts. We always feed our addiction first. If a croissant is $l.79 and a mango is $1.79, we say that the croissant is reasonable and the mango is way too expensive. Why? Because we have addictions to cooked food. Although the mangoes are definitely more nutritious, the addiction has to be fed first.
FOOD CRAVINGS AND BODY INTELLIGENCE
I believe that our bodies know what we need and the body never makes mistakes. Soon after we began raw foods, we met world-famous Dr. Bernard Jensen, a genius in the field of nutrition. I told him that my son Sergei had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and asked if he could recommend the best food for the condition. Dr. Jensen recommended mangoes because they restore the properties of the pancreas and blueberries because they naturally reduce blood sugar. Sergei loved mangoes and blueberries, his favourite foods. Then I asked Dr. Jensen what food was best for my daughter, who had allergies and asthma. He said to give her olives because they thin and remove the mucous and secondly figs because they restore the respiratory system. When I told him she's crazy about figs and olives, he said, she must be following her natural cravings. It is your duty to find out what your body wants, and that's what you have to give it. That's why you have all those taste buds.
We are not able to determine what we need because we are not properly educated in healthy foods as children. All animals show their little cubs how to choose the best food. As children, we are introduced to different coloured packages of processed foods. So what do we do? We go to the fridge and open the door and look for something but we don't know what.
TEACHING YOUR BODY WHAT IS BEST TO EAT
After you have been on 100% raw foods for a couple of months, you begin to introduce your body to different things, one at a time: 12 kinds of seeds, 18 kinds of nuts, 200 kinds of vegetables and 300 kinds of fruits. You introduce the variety into your system so that your body has the memory in the reactive brain that Mother Nature intended. If a newborn chicken comes out of the shell, and you place cooked soybeans and sprouted soybeans in front of this chicken, the chick looks to the left and right and then goes towards the sprouted soybeans. He never came to my class so how does that chick know? Intuition, and we, like animals, also have intuition.
My family once walked the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Most of the time it was raining and snowing so we were always soaking wet and tired. We were six months in the woods without seeing people and we developed such a keen intuition that we were able to sniff the ground in the morning and tell whether it was going to rain that day. We were able to tell which herbs were edible and which were poisonous. Unfortunately, as soon as we re-entered the world and started to smell gasoline and all the other things of this world, we lost this ability. We still have all our natural abilities, we just live in an environment that suppresses them.
YOUR TASTE BUDS --- TRANSITION FOOD MUST BE TASTY
It is very important to know how to make food delicious because if you were born into a family who loves salty, greasy food, you can't go right into green soup and energy soup. You need a transition. There is factual evidence that people who eat cooked food, especially greasy salty foods only have two taste buds per square millimeter on their tongue. When we eat cooked salty food, hot food, hot tea or coffee, it suppresses the taste buds on the tongue, and we don't experience the real taste. We only experience what's very strong. People who eat raw food have 220 taste buds per square millimeter.
GOURMET RAW FOOD MIMICKS COOKED FOOD
Plain leaf and cucumber seem very tasteless, so it is necessary for most people to go through a transition. It takes about one to one and a half years. Transitional food mimicks cooked food. We call it un-pizza, mock tuna, un-burrito, un-chocolate cake, mock ice cream, un-spaghetti and so on. It's all raw but it tastes and looks even better than cooked food.
But after one year you will begin to really appreciate simple food. After one year, your taste buds will recover. You will have 220 more taste buds and you will prefer to eat a cucumber or an avocado rather than even a gourmet "raw food chocolate cake". You will just want plain tomato and plain kale. But even if you are already eating simply, you still need to learn how to make delicious food for your children and your children's friends. You don't want others to think that you are really weird and that you're depriving your children. People think that raw food is just carrots and celery sticks. When they come to your home and you serve them live pizza, live lasagna, live borscht and live desserts like cake and ice cream, then they thinks it's even better than being a vegan or vegetarian. They think, "I could do that." Or perhaps you have friends diagnosed with a disease like cancer. You can tell them, "Hey, come and eat with me first, try this raw food and see if it improves your condition".
People come into my classes for serious health reasons, just as I came to raw foods nine years ago for serious reasons. For nine years we have been l00% raw and all our previous health problems are gone. It's interesting and it's exciting and people maintain a balanced weight and they look terrific. Like my children, they look very healthy. They eat only fruits, nuts, sprouted seeds and whole foods.
GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING GOURMET RAW FOOD
My raw food catering all began when I was asked to cater for a wedding of 70. They had heard that I was a good chef but didn't realize I was a raw chef. I made raw nut and chicory patties with barbecue lines drawn in coriander and paprika which looked and smelled just like barbecued. I made lots of finger food, lots of sundaes, lots of candies and a beautiful three-tier wedding cake. The table looked terrific. You can see some pictures of our food in our books. After a while they asked me what kind of spice I had put into the food. Was it Russian cuisine? Why was it so different yet so tasty? I took them into the kitchen and showed them how I made the candy out of nuts and dates. They said, no wonder they felt so good after eating, and they all wanted the recipes. That's how I began my very first raw food class in Ashland. Since then we have done many weddings and sometimes the guests don't even know the food is raw and everybody loves it.
There is one secret to preparing raw food. When you are preparing cooked food you have to follow a good recipe and that guarantees good results. In raw food preparation, a recipe can never guarantee results because the ingredients in raw food are always non-stable. Raw fruits and vegetables vary in size and taste. I travelled around and met all the best raw gourmet chefs and asked them how they became such great chefs. They all told me the same thing. They did not follow a recipe. The best way to learn is by making the dishes, one sweet, one savoury and one pate, and you must figure it out through trial and error. We have a trick to deal with this. We use the balance of five flavours, one B and four S's: bitter, sweet, sour, spicy and salty. When you have finished making your dish, you check the colour, the quantity and the texture, and then you adjust the five flavours. In every single sip or bite, you have to have all five present - bitter, sweet, sour, spicy and salty. That's what makes it gourmet and so delicious.
MAKING A RAW CAKE
We have recipes for about 20 different famous cakes in our book and they are all different. The basics of raw food are very simple. For example, the "crust" in the cake is always two ingredients - nuts and dried fruit. You put nuts in the processor and blend them into a powder, then put them in a bowl and add the dried fruit (raisins, dates, figs, prunes or dried apricots) and blend them together. Add a tiny bit of water if the fruit is too dry and make the base layer. Then you add a layer of fresh fruit. Then you make another layer of crust. There are three layers of crust, made of walnuts and dates, alternating with layer of strawberries and bananas and papaya, then another crust layer. Then you make the white frosting.
MAKING THE FROSTING
The frosting is simple. You pick any type of white nut - pine nuts, macadamia nuts, blanched almonds, whatever is local. For white frosting, I blend the lemon juice and add the honey. Usually I try to avoid honey and use dates or raisins, but then it won't be white. If you want to keep the frosting white, put in white things like shredded coconut which makes it much whiter. If it is too liquid you have to make it thicker by adding more almonds. You can add some lemon peel to the icing or some orange peel. The recipe is nothing but lemon juice, honey, coconut and white nuts. Then we decorate it. In order to make it look more professional, I will place sliced almonds or coconut around the cake, and then we will decorate it with fresh roses. You can make the cake from scratch in less than five minutes. I call it "rawberry" shortcake.
It doesn't take as long to make as a baked cake and it smells so good. Two of our cakes won the prize at the Portland International Festival and they sold for $300 and $500 at the auction. You can make your living by making these cakes. You have no idea how much people charge for wedding cakes, and this is a healthy wedding cake and you can make it for birthdays too.
We also make delicious bread. The recipe is in the un-cook book which contains mostly all of our family recipes. My 12 Step book has about 36 recipes in it.
VITA MIX BLENDER
Of all the competitive blenders, I still think the Vita Mix is the best. You can throw wooden blocks in there and it would make it into a smoothie.
LOVE You put the love into it - when you really feel love, your vibration is 8 megaHertz. And when you mix it with the food, the food emanates love. When you're nervous or fearful, then your brainwaves are 40 megaHertz and then your food will make people cry and have hiccups.
ALLERGIES TO NUTS ETC.
My daughter had allergies. But when she went on raw food all her allergies disappeared.
DOES RAW FOOD WARM YOU UP IN THE WINTER?
When you eat only raw foods, you don't exhaust your adrenaline system and your adrenals will always be high. When you need to feel warmer, your body will heat you up by increasing the heart beat. Cooked food blocks your arteries, veins and capillaries and cause a feeling of numbness and cold in the fingers and toes. When you eat raw food, that goes away.
Victoria's books Raw Family, 12 Steps to Raw Foods and Eating without Heating, a book of favourite raw food recipes, are available from Consumer Health Organization at 416-490-0986.
See www.rawfamily.com You may contact Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Boutenko will be in Toronto on Fri. September 26 (7-9)and Sun. September 28, 2003 (11am-7pm)for a lecture and workshop on Gourmet Raw Food.
To be held at Holy Rosary Parish Hall, 356 St. Clair Ave. W.at Spadina and St. Clair (immediately west of Loblaws and St. Clair W. subway station)
See Event Section for Details (go to Home Page - Events).
Both lecture and workshop include free gourmet meals with your ticket price. (see back page).