Review by Susan Albrecht
Victoria Boutenko believes that our bodies are designed to be healthy, that our bodies are perfect, and that sickness is not normal. For Victoria, absolute health is having enough energy to manifest dreams. Yet many people simply do not have enough energy to do so, or engage in a mental and physical struggle of ups and downs which make it difficult to remain joyful and fulfilled. For Victoria, the health and joyfulness that is our natural birthright can be found in nutrition. Standing in the way of optimal nutrition is a dependency on cooked foods and a corresponding belief that it is simply too difficult or not possible to change eating habits in a significant way.
The dependence on cooked food and the steps that can help one successfully end the dependency are outlined in Victoria's book, 12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food. The newly revised and updated second edition is now twice as large, containing about 80% new information and more detailed insights into the burning question of why humans should eat raw, about human dependency on cooked food, and how to people can end this dependency. This is a book for people interested in changing their dietary habits, for those completely new to raw, and for raw fooders interested in learning more about Victoria's research into the diet of the first humans, which focuses on the "gatherer" aspect of the hunter-gatherer paradigm of early to recent human lifestyle and nutritional needs. While we all learn in grade school about the hunter culture, not many of us learn about the gatherer lifestyle that was central to ALL people, not just Native Americans. It is exciting to learn that the "first bread" was little more than crushed seeds of grasses mixed with water and "baked" on stones heated by the sun. Clearly, for thousands of years, humans ate their "bread" raw.
Central to the new edition is Victoria's other research into the power of greens. Victoria and her family had been raw for nearly ten years when they began to feel they had reached a plateau in their levels of health, noticing symptoms of less than perfect health. Yet it was when her children started to complain of increased teeth sensitivity that Victoria knew something was not right with her family's nutrition--such symptoms Victoria recognized as an indicator that her family's complete nutritional needs were not being met. This realization resulted in a three year quest to learn and collect data on all human foods. What she found is that the one food group that matches all essential minerals and vitamins recommended by the USDA, including protein, are greens! Convinced that greens are the most important food, Victoria was stumped at how to incorporate an optimal quantity into her diet (even Victoria was not able to consume more than several cups of shredded greens at a sitting). After many experiments, she discovered that blending greens in a high-speed blender with sweet fruit and water resulted in a wonderful concoction that is not too sweet and not too bitter. These "Green Smoothies" as she called them, are "freshness" in a complete package.
The new edition of 12 Steps to Raw Foods also contains more detailed information on the "twelve steps" of how one can end his or her dependency on cooked foods, the ten benefits of green smoothies, and the physical, emotional, biological, and spiritual aspects of how and why we feed our inner hunger. This is a book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in healthy living, and is a "must read" for those seeking to better understand the relationship between nutrition and optimal health. Victoria demonstrates this relationship in an informal yet practical way, offering numerous tips and strategies. Planting a seed to help and inspire others can be as simple as preparing raw food for a friend or family member. While you never know if or when that seed may germinate, you are the most positive example of joyful living. As an ambassador of the living foods raw lifestyle, you have the potential to influence others simply by attaining your own optimal level of health. And this, Victoria makes clear, is worth a try.