Heavy Burden: Eat it Raw

Nov. 29, 2003

Heavy Burden: Eat It Raw
The Detox Diet

Is this the miracle drink we’ve been searching for?
A way to live longer, be healthier and lose weight?

(Photo: CBS)

“I’ve never had a headache, never taken another aspirin,
never taken another Tums, never had another sinus infection.”

—model Carol Alt on the raw food diet

Stephanie Keys, a former Revlon model, has tried all the diets.
Now, she’s about to try something new called “detoxing.”  (Photo: CBS)

(CBS) Is a green liquid, which looks a lot like pond scum, the miracle we’ve all been searching for? A way to live longer and lose weight?

Stephanie Keys, 36, of Los Angeles, is about to find out. “I’m heavier now than I’ve ever been in my entire life,” she says. “So that’s why I’m giving this 21 days and I’m trying it out.”

Like a lot of women, this busy mother of two is watching her weight. A former Revlon model, she’s tried all the diets. Now, she’s about to try something new called “detoxing.” Correspondent Bill Lagattuta reports.

It’s a three-week program developed by nutritionist John Woods and Richard DeAndrea, a medical doctor who now practices alternative medicine.

Both men believe you need to detox – now more than ever.

“This is a harmless technique that has been done for thousands of years,” says DeAndrea. “There’s over 7.1 billion pounds of chemicals and neuro toxic waste dumped into the air, food and water.”

“These things accumulate in your body,” adds Woods. “How are you going to get rid of all this stuff?” DeAndrea and Wood believe that by doing this three-week program, you can rid your body of these environmental toxins. Your energy will increase, your senses will sharpen, and maybe other medical miracles might follow.

“I never thought it would be possible to reverse asthma, heart disease, arthritis, osteoarthritis. I’ve seen those things happen,” says DeAndrea.

But what Stephanie finds so attractive is the almost certain side effect: you lose weight.

“The obvious motivating factor for me is that I want to lose weight,” says Stephanie. “I’m just really looking forward to it. I hope there’s more radiance to come and you’ll see less of me – hope you see less of me – and more of ME!”

Stephanie is not the only newcomer to the world of detoxing. Greta Rose, 33, who runs a gym with her husband, thinks she’s been eating badly.

“I definitely eat a lot of sugar. I love caffeine. I have my Starbuck’s coffee every single morning,” says Greta.

And although she may not look it, she wants to lose some weight.

There is also Angela Johnson, 32, a single nurse supervisor who comes from a family of big women. She’s the skinniest and wants to stay that way.

“I just wanna be that 137-year-old fox. Still kickin’,” she says.

These very different women are about to embark on a three-week plan that doesn’t sound like much fun. There’s no caffeine or alcohol allowed.

Week One: Woods says they can eat anything that isn’t “an animal product and doesn’t have a stimulating effect on your body.” Translation? A strict vegetarian diet. No meat, fish or dairy products.

Week Two: Nothing you eat can be cooked.

“Instead of boiled vegetables, they would have a salad,” says Woods. “They’d have nuts, seeds, grains, but everything would be uncooked.”

“Raw, live, uncooked foods. All basically the same thing,” says DeAndrea.

Week Three: Finally, the much awaited green sludge drink. It’s a “plant-based, uncooked, blended diet,” says Woods.

“What people learn through this is that, ‘I might have to find the perfect diet for me as an individual,'” says DeAndrea. “You’ve kind of metabolically set your body for a clean slate, and it’s almost as though now I can pick and choose because my body is sensitive, and I can feel what’s happening when I take in this nutrition.”

For a $200 fee, the detoxees will be taught exactly how to make their food, and how to shop for it, with a field trip to a local organic supermarket.

“I don’t cook. I don’t prepare. I don’t have time to do that. So it’s going to be challenging,” says Angela.

Now, it’s time to put the detox to the test.

It’s Day One and Angela is at her local juice bar for a custom-made breakfast smoothie. It’s wheat grass juice, something she’s never tried before.

Across town, Greta is also off to a rough start: “I’ve been feeling draggy all day. I’m definitely craving my cappuccino like you wouldn’t believe.”

But Stephanie has gotten off to a great start. And tonight, she’s having dinner out at a vegetarian restaurant. “I need to be drastic about trying to get this weight off,” she says.

Midway through the first week of the detox program, all Greta can think about is her favorite cappuccino, which she has agreed to give up.

“I’d say the first two days physically were really hard … really tired, really cranky,” she says. “I told everyone to get away from me.”

Her husband, Scott, is feeling the pain, too. “My dad used to call them VMS – ‘Vicious Mood Swings,'” he says. “It’s just that the diet has no sugar. No caffeine. And do it all at once. Plus, did she show you the shake? She couldn’t even look at it in the glass.”

Greta admits that the shake is hard to swallow: “You’d think this was ‘Fear Factor.'” But it’s only Day Four, and there are still 17 days to go.

During the first week of the program, Angela said she noticed a slight change: “I feel good. And my pants fit a little looser. And I don’t feel that bloating.”

Stephanie is also optimistic. She says she’s lost seven pounds in seven days: “I’m feeling the benefits. I feel energy. I feel great.”

Part II: Eat It Raw 

Celebrity guru Juliano Brotman owns a popular new restaurant in Los Angeles
called Raw. His greatest claim to fame is making raw food look like real food.
(Photo: CBS)

“We have wonderful bodies … To suggest that three weeks of a simplified
diet is going to help the situation is scientifically quite silly.”

—Dr. Peter Pressman, USC

Detoxee Angela Johnson is going to try to keep eating healthier foods — and
eat 60 percent raw, organic foods in all of her meals.  (Photo: CBS)

(CBS) It’s now time to get ready for Week Two, and DeAndrea and Wood are asking participants not to cook their food.

This is what’s known as raw food – basically fruits and vegetables that have been grown organically and not cooked in any way. It has become the latest nutrition craze with celebrity followers, and a celebrity guru named Juliano Brotman.

Brotman, 34, owns a popular new restaurant in Los Angeles called Raw. The son of a chef who grew up eating junk food, Brotman turned vegetarian at 15 and went raw at 24.

His greatest claim to fame is making raw food look like real food. He’s made a cheeseburger out of almonds, walnuts and mushrooms; linguine and clam sauce out of shredded zucchini; rice made with parsley, coconut, sesame seeds and macadamia nuts; and mashed potatoes made out of cauliflower and macadamia nuts.

“Everything you need can be derived from this food. This was here first. We’ve lived on this food since the Garden of Eden,” says Brotman, who cites the benefits of a total raw food diet. “Can’t get sick. Can’t get a cold. Can’t get a cold. A sore throat, you know. No tiredness. I mean, I’m like superhuman.”

And what’s more, Brotman says he never gains weight: “This is the diet that everyone is looking for, they just don’t know it.”

Raw food seemed tailor-made for someone like former supermodel Carol Alt.

“My weight maintains itself. Sometimes I actually have to eat a little more to put weight on,” says Alt. “When I was modeling, if I would have known that, I mean, what a freedom that would have been.”

Alt, 42, says before she went raw seven years ago, she was constantly sick and tired. But after switching to an all raw diet, she says, “I’ve never had a headache, never taken another aspirin, never taken another Tums, never had another sinus infection.”

Alt, who’s busy running her own cosmetics company, is so excited about raw food that she’s writing a book about it.

So what happens to a vegetable when you cook it?

“You kill the enzymes,” says Alt. “Then you kill the minerals.”

“It actually dies. Remember all fruits and vegetables are alive. That’s the difference between raw and cooked food,” adds Brotman. “This food is alive. It’s vibrant. It has a life force. Whereas, cooked food no longer has its life force. It’s just dead, rotting food.”

But Roger Clemens, a food scientist at the University of Southern California, says that’s absolutely not true: “As a matter of fact, in many cases if you raise it above 120 degrees, you’re actually going to liberate a lot of nutrients. So if we don’t cook them appropriately, we actually will not be absorbing the nutrients that these vegetables are supposed to be providing. You just excrete it. It would have no value to you whatsoever.”

Clemens’ colleague, Dr. Peter Pressman, teaches clinical medicine at USC. Both men are emphatic that detoxing diets are a myth.

“We have wonderful bodies. If you have a functioning liver, functioning kidneys and a functioning GI tract, you are really protected quite well,” says Pressman. “And to suggest that three weeks of a simplified diet is going to help the situation is scientifically quite silly.”

What’s also troubling, they say, and even dangerous, is the quick shedding of pounds you lose on a total raw diet.

“If you find that this works for you and you do it again and again, you’re likely to become deficient in many vital nutrients, and you’re gonna begin to break down,” says Pressman.

Back in Los Angeles, it’s time to put their commitment to the final test. It’s time to go all liquid in Week Three of detox with a green slush drink the program calls “Energy Soup.”

“It’s basically celery, cucumber, a little green apple,” says Woods. “Spinach, some avocado, garlic, ginger, sea salt and seaweed.”

This won’t be easy for Stephanie, who also runs a catering business, serving pretty fatty food to other people all day. She makes a face while trying the soup.

Greta, however, is having better luck – but only because she changed the recipe, adding more fruit to make it taste sweeter.

As for Angela, she tried it and hated it. And then she went to see her regular doctor. “I lost 10 pounds and told my doctor that I’m detoxing,” she says. “She said to stop right away and start eating. I can’t afford to lose weight.”

After three challenging weeks, was it worth it?

Greta lost five pounds but learned a lesson. Life without cappuccino may not be worth living: “I can’t imagine not enjoying cappuccinos and sugar …I want to eat a healthy, balanced diet and throw in some treats.”

Angela says she’ll try to keep eating healthier foods, but she’s also a realist: “I’m going to try to eat 60 percent raw, organic of all my meals.”

As for Stephanie, she’s lost 25 pounds and has found a whole new way of eating. “You feel good when you’re eating raw food. It sustains you. It’s satisfying.”

But she says the real lesson she learned was that there is no quick fix when it comes to getting into shape.

“I was really gung-ho, changing some things quickly,” says Stephanie. “But I did learn that it’s going to have to be gradual.”


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