When you move towards a raw food diet many people become enamoured by the idea of getting back to nature.
Often, you will look for other areas of your life to simplify. You may have also looked for areas of your life to make more “natural”.
This is highly appealing and can be a good foundation for making beautiful changes to your overall lifestyle. But sometimes we throw the baby out with the bath water.
All of a sudden, all manner of man-made products are seen with a new scepticism. We look at the label and baulk at all of the “chemicals” in these products. We yearn for simplicity, and like our diet, to go back to using products that have just ONE ingredient!
Which brings us to the topic of this message:
Our sun is awe inspiring, magnificent and mind blowingly powerful. It has been the subject of worship and praise over millenia. It is directly the source of all energy and therefore all life on our incredible planet.
The energy emitted from it is collosal. It exists around 151 million kilometres from us, yet we can be overwhelmed it’s heat and light on the brightest of days. Imagine how astronomically hot it must be near it’s surface!
Sun light is an incredibly important part of our health. Humans originated in tropical climates and we have evolved to be mostly hairless. Sunlight can therefore directly impact our skin.
It is well known that exposure to sunlight is what stimulates Vitamin D production in our skin. This essential nutrient is best obtained by sunlight. So essential is it, that humans that moved north changed in colour in order to be able to get more Vitamin D from less sunlight exposure. (as a side note, if animal foods were enough to get adequate Vitamin D…why did humans turn white in the north?)
Did you also know that sunlight actually penetrates through our skin and helps to disinfect our blood? This is why getting full body sun exposure when possible is certainly a good idea.
As with all things that lead to health, direct exposure to sunlight is pleasurable and uplifting. Tanned skin is often seen as being more attractive and a sign of good health which is why so many millions of people flock to the beach in the summer.
But exposure to sunlight in excess can damage the skin. Sun burn is technically a radiation burn of the skin. A person does not need to actually feel or see the burn to have damage occur.
We are more sensitive to the sunlight than we fully appreciate and in the raw foods movement many people do not appreciate the damage that can be caused. Many will arrogantly avoid using sun screen to protect their skin or even covering up as they see this as “not natural”.
Sometimes, they may have been told that on a raw diet you do not require protection from the sun. I have heard people say that sun burn is “acids coming to the surface that need to be detoxed out”. This is not correct. Sun burn is a radiation burn and is harmful.
Over time, this exposure can lead to skin cancer. This is well known and not something to argue about anymore. No, not exposure to sunscreen, exposure to the sun.
We can get caught up in the idea that what’s natural is always good but please remember even animals hide from the sun in the shade. Our ancestors were arboreal species of apes living in trees and forests who may not have been in direct sunlight for much of the day. The peoples that live in tropical climates, even those with darker skin, often stay out of the sun or cover up almost entirely. We should learn from their experience.
Does raw food provide any protection?
Yes, there is some research to support this idea. In particular, there is information suggesting carotenoids and other flavinoids in fruits and vegetables do have a protective effect. There is broader evidence suggesting that a diet higher in fruits and vegetables is protective against skin cancer.
But this is no excuse to let things go too far. I can tell you that I have suffered sun burn by accident and very quickly a number of times. Certainly, it is less painful on a raw vegan diet but still uncomfortable. Now, I am happy to protect my skin with clothes and limit exposure with a hat and clothing. I also have no concern with using sun screen if I feel it is necessary. I would much prefer to protect my skin than proclaim my self to be the Nature Boy.
Be careful with the sun in warmer parts of the world. Do not expect a raw food diet to protect you from the direct power of the sun’s rays. As with all healthy things, more is not always better and enough is truly enough.
Learn more about living a healthy raw vegan lifestyle at this years UK Fruitfest.