Rynn Berry

Last Updated: Monday, October 23, 2000

Created on: 22 Oct 2000

Q. Rynn, how long have you been a rawfooder?
A. In November, I'll be starting my sixth year as a rawfooder.

Q. Were you a vegetarian before you became a rawfooder?
A. Yes, I'd been a strict vegetarian or vegan since 1984, and a lacto-vegetarian since I was nineteen.

Q. What prompted you to stop eating cooked food?
A. I was working on my book Food for the Gods: Vegetarianims and the World's Religions, when I went to interview Professor Robert Kole for the section on Judasim; Professor Kole teaches Renaissance Literature at Queens College. I was taken aback to discover that his stove had been turned into a bookshelf and that he'd been a practicing fruitarian for several years. We discussed it at length, and he persuaded me to adopt the diet, which i did by fits and starts. It wasn't until some months later when I attended a lecture by TC Fry that I was inspired to go 100% raw, which I've been for going on six years now.

Q. Did you notice any changes when you went raw?
A. Well my energy level increased immensely, as did my stamina
A. I became an indefatigable hiker and swimmer. I don't tire easily. I also spent less time preparing food, which liberated me and enabled me to invest my time elsewhere. By abstaining from cooked foods I also felt taht I was making a small contribution to the planet's ecological health;; by not consuming fossil fuels for cooking and extraneious packaging, as I now buy my fruits and vegetables in bulk.

Q. Tell me about the new book you're working on.
A. It's called Fruits of Tantalus: A History of Vegan Rawfoodism, Fruitarianism and the Origins of Cooking. In the book, I'm attempting to show that humans stared eating cooked food relatively recently, and I marshal the evidence, anthropological, historical, and nutritional to make my case.

Q. Sounds faxcinatig. When may we expect to see it?
A. I hope it will be out in the latter part of next year.

Q. Do your current books Famous Vegetarians and Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World's Religions have any rawfood information in them?
A. Yes, they do. Food for the Gods is packed with information about rawfooddism in the world's religons, and Famous Vegetarians features a number of portraits and recpes of famous rawfoodists like Pythagoras, Dick Gregory, et al.

Rynn Berry Biographical Sketch

Rynn Berry is the historical advisor to the NAVS (North American Vegetarian Society) and is on the Advisory Board of Earth Save.. In his lectures, articles, and books, he has specialized in the study of vegetarianism from an historical perspective. His first book, The New Vegetarians, was a collection of biographical sketches and interviews of famous contemporary vegetarians. His second book, Famous Vegetarians and Their Favorite Recipes is a biographical history of vegetarianism that ranges from Pythagoras and the Buddha to Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Beatles and beyond. In his new book Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World's Religions, Rynn has written essays on vegetarianism in each of the world's religions: Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He has also included conversations with prominent vegetarian thinkers from each of these religions. In the back of the book FFG brings together at least five vegetarian recipes from each religious tradition. Rynn is also the author of the monograph Why Hitler Was Not a Vegetarian, which according to Publisher's Weekly "lays to rest the myth that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian." In his forthcoming book Fruits of Tantalus: A History of Vegan Rawfoodism ,Fruitarianism and the Origins of Cooking (with Recipes), Rynn, ( a rawfoodist since 1995), explores the anthropological, historical and religious roots of rawfoodism. At the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia, where Rynn did his graduate and undergraduate work, he specialized in ancient history and comparative religion A popular lecturer, in New York, where he lives, Rynn teaches a college course on the history of vegetarianism (the first of its kind in the nation). His hobbies include book collecting, listening to classical music, translating ancient Greek authors, and theater-going; his favorite pastimes include running, swimming, tennis and cycling. With co-authors Max Friedman and Dan Mills, Rynn is also the author other books. stay tuned for order info and discriptions forthcoming.

If you would like to write to Rynn, you may send e-mail berrynn@att.net

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