I am sure you are hearing a lot these days about raw foods, so I thought we would explore it today since the NEWAY™ lifestyle encourages food as close to nature or their original state as possible. If you think about it, all animals thrive on raw food; only humans apply heat to what they eat. Interestingly enough, humans live half of their potential life span, and have chronic illnesses largely due to their diet and lifestyle, and pets who are fed cooked and processed foods suffer human-like ailments… This is enough for us to ask if there might be some correlation and one could make the assumption that raw foods keeps the body healthy, whereas cooked foods are toxic. Is there any research backing this up?
Scientific evidence shows that raw vegan diets decrease toxic products in the colon (From: J Nutr 1992 Apr;122(4):924-30). Shifting from a conventional diet to an uncooked vegan diet reversibly alters fecal hydrolytic activities in humans, according to researchers, Ling WH, and Hanninen O, of the Department of Physiology, University of Kuopio, Finland. Results suggest a raw food uncooked extreme vegan diet causes a decrease in bacterial enzymes and certain toxic products that have been implicated in colon cancer risk. Researchers have also found that a diet rich in raw vegetables lowers your risk of breast cancer, and eating lots of fruit reduces your risk for colon cancer, according to a study published in the May 1998 issue of the journal Epidemiology. Including fresh fruit as part of your daily diet has been associated with fewer deaths from heart attacks and related problems, by as much as 24%, according to a study published in the September 1996 issue of the British Medical Journal.
What does heat do to food? Excessive heat denatures nutrients. Harvested, fresh food provides the raw material to replenish your cells and tissues, but as we overly cook these, the live plan and animal tissue no longer bear any relationship to our living bodies. Heat breaks down vitamins, amino acids and produces undesirable cross-linkages in proteins, particularly in meat. When food is cooked above 117 degrees F for three minutes or longer, the following changes begin, and progressively cause increased nutritional damage as higher temperatures are applied over prolonged periods of time: proteins coagulate, high temperatures denature protein molecular structure, leading to deficiency of some essential amino acids, carbohydrates caramelize, overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known), natural fibers break down, cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean, 30% to 50% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed, 100% of enzymes are damaged, the body’s enzyme potential is depleted which drains energy needed to maintain and repair tissue and organ systems, thereby shortening our life span, pesticides are restructured into even more toxic compounds, valuable oxygen is lost, free radicals are produced, cooked food pathogens enervate the immune system, heat degenerates nucleic acids and chlorophyll, cooking causes inorganic mineral elements to enter the blood and circulate through the system, which settle in the arteries and veins, causing arteries to lose their pliability, the body prematurely ages as this inorganic matter is deposited in various joints or accumulates within internal organs, including the heart valves. OUCH!!!
As temperature rises, each of these damaging events reduces the availability of individual nutrients. Modern food processing not only strips away natural anti-cancer agents, but searing heat forms potent cancer-producing chemicals in the process. Alien food substances are created that the body cannot metabolize. And remember what happens to food that the body cannot metabolize? It gets stored as fat…
The following information is very interesting: As you consume more fresh produce as a staple, the body progressively requires less food. As you eat more nutrient rich raw food, the body steadily becomes healthier, and its metabolic efficiency increases. So does its ability to absorb and assimilate more nutriment. Only about one-half the amount of protein if eaten raw from protein plant food is necessary (via nuts and seeds) rather than from cooked animal protein. Doesn’t that sound like the NEWAY™ lifestyle?
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts do not require cooking to increase their palatability or digestibility. When proteins are subjected to high heat during cooking, enzyme resistant linkages are formed between the amino acid chains. The body cannot separate these amino acids. What the body cannot use, it must eliminate. Cooked proteins become a source of toxicity: dead organic waste material acted upon and elaborated by bacterial flora. When wholesome protein foods are eaten raw, the body makes maximum use of all amino acids without the accompanying toxins of cooked food. Obviously, eating raw food is a smart step toward good health. Consuming more fruits and vegetables gives your body noticeable energy boost without harmful stimulants.
But is cooking always bad? Not so. Sometimes cooked food gives more nutrients for the buck, say Rutgers University and Taiwanese researchers at the 1999 annual American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco. They found that the body more easily absorbs iron from 37 of 48 vegetables tested when boiled, stir-fried, steamed, or grilled. Absorbable iron in cabbage jumped from 6.7% to 27% with cooking. Iron in broccoli flowerets rose from 6% to 30%. The reason for iron becoming more absorbable with cooking is that heat breaks down cell structure more completely than chewing alone. The ferrous iron (plant form) is changed to a more elemental inorganic form that is more easily absorbable in the intestine. Interesting to note, though, that if you chew raw carrots well, you get as much iron as if you ate cooked mushy carrots. Thoroughness in mastication is just one factor governing the ultimate utilization of any nutrient. Nature has provided the perfect balance of available nutrients in fresh plant foods which we are designed for. By the application of heat we can at times upset that balance.
So, here’s the scoop: Cooking DOES NOT increase digestibility of foods. The more a food needs cooking, the further it compromises health: a prime indicator it is NOT one that you are biologically adapted to. Our society however, is centered round a cooked food lifestyle, and you can still enjoy cooked foods. Just be aware of what you eat, and practice proper food combining, which will allow your digestion to operate smoothly. Aim for a large amount of your food being mostly fresh produce.
(1) Raw fresh produce foods strengthen your immune system, alleviating the need to deplete its reserves.
(2) Raw foods are easily digested, requiring only 24-36 hours for transit time through the digestive tract, compared to 40-100 hours for cooked foods. Eating overly heated nutrients increases the threat of putrefaction and disease. As you consume cooked carbohydrates, proteins and fats, you are eating numerous carcinogenic products generated by heat.
(3) Cooked food is dead organic matter that bacteria feast on. As a result, typical meals of protein, starches and sugars quickly ferment and putrefy.
Changes that occur when you begin to eat more raw food:
~Improved quality of nutrients taken into your system. Raw fresh produce is nutrient dense, largely pre-digested nutriment that is easily absorbed into your blood. Heated nutrients are denatured and of inferior quality, which are among the reasons why people commonly overeat cooked food. While their stomach feels full, their physiology craves nutrients and remains nutritionally starved.
~Energy previously devoted to flushing the nutrient antagonists away from cells and tissues or quarantining them into fat cells, cysts, warts or tumors and abnormal growths is no longer wasted, but it is redirected to enhance wellness.
~The third major change on a fresh produce diet is the cessation of overeating. Overeating saturates the body with degenerated unnatural foodstuffs that constipate or clog the bloodstream’s nutrient delivery and sewage cleansing system. High fiber, high water content fresh produce abolishes constipation of the bowels, cells and circulatory system. Obstructions are cleared and blood flow increases to each and every cell in the body. And you lose weight!
~your energy levels will increase
~you will spend less money is spent at the grocery store
~Sugar and fat cravings slowly subside since the sweet tooth is satisfied with sugar in fruit, and nutrient dense fat is obtained from raw nuts, seeds and avocado
~your weight normalizes!
Like everything else in the NEWAY™ lifestyle, balance is the key. It isn’t all about fiber, or raw food, or glycemic index. It is about balance that gives you the energy needed for your full, wonderful life. So ponder these thoughts and make the adjustments necessary. And enjoy all of your food!
And here is a recipe for Green Raw Soup:
Green Raw Soup
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 large carrot, finely diced
½ yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
4 cups fat free vegetable stock
3 cloves roasted garlic
Puree all ingredients, except onions and carrots, in a food processor. Add more or less water to desired consistency. To garnish, add onions and raw carrot bits.