Living foods are the key to our health and longevity. They allow our bodies to perform as they were meant to. Our bodies have evolved over a four million year period. For 3,950,000 of those years we ate only raw, living foods. It is only recently that we have begun eating cooked food. When we look at other mammals in nature, we do not see any significant incidence of the diseases that have become pervasive in humans. No cancer, heart disease, strokes or diabetes.
WHAT COOKING DOES TO FOOD
Before discussing why Living Foods are so critical to our health, lets examine what cooking does to food. The first thing that is lost when you cook something is its’ water content. Our bodies are between 60% and 70% water. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with water, and it is structured water that better facilitates our biological processes. Cooking denatures the proteins in our food, rendering them harder to digest and utilize.
Cooking destroys 50 percent of the protein in our food. Between 50 and 80 percent of the vitamins and minerals are also destroyed. Pesticides break down into more toxic compounds, which are more easily assimilated into our bodies. Oxygen is lost and free radicals are produced.
Most importantly, enzymes are destroyed when food is heated above 118 degrees. Enzymes are the catalysts of every chemical reaction in our bodies. Without them, there can be no cellular division, immune system functioning, energy production nor brain activity. No vitamins or hormones can do their work without enzymes. There are two different types of enzymes in our bodies, metabolic enzymes and digestive enzymes. We produce over 100,000 different enzymes, each doing a unique task.
Interestingly, every food contains exactly the perfect mix of digestive enzymes to break it down completely. These are called food enzymes. Nature in its never-ending perfection sees that all food whether flesh, fruit or vegetable, decomposes and returns to the earth from which it came. But cooking our food above 118 degrees destroys its enzymes, leaving our bodies to generate the enzymes necessary to digest it.
THE FUNCTION OF FOOD ENZYMES
There are two main problems with this enzyme destruction. First, our bodies cannot produce enzymes in the perfect mix to metabolize our food as completely as the food enzymes nature creates. This results in partially digested fats, proteins and starches that will clog up our body’s intestinal tract and arteries. The Eskimos are a remarkable example of this. Eskimo means, “one who eats raw.” While living for centuries on a diet that consisted primarily of whale or seal blubber, Eskimos developed no arterial sclerosis. They had almost no heart disease or stroke, and no high blood pressure. Established nutritional doctrine would predict a high incidence of these ailments, but even raw blubber will digest itself completely if it is not cooked and its enzymes are not destroyed. But once you heat even the finest olive oil above 118 degrees, you will not be able to digest it completely. It will clog you up.
More importantly, it has been demonstrated that our bodies produce a finite lifetime supply of enzymes. Every cooked meal we eat causes enzyme production that draws on our finite reserve. A living food meal does not cause this drain.
This can help us understand why an 85 year old has only 1/30 the enzyme activity level of an 18 year old. Cells stop dividing, our immune system fails to handle challenges it managed easily when we were younger. Our enzyme reserve is depleted over a lifetime of eating cooked food. In 1930, Dr. Paul Kouchakoff found that when we eat cooked food, our bodies attack it with leukocytes, the white blood cells that are the cornerstone of our immune system. These cells bring enzymes to the cooked food in an attempt to break it down and get rid of it. Our bodies actually treat cooked food as a foreign invader. No leukocytes are produced when living food is eaten. It is a tremendous burden on our body to produce digestive enzymes and leukocytes. It takes ten metabolic enzymes to make one digestive enzyme. The pancreas of humans and our domesticated animals is twice the size as a percentage of body weight, as mammals in nature. This is a direct result of the overwork we place on it to create digestive enzymes. It’s no wonder we feel so tired after eating a cooked meal. We actually burn close to half of the calories we consume in a cooked meal just to digest it!
In nature, all mammals live eight to ten times their maturation age. Humans, and our domesticated pets and farm animals that eat cooked, processed food only live four times our maturation age. In the famous Pottinger cat study, it was demonstrated that cooked food diets result in shorter life spans, congenital abnormalities and eventually, loss of reproductive capability. In lab experiments, mice fed a living food diet live fifty percent longer than mice fed cooked food.
It is amazing to see how all animals in nature maximize their enzyme reserve. If you give a squirrel a raw nut, it will not eat it, but always will bury it. It will only dig it up when the nut has sprouted. They have found sensors in squirrels’ noses that can identify a sprouted nut. Raw, unsprouted nuts have enzyme inhibitors that prevent the nuts’ food enzymes from digesting it. Only when it sprouts are these inhibitors deactivated.
When our bodies eat the living foods they were meant to, our entire bio-terrain operates in optimal health. All of our cells, organs and systems are able to do the jobs they are capable of in perfect balance. A healthy bio-terrain requires proper enzyme capacity, acid-base balance and a healthy digestive tract. These can be achieved through a living foods diet. With a healthy bio-terrain, our bodies manage all health challenges quite effectively. This is why we rarely see disease in mammals living in nature. It is what we put into our bodies that prevent them from doing what they are capable of. Cooked food destroys our bio-terrain. Living foods support a healthy bio-terrain.
A living food diet leads to a longer, more energetic life. Think of how you feel after a Thanksgiving feast. The burden of digesting a cooked food meal drains our energy. This does not happen with living foods and the extra energy allows the body to focus its resources on cleansing and rebuilding. Less sleep is needed and it is more restful. Only when we eat food that our bodies evolved eating, we will produce the right balance of hormones and brain neurotransmitters.
When Roxanne and I began eating living foods, we thought we would give it a try for one month. After one month, our bodies just went “Wow!” The change was undeniable, and we couldn’t believe our energy level and reduced need for sleep. Our vision even improved. We listened to our bodies, and they were right. We hope you will give your bodies a chance to tell you what they want and need.
Note: For local raw food information, please visit www.rawseattle.org