The more I study nutrition, the more I am convinced that we need to eat raw uncooked unprocessed food. In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food. In 2000, they spent more than $110 billion.
In 1968, McDonald's had one thousand restaurants. Today McDonald's has about 30,000 restaurants and opens about 2,000 new ones each year. I recommend the book "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser for a better understanding of what has happened to the American diet in the last few decades.
It is becoming increasingly clear that one of the major reasons vegetable juicing works is that it is living raw food. I am confident that most of us would notice significant improvements in our energy and health if we increased the amounts of living raw foods in our diet. If you juice vegetables on a regular basis, it is quite easy to consume over 50% of your foods as raw.
Most raw food, like our bodies, is very perishable. When raw foods are exposed to temperatures above 118 degrees, they start to rapidly break down, just as our bodies would if we had a fever that high. One of the constituents of foods which can break down are enzymes. Enzymes help us digest our food. Enzymes are proteins though, and they have a very specific 3-dimensional structure in space. Once they are heated much above 118 degrees, this structure can change.
Once enzymes are exposed to heat, they are no longer able to provide the function for which they were designed. Cooked foods contribute to chronic illness, because their enzyme content is damaged and thus requires us to make our own enzymes to process the food. The digestion of cooked food uses valuable metabolic enzymes in order to help digest your food. Digestion of cooked food demands much more energy than the digestion of raw food. In general, raw food is so much more easily digested that it passes through the digestive tract in 1/2 to 1/3 of the time it takes for cooked food.
Eating enzyme-dead foods places a burden on your pancreas and other organs and overworks them, which eventually exhausts these organs. Many people gradually impair their pancreas and progressively lose the ability to digest their food after a lifetime of ingesting processed foods.
In 1930, under the direction of Dr. Paul Kouchakoff, research was conducted at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland. The effect of food (cooked and processed versus raw and natural) on the immune system was tested and documented.
Dr. Kouchakoff's discovery concerned the leukocytes, the white blood cells.
It was found that after a person eats cooked food, his/her blood responds immediately by increasing the number of white blood cells. This is a well-known phenomena called 'digestive leukocytosis', in which there is a rise in the number of leukocytes - white blood cells - after eating.
Since digestive leukocytosis was always observed after a meal, it was considered to be a normal physiological response to eating. No one knew why the number of white cells rises after eating, since this appeared to be a stress response, as if the body was somehow reacting to something harmful such as infection, exposure to toxic chemicals or trauma.
Back in 1930, the Swiss researchers at the institute of Chemical Chemistry made a remarkable discovery. They found that eating raw, unaltered food did not cause a reaction in the blood. In addition, they found that if a food had been heated beyond a certain temperature (unique to each food), or if the food was processed (refined, chemicals added, etc.), this always caused a rise in the number of white cells in the blood.
The researchers renamed this reaction 'pathological leukocytosis', since the body was reacting to highly altered food. They tested many different types of foods and found that if the foods were not refined or overheated, they caused no reaction. The body saw them as 'friendly foods'. However, these same foods, if heated at too high a temperature, caused a negative reaction in the blood, a reaction found only when the body is invaded by a dangerous pathogen or trauma.
The worst offenders of all, whether heated or not, were processed foods which had been refined (such as white flour and white rice), or pasteurized (a process in which milk is flash-heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria), or homogenized (also seen in milk where the fat in milk is subjected to artificial suspension), or preserved (chemicals are added to food to delay spoilage or to enhance texture or taste).
In other words, foods which were changed from their original God-given state.
Let's get back to enzymes. Raw foods are rich in enzymes. Enzymes are needed for the digestive system to work. They are necessary to break down food particles so they can be utilized for energy. The human body makes approximately 22 different digestive enzymes which are capable of digesting carbohydrates, protein and fats. Raw vegetables and raw fruit are rich sources of enzymes.
Lack of digestive enzymes can be a factor in food allergies. Symptoms of digestive enzymes depletion are bloating, belching, gas, bowel disorders, abdominal cramping, heartburn and food allergies.
All of us loose our ability to produce concentrated digestive enzymes as we grow older. In cases where age is a factor, or where lack of digestive enzymes causes food allergies, supplementation may be helpful. You may also want to explore food combining.
The following digestive enzyme supplements aid digestion:
The more food that you can eat raw, the better.
If you do cook your food, the best way to cook food is to lightly steam, stew, or use a slow crock cooker. Eat as few over-processed and over-cooked foods as possible. The body has a difficult time digesting fried, pasteurized, barbecued, dried, and other over-processed and over-cooked foods which you find in boxed and processed foods.
I would encourage you to consume at least 50% of your food as uncooked. A good vegetable juicing program will easily put you over that volume.
Raw eggs are another important part of the raw food approach. If you are healthy, the salmonella is not going to be an issue for you, especially if the eggs are organic and free range.
Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
© 2002 by Marc Leduc