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The Raw Revolution

Everything we eat starts out raw. Cooking [and processing] transmutes the raw products of agriculture into many wonderful forms, but in the application of heat, certain nutrients are diminished. Enzymes critical for digestion and nutrient assimilation are destroyed, as are bacteria that both protect the food from pathogenic bacteria and contribute to our intestinal microbial ecologies. ¹

I get a lot of funny looks and questions about my raw eating habits. People want to know why and how and all sorts of other things. Here is the post to clarify some of these issues.

What are the benefits?

The main reason I do it is for increased nutrient intake. Vitamins, enzymes, fats, and proteins are organic compounds that are adversely affected by heat-either destroyed, or altered to where they aren’t as beneficial. Enzymes aid in digestion, among other important functions. A main argument against raw foods is that your body can produce all the enzymes it needs for digestion. This is somewhat true. Sometimes it can’t. Take lactase, for example. This enzyme occurs naturally in raw milk. Pasteurization kills it. It is necessary to properly digest milk. Many people can’t produce it on their own, and we know these people to be “lactose intolerant”.  Such people often find that they can actually drink milk in its raw state. Even if I can produce my own enzymes, my body has to produce a heck of a lot less of them if I get them from the food itself. The enzymes are also more readily available in raw food. Less work, better digestion, and higher nutrient intake make for a happy tummy.

The second main reason is for a healthy immune system. Heat kills bacteria-good or bad, mostly good though. Don’t you think it is silly for yogurt producers to pasteurize the raw milk only to add bacteria back to it? Sure would save them some steps to just not heat the milk in the first place. That’s another story though… The good bacteria makes my immune system strong, the bad makes it even stronger. By building a “base” of good bacteria, my body is more prepared to fight the bad stuff. The stronger my gut gets, the more resistant I become to disease. I tried to start out easy and build my way up to more questionable foods so that eventually I’ll be able to eat some nasty stuff and not get sick. This might come in pretty handy if i ever get stranded in the wilderness, or land a spot on that game show where they eat all kinds of worms and bugs. Some worms and bugs are actually quite tasty! Here are some added benefits:

  • I don’t have to cook. This not only saves time and energy, but I don’t need much cookware these days. It saves energy too. Not only from the natural gas I don’t have to use, but also from not having to crank up the AC in the hot summer to overcome all the heat that is released into the house.
  • Healthier teeth! Processed food causes dental problems. This is extremely well documented in a book by highly respected dentist Weston A. Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration This man and his wife traveled the world in search of healthy people. Their research was aimed at discovering why they were so healthy, and of course, it all had to do with their diets. Excellent book, highly recommended.
  • I can eat everything with my hands-the most convenient and efficient eating utensils in the world!
  • Less waste. Much raw produce doesn’t come in packaging. It is transported to the store in re-usable containers. Much of the meat I buy is fresh from the meat market, wrapped in a little bit of butcher paper that is biodegradable. No foam or plastic packaging like you’d see in meats pre-cooked or ready to cook.
  • It is more filling-produce and meats retain their moisture which keeps me from overeating.
  • It’s safer, in terms of fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2005, an estimated 146,400 home structure fires, 480 deaths, 4,690 injuries, and $876 million in property damage resulted from cooking fires. This is stretching it a bit, but cooking fires are a serious threat. The best way to avoid them is to simply not cook

What are the risks?

Well, if you were raised American, you very well know the risks. You’ve been brainwashed your entire life to believe that eating raw meat and eggs will make you sick. There is a chance you can contract Salmonella, E. Coli, listeria, or some other food bourne illness. I’d like to point out fact that Salmonella is a naturally occuring bacteria already present in your body. You don’t get sick from it until it’s levels exceed the staying power of your immune system, which probably isn’t optimal anyways since you’ve ate cooked foods your entire life. I’d like to introduce you to Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw dairy in the United States, located in California, one of the few states where the sale of raw milk is legal for retail sales.² “Twenty-four million servings and zero reported illnesses. Eleven thousand tests and no human pathagons,” Mark boasts of the company’s safety record. To really drive the point home, Mark even inoculated pathogenic bacterial contaminants into his raw milk and into conventional pasteurized milk. The pathogens did not survice in raw milk, because the naturally occurring bacteria killed them. The pathogens, however, flourished in pasteurized milk. So, it appears, not only can raw food not be dangerous to consume, it can actually help prevent sickness in the first place.

1 The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved, by Sandor Ellix Katz, pg. 161

2 The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved, by Sandor Ellix Katz, pg. 165

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