Cooking Is Not An Extension of the Digestive Process

FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK: Energetics of Food by Paul Gagne, (Spiral Sciences, 2972 Viaje Pavo Real, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505; 1990, pp. 76-77)

“Cooking does not kill foods-at least, no more than eating them does,” Gagne writes. {He makes it clear that he is talking about cooking and not overcooking.} Cooking “is an extension of the eating and digesting process. It simply renders food digestible by breaking down cellulose fibers and altering or changing the cellular and nutritional components of foods to be more suitable to the internal human environment.

“Raw foods certainly have a place in the human diet-but all food gets ‘cooked’ one way or another. If food is not cooked by conventional methods, then it must be brought up to the human metabolic temperature of 98.6 through vigorous digestion. Ingested food is digested and metabolized at relatively high temperatures in the heated environment of your digestive tract until it is ready to be used as nutrition.”

Rhio’s Response:

Cooking is not an extension of the eating and digesting process. Foods do not get “cooked” in the body. Foods get broken down, digested and assimilated in the body. Enzymes assist and are essential in all these processes. Enzymes, by their very nature, are ALIVE. Cooking food kills its enzymes and diminishes and alters nutrients, hormones, phytochemicals and other vital factors.

When you eat raw foods, all these vital factors are not killed or diminished, so the premise that cooking is just an extension of the eating and digesting process is ridiculous. Cooked food does not contain the vital enzymes that are essential for digestion of the food. Because the body has to produce the enzymes that are missing, it then works HARDER to digest the food.

When eaten, raw food is altered – yes – but it is altered through the natural processes inherent in the wisdom of the living body. Our bodies know what to do with raw food. But it is not natural for bodies to have to deal with cooked food. That’s why the process of leukocytosis* (which is measurable by blood tests) occurs after ingesting cooked foods. Leukocytosis does not occur when eating the same foods raw. That’s also why the pancreas of a cooked food eater is enlarged (indicating an overworked condition).

Your own body tells you the truth in many ways. Any true long term raw food eater will tell you that if they lapse and eat a cooked meal, they don’t feel well and the negative reaction is immediate. I don’t mean that they get sick, but they just don’t feel right. As a result of the raw diet their bodies have become light – less dense – and that is why they can feel the effects of cooked food so quickly.

If the process of digestion cooks our foods, as Gagne says, then how does he explain that the acidophilus and other types of bacteria survive? If the body is cooking, these live, friendly bacteria would be cooked too. But they obviously aren’t. These same bacteria are destroyed when sauerkraut, as an example, is pasteurized.

Gagne says that cooking renders nutrients more suitable for the internal human environment. Well, what proof does he show that they are “more suitable”? And how can he know better what is “more suitable” to a human body than the Creator of that body?

The Pottenger Cat Studies done by Dr. Frances Pottenger, Jr. back in the 1930s utilizing 900 cats, still stand as proof that raw food is the appropriate food for cats (and by extension, for people, since all scientific experiments to ascertain the effects of substances on people are done on animals – a topic for another discussion). The cats that were fed cooked food acquired many of the diseases that humankind falls prey to, and, in the third generation the line died out. The raw food cats remained healthy and their lineage was not interrupted.

The five longest lived and healthiest human communities of recent history, like the Hunzas, the Vilcabambans, the Tibetans, the Russian Georgians and Ahbkasians, etc. ate a significant percentage of their food raw. Even the Alaskan Indians, before the missionaries arrived, ate their fish raw (or fermented) and lived to 80 and 90. Once they started cooking, however, their mortality went down to 40.

I don’t believe that food gets digested in the body at higher than 98.6° F, but I’ve never read any information referring to this. Using logic, I would think that if the body is in danger of dying at temperatures of 105° F, then I don’t think digestion could be going on at any higher temperature. The temperatures at which food loses its value (from the raw community’s perspective) is between 105° and 118° F, depending on the type of food. Even if, as Gagne says, the food gets heated by “vigorous digestion” to 98.6°, it would still be live food. To me, there is no difference between cooking, overcooking and undercooking. It is just a matter of temperature. Did you heat it above 105° to 118° F? – Then you’ve cooked it. He also implies that vigorous digestion puts some kind of strain on the body (which it does not), when he says “if the food is not cooked . . . then it must be brought up to the human metabolic temperature of 98.6° through vigorous digestion.” We all need to have vigorous digestion; it is the natural state.

Gagne also says that “cooking simply reduces much of the work and effort required by the digestive system and thus results in better digestion and metabolism overall.” This is absolutely untrue. There can be no comparison between what cooking does and what digestion does. Cooking does not reduce the work that the body needs to do, but increases it by forcing the body to produce the enzymes that were destroyed. Dr. Edward Howell (enzyme researcher) proved that a body that eats foods raw produces less enzymes than a body that eats foods cooked. This demonstrates that the workload is reduced by eating raw foods with their enzymes intact.

Gagne has also relegated raw food eating to a fad diet status. All animals in their natural environments eat raw foods. Is Gagne saying that all the hundreds of thousands of species of animals (including insects) on this planet eating their natural food are on a fad diet? Animals thrive on raw foods and I maintain that humans thrive on it as well.

Gagne’s book, for me, is a mixed bag. He’s got some information in it that is very, very good. Many of his ideas make sense and stimulate thinking, but then he’s included statements that just seem to rationalize his own biases.

Gagne would probably be most surprised to discover that raw food (as a cuisine) can be as palatable, interesting, varied and delicious as any cooked food. I extend an open invitation to him, if he ever sees this response, to come and experience a gourmet raw food meal, made with love.

*Leukocytosis is a response of the body to defend against disease, infection and injury. The body sends white blood cells (leukocytes) to the area. Leukocytosis occurs when eating cooked foods (as if the body considers such food a threat or danger), but NOT when eating those same foods raw. Leukocytosis also occurs when the body ingests additives, pesticides and chemically-based supplements.

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