Raw Food Myth or Magic?
by Helena Ruth Brown
I usually attempt to avoid the lemming effect that thrives in Los Angeles. I try to steer clear of the latest bi-weekly trend. I applaud my efforts in evading the heels with sweatpants look I noticed a few months back equally as much as I am proud that I do not sport pink knockoff Uggs in 90 degree weather. In terms of health I hold one eye glaring and spectral toward the most recent fad; my health is something I will not jeopardize.
Diets seem to come and go as quickly as the rain in this town, yet I have found something – a way of eating – that I am genuinely content with. Raw food is something that I would normally guffaw at, yet it is hard to deny that the facts are valid; this style of eating really does make sense to me. Surprisingly, raw food has an incredible amount and variety of flavour.
I am not overweight. I have never been overweight by a layperson’s definition, yet I have always felt that my digestive system leaves something to be desired. Since I conservatively began this raw diet a few months back (about 80% of my food is raw) I have noticed that my skin is clearer. I have more energy. I am losing weight, and most pleasantly the dreaded cellulite is slowly fading from my legs. These benefits are due to the digested enzymes remaining in their natural state. Our bodies are able to produce digestive enzymes, but when we eat cooked foods our bodies must create a larger quantity of digestive enzymes in order to break down the cooked food, which creates a decrease in metabolic enzyme potential. Science is constantly creating new ways to extend the shelf life of food by removing or destructing enzymes, so with cooked food – or cooked enzymes – extra work is required of our organs. When food is digested in its natural, raw state our digestive process remains efficient and keeps the consumed food from becoming toxic to our system.
Raw Food is a relatively subjective term. There seems to be no stone-set definition. Orthodox type raw foodists claim that certain ingredients must be avoided while other ‘masters’ readily use these same black listed ingredients. Individual discretion is advised regarding specific ingredients while the fundamentals are clear: raw food is a vegan, kosher, soy free, preservative free way of eating mostly made up of organic fruits, nuts and vegetables where nothing is heated above 118° F. By giving our bodies living foods, we create healthy cells and assist our bodies in the excretion of toxic waste. Dead foods require our bodies to create additional enzymes in order to digest the food whose enzymes are destroyed in the cooking process. This additional work keeps our body from the vital task of cleaning out the body’s toxic substances, which eventually leads to a build up and inception of various ailments. An eighteen-year-old has about 95% more enzyme activity level than an eighty-year-old. Aging is virtually nothing more than running out of enzymes.
Raw food preparation is often a time consuming process. Without added preservatives its shelf life is relatively short but also assures that the food consumed is always freshly delivered. Because nothing is heated over 118° F the enzymes remain active thus causing the body to break down food immediately rather than sitting for hours in the stomach before digestion is complete. By avoiding combinations of cooked food combined with raw food there is no fear of digestive disturbances, yet any frequent incorporation of raw food into the diet is a beneficial aid in the digestive process. Flesh food of every sort takes longer to reach the blood stream, so it is not a useful energy creator like fruit, nuts, vegetables and seeds. When eating meat, one must consider the addition of the chemical or natural waste in the animal’s cells being added to the consumer’s body. Meat, milk, refined and devitalized food consumption is unnatural to the human body.
Regarding amino acids, only 16% of the human body is made up of protein. Pure protein is primarily a combination of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. Humans receive the majority of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon from the air. There is four times as much nitrogen as oxygen, hydrogen and carbon combined in the air we breathe. Within the human body, natural bacteria action assimilates and builds the nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon and converts it into protein thus showing that with clean air and pure, living food we can create our own amino acids, thus eliminating the need for toxic animal flesh for a complete source of protein. One need eat only fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Carnivorous animals sleep 16-18 hours a day and live a remarkably short life as compared to their vegetarian counterparts. There exists such an abundant variety of fresh, vitamin rich, strength building food that there is no need to add waste from dead flesh to the consumer’s body.
A collection of companies sell prepared raw food in local markets such as in the Mother’s Markets in Orange County, Co-Opportunity in Santa Monica, Erewhon on Beverly Blvd and Whole Foods, yet my favourite brand due to the selection, variation and taste is Lifeforce Foods. I have noticed that their pseudo cheese pizza indeed does taste like a genuine cheese pizza. In addition, the company’s head chef, Burke Bryant, is generous with his time and advice. He holds seminars and demos regularly in which he keeps no secrets. He patiently teaches the participants step by step how to make the very same food that he sells in the markets. It is refreshing to know that a company is backed by someone who is not driven by monetary reasons but rather by the benefit of each individual.
Lifeforce Foods has helped me a tremendous amount. I am feeling better. I am eating better. I am feeling more alive, and I am feeling less guilty at the gym. Raw food has been an extremely positive change in my life. In addition to my body feeling more energized, I have noticed that I am feeling more confident, more positive and all around happier. It’s funny how the most important aspect of our lives has ceased to be that as we stuff down the enriched white flour and hamburger patties. I have always eaten the healthiest I knew how, yet I never realized how much my digestive system was missing and how much more or how much less my body needed. I did the best I could provided my knowledge, yet I never fully or accurately considered the prodigious effect of food on my life before. I guess I never took the saying ‘you are what you eat!’as seriously prior to learning about raw food.