Our cooking traditions are an important part of our culture. We enjoy our food no matter where we are. At home and in public, we like to eat together as a way to socialize, spend time with one another, and talk about the issues that matter to us.
Let’s face it, we mostly eat for pleasure and for our palate, not for our body. It might be that many people in the West can no longer differentiate between hunger and desire. Thirst, however, is easier to recognize. Eating is also often a way of compensating for a lack of warmth and love.
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Why do most people “instinctively” respond with “No, thanks!” when it comes to raw food? There are a number of common reasons for this that are related to culture, society (ethnology and sociology), mental imagery (psychology), desire and substitutes for love, a person’s own environment, and the lack of acceptance from the larger environment.
When it comes to deciding what type of diet to eat, a number of factors, ranging from our habits up to a psychological feeling of “betraying your mother” play a significant role. These are understandable reasons for the “No, thanks” response. Perhaps the following arguments in favor of raw food will help you to recognize the possible consequences (causality) that eating an unhealthy diet can have, and you might decide to reconsider your answer of “No, thanks!”
There are many well-founded arguments on this topic. But the majority of them are in need of explanation as they will turn a large part of your “knowledge” upside down.
Food is pleasure
You can enlarge all of the images by clicking on them and also view them as a slideshow.
See this book review on “Salt Sugar Fat.”
|This statement from a high school student is all too typical: “Food is very important to me; I like all sorts of things, especially Italian food, but not pork. I mostly like to eat in front of the TV. A good movie and something delicious to snack on, that’s the best.” (Beobachter Gesundheit [Swiss newspaper] 25/2001-11). Other statements published in this newspaper include: “For me, enjoyment means eating whatever I feel like, whether that’s a salty pretzel or a gourmet menu.” And: “I can enjoy a Schoggistängel (Swiss chocolate bar) or a serving of fries just as much as a carefully prepared fillet or tiramisu.”|
Nutrition and reproduction are the most essential aspects of our lives — and they bring us a great deal of enjoyment. Food not only provides us with fuel and vital nutrients (calories and protein), but also helps us to maintain our good health. However, continued good health is not guaranteed if we primarily seek to satisfy our cravings.
Unlike us, wild animals in their natural habitat don’t go overboard if they have an unlimited supply of food. Animals have not lost their desire for proper nutrition as their palates have not been ruined (gustatory perception).
Maillard molecules (Maillard reaction) have destroyed our sense of taste. Everything we eat will have health consequences for us immediately or over time; the extent of these depends on the amount and type of food we eat.
The German physician, natural scientist, and philosopher Philipp Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, called Paracelsus (1493–1541), wrote about this as early as the sixteenth century. He stated that “all things are poison and nothing is without poison. The quantity alone makes something not a poison.”
I, of course, don’t believe that “the older a herb or a saying is, the more true it is,” quite the contrary. But as well as the nonsense out there, there are also many old findings that are true and never go out of date.
Although the health statistics paint a sad picture despite (and because of) our higher life expectancy, we rarely realize that the diet we eat causes damage over time. Even doctors attribute the increasing occurrence of disease, also in younger people, to our longer lifespan and genes!
It is understandable that young people normally don’t think a lot about illness and death and instead just enjoy life.
But we know that we are eating too much — too much salt, fat, and often too much sugar. But that is only part of the problem. We now know that more than just vitamins are lost during the denaturation process.
We have long heard the saying “too much, too fatty” and have also known about the loss of nutrients and micronutrients caused by denaturation. We are also familiar with the topic of depleted soil. But is anyone taking these warnings seriously anymore? And do people know how these topics are related?
However, it is not so widely known that through our diet and lifestyle we indirectly cause epigentic changes. DNA methylation is the key concept here. Most people aren’t familiar with how these changes continue to have an effect (see this article on epigentics), or rather the changes we inherit from our ancestors. Not all readers will find it easy to read and understand the article or this Wikipedia entry on epigenetics or this information from CIPS (Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich).
But it is important to understand that certain alterations to our genes that cause changes in the way we eat get passed down to our children. This occurs much more often than we think (German only).
This photo taken in a Whole Foods Market in the United States (2013) simply serves as a reminder for me that I would like to at least describe the different types of diets here. If you change the type of diet you eat, you are generally making the first significant step towards better nutrition, but not always (See also this article on nutrition.)
Personal photograph, Spring 2013.
Perhaps you are a person who is very “health-conscious.” You may, for example, avoid barbecued foods as much as possible or try to eat less meat. Perhaps you pay attention to polyunsaturated fatty acids or choose Mediterranean cuisine and eat a lot of muesli. Your goal might be to eat a whole foods diet.
The loss of nutrients is much higher in cooked foods as compared to foods that are kept in their natural state. Researchers are only gradually discovering the extent of these. They include, for example, important phytonutrients responsible for color and smell (flavor and taste), hormones (messenger substances and neurotransmitters), and enzymes.
There are some advantages to Mediterranean cuisine. This fact was discovered by Ancel Keys (U.S., 1904–2004!) in the 1950s when he conducted a study on the health of people living on the island of Crete.
Compared to people in six other countries, the inhabitants of Crete live longer and suffer fewer heart attacks. Key concluded that this was the result of their Mediterranean diet, which consisted of lots of fruits, vegetables, salads, and half the amount of meat, but twice as much fish. And when it came to meat, they tended to eat more white meat.
Their meals included plenty of fresh herbs and spices, and raw onions were a key ingredient. And then they also ate grains, yogurt, cheese, and olive oil and drank red wine regularly but in moderation.
Studies on the Mediterranean diet were considered controversial for a long time, but further studies, for example, on France, yielded similar results. And now this diet is “in.” When you read this article, perhaps another “finding” will be popular, marketable, and profitable.
You might remember when nouvelle cuisine was popular or the euphoria about polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Speaking of euphoria, omega-3 fatty acids are the current trend. And flaxseeds are the best source to get these as they contain about 40% fat and 50% omega-3 fatty acids! But why should flaxseeds be adverstised, unless you are trying to sell a convenience product?
However, not all parts of a Mediterranean diet are healthy. And companies, of course, want to use this research to promote the benefits of their products, for example, the benefits of regular red wine consumption, or of eating cream cheese, olive oil, poultry, or grain products.
Unfortunately, in practice, many wrong or insufficiently substantiated assumptions are made (jumping to conclusions). But we don’t need to deal with this here. A well-balanced Mediterranean diet, as with other balanced diets, certainly does offer advantages over a diet consisting of “normal cooked food” that people eat without thinking about whether it is good for their health.
The disadvantage is that when consumers hear the praise for certain foods, they have the impression that they are making healthy choices. But this is only partly true. Learn more in this article on nutrition.
Many consumers choose to settle for half solutions instead of pursuing a much healthier path or at least giving it a try. They are supposedly eating a healthy diet. ... This is much easier, for example, for people whose circulatory system reacts immediately to diet changes. But they will find out after a few days that a raw food diet that doesn’t include milk and heated grain products has substantial benefits. You’ll learn more about this later.
Alternative researchers go a step further and point out the importance of “living macromolecules” (LM, macromolecule). For simplicity’s sake, we can at least assume that not all of the connections and interactions are yet understood.
How can we come to the realization that our food is a slow poison? Almost everyone eats about the same thing, so we think. At least, advertising from the food industry and the medical community does tell us that it is healthy to eat as much raw fruit as possible.
In spite of this, new artificial products are constantly coming on the market and replacing these natural foods. It’s a big business that generates a lot of profit. However, science is not yet in a position to keep people healthy in the long term with these artificial products.
And on the other hand, many people don’t find raw fruits and vegetables, in particular, appealing. How are we to know that cooked food with its Maillard molecules has greatly altered our sense of taste? Most people can’t imagine that pure raw food can be amazingly delicious.
They don’t realize that each ingredient has a distinct flavor. And there are many more edible raw fruits and vegetables available than you can imagine. Now you might be thinking, “This is just a claim” isn’t it? It might be hard for you to imagine that raw food can be pure indulgence.
Vegan raw food can be very tasty.
You can enlarge all of the images by clicking on them and also view them as a slideshow.
Squash Blossoms: a vegan raw food dish from the restaurant Pure Food and Wine in New York City.
People who are motivated to switch to a raw food diet and don’t make any big mistakes in the process will find that their sense of taste changes within a week. The raw foods will begin to taste better, slowly but surely. The thinking brain is not the deciding factor here, but rather the emotional brain.
I have always been a gourmet — and continue to be one as a raw foodist. However, I have realized that I am only able to get rid of cravings for certain foods that I had previously loved by cutting them out of my diet for several months.
You only think about such foods when you smell them. This leads us to a second reason for possible relapses: your environment. If other members of your family continue to “feast,” it is very unlikely that you will be able to stick to a raw food diet. Only a very few people are able to do this.
A third reason that makes it difficult to switch over is the lack of acceptance that people experience from those around them. However, if you have serious health issues — or you stick to a raw food diet for a long period of time and your appearance and energy levels improve significantly — then you will find acceptance.
And don’t we all know heavy smokers who close their eyes to the risks of smoking and also point out that there are healthy smokers who live to be 90 years old or more? But these are rare exceptions of people who have particularly good genes.
Both smoking and eating the wrong foods harm our body, but they do so very, very slowly. Usually it takes several decades before the damage begins to show. And it is not always visible to our eye. However, poor eating habits have increased in recent decades, and in some young people the problems that are too come can already be seen.
The big problem is that most people are unclear as to what would really be the right type of diet. When it comes to food, we have almost no point of comparison.
Genetic variability alone probably accounts for about the same range of different appearances and diseases/health as a lifestyle change would, and this makes it almost impossible to identify cause–effect relationships.
You can also always find articles claiming that it is ridiculous to worry about your diet and instead advocate the following: “You don’t have to do without anything! Can food really be a sin? Yes, is what many people say — and thereby damage their health. This is because indulging with awareness is much healthier than constantly going without and having a guilty conscience.” Ironically, this quote appeared in Beobachter Gesundheit (Swiss health magazine), issue 25/2001.
Another way to say this would be: “Please don’t stop smoking or doing drugs!” However, at the end of the article, the author concludes, “If you want to indulge in moderation and without feelings of guilt, you need to use your five senses and take your time.”
David Warburton, an English professor of psychopharmacology is right in believing that the key question is “What is good for me?” and not “What can harm me?” So far, so good. He rightly observed that pleasure positively affects both mental and physical health.
But I can ask the same question, “What is good for me?” in regards to a raw food diet. And when I do so, I don’t need to only think about my health, but instead can also think about what would taste good. People who haven’t eaten a raw food diet over an extended period of time aren’t in a position to say how much indulgence and enjoyment this type of diet (almost 100% raw foods) can encompass.
Raw food can also be tempting. Desserts like these should be the exception. Some pure raw food restaurants offer a good selection of excellent gourmet food.
There are some people who try to change their diet because others want them to and not because of any inner conviction — and they fail. This is the same for smokers, alcoholics, or drug addicts who want to quit.
Perhaps it doesn’t work the first few times or they give up altogether. They usually either lack willpower or aren’t motivated enough. As I say, “If you can’t make something your own, then you will never experience success!”
When people make a virtue out of a desperate situation, such an opinion is understandable. Researcher James McCormick goes so far as to say: “Health gurus are harmful, and, like other religions, medicine has by now created its own moral system."
Dutch researcher Jan Snel sees small sins as necessary since they help us endure the wearying irritations of everyday life. He concludes that, “If I can keep to a healthy amount, then I can enjoy the fun in life with those things that are ‘prohibited.’ ”
I can agree with this opinion if we say, “but our indulgences shouldn’t be poisons and instead consist of other indulgences.” And I’m not speaking of a 100% raw food diet, but one that is very close to 100%.
As the above images show, a raw food diet can include some amazing indulgences. But these should be the exception and not the rule. Even with a purely vegan raw food diet (raw veganism), it is possible to have poor nutrition — something that is often the case.
Why change at all?
I don’t want to talk you into something you don’t want to do and that is rejected by everyone around you. However, I can help all those who decide to embrace a raw food diet. For example, I can explain the main reasons to make the change. There are several important reasons that play a major role, whereby each person will have different priorities. These reasons can be found in the next articles.
You will also have the necessary information to begin in a safe manner. And I will refer you to further reading material — both print and electronic.
There can be no lobby behind the raw food movement, apart from a few conservationists. This is because it would dry up certain economic sources rather than bring them profit. Just think of the livestock industry and its processing and distribution network, which includes strong political lobbies.
“Meat is a slice of vitality!” is what this industry asserts. An interesting point of comparison is the list of vegetarians and vegans with the highest athletic achievements. A good example is the ironman triathlon (and vegan Brendan Brazier).
And today, people clearly consume far too many animal products. You may now be convinced of the fact that the cooking process is also a problem. But this is only understandable after reading texts that explain the reasons behind this. A significant indicator is that the German version of Wikipedia doesn’t even contain an entry on the raw food movement topic. See the English entry here. Veganism is strongly influenced by the industry — but also by other factors.
The fact that the English-speaking world has a different stance on the subject is even mentioned. Scientific research in the field of nutrition is a few years ahead there and is therefore more widely accepted. As a result, the lobby can’t exert its control directly.
Genetic engineering, dietary supplements that are synthetic or obtained by means of cultures, flavor enhancers, and other additives are the domain of the powerful chemical industry. Read more on the subject in this book review of Die Ernährungslüge (The diet lie).
It is now to a point where even the water supply — in the West as well — is an important branch of the big food corporations. Don’t you find it absurd that a company can spend billions of dollars on a good brand of water in Europe alone and that this pays off?
So to reiterate, even if it sounds paradoxical, many scientists today say that our first step should be to reduce the amount of milk and dairy products we consume or cut them out altogether. The best book on this subject seems to be Milch besser nicht! (Milk, better not!) by Maria Rollinger; you can find the book review here.