Natural Diet Primer
by Don Bennett, DAS
"raw food diet", sometimes referred to as a "living
foods diet", has many proponents around the world. This way
of eating appeals to those who want to be as healthy as possible.
natural plant foods make up this diet. Some advocate 100 percent
raw foods, others say a high percentage of raw foods in your diet,
while not the optimum, is still beneficial (any cooked food that
is consumed in this diet is plant-based, i.e., a vegan diet). Your
ratio of raw:cooked will depend on how healthy you want to be, now
and in the future.
food does the following:
Proteins coagulate and are denatured making them unusable (see this
Carbohydrates caramelize, making them harder to process
Overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein,
nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent
cancer-causing agents known)
Natural fibers break down, and they lose their ability to "sweep"
the intestines clean
Vitamins and minerals are damaged and/or destroyed
100% of enzymes are damaged causing the body to direct its enzyme
production to making digestive enzymes instead of metabolic enzymes
which are needed for tissue and organ system maintenance and repair.
The body has a finite enzyme production ability, so the more digestive
enzymes it makes, the less metabolic enzymes it can make, and you
don't want your body to get behind on its fulfillment of its metabolic
Any pesticides on the food are restructured into even more toxic
Free radicals are produced
Pathogens created by cooking burden the immune system
Cooking causes inorganic mineral elements to enter the blood and
circulate through the body which settle in the arteries and veins
causing them to lose their pliability
Chemicals from cooked food damage cells and can cause tumors: Nitrosamines
are created from fish, poultry or meat cooked in gas ovens and barbecues
as nitrogen oxides within gas flames interact with fat residues;
carcinogenic heterocyclic amines can form from heating proteins
to the temperatures normally associated with cooking
Mucoid plaque in the intestines is caused by uneliminated, partially
digested, putrefying cooked fatty and starch foods eaten in association
with protein flesh foods
it should be noted that cooked animal foods contain hormones (both
natural and synthetic), antibiotics, toxins, and pesticide concentrations
higher than that of non-organically grown plant foods. The uncooked,
organically grown, plant-based foods that make up a raw food diet
do not have these health damaging aspects.
is a breakdown of how the diet differs among its proponents
"Living food" proponents advocate the consumption
of sprouted seeds, nuts, and beans, fermented foods and beverages
and wheatgrass juice as the most healthful foods one can eat. They
round out the diet with other raw fruits and vegetables, and advocate
regular colon cleansings. Some say this diet is for healing only,
others advocate it as a lifestyle.
Some maintain, myself included, that fermented foods and wheatgrass
juice should not be part of a regular diet. Some go further to say
that wheatgrass juice is not a "healing food", and that
only the body is capable of healing there is no such thing
as "healing foods". I agree. Wheatgrass juice can evoke
feelings of nausea, and hives and adrenal gland damage can result
if enough is ingested. There is a place for a green juice in the
diet, but not wheatgrass juice.
"Natural Hygiene" is the science of health, and
its advocates are called, "Natural Hygienists". They follow
a raw food diet but believe regular colon cleansing is unnecessary,
and can be detrimental. There are two main schools of thought among
Natural Hygienists. Advocates of true "unadulterated"
Natural Hygiene maintain that all cooked food is harmful, and abstain
from eating grains and animal products. They believe that green
leafy vegetables should be consumed in addition to fruits. The International
Natural Hygiene Society chooses not to define the best, most
optimal diet, instead they mention several "theories"
which include the Paleolithic low-carb animal food diet, and a milk
and egg vegetarian diet, and they downplay the fruit and green leafy
vegetable diet, which is the healthiest diet.
A healthy weight and energy level can be maintained on a fruit and
vegetable diet if the diet is done correctly. Some people make the
mistake of eating far more vegetables than fruit, and therefore
may not get enough calories to maintain weight. Although a small
part of the diet, enough fatty fruits should also be consumed during
the month. The INHS's stance gets them a wider membership base but
is never-the-less irresponsible given what is known about human
nutrition today (interesting to note that the INHS was originally
named the ANHS, and originally promoted only the healthiest of diets,
but with new leadership often comes new policies that may not be
in the best interests of its members). For an accurate definition
of Natural Hygiene and a little of its history, click here.
"Fruitarians" believe in the consumption of only
raw fruit and seeds. It should be noted that a fruit is anything
with a seed or seeds. Many fruitarians understand the importance
of, and consume green leafy vegetables.
While a healthy diet can consist of a large percentage of fruits,
some green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce should be included
if the nutritional quality of the fruit is in question. Additionally,
a worthwhile nutritional adjunct to the diet should be consumed
(a green powder)
being that the greens most people are eating are grown in the same
nutritionally sub-par soil as the fruit. This helps to ensure that
you get enough of all
the nutrients your body requires for optimal functioning, and thus,
optimal health. Some fruitarians include non-sweet "vegetable
fruits" like cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes, but while
cucumbers are fine, fruits of the nightshade
family can be problematic.
There are some people who eat raw animal foods, and the fallacy
of eating this type of diet is discussed here.
Why Most Diets Don't Work
The Benefits of Eating Uncooked Foods
Foods - What People Don't Know
Raw Food Studies
Why Eat Raw Foods?
Raw-food Trend is Picking Up Steam - USA TODAY
Yields Surprises about Early Human Diets
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