Whole Food ... Whole Being
An Introduction to Raw Food
Written for the Premiere Issue of
Wellness Bound Magazine, April 2004
by Robert Ross
What is Raw Food?
Basically, raw food (sometimes called live or living food) is food that has not been cooked or exposed to temperatures over 118"F. At that temperature, the natural enzymes in food are completely destroyed. Enzymes are essential for all the chemical processes in your body, especially digestion. In addition, nutrients are chemicals, and when these chemicals are heated it causes chemical reactions -- just like in your high school chemistry class - the higher the heat, the more volatile, or destructive, the chemical reactions.
Of course, this may not be news to you. Everyone knows that heat destroys nutrients in food. But did you ever stop and wonder what happened to those lovely vitamins, minerals, fats, carbs and proteins once they're cooked? Where do they go? Do they just disappear? Unfortunately, they do not. Like Dr. Jekyll, they are horribly transformed by the chemical reactions caused by heating them into nasty killers like Mr. Hyde ... only we call them Mr. Carcinogen, Mr. Mutagen and Mr. Free Radical!
Cooking produces scores of unnatural chemical byproducts
with damaging effects on health. For example, cooked carbohydrates can do much more than create weight problems. They can turn into a carcinogen called acrylamide, a chemical used to make plastics and dyes that has caused cancer in animals - the higher the cooking temperature, the greater the levels of acrylamide. Frying, one of the worst kinds of cooking, makes oils oxidize creating harmful 'free radicals' and increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease and premature aging. Ironically, frying also destroys the Vitamins A and E which we need to protect us from free radicals.
It wasn't always like this. Fire was only discovered a relatively short time ago in archeological terms. Before that, there was no intentional cooking at all. Even today, of the millions of species of animals and insects on the Earth, only people intentionally eat cooked food. In fact, we've become dependent on cooked food - addicted to it! So much so that the very idea of living on a diet of raw, uncooked, live food may even seem preposterous! "What do you eat, rabbit food?"
We've forgotten what real food tastes like, and not so coincidently, we've forgotten what it feels like to be completely alive and healthy. Today, we want food to be convenient, fast and taste good, even if the taste is artificially induced. This has become a lifestyle -- and doing anything else requires a change in lifestyle. That means more than just more trips to the juice bar. It is a process that requires change at every level - mental, physical and emotional. Most of all, it is an education process, one that requires commitment and patience with yourself. This website will help you with that process by exploring what it takes to go from being addicted to foods that are killing you to a raw food lifestyle (for our purposes, anyone who eats more than 75% uncooked food is a "raw foodist"). We'll explain the science behind this lifestyle choice, sharing our sources with you so you can research them for yourself. We'll give you common-sense guidelines to make it easy to transition between your old lifestyle and a healthy, vibrant new life. And well give you some practical how-to's, from food preparation techniques to delicious, gourmet raw food recipes.
Ultimately, this website isn't even about food at all. As you make this transition yourself, you will discover another, even more important side to a whole-food lifestyle -- that I call getting in touch with the “whole being" within you. A toxic lifestyle actually inhibits our ability to be completely in touch with our inner whole being. There are actual physiological processes which become blocked, some of them right in your brain. In addition, there are emotional and spiritual blockages. As you clear these blocks, you become a more sensitive, caring, happy person because that is the true nature of a whole being. I believe THAT is what we all already are when we aren't inhibited by an unnatural, unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Over time, a live, raw, whole food lifestyle, with the help of this website, will help you experience that for yourself.
The real value of a whole, raw food diet is that it empowers more than just our health ... for with a healthy body and healthy mind, we not only think clearly and less reactively, but with greater awareness, understanding, sensitivity and compassion. A healthy, whole being takes full responsibility naturally doesn't fall into fear and anger with a knee-jerk response to adversity, and has compassion for his enemies as well as his friends, albeit, in some cases, what I call "ruthless compassion."
We have that whole being within us, just waiting to come out, and all we have to do is stop repressing it with a lifestyle and toxic diet based on death. We just have to stop killing our food and ourselves, and then we'll rediscover ourselves. Death, in the form of dead food or any other form, creates death. Life, in the form of live food or any other form, creates life. It's not profound. It's just common sense ... for a whole being!
I didn't feel "called" to share my experience of raw, whole living foods just because I am interested in health and healing. Personally, I am out to transform myself -- and then the world! I believe that is the power of a Whole Being. That is the power that whole, raw food helps us get back in touch with. Whole beings are naturally powerful. The toxins in cooked and processed foods, however, block your natural power. Many of these toxins actually have a sedative-like affect on the brain.
There was no cooking in the Garden of Eden! I think that cooking was the evil knowledge given to Eve by the snake, a symbol of fire in many cultures, in the Garden of Eden. She got a "baked apple." Think about it. Until that one biblical moment, there was probably no fire in the Garden of Eden - they didn’t need it. They ate, as the bible says, right from the plants and trees. The climate was never too hot nor too cold, so they didn't need clothing. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were the perhaps the first "Whole Beings.
But then came the baked apple, an apple suddenly more toxic than nourishing. Now they had knowledge of cooking, and all the lifestyle problems associated with dead food -- from shame about their bodies to less sensitivity to their inner whole being. Toxins robbed them of energy. With less energy, their ability to think clearly was hampered. With the body in survival mode, survival instinctively becomes more important than caring for others. With imbalanced brain functions, they may have become less emotionally balanced, more prone to anger, depression, anxiety or violence. These are just some of the short-term ripple effects of an unnatural, unhealthy lifestyle and diet. There are many more, as well as many long-term effects from cancer to heart disease. In other words, that one single act could have been enough to turn the Garden of Eden into our modem "civilized" world. It was the first "sin."
The opportunity of rediscovering a natural, healthy lifestyle is to re-empower ourselves to be "whole beings" again, as we once may have been in the Garden of Eden. As powerful whole beings, we can approach life's challenges with compassion, wisdom and trust. We can embrace our challenges responsibly, learn from them and grow together. True togetherness comes from within ... and for what is within to manifest without, we need healthy bodies and minds. A whole being, nurtured by whole foods, naturally experiences his or her self as part of the "whole," part of the "web of life."
Trust is just one more of the things that come naturally from within a healthy, self-empowered, whole being -- who, of course, naturally prefers to eat whole, live food! Without trust, we live in fear and anger, becoming mere victims who do not take responsibility for what happens to them. As victims, blaming others for our plight, we have no power. Then we want to lash out, to destroy our enemy in order to reclaim our power. However, power also comes from within. You cant get it back by destroying that which you think took it from you ... because the very belief that it can be taken makes you a victim. So even if you destroy your enemy, a new enemy will inevitably crop up. It is just the nature of animals -- the strong always prey on the weak. And when you are not manifesting as a "whole being," all that's left is your natural animal nature. The TV pundits have always been telling us to follow the money to find the truth. So it boils down to the fact that today food is a business. To a business you represent not a human being, but a human resource -- a worker and a consumer. To be more than just a worker and consumer we need to be aware, awake, alive and fully actualized as human beings...what I have been calling a "whole being." And, believe it or not, being whole simply begins with what you choose to put in your mouth.
Death creates death. People that thrive on dead food thrive on dead thinking, dead beliefs, dead politics, dead economics, dead lifestyles and the means of creating more death. On the other hand, life creates life. You can choose to be fully alive, with the kind of conscious life engendered by whole, live foods. Without the sedative effects of toxins found commonly in cooked foods, you'll discover clearer thinking, more awareness, purer consciousness and much more. And this isn't some new age psych-obabble, it is proven in scientific studies, some of which I'll share with you in this column. It’s not just a fact, its common sense for people that have all the facts.
Dead food kills. Live food gives life.
And the good news is that you still have the Freedom to Choose!
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