In my most recent exploration of healthy eating I began reading and researching Raw Food Living. It started after I was approached by a gentleman at the farmers' market who was offering a raw food cooking class at a local church the following weekend. After speaking with him and looking at his website and was excited to learn more.
Through reading, I was amazed by how many people follow this painfully strict yet totally pure diet and rave about its life changing abilities. While at the cooking class I spoke with a few people who literally started glowing when they began telling me about the positive changes in their bodies from following this diet. Eating raw, fresh foods straight from the earth certainly doesn't sound gimmicky to me; it's the same way of living that I profess. My hold-up was just as obvious as anyones though; NO cooked food? That's just too extreme for me.
Raw foodists don't cook anything over 118 degrees. Rather these raw folk rely on dehyrators, blenders and food processors to create many of their dishes. They claim that cooking kills all of the enzymes and nutrients in food and therefore leave us humans void of these essential nutrients. During the raw food "cooking" class the chef went on and on about the food we eat is dead. He held firm to the belief that our bodies are constantly renewing and creating cells, trillions of them but for the typical american we're creating cells out of dead food. This really made me think. He continued on about whenever heat is added to any food we create chemicals that are toxic to our body. Now I agree with him that cooking veggies does kill nutrients, some methods more so than others, but on a side note, adding heat to tomatoes or carotenoids actually increases their nutrient capacity. Hmm, let's review another of his points. Adding heat to food creates toxins? Well when food is charred over a grill yes, there are some carcinogenic theories behind those black crispy spots that appear but just simply cooking food normally? No proof there. His third point worth talking about really made me think and goes against anything I've ever learned about science. Mr. Chef tried to convince us that when we eat any food that is cooked our stomach goes into paralysis because it believes we are poisoning it. Seriously? I don't even need to go on about this.
While I did disagree with the majority of what the chef discussed I did agree with him 110% that the standard american diet is killing our nation. Americans need desperately to clean up their eating and eat more fruits and veggies, no doubt. I've made mention of this a couple other times but I stand firm on my belief that americans bring on their own fate. Obesity levels are astounding in children and adults and cancer, heart attack, and overall illness percentages are increasing steadily. Our nation runs on highly processed, nutrient voided, empty calorie-rich food and WAY too much of it. I could go off on a tangent but I think I've made my point.
While I enjoyed the cooking class and loved hearing another's perspective on eating I was certainly not converted. Yes, It can only benefit anyone to add in more uncooked veggies and fruits to their diet but never cooking again? Even cavemen cooked! While converting to a raw food diet will never happen for me I applaud those who care so much about their health that they are willing to do so.