I know you are already thinking “RABBIT FOOD” alert, but please stay with me!
After sharing Top 3 Reasons I turned Vegan, I have decided to also share why I turned Raw. My first encounter with Raw Food is at Living Cafe and Deli in Singapore when I did a feature on it, but I quickly dismissed it and returned to my cooked food diet because I didn’t really understand the health benefits of eating Raw. So before we even start, what is the definition of Raw Food?
Raw, or uncooked, food is food that has not been heated above 47ºC.
So what is the big deal about this Raw food?
1) Raw Food is full of energy, enzymes and nutrients that we destroy with cooking
A picture speaks a thousand words – Food photographed with Kirlian Photography techniques shows the huge decrease in energy in the food when we cook. And when I thought hard, it made sense that we don’t put our flesh near fires, we don’t put our money near fires… we don’t put anything important to us near fires. So why do we consistently ruin our foods’ energy by cooking them? I definitely do feel a difference after being on 80% Raw diet for 2 months!
A very inspirational video featuring 2014 Para-Olympian Gold Medalist, Evan Strong, reveals his stunning recovery from a serious accident to being a a gold medalist at the Para-Olympics with a raw diet. A must-watch how he regains his energy and stamina on raw food! This is the trailer:
To digress slightly, I was amazed when I learnt that we have 100 trillion cells. We are truly God’s amazing creation! 50-70 billion cells die everyday in an adult body, which means 17,000,000 cells die every minutes and the body is either recycling or create new cells to replenish. This is why on average, we get ‘new’ skin surface in 28 days and ‘new’ liver in 6 months. What we feed our bodies become the base material to form these new cells that in turn, make US. This fact helped me to be more conscious of feeding myself living raw food meal after meal.
To go more into the science in our foods, we need to first understand and define enzymes. BBC does a great job in defining enzymes – “Enzymes are biological catalysts – catalysts are substances that increase the rate of chemical reactions without being used up. Enzymes are also proteins that are folded into complex shapes that allow smaller molecules to fit into them. If the shape of the enzyme changes, its active site may no longer work. We say the enzyme has been denatured. They can be denatured by high temperatures [above 45ºC] or extremes of pH.”
Learning from Dr. Edward Howell from his book “Enzyme Nutrition”, there are 3 classes of enzymes:
1) Metabolic enzymes – our organs and tissue are run by metabolic enzymes. These metabolic enzymes take proteins, fats and carbohydrates and structure them into healthy bodies. One research found 98 distinct enzymes working in our arteries.
2) Digestive enzymes – 3 main jobs: Proteases are enzymes that digest protein; amylases digest carbohydrates and lipases digest fat.
3) Food enzymes in food – which start food digestion.
Enzymes accelerate the chemical reactions of substances in living organisms. They increase the reaction rates by about 1000000 to 1000000000000 times, making it possible for chemical reactions to take place under normal temperatures. Enzymes mostly assist in the metabolic reactions of cells such as respiration, digestion and photosynthesis. — ask.com
Enzymes are clearly important for our digestive and key body functions, including respiration. Yet, all of the enzymes present in raw foods start to denature if we cook it beyond 47ºC. This means that inherent enzymes in raw food aid optimal digestion – “raw food is so much more easily digested that it passes through the digestive tract in a half to a third of the time it takes for cooked food.” On the other hand, eating cooked food tax our pancreas unnecessarily to produce enzymes to digest cooked food. Also, by focusing on producing digestive enzymes, the body may be unable to produce sufficient metabolic enzymes to repair the body. Hence, to ensure optimal use of our enzymes, eating raw foods is a great source of enzymes without taxing our body’s enzyme bank.
My rule of thumb now is to touch the food – if the food is uncomfortable for my hand, it will likely denature the enzymes in food. Also, because some research show enzymes denature above 40ºC, I keep that as my top temperature on my dehydrator.
2) Eating cooked food causes a reaction in our immune system that resembles an infection (Leukocytosis)
The first doctor to document the effects of cooked versus raw food on the immune system was Dr. Paul Kouchakoff of Switzerland. In the 1930’s, Kouchakoff found that consuming cooked food caused a white blood cell rise called digestive leukocytosis, hence he was a proponent for 80% Raw to 20% Cooked Food ratio.
To quote Dr. Josh Axe, “digestive leukocytosis resembles a stress response to infection or trauma. This increase in white blood cells had been observed by others but was thought to be a normal reaction to eating. At The Institute of Chemical Chemistry, Kouchakoff and others found that unaltered food (food that was raw or heated at very low temperatures) did not cause this immune reaction. They found that only food heated at very high temperatures or food that was processed and refined caused this rise in white blood cells.”
Everytime I used to enjoy a cooked food meal (like the manyyyyyyy meals I had to be able to feature on this blog), I was having an infection-like reaction in my body. To me, if it is a bit like crying wolf to my body, and I want to keep my immune system reactive to real threats like viruses and bacteria attacks but keeping to a predominantly Raw diet.
3) Raw Foods help to slow down the ageing process, and have helped reverse diabetes, high blood pressure and lower cholesterol within a month
In 1961 Dr. Leonard Hayflick at Stanford University discovered that human cells growing in a culture of energy and nutrients could reproduce themselves only a limited number of times before all of their descendants aged and died. “The maximum number of times a cell can reproduce itself is now called its Hayflick limit. Each type of cell has its own Hayflick limit. Dr. Hayflick also showed that long before cells ceased to reproduce themselves they showed certain changes in their structure and functioning, such as less ability to produce energy, less ability to make enzymes quickly enough, and more waste materials inside each cell. So Dr. Hayflick concluded that these age changes in the cells play the central role in the expression of aging in the body, and result in the death of the individual well before all of its cells fail to divide.” – Source: http://www.longestlife.com
I came across some scientific research that our body cells can last 5x longer before reproducing when one is a raw diet vs being on cooked diet, hence slowing down the ageing process. In the mean time, this is a living example of an amazingly well kept woman who preserved her youthfulness with a raw diet
Video: 70 year old raw vegan who looks 40!
For chronic generative illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, a raw diet rich in nutrients and minerals quickly help the body to recover. Taking high blood pressure as an example, conventional medicine cannot pinpoint the real cause. Some propositions of causes are narrowing of arteries due to saturated fat and high salt content. By changing to a raw, vegan diet low in fat and salt, one can reverse what caused high BP at the first place. My mum was on high blood pressure medicine (Atenolol 50 mg, amLodipine 2.5mg) for 20 years, and on the raw, vegan diet, she was totally off her medication in under 2 months. She is still checking her BP everyday now and it has stayed at 110/70 – 120/80. Of course, exercise helps as well!
Here are some more inspirational videos of others who have reversed their health conditions with a raw, vegan diet.
Video: Reversing Diabetes in 30 days
Video: BBC documentary – 9 fast- food junkies crunch their way through half a ton of raw fruits and vegetables – See their blood work improve in just 12 days
Video: Joe Cross reverses his abnormal skin condition, chronic urticaria, with 60 days Raw juice fast.
If you have read up to this point, I imagine you would be thinking – but how to live on rabbit food for 80% of my meals? That will rid my life of the pleasure of eating. What I am slowly learning as I am learning to prepare my own raw meals is that raw food doesn’t have to be boring! There are dehydrators that can warm the food till ~40 deg C so the food is warm without killing the enzymes in the Raw Food. There are so many fruits, veg, sprouts, legumes, nuts and seeds to creatively make our meals.
Some samples of my favourite raw food so far:
But I must admit my transition to Raw is much harder than my transition to a Vegan diet. I was 100% raw during my Vegetable Juice fast, but on most weeks, I would say I am 80% raw because I still crave my cooked rice, beehoon and noodles. So don’t feel the need to become 100% raw immediately! Raw food is also slow food which takes a lot of time to prepare, but incorporating some raw food slowly is better then none!
And because it is difficult to transition to 100% raw diet immediately, here are 3 personal tips during transition:
1) Minimize processed food
- Digestive leukocytosis, which I mentioned earlier was remained to pathological leukocytosis because they deemed the infection-like reaction as a response to abnormal food. The strongest food triggers of this reaction, heated or not, were processed and refined foods such as pasteurized and homogenized milk and margarine, and refined chocolate, sugar, candy, white flour and table salt.
Video: 5700 degs heat cannot burn a “Twinkie” with hydrogenated fats
2) Avoid well-done and flame-broiled conventional meats (and overcooked starchy foods like potatoes that usually accompany our meats) if you cannot refrain from meats totally
- Nancy Appleton reports that the average cancer risk due to amine exposure in cooked foods rises from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50 in people who regularly eat large amounts of well-done and flame-broiled conventional meats.
- Leif Busk, of the Swedish National Food Administration, says that overcooked starchy foods cause the formation of cancer-causing acrylamide.
- Acrylamide, says Appleton, forms not only in baked and fried starches but in meats cooked at high temperatures. As many as 20 identified cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) have been found in such meats.
- Published research has found a connection between well-done meats and stomach cancer and increased risk of breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancer with barbequed, fried and well-done meats.
3) Minimize eating hydrogenated oils
- To prevent oils from turning rancid thereby preserving the oil, hydrogen gas is added, thereby SATURATING the oil, creating saturated or trans fat.
- Chemically, during hydrogenation, the oil’s carbon-carbon double bond is reduced to single bond, while 2 hydrogen molecules each form 2 single bonds with the carbon. I make the link to the chemistry because PLASTICS like polystyrene and polyethylene is also comprised of these hydrogen-carbon molecules. So imagine drinking liquid plastic into us through our food. No wonder we are getting blocked arteries because our bodies cannot get rid of the trans fat!
- Coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking if you want to cook, because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to heat damage.
Wow, this may be the longest entry I have ever written. Embarking on Raw Food is a journey, not a destination. My mum, husband and I have taken the first step and experienced improvements in our health and energy levels, and I hope this sharing will inspire you to try it as well!
Everytime I post on a topic, some people will write to me privately asking if that post was the “magic bullet” for my mum’s cancer. Just want to clarify my mum is also undergoing other complementary treatments (I will slowly write about each one as mum recovers!):
- Raw Diet, Vegan Diet and Juice Fast
- Electro Lymphatic Therapy (ELT)
- Colon Hydrotherapy (Colonics)
- Nefful Negative Ion Clothings from Japan
- Saline Flush, Coffee Enema, Wheatgrass Implant, Probiotic Implant
- Vitamin C High Dose IV
- Vitamin B17
- Ozone Therapy
- Insulin Potentiated Therapy (IPT)
- Exercise with Oxygen Therapy (EWOT)
- Breathing and Pilates