Okay, so in my blog on 3/15 I promised that I would do research into how cooked foods alter our health and why the cells don't work properly. Here's what I've found so far.
Apparently it all breaks down to enzymes. Enzymes in living (raw) foods are what keep our cells going. Now, we can obviously eat a pizza but that pizza becomes part of our genetic makeup. (not our DNA, but literally a part of ourselves) and it's not like you are a machine where you put a corn cob in the top, and a corn cob comes out teh bottom.... well, let's use another analogy, corn probably wasn't the best here. An apple doesn't go in and come out whole. Well, neither will the cheese curls we snarf. our bodies break them down getting every molecule of nutrition we possibly can out of them. If we're eating processed foods, (let's stick with cheese curls here) there is zero nutrition that our body can use. No enzymes in them that our cells need to replenish themselves with. As cells are living organisms themselves and are in a constant state of repair, reproduction and dying, they need living foods to replace themselves with healthy versions.
For those of us who have had kids, you want them to be healthier and not have the problems that you've had, right? I mean, who wants to have to watch our children suffer- off topic, sorry.
according to rawfoodlife.com- cooking destroys all enzymes and nutrition. This process is a chemical reaction that food takes when applied to heat (energy). In fact, all things change when applied to this form of energy. The food that we need to live is now being replaced with a toxin. You can't breathe in smoke adn expect to be ok, this is the same with the byproduct of fire applied to your food. It alters it in such a way that it then becomes bad for you. SIMILAR to hydrogenated oils. We take a perfectly good oil, force hydrogen into it, agitate it and that oil that once was semi healthy with living enzymes and a short shelf life, now becomes a chemical configuration of crap that can sit on your shelf for an indeterminate time for your convenience. mmmm. let's pump some of that through my arteries!
So, humans are the only animal in existance to cook their food. (some monkeys smoke, but I digress...) According to: jonbarron.org: Raw foods and enzymes
I've covered the issue of digestive enzymes many times before. Processing and cooking destroy enzymes in food. (Man is the only animal that cooks his food.) In fact, any sustained heat of approximately 118-129 degrees F (48-54 C) destroys virtually all enzymes. This means that, for most of us, the food entering our stomachs is devoid of enzymes. Why is this important? Because enzyme rich foods actually "predigest" in your stomach through the action of their own enzymes in a process called autolytic digestion. Before stomach acid enters the process, you can actually break down as much as 75% of your meal. Without that "autolytic" digestion, you force the body to compensate by over producing stomach acid and digestive enzymes in the pancreas in an attempt to break down the "dead" food.
The bottom line is that eating a diet of cooked and processed food puts incredible stress on the body -- particularly on the pancreas since it has to produce massive quantities of digestive enzymes since they did not come with the food itself. The less digestion that takes place before food reaches the small intestine, the greater the stress placed on the endocrine system. Is it any wonder that the incidence of diabetes is exploding in the developed world? If your diet consists of predominantly cooked and processed foods, then supplemental digestive enzymes are the "sine qua non" of minimal good health.
Eating a predominantly raw food diet, on the other hand, takes stress off the pancreas (and the entire body) by providing the enzymes required for digestion. It is one of the primary advantages of a raw food diet.
(the last 3 paragraphs were taken directly from his website)
Okay, so this makes sense- our pancreas has to work harder increasing the amounts of insulin produced, which leads to problems such as hypoglycemia (sp?) and diabetes.
Well, apparently cooking foods also releases free radicals into our bodies when we consume them. For those of us not in the know, free radicals are organic molecules that are responsible for tissue damage, aging (not gracefully!) and possibly some diseases. They're unstable molecules and so they need to connect with other molecules to give them structure. Kind of like a virus to a host. Viruses are no good without something to perpetrate them into growing, and that's how free radicals are. The reason they're not stable and are looking for other molecules is because they have an uneven number of electrons, and because nature is symetrical they have to have it to survive, but in attaching to your molecules, they leech off the good stuff that you need, making you weak. (think vinegar to an egg shell) Well, when they attach to your molecules, they destructure your cells, making you sick. Free radicals can be blamed for damaging your body, clogging your arteries, etc, HOWEVER you (and I) are to blame for putting them there. They can be increased by stress levels, cigarette smoking, alcohol and other factors but mainly from our food intake.
So, how do we fight free radicals? I'm so glad you asked! Antioxidants. antioxidants neutralize free radicals so they can no longer do harm to us. Antioxidants are found in the foods we eat. If cooking food causes free radicals, where can we find antioxidants- it's counterform raw food! In it's natural form, food is perfectly designed for our bodies to digest, process and so we can extract all nutrients possible to make our systems run as they should. Can't put dirty gas in a car and expect it to perform at it's peak.
Our bodies are designed (read my previous blogs to find out how I feel about that) to absorb maximum amounts of nutrition from minimal amounts of food when fed properly! This is why we feel full after a large salad (minimal calories vs quantity of food) instead of an entire bag of cheese puffs, or chips, or insert other deep fried processed junk food here.