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Because your oven’s broken?

September 8, 2011

Colleague T, in addition to be probably being able to levitate (he says he’s doing yoga when he disappears upstairs but I like to think he’s honing his super powers) is someone who follows an exceptionally healthy diet.  When I peek at what he has for lunch I am always impressed with the healthy and the yummy plus a bit put to shame that I don’t bring my own food to work as often as I could.  Anyway…. he and Mrs Colleague T have just sold their dehydrator.  This tells me something very important: – if regularly using a dehydrator is too much effort for too little result for people with super powers, it’s definitely not something I want to bother doing either.

A dehydrator is something that looks like this and which enables one to heat food very slowly so that it dries out but retains essential raw-ness.  Dehydrators are used by people who eat raw food diets and the conversation arose in the first place because I have been reading a book about raw food diets.  It’s called ‘Eat Smart, Eat Raw’ by Kate Wood and it has some interesting info. 

DID YOU KNOW for example that people who follow raw food diets don’t necessarily eat raw food all of the time?  They eat different percentages of raw food and cooked according to preference.  It’s like bisexuality if women were salads and men were chips (or the other way round) …and please no arguments here on the non-binary nature of gender unless you have a food reference to go with it.  Thankyew.

There are recipes in the book which mostly look like they’d be gorgeous and here’s where Kate does us proud, every single one I’ve read so far I’ve thought ‘wow I’d like to eat that’.   The Thai soup is something I’ll be making as soon as I can and I want the Chocolate Torte for my birthday cake.  I also hope to make more interesting packed lunches, especially now I’m sliding back into being vegetarian kind of out of food preference.  What I won’t be doing, however, is being in any way concerned about how much of my diet is raw.

It’s not so much that I’m lazy as that I’m unconvinced.  Towards the front of the book is a section called ‘Why Eat Raw Foods?’ – I attempt to answer this in the title of this post and although I was aiming for humour, I think I prefer my answer to the answers Kate gives.  If she’s right, we’re all in trouble.  If she’s wrong, it’s annoying thinking of misled and mis-fed people.  I read elsewhere that eating a raw food only diet can stop women from menstruating and that seems kinda less than ideal and like the sort of thing that happens when one is seriously not getting enough calories.

Argument #1: “In the Essene Gospel of Peace, a reputedly overlooked book of the Bible, Jesus advocates eating raw foods”
First hit I get on Google for ‘Essene Gospel of Peace’ is a Christian vegetarian saying it’s likely to be a modern fake, which doesn’t bode well for Ms Wood’s attempts to get the majority of Christians on board.  Then there’s the dodginess of what Jesus is credited as having said in this Gospel, which is “…eat not anything which fire, or frost, or water has destroyed.  Fire burned, frozen and rotten foods will burn, freeze and rot your body also”.   Isn’t that like saying “don’t eat anything you’ve cut into bits, it will cut your body into bits also” ?  Maybe I’m over-simplifying but then so is whoever wrote this thing.

Argument #2: Eating cooked food causes your body to produce more white blood cells + being poisoned causes your body to produce more white blood cells => cooked food = poison
Guess what else causes your body to produce more white blood cells?  Exercising.  And although you might fall over if you overdo it, I have yet to hear anyone saying that exercise is poisonous.  Furthermore, the research the book cites is pulled into some bits here, again a site written by veggies – please read if interested or worried.

Argument #3: Raw food helps save the planet because it requires little or no packaging and no processing
Ok you may have me a bit stumped on this one, Kate.  I’ll get back to you.

Argument #4: When you cook food you lose a lot of the nutrients
That’s fair in many cases, but there should still be plenty of nutrients left.  Also with some foods you have to cook them or they are actually poisonous (like in a way that will make you ill, rather than in the way that exercise is poisonous) e.g. kidney beans.  There’s an antioxidant called lycopene in tomatoes that increases loads if you eat them cooked.  Some plant stuffs, like grains and soya beans, contain natural defences against being eaten that means they should be cooked so that stuff gets destroyed.

Anyway, I’m done arguing.  I just read a sentence that said potatoes caused great stress to the body because they’re so high in sugar and I thought, no, why am I still reading this?  Are you sure you meant to say potatoes, Kate?  Surely you mean donuts.  Donuts I’d have agreed with.

The good news for many of us is: according to this book, even eating a 10% raw diet can undo the harm that eating cooked food does.  Excellent.  Because that’s what we’re already doing; it’s called salad.

ETA: Just a note on the end here.  I do think eating plenty of raw fruit and veg is likely to be good for you, you’ll get vitamins and fibre and it will fill you up.  I’m just saying I don’t think we need draw devil horns on the stove or fret any of this stuff overmuch.

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6 Comments
  1. I once worked with a guy who was a strict raw food vegan, who wouldn’t eat anything that had been heated above room temperature. He used to bring in these enormous boxes of salad (grated carrot, greens, beansprouts etc) and just graze all day long because that was the only way to get enough nutrients in. He was incredibly healthy and fit, did martial arts and so on. But he was a peculiar shade of orange, presumably from ODing on Vitamin C.

    Some people argue that it’s the discovery of fire that enabled humanity to develop material culture and abstract thought. All that time that needed to be spent chewing raw leaves, raw meat and so on suddenly telescoped because cooked food is easier to chew and digest – so we had time for other things!

  2. I think the raw foods people overdo it, but I also think they have a point about potatoes. They obviously don’t have more added sugar than donuts, but they have a higher glycaemic load, i.e. going by the normal serving size, they will create a bigger blood sugar spike – see e.g. http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm or http://www.alsearsmd.com/glycemic-index/. (There are different ways of calculating glycaemic load, which is why the values differ, but potatoes are higher on both of them). I try to avoid them these days because a bigger spike tends to be followed by a bigger crash, which often makes me feel nauseous and shaky.

    • What you say here is a lot clearer than the book was – the book literally stated that potatoes are high in sugar.

  3. The trick is to swap the normal white potato for a sweet potato (apparently they do not have as much sugar which means smaller spikes) and they are really yummy 🙂

  4. Marmite lover permalink

    TRISH!!

    Your phone is in the office…luckily it’s really low in calories…

    Marmite lover K 🙂

    • Thanks hon. I realised as soon as I got home, what I’d done was go to pick up my phone then I turned around to chat to you instead before I went out the door, Just went back to pick it up

      Have a great weekend and see you Monday 🙂

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