Raw Eating

~ An entry by Chef Nam ~

I have always loved the sensual experience of eating foods in their natural state, and I love the way eating them makes me feel. I am not a doctor or trained nutritionist. I rely on listening to my body and how I feel. At the same time, the health arguments for raw foods are compelling. Many experts believe living on raw are the key to good health and longevity. They are the foods that have nourished our bodies for over 3,950,000 years of the roughly 4,000,000-year evolution of the species. Simply put, raw foods supplied everything we need for almost all of our evolutionary development.

It’s no secret that the most important aspect of eating living or raw foods is enzyme preservation. Enzymes help you digest food, and they act as catalysts for every metabolic reaction in our body. Without them, there can be no cell division, energy production, or brain activity. In addition, no vitamins or hormones can do their work, nor can your immune system.

Every food contains the perfect mix of enzymes to digest it completely. These are called food enzymes. Nature in her never-ending perfection sees that all food, whether flesh, fruit, or vegetable, decomposes and returns to the earth from which it came. Cooking food 50 Celsius destroys their natural enzymes, forcing our bodies to generate the enzymes necessary to digest them. Two main problems occur because of this enzyme destruction. First, your body cannot produce enzymes in perfect combinations to metabolize our foods as completely as the food enzymes created by nature do. This results in partially digested fats, proteins, and starches that can clog our body’s intestinal tract and arteries.

The Eskimo is a remarkable example of the transformative power of enzymes. The word Eskimo means “one who eats raw.” While living for centuries on diets that consisted primarily of the raw whale or seal blubber, Eskimo developed no arteriosclerosis and experienced almost no incidence of heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure. The established nutritional doctrine would predict a high rate of these ailments given the diet, but even blubber will digest itself completely if it is not cooked since its enzymes are intact. Once you heat the finest olive oil above 50 Celsius, you will not be able to digest it completely. More important, many authorities believe that eating cooked foods depletes our finite enzyme reserve. In other words, our enzyme reserve is slowly exhausted over a lifetime of eating cooked foods.

There are terms of raw foods and living foods interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. Living foods have both their “life force” and their food enzymes available. Raw foods, in contrast, even though they have not been heated to above 50 Celsius, do not necessarily have their enzymes available. For example, nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from growing into a plant or tree. Only after they have been sprouted will these enzymes inhibitors dissolve away. This means that unsprouted nuts and seeds are almost as difficult to digest as cooked ones. Some cooked foods, such as miso, have been cultured with living beneficial bacteria. If the miso has not been heated before proceeding to fermentation, it is considered a living food and can be digested easily. In other words, not all raw foods are living, and not all living foods are raw.

In order to be able to consume raw food nowadays, firstly, we need organic farmers to grow the most flavorful vegetables and fruits possible. High-quality, good-tasting and safe products for the table. The key to realizing this goal is to cultivate them in accordance with the rhythms of nature. Many farmers have discovered that the best way to produce good-tasting harvests is to go back to the way vegetables were grown by their ancestors, before the advent of so many damaging chemicals. This means taking care of the soil through the use of cover crops, compost, and crop rotation. Farmers are the stewards of the land, and we have an obligation to take good care of it by applying the principles of sustainable agriculture. Part of that responsibility also involves seeking out chefs to find out what farmer can crow for them. Teamwork between chefs and farmers is critical to the continuing expansion of organic farming. The farmer has to welcomes chefs to come and walk through their gardens, select any plants that appeal to them, and then experiment with them. The farmer needs to invite chefs to browse in their library of agricultural and culinary works, to offer classes, and to participate in their project to encourage children and adult to eat more nutritiously.

Thankfully, more and more people today are beginning to realize how important it is to support agriculture that harms neither the land nor the consumers who depend on its harvest.

One greatest example of Ecological farming is The Green Circle Eco Farm located in the north-west corner of Singapore, Lim Chu Kang. Mrs.Evelyn Eng and Mr.Lim Tian Soo have been growing chemical-free Asian vegetables since 1999. The farm puts special emphasis on environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture and practices permaculture which is designed to be self-sufficient. All materials used for plant support are reused wood or made from materials available within the farm, while delivery boxes are collected by volunteers and reused along with minimal packaging. There is strict control of plastic within its premises. Produce is grown for domestic consumption only-vegetables are sold online and delivered directly at the same day – so there is no need for long-term storage or long-distance shipping, and this helps to reduce carbon footprints and to provide the freshest and finest farm produce.

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