accused, and rightly so, of living the courses I take. My
correspondence classes, taken with the goal of becoming a Doctor of
Naturopathy, have led me on many journeys of self discovery. The most
recent class, entitled Holistic Nutrition, was no exception. The class
textbook, Conscious Eating by Gabriel Cousens, was a rich collection of
facts and theories about what could possibly be the best diet to
follow. Cousens believes that raw foods are the answer to true health.
I would tend to agree.
foods are any foods that have not been altered from their natural state
by heat or chemicals. Those promoting the raw foods diet believe that
heating foods above 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the enzymes.
According to Cousens, an enzyme is a biologically, chemically, and
energetically active protein complex that is made by a living organism
which accelerates metabolic processes, digests food, helps to detoxify
the body, and protects it against free radicals. Every food has its own
enzymes that are specifically tailored to suit its digestive needs.
We are also all born with
our own limited number of enzymes that are used to help with digestion
and many other bodily functions. As we age the amount of enzymes we
have declines. This is one of the reasons why digestion is more
difficult as we mature. Given the theory of the importance of raw
foods, it may also explain why our health may deteriorate as we age.
With this in mind, the more we can conserve our own enzymes by eating
raw foods the better.
Cousens speaks of raw foods, he makes a strong play for fruits,
vegetables, nuts, and grains. He believes that we do not need flesh
foods or dairy to be healthy. In fact, he states that to eat these
foods actually contributes to poor health. He believes that since
animals are at the top of the food chain they accumulate more toxins
than the plant kingdom. They are also laced with hormones and other
detrimental chemicals that load us down and keep our immune systems
from working at their best.
Cousens advocates a vegetarian lifestyle, he also states the fact that
if dairy and flesh foods are eaten in their raw forms, they will be
much easier to digest than dairy that has been pasteurized and
homogenized or meat that has been cooked. Of course, we need to take
into account the possibility of contamination and bacteria, but
drinking the milk straight from the cow appears to be healthier than
drinking it straight from the carton.
In choosing to eat mostly or only
raw foods, you will have made a choice that will affect your entire
lifestyle. Freshly squeezed juices will replace your jugs of orange
juice, a dehydrator will replace your stove, and you might look at
purchasing a heavy duty blender or food processor. Raw food "cooking"
allows your creative juices to flow and allows your pallet to enjoy a
wide range of diverse tastes and textures.
Cousens's lengthy book, a whopping
850 pages, goes into much greater detail on the philosophy behind his
ideas. He also gives examples of preparation and presents a wonderful
guide on the transition into vegetarianism. For me, I believe raw foods
are the answer. I leave you to your own decisions.