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Raw Foods: The Secret to Powerful Health?

I've been 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.

Raw 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.

When 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.

Although 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.

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