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Cooked Food Vs Raw Vegan Food

14 Jan 2013

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Common Myth: Raw food eaters are skinny and it’s impossible for them to pack on muscles.

I believed in this myth for a very long time. Who wants to be skinny and vulnerable?. Not me. Just like any other man, I always wanted to be big and strong. If I get options to either live for 30 years, big and strong or live for 100 years skinny but very healthy, I will always choose the first option. But, if I can be big, strong, healthy and can live for 100 years, why would not I say YES?. The next question is how?. The above video explains it all. All claims in this video are true?. I do not know at this point. But there are strong supporting evidences.

Let’s analyze from evolution point of view.

Human Brain Evolution

Many scientists believe that the cooked food in human diet is responsible for the evolution of a bigger brain. Human brain consumes roughly 20% of the calories that goes into the body. Cooked foods are packed with more calories, easy to chew, tastes better and could sustain few more days, which gave our ancestor the advantage of having more time to socialize and less time in searching for food. Since human brain is nourished with more food and given more time to think, it is increased in size.

A sensible and logical conclusion from fossil evidences. Somehow, I could not agree with this. If you compare the brain size of the apes between 3.5 million years and 1.8 million years (roughly when Homo erectus started cooking), you can see the increase in brain size. (i.e) evolution is already started.

What is mysterious is, the accelerated rate at which the brain size increased from 1.8 millions years onward. Since, Action A (Cooking) and Action B (Brain Size Increasing) happened around the same time, concluding that action B is due to action A - does not make sense to me.

Let’s come to the present. We all eat cooked food and know the long list of diseases/disorders that will be caused by those foods. Most probably, it is not the cooked food that causes the diseases, but the preparation of the foods and amount of food we eat, causes the diseases/disorders. Properly cooked healthy food in proper proportion, with proper exercise helps us maintain good health. However, raw foodists claim better health, vitality, creative thinking, anti-aging and being energetic with raw food. Too good to be true. Is n’t it?. Let’s see what is termed as raw food.

Cooked Food: Any processing/preparation of food that involves application of heat higher than 118° F. I seriously do not know, who came up with this number.

Raw Vegan Food: All the food items that falls into the below categories. Only plant based food. No animal and dairy products.

Here are some of the key points discussed in all the debates “Cooked Vs Raw”

Digestive Enzymes are destroyed in Cooking

This is the most discussed topic. Our scientists so far, claimed that all enzymes from the plant foods are destroyed in Hydrochloric acid (HCl) secreted in our stomach, with exceptions to digestive enzymes from Papaya, Pineapple and Kiwi fruit. So, eating these three fruits after a heavy meat based diet is good for digestion. However, recent unconfirmed study says that, the food stays in the body for roughly 45 minutes, before being subjected to HCl treatment. So, the digestive enzymes are being absorbed and used by our body. More research is needed.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in Raw Vegan Foods

This special vitamin is needed for normal functioning of brain, nervous system and formation of blood. Daily requirement is roughly 2.5 micro grams. This vitamin is produced by bacteria and it’s not available in most of the plant sources. True. However, recent research claims that Chlorella, Miso and Nutritional yeast do have vitamin B12. These are regional foods and are not available throughout the world. So, many raw foodist adjust this deficiency with vitamin supplements (either daily or weekly). However, we could get this vitamin from a cup of milk/curd/yogurt. This would be the simplest way. Even, if you switch to raw food and do not consume vitamin B12, it may take up to three years for your body to show the symptoms of this deficiency.

You need to eat more with Raw Vegan Foods

That is 100% true. Due to the low calorific value of raw foods, we need to eat more and more often. It was tough millions of years ago. With the abundance of food sources available right next to our door, this should not be a problem. Even with cooked food, the experts suggests us to eat six small meals rather than 3 large meals. With Raw Vegan foods, we will be forced to follow that pattern, which is good for us. Isn’t it?

Reversal of chronic diseases with Raw Vegan Food

Many people claim to have reversed the chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis and even some types of cancer in few weeks to few months of eating raw vegan food. Scientific human trials are needed to confirm these claims.

Extreme Endurance with Raw Vegan Foods

Once I saw the above video and inspired to know more about raw foods, I stumbled upon Brendan Brazier, who is the author of “The Thrive Diet” and a professional Iron man Triathlon athlete. (It’s a triathlon race consisting of a 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a marathon 42.2 km run, raced in that order and without a break. He could complete this race within 9 hours. I never knew such things are possible with Vegan foods.

Anti-Aging with Raw Foods:

Hundreds of living evidences are available through out the world in many countries. Below is one such example.

How sure I am about her age being 71?. 0%. Yes. This is just a video uploaded in YouTube by someone who loves raw food. There is no reliable way to verify it. However, my instinct says that this could be possible. Around 15 years back, when I was a kid, I read a very old book in Tamil, (இயற்கை உணவுகள் - I think. Can’t remember the title exactly) about raw foods which detailed the health benefits and extreme endurance possible with raw foods. When combined with the proper exercise, I believe this could be the right way of life for me. Only way to know is to experiment it.

I am going to try Raw Vegan Foods for 3 months. If it brings the benefits that it claims, I will continue. Else, I will return back to the cooked foods.

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