Despite incredible advances in modern medicine, people still contract and spread serious diseases and common ailments at an alarming rate. Most people accept this as one of life unfortunate realities.
The truth is, reality doesn’t have to be this way. All symptoms of illness can be directly related to digestive problems. This is caused by an inappropriate diet.
The concept of eating raw food isn’t new by any means, but it has gained much greater popularity during recent times owing to its unquestionable benefits on health, energy and overall vitality Raw food diets can lead to a much healthier, natural lifestyle.
It is very difficult to consider ‘’raw’’ food in the same terms as a cooked meal, but when we consider what raw foods can offer then it is worth seriously considering a raw food diet. Raw food equates to pure, fresh, vibrant, enzyme-rich, oxygen-rich, unadulterated, whole organic living nutrition, so what is the difference between a raw diet and a cooked one?
Cooked Foods, these are natural foods that have been processed or heated to high temperatures, causing chemical changes to occur. Cooking food can diminish it nutritional value. It is thought to denature the enzymes naturally present in food. If we over consume cooked food, our bodies are forced to work harder by producing more enzymes. Over time, a lack of enzymes from food is thought to lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiency, accelerated ageing, and weight gain.
Whilst cooked foods certainly tantalises our taste buds, this can be largely due to the stimulant effects on the body, the body doesn’t actually understand what it has taken in.
Many of the chemicals within cooked foods are unnatural and therefore the body sees them as foreign bodies.
Although we can glean nutrition from this fractured, denatured food we must realise that every time we cook our food or buy something that is pre-prepared we lose a large majority of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, oxygen, plant hormones and water. All essential nutrients that we need to stay healthy.
Raw food by complete contrast is replete with everything that enabled it to sprout and grow in the first place, enzymes, water, oxygen, plant hormones, vitamins and minerals and so much more besides.
People who follow a raw food diet believe it has numerous health benefits, which include the following factors:-
a. An increase in energy
b. A reduced risk in illness and disease
c. Weight Loss
d. Clearer skin
Following a raw food diet means that there are fewer trans fats and saturated fats than in a typical Western diet. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, fibre, vitamin A and health promoting antioxidants. It is low in sodium and sugar.
The raw food diet is also thought to have a favourable acid-alkaline balance, being low in acid-forming food. Too much acidity in the body is thought to result in disease.
Enzymes are energised protein molecules they accelerate the rate of biological reaction without being used up in the reaction. They are the human body’s life force and are involved in every function of the body. Vitamins, minerals and hormones must have enzymes to work properly.
Appropriate ingestion and production within our body of active enzymes is the most important factor in digestion and therefore one of the most important contributors to good health.
Individuals who lack are enzyme deficient are subject to health problems ranging from the common cold to physical problems, disease and degeneration. Studies indicate that decreased enzymes levels are found in a number of chronic ailments, such as arthritis, diabetes, allergies, skin diseases, cancer, immune deficiencies and much more.
Some nutritionists refer to enzymes as dynamos because they are powerful biochemical catalysts, they speed up the burning or building reactions in the body according to requirement. Although the enzyme-producing organs continue to function over the entire course of a healthy life their activity does deteriorate with age.
Our bodies are home to billions of enzymes, all working in intricate ways. We cannot survive without them. They work both in the body and the brain in a most fantastic and powerful way. Enzymes that are found in the intestines can break up a million times their weight of sugar and fat molecules. One molecule of the enzyme that is found in blood will split five million molecules of hydrogen peroxide into molecules of water and oxygen in sixty seconds
Enzymes are the life force of a food, helping us to digest food and absorb nutrients.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
The human digestive system is a complex series of organs and glands that processes food. In order to use the food we eat, our body has to break down the food into smaller molecules, before the process of utilisation and absorption can begin
Most of the digestive organs, like the stomach and intestines, are tube-like and contain the food as it makes its way through the body. The digestive system is essentially a long, twisting tube that runs from the mouth to the anus, with the addition of a few other organs, like the liver and pancreas that produces or stores digestive chemicals.
Within the Digestive System the general term Gastrointestinal Tract covers the Stomach and the Intestines – the mucous-lined tube that directly interfaces us with our environment.
The Stomach is the sac-like organ that connects the Oesophagus to the Duodenum of the Small Intestine. The Stomach is flexible, allowing it to expand when it is filled with food and to collapse when it is empty. It has a capacity to hold approximately 1.5 litres of fluid. The Intestines are the part of the alimentary canal that extends from the Stomach to the Anus.
Many of the most common health problems, together with our emotional state of mind are attributable to the health status of the Gastrointestinal Tract, GI. This can be directly associated to the quality of the foodstuffs that we consume.
The GI transforms foodstuffs ‘alchemically’ into our flesh, blood, actions, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Within the process of digestion, the salivary glands, the pancreas and the liver are all particularly important to our emotional status.
As part of the digestive process, ‘Raw Foods’ are particularly important in providing the enzymes that are essential to our health.
The substances upon which an enzyme can act are known as Substrates. By the process of binding with particular substrates, enzymes act as catalysts, setting off reactions which allow substances to be converted into such a form with which the body is able to work. Enzymes have a specific role, hence there are many thousands of different types of Enzymes.
Raw foods have live food enzymes within them that will help break down that particular food. If you choose to make juice from your raw foods you will get many additional benefits, but, not as many digestive benefits as you will receive with digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are more concentrated, potent and effective than raw food enzymes.
In very broad terms, enzymes can be classified as digestive or pancreatic :-
● Digestive Enzymes, covers the many enzymes that catalyse the splitting, hydrolysis of
large molecules ingested from foods.
● Pancreatic Enzymes describes a sub-group of digestives enzymes that are contained in
The primary digestive enzymes in the body can be placed in three basic classes according to the substrate that they act on. The proteolytic enzymes are enzymes responsible for the digestion of proteins, fats are digested by lipases, and dietary carbohydrates, (includes sugars) are digested by amylases.
a. Amylase is from the salivary glands
b. Lipase is synthesized principally in the liver and protease from the pancreas
c. Cellulase digest Cellulose
Whenever we place food in our mouths, our digestive systems begin the miraculous process of transforming that food into usable nutrients.
MOUTH. As soon as we eat, salivary amylase in the mouth begins the digestive process by breaking down bigger starch molecules (polysaccharides) into smaller ones, known as maltose and dextrin. When you chew carbohydrates it becomes sweeter as you chew because the mechanical action of our teeth and the enzyme amylase in the saliva begin breaking the carbohydrates down to their component sugars.
STOMACH. The food is then transferred to the stomach, gastric juices, which are comprised of hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen and have been secreted by parietal and chief glands in the stomach’s lining, take over next. The role of the hydrochloric acid in the stomach is to dissolve food, kill unwanted microorganisms, and convert pepsinogen into the stomach enzyme pepsin. Pepsin, a proteolytic, protein-breaking, enzyme, it helps to breakdown and chop up molecules of protein into smaller subcomponents. Most proteins are big, complicated molecules made up of units called amino acids, which are called the “building blocks of life.” As pepsin depends on the acidic environment of the stomach, this is where it does most of its work. the stomach muscles also play a role mechanically breaking down the food too.
SMALL INTESTINE. From the stomach, the partially broken down food transfers into the upper section of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. At this stage, only a few of the proteins and carbohydrates have been broken down, and none of the fats. This is where pancreatic enzymes do their magic. The pancreatic enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin digest additional members of the protein family, and function best in the more alkaline environment of the intestine. Other pancreatic enzymes include pancreatic amylase, which continues breaking down starches into maltose; and lipase, which begins to digest fats into glycerol and fatty acids.
Peristalsis, is a series of wave-like muscle contractions that moves food to different processing stations in the digestive tract, it keeps the whole process going. The process of peristalsis begins in the esophagus when a bolus of food is swallowed. The strong wave-like motions of the smooth muscle in the esophagus carry the food to the stomach, where it is churned into a liquid mixture called chyme.
Next, peristalsis continues in the small intestine where it mixes and shifts the chyme back and forth, allowing nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine walls. The food proceeds down the portion of the small intestine known as the jejunum, where most of the absorption takes place. Enzymes embedded in the lining of the small intestine’s absorptive fingers, or villi, complete the digestion of peptides and maltose into the amino acids and simple sugars we can absorb.
LARGE INTESTINE. The remainder of the food then moves into the large intestine, which is also referred to as the colon. It is here that important functions take place, such as the absorption of water and sodium, as well as the ongoing manufacture and absorption of micronutrients with the help of intestinal flora. Finally, the remaining waste products are excreted from the body through the rectum and anus.
It is important to point out that enzymes are sensitive to heat and are destroyed by temperatures between 105 and 118 degrees, as in cooking and processing.
STUDIES OF DIGESTION AND GOOD HEALTH
The Standard American Diet (SAD) has been subject to extensive studies on nutrition undertaken by the government. The U.S Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human needs concluded in the 1978 report entitled ‘’Diet and Killer Diseases’’ ‘’that the average American diet is responsible for the development of chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, stroke etc.,
Dr Francis M Pottenger’s nutritional studies have shown that a regular diet of cooked or canned foods causes the development of chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality.
Professor Jackson of the Dept., of Anatomy, University of Minnesota, has shown that rats that are fed for 135 days on an 80% cooked food diet resulted in and increase in the pancreatic weight of 20-30%. This means that the pancreas has to work harder with a cooked food diet.
‘’Although the body can manufacture enzymes, the more you use your enzyme potential, the faster it is going to run out’’ wrote Dr Edward Howell, who pioneered research in the benefits of food enzymes.
DIET AND WEIGHT PROBLEMS.
It is interesting to consider the reasons why people have weight problems. Our body gets used to a certain level of calories and certain nutrients which often affects the balance of enzymes in our body. Switching to a living food diet, a regime that consists of practically all unprocessed and uncooked food sources can radically produce changes. The result of eating raw foods can have a miraculous effect in overcoming weight problems.
Ideally, food should be as untouched as possible, meaning that cooking above a temperature of 118′F should be limited to a minimum, over this temperature enzymes in the foods will be destroyed. Because cooking food destroys the vast majority of the enzymes, only a small percentage of the food is assimilated into the body.
The role these enzymes play is to help the body to break down and digest food. The body can produce these enzymes; however, it takes a large amount of energy to do so and will leave you feeling lethargic and with less energy than before you ate. It also kills a large percentage of vitamins and can make minerals more difficult to extract from the food source during digestion.
When the body is given an abundance of enzymes through living foods the body will stop exhausting its own supply of enzymes for the sole purpose of digestion of food. The bodies enzymes can now break down the excess fat, protein and clogged arteries and therefore have a remarkable result for people who have a weight problem.
Cooking food destroys as much as 90% of its nutritional value and the enzymes that the body requires to digest food.
Science is unable to duplicate enzymes because they are constructed of life itself. Only raw foods have functional ‘’live enzymes’’. If food is cooked it passes through the digestive system at a much slower pace than raw foods. It tends to ferment and returns’’ undesirable’’ substances back into the body. The liver, pancreas, stomach and the intestines then have to begin manufacturing the requisite digestive enzymes that have been destroyed in the cooking process.
If the intake of raw and cooked foods is out of balance, this extra stage of activity can have a detrimental effect on our health as it draws upon our organs reserve energies.
Colon cancer is second only to lung cancer as a killer in America. There are direct nutritional links between the consumption of enzyme-deficient cooked foods and cancer of the colon, as has been observed by dietary professionals who offer advice on the balance between the ingestion of raw and cooked foods.
Morbid matter may accumulate in the intestinal tract due to wrong eating habits. This may manifest the following symptoms, fatigue, nervousness, gastro-intestinal discomfort, recurrent infections, skin eruptions, hormonal disturbances, arthritis, sciatica, low back pain, allergies, asthma, eye, ear, nose and throat disorders, cardiac irregularities, pathological changes in the breast and so on.
All of these conditions have shown to respond to therapy directed to correcting bowel toxaemia.
We are aware that it is important to include fibre in the diet as it helps to maintain the good health of the colon wall. It is even more important to obtain the enzymes from food that are essential for the proper digestion and assimilation of vital nutrients.
Cooked foods often pass into the bloodstream as un-split molecules. They are deposited as waste in various parts of the body. If it is a fat molecule is deposited it may produce cholesterol plaque, calcium, will produce arthritis and sugar molecules, diabetes.
White blood cell count will rise dramatically after ingesting a meal of canned or cooked foods, this condition is known as digestive leukocytosis. Elevated white blood cell counts are correlated to bacterial infection, inflammation and depressed immunity. Raw foods do not produce these reactions. All raw foods contain exactly the right enzymes that are required to split every last molecule into the basic building block of metabolism, amino acids, from protein, glucose, from complex carbohydrates and essential fatty acids, from unsaturated fats.
THE BENEFITS OF LIVING FOODS
The Living Foods Philosophy states that all the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that the body needs to heal itself and maintain optimal health are to be found within the foods that we eat.
Disease is caused by toxicity and deficiency particularly when we consume foods that are unnatural or lack essential nutrients. Put simply, when toxic and deficient conditions are removed from the body, the body can heal itself, fight off future illnesses and remain in total and perfect health.
ENZYMES AND FOODSTUFFS
Raw foods naturally contain enzymes, providing a source of digestive enzymes when ingested. However, raw food manifests only enough enzymes to digest that particular food, not enough to have any support systemically.
Plant based enzymes are the most popular enzymes, of all the choices, plant based enzymes are the most active or potent. This means they contain the highest active units and can break down more fat, protein and carbohydrates in the broadest pH range than any other source.
Excellent sources are papaya, pineapple and the Aspergillus plant along with many other plant origin foods.
Bromelain is a group of proteolytic and milk clotting enzymes derived from the pineapple stem. This enzyme acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Papaya fruit as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. Aspergillus plant enzymes aid in the digestion of all foods and fortify the body as a whole.
Enzymes can be easily derived through Living Foods, they should be prepared through blending, sprouting, fermenting and small amounts of juicing, absolutely no cooking.
The effects of enzymes on the body can bring about dramatic changes. Our physical and mental state can both change for the better. They are real life-givers and offer a link to the source of life-giving energy, which we need for survival.
The foods of the Living Foods lifestyle consist of whole ORGANIC fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. These nutritious, delicious foods include blended, sprouted and dehydrated recipes and are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. They allow the body to heal and promote optimal health and vitality.
INFLAMMATION AND HEALING
When the body is injured or invaded by toxic matter, gases or microorganisms, or when there is a build-up of internal toxic debris, fluids or/and micro-organisms, commonly called an infection, which has reached a crucial level, the body enacts a health restorative purification process called inflammation. The body is working at a feverish pace to help to heal the body. It sends elements of the immune system to the threatened area, phagocytes, including monocyte/macrophages and leukocytes, which are also known as white blood cells or T cells. These produce antibodies, binding the toxins to the killer/neutralizing T cells.
Further to the T cell action, the body sends antibody producing b cells, more blood and more lymphatic fluid for the removal of toxic debris to the threatened area. Also the permeability of the small blood vessels is increased to permit the delivery of large molecules from the bloodstream to the damaged area for use in the body’s repair work. The extra blood and the lymphatic fluid causes the inflamed area to swell, redden, feel hot and sometimes painful. These are all normal and positive signs of the body’s magnificent self–healing powers in action.
Inflammation is the vigourous self-healing action that is intelligently conducted by the body. The intelligence of the bodily healing process is supreme. No matter what we do, only the body can heal itself and there is no force in our lives that is more powerful than those self-healing powers.
Therefore it is prudent to simply clean the affected area, if it is external, with water, then leave it alone. Take plenty of rest and sleep to allow the body to shunt all of its self-healing energy into its restorative job. Inflammation will run its course provided that we support the self-healing process. Only then will health be restored, self-healing energy is generated when we sleep, it does not come from food, remedies or anything else. There are no exceptions to this physiological process of life.
Taking anti-inflammatory medicines and herbs work against the body’s restorative action. All ‘’medicinal’’ anti-inflammatory agents are toxic and weakening they have no healing intelligence and do not act on the body. The body works to rid itself of this alien product.. Their use is counterproductive, decreasing the amount of bodily energy available for self healing and in some case making us more sick. If we ‘’overdose’’ on medicines and herbs it can have the effect of weakening the body so greatly that the body has no energy for keeping the inflammation process going and thus the process stops prematurely, fooling people into believing that the agent ‘’worked’’. It has in fact not actually cured the problem but in fact stopped the self-healing action, keeping us toxic. The self-healing life force needs to rage on unimpeded to complete its job.