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High protein or high carb diet?

Why do people follow a high-protein diet?

Salmon with spinach - a high protein/low-carb option

Salmon with spinach – a high protein/low-carb option

In order to lose weight, many people are following either a high-protein/medium-fat/low-carb diet, or a raw-vegan diet  (high-carb/low-protein/low-fat). The high-protein diets (Paleo/Atkins/Harcombe etc) are very popular as they almost guarantee weight loss without having to count calories or restrict portions. How does this work? We need to look at what happens to food when it’s digested.

Very simply:

  • When carbohydrates are eaten and digested, glucose is created, which goes into the bloodstream as an energy source. If there is too much glucose in the bloodstream at any one time, the pancreas injects insulin into the bloodstream. This allows the liver to turn the glucose into glycogen and store it for later use (in the liver and muscles). When blood sugar levels drop, the liver converts the glycogen into glucose and pushes it in to the blood stream. Glucose from carbohydrates can only be stored in limited quantities.
  • When protein is eaten it is broken down into bits called amino acids, ready to be reconstructed as the body needs these building blocks. Stored protein can be used as fuel in lean times, when it is broken down into glucose.
  • When fats are eaten they are broken down into fatty acids that travel about in the blood and get used by cells that need the energy. Fatty acids that don’t get used quickly get stored in fat cells (that have unlimited capacity), and when blood sugar is low, the pancreas produces a hormone called lipase which breaks the stored fat into fatty acids and puts them in to the bloodstream, ready to be used for fuel.

In summary: both carbohydrates and fats provide the body with energy, and if there is too much glucose or fatty acids in the bloodstream, these are stored as glycogen and fat for later use.

What this means is that if you sit down and eat a meal of carbohydrates and fat (bread and butter, potato with sour cream, fish and chips) the energy from the carbohydrates will be used first as this is immediately available as glucose, and the energy from the fats will be stored.

If you eat a high-protein/low-carb-medium-fat diet , you have very little glucose in the bloodstream for energy, so the fats you eat provide the energy you need. If you keep your fat intake fairly low, at some stage you will have burned up the fatty acids in your bloodstream, so your body breaks down the fats stored in your fat cells, and you lose weight.

But, before you rush off and buy a leg of beef, be warned – there are inherent dangers in this type of diet:

  • You can increase your risk of osteoporosis as high amounts of protein require high amounts of calcium to digest it, and if you don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods, your body will leach the calcium from your bones.
  • Your kidneys are responsible for filtering protein from the blood, so they can take strain if faced with having to filter high quantities of protein as well as the waste products created when protein is processed.
  • When your body turns fat into energy (whether this is fat you have just eaten or fat in your cells), this creates ketones. Some ketones are used by the brain and heart and other organs as energy. This is why it is important to eat some good-quality fat. However, the ketone acetone can be dangerous.  This normally gets expelled in the breath or urine, but too much in the system can cause death.
  • If your carbs and fat intake are low, your body will break down protein in your tissues, as well as fat in your fat cells, for energy.

Which is natural: high protein or high carb?

First, let’s look at this in a general natural sense. I will show you how animals tend to eat either a high-carb/low-protein/low-fat diet , a high-protein/low-carb/medium-fat diet, or a medium-protein/medium-carb/medium-fat diet, and what they eat has everything to do with their lifestyles and how much energy they expend in daily living and in getting food.

Lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, wild cats, panthers, wild dogs, foxes, wolves etc will hunt an animal to eat, taking some time over the process and not being successful each time they try. They may go for days without food. When they do catch an animal, they eat huge quantities at one time, and they eat the muscles, fat, skin, hair, blood, intestinal matter (which helps digest the food) and bones (which supplies them with calcium and prevents bone density loss as explained above). Their diet is high-protein/medium-fat/low-carb, and when they eat, which is not often, they gorge on food. They exercise vigorously when hunting, but spend the rest of the time being fairly sedentary. Here is a video of lions with their kill:

Horses, bison, elephants, cattle and  some species of baboon eat mainly grass and leaves and any grains and seeds that come with this. This is a high-carb/low-protein/low-fat diet and these animals keep on the move, eating often, yet take time to rest and digest food. This is a video of wild horses grazing:

Monkeys, mice, birds, squirrels and rodents graze all day on fruits, grasses, grains, insects, eggs, nuts and anything else they find edible as suited to their species. This is a video of a Spider monkey eating fruit:

Gorillas and orang-outangs eat leaves, fruits, roots and insects. Chimpanzees and baboons eat anything, including small mammals and birds, if they can catch them.

Those that eat mainly fruits (high-carb/low-protein/low-fat) tend to be very active and eat often. Those that eat a combination of foods and those that eat mainly nuts and seeds (medium-protein/medium-carb/medium-fat) tend to eat less often yet spend a lot of energy finding their food.

So this shows that high-protein and high-carb diets are natural.

Match the type of food you eat to your lifestyle and exercise regime

Orang-outang up a tree eating leaves

Orang-outang eating leaves

In nature, if food is easy to get, it probably has a low energy value, so animals need to eat a lot of it and often. Foods with higher energy values take either a lot of time or a lot of energy (or both) to get hold of, so less of it is eaten (they are not eating all day as do fruit eaters) ensuring that in the natural world, animals don’t eat more food than their bodies need.

This is how nature keeps a perfect balance. Think about it: you don’t see obese monkeys, lions or squirrels, yet they don’t diet. Nature makes sure that the amount of effort and time they are prepared to put into finding food is related to the energy value of the food.

Humans have bypassed this formula, though, and many people who rarely do any vigorous exercise have easy access to high calorie value foods, causing weight problems.

 

Which is the most ethical diet?

Our ethics, as we have seen, involve not killing, especially not killing animals. So, this makes it very difficult to eat an ethical high-protein/low-carb diet, since there is no low-carb plant food available. Thus, we are left with:

  • raw foods (fruits and greens) (high-carb/low-fat/low-protein)
  • grains/legumes/roots/starchy fruits and greens (high-carb/low-fat/low-protein)
  • all of the above plus oils, nuts and seeds (high-carb/medium-fat/medium-protein)

And here is some inspiration for those are still considering going vegan (natural/ethical):

How do you plan your meals as a vegan? Do you struggle with ill-health or weight problems? I would love to hear from you.

Next post: Is food combining natural?

 

Bibliography:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-negative-high-protein-diet-effects.html#b

http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2011/mar/how-the-body-uses-carbohydrates-proteins-and-fats.html

Image credits:

“Hairy Orangutan Eating” by papaija2008

“Salmon With Spinach” by tiramisustudio

 

 

 

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23. Does the blood type diet work?

So many people are discovering that a high animal-protein diet helps them lose weight and feel good, even reducing the effects of illnesses or making them disappear altogether. This works – I know – I tried it before I became a vegan, again.

It helped me lose the weight I had gained (which happened every time I tried to be vegetarian or vegan). It also made the arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and strange shivery and heated spells go away. It also healed my liver and adrenal system.

I was a mess, but eating fish, eggs and vegetables brought me back to life.

So why have I brought this subject up on a blog that advocates eating plant-based food only?

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The blood type diet helps me to be a healthy vegan

I tried to be vegan again after healing myself on the high animal-protein diet, as ethical eating is vital to my emotional well-being, but I found I was having trouble keeping my weight down, again. I became overweight and felt perpetually tired, making me crave fatty and sweet foods for energy. I was sleeping up to ten or even twelve hours a night and waking exhausted.

I finally discovered what my problem was by checking out the blood type diet  created by Dr Peter D’Adamo;  certain foods including legumes and grains disagree with me as they contain lectins that my blood reacts to as if they are poison, causing me to feel exhausted and to consequently eat too many nuts, seeds and grains in an attempt to get more energy.breakfast-1342299_640

The blood type diet information educated me as to which grains and legumes weren’t toxic to my particular system, so I could eat more of them and cut down on grains, nuts and seeds, some of which I discovered were toxic for me.

I lost the water I had started to retain as a result of the lectins in certain foods (wheat, mung beans and lentils are bad for me), and I lost the fat I had gained through eating too many nuts and seeds (cashews and sesame seeds are bad for me). I also started to sleep for eight hours again, and feel energised on waking.

I have noticed on various forums and websites many people saying they ‘don’t believe in’ the blood type diet. It’s not clear whether or not they have tried it, but I would hazard that they either have not, or are already eating foods that agree with them, so have had no opportunity to spot the difference.

Changing to this diet has had such a profound effect on my health that I fully endorse it and will remain on it indefinitely. I realise now why I have struggled to maintain my health through the many years I tried to be a vegan (since the age of twelve). I was simply eating the wrong food and kept having to return to an animal-based diet to recover. I wish I had known about this blood type diet then….

How does the blood type diet work?

Peter D’Adamo spent years testing foods against the four different blood types, A, B, AB and O. His theory is that the different blood types originated in different regions and eras, and therefore the foods that were eaten at the time in each region/era by peoples of a particular blood type are suitable for those who have that blood type now.

For example, he maintains that O blood type is the original type and originated in Africa. This means that the people were hunters and gatherers, so their diet would have consisted of meat, fish, eggs, fruits, green leaves and roots. This would equate to how people ate in the Palaeolithic era.

Here is a video of what life might have been like for the original O blood type people:

Blood type A people were those who settled and grew crops of grain and vegetables, and kept fruit trees and some domesticated animals. This was the Neolithic age. This video discusses what  life might have been like:

B blood type people were nomads, travelling the deserts with their camels, sheep and goats that they used for meat and milk, and foraging for vegetables and fruits. This appears to have been the transitional stage between the palaeolithic and neolithic eras, where animals were domesticated, but people didn’t settle anywhere long enough to support an agricultural lifestyle. This video shows how nomads live today:

Blood type AB seems to be a cross between A and B, making these people struggle to find foods that they can digest.

D’Adamo tested foods for these blood types and discovered that each blood type reacts to the lectins or various components of foods in different ways. These tests proved his theory of the geographic origins of the blood types in that O blood type thrives on meat and vegetables but should avoid grains, A blood types are good with grains but should eat little meat, B blood types are the only ones that manage to digest dairy properly and thrive on the meat of sheep and wild animals, while AB blood types have inherited the traits of both A and B blood types, which are quite opposite in their responses, making life rather difficult for them.

You can check here which foods are beneficial and which foods to avoid for your blood type.

How does this affect vegans?

The first question I asked when I read about lamb and rabbit being beneficial to me in this diet, and that I should avoid many grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, was: how can I be a vegan and survive?

Then I looked more closely at the list of foods and saw that if I was careful and stuck to only those foods that are beneficial or neutral for me, I would still be able to eat a good variety of foods and remain healthy. You can check this out for yourself

Peter D’Adamo addresses the question of O blood types being vegetarian, in this video:

Obviously, what he is saying is be careful when you go vegetarian or vegan that you don’t compromise your health, and I agree. Being a healthy vegan takes a structured and knowledgeable approach to food. However, I think people sometimes imagine that O and B blood types eat mainly meat, and this is often the impression given on some websites and blogs advocating the Palaeolithic diet.

This is something I disagree with. Palaeolithic man, as we discussed previously, would have struggled to get a lot of meat to eat. He would have eaten mainly vegetable foods, so I don’t believe that it is the meat component that keeps non-vegetarians healthy. I believe that it is just supplementary to the diet and can be replaced with carefully chosen plant-based food. What keeps us healthy is eating foods to which our bodies react positively.

Is the blood type diet natural and ethical?

Yes, as I see it, the blood type diet is natural as it encourages us to eat what our ancestors did. It is also better than just following the diet of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic man as it is more specifically tailored to our ancestors’ geographic origins, and therefore our own bodies.

It is also ethical (if we follow the rest of our ethical rules) in that it is good for us – it makes us thrive, feel good and be healthy and disease free.

When I start posting recipes, I will flag them according to blood type .

Have any of you tried the blood type diet? Has it helped? Or made no difference? Please let me know your thoughts.

Next post: High protein or carb?

 

 

 

0

Does the blood type diet work?

So many people are discovering that a high animal-protein diet helps them lose weight and feel good, even reducing the effects of illnesses or making them disappear altogether. This works – I know – I tried it before I became a vegan, again.

It helped me lose the weight I had gained (which happened every time I tried to be vegan). It also made the arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and strange shivery and heated spells go away. It also healed my liver and adrenal system.

I was a mess, but eating fish, eggs and vegetables brought me back to life.

So why have I brought this subject up on a blog that advocates eating plant-based food only?

The blood type diet helps me to be a healthy vegan

I tried to be vegan again after healing myself on the high animal-protein diet, as ethical eating is vital to my emotional well-being, but I found I was having trouble keeping my weight down, again. I got fat and felt perpetually tired, making me crave fatty and sweet foods for energy. I was sleeping up to ten or even twelve hours a night and waking exhausted.

A picture of a loaf of bread and wheat stalks

Wheat contains lectins

I finally discovered what my problem was by checking out the blood type diet,  created by Dr Peter D’Adamo: certain foods including legumes and grains disagree with me as they contain lectins that my blood reacts to as if they are poison, causing me to feel exhausted and to consequently eat too many nuts, seeds and grains in an attempt to get more energy.

The blood type diet information educated me as to which grains and legumes weren’t toxic to my particular system, so I could eat more of them and cut down on nuts and seeds, some of which I discovered were also toxic for me.

I lost the water I had started to retain as a result of the lectins in certain foods (wheat, mung beans and lentils are bad for me), and I lost the fat I had gained through eating too many nuts and seeds (cashews and sesame seeds are bad for me). I also started to sleep for eight hours again, and feel energised on waking.

I have noticed on various forums and websites many people saying they ‘don’t believe in’ the blood type diet. It’s not clear whether or not they have tried it, but I would hazard that they either have not, or are already eating foods that agree with them, so have had no opportunity to spot the difference.

Changing to this diet has had such a profound effect on my health that I fully endorse it and will remain on it indefinitely. I realise why I have struggled to maintain my health through the many years I tried to be a vegan (since the age of twelve). I was simply eating the wrong food and kept having to return to an animal-based diet to recover. I wish I had known about this blood type diet then….

How does the blood type diet work?

Peter D’Adamo spent years testing foods against the four different blood types, A, B, AB and O. His theory is that the different blood types originated in different regions and ages, and therefore the foods that were eaten at the time in each region/age by peoples of a particular blood type are what is suitable for those who have that blood type now.

For example, he maintains that O blood type is the original type and originated in Africa. This means that the people were hunters and gatherers, so their diet would have consisted of meat, fish, eggs, fruits, green leaves and roots. This would equate to how people ate in the Palaeolithic era.

Here is a video of what life might have been like for the original O blood type people:

Blood type A people were those who settled and grew crops of grain and vegetables, and kept fruit trees and some domesticated animals. This was the Neolithic age. This video shows what this life might have been like:

B blood type people were nomads, travelling the deserts with their camels, sheep and goats that they used for meat and milk, and foraging for vegetables and fruits. This appears to have been the transitional stage between the paleolithic and neolithic eras, where animals were domesticated, but people didn’t settle anywhere long enough to support an agricultural lifestyle. This video shows how nomads live today:

Blood type AB seems to be a cross between A and B, making these people struggle to find foods that they can digest.

D-Adamo tested foods for these blood types and discovered that each blood type reacts to the lectins or other components of various foods in different ways. These tests proved his theory of the geographic origins of the blood types in that O blood type thrives on meat and vegetables but should avoid grains, A blood types are good with grains but should eat little meat, B blood types are the only ones that manage to digest dairy properly and thrive on the meat of sheep, while AB blood types have inherited the traits of both A and B blood types, which are quite opposite in their responses, making life rather difficult for them.

You can check here which foods are beneficial and which foods to avoid for your blood type.

How does this affect vegans?

The first question I asked when I read about lamb and rabbit being beneficial to me in this diet,and that I should avoid many grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, was: how can I be a vegan and survive?

Then I looked more closely at the list of foods and saw that if I was careful and stuck to only those foods that are beneficial or neutral for me, I would still be able to eat a good variety of foods and remain healthy. You can check this out for yourself.

Peter D-Adamo addresses the question of O blood types being vegetarian, in this video:

Obviously, what he is saying is be careful when you go vegetarian or vegan that you don’t compromise your health, and I agree. Being a healthy vegan takes a structured and knowledgeable approach to food. However, I think people sometimes imagine that O and B blood types eat mainly meat, and this is often the impression given on some websites and blogs advocating the Palaeolithic diet.

This is something I disagree with. Paleolithic man, as we discussed previously, would have struggled to get a lot of meat to eat. He would have eaten mainly vegetable foods, so I don’t believe that it is the meat component that keeps non-vegetarians healthy. I believe that it is just supplementary to the diet and can be replaced with carefully chosen plant-based food. What keeps us healthy is eating foods to which our bodies react positively.

 

Is the blood type diet natural and ethical?

Yes, as I see it, the blood type diet is natural as it encourages us to eat what our ancestors did. It is also better than just following the diet of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic man as it is more specifically tailored to our ancestors’ geographic origins, and therefore our own bodies.

It is also ethical (if we follow the rest of our ethical rules) in that it is good for us – it makes us thrive, feel good and be healthy and disease free.

When I start posting recipes, I will flag them according to blood type .

Have any of you tried the blood type diet? Has it helped? Or made no difference? Please let me know your thoughts.

Next post: High protein or carb?

 

Images

“Bread And Wheat” by Mister GC on http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

 

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22. Is it healthy to eat cooked food?

Hello and welcome back.

Thank you for following all the theory and investigations so far on whether the foods we eat are natural and ethical. Basically, if you look at this post, you will see that we are left with not too many food groups.

However, in order to capitalize on the nutrition to be found in these wonderful foods, and also to create some variety, the question is, is it healthy to eat cooked food?

Does cooking destroy food?

Raw foodists say it does, as above a certain temperature (104 to 118 degrees F or 42 to 46 degrees C – there is disagreement about the exact temperature) enzymes are killed and vitamins destroyed, making the food less nutritious. Some also say that food becomes toxic if it is cooked (1).

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However, some sources believe that certain foods when cooked release more nutrition than when eaten raw. Tomatoes and some other red fruits contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radicals) which is increased when the food is cooked. Other foods such as carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and spinach produce an increased quantity of antioxidants (carotenoids and ferulic acid) when cooked.(2)

tomato-soup-482403_640

Cooking also neutralises lectins (which are indigestible and can damage the gut lining) found in legumes.

So, on the face of it, it looks as if eating a selection of raw and cooked foods will give us the best range of nutrition.

Is eating cooked food natural for humans?

We also have to consider whether it is natural to eat cooked food. My theory has been based on the human primate in the wild with no tools or cookware other than a rocks sticks and fire. Why did I include fire? Is it natural? Basically, no. None of our closest cousins: gorillas, chimps, baboons and monkeys, cook their food.

Are we going to make an exception? I think there is good reason to, since, at the time humans were using rocks and sticks to help them gather food, they were also using fire.

According to a recent study (3) humans were using fire to cook food one million years ago. The evidence is in the form of charred bones and vegetable matter. Another study suggests that humans were using pottery to cook food 20,000 years ago (4). Apparently, the first type of food to be cooked in pots was fish soup.fish-soup-1179040_640

Does the passage of so many years make cooking a natural process? Perhaps not, but humans who found themselves far from the tropics for various reasons had to harness fire to keep warm in order to survive. Some had to rely on foods that fire made more digestible or easier to eat.

So, we will consider some forms of cooking in the interest of humans having evolved to survive using fire.

How did ancient humans cook food?

Paleolithic humans cooked food by suspending it over fire or creating a form of oven using heated stones.

One can easily imagine that once humans had discovered how to harness fire, the next thing they would have discovered was that stones heated in the fire could be used to cook food. Have a look at the Hangi cooking method which is still practised by the Maori people in New Zealand:

Humans also learned to use heated rocks in an earth oven for cooking meats and vegetable foods such as potatoes and starchy fruits like pumpkins:

Mesolithic humans used utensils such as earthenware pots, built by hand and hardened in fire. These vessels would have been used to cook food mixed with or immersed in water.

This video shows Zulu women cooking millet porridge in an earthen pot, over an open fire:

Pots were made out of clay which was hardened in fire, as in this video:

As you can see, the amount of effort involved in making pots would have had to have been offset by the benefits of cooking food.

Some foods would have been ‘cooked’ in the sun or on sun-heated stones, in hot climates. This would have included Essene bread, tomatoes, fruits, fish and meat, not so much for making food more digestible, but to preserve it.

Grains and legumes would have been fermented, crushed or sprouted, or all three, before being cooked in the sun, in a pot over a fire or in a heated stone oven. One of the most ancient foods created like this was flat bread in Egypt (2000 BCE) (5) and Essene bread, known to have been the staple diet of the Essenes, a Jewish religious group (6).

Essene sprouted sourdough bread is still made today using modern methods, and is served either ‘raw’ (dehydrated) or baked in an oven. This video show you how to make baked, sprouted, fermented Essene bread:

Grain is easily digestible once it has been sprouted and fermented. Sprouting and fermenting grains helps humans digest them as this process neutralises the glutens, lectins, enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that keep grains whole, so that even when they are passed through an animal’s digestive tract, the grains can still sprout and grow into plants.(7)

Why did humans start to cook food?

Cooking would have been a way for humans to make the foods they gathered easier to eat and digest. An example would be the meat of larger animals. Imagine that earlier humans would have come across animals that had already died or been killed and had dragged these to their caves to eat them. Since they had no knives to cut the meat into pieces small enough to eat, they would have found that putting the meat into the fire made it easier to rip through the skin and eat the flesh.

Many people these days follow what is called the palaeolithic diet, which advocates that humans eat a diet of animal protein, fruits, vegetables and no grains. This makes sense with respect to what a human can gather and prepare to eat without specialised tools. But, there is a limit to how much meat palaeolithic man would have eaten. As we discussed previously, humans are not equipped to hunt down and eat animals without the aid of tools and weapons. They also do not have the teeth to cope with biting through animal skin to get at the flesh beneath. Therefore, the majority of their food would have been fruits and vegetables, just as in the diets of our cousins, the apes. (8)

But, we know they did eat the meat of large animals. How did they get it? Here is a video of some Sudanese people chasing lions off a kill so they can steal the meat. Although they have used a large knife to cut off a haunch, this still shows that this would have been one of the easier ways to get the meat of a large animal:

Here is another video showing some San people chasing cheetahs off their kill and stealing it, using no weapons other than sticks.

So, the only meat palaeolithic man would have had in his diet would have been that found by scavenging, stealing off wild animals, or hunting smaller creatures that he could catch with quite some effort and far less danger than stealing it from the big cats. Palaeolithic man was mainly vegetarian, but would have probably cooked the meat he could get.

Seafood taken off rocks as well as fish caught by trapping was far easier to eat and more palatable when cooked. This video shows how ancient people would have trapped fish:

Which types of cooking are the least harmful?

Now that we’ve included cooking in our natural, ethical system of eating, we need to be sure of which methods cause the least harm. It seems that the cooking methods that will cause humans the most harm are (9):

  • Grilling over an open flame, especially if food becomes blackened
  • High heat pan-frying and deep frying
  • Smoking

The high heats associated with these types of cooking change the structure of the food which can make it toxic.

The least harmful methods are:

  • Slow baking
  • Boiling
  • Steaming
  • Poaching
  • Stewing

Note that nearly all of these involve cooking with water.

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So, in conclusion, when I post recipes up, they will be tagged according to our investigation here, that is, raw or cooked according to which method provides the most nutrients and makes the food more digestible, and the cooked recipes will be created using only the least harmful methods and utensils.

Are you a raw foodist? Do you agree that cooking is beneficial to some degree, or not?

Next post: Does the blood-type diet work?
Bibliography

1. http://www.mariakranker.com/what-is-raw-food/

2. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/

3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162548.htm

4. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/10/176762387/earliest-cookware-was-used-to-make-fish-soup

5. http://www.bakersfederation.org.uk/the-bread-industry/history-of-bread.html

6. http://www.essene.co.nz/history.aspx

7. http://wellnessmama.com/3807/sprouted-soaked-fermented-grains-healthy/

8. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/ancient-humans-vegetarians-paleolithic-diet_n_1695228.html

9. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-gently-cooked-food-better-for-you/#axzz3USui7VYP

 

 

0

Is it healthy to eat cooked food?

Hello and welcome back.

Thank you for following all the theory and investigations so far on whether the foods we eat are natural and ethical. Basically, if you look at this post, you will see that we are left with not too many food groups.

However, in order to capitalize on the nutrition to be found in these wonderful foods, and also to create some variety, the question is, is it healthy to eat cooked food?

Does cooking destroy food?

Food being cooked over flames on a gas stove.

Is it healthy to eat cooked food?

Raw foodists say it does, as above a certain temperature (104 to 118 degrees F or 42 to 46 degrees C – there is disagreement about the exact temperature) enzymes are killed and vitamins destroyed, making the food less nutritious. Some also say that food becomes toxic if it is cooked (1).

However, some sources believe that certain foods when cooked release more nutrition than when eaten raw. Tomatoes and some other red fruits contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radicals) which is increased when the food is cooked. Other foods such as carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and spinach produce an increased quantity of antioxidants (carotenoids and ferulic acid) when cooked.(2)

Cooking also neutralises lectins (which are indigestible and can damage the gut lining) found in legumes.

So, on the face of it, it looks as if eating a selection of raw and cooked foods will give us the best range of nutrition.

Is eating cooked food natural for humans?

We also have to consider whether it is natural to eat cooked food. My entire theory has been based on the human primate in the wild with no tools or cookware other than a rocks sticks and fire. Why did I include fire? Is it natural? Basically, no. None of our closest cousins: gorillas, chimps, baboons and monkeys, cook their food.

Seafood soup

Seafood soup

Are we going to make an exception? I think there is good reason to, since, at the time humans were using rocks and sticks to help them gather food, they were also using fire.

According to a recent study(3) humans were using fire to cook food one million years ago. The evidence is in the form of charred bones and vegetable matter. Another study suggests that humans were using pottery to cook food 20,000 years ago (4). Apparently, the first type of food to be cooked in pots was fish soup.

Does the passage of so many years make cooking a natural process? Perhaps not, but humans who found themselves far from the tropics for various reasons had to harness fire to keep warm in order to survive. Some had to rely on foods that fire made more digestible or easier to eat.

So, we will consider some forms of cooking in the interest of humans having evolved to survive using fire.

How did ancient humans cook food?

Paleolithic humans cooked food by suspending it over fire or creating a form of oven using heated stones.

One can easily imagine that once humans had discovered how to harness fire, the next thing they would have discovered was that stones heated in the fire could be used to cook food. Have a look at the Hangi cooking method which is still practised by the Maori people in New Zealand:

Humans also learned to use heated rocks in an earth oven for cooking meats and vegetable foods such as potatoes and starchy fruits like pumpkins:

Mesolithic humans used utensils such as earthenware pots, built by hand and hardened in fire. These vessels would have been used to cook food mixed with or immersed in water.

This video shows Zulu women cooking millet porridge in an earthen pot, over an open fire:

Pots were made out of clay which was hardened in fire, as in this video:

As you can see, the amount of effort involved in making pots would have had to have been offset by the benefits of cooking food.

Some foods would have been ‘cooked’ in the sun or on sun-heated stones, in hot climates. This would have included Essene bread, tomatoes, fruits, fish and meat, not so much for making food more digestible, but to preserve it.

Grains and legumes would have been fermented, crushed or sprouted, or all three, before being cooked in the sun, in a pot over a fire or in a heated stone oven. One of the most ancient foods created like this was flat bread in Egypt (2000 BCE) (5) and Essene bread, known to have been the staple diet of the Essenes, a Jewish religious group (6).

Essene sprouted sourdough bread is still made today using modern methods, and is served either ‘raw’ (dehydrated) or baked in an oven. This video show you how to make baked, sprouted, fermented Essene bread:

Grain is easily digestible once it has been sprouted and fermented. Sprouting and fermenting grains helps humans digest them as this process neutralises the glutens, lectins, enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that keep grains whole, so that even when they are passed through an animal’s digestive tract, the grains can still sprout and grow into plants.(7)

Why did humans start to cook food?

Cooking would have been a way for humans to make the foods they gathered easier to eat and digest. An example would be the meat of larger animals. Imagine that earlier humans would have come across animals that had already died or been killed and had dragged these to their caves to eat them. Since they had no knives to cut the meat into pieces small enough to eat, they found that putting the meat into the fire made it easier to rip through the skin and eat the flesh.

Many people these days follow what is called the palaeolithic diet, which advocates that humans eat a diet of animal protein, fruits, vegetables and no grains. This makes sense with respect to what a human can gather and prepare to eat without specialised tools. But, this would have limited how much meat palaeolithic man would have eaten. As we discussed previously, humans are not equipped to hunt down and eat animals without the aid of tools and weapons. They also do not have the teeth to cope with biting through animal skin to get at the flesh beneath. Therefore, the majority of their food would have been fruits and vegetables, just as in the diets of our cousins, the apes. (8)

But, we know they did eat the meat of large animals. How did they get it? Here is a video of some Sudanese people chasing lions off a kill so they can steal the meat. Although they have used a large knife to cut off a haunch, this still shows that this would have been one of the easier ways to get the meat of a large animal:

Here is another video showing some San people chasing cheetahs off their kill and stealing it, using no weapons other than sticks.

So, the only meat palaeolithic man would have had in his diet would have been that found by scavenging, stealing off wild animals, or hunting smaller creatures that he could catch with quite some effort and far less danger than stealing it from the big cats. Palaeolithic man was mainly vegetarian, but would have probably cooked the meat he could get.

Seafood taken off rocks as well as fish caught by trapping was far easier to eat and more palatable when cooked. This video shows how ancient people would have trapped fish:

Which types of cooking are the least harmful?

Now that we’ve included cooking in our natural, ethical system of eating, we need to be sure of which methods cause the least harm. It seems that the cooking methods that will cause humans the most harm are (9):

  • Grilling over an open flame, especially if food becomes blackened
  • High heat pan-frying and deep frying
  • Smoking

The high heats associated with these types of cooking change the structure of the food which can make it toxic.

The least harmful methods are:

  • Slow baking
  • Boiling
  • Steaming
  • Poaching
  • Stewing

Note that nearly all of these involve cooking with water.

So, in conclusion, when I post recipes up, they will be tagged according to our investigation here, that is, raw or cooked according to which method provides the most nutrients and makes the food more digestible, and the cooked recipes will be created using only the least harmful methods and utensils.

Are you a raw foodist? Do you agree that cooking is beneficial to some degree, or not?

Next post: Does the blood-type diet work?
Bibliography

1. http://www.mariakranker.com/what-is-raw-food/

2. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/

3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162548.htm

4. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/10/176762387/earliest-cookware-was-used-to-make-fish-soup

5. http://www.bakersfederation.org.uk/the-bread-industry/history-of-bread.html

6. http://www.essene.co.nz/history.aspx

7. http://wellnessmama.com/3807/sprouted-soaked-fermented-grains-healthy/

8. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/ancient-humans-vegetarians-paleolithic-diet_n_1695228.html

9. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-gently-cooked-food-better-for-you/#axzz3USui7VYP

 

Image attributions:

“Chef Cooking In Kitchen Stove” by stockimages

“Sukiyaki” by tiverylucky

 

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21. List of the most natural and ethical foods for humans

Our blog about which foods are natural and ethical to eat has undergone a fair investigation, and I’ve come up with a list. It’s been very interesting going through all these types of food that humans eat and trying to work out whether they are natural and ethical food for humans.

Natural means that the human primate does not need any weapons, tools or cookware to gather or prepare the food, other than sticks, stones and perhaps fire, and ethical means that the least harm has been done to the food source and its future sustainability, and that humans themselves are not harmed in any way.

 

The list

 

NATURAL ETHICAL FOODS

FOOD

If food
source is alive when food harvested

If food
source is found already dead from natural causes before harvesting

 

NATURAL

ETHICAL

NATURAL

ETHICAL

 

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

FRUIT

SEEDS

NUTS

LEGUMES

GRAINS

FLOWERS

LEAVES

PLANT STEMS

ROOTS

HONEY

EGGS

INSECTS

SHELLFISH

FISH

POULTRY/BIRDS

LAMB

PORK

BEEF

DAIRY

KEY
(W=wild sustainable; O=organic or biodynamic sustainable production; C=conventional production)

NATURAL

NOT NATURAL

ETHICAL

NOT ETHICAL

 

For the person who wants to do the least possible harm, the only food to eat is fruits: apples, squashes, bananas, pineapples, beans, peas, peaches, raspberries, cucumbers, avocados … the list is long. It is the food group that, according to fruitarians, gives humans all the nourishment they need.

watermelon-846357_640

The next step down is to include plucked leaves from living plants, allowing them to remain alive and still thriving. This includes many types of salad leaves, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard and so forth. It’s also fine to eat nuts, seeds, grains and pulses from plants that have either already discarded the seeds, or plants that have died naturally.

Then, eating stems, flowers and roots of plants is also ethical if the plants have already died or, if by gathering these parts, the plant is not harmed and continues to thrive, or if there are enough plants to ensure the sustainability of the species. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, elder flowers, celery and various other plants fall into this category.

Finally, eggs from poultry or birds that are wild or organically farmed and truly free range is ethical, providing sustainability is taken into account (the wild) and that no chicks are killed. In this day and age, it would be very difficult to find a source that meets these requirements.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=ethical%20food&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Any other food is not ethical to eat unless it has already been found dead from natural causes. You will need to decide on how high up the ethical ladder you want to climb.

The above list is very close to what our cousins the apes eat, and since their digestive systems are practically identical to ours, we are back where we started

What do you think? Do you agree that we should limit our foods to leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts, grains and fruit?

Next post: Is cooked food good or bad?

0

List of the most natural and ethical foods for humans

The big question: which foods are natural and ethical to eat, has undergone a fair investigation, and I’ve come up with a list. It’s been very interesting going through all these types of food that humans eat and trying to work out whether they are natural and ethical food for humans.

Natural means that the human primate does not need any weapons, tools or cookware to gather or prepare the food, other than sticks, stones and perhaps fire, and ethical means that the least harm has been done to the food source and its future sustainability, and that humans themselves are not harmed in any way.

“Hand Holding Red Apple”

“Hand Holding Red Apple” by mikumistock

 

The list

 

NATURAL ETHICAL FOODS

FOOD

If food
source is alive when food harvested

If food
source is found already dead from natural causes before harvesting

 

NATURAL

ETHICAL

NATURAL

ETHICAL

 

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

FRUIT

SEEDS

NUTS

LEGUMES

GRAINS

FLOWERS

LEAVES

PLANT STEMS

ROOTS

HONEY

EGGS

INSECTS

SHELLFISH

FISH

POULTRY/BIRDS

LAMB

PORK

BEEF

DAIRY

KEY
(W=WILD SUSTAINABLE; O=ORGANIC SUSTAINABLE FARMING; C=CONVENTIONAL FARMING)

NATURAL

NOT NATURAL

ETHICAL

NOT ETHICAL

 

For the person who wants to do the least possible harm, the only food to eat is fruits: apples, squashes, bananas, pineapples, beans, peas, peaches, raspberries, cucumbers, avocados … the list is too long. It is the food group that, according to fruitarians, gives humans all the nourishment they need.

The next step down is to include plucked leaves from living plants, allowing them to remain alive and still thriving. This includes many types of salad leaves, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard and so forth. It’s also fine to eat nuts, seeds, grains and pulses from plants that have either already discarded the seeds, or plants that have died naturally.

Then, eating stems, flowers and roots of plants is also ethical if the plants have already died or, if by gathering these parts, the plant is not harmed and continues to live. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, elder flowers, celery and various other plants fall into this category.

Finally, eggs from poultry or birds that are wild or organically farmed and truly free range is ethical, providing sustainability is taken into account (the wild) and that no chicks are killed. In this day and age, it would be very difficult to find a source that meets these requirements.

Any other food is not ethical to eat unless it has already been found dead from natural causes. You will need to decide how high up the ethical ladder you want to climb.

The above list is very close to what our cousins the apes eat, and since their digestive systems are practically identical to ours, we are back where we started

What do you think? Do you agree that we should limit our foods to leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts, grains and fruit?

Next post: Is cooked food good or bad?