Are you an average adult American? If so, then you consume 70 pounds of beef, 60 pounds of pork, and 550 pounds of dairy (love that ice cream). Americans feel safe eating because they know the foods they eat have been monitored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
When I was contracted to write an article about foodborne illnesses (illnesses that come directly from eating food), I discovered that illness directly related to food come in all shapes and sizes Bottled and jarred packaged goods. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated there are more than 200 foodborne illnesses, from allergies to “stomach flu” to vomiting; the CDC have identified 30 pathogens associated with these foodborne illnesses, classified as bacteria, virus, chemical, parasitic, prions, antibiotic residues, genetic modifications, or unknown. In fact, the CDC estimated the average adult American consumes 10 pounds of additives each year, pathogens included!
Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated “Consumers play a lottery every day they eat.” But it isn’t just E. coli and Salmonella that cause illnesses to occur. Sure, they cause the classical signs of stomach and digestive distress, but what about those illnesses that occur down the road from eating foods? What about antibiotic resistance or allergies? These too are now being considered foodborne illnesses.
The CDC stated that foodborne illnesses cause 9,000 American deaths annually, 81 million are sickened, and 325,000 require hospitalization. The long-term effects of some food-borne contaminants are still being studied by the CDC; these effects are cancer, paralysis, and disability.
As many illnesses are now being considered “food-borne” because they began with food, this article looks at the “traditional” foodborne illnesses (i.e. parasites, bacteria, viruses), genetically modified foods, hormones and irradiation. Each needs to be examined for its impact on health, as the building blocks to health begin with what we put in our mouths.
Constipation, bloating, lethargy, depression, and unnecessary weight gains are just some of the results of consuming what is considered a “normal” diet in the modern world today. Many experts also feel that the current diets maintained by many people today is in fact a major contributor to the many diseases encountered in much of the modern world. Perhaps our long held traditions of cooking most of what we eat are not the best way to go.
In fact, many individuals today are re-discovering the ancient benefits associated with consuming raw foods. More and more people are beginning to realize that many of the preprocessed foods found in today’s society don’t provide nearly enough to maintain the healthy mind and body they desire. These same individuals are actually looking back to what our ancient ancestors, and even to what some of the so-called “primitive cultures” of today are eating…to re-discover the benefits of consuming a diet rich in natural raw foods.
At this point, there are probably many of you reading this who are saying “but what about the taste factor…and can we really digest uncooked food properly?” With those questions (and others) in mind, lets take a look at both the myths and benefits associated with a raw food diet.
A raw food diet can, in most cases, provide many more nutrients that the body needs for optimum health…than a diet consisting mainly of cooked foods
That fact that most raw foods are packed with far more nutrients than their cooked counterparts is one of the biggest reasons people choose to pursue a diet rich in natural raw foods. As most of us already know, the more essential nutrients we can get through our foods…the better we will generally feel.
Our body’s cells thrive with proper nutrient intake…that in turn, boost our immune systems, and increases our vitality and longevity.
Unfortunately, when most foods are cooked above 105 degrees Fahrenheit…they start to lose some of these vital nutrients necessary for cell regeneration and optimum health. Even more disturbing…is the fact that some of these foods will become more toxic to the body after they have been cooked than when they were in their raw forms.
Through proper knowledge, natural changes in food cravings, and the abundance of recipes available to the raw food advocate, raw foods can be just as tasty (or even better tasting) than cooked foods