What is the raw food diet you ask? "The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed.
Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and "life force" of food. Typically, at least 75% of the diet must be living or raw."
"A huge golden-brown roasted steak, dripping with butter. Surrounded by finger chips and garnished by a sprig of basil and creamy mayonnaise. The aroma of exotic herbs. Your taste buds tingle. You almost feel the steak melting in your mouth. Yummy, isn't it? But wait! What about the cholesterol you are inviting into your system?If you are health-conscious and have sufficient will-power, you may push away this delicious picture and go for something more banal, like a boiled salad.
But is that really as healthy as it seems?"In cooked food," says Jehangir Palkhivala, an Indian yoga therapist, "life forces are taken away from the food. Raw food can be consumed easily without exerting pressure on our organs." And this is only for starters.Nutrition science is fast gaining the reputation of being a healing and preventive device. Dr Nand Kishore Sharma, a naturopath in New Delhi, India, feels that most diseases are caused by bad food habits.
"Unnatural food, which includes any form of food not found in nature, generates toxins that gradually poison the body," he says. From his 'Fireless Kitchen', Dr Sharma gives patients regenerative or natural food for degenerative diseases. This, he claims, has cured many. "I have even seen people grow new teeth and hair at 60 and 70 years of age," he says.
Raw food is usually defined as that which is not cooked, applied to fire or fragmented. Uday Chotai, a naturohygienist from Mumbai, adds: "According to naturopathy, there are two types of food—suncooked and uncooked. Fruits that ripen in the sun fall into the category of suncooked food. Uncooked or raw food have not ripened at all." But both types have high pranic value and meet every requirement of the body.
However, despite such a foolproof natural system, man tends to experiment with nature-often with adverse results. We eat peeled fruits and vegetables because they taste better and are easier to chew. But in doing so, we rid them of their vitamins, minerals and fiber. Chewing has its own advantages: the more we chew, the better does the food mix with digestive juices in our mouth. This reduces strain on the stomach.
Dr Victor G. Rocine, a Norwegian homeopath, advises eating food "the way God manufactured it". According to him, we must preserve the organic chemical salts in food because once we remove them, we are likely to alter other chemicals as well. Dr Rocine also discourages adding artificial ingredients to food, especially if their natural forms are available. He cites the example of common salt. Table salt, according to him, is an inorganic substance and hence not of much value for us organic beings. Dr Rocine suggests taking sodium from organic substances such as spinach, strawberries and carrots. Foods rich in sodium are often rich in chlorine and oxygen also.Dr Sharma agrees: "
Man needs perhaps one per cent salt. This he can easily get from fruits and vegetables." Going a step further, A.P. Dewan, in his book Food for Health, says too much salt increases the body's alkalinity. This can result in cancer. The notion that cooking destroys food has many supporters. "Natural foods," points out Ma Urvashi, "contain sun energy in the cellulose. This is destroyed when exposed to high temperatures while cooking." When ingested, the cooked food is first broken down to its natural form and then digested. "We can save our body a lot of energy if we take natural food in the first instance," she argues.
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