Saturday 23 August 2008

'But people have always cooked food...'


'We who question the cooking of food are sometimes looked at as if we are quite mad. We are told that cooking of food is 'natural', because people all over the world have cooked food, and that they have done so for thousands of years. It is true that we have traditions of hundreds of years of cooking, great chefs, millions of cookbooks, food magazines, TV programmes...multinational companies have formed on the back of cooked food. Sure, a few human beings a few thousand years ago started heating their food...and the idea spread. Raw fooders believe we took a wrong turn.'

How natural is it for most of our diet to be heat-damaged food?

Have human beings always cooked food? We've all heard the Biblical records of people living hundreds of years. We tell ourselves it's not true. But in doing that we have to patronise the writers - they were mistaken, deluded, perhaps they couldn't count. But what if it were true? What might those patriarchs not have been doing that we are doing today? Any mention of Methuselah stir-frying his veg?

We don't see animals cooking their food, neither do we see them coughing, wheezing or

There's very little information as to when human beings first started cooking food - only conjecture along the lines of cavemen sitting round a fire and throwing a bit of animal into it, but I have been able to find accounts that suggest that not everyone has seen cooking as a 'natural' thing for us to do.

So, as evidence that indeed there were raw food advocates long before David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens et al, and that many throughout history have suggested that the natural way is to eat food without damaging it, and that it is unnatural to eat cooked food (and animals) I've collected together, for your consideration, a few snippets from writings of long ago.

From historical accounts:

'There is among the Indians a heresy of those who philosophise among the Brahmins, who live a self-sufficient life, abstaining from eating living creatures and all cooked foods.'

Hippolytus, Rome, 225 AD

'The oldest inhabitants of Greece, the Pelasgians, who came before the Dorian, Ionian and Eolian migrations, inhabited Arcadia and Thessaly, possessing the island of Lesbos and Lokemantos, which were full of orange groves. The people, with their diet of dates and oranges, lived on an average of more than 200 years.'

Herodotus, 425-484 BCE (from Hotema 'Man's Higher Consciousness.')

From sacred writings:

('Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and Hebrew accounts indicate that people were expelled from Paradise for using fire to cook food.' (Arthur M Baker 'The Science of Cooked v Raw.')

'Pious men eat what the brilliant forces of nature leave them after the offering. But those ungodly, cooking good food, sin as they eat.'

Bhagavad Gita (ancient Hindu text - the speaker is Krishna), 100-500 BCE

'For I tell you truly, he who kills, kills himself, and whoso eats the flesh of slain beasts, eats of the body of death. For in his blood every drop of their blood turns to poison;'

'Cook not...'

'prepare not your foods with the fire of death, which kills your foods, your bodies and your souls nothing to which only the fire of death gives savour, for such is of Satan.'

Essene Gospel of Peace (Third Century Aramaic Manuscript and Old Slavonic Texts)

From mythology:

'There was a time, the golden age we call it, happy in fruits and herbs, when no men tainted their lips with blood, and birds went flying safely through the air, and the field's rabbits wandered unfrightened, and no fish was ever hooked by its own credulity: all things were free from treachery and fear and cunning, and all was peaceful. But some innovative, a good-for-nothing, whoever he was, decided, in envy, that what lions ate was better, stuffed meat into his belly like a furnace, and paved the way for crime leads to another...

There was a man here...he was first to say that animal food should not be eaten. And learned as he was, men did not always believe him when he preached, 'Forbear, O mortals, to spoil your bodies with such impious food!'

(Ovid's Metamorpheses, 8 AD)

More recently, the Hunza peoplehave been cited by 20th century commentators as examples of longevity linked to healthy diet. Sadly, this is no longer the case, as Alissa Cohen ('Living on Live Foods') describes:
'The Hunza people, who live in the Himalayas, were once noted for their longevity. Often living well into their hundreds, they remained active, climbing mountains and hiking, among other activities. They ate sparingly, on a diet consisting mostly of raw foods such as sun-baked breads. They had none of the diseases so prevalent in Western culture. Breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and many other of our common disorders were unknown to them. When Western civilisation began building railroads in the mountainous areas of the Himalayas, it also introduced to the Hunza people the processed foods and junk foods we eat here in the US. Within a year, the first case of cancer was detected among the Hunza people. Today these people have many of the same diseases common in America, and their life span has decreased dramatically.'

So, did Methuselah really live to 969? Take a look at the Wikipedia entry - the theories are interesting! Whatever the case, we should be able to get a little nearer his score by ensuring that the raw materials we put into our bodies are undamaged, that enzymes, vitamins and minerals are intact, all in proportions that are just right for them to work together in our bodies.

'It can be said that the greatest single cause of degeneration in man is the use of fire in the preparation of foods.'
Arnold de Vries, The Fountain of Youth 1946.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great compilation of raw food history! Thanks for some great quotes we can all refer to!