Archive for February, 2012
There’s no doubt that ancestral diets would have been much higher in raw foods than the modern diets we are used to. Having said that our body’s are well adapted to eating cooked foods, but eating raw foods decreases the load on our body and minimises damage done to food through heat exposure.
Let me ask you a question…
Do you get tired right after eating?
If yes, then it can mean the digestive load of that meal is draining your energy – In fact, your energy is being reallocated to your digestive organs, like your pancreas, to up enzyme production to breakdown the food. Tiredness after eating can also be caused by eating too much protein for your macronutrient profile, food intolerances or adrenal fatigue and lower cortisol levels.
Many people just assume that if they eat, then they are going to be able to break down the foods and get the nutrients from it. This is far from the truth. Your body has to work really hard to break down food and it’s an incredibly complex process… If you can’t breakdown your food into it’s smallest constituents then you will not be absorbing it (or it’s nutrients), plus, the undigested proteins and sugars can cause immune reactions that can lead to heightened immune reactions like asthma and autoimmune states like psoriasis or arthritis.
As we get older our own enzyme pathways become less efficient, we also become more deficient in minerals and vitamins as we age. This results in our body’s ability to make enzymes decreasing, which means we have more digestive problems and continue to get less and less minerals and vitamins from our food, decreasing our health and vitality.
One of the best ways to decrease the load on your digestive system is by eating the food raw. Take raw milk for example it still has the enzymes intact and when you eat/drink it your body uses these enzymes to break down the food. The lactase (enzyme in raw milk) breaks down the lactose (milk sugar) enabling your body to digest the milk sugar and lessening the chance of an immune reaction (allergy, intolerance) to the milk sugar.
The trouble is when you cook foods, like milk, at about 50 degrees centigrade you start damaging the enzymes (which are protein structures), these enzymes can no longer function to break down the foods. This is just one of the major problems with pasturised milk.
Other problems that occur when we eat excessive amounts of cooked foods is the fats can get damaged within the food. Fats are extremely heat sensitive and depending on the type of fat, can get easily damaged when cooked. These damaged fats act as free radicals (electron scavengers) and steal electrons from healthy cells, causing cellular damage and aging. Knowing what fats are stable, when, is obviously vitally important, but so is the fact that minimising total damaged fats is vitally important.
Cooking does have some benefits though. Cooking helps break apart the proteins so they are easier to digest, cooking can actually increase the nutrition of foods as it makes nutrients that were locked up in the cellulose of the plant available. For example cooking tomatoes increases lycopene (an important antioxidant that’s been found to protect against prostate cancer) by 20 times. And cooked carrots contain 30 times more beta carotene (a basic form of vitamin A) than it’s raw counterpart. Of course, cooking helps to protect us from bacteria, viruses and parasites that might be present with the food, hence you might want to cook chicken or pork all the way through…
So, like most things in life, eating raw is about finding the right balance. For this reason I advocate people try and eat at least 50% of their calories in their raw form in winter and up to 85% raw in summer.
Bacon and eggs the BePure way… A great way to start the day!
To learn more about Ancestral Eating join the BePure website for free and get the Ancestral Eating Solution programme for free (worth $47).
In Health and Happiness,
Ancestral eating involves eating the foods that your ancestors ate according to your/their genetics…at one end of the scale you have Inuit and Native American Indians who got most of their calories from fat and protein from animals, while at the other end some African Tribesman lived predominately on plant based carbohydrates.
But these traditional cultures had one thing in common, other than being very healthy. When they did kill an animal, the whole animal was eaten! With the internal organs being the most highly prized. Traditional cultures knew the ancient wisdoms of nutrition, passed down from healthy generation to healthy generation, and a cornerstone to these cultures health was the consumption of organ meats.
Being English I am most familiar with the British organ meat culture, which are abundant, sweet breads (thymus gland) a British delicacy, faggots, black pudding, head cheese and of course you would not be without the steak and kidney pie. The Scots had haggis containing heart, liver and lungs amongst other things. And on the continent the French with their fine Pate’s.
More traditional cultures like the American native Indians also valued organ meats. Especially the glands, like the adrenal glands of buffalo that were such a highly valued prize that Native American Indians would cut it up into equal parts and every person in the tribe would have their equal share. It is now known that adrenal extracts contain high levels of vitamin C and specialised proteins that build energy and vitality.
Where ancestral diets and science meet…
Modern day science is NOW supporting what people have done for centuries in traditional cultures around the world (like cooking in saturated fat). Science now backs eating organ meats, which are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the face of the planet. In fact, liver, gram for gram would have to be the number one nutrient dense food on the planet. Not only a fantastic source of protein and minerals like iron, but as the storehouse for the animals fat soluble vitamins A and D, plus B vitamins. Many people will notice an immediate increase in energy from eating liver, as the B vitamins, hit the mitochondria in your cells. If you don’t eat liver then you most probably would benefit from taking a quality supplement containing broad spectrum B vitamins, like BePure ONE.
As with all food, quality is especially important when eating liver. As the liver’s role is to process toxins, liver should ideally be from organic sources. However, some liver is better than no liver, as the fat soluble vitamins A and D are believed to protect the cells from toxins.
Pictured above is liver with nitrate free bacon, eggs, hollandaise on steamed swiss chard. Another one of my favourite ways to eat liver is sliced liver cooked in balsamic vinegar and a little honey, served on top of a rocket salad, simple, yet delicious and nutritious (pictured below). So why not give organ meat a second chance… Click here to see my other favourite ways of eating organ meats…
In health and happiness
P.S Don’t forget to thank the animal for it’s organs before you eat it!