Wellness Pathway #261 The Raw / Cooked Balance

I have lived on the shores of Queen’s Lake in southeast Virginia for almost three years. In that time I have come to enjoy our quiet bird sanctuary, putting out feeders and even posting continuously updated images of the feeders on the Web. But in that time I have never seen what I saw this past week. A bird of prey, a juvenile Sharp-shinned hawk, landed on a branch outside my window with a freshly caught bird in its talons.

For the next ten minutes, until a squirrel jumped on the branch and chased it away, the hawk proceeded to devour its kill: plucking off the feathers and consuming the meat as well as the entrails with obvious satisfaction. I took some pictures and have uploaded them to the Web. Hawks enjoy their meals fresh and raw.

So, too, did early humans. Over the course of our evolution, we went from gatherers to hunter-gatherers to chefs. Apart from drying meat and fruit in the sun, the use of fire to cook food represents the first technology-assisted food processing. With the advent of cooking, not only could food be stored for longer periods of time but many foods that were heretofore inedible (e.g., potatoes, beans, grains, and some nuts) became edible.

Just because they became edible does not mean they necessarily contributed to our health and well-being. And there are those who have gone back to eating all their foods fresh and raw. Fresh and raw foods contain enzymes and organisms that foods cooked above 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) do not. Of course, some of those organisms can make us sick, especially as the time increases between harvesting or hunting and eating. This was obviously not a problem for the hawk outside my window!

Given the limitations of eating everything fresh and raw in the modern world, it behooves us to at least pay attention to the raw / cooked balance. On the simplest level, we can eat as many fresh and raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds as possible. A daily tossed salad, with an abundance of edible greens, root vegetables, sprouts, and fruits, is an excellent staple in human nutrition.

So, too, with a daily fruit smoothie. Make your own in a blender in order to be sure the ingredients do not include the two staples of modern, processed foods: sugar and preservatives. At our home, the fruit smoothies are so thick that we call them fruit chewies! In addition to fresh fruit, we add freshly ground flax, hemp, and sesame seeds (all raw), plus psyllium husk, organic cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, and blackstrap molasses as well as a scoop of dried egg-white protein.

Then, be sure to eat fresh and raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day, if and when you feel like snacking. Avoid all processed-food snacks. When it comes to dinner, do what you can to minimize cooking and, when you do cook, use the lowest temperature possible. Very high-temperature cooking is especially harmful if you cook with oil, since the high temperature creates toxic byproducts.

Fresh sushi is one way to eat raw animal protein (although sushi also contains cooked rice that is often made sticky with high-fructose corn syrup). By and large, however, unless you know what you are doing and like the taste, raw meat and eggs are to be avoided.

Many have discovered that they can live without potatoes, beans, grains, and roasted nuts altogether. In our home, we have reduced our consumption of these foods to the point where they represent a very small part of our diet. As a result, we are eating a lot more fresh and raw foods than ever before. And that’s the way it should be, since it’s hard to eat too much of them.

Coaching Inquiries: What section of the grocery store does most of your food come from? How often do you eat fresh and raw foods? How could you increase your consumption of fresh and raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds? What cooked foods would you be willing to eliminate if doing so would improve your health?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services