COOKED VERSUS RAW FOODS
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© January 2019, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Lectins And Other Poisons
Less Nutrient Dense
Why Do Some People Feel Worse Eating Cooked Food?
Vegetable And Fruit Juices For Better Nutrition
Soaking Food Instead Of Cooking
Medical Studies Of Raw Versus Cooked Foods
Cooking For The Best Nutrition
The author was once a fierce advocate of raw food. Medical studies indicate that raw food contains more anti-oxidants than cooked food. Wild and domesticated animals eat their food raw, and they do quite well. Why would one want to eat ‘dead food’ when one can eat ‘living food’?
Then, 38 years ago, we began testing people’s mineral levels in a busy nutrition counseling office. This involves taking hair samples and testing them for 20 minerals, including electrolytes, trace minerals, and toxic metals.
Over the years, a different picture of how to eat has emerged. It is not as simple as I previously thought. Some foods are best eaten raw, such as fats and milk products. In fact, we find it is best never to cook milk or cheese for any reason, such as making quiche.
However, our clients that live mainly on raw vegetable salads and raw or just soaked grains do not heal nearly as well as those who eat plenty of well-cooked vegetables. We even find that some animals such as Dogs do better on cooked food. This article discusses possible reasons for this, and what to eat.
POOR MINERAL ABORPTION
We have run mineral tests on over 50,000 people. Here is what we observe:
Congenital mineral deficiencies and toxicity. Most all babies today are born low in the vital alkaline reserve minerals and high in toxic metals. This is due to mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity in their mothers. This problem occurs everywhere on earth.
We are reminded of a page in Weston Price’s book, Nutrition And Physical Degeneration. It shows an older native woman in Africa holding a crab-like creature. She had walked for miles to bring it for the young women in her village so they would have well-nourished babies. By comparison, American prenatal care is lacking when it comes to teaching girls and young women how to eat to have the healthiest babies.
We find that what is needed is a development program. Development, as the term is used on this website, means the opening and growth of the seven subtle energy centers on the body, along with a number of other deep changes in the body. It is fulfilling a genetic potential we all have, but which requires excellent nutrition, among other factors. For details, read Introduction To Development.
By comparison, just chelating heavy metals to remove them does not help much. In fact, it removes good minerals along with the bad ones, so we don’t recommend it. A development program removes toxins better and more safely.
The result is mineral starvation. As one progresses through life, the problem of mineral starvation worsens until disease and death overcome the body. At one level, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are little more than fancy names for mineral starvation. We know this because if one remineralizes the body properly, these and many other health conditions go away with no need for drugs or surgeries.
Toxic metals. When the body is deficient in vital minerals, the body picks up toxic metals as substitutes. Henry Schroeder, MD was one of the first to point out this problem in his book, The Trace Elements And Man (1973).
Salad offers less nutrition. We have observed the effects of many diets on people’s mineral levels. Those living on salads are more mineral-starved than those who eat well-cooked vegetables.
This is not difficult to understand. Most of the minerals and hundreds of other nutrients are locked inside the tough fibrous matrix of vegetables. Human beings cannot digest these tough vegetable fibers.
As a result, very few minerals are absorbed from raw vegetables, and the food is largely wasted. Taking a cellulase enzyme can help a little, but will not overcome this problem. Proper cooking, however, breaks down the tough fibers, releasing the minerals and dozens of other nutrients.
Weak digestion worsens the starvation problem. Most people also have weak digestion due to stress, malnutrition and exposure to many toxins in the environment. This makes digesting plant fiber even more difficult.
N-P-K agriculture worsens the problem. Most people also eat food fertilized with superphosphate fertilizers. These fertilizers act as growth stimulants. They are used on all crops, including organically grown food. Food grown this way is plentiful, but much lower in mineral content. This is well-documented by comparing the US Department of Agriculture nutrient content of vegetables and grains today, versus those of 50 or 100 years ago.
The animal analogy. Some health authorities advocate eating raw food because animals eat their food raw. However, the comparison is not valid.
Vegetable-eating animals tend to have longer digestive tracts than we do. Some also have three or four stomachs to assist digestion. Most spend all day chewing their food.
Some animals, such as cows, also ‘chew the cud’. They regurgitate their food and chew it even more to help them extract the nutrients from it.
It is true that raw vegetables contain more vitamin C and a few other vitamins. However, the problem of reduced mineral and other nutrient absorption is far more serious and negates this benefit of raw food. Any vitamins that are destroyed by cooking can easily be replaced with a vitamin supplement.
Women particularly need cooked vegetables. The reasons are 1) they will give birth and determine the health of the next generation, and 2) women are more prone to osteoporosis later in life. This horrible condition is preventable.
We find that eating lots of cooked vegetables works much better than pills, smoothies, powders, juices or anything else to restore mineral nutrition and prevent osteoporosis. For more details, read Osteoporosis and Remineralizing The Body.
This problem with raw food is somewhat esoteric, but very important. Most raw food is unbalanced in a particular way. It is more yin. Balancing yin and yang forces is an ancient concept that is well-known in the healing sciences of acupuncture and macrobiotics. It is basic physics. Yin means colder and having slower-moving particles of energy.
Cooking food adds heat energy and balances most food. Balancing the food in this way is critical, we find, for two reasons:
1. All bodies are too yin today. This is due to the effects of ionizing radiation from x-rays and nuclear power plants, electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other sources, and from exposure to toxic metals and toxic chemicals.
LECTINS AND OTHER POISONS
Cooking destroys many poisons found inside and on food. For example, lectins are potent poisons found in grains, beans, and some other foods. Cooking destroys most lectins. Proper food preparation also destroys phytates and other mineral robbers found in some foods.
Cooking also reduces the amount of bacteria, viruses and parasites found on the inside and outside of many fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, and other foods. This is particularly important today because much of our food is grown in nations where cleanliness is not a high priority.
LESS NUTRIENT DENSE
Raw vegetables are mostly fiber and water, by volume. They are much less nutrient dense than properly cooked ones. Cooking reduces the fiber and water content and allows one to consume many more minerals and other nutrients.
A bad way to lose weight. Some people try to lose weight by eating a lot of salads that contain fewer calories. However, this is just a clever way to starve yourself and a huge mistake.
One can easily lose weight by eating lots of well-cooked vegetables and some animal protein, and no salads. The weight comes off because one is actually healing the glands and other organs that regulate weight.
This is only safe way to lose weight. The other methods just starve the body even more, and don’t work that well. For details, read Weight Loss And Weight Gain.
Well-cooked vegetables and grains nourish and heal the digestive tract. Raw ones irritate it and often contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
The irritation is due to the tough fibers of vegetables and grains, as well as higher bacteria and virus counts found in some raw foods.
A religious note. The Talmud, written about 3000 years ago, states that undercooked food is irritating to the digestive tract. (see Medicine In The Bible And Talmud by Fred Rosner.)
An exception. Good quality raw dairy products are often less irritating than pasteurized or cooked dairy for most people, unless one has an allergy to them. Raw milk needs to be taken alone, however, not in combination with other foods. Also, we only recommend up to 4 ounces of all dairy products per day on the Development Diet.
OTHER PROBLEMS WITH RAW FOOD
The following are less critical, but are nevertheless problems with eating raw foods.
Raw food is often lower in etheric energy. Food that requires cooking such as grains, vegetables, meats and eggs actually become more charged with ether or etheric energy when cooked. For details, read Etheric Energy.
Raw food must be warmed up in the stomach, using up energy. This reason for avoiding raw food is most important for those whose digestion is weak.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE FEEL WORSE EATING COOKED FOODS?
Common reasons are:
1. Sugar withdrawal. For some people, eating cooked vegetables means no more smoothies, shakes, juices and other sugary foods. If one has a yeast problem, as do millions of people, the yeasts inside begin to starve.
Yeasts often produce alcohol, so when the yeasts die the alcohol supply often dries up. When this occurs, one feels very anxious, angry or depressed because reality sets in. One is no longer slightly inebriated. For details, read Chronic Yeast Infections.
2. Becoming more yang. Eating cooked food, one becomes more yang in macrobiotic terms. This is often an unpleasant feeling because it brings up unresolved psychological issues. It can also bring up unhealed physical health conditions and causes Retracing.
3. Too relaxed. Cooked food is more relaxing for the body. It is less stimulating and exciting, which some people do not like.
Fermented foods are often raw, and tend to be even more yin than unfermented foods because they contain higher levels of fermenting bacteria. Many also contain aldehydes, which are toxic chemicals.
For these reasons, we only recommend a little yogurt, kefir, raw cheeses, miso, and sauerkraut. Please avoid the rest, especially kombucha tea, which is toxic. For more on this topic, read Fermented Foods.
VEGETABLE AND FRUIT JUICES FOR BETTER NUTRITION
Juicing vegetables breaks down vegetable fibers and makes nutrients much more available. We suggest that every adult drink 10-12 ounces of carrot juice daily as a source of calcium and other nutrients.
The problem with drinking more than this is that juices are even more yin than raw food. Any time one breaks up a food it becomes more yin.
For rapid development, fruit juices are terrible foods, no matter how nutritious they may be. The reason is that fruit is the one of the most yin food groups. Fruit juices cause other problems, as well. For details, read Fruit-Eating.
SOAKING FOOD INSTEAD OF COOKING
Some health authorities suggest soaking grains, seeds and nuts overnight to soften the fiber and make the food more digestible. However, soaking any food makes the food more yin because one mixes the food with water. For this reason, we do not recommend soaking foods overnight.
MEDICAL STUDIES ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF RAW FOOD
Nutrient studies. A number of medical studies show that raw food contains more anti-oxidants and other nutrients. The problem with these studies is they do not explore whether one can absorb these nutrients as well from raw food. Here is one such study:
Ismail, A and Lee, WY, Influence of cooking practice on antioxidant properties and phenolic content of selected vegetables. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr., 2004; 13(Suppl):S162.
Studies of disease risk. Other medical studies compare the risk of disease if one consumes raw versus cooked food. Here is one such study:
Link, LB and Potter, JD. Raw versus cooked vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004; 13(9):1422-35.
The problem with these studies is they are done on people who are not developing. We find that with a proper health program, development occurs. This, we find, outweighs the benefits of raw food for healing and disease prevention.
COOKING FOR THE BEST NUTRITION
Here are some tips for cooking food to maximize nutrition:
Pressure cooking is generally best. The combination of heat and pressure makes the food more yang. It is also cooks very fast, so it does much less damage to food than high-temperature cooking. It also does not require using fat or oil, which is helpful.
Other decent cooking methods are steaming, and crock pots or slow cookers. Stir-frying, roasting, barbeque and baking use higher temperatures. A little is okay, but not a lot. However, stir-frying often does not cook food enough. If it is well-cooked, it is more damaged by the high heat.
If you cook with water, drink the water rather than throw it away. This is not necessary with steaming, however.
Add sea salt and spices after cooking, not before or during cooking. Some foods do not react well to the addition of salt, for example.
Cook vegetables until they are soft, and no longer crunchy. Crunchy or al dente food still has too much fiber to permit proper mineral absorption.
Do not overcook food so that it is just mush. Food should be cooked until it is soft, but not falling apart. With proper pressure-cooking, the color of vegetables remains.
Soft-boil, poach or lightly fry eggs so that the yolks are runny. The yolk is a fat and fats are best eaten raw or very lightly cooked. More cooking damages the protein, as well.
Cook meats just enough to kill bacteria on and inside the meat. Most meat is overcooked. Organic ground beef requires little cooking – mostly braising – to preserve certain zinc compounds. If you use a crock pot, add the meat near the end, or take out the meat within an hour of beginning cooking.
Avoid all raw grains. These are found in museli, trail mix, granola, and some food bars. Cook grain until it is soft for best nutrient absorption. We also suggest avoiding all wheat products. Wheat today is much higher in glutamic acid and other irritants, even organic whole wheat.
We do not recommend eating most sprouts. They contain toxins designed to protect the young plants. Cooked mung bean sprouts are okay, however.
When eating in restaurants, avoid salads and all raw food. Cleanliness is often a problem.