Processed, prepackaged foods - even organic - are always a less-than-optimal food choice. This is for two reasons.
- First, many essential nutrients and enzymes are destroyed through extensive processing and handling techniques, reducing the body's ability to carry out essential metabolic processes.
- Second, any number of food additives are included in the mix, and these additives are not necessarily required to appear on the label, even for organic foods. When non-organic foods are used, an extra metabolic burden is created by chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Because raw foods in general supply the highest amounts of enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients, it is in your own best interest to include as much raw foods as possible in your diet. Fresh, sustainably grown or organic food can often (but not always) supply a higher level of nutrients but, more importantly, these foods come with a lower level of chemical pesticides, so it is worthwhile to seek out sources for such food as much as possible.
Vegetable juicing is one easy way to get lots of fresh, raw veggies into your daily diet and veggie juices are preferrable to fruit juices - both because of the types of nutrients supplied and also because of all the problems resulting from insulin/blood sugar balance. Because juicing is a concentrated form of vegetables, it is important to use organic vegetables, because the last thing you want in concentrated form is pesticides or other chemicals.
Another easy way to get more raw foods in your diet is to consume raw milk and dairy products. (To find sources near you, contact the chapter leaders nearest you listed under Local Chapters. While you're there read all about the benefits of raw dairy from clean, healthy, pastured animals).
Consuming raw animal products such as beef or fish is sometimes frowned upon in our culture, but many studies have shown that these too can supply critical enzymes and other essential nutrients which can be lost or destroyed through cooking. So check recipes from Martha Stuart, go to a good sushi restaurant or oyster bar - and buy , by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig along with by Aajonous Vonderplanitz for some recipe ideas.
Naturally fermented foods such as Kefir from raw dairy and sauerkraut from cabbage are excellent ways to consume "predigested" raw food. Traditionally fermented foods preserve and increase available nutrients and provide important digestive enzymes and bacteria (otherwise known as probiotics). Healthy intestinal terrains are populated with plentiful "good" bacteria which then helps produce many of the B vitamins required for proper food metabolism. mentioned above is one source for learning about fermented foods and it has some great recipes for preparing them.
Whole grains and beans should be soaked overnite before cooking - if you eat them at all. Oat meal is also best soaked overnite in lemon juice and water or buttermilk. Nuts (except cashews) and seeds also are best when soaked then slow roasted in a low heat oven, seasoned with sea salt if desired. Second best are dry roasted nuts and seeds.
The best cooking techniques involve either high heat, very fast cook times (as with barely heated through stir fries) AND good quality heat resistant fats, such as coconut oil, lard or beef tallow - OR low heat, long cooking times. "Bone broth" soups for example become richer in minerals when the cooking time is extended to 18 hours. When frying foods, use heat-stable lard, beef fat, or coconut oil (and read our Cholesterol and Fats: Myths and Facts page).
COOKING UTENSILS: This page has information on each of the available materials for cookware. Be sue to read about non-stick cookware and follow the links. This is a more extended article about Teflon.
IF new utensils must be purchased, you might also be interested in the resurrected effort to recycle radioactive waste into household products.