Saturday, April 7, 2007

On killing our food and killing ourselves:

Why is it that because one or a few cases of e. coli, salmonella or listeria have occurred in a food, we have to either avoid it altogether or cook the hell out of it or mandate pasteurization for everyone all the time?

Many foods are more nutritious and safer in their raw state because they have enzymes that help our bodies use the foods, and beneficial bacteria that actually protect against contamination by dangerous bacteria. These live components and some nutrients are lost during pasteurization. Already, it is almost impossible for people in many parts of this country to gain access to raw milk, one of the only sources of vitamin B6 (which is found only in animal foods and destroyed by heat). Now the government and almond processors have decided to “pasteurize” all almonds starting this fall. These pasteurized almonds may be labeled “raw” so you will not even know whether you are eating the whole food or a processed approximation.

The pro-biotics in whole, unprocessed, living foods support the immune system and prevent disease and infections. “A sterilized diet weakens the immune system, increasing vulnerability to cancer, osteoporosis, asthma, allergies, Crohns, IBS, Colitis, GERD, chronic disease, infections, and ulcers-- to name a few.” (Weston A. Price Foundation Action Alert) Have you noticed, like I have, that these afflictions seem to be more and more common?

Contrary to popular belief, we cannot get everything we need from a pill. We need whole food. The foods in the traditional human diet are designed perfectly to provide everything we need. Then along come processors, who have their own agenda (which is not to worry about your health but to make money). Processors change and denature our food until it becomes burdensome to the body (the body has to draw on its nutrient stores to process refined foods) or poisonous rather than beneficial—witness hydrogenated oils. Or they make into “food” things which are really minerals or synthetic chemicals. In the new book Twinkie, Deconstructed, Steve Ettlinger explores the origins of the 39 ingredients in Twinkies and finds that these American “classics” contain such tempting treats as “food grade” plaster of Paris and ferrous sulfate , an iron compound (used widely to fortify refined flour) that is also used as weed killer.

Nobody should have to worry about deadly pathogens in her food. Most of the outbreaks of food-borne illness are caused by the factory farming or processing of foods, the pathogens are not in the nature of the foods themselves and do not result from traditional production methods. I do not know of any outbreak of e. coli, listeria or salmonella that was associated with organic products or small farm products. If we insist that our food is raised by sustainable, preferably organic, methods, and processed minimally at smaller local facilities, we are unlikely to have this problem.

Yes, this is a litigious society and people want their asses covered. Let them put disclaimers on my raw milk and raw almonds but let me decide whether I want to risk eating them. I would rather take my chances with the food nature provides than with “food grade” plaster of Paris and weed killer.

For more information on probiotics, live foods and analog nutrients needed to process food in the body, link to the Weston A. Price Foundation below. Natren and Radiant Life are resources for supplements.

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