By Dr.Herbert M.Shelton
Foods have been defined as oxidizable substances. Oxidation is the union of oxygen with another element. Oxidation may take place slowly or rapidly. Rapid oxidation is the process known as burning. Oxidation of foods takes place more rapidly at a high temperature, as in cooking, and more slowly at lower temperatures. Foods also oxidize at room temperature. When we peel an apple and slice it so that we admit the oxygen of the air to its inner structure, it soon turns brown.
This same thing happens when we peel and slice a peach or banana. When foods have been oxidized they are no longer serviceable as food. The more oxidation has taken place in a food the less food value it has. Nature protects the vital structures of plants and animals from oxidation by surrounding them with structures –skins, barks, etc. When foods are sliced, diced, cut, mashed, shredded or otherwise broken into small bits, and their inner structures are subjected to contact with the air, they undergo oxidation. The finer they are grated or sliced, the thinner the slices, the more of their inner structures come into contact with oxygen, hence the more oxidation they undergo. The longer these sliced, cut and shredded foods are permitted to stand before they are eaten the more oxidation they undergo.
Nuts that are ground in making nut butters, milk that is sprayed in the process of drying (dehydration), juices that are extracted from fruits and vegetables, are all permitted to come in contact with oxygen and undergo more or less oxidation in the process. It will be noticed that in nature milk flows directly from the producer to the consumer without coming in contact with the air. In this state, the milk has an entirely different flavour than it has after it has been in contact with the air for some time. Apples and peaches taste differently after oxidizing. Nut butters do not taste like nuts. Foods lose both food value and palatability from oxidation.
When fresh fruits and vegetables are chopped into small pieces, or when tomatoes are sliced thin, there is rapid oxidation of vitamin c. For example, when lettuce is shredded it loses eighty per cent of its vitamin c in one minute. The loss is almost as rapid in tomatoes when these are sliced thin. The same thing is true of the vitamin c in oranges, cabbages and other fruits and vegetables. Ripe tomatoes seem to lose vitamin c less rapidly than do the green ones when they are sliced. In all green leafy vegetables, the destruction of vitamin c by oxidation , when these are chopped or shredded, is marked. The mere act of grating raw apples or raw potatoes causes a complete loss of vitamin c.
Thus it will be seen that one may buy vitamin rich foods and then prepare them in such ways as to lose most of their vitamins. The grating of salads is destructive of food value. The widespread practice of making fruit and vegetable juices and drinking these also permits of great losses of food values.
It will always be best to take our foods whole or if they must be cut, cut them in large pieces. There will some loss, even in this way, but the loss will be insignificant when compared with the loss that occur when for example cabbage is shredded.
Much of the damage done to food by cooking is due to oxidation- heat being the catalytic agent in this instance. It was early discovered that the application of heat to foods destroyed vitamins. Even comparatively low temperatures, such as that used in pasteurizing milk, are enough to destroy many of the vitamins of foods. Cooking destroys in part, if not wholly, the oxidizable factors of foods. This simply means that cooking "burns" those portions of foods that the body ordinarily oxidizes. Once these substances have been oxidized, they cannot again be oxidized in the body hence they are useless as food.
Heat by speeding up oxidation turns food into ashes before it is eaten. For example, certain of the amino acids are destroyed by the regular processes of cooking. Two very important amino acids, Lysine and Glutamine are destroyed by the cooking process. The losses that are produced by cooking may not result in serious trouble until later in life and all of their effects do not show up for two or three generations. For example, Dr.Pottenger demonstrated that cats fed on pasteurized milk and cooked flesh could not reproduce after two to three generations. They usually died of arthritis, heart diseases or gastro-intestinal complications.
It is significant that when Dr.Pottenger had fed his cats on cooked foods for a few generations, they not only developed many very serious defects, including finally, loss of ability to reproduce, but they also became homosexual and lost their normal endowments of hereditary racial sex characteristics. Some day, perhaps, we may know just how much similar eating practices have to do with the growing alikeness of the sexes in country (USA). Tests have shown that with large numbers of boys and girls, it is impossible to tell them apart by their anatomical differences of height, shoulder and hip dimensions, etc. Viewed nude from the rear, they were identical in appearance. Accompanying this wiping out of distinguishing sexual differences, there is the growing increase of sterility in both sexes.
The loss of minerals from foods in the process of cooking is of three kinds, as follows:
- There is the leaching of minerals from the foods as these run out into the water in which they are cooked, or as they run out into the pan in the juices of the food. When foods are boiled their mineral losses are great, more so if they are cut up before boiling.
- There is the evaporation of some of the minerals, as for example, the evaporation of iodine. In the process of pasteurizing milk, twenty per cent of the iodine content of the milk is lost by volatilization. Sulfur is lost from cabbage and onions in the process of cooking.
- There is the alteration of some of the salts of foods, so that they are no longer usable by the body. An excellent example of this is the change that occurs in the calcium and phosphorus in milk in the process of pasteurization.
It used to be asserted by advocates of cooking that heat bursts open the membranes or capsules that inclose the starch and other nutrients of vegetables, and thus renders them more susceptible of digestion. This was particularly thought to be so with regard to the starches of cereals, legumes, and potatoes. Raw starch was thought to be almost indigestible. The researchers of Strasburger and Heupke in Europe and of Hastings in America have shown this supposition to be incorrect. Indeed, the digestive juices digest the unboiled or uncooked vegetable cells as readily, or more so, as the cooked ones.
Viewed from every angle, the application of intense heat to foods constitutes a great waste of nutrients. The enzymes in foods, the roles of which in human nutrition are not yet fully understood, are also destroyed by heat. Let us look at milk again. Pasteurizing milk destroys the following enzymes contained in the milk: Protease, Lactase, Diastase, Lipase, Salolalase, Catalase, Peroxidase, Aldehydrase, Amylase and Phosphatase. It greatly impairs the value of chlorophyll and spoils the iron salts in foods. Animal feeding tests indicate that the regular processing of cooking reduce the nutritional value of food by at least one third, thus lending strength to the statement that we are nourished by the uncooked and but partially cooked portions of our foods and made sick by the thoroughly cooked portions.
By now it should be evident that the chefs and the mistresses of the kitchen cannot be trusted with our physiological welfare. These turn out a never ending array of heterogeneous mixtures that tax the strongest digestions; cook our foods until they have lost the greater part of their food value, salt them, pepper them, spice them, sweeten them. Put vinegar or other such material on them to hide their insipid character and feed them to us as the finest selections from among their many choice recipes. The alien taste given to the foods by the mixings and seasonings make the adaptation of digestive juices to the digestive requirements of the foods impossible, while the near foods, tars, charcoal and ashes that constitute great part of these abominable concoctions of the kitchen are materials that should never be taken into the human stomach.
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