The Journal of Health in its issue of May 1833 and the Moral Reformer June 1835, affirmed as a general principle that no person, whether gentleman, farmer or tradesman, woman or child, could eat to advantage, or even with impunity, vegetable matter which had not been softened and changed by cooking processes.
People were not only afraid of plant foods in those days, but they were especially afraid of them in their uncooked or natural state. It was a day of much cooking--vegetables were par boiled and then boiled again. The water in which they were par boiled was thrown away. Little was left for the eater but an almost foodless husk which had been reduced to a mush that required practically no chewing.
Graham on the other hand, laid down the principle that man's "physiological interests would be best sustained by those vegetable products which require no culinary change, or cooking." He thought that cooking not only reduces the value of the foods, but that it actually reduces the digestive powers of those who eat cooked foods. Then he said: "It may therefore, be laid down as a general law, that all processes of cooking, or artificial preparations of food by fire, are, in themselves, considered with reference to the very highest and best condition of human nature, in some degree detrimental to the physiological and psychological interests of man."
Cooking, the most universally employed process of denaturing our foods, is in every way injurious to foods and to man. Whether we cook plant substances or animal products, cooking is ruinous to the properties of the food. The fluids of the plant are, in great part, lost in cooking. With these go the minerals and vitamins of the plant. With them also go the natural flavors and aromas of the food. The nutritive value of foods are impaired or destroyed by cooking and their digestibility is lowered.
We must tap the richest sources of vitality which Nature posseses and turn them to valuable account. We must supply ourselves and our children with superior nutritive substances and these can only come from nature. Not to the chemist, nor to the food manufacturer, must we go for superior nutrition; but to the original source of nutrition. In nature's products are the requisites of superior nutrition. All the sources of vigor and all the means of resisting pathogenic ("disease" producing) causes are found in natural products as these come from the hands of nature.
In fresh fruits and green vegetables and nuts, or the juices of these, are all the minerals and vitamins and high-grade proteins, and other substances needed by the growing, developing human body to bring it to a state of physical, mental and moral perfection and to maintain it in this state indefinitely.
All the virtues of foods are retained when they are eaten uncooked and they not only protect against the causes of disease, but they add to the joys of life, enhance bodily vigor, and give that strength to the sexual powers that means better offspring.
Fresh foods, green foods, whole, natural foods, unprocessed foods, unrefined foods, foods that have not lost their substances nor had their values deteriorated by heating, drying, cooking, canning, and refining processes are full of the elements of superior nutrition.
Graham wrote: "It is nearly certain, as I have already stated, that the primitive inhabitants of the earth ate their food with very little if any artificial preparations. The various fruits, nuts, seeds, roots, and other vegetable substances on which they subsisted, were eaten by them in their natural state, with no other grinding than that which was done by the teeth."
It is obvious to even the least intelligent that animals in a state of nature subsist exclusively and entirely on an uncooked dietary. It is equally as obvious that man subsisted entirely and wholly on uncooked foods before he learned the use of fire. We have no means of knowing how long man lived on the earth before some enterprising young genius learned to make fire, nor how long it was thereafter before he began to apply fire to his foods. I think that we will not go wrong in assuming that the use of fire has persisted but a moment in his history.
Prof. Jordon, of the University of Chicago, says that the people of the stone age were unacquainted with the art of cooking, but ate their foods in their natural state. Animals and, to a large extent, so-called primitive peoples, take their food directly from the hands of nature and eat it unchanged.
The so-called primitive tribes live largely or wholly upon uncooked foods. The Esquamaux will catch a fish and eat him without taking the trouble to first put him to death. He will kill a walrus and feast off his fresh warm flesh at once. The Hawaiian will wade out into the sea with his harpoon or spear and dive down and spear a fish or catch some other sea creature, come up and eat him without troubling to first get onto the shore. Some African tribes will catch a grass hopper or beetle off a tree and eat it whole on the spot.
The fact that primitive man ate his foods uncooked is evidence that raw foods are adequate to support life. Indeed there is much evidence to show that certain qualities possessed by raw foods are indispensable to life. It is quite probable that the enzymes of raw foods are of use to the body. Research may show that plant enzymes are the sources of animal enzymes.
My esteemed friend and erstwhile co-worker, Dr. B. S. Claunch, said in an excellent talk on How Disease is Built, delivered at Sorosis Hall, San Francisco, Dec. 10, 1922: "There are nearly 700,000 species of animal life, and everyone of these species except man--the highes--lives exclusively on live, uncooked, organic food. No other animal except man eats devitalized foods that have been rendered inorganic--reduced from their organic structure to dead, inorganic substances. * * * "As I stated before, animals of every kind live on uncooked food with the exception of man. Incidentally, man is the only species in the entire animal kingdom that is sick, with the exception of a few that have their diet prescribed for them by man--domesticated animals. They are sick the same as man, because man supplies their food and directs their eating habits instead of permitting them to select their own foods.
"Cooking foods and processing them--refining, sterilizing, preserving, pickling, flavoring and coloring--all tend to devitalize them. When such substances are eaten--these are practically the only kinds obtainable today in the modern eating places--about one-fourth in unchanged. The nourishment obtained from the one-fourth keeps you alive for a few years; the poison you get from the other three-fourths keeps you sick most of the time."
Not a single truth in these statements of Dr. Claunch's is injured in any way by the fact that he has repudiated them. No truth is impaired by the desertion of its advocates. The fact that Dr. Claunch now advocates, or did, for a while, advocate an almost exclusive meat diet, and this well cooked, does not alter the fact that homo (SAP)iens is the only species on earth which eats cooked food. Nor does it change the fact that cooking and processing foods injures and impairs them. When a man changes his mind it does not change the facts.