Why Eat Raw Food
By Rhio (excerpt from her book, )
Cooked foods cannot create true health because they are missing some very vital elements needed by the body for its optimal functioning; things like enzymes, oxygen, hormones, phytochemicals, bio-electrical energy and life-force. When foods are heated above 105° F they begin to lose all of these. By 118° F, most food is dead. Yes, the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins are still there, but in a greatly altered state – not at all what nature provided.
Each cell of the body is like a tiny battery, and raw and living foods supply the bio-electricity which charges these batteries. The bio-electrical energy of raw food can be clearly seen in Kirlian photographs of the food. This photographic process shows electrical discharges that naturally emanate from all living things as luminescent, aura-like flares surrounding the subject. The glow is bright and radiant in raw foods, yet almost totally absent in Kirlian photographs of comparable cooked foods.
To me "life-force" means "the energy that is able to create life." The sprouting ability of raw foods demonstrates the presence of the life-force within them. All grains, legumes, beans and seeds sprout. Nuts in the shell sprout. Potatoes sprout and create new potato plants. (Do not eat potato sprouts as they are poisonous.) If you stick the top part of a pineapple into water, it will sprout roots. Apple seeds create apple trees. Avocado pits and mango pits sprout.
Now, take cooked versions of all the above, put them into soil and see if a plant will grow. Cooked food rots, rather than sprouts, and a new plant does not come forth. Through observation, you can easily demonstrate for yourself what you are losing by eating cooked foods. A food that is cooked cannot create life and cannot maintain the life-force energy in our bodies.
Cooking food disrupts its molecular structure and kills all the enzymes too. Enzymes are the indispensable catalysts which enable the body to utilize vitamins and minerals. (Think of enzymes as the workmen and vitamins and minerals as the bricks and mortar. Without the workmen, the bricks and mortar don't get put into place.) Enzymes are extremely heat-sensitive and thus do not survive in cooked foods. The vitamins and phytochemicals also are injured, greatly diminished, and left in an altered molecular state. The minerals are made less soluble. The fats have turned from life enhancing cis fatty acids to trans fatty acids, which create damaging free radicals in the body. Trans fatty acids also interfere with respiration of the cells. The proteins (including vegetable proteins), become denatured; they then coagulate (like the white of an egg) and are very difficult to digest. Some researchers report that unmetabolized protein particles in the bloodstream are a possible cause of allergies.
When you eat cooked (enzymeless) foods, you put a heavy burden on your body, which then has to produce the enzymes missing in the food. One of the reasons you feel lethargic or sleepy after a cooked meal is because the body is diverting its energy to replacing the enzymes that were not supplied. By comparison, a raw food meal leaves you feeling light and full of energy. You can judge this for yourself. Uncooked foods digest in 1/3 to 1/2 the time of cooked foods. The stress of creating and replacing enzymes, meal after meal, day after day, year after year, greatly contributes to accelerated aging.
Ingesting cooked food also causes the body to produce a surge of white blood cells (leukocytosis). These cells normally defend against disease, infection and injury to the body, but their production is a routine effect of ingesting cooked foods (as if the body considers such food a threat or danger). Because leukocytes carry a variety of enzymes, there is another possible explanation for the increase in white blood cells. The leukocytes may be delivering the missing enzymes so that digestion can proceed unhindered. Leukocytosis does not occur when raw, unheated foods are eaten. A ccording to Viktoras Kulvinskas,5 "in any pathological condition, including the intoxification of the digestive system with cooked food or other toxic Materials, these white cells increase from 5 or 6 thousand per cubic millimeter to 7, 8 or 9 thousand per cu.m.m." Leukocytosis also occurs when additives, pesticides and chemically based supplements are ingested. And, of course, producing these cells creates an additional stress upon the body.
Raw foods are full of oxygen, especially green leafy vegetables which contain an abundance of chlorophyll. The chemical structure of chlorophyll is almost identical to the hemoglobin in our red blood cells. The only difference is that the hemoglobin molecule has iron in its nucleus and the chlorophyll molecule has magnesium. Chlorophyll detoxifies the bloodstream and every other part of the body better than anything else you could eat. When you eat raw green chlorophyll foods, you oxygenate the blood. The bloodstream, through its capillary system, then delivers this oxygen to every cell in your body. And when you eat greens in blended form, such as in Dr. Ann’s Energy Soups (se e Recipe Index), this process is even more efficient.
Sprouted seeds contain vital elements which nourish our glands, nerves and brain. The hormones needed by the body are created out of the natural fat and other essential principles found in seeds. Think about how few seeds are found in the average diet. The plant breeders are hybridizing most of the seeds out of our foods. Now we can get seedless watermelons, seedless grapes, seedless citrus, and the list goes on. Even if we did find a seed, most of us don't understand the value of eating it and thus, it would be discarded.
When you eat cooked starch, the body absorbs more than it needs. Getting rid of the excess starch then becomes another burden to the body. Those who favor cooked foods often make the point that since the body cannot absorb raw starch, this is a sign the food should be cooked. Another way to look at it, however, is that the body absorbs just enough of the raw starch for its needs and then passes out the rest. (When pig farmers feed their pigs raw potatoes, the pigs stay slender. Since farmers sell their pigs by the pound, they have learned to feed them cooked potatoes, which fattens them up.)
Cellulose – the woody, fibrous part of food – was previously believed to be unnecessary to the body. Because the body did not absorb it, it wasn't deemed important. Now we know that this fiber is what keeps things moving through our body so that we don't become constipated. Nature is vindicated again! I believe, in addition, that raw fiber has the ability to act as a broom which sweeps the intestinal tract and keeps it clean. Cooked fiber has lost the ability to do this for us. Enemas and colonics serve their purpose, but they are a poor substitute for what nature, by putting (raw) fiber into foods, has provided.
Raw and live foods nourish and improve the body's inner environment. Raw and live foods enable the body to dislodge and expel accumulated wastes. A member of my family had a tiny sliver of metal lodged in his hand as a result of an accident. For two years he tried to get it out by squeezing, pushing, and probing with sterilized needles, etc., but it wouldn't budge. He went to the Optimum Health Institute (to learn about live foods) for a week and, when he returned home, decided he would continue on raw foods. Four weeks later, a bubble formed on his hand and inside the bubble was the sliver of metal. This is an example of what raw and live foods do. If something is not supposed to be in your body, it will be expelled.
Eating cooked food prevents the immune system from working on what is really important in keeping us superbly healthy and young in body, mind and soul. We exhaust and dissipate the body's strength by using the immune system to combat the unnatural cooked foods, chemically based supplements, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones (in meats, poultry, fish and dairy) and numerous other toxins we ingest, breathe in or absorb through our skin. When we really need the immune system to support us (as when a disease or infection develops or an injury occurs), it then lacks the strength to defend us properly.
Eating healthy means giving your body power foods it can easily assimilate and use for regeneration and rejuvenation. Life comes from life. So the more foods you eat which are organic and straight from nature's raw gar den, the better you are going to feel.
One of Your Keys to Outstanding Health
by Wes Peterson
The Secrets of the Cooking Pan
by Frederic Patenaude.
Isn't cooking interesting? With a few basic pieces of equipment, a stove and some pots and pans, you can radically transform your food, play with it, and turn it into something totally different. Think about the difference between a raw potato and a potato after it's been baked. What a metamorphosis! What used to be this crunchy, juicy, earthy thing is now creamy, sweet and mealy, and it melts in your mouth. It fills you up like nothing else, and all of this you couldn't have achieved without this little magical feat you operated using your stove (just assuming that some of you still use stove, but I'm sure you are beyond that, aren't you?).
So you went on and cooked your food, added a pinch of this and a pinch of that in the pots and pans, fried a few things, boiled some others, and operated all of these miracles that transformed these rude Material into some actual cuisine. Who in fact would even bother to eat a raw apple when you can bake it with cinnamon, brown sugar, and make it a real treat?
But the question we ask now is: What really goes on, behind the scenes, when we cook our foods? What is it that happens at the molecular level that turns this raw potato into the food we know as baked potato? What is it that can make us go past our repulsion for raw meat and eat with delight a grilled steak?
Thusly we can bring up the theme of this article: science and the art of cooking, with (unfortunately) its implication on human health.
Cooking has always been considered an art, where every possible way to transform the foods has been permitted, as long as it succeeded in creating some eatables that are pleasing to the palate.
This so-called art had the benefit of being able to use the rich natural world to operate its marvels. It is possible, using the molecules contained in foods, and transforming them using fire, to create countless new molecules that were not present before in these foods. These new molecules are the true offsprings of cooking, and their implication on human health is quite scary.
Science is just starting to analyze these new creations of the cooking art, and can't even seem to see the end considering their gigantic number.
I am not talking here about the composition of foods, to which I show no interest in this articles. There are plenty of books already out there discussing the composition of cooked foods, in terms of fats, protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The real question I am bringing up is : how the diverse methods of the cooking art operate at the molecular level to transform foods in their raw state?
Cooking & Science
Chefs rarely are men and women of science, and it might even scare them to think of their art as cold science. But science is amazing in the way that its laws only ask to admit that our universe is composed of molecules, which are in themselves composed of atoms. Life is constituted of cells, which are constituted of molecules. We know this since college. We also know that atoms are linked together by chemical reactions more or less strong according to their type: between the atoms of a same molecule, the forces are generally strong, but between two different neighboring molecules, the forces of attraction are not as strong.
Often, when we heat something, we break only the forces playing against the neighboring molecules; water into ice, for example, is a stalking of water molecules. When we heat ice, the energy that we bring suffices to break the links between the water molecules, and thus create a liquid where the molecules, although forming a coherent mass, are moving from one another. However, in the liquid formed, the molecules are not transformed. The molecules of water are identical to the molecules of ice. Then when we heat water over 212 degrees (100 Celsius), it evaporates, because the heat that has been brought is enough to break the forces of cohesion between the water molecules. But again, within each molecule, the atom of oxygen is still linked to two atoms of hydrogen. This type of transforMation is physical in its nature, and not chemical: the water molecule stays a water molecule.
But what the average chef doesn't know is that, during the cooking process, chemical reactions occur -- molecules in foods are being disassociated, rearranged, and new molecules are being created.
Which brings up to the following question:
What exactly are these molecules created through cooking, and what do they do to our health when they enter our bodies?
The Maillard Molecules
I am not the first person to ask this question.
"In 1916, an American, chemical engineer, by the name of Maillard, decided to isolate substances that give cooked foods their distinctive flavors, such as the tastes of bread, chocolate, coffee, etc. After having singled them out, he hoped, no doubt, to produce them artificially in order to add them to industrial foods and enhance the appeal that they could have to the consumer's taste buds. So in order to complete his scheme, he had to determine the exact structure of these new molecules. He quickly found out that these molecules resulted from very complex, haphazard chemical reactions between sugars and proteins, and one could produce them quite easily by heating any food even to moderate temperatures.
"It is not possible to see with the naked eye what happens in a saucepan on the molecular level. When a chemist combines two substances in a test tube and subsequently heats the compound over a Bunsen burner, it boils, clouds, changes color or explodes accordingly. In each case, a new compound has been produced. Heat causes the molecules involved to collide, and repeated collision causes divalent bonding in order for new molecules, and hence a new substance, to form. The same goes for cooking, except that myriad molecules are brought together instead of just two.
"In an ordinary baked potato, there are already 450 by-products of every description. They have even been named 'new chemical composites.' So far, around 50 such substances were studied and turned out to be either peroxidizing, antioxidizing, or toxic and possibly even mutagenic, meaning that they are liable to wreck cell nuclei and set up cancer. What was ascertained for broiled potatoes, which involves a fairly straightforward preparation, becomes much more serious with more sophisticated cookery. Sliced potatoes baked with cheese is a case in point. Heating releases an awesome array of chemical reactions -- 450 substances in potatoes and probably many more in cheese which is a highly intricate biochemical complex. Not only will those unwanted molecules stack up their effects, but, moreover, they will combine among themselves in every possible way -- meaning that tens of thousands of abnormal substances will spring out of a cooked dish calling for mere potatoes and cheese. Just think of elaborate recipes where one clocks up endless chains of sundry ingredients jumbled together helter-skelter." -- Guy Claude Burger, Manger Vrai.
Maillard Molecules & Health Hazards
It seems that shortly after Maillard discovered these molecules, that have since been termed "Maillard's molecules," he tried to prove that they had no adverse effect on human health. Some experiments quickly showed that he was wrong, and all his work was swept under the rug, until 1982, when some research appeared in scientific journals. Scientists now begin to foresee the possible connection between the introduction of these molecules in the human bodies and common diseases and health problems.
"As far back as 1916, Maillard proved that the brown pigments and polymers that occur in pyrolysis (chemical breakdown by heat alone)... are yielded after prior reaction of an amino acid group with the carbonyl group of sugars.
Though apparently simple, this reaction is, in fact, highly complex, itinerating in a spate of successive reactions and forming melanoidins, which are brown pigments that impart a typical color to whatever part of a food has endured higher temperatures.
The number of substances generated as a result is most impressive, yielding endless chains of new molecules: ketones, esters, aldehydes, ethers, volatile alcohols, and non-volatile heterocycles, etc. These innumerable substances coalesce into a complex compound and are endowed with differing biological and chemical attributes: they are toxic, aroMatic, peroxidizing, anti-oxidizing, and possibly mutagenic and carcinogenic (DNA fractures can be oncogenic), or even anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic. This to say that heating causes widespread disruption in the natural order of molecules. The research work backing up this article evidenced over 50 pyrolytic substances in broiled potatoes, most of which originated from pyroseines and thiazole. However, Derache also has it that "there remain, all in all, some 400 by-products to identify." -- Manger Vrai
The Malliard reactions are one type of possible reaction occurring during common food preparation, but not the only one. Cooked foods are the product of chemical reactions, and most transforMations operated by the culinary art are chemical in their nature. When meat darken on the surface when cooked, it's the result of a chemical reaction; when brown rice soften when boiled, it's again another chemical reaction. Unlike water, the molecules in food are extremely complex and fragile, leaving place for a huge amount of new chemistry in the cooking pan
More than just one reaction, it's a mass of innumerable complex reactions, that we simplify using the classifications of biochemists: carbohydrates, fats, protein, water, minerals.
"The products of the Maillard reaction are innumerable and still mostly unknown. In 1990, a famous chemistry magazine dedicated a 20 page article on the Maillard reaction, describing number of flavors created in the procedure. The brown color that chefs try to option while sautéing foods in oil is a color created through the Maillard reaction: at the high temperatures reached by the fat, the reaction occurs, while it doesn't happen as much when we boil foods, temperature being then limited to the temperature of boiling water: 212 degrees. Quantity of researchers study these molecules which could be at the basis of a number of diseases." From the book: The secrets of the cooking pan.
Are we adapted?
There are a lot of reasons to believe that new molecules created during the processes of cooking enter the blood stream without being properly digested, since there are no enzymes adapted to their digestion. These molecules would then accumulate in all part of the body to create number of diseases.
Since the raw-food and natural health movement has been in existence, authors in the subjects have often talked about detoxification, without really explaining the nature of the toxins coming out of the body. They always knew that under a cooked food diet the individual accumulates in his body all sort of unwanted Materials. The whole idea of all the methods of body purification, such as fasting, enemas, colonic irrigation, herbal cleanses, etc, is to remove these "obstructions."
Long term raw eaters know that foods and medicines taken a long time ago eventually find their way out after a long time on a raw-food diet. A lot of our friends have experienced the taste of medicines, candies, and other familiar cooked food, during their detoxification period, and for no apparent reasons. Molecules from denatures foods seem to get trapped inside the body, just waiting to be removed later through the proper detoxification pathways, when the body has the energy to do so.
It is quite safe to assume that there are no reasons for the body to be adapted to the new molecules created in the process of cooking, due to their huge amount and complexity, and the fact that they have entered human bodies only in the past 10,000 years of human history.
"The Maillard reaction works simultaneously upon thousands of compounds; combinations are innumerable, and products thus formed also are. We create molecules to which no one knows exactly their effect on human health. Certain molecules, in minimal concentration, could be at the origin of many serious health problems." The Secrets of the Cooking Pan.
These molecules accumulate in all parts of the body, creating obstructions that would lead to diseases, and, according to some research, contribute to the processes of aging.
Nobody really knows what goes on in the cooking pan. We have been doing it for so many years, without really stopping to ask ourselves the question. All the scientific research done on the subject seem to prove that the compounds created during the processes of cooking are extremely complex, numerous, and possibly dangerous.
When we put some food in a stove or a over a frying pan, it may seem for some of us like a very natural process. After all, everyone seems to be doing it, and no one really stopped to ask some serious questions about the rightness of it. But it now seems time for all of us to stop and ask ourselves the question: "Is it really possible to keep eating cooked food and get away with it?"
* Les secrets de la casserole -- Hervé THIS, Belin, 1993, ISBN 2-7011-1585-X, 222 p.
* "Pyrolysis and risks of toxicity" by Professor R. Derache, in "Cahiers de nutrition et de diététique" (Diet and Nutrition Journal), 1982, p 39.
* Manger Vrai, Guy-Claude Burger, Editions du Rocher, 1990, 462 pages
Health and Vegetarians
A vegetarian diet is known to confer a wide range of health benefits. Research has shown vegetarians to suffer less heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, various cancers, diverticular disease, bowel disorders, gall stones, kidney stones, and osteoporosis (Dwyer, 1988). Vegetarian diets have also been used in the treatment of various illnesses, including rheuMatoid arthritis and nephrotic syndrome.
Dickerson & Davies (1986) studied Matched pairs of vegetarians and non-vegetarians with regard to their general health. It was found that the vegetarians made 22% of the visits to hospital out-patients of non-vegetarians, and spent a similarly reduced proportion of time in hospital.
A Healthy Vegetarian Diet
A typical vegetarian diet closely Matches expert dietary recommendations for healthy eating, being low in saturated fat and high in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
The 1983 NACNE Report (National Advisory Committee on Nutrition Education) in the UK recommended a reduction in fat intake, particularly saturated fat, and an increased dietary proportion of polyunsaturated fats to saturated fats. An increased intake of complex carbohydrates and fibre and a decreased intake of sugar and salt were also recommended.
The World Health Organisation (1990) has similarly recommended a reduced intake of fat and increased consumption of complex carbohydrates. Increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, cereals and pulses is also recommended.
The nutritional guidelines from the World Health Organisation, the NACNE Report and other expert bodies form the basis of advice given on healthy eating by health professionals today.
Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in total fat. Taber & Cook (1980) found lacto-ovo vegetarians to consume an average of 35% of energy as fat, compared to omnivores consuming over 40% of energy as fat. A study of the diets of a group of French vegetarians found they had a daily intake of 25% less fat than non-vegetarians (Millet, 1989). Vegetarians also tend to eat proportionally more polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat compared with non-vegetarians. Animal products are the major sources of dietary saturated fat.
The best dietary sources of complex carbohydrates and fibre (also called non-starch polysaccharides or NSP's) include wholegrain cereals, vegetables and pulses and so vegetarian diets tend to be high in these nutrients. Animal products contain no fibre or complex carbohydrate.
Recent research has demonstrated the importance of protective antioxidant nutrients in the diet found in fresh fruit and vegetables. These antioxidant nutrients include the beta-carotene form of vitamin A, vitamin C and E. Many researchers now believe that these nutrients play a major role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. A high consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is a benefit of vegetarian diets.
All these factors contribute to the proven health of vegetarians although it is difficult to account for the exact contribution of each nutrient. All vegetarian diets are not necessarily healthy, for example if too high a proportion of high fat dairy products are consumed.
Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of mortality in Britain, being responsible for around 50% of all deaths. The majority of these deaths are from coronary heart disease.
Vegetarians suffer markedly lower mortality from coronary heart disease compared to non-vegetarians (Key et al (1999). This reduced risk may be related to the lower blood cholesterol levels of vegetarians.
Findings from the Oxford Vegetarian Study, a 12 year study of 6000 vegetarians and 5000 meat-eater found that the incidence of coronary heart disease mortality was 28% lower in vegetarians compared with Matched omnivores, after all non dietary factors had been taken into consideration (Thorogood, 1994).
Burr & Butland (1988) found vegetarians to suffer significantly lower mortality from heart disease than health conscious non-vegetarians. Mortality from ischaemic heart disease was 57% lower in vegetarians than the general population, and 18% lower than in non-vegetarians following a healthy lifestyle. Deaths due to cerebrovascular disease was 43% lower in the vegetarians compared with the general population.
A study of nearly 28,000 Seventh Day Adventists in California noted a clear trend of increasing incidence of heart disease with rising frequency of meat consumption (Snowdon, 1988).
The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study examined diet in relation to health in over 5,000 young adults aged 18 to 30. Vegetarians were found to have greatly improved cardiovascular fitness and a lower risk of heart disease (Slattery, 1991). A low level of meat consumption was linked to improved general health.
An eleven-year study of 1,900 German vegetarians has found mortality from cardiovascular disease to be 61% lower in male vegetarians and 44% lower in female vegetarians than the general population. For ischaemic heart disease, mortality was reduced still further, to only one-third of that expected (Claude-Chang, 1992).
The protective effect of a vegetarian diet is believed to be related to the lower blood cholesterol levels seen in vegetarians. Repeated studies have demonstrated the low blood cholesterol levels of vegetarians (Resnicow, 1991). Thorogood (1990) found vegetarians to have cholesterol levels 10% lower than health conscious meat-eaters. High blood cholesterol is a primary risk factor in heart disease. Significantly, vegetarians have lower levels of low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is the cholesterol fraction particularly associated with heart disease.
Research has suggested that a 10% reduction in blood cholesterol may be associated with a 30% reduction in the incidence of coronary heart disease (Martin, 1986).
The California Lifestyle Heart Trial has indicated that a low fat vegetarian diet together with other lifestyle changes such as exercise and stress management can in fact reverse the progress of heart disease, by reducing cholesterol plaques in coronary arteries (Ornish, 1990).
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can contribute to heart disease, strokes and kidney failure. A number of studies have shown vegetarians to have lower blood pressures than non-vegetarians (Sacks, 1974, Armstrong, 1977).
A vegetarian diet has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients (Margetts, 1986).
The reason for the low blood pressure associated with vegetarian diets is unclear. The relative leanness of vegetarians is one suggestion, as is the effect of reduced sodium or increased potassium or calcium in the diets of vegetarians.
Vegetarians are leaner than non-vegetarians and their weights are generally closer to desirable levels. The British Medical Association (1986) has stated that vegetarians have lower rates of obesity. Appleby et al (1998) as part of the Oxford Vegetarian Study concluded that non meat eaters are thinner than meat eaters. This may be partly due to a higher intake of dietary fibre, a lower intake of animal fat, and only in men a lower intake of alcohol.
Snowdon (1985) found type II diabetes to be only half as common as a cause of death amongst the largely vegetarian Seventh Day Adventist population as in the general population.
An average vegetarian diet closely Matches the British Diabetic Association's recommendations for diabetic patients. Vegetarian diets tend to be high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, which has a beneficial effect on carbohydrate metabolism, lowering blood sugar levels. The leanness of vegetarians also contributes to reduced incidence of diabetes. Diabetes is often associated with raised blood cholesterol levels and a vegetarian diet confers protection against this.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Britain, accounting for 25% of all deaths. It has been estiMated that diet may be linked to 30-70% of cancers (Doll, 1990). Certain cancers, such as colon, breast and prostate are clearly diet related (Cummings & Bingham, 1998).
Sir Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer, has stated (1997) that "there is a relationship between eating red meat and cancer".
The Oxford Vegetarian Study found cancer mortality to be 39% lower among vegetarians compared with meat-eaters (Thorogood, 1994).
A study of 23,000 largely vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists found cancer mortality rates to be 50-70% of those of the general population for several cancer sites unrelated to smoking or alcohol (Phillips, 1975).
Professor Nick Day of the University of Cambridge and the European Prospective Study into Cancer has stated that vegetarians may suffer 40% fewer cancers than the general population.
The World Cancer Research Fund's dietary advice to minimise cancer risk involve reducing the intake of dietary fat and increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.
Vegetarians have lower rates of colon cancer than non-vegetarians (Phillips, 1980). Incidence of colon cancer has been strongly linked to the consumption of meat (Armstrong, 1975, Singh & fraser, 1998). Willett (1990) carried out a study of over 88 000 women aged 34 to 59 years. Women eating red meat daily ran over twice the risk of developing colon cancer than women eating red meat less than once a month.
Reduced incidence of colon cancer in vegetarians may be attributed to dietary differences which include increased fibre intake, increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, and decreased intake of total fat and saturated fat. The mechanism by which a vegetarian diet is protective against colon cancer is unclear and a great deal of research is being carried out in this area.
It has been suggested that secondary bile acids are carcinogens which may play an important role in colon cancer. These are derived by bacterial metabolism from primary bile acids made in the liver and secreted into the intestine. Vegetarians have lower levels of secondary bile acids than non-vegetarians (Turjiman, 1984). The differences in bacterial populations between the intestines of vegetarians and non-vegetarians may also be important. Bacterial flora in vegetarians has been shown to possess reduced ability to transform bile acids into potential carcinogens (Johansson, 1990).
The role of dietary fibre in prevention of colon cancer may also be important. This was first noted in 1971 when it was suggested the high incidence of colon cancer in Western countries was linked to low fibre diets. Other dietary components associated with high fibre foods, such as folate, have also been implicated as having protective effects.
Evidence also suggests a vegetarian diet is protective against breast cancer (Phillips, 1975). This may be due to the increased fibre and reduced fat intake of vegetarian diets. Vegetarian diets can alter the levels of circulating sex hormones which may have a beneficial effect. Fibre is thought to be protective by modifying circulating oestrogen levels.
Studies of adolescent girls have shown age of menarche to be delayed in vegetarians (Sabate, 1992). Later age of menarche is believed to lower the risk of breast cancer in adult life.
Studies have shown vegetarians to suffer less from various other cancers.
Mills (1989) studied the incidence of prostate cancer amongst 14,000 Seventh Day Adventists and found a relationship between increased risk and increasing animal product consumption.
Mills (1988) also found pancreatic cancer to be associated with consumption of animal products. Increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables and pulses was shown to have a protective effect.
Rao (1989) found a vegetarian diet to be protective against oesophageal cancer.
Studies have also shown vegetarians to have lower incidence of lung cancer. This can be largely attributed to vegetarians tending to be non-smokers. High consumption of fruit has also shown to be protective against lung cancer (Fraser, 1991).
Diverticular disease affects the colon and symptoms include lower abdominal pain and disturbed bowel habit. It occurs frequently in western countries where intake of dietary fibre is low. Gear (1979) found diverticular disease to be less frequent in vegetarians, 12% of vegetarians studied having diverticular disease compared with 33% of non-vegetarians. This is thought to be due to the increased fibre of vegetarian diets.
Gall stones are composed of cholesterol, bile pigments and calcium salts. They form in the gall bladder and can cause severe pain. A study of over 750 women found the incidence of gall stones to be less frequent in vegetarians. 25% of non-vegetarians compared with 12% of vegetarians had gall stones. After controlling for age and body weight, non-vegetarians were found to have a relative risk of gall stones almost twice that of the vegetarians (Pixley, 1985).
Vegetarians are leaner, and consume more dietary fibre and less dietary cholesterol, all of which is believed to protect against gall stone forMation.
Kidney stones form in the kidney and can cause considerable pain when passing down the urinary tract. Prevalence of kidney stones is lower in vegetarians (Peacock, 1969).
A high intake of animal protein increases the urinary loss of calcium and oxalate, known risk factors in kidney stone forMation. Meat is also high in purines which leads to increased uric acid in the urine. Urinary uric acid is also a risk factor for kidney stones.
Osteoporosis is the loss of calcium from bone tissue, leading to bones that are brittle and liable to fracture. It is most commonly seen in postmenopausal women.
Some studies have suggested that vegetarians may be at lower risk of osteoporosis than non-vegetarians. Marsh (1988) found bone loss to be considerably less in postmenopausal women who were vegetarian than those who were non-vegetarian. The non-vegetarian diet contained higher amounts of sulphur, which derived from animal protein. Dietary sulphur increases the acidity of urine, which results in increased urinary calcium loss. Increased urinary calcium loss is related to increased calcium loss from bone tissue.
Hip fractures associated with osteoporosis has been shown to be higher in countries consuming a diet high in animal protein (Abelow, 1992).
The Oxford Vegetarian Study found that people who do not eat meat have a 50% lower risk of requiring an emergency appendicectomy that those who do (Appleby, 1995).
A vegetarian diet has been claimed to reduce the risk of gout, hiatus hernia, constipation, haemorrhoids, and varicose veins. These diseases are linked to diets low in fibre and high in saturated fat.
Food Poisoning & Pesticide Residues
Over 58,000 cases of food poisoning were reported in 1990 and the actual incidence of food poisoning is estiMated to be ten times this figure. Meat, eggs and dairy products are the primary sources of food poisoning. Professor Richard Lacey of the University of Leeds has stated that "More than 95% of food poisoning is derived from meat and poultry products".
Pesticide residues in foods include PCB's and dioxins. These are found in highest concentrations in meat, fish and dairy products. Studies have shown these toxic chemicals can be passed on from pregnant women to infants during both pregnancy and lactation and may damage the developing nervous systems. Hall (1992) has stated a vegetarian diet minimises the risk of contamination.
Studies have shown that vegetarian diets can be successfully used to treat the symptoms of rheuMatoid arthritis and other rheuMatic diseases. Kjeldsen-Kragh (1991) found that rheuMatoid arthritis patients following a vegetarian diet suffered considerably fewer swollen and tender joints and less stiffness or pain.
Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney condition involving high levels of protein in the urine which may lead to progressive kidney damage as well as promoting atherosclerosis and heart disease. Studies have shown a low protein vegan diet can be used to reduce the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome (D'Amico, 1992).
The China Health Project
The China Project on Nutrition, Health & Environment is a massive study involving researchers from China, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and the University of Oxford, into the relationships between diet, lifestyles and disease-related mortality in 6500 Chinese subjects from 65 mostly rural or semi-rural counties.
The rural Chinese diet is largely vegetarian or vegan, and involves less total protein, less animal protein, less total fat and animal fat, and more carbohydrate and fibre than the average Western diet. Blood cholesterol levels are significantly lower. Heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis are all uncommon. Areas in which they are becoming more frequent are areas where the population has moved towards a more Western diet with increasing consumption of animal products.
The China Health Project has clearly demonstrated the health benefits of a diet based on plant foods. One of the Project's co-ordinators, Dr Colin Campbell of Cornell University, has stated that "We're basically a vegetarian species and should be eating a wide variety of plant foods and minimising our intake of animal foods."
Buddhist View of Vegetarianism
A Buddhist perspective on vegetarianism
Ahimsa, animal rights and spirituality
Aluminium and Soya Milk
Native Americans and Vegetarianism
Animal Rights and the Dhammapada
Animal rights and the future
A Buddhist perspective on animal rights
Animal Use - The end or just a reform?
Are Christians vegetarians?
A call for solidarity with all living beings
A diet to lower cancer risk
A natural approach to migranies
A senior's guide to good nutrition
Activity is a priority
An inerview with Dr. Neal Barnard
Antioxidants cut free radical risk
Arthritis: relief through vegetarianism
Benefits of eating vegetarian food
Bernard de Mandeville
The Buddhist perspective on animals and life conservation
Calcium is a major mineral essential ...
Calories, dollars, and compassion
Color and Sound Therapy
Connecting to the knowledge of life through meditation
Consequences of met protein on human behaviour
Contact lenses shine for vegetarians
Cell cutlure techniques
China and Vegetarianism
Cheese and Rennet
Christianity and Vegetarianism
Dada Acarya Kamaleshvahananda Avt.
Diabetes and a vegetarian diet
Diet and Cancer
Diet and Identity
Diet study indicts fat and meat
Dioxion: it's even worse than we thought
Dr. Amu Akaike
Dr. Ryde's Casebook - January 1999
Dr. Ryde's Casebook - July 1998
Eating less meat can cut risk of cancer, major study finds
Eating Our Way
Eating flesh: pros and cons
Eating Meat: people eating other people
Ellen White: Founder of the Seventh Day Adventist
Environmental Aspects of Vegetarianism: The Australian Experience
Ethics, Christianity and Vegetarianism
Energy versus illness
Essential Fatty Acids
Ethical vegetarian consumers
Fave Beans, Levodopa, and Parkinson's disease
Facts or fiction
Feasts of the Prophet
Food Combining: a myth that never dies
Food in England: a vegetarian evolution
Food of the Gods
Frequently Asked Quentions:
Food allergy and intolerance
Food and its effect on the mind
Food biotechnology: the art of moulding life to suit contingent economic requirements
Food, aggression, and reverence for life
Foods that fight pain
Frances Moore Lappe
Free radicals, antioxidants, and health
Five a day
George Gordon Byron
George Louis Leclerc, Compte de Buffon
Genetic experiments and animal suffering, CIWF trust takes debate to schools
Genetic foods in Canada
High energy vegetarian foods ...
HIPPO: food aid with a purpose
Increase food intake
H Jay Dinshah
Help save thousands of gentle horses
Henry David Thoreau
Hinduism: its essence and relationship to vegetarianism
History of vegetarianism
How plant foods boost your immune system
Human need or corporate greed?
Human Nutrition InforMation
Human rights for monkeys in New Zealand
Various extracts from The Humanities of Diet
Humans are Omnivores
Increase food intake
Indian vegetarian author's no-cook recipe books
InforMation about vegetarian food
Iron: getting enough is usually not a problem for vegetarians
Jesus and the early Christians
Issac Bashevis Singer
Islamic concern and vegetarianism
John Frank Newton
Jon Wynne-Tyson on Buddhism
Judaism and vegetarianism
King Asoka of India
Annie Besant: text of a speech
Dr. Josiah Oldfield
Tolstoy and the natural world
Leo Tolstoy Speaks
John Todd Ferrier
Muriel Dowding - The Psychic Life of Muriel, the Lady Dowding
Richard Wagner - German romantic composer
Shmuel Yosel Agnon
Leonardo de Vinci
Liberating Living Beings
Making the change to a vegetarian diet
Making the switch
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Vegetarianism: the road to Satyagraha
Experiments with truth
Monasteries in the Middle Ages
Moscow medical report
My dear sister
Nutrition 1 - Protein
Nutrition and allergies
Nutrition and soul
Nutrition and the eye
Nuts and seeds
Nutritional Requirements of Vegetarians
Omnivorous or Vegetarian?
Opinion: the coming food revolution
Organic food secrets
Phytochemicals and wellness
Protecting your bones
What is a vegetarian diet?
Quotations and poetry
Quotations from the Shurangama Sutra on meat-eating and vegetarianism
Soya and Mycoprotein
St. Basil (Bishop of Caesarea)
St. Clement of Alexandria
St. Francis of Assisi
St. John Chrysostom
Thakar Singh on the karma of vegetarianism
The Buddhist diet
The Dalai Lama is not vegetarian
The day I saw a meat eater
The early Buddhist tradition and ethics
The first precept: reverence for life
The importance of vegetarian culture
The misrepresentation of Jesus' directives
The new four food groups
The new science of bio-psychology
The origin and meaning of violence
The psychological aspect
The revolutionary of diet of comopassion
The San Francisco Examiner
The value of freedom
The vegetarian movement in Sri Lanka
Thirty eight pigeons
Through the age
Tips for a healthy vegetarian nutrition
Tom Regan - professor of philosophy
Vegans and vaccinations
Vegetarianism - a health problem?
Vegetarianism and lifestyle for AIDS treatment
Vegetarianism and Yoga - American style
Vegetarianism - in Buddhist's eyes
Vegetarianism in India
Vegetarianism: the ethical sensible choice
Vegetarians meet to eat greens
Vitamin B12 in the vegan diet
War and peace and vegetarianism
Was Christ a vegetarian?
Were early humans vegetarian?
What is high blood pressure?
Why Hindus don't eat meat
World guide to vegetarian
Excerpted Message from Nick Ribush
Donations to Sri Lanka for Tsunami Disaster