Cooking Made Us Human?

25 Sep
I recently read a book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. It was an interesting read in that Wrangham vehemently opposes the raw living food diet. I was disappointed with the book however. I thought it would veer me to ‘the other side’ and I would toss my raw food diet up in the air – instead I found it lacked some ‘oomph’. I am not a doctor – but here are my common sense thoughts:

1. He agrees that people need to eat whole, unprocessed foods. What are the best whole unprocessed foods? RAW organic food!!!

2. He agrees that cooking itself has evolved into an unhealthy passion for many human beings causing obesity and other greater health issues – not to mention I think children and pets are also suffering the same ills. Why? Because they are consuming foods that are genetically modified, foods that the body cannot recognize like high fructose corn syrup, foods that are so far removed from their natural state through… COOKING! So how can humans begin to get healthy again? Add more raw foods into their diet! Look at #1!

3. He does not take into account that the environment we live in has also evolved – so we too must evolve! There are so many toxins today – pollution, pesticides in our food, allergies in children have risen, countless vaccinations are bodies have to adjust to, so many people are suffering from degenerative diseases such as cancer… How to we help are body detoxify? Raw living food! Look at #1!

4. If cooking includes pasteurization and canning – then we must all look into the Pottinger Cat Experiment. By the 4th generation, cats who consumed pasteurized and canned milk had difficulty reproducing and had many health issues (versus cats who ate raw meat or drank raw milk). Aren’t we now the 4th generation of human beings that have had the pleasure of cooking and consuming pasteurized food? And aren’t a lot of young human beings having fertility issues today – which in Ayurveda is a sign of an unhealthy person? How do we reverse this trend? Go back to #1!

I am not against cooking – I cook for my family. His scientific research is interesting – but it does not convince me that we are ‘humans’ because we cook, that we are better animals for eating cooked food. What I find upsetting about the book is that it criticises the raw food movement without giving it decent credit. It does not discuss the possibility of adding more raw into one’s diet. Sure there are people who are 100% raw – but there are also others who are 80% raw or 50% raw who are very healthy human beings. The book also does not discuss studies of people who have cured themselves of illness through the raw diet. The raw food diet can do a lot of good for people who are suffering from degenerative diseases, for people who need to detoxify, for people who suffer from multiple allergies, for people who want to boost their immune system… and the list can go on. Of course, these would not support Wrangham’s hypothesis – but perhaps it would have given us a better understanding of the way we eat. If cooking helped evolve us into ‘humans’ – then eating RAW (or adding more raw into our diets) will help us get our health back. And we need our health for without it, we would not be.

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