I had hoped to fit this article into one part. It did not happen. In part one we learned that just because you eat multiple meals a day that consist of plentiful calories it does not ensure nourishment. Calories are secondary to nutrition. A lack of nutrition or malnourishment is one root cause of dis-ease. Dis-ease is epidemic in westernized societies to a point where most people accept it as a natural part of being alive.
In part two, we will now expand on sources of nutrient deficient foods by investigating common food processing mechanisms.
In part three we will explore health animal raising practices, consider real food sources and how to nourish your body with what it requires to be truly healthy and full of vitality.
Processing: Processed food is an interesting topic as the definition can vary greatly depending upon who you are talking to. For the sake of keeping it simple, these are my thoughts.
For most foods, the faster it spoils, the healthier it is
Why is this? Living requires life and as such we are designed to eat live whole foods. Dead, processed foods with a long shelf life are designed for……something else, such as a nuclear winter apocalypse.
Living food needs to be consumed rather quickly or it dies and rots. What happens if you place a piece of meat, some fruit, vegetables on the counter for a few days? Try the same test with a fast food hamburger and fries.
The food industry has made it their business to remove all living components from whole foods, essentially creating foods that no longer have any active microbes, enzymes or even absorbable vitamins and minerals. Processed foods are for lack of a better word dead.
A great example is real milk (raw) versus modern milk (pasteurized and homogenized). If you set real milk on the counter for a few days it will begin to sour, you can smell it and taste the souring as it begins to change into something else that can be readily used in a kitchen. Do the same thing with modern milk and it will go rancid. It clumps up and if you smell it, much less taste it there is a reflex gag reaction as your body instinctively knows it is bad for you.
Common methods used by the food industry to extend shelf life include:
- Removal of Air and Oxygen
- Air, specifically oxygen causes spoilage. Oxidative spoilage is a major reason for quality loss in natural fats. When fats (lipids) oxidize, compounds are formed that have strong odors and flavors that are undesirable to consumers. Vacuum sealed packaging minimizes this process. This also prevents the growth of microorganisms which kills off healthy enzymes. If deprived of oxygen and exposed to heat the protein structure and enzymes change and become denatured (less beneficial to health)
- Removal of Moisture
- Water is an essential component of all food. The amount of water in a food influences texture, appearance and flavor of food. All living organism as well as food contains water. Water makes up about 70% or more of the weight of most fresh (unprocessed) foods. Even ‘dry” foods like beans, flour and cereals contain some water. Fresh fruit and Vegetables contain the most water between 90 and 95% water.
- Moisture can condense on the surface of a product and result in common food defects unfavorable to aesthetics such as mottling, crystallization and stickiness. By removing water, this reaction can be avoided. The problem is that to digest these foods much more water is required and in a dehydrated individual this can greatly diminish body function.
- Just about every food item can be legally irradiated by government regulations and at the expense of your health. The purpose of exposing foods to high level radiation is to sterilize it. There is much scientific literature showing that the free radicals formed during irradiation produces statistically significant increases in carcinogenesis, mutagenesis and cardiovascular disease in animals and humans. This is in addition to the destruction of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients.
- Ironically, you body has its own means to sterilize food, hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach. Due to the general lack of health, a significant portion of the population under produces HCL and then makes it worse by taking OTC or prescription antacids. The symptoms of low HCL levels are the same as high levels. It is very rare to find someone actually producing elevated levels of HCL.
- The free radicals caused by irradiation can combine with existing chemicals, such as pesticides (pesticide residue is contained within practically all non-organic fruits and vegetables) in the food to form new chemicals called unique radiolytic products (URPs).
- Some of these URPs are known toxins, benzene, formaldehyde, lipid peroxides and some are unique to irradiated foods. Long term effects are not known as they have not been studied. We cannot assume they are safe, what we can be sure of is that they will place additional stress on the detox pathways especially the liver.
- Irradiated foods can lose 5-80% of many vitamins (A, C, E, K and B complex). The amount of loss depends upon the dose of irradiation and the length of storage.
- Without microoganisms we would all be dead. They are vital to our survival especially for our digestive and immune system. We have developed a symbiotic relationship with healthy bacteria in our gut. To the food industry they are plagues and must be removed from the earth. We are already doing a good job of that by destroying soil using chemical pesticides and fertilizers (will discuss this later).
- Pasteurization (the application of heat, typically to liquids) destroys enzymes, decreases vitamin content, denatures milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
- Part of the test to ensure that milk is properly pasteurized in that the lactase enzyme is no longer present and alive. The lactase enzyme is the enzyme that occurs in milk to assist in the breaking down of the lactose sugar. Lactose without the presence of lactase is difficult to breakdown and we all know how lactose intolerant body’s then react to milk. The problem is not the lactose, rather it is the Pasteurization process.
- All almond products produced in the state of California, destined for the US, Canada and Mexico are required (mandatory) to be pasteurized. Even organic almonds even though there has been no incident of salmonella poisoning among organic almonds.
- Most commercial milk is now ultra-pasteurized to get rid of heat-resistant bacteria and give it a longer shelf life. Ultra-pasteurization is a violent process that takes milk from a chilled temperature to at least 280°F for two seconds. At that temperature, it is a dead food.
- Homogenization is possibly the worst thing you can do to milk. The milk is pushed through a fine filter at pressures of 4,000 pounds per square inch. The fat globules are made smaller by a factor of ten times or more. These molecules then become evenly dispersed throughout the milk and prevent the cream (fat) from separating and floating to the surface.
- Homogenization gives milk, peanut butter and other foods a creamy consistency. The high heat and pressure also oxidizes the product allowing it to become rancid.
- Due to the small size of the fat molecules they can become “carriers” for substances to bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach are not broken down and instead are allowed to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Proteins are not meant to enter general circulation intact. Often the body will react to these “foreign” proteins by producing histamines and then mucus. The body develops a sensitivity to the milk, not because it is milk, rather because it has been homogenized.
- Homogenized milk proteins also resemble human protein and can trigger autoimmune diseases.
- Artificial Preservation
- Thousands of foods are artificially preserved to extend their shelf life, increase profits and reduce waste.
- There are natural methods of preservation including salt, fermentation, canning, jarring, smoking etc. These methods are very effective in small batches but incredibly challenging to maintain quality control on a larger scale.
- What is then used are artificial preservatives or chemicals. Many of these chemicals are not considered safe when studied today. The challenge is that they have been “grandfathered” in as they were considered safe when they were initially tested over 50 years ago. Testing methods have changed considerably in that time.
- The following are a two common preservatives of concern:
- Potassium Sorbate has been labeled as a carcinogen showing positive mutation results in mammal cells. Other studies have shown broad systemic and toxic effects on non-reproductive organs in animals.
- Sodium Benzoate can convert into lethal carcinogenic poison when combined with absorbic acid. A Professor Piper testing sodium benzoate on living yeast cells found that it damaged areas of the DNA of mitochondria. Mitochondria are considered “power stations” of cells and help produce energy.
- The list of artificial preservatives used today is huge and growing. While long term testing has never been performed, neither has combinations of these chemicals. No one really knows what the long term negative health effects are. While I doubt that anyone would volunteer for such testing, we have been guinea pigs since the 1950’s without ever being asked for consent.
The end of part 2 has arrived. This section has really only scratched the surface of big agri-business and the science involved in the foods we consume. It is really amazing even though they are playing with our health and future. Part 3 will follow shortly. Thank you for following my blog and I appreciate any feedback you have.