'Off The Hoof' magazine - Article 2
Pat Reeves extolling the Magic of Living Foods
In the summer issue of 'Off the Hoof' I briefly covered the subject of detoxification and asked you, the readers, to determine the type, intensity, length, etc of your own personalised plan to optimise your current and future health. I hope that struck a chord - irrespective of the eating plan you presently use and that you are all increasing at least the amount of raw food on an everyday basis.
I promised to expand on the subject of 'living foods' - I trust the following will achieve just that:
I was first introduced to this method of food preparation in the early nineties and further adapted my knowledge under the auspices of my long-time friend and fellow therapist Elaine Bruce who heads the U.K. Centre for Living Foods in Ludlow, Shropshire. Living and raw foods remain an absolute cornerstone of the therapeutic and naturopathic regime which I ardently proclaim and diligently follow. It is pivotal to my healing capabilities. In the early years, I followed the many stories of people who had healed themselves of all manner of maladies by applying the principles of detoxification and utilizing enzyme-rich, high nutrient dense food. I became fascinated at how a body can incorporate such food into a failing system with minimal drawing on its integral digestive energies. As I am testimony to, eating food which is literally still alive is a phenomenally successful healing modality for myself. Just about everyone who includes living foods into their daily diet is rewarded with a digestive and immune system that will thank them for it over and over again! Adding living foods to a healthy body can elevate one to super-health. So here is a food-preparatory method that is absolutely suitable for everyone, young, old, fit or frail - there really is nothing else like it!
The nutritional significance resides in the power of living vegetation, grains and pulses, etc to nourish the body and to renew and repair from a base perspective. This means addressing resistance to disease via application of ultimate repair of body tissues. To effect this, one needs access to food replete with enzymes in order to carry this out. No cooked food can achieve this! - The reason for that? - Heating (cooking) food depletes inherent enzymes, causing the body to draw upon its own resources which ultimately means involving the body in enormous energy expenditure and the processing of a high proportion of resultant waste products, which has further toxic effects upon the body. This depletes energy which would be better diverted towards healing - especially within a compromised situation. There are many long-lived and relatively disease-free communities which have in common a high intake of living and fermented foods, shoots and sprouted seeds. When food is eaten at its most powerful stage of growth - it has to follow that the most potent proliferation and availability of nutrients and enzymes will be available for repair and renewal.
I spent years researching methods of including these simplistic foodstuffs as an every-day item for both myself and for my patients. Eventually, I developed the courses that I currently conduct - teaching my students the rudiments of including these vital substances into their everyday routine and also the many, and varied applications of presenting them. Hence, for many years, I have conducted 'living food day's' in the West Midlands, UK, at which many people access this information, and proceed to further enhance and optimise their future health. To sustain and prolong the removal of the disease process requires abstinence of ingesting harmful and denatured foods, avoiding as much contact with environmental toxins as possible, and the inclusion of living foodstuffs on a continuous daily basis.
I have followed a plant-based regime for over four decades, during the latter seventeen embracing live and virtually raw foodstuffs - mostly grown by myself.
How to grow and use living foods:
Living foods are a major key towards improving our health and overall longevity. Using these on a daily basis allows our digestive system to function as it should, without continually depleting our own bodily stores of digestive enzymes.
One important element in raw and living foodstuffs is water - and this is structured water which is incorporated easily into our tissues and allows for improved facilitation of our biological processes. Vegetables and fruits - in their raw state - contain masses of such water. Our bodies are around 70% water - this must be replaced on a daily basis for all elements of our bodies to work properly. Once heat is applied to food it is denatured making it much harder for our bodies to digest and absorb.
Cooking our foods destroys about half of the protein content and approximately 60% of vitamins, with minerals being rendered non-absorbable by about the same amount. Pesticides used on and in our foods break down to even more toxic metabolites - more easily assimilated into our cellular structure. Free radical formation is produced when oxygen levels are lowered.
What vastly interests myself is the preservation of the food enzymes contained within uncooked food - the main reason why I follow this incredibly simple lifestyle is to hold on to the original enzymes, leaving my body with more energy to heal. Once these food enzymes are destroyed when heat is applied at above 118 degrees Fahrenheit the body has to call upon its own supply - which is never as perfect a mix as was originally contained within the raw foods. Hence fats, proteins, carbohydrates are only partially digested. This results in much clogging up of the digestive tract and arteries, etc.
Without enzymes - which are catalysts for every chemical reaction within the body - there is no cellular division, energy production, immune system functioning - nor brain activity. Hormones and vitamins cannot perform their duties without them. Each enzyme, both metabolic and digestive has a unique task. Preserving our finite supply is easy using foods that are abundantly supplied with them. As stated earlier - a major key to optimum health.
When you begin to incorporate foods in their raw and sprouted state your entire bio-terrain operates in optimal health. All organs, cells and systemic pathways are able to work for us in perfect balance. The healthy bio-terrain needs correct enzyme capacity, acid-base balance and a healthy digestive tract. All of this can be achieved by slowly changing how you prepare the foods you eat. When our bio-terrain resides in a stable healthy state we can manage even serious health challenges adequately and effectively. .
Cooked food destroys our bio-terrain whilst the inclusion and conversion to a living-food protocol actively supports it.
You can create a more energetic life when eating in this way. Less sleep is required and its quality improves. After just a few weeks you will be amazed!
How to sprout!
First acquire large glass jars - kilner jars work well - with necks wide enough to allow you to put your hand inside. The top of the jar can be covered with some muslin cloth or nylon mesh secured with a rubber band or piece of string. A draining rack will be required to allow the jars to drain at an angle of 45 degrees.
Alternatively, sprouting jars are available in health food shops making the whole process much easier and ensures better results. Special sprouting trays - usually a series of round or square tiers, which fit neatly into one another are also obtainable - normal seed trays also work. The Easygreen electric sprouter is also now available in the UK and simplifies everything even more. I use this exclusively for my personal needs, plus items such as wheat-grass, barley-grass, snow peas, etc also grown in organic soil in my greenhouse.
Place required amount of seeds, beans, grains, etc in a container, allowing the water you will be soaking them in to generously cover by two or three inches above mass of sproutable item. Soak approximately eight hours, a little longer won't hurt. Drain and rinse under running water, rinse thoroughly so that the seeds are churned around by the water's action. This will remove any wild yeasts which may be present in the soak water. (Adding a half teaspoon of kelp powder to this soak water enhances their nutrition). Drain off all water residue by placing at a 45 degree angle. Place sprouts somewhere pleasant for them to grow.
Sunny windowsills, radiators and hot water heaters should be avoided as these will dry the sprouts out and put them under stress. In the winter time cold draughts and frosts should be avoided. Sprouts do best in temperatures and humidity which feel best for us. The worktop of most warm, sufficiently ventilated kitchens is best for successful sprouting.
Rinse and drain sprouts once each day for the next two to five days or until they are ready to eat. In hot weather it will be necessary to rinse them twice each day.
Basically then, the value of sprouts is three-fold - the seeds themselves are easily transported from the shop to the home, the preparation required to turn the seeds into sprouts is absolutely minimal, the sprouts themselves provide fresh shoots which are extremely rich in vitamin C and frequently in carotenes and the B complex, with a much increased amino-acid (protein) balance, together with valuable trace elements and minerals. As has already been said, they are easily assimilated to provide the vitamin and mineral needs of our bodies. Sprouts prepared at home in this way are eaten as required and do not have a chance to lose their nutritional value - you just grow them on a scale and at a rate to suit your own particular requirements. To obtain the full benefit of the nutrients, the seeds should be freshly sprouted, so that they are eaten at the very moment when they are at the peak of their nutritional value. The vital food factors in sprouts and other living foods are released from plant cells during the process of chewing and digestion, and become usable for the regeneration of the human body.
In my next article, I will include many more compelling reasons for you all to include these foods on an everyday basis as I feel I have used up my allotted page space for this issue!
Since my last input, I have retained my European champion status in Bourbon Lancy, France mid May and even broke my world record bench press - twice! - at German national event early in June. These pictures are in warm-up room in France - and getting that all-important World record in Germany!
Looking forward to completing my living food information in the next issue.
Love, Light and Peace.
Pat Reeves, practitioner of Nutritional and Functional Medicine.