Too much media attention has been given to the salad.
I will admit, in some cases, salads are full of wonderful fresh ingredients, and therefore offer vegetables that would otherwise not have been consumed. However, the real truth behind what a salad can offer just doesn’t match up with the hype. As a result, too many people are eating salad assuming their health is being boosted while in fact, it may in fact be reduced!
Chinese Medicine, and Ayurvedic Medicine both agree raw foods are not the ideal way to nourish your body, they are hard to digest, drain your qi, reduce your digestive abilities and often lead to fatigue, and even weight gain! Here are some facts about raw foods from a Chinese Medicine perspective:
- Raw foods are generally cold in nature: this cold hinders our ideally warm body. Imagine it this way: your stomach wants to function at 98.6 degrees, when a cold food enters, the first thing the body has to do, is warm it. Think about the energy expended in warming food as it enters our body, much like warming a house, this can be a huge drain on resources. If lots of energy is expended daily in warming our food internally, then by the end of digesting the meal, very little is left to nourish the body.
- Raw foods are generally damp too. Dampness is a term we use a lot in Chinese Medicine, dampness is sticky, heavy, thick and clogging. It accumulates, and then hinders our metabolism, arteries, muscles, digestive system… basically anywhere it gets deposited, everything gets stuck.
- Raw foods are hard to digest, they require huge amounts of qi, enzymes, and acid to be broken down. This somewhat echoes the above comment about qi depletion but also highlights a fallacy in the promotion of raw food eating. Raw foods have high enzyme content themselves, but also strong cellulose bonds between their components, as a result, it takes a huge amount of energy to break them. As most modern people have diminished stomach acid, often we lack the ability to properly digest things where these bonds are intact.
- Raw blended foods (cellulose bonds broken) may seem like a quick and easy solution, but as the Nurturing Nurse Tricia Cole often says: “Blending causes so much movement in the food, it aggravates Vata, which can really disrupt our bodies balance. The energy of Vata when deranged can contribute to fatigue, pain, spaciness, mental sluggishness and gas build up in the system.” Consequently, all those who claim this to be a better option, are not in fact offering much improvement at all. Instead of the smoothie, try soup, or steamed veggies.
What all this means is, raw foods as a daily occurrence will generally cause strong depletion of the qi. In those with inflammation, this can lead to growing issues, in those with weight issues, it can hinder weight loss, and for anyone dealing with serious chronic disease, it can in fact lower the body’s resources and tax the immune system.
Salad is not a health food, but soup is, and steamed vegetables, and light stir fries too! By eating things which are cooked, especially soups, our bodies get warm food, which has had the cellulose bonds broken in a gentle way, freeing up the nutrients, making it possible for our organs to be easily nourished, our qi restored and our bodies defenses sustained.Originaly posted on SevenDirectionsPhoto: adactio/Flickr