Letter Re: Sprouting is Key to Good Nutrition in TEOTWAWKI

I am a fan of sprouting, but I have to disagree with Roxanne on a few points:

The idea that the human body needs external enzymes from raw food and that we will ‘run out of them if we eat cooked food’ is a food myth that traces it’s origin to the natural hygienists of the last century, along with the idea that you can live forever if your colon is clean.

Humans have been cooking food since we discovered fire. Our pancreases are bigger and we do suffer plenty of diseases wild animals don’t and yes, eating some raw food is a good idea but no, you will no more run of enzymes than you will run out of saliva or any other fluid.

Eating raw food means you are more at risk for food borne pathogens such as E. Coli and parasites. Furthermore cooking vegetables allows the body to digest them. We do not possess the enzyme cellulase that vegetarian animals do so we cannot break down plant cell walls without cooking, juicing or chewing and regurgitating and chewing again like a cow.

Also, all sprouted foods contain some toxins during the sprouting phase which is how the young plants try to avoid being eaten by animals, as well as anti-nutrients (protease inhibitors etc.) Alfalfa is one of the worst offenders as:

“Alfalfa sprouts contain approximately 1.5% canavanine, a substance which, when fed to monkeys, causes a severe lupus erythematosus-like syndrome. (In humans, lupus is an autoimmune disease.) Canavanine is an analog for the amino acid arginine, and takes its place when incorporated into proteins. However, alfalfa that is cooked by autoclaving (i.e., subjected to pressure-cooking) doesn’t induce this effect. [Malinow 1982, Malinow 1984].”

Add to that, the fact that many people will experience gas when eating raw food and that sprouted grains don’t taste as good as cooked grain and you have a problem.

I spent a year eating only raw food. I felt great for the first little while as I cleaned out my system but over time I got quite weak. When I added in raw meat towards the end of the experiment (chicken, fish, beef and eggs) I felt better. You can eat raw meat and sprouted grains but consider it something you do in case of emergency. While raw meat now is quite clean thanks to the USDA inspection process (I still eat 4 raw eggs a day), after an event, without refrigeration, eating road kill or trading for wild meat or eating meat you hunt without cooking it first is too risky.

As I mentioned in a article I wrote for SurvivalBlog two years ago, sprouting allows you make Vitamin C from grains (a vitamin that is difficult to store long term) but this is something that should be done as digestive capacity allows. A handful of sprouts is all you should need to take care of this.

One option is to sprout your grains and then bake with them (such as Essene bread), then you get the best of both worlds, but this type of bread is so sweet as to be like candy and will not give you the slow burn of energy that cooked grains can deliver. – SF in Hawaii