by dr. david wang, nd
Is your food alive? No we are not referring to your dinner running around on your plate! We’re talking about live nutrients and enzymes. Here at Pranin Organic we are firm believers in live food, it’s even in our name! Pranin is a Sanskrit word meaning life. Our philosophy is, only life supports life or only the living can support the living.
But unfortunately the way our food is produced, the array of packaged foods available to us and the lack of knowledge a lot of people have about how their food is made and where it comes from, has lead to the consumption of food-like products with little to no nutritional value. The term dead food is often used to describe these empty calories 1. You might be asking yourself, how could this be? My food has an expiration date and can go bad, how can it not contain living enzymes? Perhaps your food has a very small amount of life left in it, but a lot of the food you can buy at a traditional grocery store has had a majority of it’s nutrients destroyed. How else would we be able to have an array of convenient, shelf stable foods available to us all year around?
How does my food lose it’s nutrition?
A number of processes can cause our food to have it’s nutritional integrity stripped away. These include foods that have ripened on shelves or trucks, been milled down (think seeds or nuts), cooked at extremely high temperatures (This process is used to make pasteurized coconut water and orange juice) or other processes that cause living phytonutrients, minerals and enzymes to be destroyed. Outside factors like soil health can also contribute to the amount of nutrients our food has in it. Which is why we always recommend buying organic.
We understand some things are out of your control, but small routines you might have at home could be responsible for the lack of nutrients in your diet too. Something like making a smoothie for yourself at night and leaving it in the fridge until morning will oxidize the vitamins and reduce the nutrient contents of your smoothie. Consuming it right away or at least as soon as possible will ensure you’re getting the most nutrients it has to offer, making it a more sound investment for your food purchases.
Anytime you cut, blend, boil or steam food, you are changing it’s nutritional profile 2. Now that’s not to say these processes can’t be beneficial. Sometimes foods contain anti nutrients that prevent our body from accessing and absorbing essential proteins and vitamins. Processes like soaking nuts, seeds, beans and steaming leafy greens is encouraged because these actions break down the anti nutrients leading to a more nutritious food 3. Confused yet? 😉 Basically the biological makeup of food is so intricate and complex, it’s impossible for each nutrient to be absorbed the same way across the board. It doesn’t help when mass marketed food is slapped with labels that claim “natural” and “whole food” when they couldn’t be further from their claims.
Unfortunately there’s no one way to ensure you’re getting all the right live nutrients, but luckily for you this article is filled with small recommendations you can take to increase the amount of live food you’re ingesting. Note: These will all be summarized at the end of this article!
WHY is so much of our food ‘dead’?
Okay, before you get mad and start taking out your dead food woes on the large corporations that have been green washing products for years, and politicians who have been passing legislation allowing them to do so legally, hear us out. (But if you’re down to fight the man, we are always game!) In some cases foods are irradiated or heated at very high temperatures to prevent bacteria growth or to kill off preexisting bacteria. So these methods are in place to keep us safe from ingesting a potentially dangerous living organism. However there’s a downside, this process also kills off all of the good bacteria and destroys nutrients! So to avoid this double edged sword, we recommend buying as much of your produce as you can from local, organic farmers. If you live somewhere remote and don’t have access to farmer’s markets or can’t grow your own food, find a good quality, organic brand of frozen food. You can also buy freeze dried foods, nuts or dried lentils, as these preservation methods manage to keep most if not all the original nutrients intact, when done correctly.
Why should I eat live nutrients?
Well, the simple answer to this question is if a nutrient isn’t alive, you’re not getting the benefits 4. So this isn’t a big deal if you indulge once in a while and have a treat, but the problem is a lot of people are eating food they think is nutritious when really it’s not. Therefore the core of their everyday diet is not supporting their body, the way it should.
How can I eat more live nutrients?
For maximum consumption of live nutrients, one would have to eat whole, organic plants (or other nutrient dense whole foods) as close to their freshest, living state as possible 5. So an ideal example of this would be to go in your backyard and harvest the tomato you’ve grown in organic, nutrient rich soil, and eat it raw. However, as explained under ‘How does my food lose it’s nutrition?’ some processes can actually change the nutritional profile of whole foods in a positive way. An example of this is fermentation, which provides crucial and beneficial bacteria to your stomach’s digestive system 6. Foods like kombucha, tempeh, kimchi, water kefir and sauerkraut are all nutritious fermented foods that have had their original nutrient profile altered for the better. So eating raw plants is great, but that’s not the only way to get more living enzymes, and in fact a diet consisting solely of raw foods will only expose you to certain living enzymes.
A diet varying in lots of different nutrient dense, organic, fresh foods is what we recommend for absorbing the maximum amount of live vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, enzymes and phytonutrients.
How to easily incorporate more live food into your life:
- Grow your own food if possible.
- Buy organic produce whenever possible.
- Buy your food from farmer’s markets.
- Soak your nuts, beans, seeds and legumes whenever possible.
- Steam your leafy greens whenever possible.
- Read labels and stick to fresh produce.
- Incorporate more fermented, raw and unpasteurized foods in your diet.
- Do your research. Find out where your food comes from and always be willing to learn and grow.
If you have any questions about how and why our supplements contain living enzymes, minerals, protein and phytonutrients, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂