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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I am Not a Bear

Part of my dedication the raw food diet and this blog involves reading magazines, books, and internet articles on the raw world. Overwhelmingly, authors start their appeal to the reader to join this type of diet, usually in chapter one, by comparing our current eating habits—Standard American Diet (SAD) to that which occurs in nature. Bears eat fish in season then the next day eat berries. Elephants eat diets of vegetation. "We are the only animal that cooks." This is somehow supposed to motivate the reader to eat nothing but raw uncooked foods.

A bear may live on raw foods but she does not compose symphonies, create sophisticated cities with millions inhabitants, search for the cure for childhood diabetes, or learn how to square dance with ten other couples. Humans are unique in their need to socialize and interact with large numbers of their kind. Please do not point out bees or parrots. Large numbers yes. But complex socializations no. How many bees work a full time job, attend church and volunteer at a local charity, while rearing two children? I think none.

Please understand my diet is now about seventy percent uncooked and came close to ninety percent during the melon season. Yum. I am sorry I can't go the full Monty on this one. I am not a bear. The comparison of our eating habits to our fellow creatures is weak and missing the basic human factor. We are community creatures.

If we look back at ancient cave dwellers and current tribes that still live what we call a primitive existence, we will see human groups coming together for safety, love, and sharing of food. It’s that sharing of the meal that brings us to cooked and mixed foods.

Do you know the old Sunday school story about “Rock Soup?”

A town and surrounding region devastated a blight made food scarce. Most people there hadn’t eaten for days.

A man sat in the town square with a big pot of water boiling over an open fire. He stirred the pot with a wooden spoon.

A couple walked up to him. “What are you cooking?” They asked.

He gave it another stir, “Rock soup,” he said then tasted the liquid. “Mmm. Almost done.”

The couple watched him sip the soup. “We have a potato. If we add it to the soup, can we share it with you?”

“Oh yes. A potato would add more flavor to the soup.”

A few moments later, a woman walked up and asked the same series of questions. She offered a carrot. More people came by. Soon the town was busy with people adding their bits to the soup. After all the people had a bowl of the finished product, they proclaimed rock soup the best meal they’d eaten in a long time.
The moral of the story had to do with sharing. I think it is a better example of how we came to cook meal.

Our bodies do not need all the junk we stuff into it. The proof is that Americans are getting fatter and sicker. But becoming a bear—eating only raw fish one day and berries the next—is not realistic either. Socially, we gather to share to feed, nurture, and love one another. Have you ever belonged to any group where food was not served within the first few meetings? Even the Raw Society here in Sacramento has monthly potlucks. There is a balance to achieve with a predominately vegetarian life style. In my book it includes shared meals—organic raw and occasionally cooked foods.