DRIED FRUIT, OVEREATING, AND FERMENTED FOODS
by Tom Billings
Q: Are the enzymes destroyed in the process of drying fruit?
What about the effect of drying on water and oxygen? Are rehydrated, dried fruits as good
A: If fruits are sun-dried, their enzyme loss will be
minimized, provided the fruit is not heated above 118 degrees F. If they are dried in a
kiln or (forced air) drier, above 118 degrees F, the loss can be worse. Some dried fruit
is preserved with sulfur dioxide - best to avoid that and get dried fruit with no
The purpose of drying is to reduce the water content, and as
water is a good vehicle for oxygen, oxygen levels may be reduced. Rehydrated fruits, by
most criteria, are not as good as fresh. However they are an alternative to fresh when
fresh is not available or too expensive. It is a good idea to rehydrate dried fruit, as it
may cause gas if not rehydrated.
Q: I can eat 3 large raw meals per day, plus snacks, and
still be very hungry. The hunger makes me think about food all the time. Help!
A: Overeating is a major problem for many raw fooders. The
problem is especially acute if one overeats dried fruit, honey, or other sweet foods.
Being hungry all the time is bad because you will be tempted to backslide and eat
inappropriate food - candy, sweets, salty snacks, and so on. Overeating can disturb your
digestion, promote gas, irritate your intestines, and cause excess urination.
When you are eating, learning to recognize the inner voice
say "I'm satisfied" is difficult, and developing the willpower to stop eating
when you hear that voice, takes some effort and time. Controlling the tongue is very
difficult, as it enjoys the taste of delicious raw foods (as well as bad foods)!
How to reduce food intake? First stop snacking and/or
grazing. Eat only when hungry, or if you need to eat on a schedule, eat very little if you
are not really hungry. For each meal, decide how much food is the maximum you will eat,
and don't exceed the limit you set. The amount of food that will fit in both hands, held
together, is one possible goal. Such a limit is not arbitrary at all - your stomach size
and hand size are related to your body frame size.
When you decide to reduce your food intake, you may find it
helpful to begin by using a purgative - prunes, prune juice, or cassia - to clear your
digestive system. The idea is to clear the system, then reduce food intake and allow your
stomach and intestinal tract to literally shrink back to their proper size (bloating is
very common when overeating). You may be hungry for a few days, but once the stomach
shrinks back to normal size, the hunger will be reduced.
Note that the suggestions above are intended for those in
good health. Individuals with health problems should discuss the above with their health
care professional before implementing any parts of it.
Getting your eating under control is *very* difficult, but it
is worth the effort. Good luck!
Q: What about fermentation? What is the controversy?
A: Among raw fooders, acidophilus fermentation is generally
seen as good, while yeast fermentation (which produces alcohol/liquor) is usually seen as
bad. Advocates of fermentation report that it can make certain foods more digestible,
promote "good" bacteria (acidophilus) in your digestive system, and provide some
enzymes. Fermented foods are an important part of the living foods lifestyle (of Ann
Wigmore), which has been used successfully by many people for healing of serious illness.
Fermentation may provide some B-vitamins (but formal nutritional analyses of raw fermented
foods are scarce/non-existent). A good example is sauerkraut - raw cabbage, by itself, is
a problem, in that it can cause severe (even painful) flatulence. However, raw cabbage
fermented into raw sauerkraut does not cause flatulence.
Skeptics of fermentation point out that foods that have been
fermented for days consist of a live bacteria culture, that is living on a dead base,
e.g., in raw sauerkraut the culture is alive (down to a certain pH level), while the base
of raw cabbage is certainly dead. This raises the question of whether they are really
"living foods". Foods that have been fermented only a few hours, such as sprout
milk yogurt, certain seed cheeses, may be acceptable as the base food is likely to be
"alive" after only a few hours of fermentation.