Cooking led to the animal and seed diet. The most frequent way people interact with animals is by eating them. The most frequent way people interact with seeds is by eating them.
The animal and cooked-seed diet led to grain farming which is stripping the fertile Earth of its minerals. Grain crops are collected, processed, cooked, fed to animals or eaten, and eliminated into the sewers and waterways of civilization. Erosion wears down unstable grain fields, washing minerals away. Farms are turned into deserts; jungles are turned into rice paddies. One way or the other, the soil minerals wash down and end up at the bottom of the ocean.
Eating raw fruits and vegetables radically improves the mineralization of the Earth as it encourages the planting of trees. Trees reach down 20 or 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) - sometime much farther (I have been told that wild grape vines reach down as far as 500 feet [150 meters])! Trees pull the minerals up into their stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits which fall on the topsoil increasing the mineralization of the soil for vegetables to grow. Deciduous trees, which drop their leaves each year, strongly mineralize the soil.
The cooking of food is by far the biggest waste of resources on planet Earth. Viktoras Kulvinskas, in his classic book Survival Into The 21st Century, reports that cooking destroys 85% of the value of food. When I first realized this, I was staggered. But I did not understand the full implication of this fact. You see, if 85% of the food value is destroyed in cooking, then also destroyed are 85% of the time, labor, resources, and energy which went into creating the foods. So this idea of eating raw plant food impacts all agriculture, all business, all the economies of the world, all politics.
Massive abundance is the true law of life. There is no shortage of food on Earth! My date-farmer friend, Jamie Jones (a raw-plant eater for over 10 years), tells us, "The most vigorous date palms yield over 600 pounds per tree per year. One date palm planted at birth could supply a person with practically their entire lifetime supply of food." Probably everyone would agree that eating only dates would not be ideal, but it does give us an idea of how much food can come from just one tree! There is an infinite amount of food on this planet!
When I was a student at the University of Sand Diego, I had a job in customer service in the campus bookstore. One day a nun came up to my counter and we began talking. She described her recent trip to Haiti. Apparently, each year she had been spending at least 3 months in Haiti helping the impoverished children. She told me that Haiti had been deforested decades before. I asked her how that happened, expecting the answer to be overgrazing, or too much wood demand for building homes and shelters. Actually, neither was the case. She told me that Haiti had been deforested because the wood was being used for cooking!
Most people who live in first world countries with gas stones and electrical ovens have no idea that the other 90% of the planet is cooking with wood. Cooking is a major reason for deforestation. In Africa, the tropical forests of the mountain gorilla are being cut and cleared for cooking wood. Similar tragedies are happening on nearly every continent.
In third world countries, the cooking of food exposes people to the hazards of inhaling wood smoke or emissions from biomass fuels, such as cattle chips (dung). Emissions from wood and biomass fuels are major sources of air pollution in the home. Studies have shown that cooks inhale more smoke and pollutants than the inhabitants of the dirtiest cities.
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