I've been thinking about this latey. You hear most reference the discovery of fire and the human invention of cooking as it pertains to meat. But as for meat, when one compares the assimilation of nutrients in the raw versus cooked state with that of vegetable matter, there is much less disparity.
That is, raw meat will feed a human just fine, where as raw veggies have antinutrients, rough and abrasive fiber which damages the intestinal lining, and less available calories (starchy stuff).
Cooking veggies softens the fiber, destroys antinutrients, and makes them more easily digestible. Cooking meat denatures the proteins and degrades their quality, oxidizes the fat, and destroys nutrients. The only good thing is that it melts the tough collagen so your digestive enzymes can get at the proteins more easily. With enough chewing (or a commercial blender in my case to make meat smoothies yummy), this can be remedied. Oh, and it kills bacteria too.
I've been eating raw beef and lamb almost exclusively for a half a year. Digestion is much better, and I feel satiated longer; feels more carnal (pun intended). During this same time, without trying, I've naturally had an inclination at first to move away from raw veggies, then to less veggies period.
Bottom line, it seems cooking is useful if you want to utilize veggies more effectively, but is not really needed for meat. Carnivores eat raw meat, and the partially digested and softened (sorta like cooked) veggie matter in the prey's stomachs.
asked byanimaleater (2417)
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on July 06, 2012
at 10:26 AM
We owe our large brains to soft food. The idea that we grew large brains due to more calories is false. Just as we know eating ore doing make us taller (rather we eat more because of the growth spurt).
There is a gene called MYH16 which controls the growth of the temporalis muscle. This muscle is required from chewing and anchors on the brain case. This gene is broken in every single human alive today, but in other primates it is active. Our soft diets, from cooked food, lead to the lack of need for this muscle to be so big. Once the population was eating a diet that no longer required this huge muscle, once the mutation occurred to spread until the whole population had it.
The huge temporalis stops the growth of the brain case. Chimps brain cases stop growing at the equivalent age of 3, while ours continue to grow until we're 30.
Dog have functioning MYH16 genes, for example, as they need the temporalis for gnawing bones.
Cooking is almost nothing to removing most anti-nutrients. Fermenting, soaking, or sprouts is much more effect.
But you are indeed correct, cooking does much more for making vegetables easier to eat than it does meat, through the breakdown of the cellulose so the nutrients inside the cell are more easily got at.
???Three percent of the total beta-carotene content was released from raw carrots in pieces. When homogenized (pulped) 21% was released. Cooking the pulp increased the accessibility to 27%. Addition of cooking oil to the cooked pulp further increased the released amount to 39%.??? - (http://donmatesz.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/raw-truth-about-raw-vegan-diets-primal.html)
Raw vegan diets may also provide only as little as 46% the calories as cooked (http://donmatesz.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/more-raw-truth-about-raw-vegan-diets.html)
Aajonus Vonderplanitz who recommends a raw diet says to juice vegetables to remove the fibre and allow the nutrients to be absorbed easily without the use of cooking. His diet is meat, fat, milk and kefir, unsalted cheese, fruit (eaten with fat, one piece ma per day), and juiced vegetables; all raw.
As we can't eat bones easily (like dogs), broth is a good way of getting its nutrients. Many people add vegetables to their broth which are sieved out with the undissolved bones. Their nutrients dissolve into the liquid as it does with the bones.
The vegetables can also be fermented before being juiced or brothed if you want to add more 'primalness' to it, this would increase certain nutrients while decreasing the carbs and add probiotic bacteria.
on July 07, 2012
at 08:38 AM
Here is my take on it.
Humans learned how to cook meat first. This is MY PERSONAL HYPOTHESIS on how it happened. The first hominids were only occasional hunters, but habitual scavengers. They were looking for food everywhere, especially for meat since it is a higher quality protein.
Occasionally, during the dry seasons there were large areas of forest/grass fires. When they rummaged through the burned area, they found burned carcasses of animals that were not able to escape the fire. Have you ever smelled cooked meat? Delicious! So, they recognized that cooked food tastes better than raw food. It is true when it comes to meat - cooked meat is more easily digestible and so much more better tasting, especially grilled!
Naturally, they have started cooking meat. I bet that the first hominids diet included fruit (easy to find, easy to eat, no cooking necessary), edible leaves and berries (they probably ate leaves with meat, to increase the bulk) as well as nuts with occasional meat. They gathered vegetables, roots and shoots but that mainly came with expanding their knowledge about edible plants. Some roots will kill you. So cooking vegetables came much later in the evolutionary process than fruit, nuts and meat/fish/seafood.
on July 06, 2012
at 02:17 PM
I doubt it.
It's very easy to roast meat on a stick over a fire, or hold a leg in the fire to burn off the hair before eating. I suspect fire was used more as a defense against cold predators at first.
It's harder to do that with veggies as they tend to fall apart, but once they started on meat, and found out it tasted good, you can bet they'd try to cook anything to see if the flavor improved.
But, yes, you're right, without cooking, you can't easily get at the nutrients in plants.
I like my meat lightly seared on the outside, not cooked through, and mostly raw. I've also had a lot of days of what cow-orkers referred to as a "meat salad" - that is a bowl of various kinds of rare meat with some seasoning (olive oil, salt, dried oregano, tabasco sauce) and just felt no desire to touch any plants at all.
on July 06, 2012
at 12:54 PM
"Cooking is almost nothing to removing most anti-nutrients. Fermenting, soaking, or sprouts is much more effect."
on July 07, 2012
at 09:11 AM
Once fire is used in a controlled manner it really wouldn't require a great leap to throw various food stuffs to see what happens. Surely the evolution of cooking would have co evolved once a massive technological innovation such as cooking became available.