There is a good supply of opinions, case studies, University reports, opposing views, etc, citing health hazards when ingesting certain raw foods. Below are a few examples.
- Raw milk. Living on a ranch, my parents, me, and eventually my wife and five very healthy children all grew up drinking raw milk and yet none of us had any health issues that involved listeriosis, campylobacter, streptococcus, to name a few. I know many other families who grew up drinking raw milk and they never had issues either yet we read about those who end up being hospitalized drinking non pasteurized milk. Raw milk is legal in 30 states, while others, such as Indiana, currently limit the availability of raw milk. The taste is quite different between raw and pasteurized milk. Raw milk is heavy and creamy and has more nutrients than that of pasteurized milk. The end choice however is left up to the consumer as it boils down to health safety concerns and costs.
- Raw vegetables. With exception to a few vegetables such as collard greens, okra, green potatoes, rhubarb, etc, most are edible when in a raw state. For sake of the digestive tract, there are some vegetables better cooked than eaten raw, such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc. It is true that most nutrients remain in raw vegetables as compared to vegetables that are steamed, boiled, etc. Although not a vegetable or a fruit but instead a fungi, hunting wild mushrooms can be self satisfying for their delicacy in taste. A note of caution, unless one is an expert in choosing an edible, non-toxic mushroom, it is best to leave this task to the experts.
- Raw meats – domesticated. With exception of beef, buffalo, yak, and what have you, other meats such as pork, lamb, goat, etc, should be cooked to a desired temperature as required to kill bacteria and other pathogens.
- Raw meats – wild. Generally one can eat anything on land with fur or feathers, as long as it is properly prepared and cooked thoroughly to kill bacteria and other pathogens that would make us sick. That means mammals and birds are good to go, although palatability is never guaranteed. Take possum for example, unless prepared and cooked properly, it can leave an undesirable lasting memory of what it means to be really nauseous. For the feathered family, I would not eat any birds that are riddled with bacteria, such as vultures and condors. Eating alligator, crawdads (arthropods), rattlesnake (only snake I would consume), frog (only amphibian I would consume), turtles, etc, are some of the American wildlife that is considered a delicacy.
- Raw fish. Almost all fish can be eaten in sushi or sashimi style. Among other countries that have similar tastes, China and Japan have shown that people can survive by eating raw fish and crustacean. FDA maintains before fish is eaten raw, it must be frozen first. When survival is at stake however, many have survived quite well by eating fish and crustacean in their raw state. On the other hand there are some fish and crustacean that are quite toxic. When barbequing freshly caught halibut for instance, the taste buds come alive when the fish is barely cooked on each side. Often, when restaurants run out of swordfish, they serve up shark. They do taste the same.
- Raw fruits. There are edible and inedible mimic berries, be it red, black, or blue. Again, unless you’re an expert out in the wild and know what to look for, don’t take the chance of being poisoned. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, etc, are safe to eat after one thoroughly washes the fruit of any pesticides.
© 2013 James Ian MacIntosh all rights reserved