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FW: Lauren's inquiry about dehydrating foods, enzymes, etc.

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  • Joy King
    Hello Everyone - This a follow up email from a few weeks ago when Lauren asked about dehydrating foods & enzymes (best temp, etc). I found it to be very
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2006
      Hello Everyone -
      This a follow up email from a few weeks ago when Lauren asked about dehydrating foods & enzymes (best temp, etc).  I found it to be very informative...
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Joy King [mailto:joy@...]
      Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2006 9:11 PM
      To: Joy King
      Subject: FW: Lauren's inquiry about dehydrating foods, enzymes, etc.

      Greetings Joy! Thanks for passing along Lauren's inquiry about dehydrating foods, enzymes, etc.
      And Lauren, thanks for asking again, I am sorry you missed the teleconference. Our next teleconference, entitled "Monoeating, Fasting, and Self-Love", is scheduled on Wednesday evening, September 13, at 5:30 PM PDT.
      We did, indeed, address your dehydration question during our August 23 teleconference, and I managed to obliterate the audio recording. So at Joy's request, I'm attempting to recreate below some of what was said, and with a few embellishments, during the teleconference.
      Lauren, as I recall the primary focus of your inquiry was about what dehydration temperature( s) to use, what temperatures would damage or destroy food enzymes, etc. I hope my recollection is correct. I'll try and summarize what I shared during the teleconference.
      Best to all,

      Copyrighted material. Please see complete copyright notice at the end of this post.
      Author's Note: This is a prerelease version of this article. I am sharing it now, in response to questions asked by RF community members, to help with understanding of the subject matter covered. However, I recognize that this version is incomplete in many respects. I plan to publish a more complete presentation on digestion and enzymes at some future time.
      The first issue to consider WRT eating dehydrating foods involves the act of dehydration itself. By far, our greatest nutrient requirements are for oxygen and water. When we dehydrate any food, we remove most of its naturally occurring water content. In so doing, we also remove all the dissolved oxygen in that water.
      In addition, all other materials that were dissolved in the water come out of solution and return to their "hardened" form. For example, minerals return to their "rock" form, sugars crystallize, soluble fiber is damaged, and so forth.
      To digest and absorb ANY dehydrated substance, one's body must first rehydrate that substance, or at least provide sufficient water to serve as a medium and to restore soluble content into solution. To accomplish this, the body withdraws water from various locations and transfers that water to the digestive tract. Some of this water is recovered at the end of the digestive cycle, but much is lost in the elimination of the digestive residue. And prior to recovery of a portion of the water at the end of the cycle, all the cells, tissues, and organs from which the water was taken must operate in a partially dehydrated state.
      The body creates a request for more water, in the form of thirst, then in the form of "tiredness". But many people no longer know how to distinguish the physical message, "thirst", which occurs in the back of the throat, and quite often the entire body runs in a dehydrated state for some period of time, in order to digest the dehydrated material we consumed and until more water is ingested.
      Many people, particularly those who consume salt and spices, run their bodies continuously (24x7) in a dehydrated state. The resulting enervation (loss of vital energy) affects every part of the system, often creating an immediate sense of tiredness and other indications of depletion, and setting the stage for chronic and degenerative disease.
      All this is not to say that one must never consume any dehydrated foods. These may have their place, in transitioning, and in special circumstances such as backpacking and other activities. But in general, we affirm life and health by recognizing that whatever is dehydratED outside the body, is dehydratING inside.
      When learning how to dehydrate various foods, many RFs ask about the effect of heating upon enzymes in the food; concern is often expressed regarding what dehydration temperature to use in order to avoid "killing" the enzymes in the food. This line of inquiry arises from certain widespread but very misguided teachings within the RF world.
      Specifically, many RF teachers have learned, and without understanding go around repeating, a whole line of conversation about food enzymes. They say that the enzymes constitute the "life force" in the food; that heating the food "kills" the enzymes, and so forth. This entire line of thinking is erroneous, and I do deeply wish that RF teachers would simply drop the entire matter. For when they engage in such discussion in the presence of anyone with a genuine science background (e.g., biology, chemistry), the listener may rapidly conclude that the RF teacher is substantially ignorant and simply tune out the entire message. Yet, the participation of such people, those educated in the sciences, in the RF world would enhance the credibility of what we are are doing. So from my perspective, this whole enzyme discussion is entirely self-defeating on a rather large scale.
      Enzymes comprise a class of proteins. They are not living creatures in and of themselves, and one cannot "kill" them. Last time I checked (a couple years back), scientists had identified between 1500 –3000 different enzymes that perform various metabolic functions throughout the human body. Of these, approximately two dozen are classified as digestive enzymes. So any discussion about digestive enzymes addresses a tiny speck within the larger context of enzymes in the human organism. 
      Enzymes perform two functions: they tear things apart (decompose, or "digest"), and they put things together (compose, or build complex molecules). Each enzyme is specialized for a particular tearing down or building up task. In other words, each type of enzyme recognizes the physical and electromagnetic "signature" of a particular substance or closely related group of substances. When that substance appears in close proximity to the enzyme, the enzyme recognizes the substance as a "signal" and performs its designated task (tearing down or building up molecules).
      As with all proteins, each enzyme exhibits a characteristic 3-dimensional physical structure. Heat may damage this physical structure. When this occurs, the enzyme is no longer able to change conformations (change its physical structure) and therefore can no longer perform its function (compose/decompose molecules). Such enzymes are said to be "denatured". From a functional perspective, then, heat does "destroy" enzymes (and proteins in general).
      All digestive enzymes are specialized for tearing down (decomposing, digesting), and in general human digestive enzymes are classified as follows: 
      - Proteolytic enzymes (protease) tear down proteins.
      - Amylytic enzymes (amylase) break down carbohydrates.
      - Lipase enzymes break down lipids (fats).
      In plants, cellulase enzymes break down cellulase, that hard, fibrous type of carbohydrate we call "indigestible fiber".
      Please note that there are several enzymes in each class, and each enzyme is specialized for some particular task. For example, human saliva and pancreatic juice contain the enzyme ptyalin, which breaks down long-chain carbohydrates (e.g., starches) into maltose, a disaccharide (a simple carbohydrate molecule containing 2 sugar molecules bonded together). The maltose is then further broken down by maltase, another enzyme, into 2 molecules of glucose (a monosaccharide or simple sugar, the primary fuel for the body). Ptyalin cannot create glucose directly, nor can maltase break down the larger polysaccharides. In this distinction, we may observe an example of enzyme specialization.
      Within the RF world, it is widely taught that the enzymes contained in a given food, when eaten raw, substantial to digest that food within the human body. This teaching is false. The enzymes contained with a given plant-based food occur in just the right quantity to decompose that food in Nature in accordance with each plant's requirements. For example, in the case of a fruit, the material surrounding a seed decomposes to provide nutrients to the emerging sprout, largely via the soil surrounding the seed, to help the sprout grow.
      But this decomposition process occurs over a period of days or longer, whereas healthful digestion in the human body is accomplished within an hour or two, generally speaking. Therefore, in virtually every case, the body MUST provide a significant quantity of digestive enzymes, and in far greater quantities that what occurs naturally in a given food. In other words, most of the digestive enzymes come from the body, not from the food.
      Some may point out that, if one physically breaks apart a food, as for example when one purees a fruit or vegetable, decomposition (digestion) accelerates. This is correct, but the acceleration does not occur as a result of any increase in the number of enzymes present. Rather, acceleration occurs primarily due to increased bacterial access to the food, now that a much greater surface area is exposed. In other words, it's a yeast feast! (in the case of carbohydrates, of course)

      Much of the "standard" RF thinking WRT enzymes arises, at least in part, from a very limited and incomplete body of research conducted about 75 years ago by Paul Kouchakoff, Ph.D. In his research, Dr. Kouchakoff observed that whenever he fed someone a food cooked  above a certain temperature, the body created a white blood cell response in the bloodThis response is known as “digestive leukocytosis” (leukocytes are white blood cells). According to Kouchakoff's research, the specific cooking temperature that triggers this response varies from food to food.

      Kouchakoff and others have reasonably interpreted these observations to mean that the body perceives the cooked food as foreign matter.

      Kouchakoff continued his experiments in an interesting direction ... he would give someone a small amount of a given food, uncooked, mixed with or followed by that the same food, cooked. He observed that when the raw form of a food preceded, or in some cases accompanied, its cooked counterpart, digestive leukocytosis was minimized or did not occur at all.
      I would be remiss if I did not mention that several individuals I know personally have attempted to reproduce Kouchakoff's results, in various "nonscientific" ways, and have not consistently succeeded in doing so.
      In any event, Kouchakoff's work does not constitute an argument for raw foodism per se, nor does Kouchakoff's work "prove" anything at all about digestive enzymes. Rather, what Kouchakoff's work suggests ... and ONLY suggests ... is that the organism (our body), with its vast, innate intelligence, is able to use the raw food as a model, associate the cooked counterpart as a variant, and digest the cooked food much more effectively than would have been the case without the raw food going in first. In other words, it is possible that, in the presence of a portion of the raw form of a food, the body can recognize or associate the cooked variant and produce the correct digestive enzymes, without resorting to a defensive or cleansing white blood cell response (leukocytosis) .
      As I wrote above, Kouchakoff never completed this research, and to my knowledge no one else has ever attempted to reproduce or extend his results. So any conclusions one might draw must be tentative, at best. Still, the idea that the body can use a small amount of a raw food to model its cooked counterpart seems intriguing.
      All this having been shared, now, Lauren, here are some comments more directly germane to your questions. Food enzymes are destroyed within a range of temperatures. A few are destroyed even at temperatures slightly below 100 degrees F; most are destroyed by the time the temperature reaches 130+ degrees F; and the most resilient food enzymes survive up to about 160 degrees F. This is why pasteurization temperature is 161 degrees F.
      The common RF teaching that food enzymes are destroyed at 118 (sometimes 117) degrees F (approximately 47.5–48 degrees C) represents an oversimplification.
      Please note that destruction of enzymes by heating occurs over time, as the internal temperature of the food rises. In general, as long as moisture remains in the food, it's internal temperature does not rise appreciably, as nearly all the incoming energy is absorbed by the water within the food. At some point in the process, one may observe that the surface begins to feel dry, and at this point the surface temperature also begins to rise. (That is, the food begins to feel "warm" to the touch.)
      This is the critical point in the process. Until the surface temperature begins to rise, the temperature in the dehydrator is of little consequence. I have often used a setting of 135 degrees F (approximately 57 degrees C) while a food remains moist, without raising the internal temperature of the food.
      When the surface temperature begins to rise, THEN it becomes important to turn down the thermostat, preferably to around 100–105 degrees F (approximately 37.5–40.5 degrees C). Finishing the dehydrating process at this temperature should protect the food enzymes, subject to one condition:
      - If you continue running the dehydrator for a long period of time after dehydration is complete, the food will continue to absorb energy, and its temperature will continue to rise at least somewhat. Therefore, it is best to remove the food from the dehydrator within a short time after dehydration is "complete", whatever that means in terms of the recipe you are following.
      One final comment, not germane to dehydration in an air chamber, but relevant to heating by other means: The amount of heat energy absorbed by a food (or by any substance) depends upon the way in which the heat is transferred. For example, a dehydrator containing air at 135 degrees F holds only a tiny fraction of the energy as a cast-iron skillet heated to the same temperature. Placing a food in the cast-iron skillet will result in much more rapid heating of the food than will placing that food in a dehydrator with the same internal/ambient temperature. In this example, the specific heat of the skillet is much higher than that of air, and the heat is transferred by conduction, rather than by convection, a less efficient transfer mode.
      ____________ _________ _________ ______
      Copyright 5766 (2006 CE) by The Presiding Chaplain for Vibrant Life, and Successors, as provided in natural law and common law. All rights reserved.
      Permission is hereby granted ONLY to any natural man, woman, or child to excerpt or use all or any portion of the following text for any noncommercial purpose whatsoever, subject to the following conditions:
      1. Any portion excerpted must be sufficiently complete to assure no loss or alteration of meaning or context.
      2. The man, woman or child excerpting or otherwise using all or any portion hereof must place the following (or substantially similar) text prominently and in close proximity to the material excerpted or used:
          Written by Elchanan. Copyrighted material of The Presiding Chaplain for Vibrant Life,
          and Successors, as provided in natural law and common law.

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