Melanie Joy coined the term “carnism” to describe the invisible belief system that conditions people into believing that farming certain animal species is acceptable and to avoid, at all costs, questioning doing so. She makes reference to the three N’s of justification; the main arguments carnists (those who buy into the carnism mindset) give in defence of their ideology. These are “normal,” “natural and “necessary.” Examined closer, it should be clear that none of these N’s are at all valid, only, perhaps, with the exception of “normal,” in the sense of this being common and typical behaviour (which is, sadly, the case), but certainly not in the sense of being sound and wholesome.
I don’t think I really need to further elaborate on the power of her reasoning. Any reader wishing to know more has DuckDuckGo at their fingertips to find out more.
I’m going to be bold and coin another term, coquism, derived from the Latin coquo, meaning to cook, brew, boil, roast. I don’t seriously expect it to ever take on the popularity that the term carnism has, but, hey, one never knows! Similarly, coquism can be defined as the invisible belief system that conditions people to believe that subjecting food to extreme degrees of heat before consumption is also perfectly sane and rational. Coquists, too, when challenged, will make frequent reference to the three N’s of justification and adamantly argue that cooking is “normal,” “natural and “necessary.” This is the next societal and cultural lesson that needs to be thoroughly examined and consequently unlearned.
It’s difficult to say, of carnism and coquism, which of these two belief systems has been around for the longest. My guess is they came about at roughly the same time. Maybe because fire makes animal flesh more palatable. The history of such things is entirely irrelevant, though.
It’s only been in recent decades that science has actually shown carnism to be neither healthy nor necessary (The China Study), unfortunately, though, when it comes to coquism, scientific research is still a befuddled mess and lags far behind. Mostly I suspect this is because it hasn’t really dawned on many that there could possibly be anything at all wrong with coquism or that there is any need for its long-term effects to be scrutinised. There is, however, well over a century’s worth of data stemming from the study of Nature Cure and Natural Hygiene fields proving the effectiveness of raw foodism. Yes, just as carnism has its antipode in veganism, coquism’s arch-nemesis is raw foodism: the art of eating food as it is offered by nature. That is, without first subjecting it to severe molecular degeneration and degradation through the cooking process.
In the absence of scientific data, I’m going to attempt to make an appeal to common sense. We need only really to observe nature and recognise that every other animal species on this planet, in their natural, undisturbed environments, has one thing in common: They eat their food just as it is available in nature. If you can centre your thoughts on that singularity, you should be able to also question why it is that we, as a species, have collectively adopted the habit of preheating foods before dining.
The heating process tampers with our foods, which, if we choose correctly, are already perfect the way nature offers them. Subjection to heat can do nothing to either improve nor enhance them. What it does—and here’s the crux—is it changes the chemical makeup of food, rendering it into a form that is ultimately partially detrimental to our physiology and also addictive. Making cooked meals a regular part of our diets will always eventually lead to health problems and slow down all healing. There are no two ways around this issue.
I’ll be touching more on the addictive nature of cooked food very shortly!
Again, just as is the case with carnism and eating animals, the only real way coquism and cooking can be viewed as normal is in the sense of being commonplace and usual. That part is not up for dispute! But “normal” in the sense of being rational, sane or wholesome behaviour, now that’s the part I will never agree on as years of experience has shown me, beyond a shadow of doubt, that this is certainly not the case!
Coquists have it in their minds that missing out on having at least one cooked meal a day is doing themselves a disservice. For most, coquism is so strong that every meal of the day will have cooked elements to it. Quite likely every snack, too! They will even argue that they could not possibly survive on purely raw food. They’ll cling to their flawed, stodgeful reasoning just as carnists cling to their lack of understanding surrounding protein, iron and calcium in defence of their harmful habits.
The Victims of Coquism
With carnism, the prime victims involved are clearly the farmed animals, and we owe it to them and every other hidden victim of that industry to abandon that warped and nonsensical belief system. With coquism, though, the first and most clear victims are the 99.9 percent of the population who likely have never once questioned the custom of cooking. We all owe it to ourselves to do so, vegans and prevegans alike.
To be sure, youthful exuberance may seemingly shelter us from the truth of consuming cooked food, but by the time we reach middle age, the effects of a habit of persistently dining on cooked food will surface and make themselves known. In many cases, you won’t even need to look too closely to find their signs. What unfortunately happens, though, is that people are generally thoroughly oblivious to the deep-rooted connection between food choices and our general states of health. When problems do arise, that connection is rarely made.
Even though humans have been cooking food since as far back as history records, this habit has never really been to our benefit. We are able to tolerate doing so and, on occasion, live what we are accustomed to thinking of as long lives. But the toxins and pollutants generated through the cooking process are always a burden to the body and can potentially lead to all manner of health issues.
In fact, I’ll be brazen and authoritatively claim that more than 99 percent of all health issues humans suffer from stem from the food we eat and through the heat adulteration of our meals. Even the other 1 percent can be greatly relieved and aided through cutting out cooked food. Many will argue that, over the course of history and the many culinary traditions we’ve globally adopted, our bodies have adapted to eating such manipulated fodder. But just as generations of smoking cigarettes would never result in us evolving to gain bona fide physical dependency and reliance on them, so, too, have we never actually gained a legitimate need for eating cooked food. We have only built up a tolerance for doing so, and one that has never seriously been profitable to anyone.
If we can admit to ourselves that there may be a victim here, we shouldn’t fall into the trap of kidding ourselves that we alone are the sole victims. Therefore, change is purely each individual’s own concern. One can never truly care for the world without including oneself in that circle of compassion. Besides, we need to realise that we ourselves are not the only victims of this long-perpetuated crime of ignorance. By stepping away from it, we help and empower others to do likewise. On the flip side, by not doing so, we help and empower others to continue harming themselves, too. This needs especially to be reflected upon wherever children are concerned. Do we selfishly wish for them to continue down the same destructive path as we are on or do we wish for them to break free of the ruinous habits of countless previous generations?
Further victims of the crimes committed in support of coquism are wild fauna and flora, or the natural biodiversity within nature. This might sound odd at first glance, but on realising that a good many of the meals coquists regularly consume are derived from monocrop cereals, perhaps things might become a tad clearer.
Cereal crops such as wheat and rice are classic examples of inefficient and unnecessarily harmful land usage, sometimes smothering many square kilometres of land. As previously mentioned, solely focusing on growing one particular type of plant over large areas is always a crime against Gaia, running contrary to the natural order of things. Normally, there would likely be hundreds of different plant species growing on that land, but all are eradicated in favour of whichever crop is being focused on. Not only the plants, but all the wild animals who had their home on that land; they, too, are all emotionlessly evicted with no prior warning other than the rumbling of the oncoming tractor. Some will escape the relentless onslaught of the blades as the land is ploughed, but many will be too young, too old, too frail, too slow or too confused to do so.
In the case of rice, which is grown on roughly 160 million hectares worldwide, with 90 percent grown in Asia, there are other concerns that everyone should be aware of. Due to the nature in which rice is grown in rice paddies, it can easily require as much as three times the amount of water needed to produce the same dry weight of any other cereal crop. In water-stressed areas, this can lead to environmental concerns as well as economic and societal impacts. Regardless of regional water strain, though, the total amount of freshwater used for irrigation is tremendous, with 50 percent of all diverted freshwater in Asia diverted to paddy fields!
Pesticide usage is also a major issue, especially as Asian workers often apply them while being fully unprotected! From my own personal experience, I’d like to tell you about an hour or two I sat on the side of a mountain watching an Indonesian rice farmer ploughing through a rice paddy barely 50 meters from where I sat quietly and observed in bafflement. In front of him, he had a restrained and harnessed bullock with a large metal plough attached to the harness. Both the farmer and the bullock clearly struggled, pushing through the mud under the hot, tropical sun. I lost count of the amount of times the farmer fell into the mud and cursed, shouted and whipped the bullock to move onward.
I was aghast. What misery, what utter folly! All that sweat and hard labour for what? A few grains of rice? A few coins or bits of paper with numbers on them or some imaginary zeros and ones in a bank computer someplace? This was rich, fertile, tropical land, close to the equator, prime land for fruit tree growing. The farmer could have been lying down, enjoying the day while eating durian. The bullock could have been freed and left to wallow somewhere in the mud and contentedly contemplate life in whatever way bullocks might go about doing that. It was not an easy sight for me to witness but really made me aware just what it is consumers pay for when demanding cheap rice!
Anyhow, where was I? Yes, back to the raw topic! By switching to a raw food diet, such foods are naturally eliminated from one’s diet. No more bread, no more pasta, no more rice and lentils. If any of those are eaten raw, they likely will be sprouted and consumed in much smaller quantities than ever before. But the truth is that when we switch over to raw food, there is a natural tendency to begin veering toward the fruit aisles and stalls, as in their raw state, fruit is the food that appeals most to all senses. Sourcing our food from trees is without doubt the gentlest and least harmful on the land and will require much less usage of those unstoppable tractor blades!
The Addictive Nature of Cooked Food
For many, the mere suggestion that one might be better off forsaking foods such as bread and rice will immediately be seen as threatening and cause hackles to rise. These foods are considered staples in so many parts of the world, and any foreboding that they may be removed is unlikely to occur without objection. There’s good reason behind such reaction as such foods are addictive. Yes, you read that right, they are probably the first drug, of sorts, that we all become addicted to from the moment we are weaned. In fact, all cooked foods contain an addictive element to them, which, although, science has yet to pinpoint and classify, can quite easily be self-proven simply by cutting them from one’s diet. Even after one simple, single day, the pull of cooked food will be felt. Try it! If you are a regular cooked eater, I challenge you to go a single, solitary day without eating any cooked foods, including all forms of breads. Go entirely raw, eating only plants and fruits in their natural states. Feel free to make a salad. Don’t try to kid yourself that the cravings you’ll experience are due to your body starving. That would be a colossal demonstration of ignorance.
Better still, go one week eating only raw foods. Go on, I dare you! I guarantee that if you’ve never done this before, the cravings will raise their ugly heads before the first 24 hours are up, and, by doing so, you can prove to yourself that addiction is not just a term I’m brandishing to ward off an imaginary foe but a very real and negative element to the daily food choices made by the masses.
All it will normally take is a few hours, if you’re used to toast for breakfast, and you switch to a large glass of fresh orange juice and a banana or three instead. By mid-morning, your body will already be craving something cooked. You’ll be fantasising about whatever foods are in your mind, tickling that fantasy. If you manage to to eat a raw breakfast and raw lunch, by mid-afternoon, it won’t be at all unlikely that you’re already going a little stir crazy, once more dreaming up dishes in your mind. From experience, I can tell you that there is more than a fair chance that you’ll cave in to those cravings, and, in the process, further prove the validity of my stance.
As I’ve already mentioned, just because we, as a species, have been practising the art of cooking for an untold number of generations does not mean we have developed a genuine dependency on doing so. There is a form of dependency present, however. It is the same kind the alcoholic feels for alcoholic drinks or the smoker feels for tobacco. This really shouldn’t be that difficult to grasp, as cooked foods, having passed through the kitchen laboratory, are also no longer natural. True, they may not be as harmful as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes, but, then again, those particular drugs may not be as harmful as heroin or methamphetamine. That simple fact doesn’t somehow miraculously render them as harmless.
Please don’t try to make out that eating raw food is too restrictive. Freeing oneself from addiction is a liberation, not a restriction. The fact that people think the opposite is true is just another example of what I refer to as the topsy-turvy world we live in, where the normal is considered abnormal and the abnormal is embraced wholeheartedly by the masses as normal.