Many people know me as a bit of a naturalist, a purist. My whole philosophy for healthy living is based on respecting nature’s laws and honoring our physical makeup. Instinctively I’ve always felt a strong trust that if humans can eat food and live a lifestyle that is aligned with our evolutionary heritage, we will be vibrant and healthy guaranteed.

Much of this belief came from my ability to cure myself of all my physical ailments by backpacking in the wilderness. I had debilitating asthma and agonizing back troubles for years that would clear up completely, 100%, in as little as 48 hours in the backcountry – and return almost instantly upon returning to civilization. This was merely the first step and the catalyst to much reflective thinking on how to make our modern lives fit the mold of our ancient programming.

I’ve recently come across a large influx of research from various sources that actually does prove that there is much yet to be understood about the intricate fabric of the natural life cycle and how vulnerable we make ourselves by disrupting it. The best example comes from research done by a man named Francis Pottenger.

Pottenger lived during the heyday of Weston A. Price and performed experiments that complemented Price’s work very well. Although a bit brutal now, Pottenger performed experiments on house cats to examine the difference between a diet of cooked food versus a diet of raw food. He stumbled upon this experiment accidentally after having noticed the health differences on cats fed a certain diet that he was running a totally different experiment on.

His curiosity about the effects of cooking and pasteurizing definitely “killed the cat.” In one group the cats received raw meat, cod liver oil, and raw milk. This was their diet completely. The other group received the exact same foods from the exact same sources only the meat was cooked and the milk was pasteurized – the cod liver oil was the same. The results? They were absolutely mind-boggling.

The raw-fed cats had perfect health. No major illnesses or degenerative diseases were reported. Bone mass was excellent, no respiratory problems or allergies, and the raw-fed cats reproduced perfectly, passing the sturdy, healthy traits along to several subsequent generations.

Without going into too much detail, the cats in the other group went extinct by the end of the third generation. Not a single cat by generation number 3 could successfully reproduce, they had lost hair, had skeletal and dental deformities, cavities, severe allergies, rickets and osteoporosis, etc. And, interestingly, only the cooked-fed cats suffered from parasite infestation. The process of degeneration didn’t occur in one generation, the deficiencies were passed down and accumulated over time, much the way it has with humans over the last 100 years of “unnatural” agriculture and food processing techniques.

Yes, this is interesting, but of course cats should eat raw foods. No animal on earth eats cooked foods except humans, but we have adapted somewhat to cooked foods. Right? Well, cats have had plenty of time to adapt to cooked foods as well, seeing that they’ve been living with humans and eating their scraps for centuries – supplemented by some raw, wriggling mice of course. But both cats and humans still have a very basic need for completely raw unadulterated food in significant amounts.

What I found to be far more compelling is where Pottenger went next with this experiment. He monitored weed growth and planted crops in the pens of the cats after they had been euthanized. The weeds and experimental beans planted in the pens from raw-fed cats exploded, growing tall, lush, and full. The pens from the cooked-fed animals had hardly any vegetation growing at all. It was sparse in those pens to say the least, and the plants were much shorter and not as radiant. In other words, nature’s balance was so fine-tuned that the quality of the diet passed down into plant life via feces and had a stunningly dramatic impact.

This truly speaks to the magnificent and delicate balance of nature’s laws. So remember this the next time you are feeling like a pork chop is just a pork chop, and it doesn’t matter whether it comes from pigs grazing in a meadow on roots and grubs and organic foods, or whether it comes from a pig given antibiotics for every meal, living in a dark unsanitary warehouse, and being fed with skim milk and meat scraps from similarly-raised animals, and GMO-soy grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with pesticides. When an animal is raised in any way that deviates the lifestyle it is built and programmed for, the natural cycle in its entirety is disrupted and thrown into disharmony. Even something as minor as cooking food instead of consuming it raw can, and has been shown to have this stunningly major impact.

Most would laugh at the idea that how a plant or animal is raised, what it is nourished with, and how it is prepared can make the difference between us having absolutely perfect radiant health and total degeneration to the point of deformity, infertility, allergy, and illness. But this is precisely the case and applies to every morsel of food you put in your mouth, especially secondary foods from animal products.

So instead of watching what you eat, watch how you eat (how is it prepared or processed) and watch what you eat eats!

We’ve disrupted nature’s natural cycles so many times and in so many different ways over the last century that who knows how urgent it really is that we mend these disturbances, but some powerful steps in a new direction are definitely called for. All creatures living in tune with nature’s laws used to experience a state of perfect radiant life, and it is becoming increasingly available to those willing to make simple changes in their lifestyles and eating habits. And as Pottenger discovered, we have a responsibility not only to ourselves to pursue healthy bodies and a healthy planet, but to future generations who will inherit the imbalances and deficiencies we leave behind.

Be sure to check out the next installment on inheritance vs. genetics coming March 29/30.