As time marched on and I became more informed of the health consequences of sugar, the primary ingredient in my favourite drink, I accepted that it was time to cut back and eventually stop. But of course, I needed an alternative. I traded soda for another beverage that I always enjoyed, and no, it was not beer or wine, though in moderation they do have great health benefits. Instead I switched to what was sure to be healthy: non-concentrated 100% orange juice.
In no time I had kicked my soda intake and was enjoying the smooth, refreshing taste of orange juice, always proud when I saw the “100% pure orange juice” ingredients with no additives or flavouring of any kind. It was a couple of years later that my wife, a Homeopath and complimentary health practitioner, read the label of my orange juice and said, “You know this is pasteurized, right?”
“So?” I responded. “Isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t that mean that they have removed all of the bad stuff?”
What followed was a detailed lesson in pasteurization, one that again forced me to reflect on what I was consuming.
In short, pasteurization – a process that has been widely used since 1864 – is the process of heating foods such as dairy and juices in order to kill harmful bacteria. The challenge, as I was informed, is that the process of killing harmful bacteria indiscriminately kills necessary nutrients and enzymes that the body needs. Alas, my “100% pure not from concentrate orange juice” was nothing more than orange flavoured water.
My next trip to the grocery store left me crying in a corner as I again realized how disillusioned I was; so many of the foods that I thought were full of nutrient-rich goodness, are pasteurized and void of the minerals, vitamins and enzymes crucial for a well-balanced diet.
Never fear, I thought, for while pasteurized foods are not necessarily benefiting us, they are certainly not bad for us, right? Unfortunately I learned that this too is untrue. The enzymes that are pasteurized out of our foods are a crucial part of the digestive and metabolic process; as a result, the body is forced to work harder to breakdown these foods, essentially removing healthy enzymes from the body rather than giving the important stuff back. Is there no mercy?
Once again I am off to the grocery store in search of healthy alternatives, and while it is an unceasing task, I believe it is a worthwhile endeavour. I guess you could say I am doing it just for the hell… I mean health of it.
Cheers to healthy living,