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    Oxidation: Is Food Really So Fragile? 
    #1
    Skull
    Ok. No one has responded to my post yet so I just cut out the second half of the article (it was kinda lengthy and I guess it was discouraging people). If you want the full version, it's on this lengthy web page www.hinduism.co.za/food.htm

    Anyway, the following is an article by one of the first pioneers of raw food. I don't care if you agree with the philosophies of raw food or not, he brings up a very interesting point here:

    Oxidation
    By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton

    "Foods have been defined as oxidizable substances. Oxidation is the union of oxygen with another element. Oxidation may take place slowly or rapidly. Rapid oxidation is the process known as burning. Oxidation of foods takes place more rapidly at a high temperature, as in cooking, and more slowly at lower temperatures. Foods also oxidize at room temperature. When we peel an apple and slice it so that we admit the oxygen of the air to its inner structure, it soon turns brown.

    This same thing happens when we peel and slice a peach or banana. When foods have been oxidized they are no longer serviceable as food. The more oxidation has taken place in a food the less food value it has. Nature protects the vital structures of plants and animals from oxidation by surrounding them with structures –skins, barks, etc. When foods are sliced, diced, cut, mashed, shredded or otherwise broken into small bits, and their inner structures are subjected to contact with the air, they undergo oxidation. The finer they are grated or sliced, the thinner the slices, the more of their inner structures come into contact with oxygen, hence the more oxidation they undergo. The longer these sliced, cut and shredded foods are permitted to stand before they are eaten the more oxidation they undergo.

    Nuts that are ground in making nut butters, milk that is sprayed in the process of drying (dehydration), juices that are extracted from fruits and vegetables, are all permitted to come in contact with oxygen and undergo more or less oxidation in the process. It will be noticed that in nature milk flows directly from the producer to the consumer without coming in contact with the air. In this state, the milk has an entirely different flavour than it has after it has been in contact with the air for some time. Apples and peaches taste differently after oxidizing. Nut butters do not taste like nuts. Foods lose both food value and palatability from oxidation.

    When fresh fruits and vegetables are chopped into small pieces, or when tomatoes are sliced thin, there is rapid oxidation of vitamin c. For example, when lettuce is shredded it loses eighty per cent of its vitamin c in one minute. The loss is almost as rapid in tomatoes when these are sliced thin. The same thing is true of the vitamin c in oranges, cabbages and other fruits and vegetables. Ripe tomatoes seem to lose vitamin c less rapidly than do the green ones when they are sliced. In all green leafy vegetables, the destruction of vitamin c by oxidation , when these are chopped or shredded, is marked. The mere act of grating raw apples or raw potatoes causes a complete loss of vitamin c.

    Thus it will be seen that one may buy vitamin rich foods and then prepare them in such ways as to lose most of their vitamins. The grating of salads is destructive of food value. The widespread practice of making fruit and vegetable juices and drinking these also permits of great losses of food values.

    It will always be best to take our foods whole or if they must be cut, cut them in large pieces. There will some loss, even in this way, but the loss will be insignificant when compared with the loss that occur when for example cabbage is shredded."
    Last edited by Tritoch; 14-01-2006 at 01:06.
     

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    #2
    Bluelighter Gary Gnu's Avatar
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    Most of these "theories" are so delusional I don't even know where to start. Did this guy study organic chemistry... at...all..... ever ? Or basic chemistry for that matter? Farking QUACK or Kook... maybe a combination of the two?
     

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    #3
    I was hoping for a more intelligent response...one less concerned with the man and his qualifications and one more focused on the points he's making about food going bad
     

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    Bluelighter Gary Gnu's Avatar
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    I am not sure I have the energy to give an "introduction to organic chemistry" lesson right now. Sorry. Forgive my ignorant response.

    Maybe he was a nice guy.. honestly I wasn't trying to attack his character. I just don’t see how the claims would make any sense to a person that has studied basic organic chemistry, or at least researched it a bit online.

    What points do you think hold merit? Maybe we can break this down into sections or something. ..
    Last edited by Gary Gnu; 14-01-2006 at 03:55.
     

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    #5
    Bluelighter lifeisforliving's Avatar
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    *shrug* other than the benefit of a greater % of antioxidants - I can't see how "oxidative" changes to food harm it's nutritive value.

    There is far more to "good food" that the amount of antioxidants.

    I mean, seriously, think about it - we EVOLVED into a species that preferentially EAT oxidated, cooked, animal products. It clearly wasn't evolutionaly detrimental!
     

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    #6
    Bluelighter Gary Gnu's Avatar
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    Funny the guy doesn't talk about the biotoxins that plants make and put into fruit and veggies to deter predators. They (plants) were not good at swinging sticks... they became very good organic chemists. There is a lot of toxic "stuff" in raw veggies and fruits. Eat a few handfulls of potato leaves... I dare ya Thankfully, our bodies know how to deal with most of them pretty well.

    Anyhow.. just a side thought.
     

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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisforliving
    *shrug* other than the benefit of a greater % of antioxidants - I can't see how "oxidative" changes to food harm it's nutritive value.

    There is far more to "good food" that the amount of antioxidants.
    He's not talking about antioxidants. He's talking about oxidation of food--food going bad. He's basically saying that food loses a significant amount of it's nutritional value before it just downright spoils. He's just being logical--it doesn't take an organic chemist to know that food spoils if it's exposed to the air for a long enough amount of time (however, when food is in vacuum containers, this doesn't happen).

    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisforliving
    *shrug* other than the benefit of a greater % of antioxidants - I can't see how "oxidative" changes to food harm it's nutritive value.

    I mean, seriously, think about it - we EVOLVED into a species that preferentially EAT oxidated, cooked, animal products. It clearly wasn't evolutionaly detrimental!
    Clearly not evolutionarily detrimental? Hah! Just take a look around you! Take a visit to a nursing home...
     

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    #8
    Bluelighter lifeisforliving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tritoch
    He's not talking about antioxidants. He's talking about oxidation of food--food going bad. He's basically saying that food loses a significant amount of it's nutritional value before it just downright spoils. He's just being logical--it doesn't take an organic chemist to know that food spoils if it's exposed to the air for a long enough amount of time (however, when food is in vacuum containers, this doesn't happen).
    I understand what he is saying, and I believe that his ideas are on very shaky ground. What exact "nutritive value" is he speaking of? We need specifics!

    I mean, bacteria "spoil" some food in your GI, but we ingest the products... Unless you're talking about heat damaged proteins, or if somehow a rotten tomato has lost all it's phytonutrients... I doubt there are any studies on that stuff yet.


    Clearly not evolutionarily detrimental? Hah! Just take a look around you! Take a visit to a nursing home...
    Humans evolved in large part due to the fact we consume high enegy packed food - also known as meat.
     

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Gnu
    Funny the guy doesn't talk about the biotoxins that plants make and put into fruit and veggies to deter predators. They (plants) were not good at swinging sticks... they became very good organic chemists. There is a lot of toxic "stuff" in raw veggies and fruits. Eat a few handfulls of potato leaves... I dare ya Thankfully, our bodies know how to deal with most of them pretty well.

    Anyhow.. just a side thought.
    Based on your response, I'm assuming your saying that heat kills these poisons. Are these poisons found in ALL edible plants? Should no one eat anything raw? Not even fruits? Then again your saying that our bodies know how to deal with most of them pretty well...so they're not really a concern in that case then?

    Raw potatoe leaves...hm, funny you had to resort to something so obscure to back up your argument. Do you also dare me to eat a few raw vegetables out of my kitchen?
     

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    #10
    Bluelighter Strawberry_lovemuffin's Avatar
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    I can't believe lettuce loses it's vitamin C one minute after being shredded.

    So there's no nutritional value (apart from fibre I suppose) in salad? We should eat all vegetables whole? Is that what the author is saying?

    If this is true it's pretty impractical.

     

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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberry_lovemuffin
    I can't believe lettuce loses it's vitamin C one minute after being shredded.

    So there's no nutritional value (apart from fibre I suppose) in salad? We should eat all vegetables whole? Is that what the author is saying?

    If this is true it's pretty impractical.

    luckily, it's bullshit.

     

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    #12
    Bluelighter mik82's Avatar
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    Here's a chemist's perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tritoch

    Oxidation of foods takes place more rapidly at a high temperature, as in cooking, and more slowly at lower temperatures. Foods also oxidize at room temperature. When we peel an apple and slice it so that we admit the oxygen of the air to its inner structure, it soon turns brown.
    True - but the browning of apples occurs on the exposed surface.

    This same thing happens when we peel and slice a peach or banana. When foods have been oxidized they are no longer serviceable as food. The more oxidation has taken place in a food the less food value it has.
    Not really - the loss of nutrients is going to be negligible if you peel/slice and eat. Even if you loose all the vitamins the food will still have most of its food value (calories) and all of its mineral content.

    Nature protects the vital structures of plants and animals from oxidation by surrounding them with structures –skins, barks, etc. When foods are sliced, diced, cut, mashed, shredded or otherwise broken into small bits, and their inner structures are subjected to contact with the air, they undergo oxidation. The finer they are grated or sliced, the thinner the slices, the more of their inner structures come into contact with oxygen, hence the more oxidation they undergo. The longer these sliced, cut and shredded foods are permitted to stand before they are eaten the more oxidation they undergo.
    That is definitely true. Hence why buying ready sliced/prepared vegetables isn't a good idea. They have much lower vitamin levels, especially if they're fine sliced. This is because fine slicing increases the surface area available for reactions to take place.

    Nuts that are ground in making nut butters, milk that is sprayed in the process of drying (dehydration), juices that are extracted from fruits and vegetables, are all permitted to come in contact with oxygen and undergo more or less oxidation in the process. It will be noticed that in nature milk flows directly from the producer to the consumer without coming in contact with the air. In this state, the milk has an entirely different flavour than it has after it has been in contact with the air for some time. Apples and peaches taste differently after oxidizing. Nut butters do not taste like nuts. Foods lose both food value and palatability from oxidation.
    Trying to link the oxidation of flavour compounds with loss of nutrients is not a good idea.

    When fresh fruits and vegetables are chopped into small pieces, or when tomatoes are sliced thin, there is rapid oxidation of vitamin c. For example, when lettuce is shredded it loses eighty per cent of its vitamin c in one minute. The loss is almost as rapid in tomatoes when these are sliced thin. The same thing is true of the vitamin c in oranges, cabbages and other fruits and vegetables. Ripe tomatoes seem to lose vitamin c less rapidly than do the green ones when they are sliced. In all green leafy vegetables, the destruction of vitamin c by oxidation , when these are chopped or shredded, is marked. The mere act of grating raw apples or raw potatoes causes a complete loss of vitamin c.
    I don't believe that. However it has been shown that bagged salads have lost virtually all of their vitamin C and E. This is probably due to being washed in a strong chlorine (an oxidising agent) solution.

    Thus it will be seen that one may buy vitamin rich foods and then prepare them in such ways as to lose most of their vitamins. The grating of salads is destructive of food value. The widespread practice of making fruit and vegetable juices and drinking these also permits of great losses of food values.
    Not by just slicing/grating and eating. Cooking is a different matter - it will certainly reduce levels of vitamins. Juicing removes most of the fibre and increases the glycaemic index but you'll still have the vitamins.

    [/quote]It will always be best to take our foods whole or if they must be cut, cut them in large pieces. There will some loss, even in this way, but the loss will be insignificant when compared with the loss that occur when for example cabbage is shredded."[/QUOTE]

    I can just imagine the author tucking into a whole cabbage followed by an unpeeled banana.
     

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    #13
    Bluelight Crew Pander Bear's Avatar
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    ^^
    its easier if you imagine him as a donkey
     

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mik82
    Trying to link the oxidation of flavour compounds with loss of nutrients is not a good idea.
    Why not? Peanut butter does have a distinctly different flavor than just plain, roasted peanuts (the best way to judge that is with the natural peanut butter, not the commercial, and I've had both--many brands). Almond butter tastes a lot different from almonds (I have tried both raw and roasted almon butter, as well as both raw and roasted almonds).

    Thanks for your good input, milk82. I really didn't think this article would endure as much criticism as it did, I mean, it's only common sense that food rots if you leave it out too long--an unpeeled banana will rot more quickly than a peeled one; a shredded leaf will decay more quickly than an unshredded leaf...

    The author is simply taking this well-known "phenomenon" a step further, and saying that a significant loss of vitamins takes place during the process, and like I said before, before the food just downright goes bad.
     

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    #15
    Bluelight Crew Pander Bear's Avatar
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    shredded leaves and peeled bananas rot faster because you're doing the work of primary decomposers (bacteria and fungi) for them, not because of some kind of hyper-oxidation. Thats not an issue in peanut butter.
     

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    #16
    Bluelighter Strawberry_lovemuffin's Avatar
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    Well that's okay then. I don't buy pre-packaged vegies and bagged salads. But I do chop up a salad (from raw, whole vegies) in the morning nearly every day for work, and take it with me in a plastic container to eat at lunchtime. I was not fond of the idea that it would have no nutritional value!

    I assume how you store cut vegies makes a difference too - ie. wrapped in plastic or sealed in airtight containers, with as little surface area exposed to the air as possible?
     

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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Tritoch
    Why not? Peanut butter does have a distinctly different flavor than just plain, roasted peanuts (the best way to judge that is with the natural peanut butter, not the commercial, and I've had both--many brands). Almond butter tastes a lot different from almonds (I have tried both raw and roasted almon butter, as well as both raw and roasted almonds).
    hmmmm. Maybe it's the copious amounts of added salt, not to mention everything else.

    oxidation my arse.
     

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    #18
    Bluelight Crew Pander Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tritoch
    Why not? Peanut butter does have a distinctly different flavor than just plain, roasted peanuts (the best way to judge that is with the natural peanut butter, not the commercial, and I've had both--many brands). Almond butter tastes a lot different from almonds (I have tried both raw and roasted almon butter, as well as both raw and roasted almonds).

    Thanks for your good input, milk82. I really didn't think this article would endure as much criticism as it did, I mean, it's only common sense that food rots if you leave it out too long--an unpeeled banana will rot more quickly than a peeled one; a shredded leaf will decay more quickly than an unshredded leaf...

    The author is simply taking this well-known "phenomenon" a step further, and saying that a significant loss of vitamins takes place during the process, and like I said before, before the food just downright goes bad.

    Another reason your logic is plawed. Peanut butter doesnt taste different from peanuts because of oxidation, it tastes different because your tounge has much better access to flavanoids (stored within cell walls), than it does when you just chew it. This is a well understood phenonenom with foods like onions and garlic. Large, uncut pieces in food will taste mild, mined, chopped, or diced pieces taste spicey.
     

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    #19
    Firstly, to be pedantic, his definition of oxidation is way off. Oxidation is loss of electron(s) (therefore a gain of a charge) of an atom/ion in a reaction (e.g. heterolytic cleavage). This is one of the first things you learn in chemistry!

    It's an interesting concept though. Where's the proof though? I thought a "doctor" would have learned to reference!

    A study into this by professional chemists (Not some Hindu quack "doctor") would be interesting.

    PS. I should have just posted this quote from the site for anyone in doubt about the veritably of the source:

    The alarming effect which acid rock music had been shown to have on plants made Mrs. Rettallack wonder whether the nationwide craze for it among the younger generation might be extremely deleterious to their development. One longhaired musician, peering into the rock-suffused biotronic chamber, said to her; "Man, if rock is doing that to plants, I wonder what it is doing to me?"
    This isn't a forum to spread your religious propaganda.
     

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    #20
    Bluelighter Gary Gnu's Avatar
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    I'm assuming your saying that heat kills these poisons. Are these poisons found in ALL edible plants? Should no one eat anything raw? Not even fruits? Then again your saying that our bodies know how to deal with most of them pretty well...so they're not really a concern in that case then?
    No, cooking them isn't going to break down all of the toxins... and yes, our bodies are good at getting rid of them so it isn't a concern..

    Sorry, it was just a side thought.... an interesting tid bit toxin-phobic people tend to not know, or dismiss. Most fruits and veggies have poisons in them, potato plants are one of the more poisonous plants we get our food from.

    Eating raw fruits and veggies is quite good for you. Eating cooked fruits and veggies is good for you too.
     

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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ataxia
    Firstly, to be pedantic, his definition of oxidation is way off. Oxidation is loss of electron(s) (therefore a gain of a charge) of an atom/ion in a reaction (e.g. heterolytic cleavage). This is one of the first things you learn in chemistry!

    It's an interesting concept though. Where's the proof though? I thought a "doctor" would have learned to reference!

    A study into this by professional chemists (Not some Hindu quack "doctor") would be interesting.

    PS. I should have just posted this quote from the site for anyone in doubt about the veritably of the source:

    The alarming effect which acid rock music had been shown to have on plants made Mrs. Rettallack wonder whether the nationwide craze for it among the younger generation might be extremely deleterious to their development. One longhaired musician, peering into the rock-suffused biotronic chamber, said to her; "Man, if rock is doing that to plants, I wonder what it is doing to me?"

    This isn't a forum to spread your religious propaganda.
    How can you associate one article by one man with everything on an entire website? The quote you're using to discredit Herbert M. Shelton and his article is from a book called The secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. It has nothing to do with his article. Maybe that article isn't in the best of company...I myself don't agree with everything on that site (Iit came up in a search result, and I found that one article to be interesting), but what are you trying to prove by referencing an unrelated article?

    ...Typical of a narrow-minded skeptic...

    Also, Herbert Shelton is not Hindu nor am I. It's kind of immature to just assume I'm hindu and tell me not to spread my religious propaganda.
    Last edited by Tritoch; 18-01-2006 at 07:39.
     

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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquil Soul
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tritoch
    Why not? Peanut butter does have a distinctly different flavor than just plain, roasted peanuts (the best way to judge that is with the natural peanut butter, not the commercial, and I've had both--many brands). Almond butter tastes a lot different from almonds (I have tried both raw and roasted almon butter, as well as both raw and roasted almonds).

    hmmmm. Maybe it's the copious amounts of added salt, not to mention everything else.

    oxidation my arse.
    Um, they do make unsalted peanut butter--which I have tried, and I prefer it FYI--besides, most peanuts sold are salted, so your aregument doesn't make any sense. Either way I've tried salted and unsalted peanuts and peanut butter. Also, you don't mention almond butter, which is another example of a nut butter not tasting the same as the nuts themselves--further supporting the article.
     

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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by atlas
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tritoch
    Why not? Peanut butter does have a distinctly different flavor than just plain, roasted peanuts (the best way to judge that is with the natural peanut butter, not the commercial, and I've had both--many brands). Almond butter tastes a lot different from almonds (I have tried both raw and roasted almon butter, as well as both raw and roasted almonds).

    Thanks for your good input, milk82. I really didn't think this article would endure as much criticism as it did, I mean, it's only common sense that food rots if you leave it out too long--an unpeeled banana will rot more quickly than a peeled one; a shredded leaf will decay more quickly than an unshredded leaf...

    The author is simply taking this well-known "phenomenon" a step further, and saying that a significant loss of vitamins takes place during the process, and like I said before, before the food just downright goes bad.


    atlas responded:

    Another reason your logic is plawed. Peanut butter doesnt taste different from peanuts because of oxidation, it tastes different because your tounge has much better access to flavanoids (stored within cell walls), than it does when you just chew it. This is a well understood phenonenom with foods like onions and garlic. Large, uncut pieces in food will taste mild, mined, chopped, or diced pieces taste spicey.
    So even if you chew and chew and chew peanuts you don't get the same amount of access to the flavonoids? I HAVE done that (and, no, it doesn't make them taste like peanut butter, but I don't think it's because your mouth isn't capable of breaking the structure to provide the same amount of access to the flvonoids) because, believe it or not, I've long wondered why peanut butter tastes different from peanuts. If it's flavonoids that are responsible for the flavor then I believe that it's matter of the flavonoids being altered, not how accesable they are.

    Perhaps, going with the philosophy of this article, the reason that peanut butter tastes different from peanuts is because peanuts are altered during the process of being turned into peanut butter by undergoing oxidation.
    Last edited by Tritoch; 19-01-2006 at 19:00.
     

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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Tritoch
    Um, they do make unsalted peanut butter--which I have tried, and I prefer it FYI--besides, most peanuts sold are salted, so your aregument doesn't make any sense. Either way I've tried salted and unsalted peanuts and peanut butter. Also, you don't mention almond butter, which is another example of a nut butter not tasting the same as the nuts themselves--further supporting the article.
    where did I say I was talking about salted peanuts?

    it's called the placebo effect my friend, learn to love it.
     

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    #25
    what it all boils down to is, who gives a fuck? I cook my vegetables, and my meat, and I am a healthy human being with no vitamin deficiencies. You will shorten your life more (or whatever bad side effects you are blindly preaching about) by worrying about this shit all the time and not just enjoying food the way it has been eaten for thousands of years.

    by all means though, suit yourself and prepare food that way, but please don't try to preach it to others without providing evidence from sources far exceeding the reliability of yours.
     

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