Going natural is not a no-brainer

SINGAPORE - Sticking to what is natural is the best, many people may say.

Many believe food should preferably be unprocessed or even uncooked.

For instance, boiled vegetables lose some vitamin C, as this vitamin, required for growth and repair of tissue, dissolves in water and is destroyed by heat.

This belief birthed the raw food movement, which advocates no heating of food beyond 46 deg C to preserve its nutrients.

But raw meat should be cooked at a minimum temperature of 63deg C to ensure that any harmful bacteria are destroyed, based on Foodsafety.gov, a website set up by the United States government.

Perhaps for this reason, among others, many followers of the raw food movement do not eat meat.

But they may then lack nutrients such as vitamin B12, which is essential for the health of the brain and immune system. It is found mainly in meat and eggs.

Similarly, one could argue that setting fires to burn vegetation so that the land can be used for planting crops is no more than allowing a natural forest fire to do the same. The ashes even fertilise the soil the way nature intended.

Furthermore, this slash-and-burn method is faster and some 300 times cheaper than using machines to clear the land.

With all these advantages, picking this method would appear to be a no-brainer. But not if you ask the millions here who have suffered from the resulting haze at unprecedented air pollution levels that has been blanketing Singapore since last week.

Going to extremes may be a path to destruction. Maybe the middle way is the high road.

huichieh@sph.com.sg


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