Should I cook the raw meal?

Updated on June 2, 2021
Table of contents

Should I cook the raw meal before giving it to my pet, or at least, warm it up in the microwave?

You should ideally not cook the raw meal as this contradicts the basic philosophy of the diet, being a natural, raw food. Also, avoid the microwave as even when defrosting the food is being cooked.

Incorrectly cooking would render the food biologically inappropriate in a fundamental way. Incorrectly cooked food can lose much nutritional value, including enzymes and biologically active essential fatty acids. Cooking can cause complexes to form between proteins and starches, between vitamins and trace minerals, and between minerals. Cooking can produce carcinogens and anti-immunogens. Many minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins also become indigestible. So the answer is no – you shouldn’t.

First of all, the act of cooking alters the proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals in a food. This alteration can make some nutrients more readily available and others less available. Cooking can alter fats to the point of being toxic and carcinogenic​1​, and cooked proteins can be altered to the point where they cause allergic reactions whereas raw proteins do not​2​.

If an animal has an “allergy” to chicken or beef, it may often be cooked chicken or beef and not the raw form. Incorrect cooking denatures protein. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, denaturation is a modification of the molecular structure of protein by heat or by an acid, an alkali, or ultraviolet radiation that destroys or diminishes its original properties and biological activity.

Denaturation alters protein and makes it unusable or less usable. According to Britannica, protein molecules are readily altered by heat: Unlike simple organic molecules, the physical and chemical properties of protein are markedly altered when the substance is just boiled in water. Further: All of the agents able to cause denaturantion are able to break the secondary bonds that hold the chains in place. Once these weak bonds are broken, the molecule falls into a disorganized tangle devoid of biological function.

This, according to Britannica, then leads to the most significant effect of protein denaturation is the loss of the its biological function. For example, enzymes lose their catalytic powers and haemoglobin loses its capacity to carry oxygen. The changes that accompany denaturation have been shown to result from destruction of the specific pattern in which the amino acid chains are folded in the native protein. In Britannica is the acknowledgement that “cooking destroys protein to make it practically useless“.

There are two ways to denature the proteins: chemically using digestive enzymes, or through the use of heat. Via heat, the body does not have the recombinant ability to utilize damaged denatured protein components (amino acids) and rebuild them once again into viable protein molecules.

Some Physiologists [Wikipedia] claim that cooking and digestion are virtually the same: that cooking is a form of pre-digestion where heat is used to hydrolyse nutrients that would otherwise be hydrolysed at body temperature through digestion. This due to the enormous heat exposure during cooking, that denatures the protein molecule past a point of being bioactive, however, body heat is too low to effect the protein molecule so adversely. When proteins are subjected to high heat during cooking, enzyme resistant linkages are formed between the amino acid chains. The body cannot separate these amino acids. What the body cannot use, it must eliminate. Cooked proteins become a source of toxicity: dead organic waste material acted upon and elaborated by bacterial flora.

When wholesome protein foods are eaten raw, the body makes maximum use of all amino acids without the accompanying toxins of cooked food. It should be well understood and recognized in scientific literature that heat breaks down vitamins, amino acids and produces undesirable cross-linkages in proteins, particularly in meat.

At approximately 43 degrees centigrade, two of the 8 essential amino acids, tryptophan and lysine, are destroyed. When food is cooked above 43 degrees centigrade for three minutes or longer, the following deleterious changes begin, and progressively cause increased nutritional damage as higher temperatures are applied over prolonged periods of time:

  • proteins coagulate;
  • high temperatures denature protein molecular structure, leading to deficiency of some essential amino acids;
  • carbohydrates caramelize;
  • overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene  (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known);
  • natural fibres break down, cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean;
  • 30% to 50% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed;
  • 100% of enzymes are damaged, the body’s enzyme potential is depleted which drains energy needed to maintain and repair tissue and organ systems, thereby shortening the life span.

Dr. Kouchakoff of Switzerland conducted over 300 detailed experiments​3​, which pinpointed the pathogenic nature of cooked and processed foods. Food heated to temperatures of just 48 degrees centigrade to 87 degrees centigrade, a range usually relegated to warming rather than cooking which, nevertheless destroys all enzymes, causes leucocytosis in the body. Leucocytosis is a term applied to an abnormally high white corpuscle count.

Dr. Kouchakoff first began researching digestive leukocytosis in 1912 while serving as doctor and expedition chief of the Artic expeditions sponsored by the Russian Academy of Science in Petrograd. Unfortunately all materials related to the expedition were lost during the Russian Revolution. Fortunately the knowledge of the findings survived with Dr. Kouchakoff, and the work was revisited in 1928 and 1930 in France and Switzerland respectively in collaborations with Dr. Kouchakoff. The work is summarized by Dr. Kouchakoff in a 1937 French publication titled “Nouvelles lois de l’alimentation humaine base’es sur la leucocytose digestive” which translates to “New laws of human digestion based on digestive leukocytosis”. The work performed by Dr. Kouchakoff ’s colleagues in 1928 and 1930 was both rigorous and well controlled for the time, involving careful controls of what was ingested, and involving thousands of blood draws. More information at National Enzyme Company (

Second, incorrectly cooked food lacks all the benefits of raw food. Cooked food is deficient in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, because the act of cooking destroys or alters much of them. Exceptions to this are things like lightly steamed broccoli or tomatoes, but these are not appropriate foods for carnivores . This decreases the bioavailability of these valuable chemicals and makes them less available to the animal. This is why these things have to be added back into cooked diets or processed pet foods This is why a variety of supplements need to be added and why a variety of species inappropriate items are utilized as ingredients in these meals.

However, Dr Judy Morgan [Naturally Healhy Pets], base many of her recommendations and recipes on cooked cuisine, using a slow-cooker (or crock-pot) [Wikipedia] as the Americans call it, to ensure that the nutritional profile of the meals stays intact. In the following YouTube video, Dr. Judy Morgan and Chef Hue show you three simple, natural, and healthy recipes you can prepare for you dogs.

Be sure to also checkout our blog for additional articles.