|Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM|
Recently I was chatting with a friend who was eating a raw diet to help cure a parasite he believed he had acquired while he was in Mexico. Because of the affects of his illness, he has been extremely motivated to rid himself of the parasite, and was advised to begin eating a raw diet. Just one of the side affects has been weight loss.
Once he began this type of eating, the weight began to peal off of him! I mostly advocate a plant-based diet with an emphasis on raw, organic foods, if possible. However, I don't believe that cooking foods is always wrong.
For instance, in traditional chinese medicine, raw fruits are usually considered beneficial, but eating too many can cause imbalances in the body.
Raw fruits and vegetables are thought to possess cool energy, and should be eaten when you want to maintain cooler body temperatures. In this tradition it is also believed that those who eat meat should eat more of the raw fruits and vegetables since animal protein is very warming. If a person is vegetarian then they should vary their diet to include both cooked, and raw fruits and vegetables. Roasting, steaming and olive oil stir frys are all good ways to prepare your vegetables (and even fruits). Although, cooking with oils can sometimes reduce the nutrient value of the fat soluable vitamins like A, E and D.
So to insure getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, raw and whole (whole insures that you don't lose the fiber which nature provides in the whole produce. This will be lost when using a juicer) are the optimal sources. This will be the best method of insuring the absorbtion of most of the nutrients along with a natural "time release" that the fiber content of the whole produce provides.
You can also prepare soups in the Vita-Mix blender to receive the warming properties, but not kill the valuable enzymes that are associated with raw fruits and vegetables. The process in the blender is to add whatever vegetables and seasoning you desire with some water then let it blend for several minutes until the blender becomes hot and the mixture starts to steam. It uses the high speed to create friction and heats the soup, but not to temperatures that will kill the enzymes as it does with regular stove top or crock pot methods.
In some cases, vitamins may actually be more beneficial when cooked as with vitamin K. From a USDA study, cooking actually appears to increase the measurable amount of vitamin K. Researchers have speculated that this increase in vitamin K following heating may be due to the location of the vitamin K in the vegetables. Because the phylloquinone forms of vitamin K are located in the chloroplast components of the plant cells, cooking might be able to disrupt the plant cell walls and release some of the vitamin K, which then would get measured in the laboratory where it would otherwise go undetected. Whether this release of vitamin K from the chloroplasts improves the availability of vitamin K in our body has not been determined. But in any event, the cooking of vegetables does not appear to affect their vitamin K content in a negative way.
Almost anyone who has committed to a raw foods/plant based diet can attest to the increase in energy levels and medicinal affects to over-all health, balance and weight maintenance. But remember, we should also enjoy our foods; celebrate color and beauty of the plant; preparation; and not be limited to only one way of eating! Moderation is the key!