Friday, March 1, 2013

What about food that is better for you cooked?

I’ve had a couple of interviews with media this week and I noticed some questions common to both.

1. What about food that is better for you cooked? Like tomatoes.  Isn’t cooked food better for some people?

2. What about the busy cook – I don’t want to spend more time in the kitchen than I already am.

3. There were more but I’ll deal with these ones today.

It is true that there is more lycopene in cooked tomatoes than raw. That doesn’t mean there’s none in raw tomatoes, just more in cooked. The mistake here is to assume that cooked tomatoes are superior over raw tomatoes all the time. Or the other way around.

Cooked tomatoes have no enzymes, which are denatured or ‘die’ at about 45C. It is likely their vitamin C content is gone or reduced since vitamin C is killed off (sounds dramatic) at 100C. High heat denatures more than enzymes and vitamin C, so there are other losses nutritionally in cooking tomatoes.

Now, please note I am not saying that one is better than the other. Clearly both raw and cooked tomatoes have their place. The mistake was the assumption that one has to choose one over the other all the time. Polite suggestion: have both! Enjoy the best of both tomato worlds.

I think this question points more to the assumption that raw foodies never have cooked foods at all and could be missing out on ‘something’.

Since the reasoning behind this question shows the askers perception, it is up to me as the answer-er to adjust their perception and so adjust their reality. This can be done in a polite way, not a “for crying-out-loud” attitude. Remember that we all need our perceptions adjusted from time to time. It’s called learning.
So, stir some tomato paste through a raw sauce or dressing. Add chopped raw tomatoes just before you serve a meat sauce.

Now to the second question. Raw food is not that different from cooked. It’s just raw. Many people have a salad with their meal. That’s raw. Make a raw dressing to raise the nutrition level and lower the sugar and bad fats. Ramp up the salad and include a wider variety of vegetables, add some little pieces of fruit and some chopped nuts or sunflower seeds.

Heat a raw sauce to blood temperature and serve it with the meat. Most food is almost at blood temperature by the time you’re sitting down to eat.

Use a Spiraliser to make raw pasta and serve with either a cooked or raw sauce.

The bottom line is you don’t have to prepare two meals. Little bit by little bit you can learn how to combine the two ideas. Cooked and raw can go together.


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