While many scientific calculations have shown human’s cooking of food to date back over 200,000 years, some “raw-foodists” today are advocating a diet more rich in raw, uncooked vegetables. Specifically, steaming and stewing vegetables can be a way to partially cook a vegetable without going over the crucial threshold of 105 degrees fahrenheit. Other raw-food diet advocates will report a threshold as high as 118 degrees before vegetables begin to lose healthful properties from the process of cooking itself.
Cooking vegetables, as opposed to eating them raw will cause enzymes in the food to be destroyed. While it has been said that much of that same destruction can occur just when putting the raw food into your stomach and having it come into contact with the stomach acids that your body naturally produces. Aside from enzymes, it has also been discovered that cooking raw vegetables can destroy essential vitamins and minerals. Specifically, the counts of essential B vitamins such as B12 can be reduced by up to 96% just by heating the food above a certain temperature.
“You get the best of both worlds” by eating both raw and cooked foods. This was the advice of Jennifer Nelson, director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic and associate professor of nutrition at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn. Some nutritionists and dietitians have argued against eating an entirely raw food diet and have made the case for various diets with different amounts of raw food and cooked food, as well.
A quick and easy raw food option is spreading some healthy nut butter onto a leafy vegetable and rolling it up for a crunchy and savory snack. Try almond, sunflower and walnut butter as alternatives to peanut and also give a variety of greens a chance for your wrap material. Try collard greens, kale, bok choy and endives for healthy and fresh varieties, each with their own unique flavor and texture.
Even eating food such as raw seaweed such as Wakame, Kombu and Arame all can help provide essential and missing nutrients and minerals. Cooking any vegetable will affect it’s level of nutrients and is best avoided whenever possible.
“Two Moms in the Raw” and “Brad’s” are two excellent, non-GMO raw food companies to check out for healthy snacking options. If you are already eating a full-time vegetarian diet, please take the raw food transition carefully as your body may be lacking new nutrients and may benefit from a supplement containing at least B12 but ideally many others.