Today I'll be cooking up some facts!
If you're wanting to know about the origin of the raw food diet, in a sense it's a diet as old as humans, because before we invented fire, we were all living on a raw food diet.
We didn't know how to cook meat, so we stuck to fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts…and, well, RAW meat!!
I don't recommend that anyone mimics THIS part of the caveman diet, even though my bobcats love it…But is the raw food diet something you should follow, in general?
Its adherents think it's great not only because it's what our ancient ancestors did, but also because it's unprocessed and organic, and because they think cooking destroys the nutrients in food.
All right, I'm going to go ahead and agree that turning off the oven, stove, and microwave is NOT going to hurt your diet.
There's nothing wrong with deciding to eat just raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts… but the problem is getting enough PROTEIN on a raw food diet, similar to a vegan diet. Because you're not going to be cooking and eating meat. And sure, there are some people who follow the raw food diet who eat steak tartare and sushi and whatnot, but for the most part, a raw food diet is going to look quite a bit like a vegan diet.
And y'all know how I feel about that! If you want to go for it, I think it's great, because veggies are great. But you're going to have to be careful about getting a sufficient protein intake.
So yes, the raw food diet is healthy, but is it true what its fans claim about cooking food destroying nutrients and enzymes?
(And we can all sigh a collective sigh of relief knowing that we don't have to give up our good home cooking!)
It's true that in a few cases cooking food reduces its nutrients. It does lessen the amount of vitamins B and C…but other vitamins like D, E, and K are not affected by cooking. Also, take for example the lycopene in tomatoes or the beta carotene found in carrots…those are actually brought out MORE by cooking.
If you're worried about losing a bit of vitamins B and C when cooking veggies, consider steaming or stir-frying them, the way I do!
You keep almost all the nutrients that way.
And you know what ELSE? Any of the possible nutrient loss of cooking food is pretty much canceled out by this fact: Cooking food breaks down plant fibers and cell walls, making them weak, which is actually a good thing when you put them in your mouth.
The weaker cell walls means that it's easier for the body to get nutrients from it.
So overall, sticking to a raw food diet versus cooking your food is not going to be much more nutritious, and certainly in my opinion not more delicious! I understand the argument that it's what our ancestors were doing half a million years ago…