Friday, September 12, 2014

How Healthy is a Raw Diet?

Today on the Leonard Lopate show there was a good discussion of popular raw food diets.  The two guests, Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and Dr. Rui Hai Liu. professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, do a great job explaining the science behind raw vs. cooked foods.  The science does support significant benefits to eating raw living foods like sprouts, leafy greens, nuts and fruits.  Cooking certain vegetables can diminish the nutrients, but not all foods and it often depends on the method.  Some of the nutrients in foods, like lycopene in tomatoes, actually become more bioavailable after cooking.   I wholeheartedly agree with the guests that the bottom line is that we should not worry so much whether we're getting enough raw vs. cooked, because foods are only good for us if we actually eat them.  We should choose the method that's going to get us to eat enough healthy whole foods, vegetables and fruits.

Listen to the discussion here:

Some of my favorite dinners combine both cooked and raw foods.  If I'm going to make a large salad for dinner, I like to start with a base of raw leafy greens, crunchy sweet peppers and cucumbers and then layer additional cooked foods like sweet potatoes, beets and squash or gains like quinoa and brown rice.  This is simply because I like the taste of sweet potatoes and similar foods much better when they are cooked.  I also find that the combination of cooked and raw makes me feel more satiated, perhaps because it frees me to use virtually any kind of vegetable I like best.  If I'm making  a large salad, I find this yin-yang approach to mixing methods produces terrific results.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Raw Mixed Vegetables and Sticky Pecans

Raw Ingredients:
Mixed greens, torn or rough chopped
Mixed sprouts
Mixed color sweet peppers
Red cabbage, shredded or diced
Cucumber, diced
Tomato, diced
Basil, thyme or other fresh herbs and spices

Cooked ingredients:
Quinoa, cooked with diced sweet onions
Sweet potato, baked or steamed and diced
Squash (butternut or kabocha are great), baked and diced

To make the pecans:
1 pear
1/2 cup pecans
Dash of Cayenne pepper
Dash of salt

Puree the pear with the pepper and salt to make a mixture.  In a small bowl coat the pecans thoroughly with the puree and pour into a small parchment lined baking dish.  Back for 10-15 minutes at 325F checking periodically to make sure it does not burn.  The pecans should turn golden and get very sticky but you don't want them charred or they will taste rancid.

Combine all ingredients with your favorite dressing of choice and enjoy!
Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Raw Mixed Vegetables and Sticky Pecans

No comments:

Post a Comment