Using the freshest and best quality ingredients you can find when cooking is vital but preparation can alsoÂ have a huge impact on the nutritional quality of your meal. Follow these simple guidelines to get the most outÂ of your ingredients:
1. Don’t Over Boil
When you boil vegetables a large proportion of the nutrients leeches out into the water. If you do boil vegetables thenÂ ensure you use minimal amounts of water and then use the water for soups and stock. Also, avoid leavingÂ prepared vegetables in salted water for long periods of time for the same reasons.
2. Start Steaming
Steaming food is a much better option for maintaining nutrients. Some nutrients are still lost intoÂ the steaming water beneath so again save this water for stocks and sauces. I use an electric steamer because it frees up space on the cooker to prepare other food. Bamboo steamers are also a great all natural option.
3. Go Organic
Although sometimes more expensive organic food certainly has its advantages. I have an Organic Box of Â meat, fruit and vegetables delivered once a week. From the moment fruit and veg is picked it starts losing its nutritional value. So the more seasonal and the less time the food is ‘out of the ground’ the better.
There are many conflicting arguments about the additional nutritional value of organic foods. I personally believe that foods that are grown without the addition of pesticides and other chemicals are better. Washing non-organic foods will not remove the nasty chemicals because they has been designed to be resistant to rain.
4. Cooking With Oils
Heating delicate oils like Olive Oil at high temperatures will cause them to denature and go rancid. Olive oil should only be used for low temperature cooking andÂ for dressings. For high heat cooking coconut oil is a far better option and makes great roast potatoes. Avoid all other oils likeÂ linseed, rapeseed, corn oil, and vegetable oils.
5. Avoid Microwaves
When you heat food using a microwave it causes the molecules to oscillate at incredibly high speeds. During the microwaving process the molecular structure is totally changed. Once a food has been microwaved it is left in a denatured form that is unrecognisable to the gut.
You may be interested to hear about a recent school girls project that involved watering 2 similar plants. She watered one plant with cooled water that had been boiled in a microwave and the other with cooled water she had boiled in a saucepan. The results would shock you when you compare the health of the 2 plants after only a one week.
6. Raw food
Eating raw food ensures you get a very nutrient rich meal. A good proportion of your daily diet should consist ofÂ raw food. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that all food should be raw. In the great book Catching FireÂ the author argues that it was with the advent of cooking that our evolution accelerated. Cooking food does mean we can consume more of it and digest it easier but ensuring the body performs its natural function and breaks down raw food is also important, especially for your metabolic rate.
7. Avoid Caramelising
Making food crispy and browned around the edges can make many foods tasteÂ better but unfortunately this process leaves the food with carcinogenic properties that are best avoided.
8. Choose Your Pan Wisely
Non stick teflon pans and especially aluminum pans that have been linked withÂ many diseases including Alzheimers. Use stainless steel, cast iron or glass as a safer alternative.
What food preparation methods do you use? Share below…