Welcome back to the STEPS program! And our second task for the year! How did you go over the Christmas/New Year period? Hopefully you gave yourself at least some time for reflection on the previous 7 tasks, but more importantly took the time to really enjoy and cherish family and friends!
So what is this task about? Well it isn't about becoming a 100% 'raw foodist', although I am certainly not knocking anyone following this way of eating. But I truly believe in the benefits of cooking some foods just as much as leaving some raw, so I feel a mix of these is ideal, and realistic to most of us.
The problem many of us have in this day and age is that only a very small percentage of foods are actually eaten in their raw state. This is probably due to a couple of factors among others:
1. With the convenience trend has come prepackaged/precooked meals, a multitude of snack foods (offering replacements for the good ol' piece of fruit) and cooking methods such as the microwave that makes cooking food quicker and easier.
2. This convenience movement has contributed to the lack of food appreciation and preparation skills in more recent generations, reducing the tendency to prepare and enjoy raw ingredients in their natural state.
As we all know, natural whole foods are so rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and macro nutrients. It is true though, that when a food is heated above approx 47 degrees celcius, some nutrients are depleated, and chemical changes occur. Having said that, some foods actually increase their nutrient value when cooked. An example of this is tomatoes, which, when cooked, allows the body to absorb more of the carotenoids and phytochemicals.
Not only are there nutritional benefits to incorporating more raw foods in your diet, but also weight loss/maintenance benefits, energy increases, and even benefits such as teeth/gum health! And whilst a lot of the theories behind a raw food diet are not without controversy, I feel the undeniable benefit is the focus it brings to eating food in its natural state, whole foods, creativity around ingredients, and an appreciation for natural flavours - a celebration of the food as nature intended it to be.
So now, think about it. What is your list of raw foods that you would eat on a daily or almost daily basis? (and no you cannot include raw cookie dough in this list!) A piece of fruit or two? Perhaps a salad? What about nuts and seeds - do you eat them raw or roasted? None of the above???!
The aim of this task is to increase the amount of foods eaten raw, so that every day you are achieving intake of a range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, honey and even fish! This could be in the way of:
- veg and fruit juices (is your juicer sitting in the back of the cupboard gathering dust?!),
- raw veg and fruit sticks for snacks,
- buying raw fish sashimi and sushi when out instead of the cooked meat options (just be mindful of the cleanliness of the place and the temperature of the fish you are receiving),
- or getting a little more adventurous such as this delicious recipe from Quirky Cooking - Raw Chocolate Mousse!
Another level of this task is to look at the cooking methods you use most. Try to focus on reducing the cooking time to retain maximum colour, flavour, nutrient value and moisture!
Remember to visit Mellymaks Facebook page for regular tips and tricks for all things cooking, Thermomix and nutrition! I'd love to see your raw food changes so please feel free to post pics on this page for us all to draw inspiration from!