If I have a choice I wouldn’t elaborate the food more than I have to, so that the nutrients in it to do the best for me. I wouldn’t peel or grate a carrot. I wouldn’t cook what is better for me uncooked. But, I would cook what is best for me cooked! When I’m at home I seldom elaborate my food much, but I sometimes find it fun, tasty and beautiful to mix and trix.
There is a “Raw Food” hype now. New cookbooks pop up every week in the book stores, with promises of a better and healthier you. One has to be more exciting than the other. It’s a race. Typical for a fashion hook, it starts being so elaborate that I sometimes think they missed the point of Raw. Raw means it hasn’t been cooked (over 35-40 degrees) or frozen, as that kills most of the enzymes and some nutrients. Raw started out being just natural. Now Raw Food cooking has reached a point in elaboration that it might be non cooked, but it is not “raw” or at least not natural, requiring machinery and utensils that makes the Raw become over-elaborated. For me it spoils the beauty of it.
An orange that is cut instantly starts losing its vitamin C, that’s why the orange pieces have skin around them and should best be eaten like that to get most of the nutrients intact. A vegetable or a fruit that is cut or grated and comes in contact with oxygen and light starts using its nutrients like antioxidants, and changes its sugar content. That’s why fruit gets sweeter over time. Everything that is altered cut, grated, juiced, etc, will change biochemically, something that is often overseen (or not known), by well intentioned Raw Food cookbook authors. The most natural food is the food eaten as nature produced it, right from the tree! The best teachers are our cousins the big apes with whom we share 98% of our genes, that pick it and eat it. The best “fridge” to preserve the produce is the plant itself. Once again, the quality of the produce and the gentleness when processing it, is what makes the quality of the food.
That doesn’t mean that elaboration is always bad. I actually think cooking is one of the greatest human inventions and the reason why the discovery of fire was such a huge jump in human evolution. Clean (no chemicals) and natural is what we consider the best at Olive, and a combination of cooked and raw. So I guess we are naturaltarians, plantarians, veggie-tarians…or something like that. What ever you choose to eat, or which -tarian you choose to be, let it be YOU. That’s my only advice! Think, learn and feel your body and mind, and do what’s right for you.