There are many benefits to eating foods in raw form.  Some people are “raw foodists” and don’t eat cooked food at all.  They believe that heating food over 118F destroys many of the nutrients and diminishes the natural life energy.  If you think about it, a cooked seed won’t grow, but a raw seed will.  Raw food also contains natural enzymes that are needed to break down nutrients.  Our body creates enzymes as well but eating more raw food will provide the body with these enzymes so it doesn’t have to work as hard.

Today I made a salad that was partially raw and partially cooked…

When it comes to nutrition, there are many different beliefs and views regarding cooking food.  On the opposite side of the raw foodist, there are people who believe that we shouldn’t be consuming too many raw foods.  Too many raw foods can wreak havoc on our digestive system, by decreasing our stomach acid.  Our stomach acid is described as our “digestive fire”, which is responsible for breaking down food.  They believe that a lifetime of predominantly raw foods will eventually lead to digestive issues such as bloating and indigestion.

I like to take both views in rather focus on only one belief.  Root vegetables for example need to be cooked, while cooked onions and mushrooms are a preference for most people.  Other foods such as green leafy vegetables and brassica vegetables (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower and collards) should be lightly cooked.  They contain oxalic acid which prevents nutrient absorption.  This is removed by the cooking process, but just make sure not to overcook or there won’t be any nutrients left.

If you’re making a half and half salad, start by cooking your chosen foods and then letting them cool.  Add them to a salad bowl and begin adding in your chosen raw foods.  Choose a salad dressing and toss it all together.  A nice addition is adding lentils, quinoa or brown rice for some complex carbohydrates and fibre.

If you would like to try this salad, here’s the recipe…

Half Raw/Half Cooked Salad
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup quinoa (cooked)
1 courgette, chopped (zucchini)
1 avocado, chopped
2 spring onions
1/2 cup green beans, chopped
1/2 cup snow peas, chopped
1 beet, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup coriander, chopped (cilantro)

Dressing
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
1 tbsp basil, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grainy mustard

Cook the garlic, onion, mushrooms and sweet potato in olive oil for about 10 minutes.  Add the cooked quinoa and stir for a few more minutes.  Allow it to cool then add to a large salad bowl.  Begin adding the raw vegetables and toss everything together.  Drizzle the salad dressing on top.  This salad is great to store in the fridge and use for leftovers and packed lunches.