The Cook’s Evolution: Why We Need to Return to Our Roots

Goodbye Sydney! Hello Melbourne! Please enjoy today’s guest post by Isabella York,
and remember to SPRING AHEAD this weekend!

Today when we talk about food, it’s more about the preparation than anything else. Vegetables
have to be steamed, fish fried or baked, turkey’s basted, and so on. Sometimes when it comes
right down to it, people are more concerned with how well-cooked the food is as opposed to
what’s actually left behind when all the steaming and baking is done.

About a 1.8 to 2.3 million years ago, folks had no idea how to cook. Since the discovery of fire
came much later, people back then had resorted to eating things raw, from meat to fruits
and vegetables. When they finally discovered how to utilize fire in food preparation, it was
obviously a matter of improved taste, a step up from all things raw and uncooked. One thing
followed another and the past notions of survival were given up for taste and aesthetics.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with well-cooked lobster, but what we overlook more often
than not are the actual nutrients lost during the process of food preparation. According to the
FDA, what we take into our bodies each day must contain the appropriate amount of nutrients.
This is what is termed the RDI, or recommended daily intake. These amounts are standardized
according to age and gender, meaning the RDI of a seventy year old woman is vastly different
from that of a five year old. With the advent of newer and more complicated cooking methods, these necessary
nutrients become lost in the process. For example, a peeled apple would lose the nutrients
found in the skin; therefore it is more prudent to consume an apple without peeling it. The
same goes for other methods of cooking; baked apples also have a decreased nutrient content
as compared to the original product.

In order to preserve majority of the nutrients found in raw products, there are certain cooking
methods we can utilize that strip the bare minimum of minerals from food:

  • Steaming

  • The perfect method of cooking vegetables as it preserves nutrient content almost
    completely. This practice allows you to enhance the taste of the food without losing too much
    by way of vitamins and minerals. When steaming, stick to the recommended duration as over
    steaming vegetables results in a loss of taste as well as nutrients, and the food loses appeal.

  • Stir-fry

  • When you stir-fry, food is subjected to very high temperatures and the benefit is that it cooks
    faster. The use of cooking oil is also diminished which raises the nutrient value of food by
    decreasing the levels of cholesterol. This is also a great way to cook vegetables.

  • Grilling and Broiling

  • Known to produce some of the best flavours when it come to food preparation, grilling is
    still the most ideal way to prepare meat or fish dishes that are low in fat. One main point to
    remember is not to char or burn the food as the resulting carcinogens have been related to an
    increased cause of cancer.

  • Roasting and Baking

  • Great for meats and vegetables as well as dessert products, baking has cemented itself as a
    healthy food preparation method. These days, it doesn’t take much to enhance the flavor of
    food through baking without having to resort to fatty substances. It helps to research recipes
    that do away with unhealthy ingredients and offer healthier substitutes.

  • Poaching

  • Another cooking method that helps diminish the oil content in food, poaching is great for light
    meats such as chicken and turkey as well as eggs. This practice also maintains the original
    nutrient content of the food while adding to the intensity of its flavor.

  • Braising

  • A two-step process, braising is a cooking method that takes a longer amount of time than most.
    The benefit of this practice is that the nutrients of the food are preserved in the liquid broth
    that results from the braising, which can be used to flavor other dishes. This method works
    great for meat, fish and vegetables.

  • Sauteeing

  • Another method that negates the use of oil, sautéing is known to preserve flavor as well as
    nutrients. This method is best used to prepare vegetables.

As a rule, when trying to maintain the nutrient content of food, remember to diminish the
excess use of cooking oil, as it raises cholesterol levels and encourages the formation of cancer-
causing free radicals when exposed to high heat. It is also important to avoid over preparation
or over cooking dishes, as this may cause nutrient losses, which may be detrimental later on
in life. Of course creativity is key, keeping a healthy mind and body require effort and with
continued practice, you can make it happen.

Isabella York is a mother dedicated to healthy living, without giving up her life in the process. Along with raising her son, she works for Balsam Hill, a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Trees

This entry was posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 10:30 am and is filed under Fabulous Food Finds, Guest Posts, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply