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How to Eat Warm Food on a Raw Diet

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How to Eat Warm Food on a Raw Diet

How to Eat Warm Food on a Raw Diet

Fall has come, and with it the cooler days, the rain, even the snow for some. An Oasis of Healing is in Arizona, where even fall and winter are mild seasons. Still, we are aware that for many of you, cooler days bring the yearning for warm meals, which seemingly are not compatible with a raw vegan lifestyle. However, we have good news. You can still enjoy warm and delicious meals that are healing, vegan, and raw – yes, you read it well, RAW warm meals.

This post brings you some of the “tricks” we use to bring the “cooked” textures, flavors, and warmth to our raw vegan recipes.

Before we share our tips, it is important to answer one of the most common questions we are asked: why raw?

Most people ask us why we promote a raw lifestyle. There are many reasons, but the main one is that cooking foods leads to the loss of many nutrients, namely vitamins and minerals, and to the denaturation of enzymes. With heat, enzymes start to change their structure, and once structure changes, function starts to diminish. Function loss starts at 105 F (40.5 C) and is completely lost at 118 F (47.8 C).

Enzymes are specialized proteins that help speed up metabolism, or the chemical reactions in our bodies. They help to build some substances and to break others down.

Considering that EVERY SECOND, 37 thousand billion billion (that is 37 with 21 zeros after it, in case you are wondering) chemical reactions take place inside your body, and enzymes are required for every single one of them, these proteins must be really important. Furthermore, these chemical reactions happen so that the human body can maintain its functional integrity. That is… 37 thousand billion billion chemical reactions per second just in order TO EXIST!!!! This means we need even more chemical reactions, and hence enzymes, for all other processes occurring in our bodies.

On our Blog “How to Eat Healthy, Benefits of a Plant Rich Diet” we explain what happens when we cook foods and why we believe a raw diet will provide you with most nutrients: A pronounced loss of nutrients happens when foods are exposed to high levels of heat, light, and/or oxygen.

  • When using a liquid for preparation or cooking (like boiling in water), nutrients from food are “washed out” to the liquid (for example, most vitamins can migrate to the boiling water). If you use, drink, or eat the liquid, you can still benefit from some of the nutrients.
  • Similar losses also occur when you broil, roast, or fry in oil, and then don’t eat the liquid in which the foods were cooked (which we are not recommending) or drain off the drippings.
  • The USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors2 shows typical maximum nutrient losses of different processing methods when compared with raw food.
  • Vitamin C losses are very high with any processing/ cooking method: drying 80%; cooking 50%; cooking and draining 75%2.
  • Vitamin A losses: drying 50% – cooking 25% – cooking and draining 35%2.
  • B Vitamins also display high nutrient losses, between 50 and 75% when you cook and drain2.
  • Potassium losses are close to 70% when you cook and drain, iron and magnesium about 40% is lost2.

How can you still achieve the warmth, texture, or flavors of cooked food without cooking?

There are two main techniques that will help you achieve a “cooked” feeling:

  • Heated water

At An Oasis of Healing, we use heated (not boiling) water to warm soups, beverages and other foods while maintaining the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. A food thermometer can be used to measure the water temperature at 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can always use water that is hot to the touch but not boiling. Another good idea is to use boiling water to pre-heat the dish, bowl or container in which you are having your warm meal, to further maintain a warm, “cooked-like” feeling.

  • Dehydration/ Dehydrator

We consider the dehydrator the raw-foodist oven. Dehydrating foods allows you to achieve the textures and flavors of cooked foods you might be missing, and that warmth sensation so many long for, especially during the cold seasons. There are many recipes in the New Oasis Recipe Book – Stop Making Cancer and on our Blog  that use dehydration as the method to achieve divine flavors, and with some creativity you can create healthier versions of almost all your favorite recipes.

Dehydrators set at proper temperatures (105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) can give you many of the tastes and feelings of cooked/ baked food while keeping all the nutrients and the natural enzymes in food intact.

The dehydrator can also be used to warm food or to keep it warm. Dehydrators can be used to just warm the food above body temperature while maintaining its enzymatic integrity. This creates a warming rather than a cooling feeling in the body. When you have a warm meal, you can also keep it in the dehydrator, so it stays warm until it is time to enjoy it.

 References

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  2. S. Department of Agriculture. USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors, Release 6 (2007). Released Nov 16, 2017. https://data.nal.usda.gov/dataset/usda-table-nutrient-retention-factors-release-6-2007, accessed November 29, 2023.
  3. Paul Stamets. Raw Edible Mushrooms. https://paulstamets.com/news/raw-edible-mushrooms, accessed November 28, 2023.
  4. Host Defense. Raw Mushrooms. https://hostdefense.com/blogs/host-defense-blog/raw-mushrooms, accessed November 28, 2023.
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  6. Shibata, T., M. Kudou, Y. Hoshi, A. Kudo, N. Nanashima, K. Miyairi, 2010. “Isolation and characterization of a novel two-component hemolysin, erylysin A and B, from an edible mushroom, Pleurotus eryngii.” Toxicon 56: 1436–1442.
  7. Kopp, T., P. Mastan, N. Mothes, S. Tzaneva, G. Stingl, A. Tanew, 2009. “Systemic allergic contact dermatitis due to consumption of raw shiitake mushroom.” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 34: e910–e913.
  8. Weil A. Ask Dr. Weil: Is it safe to eat raw mushrooms? Prevention. February 2013. https://www.prevention.com/health/a20442817/ask-dr-weil-is-it-true-that-you-should-never-eat-mushrooms-raw/, accessed November 26, 2023.
  9. Fuhrman J. Dr Fuhrman. Mighty Mushrooms Boost Immune Function and Brain Health and Guard Against Cancer. https://www.drfuhrman.com/blog/186/mighty-mushrooms-boost-immune-function-and-brain-health-and-guard-against-cancer, accessed November 27, 2023.
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  15. Ba DM, Ssentongo P, Beelman RB, Muscat J, Gao X, Richie JP. Higher Mushroom Consumption Is Associated with Lower Risk of Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Adv Nutr. 2021 Oct 1;12(5):1691-1704. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab015. PMID: 33724299; PMCID: PMC8483951.
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Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica.  Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.

Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection.  She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.

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