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Healthy cooking or healthy eating doesn't mean denial. Changes that we implement towards a healthier lifestyle will impact our health, the way we feel and perhaps extend our life.
Cooking is a personal experience and we can implement different methods for the same meal. For example, if we want to make mashed potatoes, we could boil the potatoes, or we could steam them, we could peel the skin, buy instant mixes, etc. The choices we make will modify and transform the quality and the nutritional value of the food you put on your table. So here are a few tips that you can easily implement in your kitchen.
For a healthier lifestyle, you may want change what you cook as well as how you cook. Depending on the method you choose, you may be depleting the nutrients out of your food. You could be preparing a meal with the right nutritious ingredients but after you are done cooking, you may end up with a dish that has no nutritional value.
When heat is applied, many vitamins and minerals are burnt away. The higher the temperature and the longer you cook it, the fewer nutrients you will have in your meal. It is important then not to overcook your meals, try to cook your meals in the shortest time possible and with the minimum amount of water possible. However, dry cooking methods such as roasting and baking are perhaps the worst method, as they require a longer cooking time. Microwaving, frying, boiling and sautéing are some of the methods that you need to consider before you cook. Steaming and stir-frying are better choices, as they will allow the natural nutrition to remain in your food.
It is also important to consider the oxidation that occurs in vegetables once they are cut, as oxidation will neutralize the vitamins. For this reason, try not to cut or chop your vegetables way ahead of time.
You may also want to think about the seasonings that you add to your foods when cooking.
Consider adding unrefined sea salt to your meals instead of the commonly available commercial table salt, which is a highly refined product containing 99.5% sodium chloride with almost no trace minerals left. Unrefined sea salt taste wonderful and depending on the method of processing, it contains 0.5 to 3% trace minerals in addition to sodium chloride and small quantities of other elements found naturally in the ocean. You also need to remember that too much salt can cause hypertension, excessive fluid retention and other complications. You could also add a lot of spices and herbs instead if you need to add more taste to your meals. Try adding fresh lemon juice or lime juice to add a little extra taste.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). It is used to enhance flavor and some people are extremely sensitive to it. It is believed to cause headaches, muscle tightening.
Baking powders that contain aluminum.
Quality cookware and utensils that do not interact with food are also important to consider. Natural materials such as earthenware, ceramic, glass and metals such as stainless steel, cast-iron or enamel coated steel are recommended. Avoid aluminum, plastic, Teflon and other synthetic materials. Nonstick cookware such as Teflon will emit toxic fumes when heated to a high temperature. Inhaling these toxic fumes can lead to respiratory disease, weakening of the immune system, cancer, depression, asthma and other health problems.
More Things to Consider
Choose quality vegetable oils. Avoid hydrogenated oils and fats, refined margarines and oils, animal oils and fats and shortenings. Hydrogenated oils are manufactured oils. Studies have found that they attack the arteries with a risk of heart disease, the kidneys, liver, spleen, intestine and gallbladder.
Avoid Aspartame. MSG and Aspartame are both considered excitotoxins. Studies have found that Aspartame is the cause for many medical problems, such as headaches, hyperactivity in children, seizure disorders and memory loss. Both Aspartame and MSG and other similar substances cause harm to the brain and nervous system.
Try using less white flour and introduce more fiber by adding bran and soy flour and wheat germ to your bread recipes.
Avoid white processed sugar. The living vitality is not there. Organically grown unprocessed living sugar can be found at health food stores.
Avoid artificial sweeteners, they are manufactured chemicals. Use raw organic honey, fresh organic fruit juices or organic raw evaporated sugarcane juice.
Balance your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables versus frozen or canned. Choose 100% organic fresh produce that is free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Have a salad every day. Make your own salad dressing. Here is the one I make for my daily salads. In the food processor chop garlic, ginger, onion, jalapeño pepper and parsley. Add fresh squeezed lime juice (from 4 or 5 limes) or lemon juice, extra virgin oil, and unrefined sea salt, that's it, and it is delicious. You could also add honey for a little extra flavor. As far as the amount for each ingredient, I would say, 5 cloves of garlic, a 1/2" piece of ginger, 1/2 onion, 1 jalapeño pepper, a handful of parsley and 4-5 limes. Add oil and salt to taste. Yields about a pint.
Storing foods depletes their vitamin and mineral content. So remember not to keep leftovers in the fridge for more than a couple of days. Instead, try freezing your leftovers right away, as soon as your food has cooled.
And last but not least, cook with a light heart and avoid meals prepared by people who are sick, angry or they have an unhappy attitude when cooking.
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