I have been eating mostly raw for quite some time now. This lifestyle choice has definitely benefited my health and life.
However, over the years, I have taken on a more mainstream lifestyle, which I call Naked. It is the avoidance or discerning use of what I call the “Know No’s”:
I still eat a substantially raw-food diet: an Almond-Milk Smoothie for breakfast, a Green Juice and salad for lunch, and usually salad or soup (not raw) for dinner. I also make wonderful vegetable dishes with brown rice, quinoa, and various grain pastas, sprouted-grain breads, and wraps. On my raw journey, however, I have found that there are several foods that are not great raw.
Here is a list of foods I prefer to eat cooked:
Many types of mushrooms are toxic. The cultivated varieties are relatively safe, but I wouldn’t class them in the same category as fruits and vegetables. I rarely enjoy them raw, but sometimes I eat them in a recipe, like my Curly Kale Casserole and Shiitake Mushroom Lasagna (recipes available in The Naked Zone).
It’s actually a vegetable with high oxalic acid. It’s woody and tart but when cooked breaks down, softens and releases its toxic acid.
I love the taste of sweet potatoes; I mean yummy, right? But every once in a while I like the texture and starch of a good white or russet potato. But they’re way too starchy and are not appealing raw. Sometimes I cook them al dente for a slight inner crunch. Speaking of potatoes, sweet potatoes are actually great when juiced.
I’ve sprouted them and I’ve eaten them raw, but generally legumes are better cooked. They have a toxic enzyme inhibitor and a high level of starch that can hurt your tummy when not thoroughly broken down. They really are better cooked.
Well, there’s really no reason to not eat eggplant raw except that it tastes weird. Eggplant absorbs the flavors and oils that it is cooked in making the flavor richer. Although I have marinated it and dehydrated it to make vegan bacon, with very successful results (recipe for Maple Smokey Eggplant Bacon available in The Naked Zone).
I love the taste and I love the health benefits, but raw garlic is a little hard to take. Because of the allyl methyl sulfide produced during the digestion of garlic and the way it is exuded from the skin pores causing bad breath and smell, I personally prefer to avoid it raw! Cooked, it is sweet and sensual on the palate.
I feel the same way about onions as I do garlic: they are very strong and best used in moderation raw. I do, however, like them marinated or oxidized by chopping them in a food processor and leaving at room temperature for a few minutes. This lets the strong oil partially evaporate.
Yucca (or cassava root) contains cyanide. Most of it is in the leaves, which keeps it insect free, but even the root has a bit of cyanide. Because I spend a lot of time in Costa Rica, this vegetable ends up in my kitchen often. To make this starchy tuber edible, I dry it, soak it in water, rinse it, and then cook it as soon as possible.
My choices of items that I prefer cooked are not necessarily based on scientific or health reasons. My choices are based on what tastes good to me. So I highly recommend you consider taste and enjoyment when deciding what to eat raw. Because you should love your food!
In health & love,