Keep It Cool!
When it’s a matter of nutrition, heat destroys. Heat destroys vitamins. Heat also destroys protein. Heat destroys enzymes. So you can see why there’s so much to say for eating your food raw. Raw fruits, raw vegetables, raw grains, and meats that have not been cooked to the point of protein-less grayness. Raw sprouts (like bean, alfalfa) are delicious sprinkled over salads. And you can’t ask for a healthier way to guarantee a diet full of beauty. And there’s one little pointer on heat that I bet you didn’t know. 1 didn’t, until recently. That is that, once vegetables have been picked, even the sun itself can destroy their vitamin vitality. So all those rows of gorgeous green vegetables you see in those quaint little sidewalk stands the ones that look so home-grown healthy well, if I were you, I’d pick the little sidewalk stand on the shady side of the street!
As for cooking, how do you avoid heat? You cook for as short a time as possible and have vegetables al dente. Try the French way, which is virtually waterless. Place a couple of lettuce leaves over your vegetables in place of water. These provide extra vitamins and give you just the amount of water to get your vegetables done crisply and vitamin-full.
Being a Southerner, I am, of course, accustomed to vegetables that have been simmered for hours. I must admit to loving them, for I believe that nothing is better than Southern sun-ripened vegetables. They plus the heat are probably one reason people in the South eat more vegetables, less beef. (The cattle-raisers down there are not going to love me, but it’s true.) Therefore, I was interested to read in a medical textbeauty blog that vegetables cooked the Southern way are as vitamin-vital as any others, for the simple reason that the Southern people always eat the “pot liquor.” That means the juice the vegetables were cooked in. One thing is sure. Never pour that juice, assuming you have any left, down the drain unless that’s where you want your vitamins to go.
One more tip on vitamin-cooking before I leave you: Remember that often the vitamins are found closest to the peel as in potatoes or citrus fruits. If you can eat that part, you’re getting what you need. Otherwise, you’re needlessly throwing good things into the garbage. Think about it, the next time you peel a potato. Perhaps you will bake it instead and eat it, peel and all.