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Raw Food, Coconut Oils and other info From Dr. Andrew Weil – Part Trois

Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil

So this is my third and final blog about the Natural Food Show keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew Weil.  (You will hear his voice through my articles from time to time, because he is a great inspiration to me, and we are on the same page, more times than not).

It’s funny because we get all kinds of info from the media – eat this! Don’t eat this! It’s all quite confusing. But when you get a man like Dr. Andrew Weil, who is well educated, and a constant researcher (much like me), trying to gather as many facts about nutrition as possible in order to make some sense of it all, telling you his opinions without being afraid to say “I can’t judge this yet. There isn’t enough to judge it” and later adding “I can’t recommend this yet. The jury is still out”? I say those opinions are valuable.

Even his responsible ‘take’ on coconut oil. While he acknowledges the many potential benefits, and he says he certainly uses it as a skin softener (as do I), however in terms of using it regularly to cook with he says this: “I think the jury is still out on coconut oil, and without stronger evidence for it, I hesitate to recommend eating it in quantity”.

And that’s just how I think. If there isn’t strong evidence? I don’t want to be the one they ‘practice’ it on. I think I will stay with things I know have a good track record of being good for you.

This year, my daughter and soon-to-be son in law added raw to their vegan lifestyle with the intention of going raw, over time. Something about that did not sit right with me. Some raw? I get it. Eat salad for lunch everyday. That’s a good thing!

In terms of my sneaking suspicion that all raw as a diet isn’t good for you? When I have nothing solid, no knowledge of why that may not be a good thing, I say nothing. And that’s why I am so grateful that Dr. Andrew Weil has stepped up to explain the concerns I had and how in fact, may be justified.

Dr. Andrew Weil says it this way: The main argument in favor of eating this way is that cooking destroys vital enzymes in foods. In fact, these enzymes play no role in human nutrition, because stomach acid destroys them as efficiently as cooking. In addition, some nutrients found in vegetables are actually less bioavailable when you eat these foods raw. Another disadvantage of eating foods raw is that many of the natural toxins in edible roots, seeds, stems and leaves can be destroyed by cooking them in water.

I can tell you that when my daughter told me that with vegetables I was killing the nutrients by cooking them I was devastated. I mean, after all… that’s why I eat vegetables, for the nutrients. And I do understand that you should not over cook your veggies, and use the water you boil veggies in for soup, or cooking pasta…. But I need to know more.

Here’s what Dr. Weil says: “Some vitamins and minerals found in vegetables are actually less bioavailable when you eat these foods raw. For example, you cannot get much lycopene, the carotenoid pigment that is protective against prostate cancer, from raw tomatoes. The carotenoids in carrots are more bioavailable from cooked carrots than they are from raw ones”.

So there you go! That’s the story! Or at least part of it to this point in time. 

If you have done any research and would like to contribute to the conversation? Email me!

Happy Eating,

Chef Marian

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