A work of art. Photo by Susan Waxman
Many believe that cooking destroys the nutrition in foods. Cooking literally transforms the nutrition that is available in foods. This can be done for better, or for worse depending on how food is prepared and cooked. All methods of preparation including pickling and fermenting are a part of cooking. Proper cooking can completely transform food. Michio Kushi called cooking the highest art form because it can create life, transform sickness into health, unhappiness to happiness.
The healthiest food looks beautiful, tastes delicious, engages all of our senses, supports health and clarity of mind, and inspires us to live to our fullest. Cooking brings to life and strengthens our connection to nature. It’s no surprise that some of our most memorable experiences come from a great meal. There’s no match for healthy food cooked over a wood stove or campfire.
Primatologist Richard Wrangham summed up his controversial research in “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” that gives credence to the act of cooking. Cooking increases and enhances the bioavailability of nutrition in food. Cooking lead to the smaller, more efficient digestive system and larger brain capacity of modern human beings. Primates spend most of their day eating to receive adequate nutrition. Cooking allows us to receive all of our nutrition in two or three meals each day. Cooking also enhances our ability to adapt to different climates, and is a uniqueness to human beings.
Cooking makes nutrition more bioavailable by bringing nutrients to the surface and concentrating them. Different types of cooking bring out different nutrients. Including a variety of foods and using a variety of methods of preparation is a key to receiving abundant nutrition. Changes in color, taste, and texture are evidence of how we’ve transformed the food. In a future post, I will explain more specifically the effects of different methods of preparation.