Monday, August 25, 2014
Here's an almost one hour long lecture by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D., one of the authors of "Becoming Raw". Vesanto and Brenda Davis (co-authors) are considered authorities in the field. This lecture was given at The Vegetarian Society of Hawaii a couple of years ago. You'll save a minute or two if you scroll right past Lorraine's introduction. I like the approach ... looking at the science behind a raw vegan diet. She also speaks about which foods should be cooked and why. Underneath the link I'll give a breakdown of what she said on that score, what I gleaned from the video anyway.
First of all, Vesanto Melina had tons of positive things to say about raw vegan diets, as long as those on that diet got enough Vitamin B-12. She recommended using a Vit B-12 supplement instead of relying on food. She also emphasized making sure levels of Vitamin D were adequate and did not consider shiitake mushrooms an adequate source. That said, she was not against cooking food.
FOODS THAT SHOULD BE COOKED:
Buckwheat greens because in some people, especially those with light skin, their consumption raw can cause extreme sensitivity to the sun, severe itching and skin irritation. She said animals who ate buckwheat greens have been found with this type of skin irritation. Raw buckwheat groats are okay. Buckwheat sprouts grown in the dark and rinsed before eaten are okay.
Raw alfalfa sprouts have been associated with lupus and can stimulate or worsen symptoms. She emphasized not to freak out if you've eaten raw alfalfa sprouts but does recommend cooking them or having another type of sprout. (My note: red clover sprouts have a similar mild flavor and look, except they have a rosy color.)
Mushrooms, even ones commonly eaten raw, have toxic substances and are best cooked. Cooking will eliminate or mostly eliminate the toxins. They can also be dehydrated and then marinated in an acid based liquid. Shiitake mushrooms also contain formaldehyde. Cooking them for about 6 minutes will get rid of the formaldehyde. You can also use the dehydrate and marinate method with them.
Sea vegetables absorb many heavy metals from the sea (as well as good minerals.) Hijiki and kelp also contain arsenic. The heavy metals and arsenic will be lessened if you cook the seaweed. The minerals will still be available after cooking.
Raw chickpeas contain an anti-protein factor (I didn't quite understand this, but this is what I heard her say) which can make you sick. Cooking will eliminate that problem.