Ask Surly Amy: Scared of a Potato
I wrote a really long mail first, deleted it and did the same thing all over. So I want to make this short so I’ll actually send it. I’m in a bad mental place right now and I really need someone to rationalize for me why following exclusively the diet promoted on here is not such a great idea http://www.30bananasaday.com
I am a vegan (mostly for moral reasons) and I love fruit, I don’t object to what they eat, it’s more about the pressure and being scared of other food. I find it really hard to see clearly at the moment. I think I need to avoid all cooked foods and can’t have any salt or over 20 grams of fat a day, or I’ll get cancer.
I’m sorry if this question is lame, I just need a reality check, that eating cooked potatoes with olive oil is not going to send me to the grave.
There is absolutely no reason to be scared of cooked potatoes or cooked food in general. Unless it is too hot. Then you might burn your tongue so you know, maybe blow on it a bit first.
Also, there is no credible evidence that eating cooked potatoes will give you cancer. It is true that some uncooked vegetables have more vitamins in them prior to cooking than they do after cooking. However, even this is not always the case. From a Scientific American article from 2009 titled, Fact or Fiction: Raw veggies are healthier than cooked ones.
Cooked carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers and many other vegetables also supply more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, to the body than they do when raw, Liu says. At least, that is, if they’re boiled or steamed. A January 2008 report in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry said that boiling and steaming better preserves antioxidants, particularly carotenoid, in carrots, zucchini and broccoli, than frying, though boiling was deemed the best. The researchers studied the impact of the various cooking techniques on compounds such as carotenoids, ascorbic acid and polyphenols.
Of course the jury is still out on anti-oxidents and they may not be as beneficial as was thought back in 2008 but if preserving and best digesting your fair share of nutrients is your goal, raw vegies aren’t always the way to go.
This is another interesting article on raw versus cooked foods that touches on the fact that humans started cooking food to help make them more digestible, not less. I won’t even touch on the fact that some meats and improperly stored food is capable of killing you and just quote this bit about apples and soy:
Most vegetables contain anti-nutrients of some sort. They are the plant’s evolved defensive mechanism to keep animals from eating the parts the plant doesn’t want eaten. For example, an apple tree doesn’t want you to eat the seeds in the apple, so the seeds contain anti-nutrients, in this case, cyanide. This serves to deter predators from chowing down on the seeds, preserving the symbiotic relationship of “you eat my apple and ‘deposit’ the seeds elsewhere”.
Grains and soybeans in particular are loaded with antinutrients. Eating soy in general (other than fermented types) and improperly prepared grains are both a bad idea, so to try eating either raw is a VERY bad idea.
The author of the above article also brings up a good point as he mentions the fact that vitamin C is indeed often lost during cooking. And so he reminds us that your best bet is to eat a varied diet consisting of cooked and raw foods to insure that you are getting all the vitamins an minerals you need. That is really the best advice around. Eat a varied diet and get exercise. Don’t get hung up on any one fad.Now back to the potato. Did you know that potato can contain solanine a toxin that in high doses can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness and even coma and death? Yep. Good old nature always out to get us. But that poison only accumulates in the green parts of the potato so raw or cooked you just want to cut those parts off to avoid ingesting too much at one time and never eat green all-the-way-through pototoes. And this has nothing to do with being cooked or uncooked. Raw, baked, boiled or sautéed, as long as it is not green and it is part of a varied diet then the potato is your pal.
So you see, raw or cooked is not an either-or, set-in-stone solution. And like all diets it just boils down to (see what I did there) personal preference. However, if you are going to to adhere to a strict diet like the raw foodies do that may limit your intake of certain proteins, vitamins and minerals do be sure to check with your doctor so he or she can check to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need.
And don’t be afraid of the cooked potato with olive oil. It is your delicious friend.
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