How we prepare our food is as important as what we eat. You can buy the best piece of organic, grass fed steak, but if you char it to death on the grill, the carcinogens created offset the health benefits. Here are some tips to better cook your food, and what to use to cook it. Check out my holistic healthy cooking tips for healthier food.
Healthy Cooking Tips
- Check your cookware. Do you see teflon and non-stick pans? Get rid of those: the coating contains toxins that leech into your food when heated. No thanks. Use cast iron pans, stainless steel, or Le Creuset enamel cookware. I also love this non-stick green pan which has a toxin free coating!
- If you’re using a microwave to reheat food (I don’t recommend cooking food in a microwave), do NOT reheat it in plastic, which leaches endocrine-disrupting dioxins into your food. Dioxins are xenoestrogens–chemicals that have estrogenic effects on the body–that cause men to grow boobs (kidding, kind of) and girls to hit puberty at soon as age 8. And never use the microwave to heat milk for babies. Click here to read my thoughts on microwaves.
- Don’t cook your food to death at high temperatures. It takes longer, but slow cooking at lower temps is much preferable to help food retain its nutrients. For example, I slow roast salmon at 250 degrees, which takes a bit of time, but it tastes heavenly and is healthier. Invest in a slow cooker! Time saving and healthy food prep. Same with greens and with steaming foods: don’t over-cook. Click here for my easy crock pot recipe.
- If you grill, don’t char your food. This creates cancer-causing carcinogens. Also, our preference for “well done” is not the most healthful. Cook your food medium rare or even rare. I love it that way! The exception here is chicken & pork. Invest in a meat thermometer. Worried about food poisoning? Buy your meat organic and local. You have much less risk of getting a bug from this type of meat than from factory farmed unhealthy feedlot meat. Let the meat come to room temperature before cooking–it’ll cook more evenly. Let it rest after it’s done so the juices redistribute and you get moister meat.
- Soak raw nuts and grains for easier digestability. Soak nuts in water and sea salt overnight, then dry out in 150 degree oven. Soak grains in water only.
- Don’t use canola for pan frying/sauteing. Use coconut oil, tallow, lard or butter for high temp cooking. Olive and sesame oils can be used for medium temp cooking or as a base for salad dressings/marinades. If you’re pan frying something that dried out easily, coat the pan with oil, then add chicken or beef stock to prevent sticking. It infuses flavor and extra minerals, too. I use this method when cooking greens.
- Make your own salad dressings! The ones you buy at the store almost always have canola or soy oil or other unsavory ingredients. Click here for a 15 second balsamic salad dressing recipe.
Do you have any cooking tips to share?
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.