Jewish Nutrition

The Jewish site for Kosher Food and Healthy Eating

Basics of Food Preparation

You might be wondering why I included food preparation in the 'Basics' section of the website.  Food preparation can make a huge difference to food quality and to the toxicity or safety of your food. Here I will give you tips, from buying and storing to cooking, which are easy to apply to your home.  I will also give advice for those who are unable to buy organic produce and also on how to absorb the most nutrients for your foods.

The main aim when preparing your food is to minimise chemicals and toxins and to facilitate the absorption of nutrients.  Here are some basic do's and don'ts:

  • Do buy and cook local and seasonal foods - less chemicals are used on these than on imported and out of season produce.
  • Do buy organic - at least make sure to buy organic eggs and wholegrains, these are not expensive.
  • Do use filtered water for drinking, cooking and washing vegetables.
  • Do wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking (procedure described below)
  • Do cook cruciferous vegetables and spinach - some people are sensitive to natural chemicals in these when they are raw.
  • Do eat vegetables with organic butter when available - this maximises absorbtion of nutrients.
  • Do take your multivitamin with meals

 

  • Don't eat whole grains unless they have first been soaked, spouted or naturally fermented (see procedure below)
  • Don't microwave - this increases free-radicals in foods.
  • Don't use aluminium pots, foil or baking tins - this has been linked to althzeimers disease.  Aluminium is also found in baking powder and deodorant.
  • Don't heat oil to smoking point - even when using beneficial oil such as olive, this will damage the oils structure.
  • Don't use fortified milk - it is not good for the body to have a lot of calcium without magnesium.
  • Beware of rancid foods, particularly those containing oil like nuts or seeds - buy only fresh from a shop with a high turnover of produce and don't store too long at home.  It is better not to eat these foods at all than to eat them when they are rancid.
  • Don't use tinned vegetables

Washing fruits and vegetables:

If you buy organic, just rinse with filtered water.  If non-organic there are things you can do to get rid of pesticides and chemicals.  You will need to wash your produce in a lot of filtered water.  Fill a basin with water and add lemon juice, grapefruit seed extract, or just a little unscented liquid soap.  Leave produce to soak for little while then rince well.  Scrubbing with a small brush will also help.

 

Wholegrains:

Wholegrains need a little special preparation.  The health benefits are well worth the little extra efforts.  Whole grains contain a natural substance called phytic acid.  Phytic acid inhibits your body's ability to absorb minerals and so it needs to be neutralised.  Studies have shown that about 50% more minerals are absorbed after phytic acid has beed neutralised and this is done in almost all traditional cultures.  All you have to do is soak the grains in filtered water with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice or other acid such as apple cider vinegar and add a litle natural sea salt if you have.  Soaking takes a minimum of eight hours, so you can either put things in to soak the night before you need to use them or in the morning for the evening meal.  Cooking times are usually shorter becase the grains have already absorbed some water.  If you sprout the grains or use sourdough rising for breads this will also neutralise the phytic acid.

Happy Cooking!