So, you are well on your way to a healthier lifestyle and trying to clean up your act in the kitchen a little bit. Are you just a bit confused as far as all of the information that is floating around on the Internet about healthy cooking and not-so-healthy cooking?
If you are, that is ok, you are not alone. It is a lot to take in, especially if you are at the conception stages of your health journey. To help you get it right in the kitchen, we have compiled a list of the top ‘healthy’ cooking mistakes. Avoiding these mistakes will help you steer clear of the many pitfalls that await you on your journey towards ultimate health.
Mistake #1: Cooking with Olive Oil
Yes, it is healthy; 55 percent to 80 percent of the fat in olive oil is oleic acid – an omega-9 fatty acid that lowers bad LDL cholesterol, boosts good HDLs, puts blood sugar on an even keel and helps protect against some cancers. And it’s also rich in the plant chemicals that have the power to turn on beneficial genes.
We love oilve oil and including it in your diet is a great idea, however, it is not so great to cook with. When it is exposed to high temperatures – around 375 degrees or so – it starts to break down the fatty acids and the glycerols that make it so incredibly healthy.
Drizzle with olive oil instead. Putting it on fresh veggies, salads and other dishes adds both flavor and texture. For high -heat cooking use organic extra virgin coconut oil. It contains medium chain fatty acids that are resistant to high heat and can easily turn into ketone bodies in the liver. The ketone bodies provide energy for the brain and can be used to improve a wide variety of health issues.
Mistake #2: Peeling Fruits and Vegetables
Do you feel compelled to peel all of your fruits and veggies before you eat them? Many times, when we pull away the peel, we are discarding the most nutritious part. Peels contain not only minerals and vitamins but also beneficial fiber.
To know which peels you should remove and which you should leave on – try to pierce the skin with your nail or a sharp knife. If the skin is easily pierced – go ahead and leave it on. Foods such as carrots, potatoes, peaches, eggplant and kiwis are all great to eat with the peel intact. Just be sure you are purchasing organic fruits and veggies and give them a good wash before eating.
Mistake #3: Placing Meat From the Fridge Immediately into the Oven or Grill
Moving fresh meat from your refrigerator directly to a heat source will result in uneven cooking. Uneven cooking gives more opportunity for bacteria to thrive. If possible, take your meat out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before cooking. Unless you leave the meat out for an extended period you don’t need to worry about it spoiling.
Mistake #4: Boiling Vegetables
Vegetables contain a number of beneficial water soluble nutrients. When they are boiled in water, these nutrients are drawn out into the water – which many people just throw down the drain.
While boiling vegetables is an easy way to cook them, it often results in overcooked, nutrient diminished food. A better option is to steam, roast, stir fry or grill your veggies. If you have to boil, be sure to keep the water and use it as part of a sauce for your veggies or a base for soup. Just don’t throw it out!
Mistake #5: Not Using Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Have you been under the impression that frozen is second rate? Of course frozen foods loaded with processed ingredients and sugar should be avoided at all costs. However, frozen fruits and veggies are often picked at their prime, when they are the most loaded with nutrients, and preserved.
Vitamins and minerals in frozen fruits and veggies are high and are readily available. Best to choose frozen over a distant import because these are often picked prior to their prime ripeness and transported thousands of miles. Just as Dr. Josh Levitt, The Alternative Daily’s Health Expert explains in this video – frozen is nothing to be afraid of.
Mistake #6: Avoiding Salt
Salt is a mineral that is comprised of cube-shaped crystals of two elements sodium and chloride. In its natural state, salt contains these two elements as well other naturally occurring minerals. On the other hand, processed salt, or table salt, has very little in common with the original crystal salt.
Real and unrefined salt such as AztecSeaSalt™, that is 100% all natural, handmade and organically harvested from the Cuyutlán Lagoon, is not only good for you but essential to your health. Completely unprocessed, this salt balances blood sugar, improves immune system function, keeps bones strong and regulates metabolism as well as being critical to cell health.
It is the table salt that is found in processed and fast foods that is contributing to huge numbers of salt-related deaths. Loaded with sodium, stripped of essential nutrients, bleached and full of toxic additives, table (refined) salt should be avoided. If you are using a 100% unrefined salt – go ahead and salt away both during cooking and after, don’t be scared!
Mistake #7: Not Using Saturated Fat
Saturated fats are commonly known as ‘solid fats,’ due to the fact that they are solid at room temperature. They are found primarily in animal-related foods, such as meats and dairy products, along with some tropical oils, including coconut, palm and cocoa butter. While saturated fats have been demonized by the media for decades, new research is shedding light on the importance of these lipids to a healthy diet, and even to weight loss.
In his book The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss explains the healthy properties of saturated fats, including reduced obesity levels and belly fat, as well as a LOWERED risk of heart disease.
Studies show that saturated fat raises ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, which in turn promotes weight loss and a healthier heart. Tim Ferriss points to an excess of grains, processed foods and refined carbohydrates as the culprits in weight-gain, rather than saturated fats, which have borne the brunt of popular scorn for this issue for generations.
One of the healthiest moves you can make is to get rid of all hydrogenated and trans fats in your kitchen and replace them with real, natural fat. Try cooking with organic virgin coconut oil and don’t be afraid to put a pat of grass fed butter on your steamed veggies.
Mistake #8: Making Unwise Substitutions
Making unwise substitutions can turn a great recipe into a disaster. Although you may know that coconut or almond flour is better than regular white flour and stevia better than processed sugar, making straight substitutions does not always work. For instance, too much coconut flour can make baked goods cakey and very dry turning something that is good, bad.
Be sure that you know how the substitution is going to behave with the rest of the ingredients in your recipe. If you are new to these healthy ingredients, it is always best to stick to recipes that call for them directly until you are comfortable using them as substitutes in other recipes.
Mistake #9: You Don’t Taste as You Cook
Don’t worry, if you are cooking a healthy meal, a little tasting along the way is not going to hurt. Even if you follow a recipe to the “T” you will want to taste as you cook to ensure it meets your personal taste test.
Tasting allows you to season as desired and make small changes to make the meal the best it can be. This is especially important if you are cooking the dish for the very first time.
There you have it – 9 small changes that you can make starting today to help you cook and eat healthier. Now – get cooking!
-The Alternative Daily