What Cooked Foods Do We Eat : The Renegade Health Newsletter

Monday Aug 9 | BY |
| Comments (30)

Peruvian Potatoes
Peruvian potatoes roasted in the ground after our long hike up to 14,500 feet.

It’s no secret that we eat some cooked foods…

In fact, over the last year or so, cooked foods have helped me regain some of my strength and energy after I stopped my 100% raw experiment.

There are a few reasons for the increased energy, the main one is that many cooked foods are a condensed source of calories for someone like me who is extremely active.

Now, I want to be clear here, I’m not telling you to stop eating raw foods at all… LOL!

I’m simply telling the truth about my own experience.

You can use it as you like.

As we’ve traveled around, I’ve seen many raw food leaders and had the opportunity to have some candid conversations.

What’s surprised me the most, is that there are VERY few people who eat 100%. And in fact, there are even fewer who are really, truly healthy.

So for me, it wasn’t even a hard choice to experiment with cooked food with the evidence that was presented to me.

But what foods do we eat?

I started with simple steamed veggies.

Then moved on to potatoes, yams and legumes.

Then finally incorporated some quinoa and other grains, like oats, teff, brown rice and millet.

With very few exceptions, I have not experienced any sort of sickness or “cooked food nausea” that some people say when they go back to eating foods that are heated.

I tend to think that in a good deal of these cases this is psychological. It was for me when I was eating 100% raw.

I would think about cooked food and I could physically make myself sick if I wanted to.

I knew it wouldn’t do any good, so I didn’t. 🙂

If it’s not psychological, it could in fact be physiological as well.

Many people who maintain a raw food diet for the long run tend to have lesser digestive power.

Some argue this is because they don’t need it, but it could in fact be weakened digestion because of deficiency.

So when they go back to cooked food they may need to heat up the digestive fires again in order to feel like the food is being fully digested and assimilated – which again, if this is due to deficiency, then it’s a good thing.

This may also require enzymes and HCL as well for the short term.

Anyway, the point of this newsletter is two-fold…

One to get you thinking about what is really good for you. Are you getting the results you want with raw food, or are you desiring more? Are you afraid of cooked foods? Are you addicted?

Second, to tell you what we eat honestly, since so many people always ask!

Here’s that list…

Quinoa, brown rice, lentils, black beans, steamed veggies, millet, teff, oats, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes and a few more things.

And of course a TON of fresh veggies and fruits.

I’ve shed any particular notice to percentage lately. It doesn’t mean anything to me. My wellness calculation involves my energy levels, my blood readings through testing, my outward appearance and my ability to push myself physically.

If these are all up to speed, then chances are so is my health.

This is the formula that I think may work best for you as well.

But that’s entirely up to you.

What cooked foods do you eat? Let me know…

Also, for those of you who may be looking for some meal options, I have a link you’ll want to check out…

It’s a Vegan Mastery course that includes tips and ideas on how to master your diet and do it in a way that is healthy!

To read more about this program (which includes vegan and raw opt-in meal plans), please click here… http://www.renegadehealth.com/veganmastery

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Éva Rawposa says:

    Kevin, you guys are so great for being so honest about exactly what your experiences are and encouraging others to play around with works best for THEM.

    I have found that, for me, I simply cannot include cooked food in my diet (at this time). I have tried a number of the items on your list, with the full expectation that they would be no big deal at all. Yet, I became VERY tired when eating them. And, worse, my focus just *poof* vanished.

    I had all the ADHD symptoms before I went raw, took meds for years, tried to get off, had no success. Then I went raw and BOOM! was able to gain the focus I always wanted (plus get rid of my ulcers, acne, gas, heartburn, etc.)… So, when I have eaten cooked food this has been the biggest problem. My CLARITY disappears (plus being tired). No heartburn or acne, but definitely a lower level of energy and this feeling of being on top of the world and in the best of health.

    Thanks again for your honesty and getting this conversation started!

    🙂 xxo Eva

  2. Gillian says:

    Loving this article. Several things come to mind
    1) In my experience one’s ability to stay healthy with a high percentage of raw has a lot to do with the Ayurvedic Constitution. Pittas often have the easiest time and Vatas the least. Many Kapha predominant don’t even try.
    2) Many leaders of the raw food movement are Pitta predominant. That means that their recommendations are not applicable to Vata predominant people
    3) The longer I’ve been eating lots of raw foods the more I find I gravitate towards simplicity – hardly any dehydrated foods or ‘gourmet’ raw food. I prefer to keep juices and simple salads along with E3 live. And I prefer to eat simple cooked foods than gourmet raw. My body does too!

    Looking forward to more on this in the future.

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I am transitioning from an organic SAD diet to a lowfat raw vegan lifestyle. I know I can go vegan as I have done it for short periods in the past for health reasons. But I just was not sure if I would be able to “qaulify” as raw. Though maybe I would just have to settle for being a vegan who ate mostly raw foods. LOL. Glad to know that there are foods that require light steaming or light cooking that I can still eat while considering myself raw. Recently started including hummus in my diet and was making my own from sprouted soybeans. Unless you put them in a pot of boiled water for 1 minute they are nasty. Some nutrients in vegetables are also higher after they have been lightly steamed and they taste a little better. Thanks to you and Annmarie for sharing your lives, health and diet information with the world.

  4. Sheryl says:

    I find personally that on a 100% Raw no salt, no spices I feel like million dolloars, my body is lighter and I have a tremendous amount of energy and I feel and look young. I believe the reason most raw foodists don’t feel well is because of the spices, oils, vinegar, fermented foods,hemp, cocao etc. (impure foods) Stick to pure, fruit and veggies and nuts and you’ll feel great. After eating a bland diet without salt for awhile the flavors of the veggies become more alive and salt just covers the flavor.

  5. Sheryl says:

    Also I agree with Eva above – that when I tried to eat cooked rice, steamed veggies or grains it effected by alertness, my train of thought and physic abilities even my sight.

  6. I think its great that you are so honest and open with your approach.I have been eating living foods for three years but Im keeping open minded about adding anything if I need to.
    Actually I went through a phase where after food poisoning my body didnt want nuts/seeds for a while and for a short period added in a little steam for more bulk my body did fine with that.
    The more Im researching it seems more apparant that long term eating patterns shift for most ie doing less green juice,having more wild greens/green powders and herbs for more energy or cultured nus and seeds.Im sure this will be different for everyone depending on constitution ,life style and personality.
    Our minds have a huge impact on digestion energetically digestion is related to first and second chakra issues,perhaps it would be useful to note in addition to what is being eaten what is going on our thoughts which create good or bad digestion.It always relates back to energy

  7. Lana says:

    I feel so much the same as Eva and Sheryl yet ! I have been unable to stick to my raw diet due to dental issues and having a difficult time with too many smoothies. And my health has gone 5 steps backwards.
    Interesting about the Ayurvedic comment, which I am not disagreeing on, is I have heard that a few times and yet I am Kapha and thrive on a raw diet as long as it is simple without lots of nuts and heavy dishes.

  8. jodi says:

    I was 100% raw for nearly three years before I began to question whether I should allow some cooked foods back into my diet. The winters here in the Northwest are clammy and dreary. I made it through three of them on raw food and finally realized that I just didn’t feel as good as I used to. So I ate some brown rice with coconut milk and felt better. But when I would eat cooked legumes, my stomach would hurt–I think you’re right about raw diets rendering people unable to digest certain foods. When I eat cooked food, I immediately crave Kombucha, so I definitely notice the lack of enzymes in the food and have to compensate.

    My biggest issue with eating cooked food is that I have a pretty addictive personality. I love yams (with butter), Thai food, Indian food, anything savory, warm, spicy and buttery. I tend toward excessive Kapha and have toned that down with my raw diet. I am afraid that allowing any cooked food will just lead to more cooked food, and the 40 lbs. I lost will come back (SO HARD for Kaphas to lose weight and keep it off!). So your article is well-timed for me as I’m dealing with this right now, deciding which cooked foods to eat in moderation, only when I need them and not out of emotional craving. I do best on zero grains because I have sensitive blood sugar levels, so rice is really not the best thing for me, but on a cold, rainy day it makes me feel better.

    It’s important to recognize that what works for us one year may no longer support us well the next. I think we are all works in progress and have to adapt as we evolve.

  9. Didiydi says:

    I am a Vata type and it is definitely hard for me to only live on raw fruits and vegetables. If I eat fruit I get more calories but then start craving more which tells me I’m not getting what I need. Then I try to eat more fat, but just avocados don’t cut it anymore, especially since they are on my list of foods I developed intolerances to. My digestion is weak and after 2 years trying with raw my body just doesn’t want nuts or seeds. Not even in milks.
    Recently I eat raw eggs occasionaly and raw dairy. I feel much better on some cooked foods in the evening, all of those you mentioned but I see I need to rotate them and not overeat. If I do, I tend to crave it more and then raw goes out the window.
    Thanks to all for sharing!

  10. Monica says:

    Thank you very much, this is just so refreshing.

    Maybe because I do not like labels and categories put on people, I never understood why some people are for ever stressing the fact that they eat 100% raw.
    It is not a contest, it is about trying to understand what makes you feel better and works better for your body!

    Kudos from Italy

  11. patti says:

    That’s what I love about you two, you are ever evolving and learning and you choose to share your experiences with others. I used to try very hard to be 100% raw and I spent a load of time trying to meet some nebulous goal of percentages, only to fail miserably. I realize that incorporating loads of raw fruits and veggies is essential, but not an end all for me. I am still tinkering with what will be my optimal eating pattern. In the meantime I am learning and trying to cleanse the system clogged by bad eating habits. Improvement is my goal.

  12. Tiff says:

    I’m cooking tomatoes for minestrone and marinara…I much prefer that to the raw versions of tomato soup & raw pasta sauce.

  13. Bonnie Vasko says:

    I too have found 100% raw very restrictive. More importantly, my attitude towards myself and attitude towards diet in general suffered while trying to maintain 100% raw. Quinoa, hemp and flaxseed oatmeal, and sweet potatoes are my favorites.

  14. Anita says:

    Thanks for sharing information about actually fitting cooked foods into a high raw lifestyle. Really appreciated. Thanks guys!

  15. Anita says:

    Agree with everyone else who pointed 100% raw very restrictive, especially for people who for work reasons, travel, commuting,etc. are not always in control of what they can eat.

  16. Hi Kevin and Annmarie!
    Thanks for your honesty here. We are all learning, evolving and finding out what works best for each of us. I had a hard time sticking to 100% raw, and eventually went down the slippery slope of going back to realy bad habits. i am trying again. I want to be healthy. thanks for all you do!

  17. Michael says:

    I also think cooked Quinoa is a great add-on for raw. I’m going to try sprouted then soaked in hot water for a milder cook. Amaranth is good too. I also marinade tempeh, without a second cooking, and have it on hand for salad.

  18. Renee says:

    thanks for your honesty Kevin,

    I sometime find that some people get a bit self righteous about raw food and are looking down at people that need to eat some cooked food.

    I’m a mother of 3 little one (3 and under) and I do need more calories because I’m constantly breastfeeding or pregnant or both at the same time. legumes and brown rice are something that is always on hand over here, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, I had to stop raw goats, and cows milk (my youngest seams to be allergic to it when I’m nursing her and taking it, so I cut it off)

    we are raising our own chicken and eating their eggs (yes we cook them of course)

    So I think that a balance between cooked and raw is what does the trick for our family, about 60 % raw for 40% cooked 🙂

    thanks for sharing

  19. Brenda says:

    Your diet sounds just like mine – I tried 100% but it did not work and an acupuncurist told me that my digestion was too weak for raw and I should eat all cooked. I will get onto raw one day but just not yet. It is about 50% but still vegetables and seeds mainly.

  20. Chris says:

    Awesome! Clearly cooked foods are not harmful as every traditional ate mostly cooked unadulterated foods.
    Potatoes and tubers have been a staple of many longevity cultures. Cutting out nuts and seeds and replacing them with cooked starches has really improved my health. The anti-nutrients in nuts are hard to avoid and it seems no cultures have used them in a significant amount-esp. when raw.
    This video further backs up the Q’ero’s potato diet:
    I love making french fries with Yukon golds, coconut oil in the oven. After finishing with some paprika and truffle oil they are like french fries on steroids!

  21. nick says:

    I think it is very clear that no one diet is ideal for everyone and it usually will not be ideal for that person 24/7. Our bodies are constantly changeing in addition to our environment. I try not to plan my meals I just see what is available locally and listen to what my body wants and see how I feel after I eat something. Usually my “gut” feelings are correct. Mainly raw vegan and as wild as possible !! While I do feel morally consciuos not to kill and eat animals when I do not have to. I do not feel the need to follow anyone or any type of diet or lifestyle.

  22. mark rieke says:

    Hi Kevin and Annmarie,

    Over the last 10 years, I also have transitioned from an almost exclusively 100% raw to eating some steamed vegies, brown rice, cooked vegan soaps, etc. Nevertheless, I still try to eat as much raw as I can…

    Mark Rieke,

  23. Barbara says:

    Hello! I would like to know what your thoughts are in regards to okra and artichokes!! I love them both..steamed okra in blended soups, and steamed artichokes with hot sauce sprinkled on. Other than steamed sweet taters, quinoa, millet, etc.. I still eat mostly raw. Keep up the great work and God Bless you both!

  24. Fontrella says:

    This is why I love you guys, you are very honest. I am transitioning from Sad diet into a vegetarian diet first then work my way to 60% raw and 40% cooked. I will not choose vegan because I love honey.

    Thanks again for your sincere honesty.

  25. Mina says:

    I think that fermented and “superfood” food may be a cause of this reverse – I can not imagine that one who consums fermented food, spirulina can really feel the efects of RAW DIET!

  26. Miriam Levin says:

    Hey Everyone!
    Speaking about grains… Amaranth is a wonderful grain to cook that does not acidify when digested. Amaranth, unlike other grains, is a good source of protein, containing anywhere from 15-17% protein by weight. It is rich in the amino acids lysine, methionine, and cycteine, with a higher content of lysine than any other grain. It is also high in fiber, with three times the fiber of wheat. In terms of nutrition, amaranth is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It has more than 20% of the recommended daily amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate. Amaranth is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and E. It is a cholesterol-lowering food, with both tocotrienols and phytosterols, two natural compounds known to help the body eliminate bad cholesterol. With such a potent nutritional content, amaranth is an ideal addition to any health-conscious diet.

    Here’s the recipe I eat for breakfast or an early lunch. cook the amaranth 1:3 ration water and seeds. Let cool a bit.
    Mash 1 banana and mix with the amaranth. Add a cup of red grapes to the top and enjoy!!!


  27. Dee says:

    Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, steamed broccoli. I like my soups to be hot. And I do eat eggs cooked.

  28. Melissa says:

    Great article guys! Love your approach and how you do not tell people they have to eat exactly they way you eat! You have really inspired me to get some blood work done. Thanks for all you do!

  29. Corrinne says:

    It was so good to see that you eat the same cooked foods that I do. I thought I was the only one…

  30. Amber says:

    I eat more cooked foods than raw ones. I find that the more raw foods I eat, the more stomach aches I have.

    It’s pretty hard to experiment right now and truly feel the results. I’m taking an iron supplement and that overshadows everything.

    I do enjoy my cooked foods, though. I can’t imagine eating 100% raw all the time. As long as I do my cooking at home I feel fine. I try to keep my fibre high and my sodium and saturated fats low. It’s hard to balance any of that when eating out.

    I like Indian food a lot–all cooked and mushy 😛 It used to make me sick when I ate it out, so I thought maybe I had a sensitivity to all the spices, but then I made it at home and used just as many spices, and I was fine after eating it. I think what originally did it was all the fatty butter and oils they used.

    Cooked foods are easier on the tummy, I find, and the less eating out the better!

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