Should I eat my vegetables raw or cooked? If I am taking an acid suppressing drug for my stomach, how does this affect digestion? These are some recurring questions I have been asked over the last year.
Let’s ask Mother Nature. Ruminant or grazing animals have lots of large flat teeth for chewing and grinding vegetable matter. Humans on the other hand have relatively few large teeth for grinding. Ruminant animals also have very large guts to process all the cellulose from vegetable matter like grasses. They have 3-4 compartments that make up their stomach as opposed to the human stomach which is a single compartment. Unlike the human stomach, ruminants ferment the food bolus with micro-organisms in their stomach. Their stomach is a bioreactor that produces the volatile organic acids (similar to vinegar) from which they obtain nutrition. The human stomach secretes acid to begin digestion primarily of protein.
Since our gut does not process our vegetables as in cattle, it helps to provide some of this processing before consumption. Cooking is only one of these methods of pre-processing vegetable matter for consumption. Chopping vegetables into small pieces enhances nutrient acquisition. Pureeing vegetable matter takes this one step further. Mixing vegetable matter with volatile organic acids such as vinegar will not only help kill unwanted bacterial but will enhance nutrient acquisition. Similarly the addition of oil to dressings increases the amounts of fat soluble nutrients available for absorption such as vitamins A, E, K and D.
Cooking vegetables increases some nutrients and decreases other nutrients. Fat soluble vitamins and minerals like magnesium are more available from cooked vegetables than from raw vegetables. Anti-oxidants and some water soluble nutrients like vitamin C decay the longer they are exposed to heat and the higher the heat applied. So ideally you should eat both cooked and raw vegetables. Steaming, programmed microwaving, and lightly sautéing in oil are the preferred methods of cooking. You can make raw purees with oil and vinegar and use as dressing on lightly cooked vegetables and cooked meats, thus combining these methods.
The addition of vinegar or citrus acids like lemon juice will enhance the absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium from food. This is a particularly useful technique for individuals who have had gastric bypass, or gastric surgery that reduces the capacity of their stomach to produce acid. Patients taking acid suppressing drugs due to heart burn should eliminate grain and dairy from their diet. This may allow them to discontinue their acid suppressing agent. Starches from grain and potatoes are prime culprits in producing reflux and heart burn.
Recipe of the Month
Remember our recipes are courtesy of Chef Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have recipes you would like to share or convert to follow the rules of The Vitamin D Cure send them to email@example.com .
Cilantro and Chile stuffed Jumbo Shrimp
Ingredients:• 8 jumbo shrimp, in the shell (about 1 1/4 pounds)
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
• Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 1/2 large jalapeno, with seeds
• 2 scallions, chopped
• 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Prepare the grill to medium-high. Without removing the shells, slit about 3/4 of the way through the shrimp down the ridged back and remove the vein that runs down the center. Rinse and pat the shrimp dry.
Next, whisk the thyme leaves, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and black pepper, to taste, in a shallow bowl. Lay the shrimp cut side down in the lime mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a food processor, pulse the garlic, jalapeno, scallions, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to make a coarse paste. Add the cilantro and pulse just enough to incorporate into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the opening in the shrimp and close the shrimp.
Grill the shrimp shell side down (to keep filling from falling out) for 3 minutes. Turn to the other shell side, cover, and grill another 2 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and are slightly firm to the touch. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
*Great served over a spinach salad with red onions, heirloom tomatoes, toasted pinenuts and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
Vitamin D Success Story
Please share your successes at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at Amazon. Your success story has a powerful impact on motivating others to change their lifestyle.
Dear Dr Dowd,
Congratulations on your book, one of only a few written by physicians using vitamin D in their practice. I have been taking vitamin D for about three years and my 25OHD3 level was 71ng/ml the last time it was tested, using the local Labcorp facility, thru services provided by Life Extension. I have gradually increased by daily dosage over the last few years, starting at a level of about 50 and gradually increasing it to where it is today by taking 8000 IU per day. I am 89 years old and play tennis twice a week. I am sure that the vitamin D is responsible for my ability to keep going. I also would like to mention that I have been using only potassium chloride as a table salt for the last three years and my K levels have always stayed within limits over the three years. Keep up the good work!