The rain was torrential, drumming in a rhythm that reminded Annie this was the heart of winter in the Bay Area. She saw the squirrel family run across the fence impervious to the cold and wind. A tiny hummingbird flew up to the window to check her out for a few seconds and flew off. She smiled, listening to Chick Corea’s legendary Spain from the Light as a Feather album, as she chopped carrots and broccoli, trimmed the snow peas, and sliced the red bell pepper adding all to the slow cooker.
“Mmmmm, you smell so good,” said LJ as he nuzzled her neck. She laughed, “thanks for the compliment, sweetheart, but it’s not me. That delicious smell is the Lo Mein dish I am cooking for Meatless Monday. It will slow cook for hours and be ready for dinner. By the way, are you thinking about showering since you’ve obviously been working out?”
“Uh yes, but I am starving and would like to eat right now; maybe something fast. Got any suggestions?”
“Hey, we both know hangry eating means not getting foods full nutritional value. I will make an omelet and smoothie and have it ready after you shower, my friend.”
Hearing her artful prompt, LJ went to bathe. Later he walked into the kitchen.
“Here’s a smoothie. It has coconut water, pineapple, spinach, ginger, chia seeds, and a banana for its sweetness, potassium, and fiber.”
LJ drank it, watching her preparing the omelet. “What’s the story and benefit of eating slow-cooked food?”
“Slow cooking is actually easy cooking and the opposite of fast food that has little nutritional value due to processing and causes numerous health issues. Slow-cooked food allows its nutrients to stay stable and accessible to our digestive system. It also increases the flavor and lessens the need for seasoning, allowing the richness of the food to seep into the taste and aroma.”
LJ slowly ate the omelet. “Years ago, I read Chinese medicine and the philosophy of Daoism that says change and transformation are natural, and the process of digesting food is seen the same way. Does that mean, slow-cooked food is essential, healing, and prevents illness?”
Annie nodded, “there is a world-wide Slow Food movement that believes food should be good for you, please the senses, be clean, eaten seasonally, locally grown, and environmentally responsible. When food is seen as having therapeutic power to improve and maintain one’s health, there is a shift in the way it is viewed. Food then becomes less of a destination and more a part of one’s journey. Once that happens, it is easier to ask the question: is this good for me, or is it bad? Slow-cooked food can be an easy answer. Begin with digestibility because of its importance to your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, foods like asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach provide minerals and vitamins that are more available when heated. Cooked tomatoes and carrots greatly increase access to its antioxidants. Heated meat, fish, and poultry kills harmful bacteria.”
LJ looked at his empty smoothie glass. “Some foods lose their nutrients during cooking. Isn’t it true cooked and raw fruits and vegetables have health benefits?”
“That’s right, babes, some vitamins and minerals can be lost during cooking, but fat-soluble vitamins like D, E, and K are unaffected by heat. And currently, science cannot prove or disprove a completely cooked or completely raw diet, but we do know for sure cooked whole food in its natural form has health benefits that lower the risk of chronic disease.”
LJ smiled contently at the rain. “Slow cooking is also a great reminder to relax, appreciate those that grew the food, the hands that prepared it, and express gratitude for its health benefits.”
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced on the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.