I have just become aware of how little raw food I eat. Some berries, perhaps an apple and (rarely) a banana. Some sauekraut. And little bits of salad as garnish with first courses.
But almost everything else is cooked. I have a root veg soup cooking now in lamb stock (for lunch), and some beetroots roasting in the oven for later, with grilled pork steaks.
Is raw food beneficial, and should I be trying to eat more raw? Are there beneficial bacteria - or, as Sally Fallon mentions in Nourishing Traditions, helpful enzymes, which cooking kills? Or does cooking make minerals etc MORE available?
I eat 1/3 -3/4 of my foods raw. And that includes animal foods, which are the mainstay of my paleo diet. Weston Price found that the traditional cultures he visited (about 12 regions) all ate some of their animal foods raw. Also, I feel best having a good portion of my foods raw. Carpaccio of muscle or organ meat, sashimi, steak tartare, salads, some fruits and herbs are the main foods I eat raw. I consider fermented foods like pickled herring and kraut to be raw, and I include those in my repertoire as well.
I eat a raw pastured egg yolk or two a day, once or twice a week I eat some raw grassfed beef and liver, I occasionally have some raw cheese or cultured raw milk (like yogurt or kefir,) and I eat a Sissonesque " bigass" salad for lunch every day. Often the raw egg yolk goes on top of that.
I crave raw animal products like mad and I'm breastfeeding so I imagine there's something to that craving. Obviously raw is more bland so I don't think it's a food reward issue. I craved raw meat when I was a kid too which is kinda gross since my parents bought about half conventional half organic, but I'd sneak raw meat out of the fridge when I was a preteen (prior to my vegetarian stint in high school.) I doubt that strong of a craving at 10 years old wasn't biologically based, but I could be wrong. I'd love to see some data.
I eat some raw celery daily and am trying to get back to salads. However I agree raw foods aren't the miracle people make them out to be. OTOH I'm pretty sure underground fitness/nutrition guru Anthony Bova puts an emphasis on raw. I ate about 50% raw in my 20s and liked it. Yet really once you get away from fruits there are few raw veggies you can really eat a lot of besides salad and celery. Bova believes raw fruit is really key.
I eat a big salad a few times every week. I also make smoothies with frozen berries and baby spinach sometimes. Today I put a raw egg in a smoothie with pureed butternut squash, almond milk (unswtnd), coconut milk, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spices. It was delicious! I made a few raw soups this summer and really enjoyed the variety it lent to my diet.
I put baby spinach leaves and egg yolks in my morning smoothie. I guess that's about as raw as I get. Oh, and I used to love these raw nuts (rosemary garlic pistachios) from Whole Foods, but last week I couldn't find them. :-( Besides the occasional salad, that's pretty much it.
To go beyond my comment to cliff. It has been shown that within the very same food different aspects are more bio-available raw than cooked and vice-versa. This allows us to get more nutritional variety from the same number of food sources just by altering the ways in which they are prepared.
How in the word is that a bad thing? I would recommend mixing the two. There is just no scientific or logical reason you wouldn't.
Traditional societies ate raw foods, so I make sure to include some in my diet. I eat virtually all my fruits raw, plus some of my veggies (usually in some kind of salad). I also eat raw fish (sashimi/sushi/ceviche), and rare beef.