Go both ways...raw AND cooked, that is!

YES! ... AND!... WHY NOT BOTH? I often get the question about raw vs cooked vegetables. The question usually goes something like this: "I hear raw is better. Is that true? Can I cook my vegetables and still be healthy?" Now, since every-body is different, my question back is often: "How do YOU like YOUR vegetables?" And, recently, I started thinking "why choose?" If you're cooking vegetables, you can always reserve some of the vegetables uncooked to serve on top of the cooked versions. In other words, why not have both?

A perfect example was tonight's dinner: sauteed tomatoes and arugula with brown rice quinoa pasta in a red wine sauce...topped with...(drum roll please)... fresh raw tomatoes and arugula (oh yeah and some "raw" red wine too ;-)) (see below)


I love to cook so, for me, vegetables cooked just the right way with just the right type and amount of seasoning can be fantastic! At the same time, as a vegetablarian, I LOVE the taste of vegetables raw and uncooked! So most of the time I DON'T choose - I have them both! (sounds like a sexy option, huh?!).

The simple fact is, depending on the vegetable, if you (and your body) like it cooked, then eat it cooked. If you like it raw, then eat it raw. The bottom line is whatever makes your vegetables taste good to you and keeps you eating lots of them consistently, do that. Because, in truth, raw vegetables are not always healthier (see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=raw-veggies-are-healthier). So rather than try to remember which are better cooked and which are better raw or eating something a certain way ONLY because you think it is healthier, go for enjoyment AND variety and "go both ways!" Share what vegetables (and how) you enjoy both ways!

Sauteed Tomatoes and Arugula with Brown Rice Quinoa Pasta 1 lb Brown Rice Quinoa pasta 6 tomatoes, diced 1-2 onions, sliced or chopped (I love onion always use a lot) 4+ cloves garlic, chopped (I love garlic and can always add more) 3+1 tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil 1 1/4 lb baby arugula 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper Salt and dried basil or oregano (optional)

1. Boil pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain and keep warm in colander on side. 2. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and divide into 2/3 and reserve 1/3 to side. 2. Slice or chop onion. 3. Chop garlic (as fine or as chunky as you like). 4. In the same large pasta pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. 5. Add onions and saute until translucent. 6. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. 7. Add tomatoes and sauté briskly, stirring and shaking frequently, until tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices, 5 to 8 minutes. 8. Add 1 lb of the arugula, red wine and red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes and saute again just until fragrant. (taste sauce now and alter to taste) 9. Turn heat to medium and add remaining tablespoon of oil and pasta and combine well. (If dry, you can add more oil.) 10. When serving, top with reserved diced tomatoes, arugula and basil. Add salt, dried basil or oregano and additional red pepper flakes to taste.


Tanya Leake

Tanya Leake is the founder of EmBODY WELL and is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified health coach, group fitness instructor, specializing in Zumba, dance fitness and sculpt.  She teaches a variety of modes of dance, is certified as an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor, with additional certifications in Natural Health Fundamentals, Behavior Change and Nutrition Therapy.  She is also a certified instructor for Oldways’ “A Taste of African Heritage” health through heritage program.   She brings a wealth of knowledge from a holistic perspective on health and well-being.