T Nation

Slow Cooking & Nutrient Depletion

I’d really like to get myself a crock pot as I hear it’s a great way to make healthy meals in bulk. I lack the time and energy to cook after working all day.

My one concern is this: might cooking the meat and vegetables for such an extended period of time leach out some of the nutrients and/or alter their chemical structure so as to make them less beneficial?

I would guess that if so, the broth would become either more nutrient-concentrated or void (depending on if the heat inactivates some of the phytonutrients in the veggies).

I realize that we all cook most foods to some degree, except users of raw food diets, but I’m just not sure what 5-8 hours of cooking might do. Pardon my ignorance if the answers to my concerns are widely known. Thanks!

[quote]BmacG wrote:
I’d really like to get myself a crock pot as I hear it’s a great way to make healthy meals in bulk. I lack the time and energy to cook after working all day.

My one concern is this: might cooking the meat and vegetables for such an extended period of time leach out some of the nutrients and/or alter their chemical structure so as to make them less beneficial?

I would guess that if so, the broth would become either more nutrient-concentrated or void (depending on if the heat inactivates some of the phytonutrients in the veggies).

I realize that we all cook most foods to some degree, except users of raw food diets, but I’m just not sure what 5-8 hours of cooking might do. Pardon my ignorance if the answers to my concerns are widely known. Thanks![/quote]

You said it yourself…“I lack the time and energy to cook after working all day.”

So even if you do lose a bit of nutrients, is it more important that you eat nutritious meals consistantly? or should you just hope that you come up with nutritious meals after being exhausted after work?

We do the best we can as much as we can. That’s enough to ask of ourselves.

if it leeches out it will do so into the liquid so long as its a stew etc and your eating the liquid much like broth then hey your all good and even if not your still eating healthy and less will be missing then if you ate some processed crap.

I like crock pots, so I recommend them.

I wanted to voice some advice on the fact you lack the energy to cook at the end of the day. I too, lack the energy to come home everyday and cook dinner.

What I do is cook a few evenings a week, large quantities so all I have to do is reheat food.

I have cooked chicken, and red meat on hand regurlarly. Broccoli and similar vegetables cook easliy in the micrwave.

Anyhow, cook in bulk so you dont have to cook everynight. Corck pot, or cooking in bulk, it seems ultimately you will be re-heating.

One other thing to add, yes some nutrients will leech out of your food, but it will remain in the broth. For example, boiled broccoli often turns the water green, which is a result of nutrient loss. If you were to drink the water, problem solved. Usually broth in corck pots are consumed.

In regards to meat, I read years ago that cooking meat formed peptide bonds among the amino acids in the meat product. As I recall, the source(cant recall whether a mag or book or class) cited the reason Rocky ate raw eggs was to avoid the peptide bonds and get all amino acids from the eggs. To what extent, I do not know for sure.

Please correct me if this is off, or outdated. I am old you know :slight_smile:

[quote]AllTraps wrote:
You said it yourself…“I lack the time and energy to cook after working all day.”

So even if you do lose a bit of nutrients, is it more important that you eat nutritious meals consistantly? or should you just hope that you come up with nutritious meals after being exhausted after work?

We do the best we can as much as we can. That’s enough to ask of ourselves.[/quote]

Wise words.

The longer you cook starchy vegetables, the higher their glycemic index goes. So if you do a stew, add te carrots, potatoes, etc. towards the end of the cooking process.

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Also when drinking raw eggs, your body only absorbs about 50%max of the nutrients and protein. Definately cooking eggs is the way to go. Going back up to the crock pot question, it is true that the longer you cook vegetables there is a greater chance of loosing nutrients and whatnot, but since you are consuming the broth then it aint a big deal.

I actually have a crock pot in my dorm, just throw the shit in there when I go to classes and come back and… BAM!!.. fucking dinner right there. But I would avoid using potatoes if you have a choice, there are alot of over good root veg. out there besides pots. They are just too high on the GI index.

I second the advice regarding eggs.

Eating raw eggs or raw egg whites will only result in the absorption of a significantly lower percentage of the available protein. I believe this is due to a substance called avidin contained in the egg whites, a protein that binds biotin strongly. IIRC, the biotin-avidin complex is not broken down during digestion and ultimately excreted.

As Bushidobadboy said, consuming large amounts of raw egg-whites over a long period of time is even said to cause biotin deficiency.

On a side note, there also is the danger of catching salmonellae which I believe is less severe now then years ago due to improved hygiene measures in egg production, the vaccination of laying hens, etc., but it remains a risk and a needless one at that.

Just an FYI…I wouldn’t take what I say in movies as good ways to train/eat…after all, it is a movie. Just because rocky did it in the movie, doesn’t mean stallone did it, or that it is a proper way to eat.